Recapping Week 8 in NBA: Stars shine bright for Oklahoma City
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
Nuggets 106, Raptors 103 — The Nuggets refuse to go away in the Western Conference playoff hierarchy and the NBA at large. They made that much clear in this road win against Toronto that was fueled by star center Nikola Jokic. He delivered a huge triple-double and hit a trio of clutch free throws to ice one of Denver’s biggest wins to date.
Thunder 114, Nets 112 — Oklahoma City can’t be counted out of any game right now, it seems. Star forward Paul George made sure of that in scoring 25 of his 47 points in an epic fourth quarter that included the go-ahead 3-poiner with 3.1 seconds left. While he wad busy doing that, teammate Russell Westbrook had another triple-double while making some NBA history to boot (more on that below).
Raptors 113, 76ers 102 — After a so-so showing against the Nuggets on Monday, Raptors star Kawhi Leonard atoned for himself on Wednesday against the Sixers. His 36-point effort powered Toronto to a much-needed win in terms of pecking order in the Eastern Conference hierarchy and kept the Raptors as the top team in the overall NBA standings.
Lakers 121, Spurs 113 — There’s little LeBron James can do to amaze anyone at this point. However, his performance against the Spurs in the fourth quarter was one to behold as he dropped in 20 of his 42 points and showed L.A.’s youngsters just what he’s capable of at any time in fueling the Lakers’ win.
Warriors 105, Bucks 95 — This showdown between East and West heavyweights nearly lived up to the hype. The Warriors gave the Bucks a lesson in making 3-pointers and playing defense as they used a key run of both in the third quarter to seal up a critical road victory.
Celtics 133, Bulls 77 — Normally, blowouts don’t have a place on our weekly list of the best games. But a blowout that makes NBA history has to be noted. Boston’s 56-point victory was the largest in franchise history and also tied the NBA record for victory margin by a road team, set by Seattle in 1986.
Bucks 104, Raptors 99 — An up-and-down week for Milwaukee (and Toronto, for that matter) ended with the Bucks’ lesser-known players coming up big. Malcolm Brogdon hit a pair of clutch 3-pointers late to keep Milwaukee from suffering consecutive losses this season. For Toronto, the opposite was true as this marked their first two-game skid of 2018-19.
Stat Lines of the Week
Nikola Jokic (23 points, 8-13 FG, 11 reb, 15 ast, 2 stl in 35 minutes) — The Denver big man came through time and again against the Raptors, especially down the stretch. The Nuggets likely wouldn’t have won this game without him, especially considering guard Gary Harris missed the majority of the game with injury. | Watch | Video box score
Paul George (47 points, 15-27 FG, 6-13 3pt FG, 15 reb, 4 ast in 37 minutes) — Oklahoma City would sure love to bottle and distribute to its players whatever got into George in the fourth quarter on Wednesday vs. Brooklyn. He scored 20 points and nailed the game-winning 3-pointer to clinch an amazing comeback for the Thunder against a much lesser foe. | Watch | Video box score
Russell Westbrook (21 points, 9-23 FG, 15 reb, 17 ast in 39 minutes) — It isn’t everyday a player can etch his name in the NBA history books and not be the storyline in the game in which that happened. That’s kind of the place Westbrook was in Wednesday, though, as he passed Jason Kidd on the all-time triple-double list … but teammate Paul George got most of the shine for his fourth-quarter scoring surge. | Watch | Video box score
LeBron James (42 points, 15-24 FG, 3-7 3pt FG, 5 reb, 6 ast, 2 stl in 39 minutes) — Say what you want about the kind of workload James has to carry for the Lakers this season. What can’t be said is that James is unable to handle doing so, even at this stage of his career. He proved as much with his 20-point fourth quarter that assured the Lakers of their win. | Watch | Video box score
Giannis Antetokounmpo (19 points, 8-15 FG, 19 reb, 6 ast in 37 minutes) — The Bucks’ star came up as a stabilizing force for Milwaukee time and again on Sunday. And, down the stretch, he had the court sense to not demand the ball when others — read: Malcolm Brogdon — were coming up big for the Bucks. | Watch | Video box score
Luka Doncic (21 points, 7-17 FG, 7 reb, 3 stl in 32 minutes) — The next time Doncic and the Mavs are on, do yourself a favor: don’t miss that game. The rookie showed his clutch skills on Saturday, scoring 11 straight points to erase an eight-point deficit and spur the Mavs on to one of their most exciting and meaningful wins of the season. | Watch | Video box score
Best plays from Week 8
Quotes of the Week
‘He does everything,” Murray said of Jokic. ”He passes, rebounds, handles the ball. There’s nothing he really can’t do, except jump.” — Jamal Murray, on teammate Nikola Jokic
“My job is to make sure that I constantly keep telling him to stay aggressive, to play his game because he’s that type of guy, man. He can get hot. He’s a superstar in this league and as you seen tonight when he gets hot he can change the game for us.” — Russell Westbrook, on teammate Paul George
“I’m really happy. I don’t expect anything anymore. I’ve been in this league for a while now, and sometimes you kind of take it for granted.” — New Grizzlies center Joakim Noah, after his debut with Memphis on Wednesday
“Have you watched LeBron play before?. He’s LeBron James. That’s what makes him difficult to guard.” — Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
“He’s still Dwyane Wade. Kobe (Bryant) had 60 points in his last game. Those guys have superpowers bro. Every once in a while, you like to see it on TV. You hate that it’s (on) you sometimes.” — Clippers guard Lou Williams
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VIDEOS FROM WEEK 8
GameTime: Reflecting on Wade-LeBron legacy
GameTime: Big men changing NBA game with 3s
Inside The NBA: UEFA time with the crew
Inside The NBA: Shaq gets into the giving spirit early
Inside The NBA: Quite an ejection by Gobert
Story Time With Shaq: Shaq’s reign of destruction on rims
Players Only: Pistons’ Griffin changes his offensive game
Players Only: Who were best scorer in each decade?
STORIES FROM WEEK 8
* Powell: LeBron, Wade ready for final matchup
* Aschburner: Ex-NBA player Garrett has stories to share
* Schuhmann: Some plays you may have missed
* Schuhmann: What’s wrong with the Jazz?
* Kia MVP Ladder: Westbrook, George shine together in OKC