NBA

Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum deliver game-winning defensive performances for the Heat and Celtics

By Sports Desk November 14, 2022

It was not Jimmy Butler's best offensive game of the season, but he was crucial in their narrow 113-112 home win against the Phoenix Suns on Monday.

The Suns led 102-89 with just eight minutes remaining, before Heat center Bam Adebayo took over, scoring 12 points to ignite a 24-10 run to close the contest.

Adebayo's two free throws with 35 seconds on the clock gave the Heat the lead, but an offensive rebound on the Suns' next possession would give Devin Booker a chance to win the game.

Pulling up from mid-range, Booker was blanketed by five-time NBA All-Defensive selection Butler for a game-winning blocked shot.

Adebayo led the way scoring the ball for Miami, finishing with a game-high 30 points on nine-of-18 shooting and 10 rebounds, but Butler was doing everything else, chipping in 13 rebounds, seven assists, a steal and the decisive block to go with his 16 points (five-of-12 shooting).

Booker played well for the Suns, posting a team-high 25 points on 11-of-22 shooting with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals, while Duane Washington Jr caught fire off the bench for 21 points (eight-of-14) in 19 minutes.

The win pulls the Heat's record even at 7-7, while the Suns are still in a good position at 8-5.

Tatum leads Celtics comeback

Jayson Tatum flashed incredible defensive ability in the Boston Celtics' 126-122 come-from-behind win against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Young Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his ridiculous start to the season, eclipsing 30 points for the ninth time in 14 games. He had 37 points on 13-of-26 shooting with eight assists, raising his averages to 31.1 points, 5.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 54.3 per cent from the field.

But Tatum and running-mate Jaylen Brown were too much in the fourth quarter, leading a 37-26 final frame to swing the game in their favour. Tatum had 27 points on nine-of-23 shooting, but he was even better defensively, snatching three steals and blocking three shots.

Dalano Banton makes the most of his Raptors start

A second-round pick from the 2021 NBA Draft, Toronto Raptors point-forward Dalano Banton was tremendous in his side's 115-111 triumph on the road against the Detroit Pistons.

In his first start of the season due to Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr all missing through injuries, the six-foot-seven Banton scored a game-high 27 points on nine-of-16 shooting, adding four rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks in his 25 minutes.

The Raptors are now 8-7, and will be considered a threat in the Eastern Conference once fully healthy.

Related items

  • Luka Doncic posts 42-point triple-double to take down the Warriors, Powell catches fire for Clippers Luka Doncic posts 42-point triple-double to take down the Warriors, Powell catches fire for Clippers

    The NBA's leading scorer Luka Doncic increased his average with a stunning 42-point triple-double to defeat the Golden State Warriors 116-113 at home on Tuesday.

    Averaging 33.1 points per game this season, Doncic eclipsed 40 points for the fifth time in 19 outings, hitting 14-of-27 from the field while adding 12 rebounds, 12 assists and four steals.

    He finished with a plus/minus of plus 22 in 39 minutes, meaning his team was outscored by 19 in the nine minutes he was on the bench.

    Doncic received strong support from Tim Hardaway Jr, hitting five-of-11 from long range for his 22 points, while their 2020 first-round draft pick Josh Green showed signs of life with three three-pointers and impressive defense off the bench.

    For the Warriors, Stephen Curry continued his MVP-calibre season with another 32 points (11-of-24 shooting), five rebounds and five assists, while last year's seventh overall draft pick Jonathan Kuminga had 14 points (six-of-eight), 10 rebounds and two blocks.

    The Mavericks came into the contest on a four-game losing streak, but pulled their record even at 10-10, while the Warriors are in the same boat at 11-11.

    Powell shines in revenge game

    Norman Powell enjoyed his most productive game of the season to deliver the Los Angeles Clippers a 118-112 comeback win on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers.

    Playing on the road against his former club, Powell scored a team-high 32 points off the bench in just 26 minutes, going 10-of-16 from the field, four-of-five from deep and eight-of-10 from the free throw line.

    He had 22 of his points in the fourth quarter to overcome a 95-82 deficit at three-quarter time, with the Clippers winning the final period 36-17.

    Anfernee Simons was at his sharpshooting best for the Blazers, finishing 13-of-24 from the field and nine-of-16 from three-point range for his 37 points, marking the fourth time in the 23-year-old's career that he has hit nine threes in a game.

    Randle has a birthday to remember

    Julius Randle turned 28 on Tuesday, and he celebrated with a season-high 36 points in a one-sided 140-110 New York Knicks blowout of the Detroit Pistons.

    Randle shot 14-of-24 from the field and six-of-13 from deep, raising his true shooting percentage – which accounts for and weights three-pointers and free throws – to 58.4 per cent.

    That figure is more efficient than his 2020-21 season (56.7 per cent true shooting), where he became an All-Star and second-team All-NBA selection, after struggling mightily this past campaign (50.9 per cent).

    The Knicks are now one game below .500 at 10-11, and boast the league's 10th-best offense.

  • Warriors HC Kerr brushes off loss, focuses on Kuminga's 'best game' Warriors HC Kerr brushes off loss, focuses on Kuminga's 'best game'

    Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was unfazed by his side's narrow 113-116 road loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, instead choosing to focus on what he called Jonathan Kuminga's best game as a professional.

    There were warning signs early that this was not going to be the Warriors' night as they quickly fell down 23-6 after eight minutes of action, and despite fighting back well, they were unable to overcome the brilliance of Luka Doncic.

    The 23-year-old MVP favourite scored 41 points on 14-of-27 shooting with 12 rebounds, 12 assists and four steals – posting a game-high plus/minus of plus 22 in his 39 minutes.

    That means in the nine minutes he was on the bench, the Mavericks were outscored by 19 points, and Kerr acknowledged after the game that there was nothing they could do about the Slovenian when he is playing like that.

    "Luka is Luka, he is just a tremendous shot-creator and shot-maker, and we just couldn't get the ball to go down tonight," he said.

    "I love the effort, and I told the guys we're in a really good spot. We have kind of rounded into form, our bench has an identity, and we very easily could've won that game – but the ball has to go in the hoop, and sometimes it doesn't.

    "Just an off night, you could see right away we fell down 23-6. We had plenty of good looks, it's just part of the season. This happens, no big deal."

    A big part of the Warriors' fightback was Kuminga's play when both teams had their second-units on the floor, with the former lottery pick hitting six-of-eight from the field for 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in his 26 minutes.

    "It was the best game I've ever seen 'JK' play," he said. "Everything he did contributed towards making an impact on winning.

    "His defense on Luka was fantastic, he was disciplined, he stayed down, he challenged shots, and I think he had a couple blocks. 

    "He stayed patient offensively, he took the shots that were there, he knocked down a big three. JK has been fantastic, he's really coming into his own and that's exciting.

    "It's exciting, because it's not easy. It's not easy for him to be thrown into a high-pressure environment, and to have to be counted on to win.

    "A lot of guys, a lot of his colleagues, guys who were drafted near him are being given 30 minutes every night and there's not nearly as much pressure to win, because they're not on championship teams.

    "He's handled everything really well, I think the way he is playing is a direct reflection of his attitude and approach these last few weeks."

    Kuminga's sophomore season has got off to a rocky start, with the 20-year-old's minutes, points, rebounds, assists, field goal percentage and three-point percentage all lower than his marks as a rookie.

    The seventh overall pick from the 2021 NBA Draft is beginning to figure it out, now posting back-to-back games with at least 20 minutes played while shooting over 60 per cent from the floor, and his status as the Warriors' most athletic wing gives him the upside to be a factor as they attempt to defend their title.

  • Birthday boy Julius Randle continues bounceback campaign with season-high in Knicks win Birthday boy Julius Randle continues bounceback campaign with season-high in Knicks win

    Julius Randle celebrated his 28th birthday in style as he dropped 36 points on the New York Knicks' best shooting night of the season to hammer the Detroit Pistons 140-110.

    Randle's 36 points sets a new season-high for the 2021 All-NBA selection, kicking off his night with the first quarter of his career with at least five three-pointers, before finishing 14-of-24 from the field and six-of-13 from deep.

    Averaging 24.3 assists per game to sit 18th in the league, the Knicks dished 31 dimes en route to setting their new season-best mark of 45.7 per cent shooting from long-range, hitting 16 of their 35 total attempts.

    The win on the first game of their road trip snaps a two-game losing streak for the Knicks, and Randle said he was determined to make his birthday a great night for the whole squad.

    "The road is usually where teams come together," he said. "That's what we do, so I'm just trying to lead by example and play with energy, play with effort, and do whatever I can do help this team win.

    "It was flowing. Anytime we get stops we can get out in transition and get easy buckets, and offensively we're starting to move without the ball. It's good.

    "It's always what the defense gives me. Naturally, I'm going to be aggressive, but I was just locked in and taking the shots they were giving me."

    When asked if he can sense a big game like this in the hours leading up to the contest, Randle admitted he had a feeling this one was going to go well.

    "Sometimes [I can tell]," he said. "I could tell today a little bit. I was just locked in, felt good by myself and how my body was feeling. We've got to follow it up tomorrow."

    After Randle's career-best 2020-21 campaign, there were concerns this past season that he had regressed and that perhaps his great year was an outlier, with his true shooting percentage dipping from 56.7 to 50.9 – his lowest figure since the 2015-16 season.

    He started slow again this time around, but quickly figured things out, putting up 21.5 points per game with strong splits of 47.4 per cent from the field, 35.4 per cent from deep on 6.9 attempts per game, and 80.4 per cent from the free throw line during November.

    It has resulted in his true shooting percentage – which weights three-pointers and free throws to produce one figure – jumping back up to a 58.4 per cent, and coach Tom Thibodeau said it is no surprise.

    "He's been doing it for a while now," he said. "Offensively, we're scoring a ton of points, I think we're top-10 in scoring.

    "We're scoring in the paint, guys are sharing it, making plays, getting to the line a lot. I like where we are offensively, and I thought our rebounding was really good tonight. We just have to keep building."

    Veteran guard Derrick Rose added: "Of course, with it being his birthday, we knew when he first came out how the game was going to go. 

    "He forced his will on the team, and everybody else had to follow. That's normally what happens when leaders lead."

    The Knicks are now 10-11, and if they can just figure out how to fix their 24th-ranked defense, their 10th-ranked offense is potent enough to flirt with the playoffs.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.