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NBA: Boston is working, James is struggling, Golden State is misguided

Boston, leader in the East, was teased but ended up winning in San Antonio on Saturday in the NBA, where Golden State parodied its basketball against Orlando, LeBron James guiding the Lakers to a narrow victory in Sacramento with 37 points scored.

Dominating from start to finish against Spurs with a rejuvenated workforce, pointing to the penultimate place in the West, the Celtics nevertheless had to work until the last seconds to hold the result (121-116) .

Because after being 15 points behind, Gregg Popovich’s team was able to come back tied (116-116) 37 seconds from time. On which, the inevitable Jayson Tatum placed a rainbow shot, then scored his 34th point of the game on a free throw.

Meanwhile, Robert Williams, already very dissuasive until then (4 counters, 11 rebounds, 10 pts), managed a big defensive sequence, to extinguish any opposing hope.

Jaylen Brown has long been Boston’s chief gunner (29 pts), Malcolm Brogdon (23 pts) still showing himself as useful in a meeting that Marcus Smart, victim of a contusion in his left knee, has not finished.

Opposite, no less than eight players scored between 10 and 18 points, proof of real collective quality. But when the time comes for money-time, it’s the stars who make the difference, which San Antonio lacks.

– Triple-double pour Doncic –

After the victory in Dallas on Thursday, the Celtics conclude on a positive note their mini-road-trip of four games, which began with two losses in Denver and Oklahoma City. What consolidate their domination in the standings (28-12) ahead of Brooklyn (26-13).

In 9th place in this conference, Chicago chained a third success in a row at the expense of Utah (126-118), carried by Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, authors of 36 and 35 points, more than half of their team.

Slovenian Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic and his coach Jason Kidd chat during the first half of the NBA game against the New Orleans Pelicans in Dallas on January 7, 2023 (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP – Sam Hodde)

In the West, the Mavericks consolidated their 4th place, while approaching the third occupied by their evening victims, the Pelicans (127-117).

Appearing inside, 48 hours earlier against the Celtics, Luka Doncic has regained his colors, as evidenced by this pass with one hand without looking towards his recipient, Christian Wood (28 pts), served in “alley-oop” for the dunk . The Slovenian compiled 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, his 9th triple-double of the season.

Yet evolving without Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum, New Orleans has long remained in the game, like Jonas Valanciunas (25 pts, 10 rebounds).

Quite the opposite of the Warriors, totally confused and defeated on their floor by Orlando (115-101).

– 422 points difference –

Certainly deprived of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, they were unworthy of their status as defending champions, only watering – and harvesting – three points with 58 attempts (!) including 18 converted.

Without idea in attack, despite the return of Andrew Wiggins (12 pts) after fifteen games of absence, Golden State, which slips into 8th position, did not apply more to defend. What the N.1 of the last draft Paolo Banchero (26 pts) happily took advantage of.

Finally, in Sacramento, LeBron James reduced the gap between him and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to 422 units, for the record of points scored in a career (38,387). At this rate, he will bring it down in early February.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James (c.) tries to score a basket against the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento on January 7, 2023 (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP - Lachlan Cunningham)
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James (c.) tries to score a basket against the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento on January 7, 2023 (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP – Lachlan Cunningham)

In the meantime, the performance of the “King”, accompanied by 8 rebounds and 7 assists, was preponderant in the fifth victory in a row (136-134) of the Lakers (12th), at the Kings (5th), ensured by two throws francs from Dennis Shröder (27 pts) two seconds from the end.

In a match left open by the defenses (LA shot 61%, Sacramento 52%), Thomas Bryant broke his personal best (29 pts, 14 rebounds) and Russell Westbrook was effective (23 pts, 15 assists ).

Opposite, DeAaron Fox (34 pts, 9 assists) almost stole the show, his shot at the midfield buzzer for the win, narrowly missing the target.

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