NBA Scores: Nuggets outlast Blazers in Game of the Year candidate

It’s always great when the cosmos align in the NBA’s favor where a slate features all relatively even matchups:

  • Miami and the Clippers hover around .500
  • San Antonio and Houston are faced off in a Wemby Race for the ages
  • Denver and Portland have solidified their place among the better West squads

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that with three close matchups in the standings came three contests that went down to the wire, including one that may be the best we’ve seen so far with two MVP candidates throwing haymakers back and forth. Lot of action to get into:

Bam Adebayo leads Heat past Clippers, 115-110

After this 31-point outing (14-21 FG), Adebayo is averaging 24.6 points over his last 12 games. The especially impressive performance was especially necessary as Kyle Lowry was blessed with his first night off this season.

Adebayo would probably be getting more love in awards talk if Miami had a better record, but instead they sit two games under .500 even after this win and just a half game up on Washington for the final play-in slot.

The Clippers, now 14-13 overall, continue to have a hard time winning games without Kawhi Leonard; they’re 5-2 when he plays and 9-11 when he doesn’t. Paul George, sans his superstar running mate, led LA with 29 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists; it’s his first 20+ point game since returning from an injury three games ago.

Spurs lose tank-off with 118-109 win over Rockets

An occasional win is necessary even during tank jobs, and San Antonio decided enough is enough after 11 straight losses. Team USA alum Keldon Johnson led the way with 32 points and seven rebounds while six other Spurs reached double figures in scoring as well.

Joker, Murray outduel Dame as Nuggets beat Blazers, 121-120

Coming off a game against the Mavs in which their comeback fell short, the Nuggets were able to close this one out behind the heroics of a Jamal Murray stepback three with 0.9 seconds left; he scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth. Denver was down by as much as 11 early in the final frame, but with the help of Nikola Jokic, who flirted with a triple double at 33 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, they were able to get back to striking distance.

Damian Lillard had a chance to point at his wrist when he hit what could’ve been dagger after dagger down the stretch, finishing with 40 points (9-17 3P) and 12 assists in his second game back from injury.

While I watched Dame dominate in the fourth (14 of his 40 points), I couldn’t help but think about how we don’t talk enough about his handle. We all know how great of a shooter he is — one of the best of this era and might be the best if not for sharing an era with the greatest of all time, Steph Curry — but the way his handle creates opportunities for those shots can be so impressive, especially as Dame Time approaches.

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