NBA on Sling: Clips Face Cavs, Both Coming Off Ugly Upsets; Warriors Put 12-Game Winning Streak on the Line Against Rockets
Los Angeles Clippers (14-5) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (13-3)
8pm ET on TNT
Doc Rivers finally snapped on Tuesday, getting tossed in overtime during the Los Angeles Clippers’ 127-122 double OT defeat at the hands of the Nets, led by Sean Kilpatrick’s 38 points and 14 rebounds, both career highs. With his team trailing 117-115 with 19 seconds to play in the first OT, Rivers walked past halfcourt to jaw with official Lauren Holtkamp, causing lead ref Ken Mauer to call a technical. When Rivers expressed his outraged, Mauer doubled down, sending the Clips’ coach to the shower. LA had led by as much as 18 in 3rd quarter, but went cold in the 4th, hitting on just 7 of 17, while the Nets drained 12 of 21, eventually tying the game at 99-99 with 3:36 to play. DeAndre Jordan posted 21-23, the sixth time in his career he’s gone 20-20, while Chris Paul had hish 13th career triple-double with 26-10-13, albeit on a night when he made 11 of 26. The absence of Blake Griffin was obviously a factor, he likely could’ve delivered the one point needed to win in regulation, but Rivers said he’d decided to rest his forward “Months ago. Literally months ago.”
It’s hard to say which hurt the Cleveland Cavaliers more on Tuesday, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 34 points or JR Smith’s affection for Jason Terry. Either way, the end result was a 108-101 loss for the defending world champions. Antetokounmpo overcame 6 turnovers to match his career scoring high, as he hit on 13 of 19, grabbed a dozen boards, dished 5 assists, and made 5 steals to lead the Bucks, who went ahead on a Antetokounmpo 3-pointer midway through the 3rd quarter and never looked back. At one point in the second quarter in the 2nd quarter, Smith, who should’ve been covering Tony Snell on an inbounds pass, got distracted by old friend Jason Terry, who was on the Bucks’ bench. While Smith and Terry exchanged hugs and handshakes, Snell broke for the basket, received the inbounds pass and slammed it home for an easy 2. “I didn’t even know I was in the game. My bad,” Smith said afterward. Still, the Cavs have the best record in the East, second-best overall, the third-best point differential, and LeBron James – they’ll get over it.
Houston Rockets (11-7) vs Golden State Warriors (tk)
10:30pm ET on TNT
Just a couple of weeks ago the Golden State Warriors got blown out by the Lakers to drop their record to 4-2 and folks were wondering if the whole “super team” thing wasn’t maybe a little played out. On Monday the Warriors beat the Hawks 105-100 for their 12 straight victory. Kevin Durant and Steph Curry led all scorers with 25 points apiece, with Durant pulling down 14 rebounds, while Andre Iguodala came off the bench to quietly contribute 12-5-5. The Hawks had a 1-point lead heading into the 4th quarter, but KD kicked off an 8-point Warriors run with a 17-footer, and the Hawks couldn’t close the gap. Durant leads the Warriors in scoring this year with 27.1 ppg, thanks to a shooting a ridiculous 57% from the floor, including an absurd, even-better-than-Curry 44.2% from 3-point land.
The Houston Rockets on Tuesday set an NBA record with at least 10 three-pointers made in 17 consecutive games, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Utah Jazz, who won it running away, 120-101, behind a game-high 31 points from Gordon Hayward. The Rockets’ James Harden has been a beast this season (28.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 11.9 apg), but he was off the mark against the Jazz, hitting on just 8 of 23 from the field for 26 points, to along with 5 rebounds and 7 assists. It’s early in the Mike D’Antoni Era, but the Rockets seem to be doing just fine without Dwight Howard, thanks in part to Clint Capela averaging 12 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks while shooting 62.5% from the floor.
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