Recapping Week 22 in NBA: Monster games and milestones abound

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

Nets 103, Pistons 75 — Brooklyn and Detroit haven’t made the playoffs in a while, and this game on Monday had the feeling of that type of game for both teams. Unfortunately for the Pistons — who were the Eastern Conference’s hottest team heading into the game — the Nets were a little more ready for it all. Brooklyn ramped up its defense and used a balanced offense to make quick work of Detroit and, for the moment, move into No. 6 in the playoff chase.

Clippers 140, Celtics 115 — Behind a historic game from Lou Williams, the Clippers put an end to the good feelings the Celtics were having of late about themselves. Williams passed Dell Curry as the NBA’s all-time leading bench scorer on Monday night, all while also (momentarily) moving the Clippers into the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference.

Spurs 112, Mavericks 105 — Only in the Western Conference can a team (such as San Antonio) go on a win streak … and see little benefit in the standings from it. In toppling Dallas on Tuesday, San Antonio won its sixth straight game. However, by the end of the week and because of other teams’ success around them, they only moved from No. 8 to No. 7.

Thunder 108, Nets 96 — Sometimes, Russell Westbrook is just too much for any NBA defense to handle. Brooklyn got a first-hand look at that notion on Wednesday as Westbrook picked up career triple-double No. 130. He did so while ripping apart the Nets’ defense and outplaying their star backcourt of Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell.

Warriors 106, Rockets 104 — No Kevin Durant for this one, but despite that, this Wednesday showdown had the usual thrills we’ve come to expect from these two teams. Who knows if these teams will see each other again come playoff time. One thing we do know? DeMarcus Cousins (27 points, eight rebounds, seven assists) could end up as the X-factor player come the postseason.

Bucks 113, Heat 98 — In the NBA, getting a team down by 20 points at halftime is a good way to ensure a win. On Friday, that world view of games got turned on its head. The Heat led 62-42 at halftime, but watched as the Bucks outscored them 71-46 in the second half, becoming the first team to be down by 20 points at halftime and go on to win by at least 15 points.

Warriors 110, Thunder 88 — Durant missed this Saturday night reunion with his former team, but his Golden State teammates picked up the slack once again. Behind a monstrous game from Stephen Curry (33 points, 5-for-12 3-pointers), the Warriors ripped the Thunder in Oklahoma City to lock up what was once a big deal for Golden State: a playoff berth.

Suns 138, Pelicans 136 (OT) — This showdown from Saturday gets a nod simply because of the odd way it ended. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry called a timeout with 1.1 seconds left after the Suns tied the game in overtime. Problem was, Gentry had no timeouts left. That sent Devin Booker to the line to seal the win and add to an already trying season for New Orleans.

Bucks 130, Sixers 125 — Superstars often shine brightest when squaring off with an equally skilled rival. Such was the case on Sunday night, as Joel Embiid (40 points, 15 rebounds) put up a solid game, but was bested in that department by Giannis Antetokounmpo (career-high 52 points). However, it was Embiid’s crew that got the win as the Sixers weathered a late push by the Bucks at home.

Stat Lines of the Week

DeMarcus Cousins (27 points, 11-16 FG, 8 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl in 31 minutes) — In short, the Rockets had no way of stopping the former All-Star big man in a ballyhooed Wednesday night showdown in Texas. Cousins spent the night punishing smaller Rockets defenders or, when double-teamed or trapped, making the right pass to keep Golden State’s offense on track | Watch | Video box score

Kyrie Irving (31 points, 11-28 FG, 10 reb, 12 ast in 37 minutes) — It is hard to believe a player as accomplished as Irving is has so few career triple-doubles. Yet, entering Thursday’s game against the Kings, he had a grand total of one triple-double before running wild in a solid home win for the Celtics | Watch | Video box score

Lou Williams (34 points, 14-20 FG, 4 reb, 5 ast in 23 minutes) — This is sure to be a game that Williams will remember, as he passed Dell Curry for the all-time lead in points scored by a bench player. Aside from that, this was a huge win for the Clippers as they look to solidify their place in the West hierarchy as their surprising push for a playoff spot rolls along. | Watch | Video box score

Domantas Sabonis (26 points, 7-12 FG, 7 reb, 4 ast in 27 minutes) — Williams may be the odds-on favorite for the Kia NBA Sixth Man Award this season. However, this performance Sabonis delivered in Thursday’s thrilling comeback win vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder is a prime example of why not to sleep on him has one of the NBA’s best reserves. His energy and efficiency sparked a 19-point comeback in a thrilling home win for Indiana. | Watch | Video box score

Bradley Beal (40 points, 12-17 FG, 9-12 3-pt FG, 5 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl in 38 minutes) — One of the underrated storylines in these final few weeks of 2018-19 is how Beal has raised his game as a scorer. He’s averaging 31.2 ppg since Feb. 22 and this performance Saturday against the Hornets was a showcase of his shooting stroke and ability to take only the shots he needed to fuel a win vs. Charlotte. | Watch | Video box score

Giannis Antetokounmpo (52 points, 15-26 FG, 3-8 3-pt FG, 19-21 FT, 16 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl in 36 minutes) — Part One of our homage to Sunday’s superstar showdown in Milwaukee goes to “The Greek Freak.” How could we not when he amassed a career high in points and logged the first 50-point, 15-rebound game since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it eons ago? | Watch | Video box score

Joel Embiid (40 points, 15-31 FG, 4-13 3-pt FG, 15 reb, 6 ast, 3 stl in 35 minutes) — Part Two of the homage goes to Embiid, who did a fantastic job on offense, no doubt. But his impact in this game was felt on defense as well, as his size and the threat of his shot blocking threw off some aspects of the Bucks’ offense in their loss Sunday. | Watch | Video box score

Best plays from Week 22

Quotes of the Week

“I’m sure y’all have heard of it – ”As the World Turns.” She called it her stories. I used to watch it with her and every episode it was something. That’s what this has turned into – ”As the World Turns.’ “– Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, on the media scrutiny that often surrounds his team

“The snow is gone. We’re good. We’re ready to rock.” — Sixers guard Jimmy Butler

“One day (you’re) the pigeon, one day you’re the statue. And definitely today we were the statue.” — Pistons coach Dwane Casey, after Monday’s loss to the Nets

“Man, this team fights. That’s one of the big reasons why I chose to come here. We fight, we compete. No lead is too much.” — Pacers guard Wesley Matthews

“There’s got to be something done. There’s got to be some consequences for those type of people that come to the game just to say and do whatever they want to say. I don’t think it’s fair to the players.” — Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, after his in-game verbal confrontation with a Jazz fan on Monday night

“That shows what kind of kid he is and what kind of leader he’s becoming. It was really cool to me personally. Real emotional to me. With that being said, he will not pay my fine. I appreciate it, but I’ll pay my own fine.” — Bulls coach Jim Boylen, on Zach LaVine offering to pay his fine for his ejection from Friday’s game

“Breaking records is always fun. If it happens at home, it’s even more special for fans that have been riding with you for such a long time.” — Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki, who is four points from passing Wilt Chamberlain on the all-time scoring list

“Pretty much every time I play here I look up at the rafters, look up at the jersey retired and then when the starting lineups come up, when I was a kid watching that starting lineup watching the Bulls run through the city and Jordan’s name and number getting called, I always have that feeling.” — Lakers forward LeBron James, on playing at United Center in Chicago

“I didn’t give them a chance (to answer). I said I’m tired of talking. All we do is talk, talk, talk – let’s start doing.” — Nuggets coach Mike Malone, after his recent heart-to-heart talk with his team about their goals

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