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Nuggets remain perfect at home inspired by Nikola Jokic’s season-high 39 points

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Denver just improved their record to 11-6 this season and are now the fourth-best team in the Western Conference. Despite already losing six times this campaign, the reigning champions are also 8-0 at Ball Arena, currently holding the best home record in the league. 

This Sunday the Nuggets beat the Spurs 132 to 120 and resulted in a refreshing follow-up to their difficult road stretch in which they lost four of five away matches.

“I mean, we did what we’re supposed to do,” said coach Michael Malone after the win. “Come home, win in front of our home fans, and get back to playing our brand of basketball.”

Team star Nikola Jokic led the charge from the home side with a season-high 39 points, that almost resulted in another triple-double with 11 rebounds and 9 assists. His teammate Michael Porter Jr. also contributed heavily with 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting and 4-of-9 from range.

“Just being without (Aaron Gordon), being out with Jamal (Murray), realizing that I’m gonna have to shoot some tougher shots and shoot a little bit more,” said the 25-year-old. “Just trying to be aggressive was my mindset.”

One of the keys from this triumph was the Nuggets’ three-point efficiency, as they dropped in 42.9% of their shots from range. They also displayed heavy distribution around the floor and recorded a season-high 38 assists.

The home team’s bench also produced a strong offensive with 27 points combined, including sophomore Peyton Watson who was considered the Defensive Player of the Game for his nonstop sacrifice throughout the contest.

“He was our Defensive Player of the Game,” said head coach Malone. “I told him in front of the team, I said, ‘You deserve this tonight. My challenge to you is can you bring the same energy and effort every night? I’m not asking about you making threes. Can you just play with that same energy and effort every night?’ Because when he does that he’s a difference maker.”

After their first matchup together, Jokic is convinced that Wembanyama is going to ‘change the game 100%’

Even though the last Finals MVP took down Victor Wembanyama in their first clash against each other, the Serbian star recognized the greatness in the French rookie. Jokic went all the way to admit that he’s convinced that the San Antonio player will eventually change NBA basketball forever.

“He is going to change the game 100 percent,” he said after the match. “He’s already on the path, so for all the guys, just enjoy and watch the show and let the guy change the game.”

Despite his mistakes, Jokic saw the promise in the youngster, and says that it is normal to fail on the way to the top.

“I think he’s 19 years old. He’s not getting scared or getting tired,” said the Nuggets big man. “He’s playing hard, and he wants to be good. As I said, he’s playing hard and doesn’t take it for granted. “He’s making mistakes, which is normal. I think the media around him doesn’t help, but he needs to get used to it because he is only 19.”

Wembanyama has only been playing in the NBA for a month and has been averaging 19.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest this first season.





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Scottie Pippen admits that Michael Jordan is the one and only GOAT

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Ever since the airing of The Last Dance, many players from the Bulls dynasty expressed their disappointment by the way they were portrayed in the docuseries. One of the most outspoken was Scottie Pippen, who criticized Michael Jordan and insisted that he would’ve not been able to achieve what he did without the team around him. 

Despite this ongoing feud, the Hall of Famer still recognized his former teammate’s greatness in a recent interview. The former big man is currently in Australia to announce the “No Bull” Tour, alongside fellow stars Horace Grant and Luc Longley.

In an interview on Australia’s the Today Show, host Karl Stefanovic dared to ask: “It’s hard to make comparisons but from where you were standing playing, was Michael the best, the greatest ever?”

Pippen didn’t hesitate to answer affirmatively. “Oh, for sure. I mean, you look at the MVPs that he was able to achieve. But I think it was all brought from us being successful as a team. Obviously, someone’s gonna bring those accolades home. But yeah, he was the greatest player, definitely, in basketball,” Scottie explained.

Last year, when he first voiced his discontent over The Last Dance, he even went all the way to call LeBron James “the greatest statistical guy to ever play the game of basketball” during a podcast appearance in May.

“And there’s no comparison to him. None. So does that make him the greatest player to ever play the game? I’ll leave that up for debate, because I don’t believe there’s a great player because our game’s a team game, and one player can’t do it,” the Bulls icon shared.

During the same podcast, he recalled Jordan as a “terrible player” before he joined the team in Chicago. “I saw Jordan play before I came to play with the Bulls. You guys saw him play. He was a horrible player. He was horrible to play with,” Pippen said. “He was all one-on-one, he’s shooting bad shots, and all of a sudden we become a team and we start winning and everybody forgot who he was.”

In Australia, the Hall of Famer even dedicated some praise for The Last Dance docuseries as an educational tool

It seems Pippen finally decided to judge the Netflix docuseries in a realistic manner, as he finally admitted it was very entertaining and could even be considered an educational tool to show people the greatness in basketball.

“I thought it was special,” Scottie started out. “I thought it was a special moment for us to really relive some of the greatest times in basketball history. More so, have an opportunity to see what team basketball was really like. I think during the pandemic, everyone sitting at home, it was more like an educational tool to let people see how great the game can be if it’s played the right way. If there’s sharing of the basketball, there’s unlimited things you can achieve.”

The former center’s biggest criticism of the series was mostly due to the fact that it seemed as if Jordan was credited with all the Bulls’ success during their 90s dynasty. “They glorified Michael Jordan while not giving nearly enough praise to me and my proud teammates,” he wrote in a 2021 memoir.

“Michael deserved a large portion of the blame. The producers had granted him editorial control of the final product. The doc couldn’t have been released otherwise. He was the leading man and the director,” he insisted.





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The Lakers’ 21-point rally was LeBron James’ biggest fourth-quarter comeback

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Just when you think LeBron James‘ career will start winding down, the oldest player in the entire league proves himself with an absolute masterpiece this Wednesday against none other than the Clippers, their city rivals. Not only did the forward drop 34 points throughout the match, but he led his team to a 21-point comeback, the biggest fourth-quarter rally of his entire 21-year career. 

The Lakers superstar was also clutch, as he inspired his team’s revenge with 19 points in the last quarter. Once the game was over, he described his performance as being in the “zone,” a state of mind where it all falls into place almost effortlessly. In a way, he said, it was like possessing a superpower.

“I know we’ve kind of heard this, you know what it feels like to be in the zone in our in our sport. That’s just the feeling where you feel like everything that you put up is going in,” the 39-year-old tried his best to put his exhibition into words.

Then he tried to describe it a second time: “I just try to dictate the tempo, dictate the game, as we started making a run for it and getting the game closer and closer and closer. Just a zone that can’t really describe it. Wish you could stay in it forever, but obviously, it checks out as the game ends. You know during, you don’t feel anything. You just have a superpower out there.”

Even his co-star Anthony Davis, who dropped in 20 points and won 123 rebounds, is never ceased to amaze of his teammate’s abilities and praised him with a few words. “LeBron James,” he told the press. “That’s all I gotta say. LeBron Raymond James.”

Purple and gold icon Magic Johnson also took his thoughts to social media. “LeBron James put the Lakers on his back and carried them home to a victory, scoring 34 points – and outscoring the entire Clippers team in the 4th quarter 19-16!!” Johnson tweeted, encapsulating the magnitude of James’ impact,” he wrote.

“What an outstanding 116-112 comeback victory for the Lakers over the Clippers!! They showed a lot of grit and toughness tonight to erase a 21-point deficit!” the legend then posted a second tweet, giving more credit to the entire team.

Coach Darvin Ham expressed gratitude for LeBron’s capacity of leading his team in clutch moments and inspire comebacks

Once the game was over, Darvin Ham had an easy job at the mic, as he knew LeBron James was the reason behind his squad’s success against their Los Angeles opponents. The Lakers coach showed gratitude for his pupil’s ability to unleash his full potential when they needed him the most.

“You know, he had the cape, tucked under his seat on the bench, I guess,” Darvin expressed as if his star was a superhero. “It was time for him to whip it out. He definitely did that, put the cape on, and just got aggressive and got in a good rhythm.”

Ham revealed that this exhibition came as no surprise, as The King has been shooting exceptionally throughout the entire campaign. One of his best qualities, according to his coach, is the way he easily transitions between scoring and playmaking.

“He’s been shooting the ball, you know, extremely well this whole entire season. And that was just another case of it. You know, once he got in rhythm and, you know, with his playmaking skills, he sets the tone with his three, with his shooting and going downhill,” the tactician claimed.

 





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Andre Drummond records 9th NBA career game with 25+ rebounds

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Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond notched his ninth career game with at least 25 rebounds, the most by an NBA player since 2000, during Wednesday night’s 132-123 double-overtime win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The two-time All-Star ended his performance with 17 points, a season-high 26 rebounds, one assist, and three blocks in 36 minutes as a starter. He finished 8-of-12 (66.7%) shooting from the field.

Dwight Howard registered eight such games across his 18-year career. Five other players each posted three such games — Ben Wallace (2000-07), Tim Duncan (2002-10), Tyson Chandler (2012-16), DeAndre Jordan (2014-17), and Rudy Gobert (2016-21).

Moreover, DeMar DeRozan closed out his outing with a game-high 35 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists against Cleveland. Nikola Vucevic added 24 points and 13 boards. The Bulls set an NBA high in rebounds this season with 74.

“It just speaks to this team, we continue to fight,” Drummond said. “We gave a good fight. Yesterday, we let our guard down a little bit. We knew what we did wrong. Tonight, we played a team that was very high in the standings and came out ready to play.”

Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond grabbed a season-high 25 rebounds against Atlanta Hawks

Through 59 games (10 starts) this season, the 12-year veteran is averaging 8.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.0 steal, and 17.2 minutes per game while shooting 56% from the floor and 57.4% at the foul line.

Drummond, 30, is averaging a total rebound percentage of 29%, just second to last season (29.6%).

In Chicago’s 118-113 victory against the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 26, the 6-foot-11 center posted a season-high 24 points, 25 boards, one assist, three steals, and two blocks in 38 minutes of action.

Bulls coach Billy Donovan praised the UConn product during an interview in January.

“I also think for him, the things that he does do are valuable on any team,” Donovan told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “If he can really rim protect, if he can rebound, and then be an elite roller to the basket, there is a place in the game for him. He doesn’t need to be a stretch-five.”

Furthermore, Drummond has led the league in total rebounds four times (2016, 2018-20) in his career. In his 12th season, he ranks 11th in total rebounds (528), 18th in rebounds per game, and third in offensive rebounds (205).





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