Recapping Week 13 in NBA: All manner of thrilling victories
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
Timberwolves 119, Thunder 117 — Emotions were high for Minnesota in this one, and not just because the Wolves are trying to stay in the West playoff chase each night. This game marked the debut of interim coach Ryan Saunders, the son of franchise icon and former coach Flip Saunders. The Wolves got a monster night from Andrew Wiggins (40 points) and survived two late potential game-winning 3-pointers to claim the win.
Celtics 135, Pacers 108 — This victory was Boston’s fourth straight, which, in the course of a season is nothing to write home about. However, this was also the Celtics’ fifth straight game with 30 or more assists, which is worth noting. Could this be the game where, months from now, we’ll remember it as the one where it all came together for this Finals-hopeful squad?
Bucks 116, Rockets 109 — There’s a good chance teams that have Houston on their upcoming schedule will want to look at this game film. Milwaukee did a masterful job on Wednesday in not only beating the Rockets, but limiting some of what makes Kia MVP contender James Harden such a tough cover. The Bucks’ myriad of defenders forced him to go right (away from his strong hand) and got an other-worldly game from Giannis Antetokounmpo to secure a key road win.
Spurs 154, Thunder 147 (2 OT) — David Robinson, Tony Parker, George Gervin and now, LaMarcus Aldridge. The Spurs’ big man joined the short list of the top scorers in San Antonio history with his 56-point barrage that was 100 percent old school in its execution (no 3-pointers taken). Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook dropped in a massive triple-double in a Thursday night thriller.
Rockets 141, Cavs 113 — A matchup between a 24-17 team (Houston) and a lottery-bound, 8-35 one (Cleveland) gets a nod here because of Harden … and Harden only. The Rockets’ guard continued his sizzling scoring production (43 points) and added a triple-double for good measure (10 rebounds, 12 assists) to keep Houston (and himself) hot.
Magic 116, Rockets 109 — Just when we’re all about ready to write Orlando off as a playoff-contending squad, they pull out a big win to stay in the mix. Such was the case over the weekend, as they rallied on back-to-back nights, coming back to beat the Celtics on Saturday and doing likewise to the Rockets on Sunday. Orlando used a late 14-4 run to drop Houston and move up to No. 9 in the East.
Raptors 140, Wizards 138 (2 OT) — Who says Toronto is watching Kawhi Leonard’s minutes? The Raptors’ star played a season-high 45 minutes, notching 41 points and 11 rebounds in a closer-than-it-should-have-been win in D.C. Toronto led by 23 at one point, but Bradley Beal (43 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds) powered a Wizards’ comeback that forced OT and another before Washington fell short.
Stat Lines of the Week
LaMarcus Aldridge (56 points, 20-33 FG, 16-16 FT, 9 reb, 4 ast in 48 minutes) — The Spurs’ big man, always among the league leaders in mid-range attempts, was at his jump shooting best on Thursday night. Aldridge’s path to 50 points was paved with 1990s-era goodness as he did not attempt a single 3-pointer and 13 of his 33 field goal attempts came from mid-range. | Watch | Video box score
Anthony Davis (36 points, 14-20 FG, 13 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl, 2 blk in 35 minutes) — Seven dunks, pulling off a “Shammgod” and more than a point per minute. Not too shabby for New Orleans’ resident superstar, who shrugged off his scoring feats for the defensive work the Pelicans put together on Monday against Memphis. | Watch | Video box score
Landry Shamet (29 points, 8-15 FG, 8-14 3pt FG, 3 reb in 23 minutes) — Rare is the rookie who gets a nod in this space, but we’ve got to give it up for Shamet’s performance off the bench. Yes, all but one of his field goals was a 3-pointer. That said, the Sixers needed his hot shooting to put away a pesky Wizards team on Tuesday night to keep from losing ground in the East playoff chase. | Watch | Video box score
Nikola Jokic (29 points, 11-21 FG, 11 reb, 10 ast in 39 minutes) — Is any big man in the league more smooth and under control in pressure situations than Jokic? We’re open to suggestions. However, before you suggest a name, watch Jokic’s performance Tuesday in Miami — especially his game-winner with 2.4 seconds left — and then get back to us. | Watch | Video box score
Klay Thompson (43 points, 18-29 FG, 7-16 3pt FG, 2 reb in 33 minutes) — Just about the time we’re all ready to forget about Thompson, he goes out and reminds us he’s still here. This was a prime Klay kind of game, with him sizzling from deep and doing it with minimal ball handling (four dribbles all game, to be precise). | Watch | Video box score
Kyle Kuzma (41 points, 16-24 FG, 5-10 3pt FG, 2 reb in 29 minutes) — The Lakers are trying to keep things together until LeBron James recovers fully from his groin injury. Credit Kuzma for doing his part on Wednesday night against Detroit, thanks in large part to a beastly performance around the basket all night long. | Watch | Video box score
Karl-Anthony Towns (27 points, 10-23 FG, 27 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl in 37 minutes) — In a head-to-head showdown with fellow star big man Anthony Davis, it was Towns who put up the monster stat line in a win Saturday. His 27 rebounds were the most in a game to date in 2018-19 and made a key 3-pointer with 2:55 left to seal the win for Minnesota. | Watch | Video box score
Kawhi Leonard (41 points, 15-29 FG, 11 reb, 5 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk in 45 minutes) — This game was another example of why Toronto traded for Leonard in the offseason. He had 13 straight points in the fourth quarter and overtime as he played in his most minutes since January of 2017. Overall, Leonard is averaging 31 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.8 steals over his last six games. | Watch | Video box score
Bradley Beal (43 points, 17-36 FG, 6-12 3pt FG, 10 reb, 15 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk in 54 minutes) — Washington’s go-to guy joined elite company with this showing on Sunday. He and Oscar Robertson are the only players in NBA history with multiple games of 40 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds in a season. Robertson had three such games in 1961-62. | Watch | Video box score
Best plays from Week 13
Quotes of the Week
“The young guys don’t know what it takes to be a championship level team. What it takes every day. And if they think it is hard now, what do they think it will be like when we’re trying to get to The Finals? There were no expectations last year. Everyone played free and easy. Everyone surpassed whatever they expected for themselves. This year? We all have high expectations. The players, the coaches, everyone. And that’s good, but we aren’t doing it yet.” — Celtics guard Kyrie Irving
“I’d be surprised if this team’s not in the playoffs. They’re awfully good.” — Celtics coach Brad Stevens, on the Nets
“He’s probably the hardest guy in the NBA to guard.” — Nuggets coach Michael Malone, on James Harden
“Their big guy (Nurkic) is a beast. He’s huge. He is a mountain man. You can’t move him and the guy is so nimble. He’s never really off balance.” — Knicks coach David Fizdale, on Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic
“That’s my kind of shot. I love floaters, all kind of floaters.” — Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, after his floater beat the Heat on Tuesday night
“It’s just strange. Looking at Tony Parker in another uniform is outright wrong.” — Clippers coach Doc Rivers, on Charlotte’s veteran point guard
“He’s been a beast all year long. He anchors us at both ends of the floor. He did it last year, and he’s doing it this year, too. He’s just been fantastic.” — Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, on LaMarcus Aldridge
“Blake got this started. Six playoffs in a row. It doesn’t equate to being the winner because we didn’t do that but it equates to winning. Blake was part of that. Now when you hear our name you don’t think of those bad Clippers before Blake.” — Clippers coach Doc Rivers, on Blake Griffin
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VIDEOS FROM WEEK 13
GameTime: Who is primed for a playoff push?
GameTime: Curry might be greatest shooter ever
Inside The NBA: Should Doncic be an All-Star?
Inside The NBA: Spurs showing signs of improvement in West
Inside The NBA: Who should (and shouldn’t) be in MVP chase?
The Starters: Wade worthy of an All-Star starting spot?
Isiah On Point: Clippers’ Williams a modern-day ‘Microwave’
Film Room: Breaking down Jokic’s unique game
Players Only: Sikma’s move still relevant in today’s NBA
Players Only: Some advice for Wolves’ Towns
Shooter’s Paradise: Curry reveals his pregame shooting routine
STORIES FROM WEEK 13
* Schuhmann: Outside shooting no easy chore for OKC
* Aschburner: Thibodeau’s firing represents end of an era
* Kia MVP Ladder: Antetokounmpo bolsters his case with key win in Houston