Covid is a mustache … to the Beard: Harden puts 39 and sinks the Clippers

After dominating the Lakers despite being fresh from the stop for the virus, the Brooklyn star gives an encore to LA with 39 points and 15 assists. Morant on the siren beats the Suns

Davide Chinellato

@dchinellato

In the name of James Harden. Brooklyn also crashes the Clippers home and confirms itself as the best team in the East despite the assault of Chicago, which in Atlanta (Gallinari still out) wins the fourth game in a row. In Phoenix shines the star of Ja Morant, who sets the decisive basket for the victory of Memphis half a second from the end. Dallas, Utah, Minnesota and Charlotte also smile.

L.A. Clippers-Brooklyn 108-124

Two out of two. Brooklyn (23-9) repeats the Christmas victory at the Lakers home by beating up the Clippers (17-17), who also try to make a game in which they were down by 22 even more interesting in the final. The hero of the Nets, who found themselves in Los Angeles after the week off for Covid (in the protocol there are still 7 players, including Kevin Durant), is once again James Harden, the star player with 39 points, 8 rebounds and 15 assists as if before this three days in California hadn’t had to stop for Covid. The Nets close with 5 players in double figures: Mills still lethal by 3, Griffin protagonist (12 points, 9 rebounds) against his former team. The problem of the Clippers, in the fifth defeat in the last 6 games, more than the Covid which still stops two players, are the injuries: Paul George will be out for 3-6 weeks for an injury to a ligament in his right elbow and it is unthinkable that Los Coach Lue’s Angeles remains afloat without him and Kawhi Leonard. Despite Marcus Morris, 24 points on his return from Covid, he tried.

LA Clippers: Morris 24 (2/6 from two, 4/7 from three, 8/8 free throws), Bledsoe 15, Kennard 10. Bounces: Zubac 9. Assist: Bledsoe 6, Morris 6.

Brooklyn: Harden 39 (11/16, 4/9, 5/5 tl), Mills 18, Claxton 18. Rimbalzi: Griffin 9. Assist: Harden 15.

Atlanta-Chicago 118-130

Irresistible. Chicago (21-10) shows all the strength of its new Big Three and takes the fourth victory out of four in Atlanta (15-18) after the forced hiatus week for Covid. Without coach Billy Donovan and with Lonzo Ball and two other players stopped due to coronavirus, the Bulls still rely on the NBA’s most productive duo, DeMar DeRozan (35 points and 10 assists) and Zach LaVine (30 and 9), to whom in the fourth period is also added Nikola Vucevic (24 points and 17 rebounds on the scoresheet), precious to extinguish the desperate comeback attempt of the Hawks, who after being at -16 and starting the final 12 ‘under 98-87 reopen the match ( 108-105 with 7’43 “to play) thanks to the wild Cam Reddish, 33 points and 8 triples to target. It was Vucevic’s 13 points, with DeRozan’s 12, that prevented the Hawks from flying. In Atlanta the good return of Trae Young (29 points and 9 assists) was not enough to avoid the fourth defeat in the last 5 games and the 8th in a row at home: the Hawks still have 10 players in the protocol, including Danilo Gallinari.

Atlanta: Reddish 33 (5/10, 8/13, 3/3 tl), Young 29, Bogdanovic 20. Rimbalzi: Capela 16. Assist: Young 9.

Chicago: DeRozan 35 (8/18, 2/2, 5/8 tl), LaVine 30, Vucevic 24. Rimbalzi: Vucevic 17. Assist: DeRozan 10.

Phoenix-Memphis 113-114

Obscured. With a splendid penetration that closes a magical evening of 33 points, Ja Morant signs the unexpected victory of Memphis (20-14) in Phoenix (26-7), knocked out at home for the second time in a row. After sinking to -18 in the third quarter under the blows of Morant, the Suns also managed to recover and overtake 113-112 with 5 “from the end with a triple from Devin Booker (best with 30 points) for their first. advantage after 4-2. Too worried by Desmond Bane, still extraordinary with 32 points, the defense of the Suns in the last possession left Morant the necessary space to strike, and the Grizzlies star took it by signing the second consecutive victory of his. The Suns were without DeAndre Ayton and Jae Crowder, finished in protocol as coach Monty Williams. The Grizzlies were missing 4 players for Covid, but it was not seen on the field.

Phoenix: Booker 30 (7/14, 3/6, 7/9 tl), Johnson 19, Smith 15, Payne 15. Rimbalzi: Smith 9. Assist: Paul 13.

Memphis: Morant 33 (11/20, 3/5, 2/4 tl), Bane 32, Adams 13. Rebounds: Adams 16. Assist: Adams 7.

Portland-Dallas 117-132

In the sign of the unicorn. With Kristaps Porzingis leading them (34 points, maximum of the season), the Mavs (16-17) play their best game without Luka Doncic (still in the medical protocol together with 5 teammates) and beat Portland (13-20), in the 9th defeat in the last 11 games. Practice closed in the second quarter, when from 41 all the Mavs run away at 72-53 of the interval, with Porzingis already at 24 for his second time over 20 points in a half in the last five performances. Dallas continues to dominate in the second half, when in addition to KP and the usual deputy Doncic, Jaylen Brunson (14 points and 9 assists), Josh Green (10 assists) stands out. For the Blazers, with coach Billups and 6 players in the protocol, it is another disaster in what was once the Moda Center fort: the Blazers have granted the Mavs 60% from the field in the first three quarters and the 132 points collected are the second. worst defensive performance of the year.

Portland: Lillard 26 (2/7, 3/8, 13/14 tl), Little 20, Powell 15. Rimbalzi: Little 10. Assist: Lillard 5.

Dallas: Porzingis 34 (8/14, 3/7, 7/9), Powell 22, Knight 18. Rimbalzi: Porzingis 9, Finney-Smith 9. Assist: Green 10.

San antonio-utah 104-110

No Spida, no problem. With Donovan Mitchell staying home to treat his back pain, Utah (24-9) nevertheless moves on to San Antonio (14-19) to take a fourth straight win, 12th in the last 14 games. The Jazz divide the points of their top scorer between Jordan Clarkson (23 and 5 assists), Joe Ingles (17 to celebrate the return to the quintet) and Rudy Gobert (16 with 13 rebounds): Snyder’s team plays by heart and it shows especially on these occasions. For San Antonio too heavy the absence of Dejounte Murray (the only player of the two teams in the Covid protocol, a rarity these days) not to be affected: Pop’s team went down in double figures in the second quarter and, while trying , has never managed to return. The most positive was Derrick White, but his 21 points and 8 assists were not enough for San Antonio to avoid the first knockout after 3 wins.

San antonio: White 21 (5/10, 3/6 2/3 tl), McDermott 17, Johnson 13, Vassell 13. Rimbalzi: Poeltl 13. Assist: White 8.

Utah: Clarkson 23 (7/14, 2/7, 3/3 tl), English 17, Gobert 16. Rebounds: Gobert 13. Assist: Clarkson 5.

minnesota-boston 108-103

Stronger than absences. Although the best pieces are in the Covid protocol (Towns and 6 others), Minnesota (16-17) overturns Boston (16-18) in the fourth period and returns to win after two knockouts Among the many unexpected heroes of the Wolves Jaylen Nowell stand out (29 points, career maximum), the two-way Nathan Night (20 points and 11 rebounds to the first as a career starter) and Greg Monroe, who celebrates with 11 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists in 25 ‘the first in the NBA after two and a half years. The Celtics close with 37.1% from the field and suffer the second consecutive comeback: coach Udoka had Jayson Tatum and 7 other players in the protocol and we saw it on the field. Also because Jaylen Brown fired blanks (8/24 from the field) despite 26 points.

Minnesota: Nowell (4/9, 6/9, 3/4 tl), Knight 20, McDaniels 17. Rimbalzi: Knight 11. Assist: McLaughlin 10.

Boston: Brown 24 (6/16, 2/8, 8/13 tl), Pritchard 24, Horford 16. Rimbalzi: Williams 11. Assist: Horford 6, Pritchard 6.

Charlotte-Houston 123-99

Scary Terry is back, With 14 of his 27 points in the third period, good for pushing the gap up to 26 points, Rozier signs Charlotte’s second consecutive success (18-17), who is trying to return the surprise that was in the first month of season. The Hornets, with 3 players in the protocol, close with 6 players in double figures, 53.4% ​​from three and 18 triple to target. Houston (10-24), which adds the unavailable Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr to the four players stopped for Covid, stops at 41.4% and collects the sixth defeat in the last 7 games.

Charlotte: Rozier 27 (3/5, 7/12), Oubre 18, Ball 16, McDaniels 16. Rimbalzi: Plumlee 9. Assist: Ball 7.

Houston: Queen 17 (2/3, 4/10, 1/1 tl), Gordon 16, Wood 16. Rimbalzi: Wood 9. Assist: Brooks 4.

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Covid is a mustache … to the Beard: Harden puts 39 and sinks the Clippers

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