Denver-Memphis NBA game, March 3, 2023. From left, Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic, Xavier Tillman, Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies.
New York – The Denver basketball players in the NBA won the duel of the best teams of the Western Conference over Memphis 113:97 and bounced back to a difference of six wins. Nikola Jokič contributed to this with his 25th triple double of the season for 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists. Boston, the second-best team in the competition, lost a 28-point lead at home and lost to Brooklyn 105-115. Like Denver, they are two wins behind league leader Milwaukee.
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Memphis apparently had the last chance to dethrone Denver from first place in the Western Conference. After three quarters, he and the Nuggets tied the score at 80:80, but the end belonged to Denver. And that was mainly thanks to Jamal Murray, who scored 11 of his 22 points in the final quarter. Not even 27 points and 10 assists from Ja Morant, who played with a mask due to a broken nose, was enough for Memphis.
No. 3 Sacramento, which is already one win behind the Grizzlies, took advantage of Memphis' losses. On Friday, they claimed their fifth straight victory when they beat the Los Angeles Clippers 128-127. Domantas Sabonis, the author of 23 points, decided the game with free throws seven seconds before the end. De'Aaron Fox scored 33 points. Even the 27 points and 10 assists of Russell Westbrook, whose arrival from the Lakers, was not enough for the Clippers. The team has lost all five games. Paul George could have overturned the defeat, but he missed a three-pointer in the last second and did not extend the balance to 28 points.
Boston unexpectedly fell short against Brooklyn despite a great start to the game, winning the first quarter 37-15. Already leading by 28 points, Brooklyn rallied by halftime, scoring 40 points in the second quarter and pulling off a big turnaround. Boston last blew a 28-point lead four years ago to the Clippers.
The key figure in Brooklyn's rise was Mikal Bridges, who came in exchange for Kevin Durant from Phoenix, where he was considered mainly a defender. But this time he scored 38 points. “I had a different role in Phoenix. Here I can be aggressive in the attack as well. Now I have a lot more confidence,” admitted Bridges. Jaylen Brown scored 35 points for Boston. Jayson Tatum missed all seven threes and finished with 22 points.
Atlanta, under new coach Quin Snyder, won over Portland 129-111, thanks mainly to Dejounte Murray's 41 points, which improved his NBA career. Trae Young added 23 points and 11 assists. Damian Lillard had 33 points for Portland. Czech representative Vít Krejčí did not get a chance from the new coach and remained only on Atlanta's bench.
Phoenix also succeeded in the second game with Durant, defeating Chicago 125:104. Durant scored 20 points. Devin Booker was the top scorer again with 35 points. “We have the last 18 games to find the right chemistry and get to know each other as much as possible before the playoffs start. We're staying longer at practice and going through the game plan to get as comfortable as possible. And so far, it's looking good,” Booker said of working with Durant .
The New York Knicks won their eighth win in a row, beating Miami 122:120. Julius Randle, who scored 43 points, decided the game with a three-pointer two seconds before the end. In total, he hit eight three-pointers in the match. He almost lost the ball in the decisive event, but still kept it in the court, and despite being under pressure from a defender, he managed to hit a three-pointer on the move. “If we were to repeat this situation a hundred times, I believe that in 99 cases it would not end in a basket. But he hit it and we have to accept the defeat,” stated Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.
Atlanta – Portland 129:111, Boston – Brooklyn 105:115, Charlotte – Orlando 106:117, Chicago – Phoenix 104:125, Denver – Memphis 113:97, Golden State – New Orleans 108 :99, LA Lakers – Minnesota 102:110, Miami – New York 120:122, Oklahoma City – Utah 130:103, Sacramento – LA Clippers 128:127.
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