Recapping Week 10 in NBA: Lots of early holiday gifts
Jeff Case, NBA.com
Take a look back at the week that was in the NBA with a collection of some of the best games, videos, photos, features and more from around the NBA world.
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Games of the Week
Rockets 102, Jazz 97 — These two teams combined for an appealing-at-times matchup in the 2018 Western Conference semifinals. The start of 2018-19 hasn’t been as kind to either squad, but James Harden gave Jazz fans flashbacks with his 47-point performance on Monday night. That effort — as well as the step-back step-back he pulled off that lit the internet on fire — helped Houston pull off a narrow victory.
Cavs 92, Pacers 91 — Given the kind of season the Cavs are having, it’s doubtful they’ll end up in this space often in our weekly recap. But props to Cleveland for fighting back all game and coming up with a timely, game-winning tip-in from Larry Nance Jr. that ended the Pacers’ seven-game win streak.
Raptors 99, Pacers 96 — Rough stretch of days for Indiana in Week 10. First, their seven-game win streak got snapped by the lottery-bound Cavaliers. A day later, they built a hearty 17-point lead on the road against the Raptors … and watched it disappear and turn into a loss. Credit to Toronto, though, which seems to constantly keep proving it is the class of the East with wins like this.
Rockets 136, Wizards 118 — What’s more surpising: that Houston set the single-game record for 3-pointers (26) or that the record was set by noted non-marksman Michael Carter-Williams? We’ll let you chew on that one during the holidays.
Bucks 120, Celtics 107 — Milwaukee proved both its resiliency and greatness in one game. After falling into a 10-1 hole in the first quarter, the Bucks used a 16-0 run to run to a romp in Boston on Friday. Aside from the weight of this win for Milwaukee, the weight of the loss (and other recent defeats) for Boston sparked a team meeting afterward.
Clippers 132, Nuggets 111 — A team finally brought Denver back down to earth, and fittingly, it was the other team that has surprised so much in the West this season. This was the Nuggets’ first loss of 2018-19 by 10 or more points and ended their four-game win streak, too.
Thunder 107, Jazz 106 — Is it last April again? Any time spent watching Thunder-Jazz on Saturday brought back memories of last season’s first-round playoff series. Paul George was MVP-like all game, netting 43 points and helping OKC outscore the Jazz 23-2 when the offense went through him.
Warriors 129, Clippers 127 — Years from now, this is the kind of game by Golden State and former Kia MVP winner Stephen Curry that will prove hallmarks of their success. Not only did Curry go for 42 points in his typical style, but he also had enough energy, moxie and courage to sink the game-winning bucket with :00.5 left in the game.
Stat Lines of the Week
James Harden (47 points, 14-31 FG, 4-12 3pt FG, 6 reb, 5 ast in 40 minutes) — Yes, he had a rough night from deep in this 40-point effort. But two of his 3-pointers came in the final minute, including a win-sealing one over Ricky Rubio with 13.3 seconds left.
Spencer Dinwiddie (27 points, 8-15 FG, 4-8 3pt FG, 6 reb, 3 ast in 31 minutes) — We tip our caps in this space to Dinwiddie, but no so much for his stats line on Wednesday. No, he gets the nod for powering the Nets to their seventh straight win — something the franchise hadn’t accomplished since 2013.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (30 points, 8-13 FG, 1-3 3pt FG, 8 reb, 5 ast in 33 minutes) — In key showdowns with intra-conference powers, the star players have to shine. That’s exactly what “The Greek Freak” did in powering Milwaukee to a huge win before its time in the Christmas Day spotlight. (Granted, the Bucks did lose on Saturday to Miami …)
Thomas Bryant (31 points, 14-14 FG, 3-3 FT, 13 reb in 35 minutes) — Bryant set a career-high and, at one point, scored 16 of 18 points for Washington across a stretch of the first and second overtime. It was a night to behold and a great moment for a player who is essentially a role player for Washington.
Paul George (43 points, 15-25 FG, 5-10 3pt FG, 14 reb, 6 ast in 40 minutes) — OKC’s star forward made it clear after the game on Saturday that his team’s loss to Utah in the playoffs was still on his mind. He blistered the Jazz time and again to power the Thunder to a close win against its newest rival.
Stephen Curry (42 points, 12-22 FG, 6-15 3pt FG, 6 reb, 2 ast in 35 minutes) — The Clippers set an NBA and team record for 3-point shooting in a half by nailing 13 for 16 in the first half. That effort, though, was for naught as Curry lit up the Clippers time and again and in an odd twist of fate, drove the lane for the game-winning basket with :00.5 left.
Best plays from Week 10
Quotes of the Week
“I had no clue that we had that many until the fans started chanted: ‘three,’ every time we got the ball. So it’s cool to do it together as a team.” — Rockets guard Chris Paul, on the team’s NBA-record 26 made 3-pointers on Wednesday night
“When we drafted Marvin at 2, we were high-fiving like crazy. We got the right guy for us. Where we’re going to be, this isn’t going to be a story in three days. It’s going to be definitely buried in five years from now when we’ve got the next Durant, Westbrook. That’s how good they’re going to be.” — Kings coach Dave Joerger, on his combination of Marvin Bagley III and De’Aaron Fox
“I told [Rodney] Hood to put the ball up on the rim with a couple seconds left so I can see if I could do something with it. He made a good move and did exactly that. I was lucky enough to get a hand on it.” — Cavs forward Larry Nance Jr., on his game-winner vs. Indiana
“He’s in his 20s, I’m in my 30s. Takes me a little longer to get warmed up.” — Lakers forward LeBron James, on his dunk being blocked by the Nets’ Jarrett Allen
“They bought in a long time ago, man. There’s a lot of fun in that locker room right now. Winning is great. Hopefully we can sustain this.” — Nuggets coach Michael Malone
“We watched film, talked about some things, and I guess they listened. Or maybe the other teams just all missed shots every night. I don’t know. It’s a big change, for sure.” — Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, on his team’s defense vs. the Magic
‘”I owed this to this team. I didn’t like the way I finished in this arena last time I was here. That was on my mind.” — Thunder swingman Paul George, after his 43-point effort Saturday in Utah
“I had no idea. I was just in the flow of the game. I just let the game come to me, and as soon as I felt like I was in the rhythm of it, I just went out and took it.” — Wizards center Thomas Bryant, on his 14-for-14 shooting night vs. Phoenix
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VIDEOS FROM WEEK 10
GameTime: Thunder finding their way with defense
GameTime: Simmons makes some triple-double history
Isiah On Point: Who are best ball-handlers of all-time?
Inside The NBA: Who are the contenders in the West?
Inside The NBA: Who are the contenders in the East?
Inside The NBA: How far will Rockets go without Paul?
Players Only: Classic trash-talking stories
Players Only: Reflecting on classic holiday songs
Shooter’s Paradise: Warriors’ Green on art of setting up teammates
STORIES FROM WEEK 10
* Aschburner: Antetokounmpo makes push for Davis in Milwaukee
* Smith: Conley hoping for All-Star bid
* Schuhmann: Clippers still excel at getting to line
* Kia MVP Ladder: Jokic lets others do talking for him in award chase