In a titanic collision of the league’s most uniquely overpowering skills, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid produced a teaser trailer of the following half-decade’s value of Japanese Convention sequels. Philadelphia’s Course of vs. Milwaukee’s Greek Freak. Get used to it.
By the point Sunday’s version was reduce, the pair of virally dubbed unicorns mixed for 92 factors, 31 rebounds, 13 assists and 5 steals within the Sixers’ 130-125 assertion win.
The “unicorn” label is likely to be deceptive when referring to 2 of the league’s most unstoppable wrecking balls. They’re north-to-south avalanches, disdaining the perimeters of the court docket as a result of nothing can cease them within the center:
Antetokounmpo shot chart
Embiid shot chart
Antetokounmpo’s career-high 52 factors have been in the end not sufficient, however that had extra to do with Milwaukee needing 18 extra Three-point makes an attempt (16-for-50) to make only one extra from past the arc than Philadelphia (15-for-32). On the opposite finish, the Bucks’ top-ranked protection struggled to corral the Sixers’ secure of stars.
That conundrum may very well be an issue this spring, however the new-look Sixers would possibly endure one more makeover earlier than autumn with Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler each hitting free company. And with Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving each older and unclear as to their very own fast futures, Sunday offered a glimpse into what we do know: Embiid and Antetokounmpo are destined for a lot of, many extra box-score-busting and trash-talk-exchanging bouts within the years to return.
Lou Will wins it
There’s one thing in regards to the elite and undersized scoring guards within the league. Name it hard-earned bravado, reps on the pickup court docket, no matter. They’re among the many most comfy and lethal with time winding down and the sport on the road.
Lou Williams is the bannerman for that group, and the two-time Kia Sixth Man of the 12 months confirmed why with a Three-point dagger as time expired to offer the Clippers a 119-116 win over the visiting Nets.
As all the time, we charge game-winning buzzer-beaters on our Horry Scale.
Reminder: The Horry Scale breaks down a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) within the classes of issue, recreation scenario (was the workforce tied or behind on the time?), significance (playoff recreation or garden-variety night time in January?) and celebration. Then we give it an general grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, named for the patron saint of last-second answered prayers.
DIFFICULTY: The set play out of the timeout was primary however efficient for somebody who can get his shot off as rapidly as Williams. A move and fast display screen from Danilo Gallinari gave Williams the sliver of airspace he wanted to launch a straightaway Three, albeit over an understandably determined double-team. Regardless of the stress and launching from no-man’s land between the arc and middle court docket brand, the shot hit nothing by twine.
GAME SITUATION: There was little stress on Williams or the Clippers within the second with the sport merely tied, however the standings inform one other story. Lose in extra time, and the Clippers would have discovered themselves in eighth place, a complete recreation again of Utah and doubtlessly going through the two-time defending champion Warriors within the first spherical. The Clippers, Jazz and Spurs are all actively attempting to keep away from that draw. Now LA finds itself in a digital tie with Utah and solely a half recreation again of San Antonio. Within the season’s closing leg, the Clippers are nonetheless working robust.
One other issue: the symbolic picture of a Williams second amid a very heated Kia Sixth Man of the 12 months race. Many citizens will select Williams, whose 20-plus factors per recreation leap off the web page. Others might favor the blue collar work of teammate Montrzel Harrell or Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis. But when casting apart choice and gauging the candidates’ easy on-court impact, Williams needs to be the runaway favourite. Here is how significantly better every workforce’s web score is with their respective sixth man contender on the ground:
Lou Williams: +10.1
Domantas Sabonis: +Three.5
Montrezl Harrell: +2.Three
Spencer Dinwiddie: -1.1
CELEBRATION: Amid all of the adjustments LA has made because the Lob Metropolis period, Williams’ two years with the Clippers appear an eternity. He has develop into their soul, the gritty spirit of the workforce’s nobody-should-ever-underestimate-us vibe that can carry them to the playoffs even after buying and selling away Tobias Harris. That is why Williams’ teammates did not hesitate to hurry the veteran and hoist him on their shoulders, whilst he gestured to a house fan base that has embraced him as readily because the workforce itself.
When the workforce proprietor will get two-stepping, you are doing one thing proper.
GRADE: With the Nets simply as desperately immersed in their very own playoff race out East, the end result mattered enormously to each groups. Williams is the argument for why the Clippers may very well be harmful within the first spherical. He is been there, and he is geared up to steal the win if it is there for the taking. four Horrys.
Mario’s turbo leap
Those that have performed know. With a view to do the close to unattainable, maintain the turbo button and leap. Perhaps that is what New York’s Mario Hezonja did in his game-winning block of LeBron James.
Or possibly Hezonja was merely the beneficiary of some two-player technique?
We frequently allude to hustle or different intangibles as traits that are not rewarded practically sufficient. Mike Scott had sufficient of that, apparently. After promoting out to chase a free ball out of bounds, the veteran ahead handled himself to a drink, courtesy of the fan who cushioned his fall.
In equity to Scott, he has seen his minutes practically double (14.6 to 26.2 per recreation) because the All-Star break. The man wanted a bit of hydration.
Drummond stands alone
We’ll by no means know precisely how dominant Invoice Russell and Wilt Chamberlain have been on protection. It is a travesty of stat monitoring, since blocks and steals weren’t recorded in that day and age. Because the league wised up, it has been simpler to catalog the all-around defensive terror of legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin Garnett and Hakeem Olajuwon.
In a single sense, Detroit middle Andre Drummond handed all of them on Sunday. The large man’s 15 factors, 17 rebounds and two steals in Detroit’s upset win over Toronto clinched his fourth season of not less than 1,000 factors, 1,000 rebounds, 100 steals and 100 blocks. Beforehand, no different participant in NBA historical past had greater than three such seasons underneath his belt since blocks and steals turned an official factor in 1973-74.
Here is the very brief checklist of gamers that produced 1,000×1,000x100x100 seasons: