Bucks 112, Bulls 100
Wizards 114, Timberwolves 106
Clippers 116, Suns 107
What went down
The Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Clippers are two teams that made big boy moves at this season’s trade deadline.
The Suns are definitely the winners, at least on paper, while Kevin Durant is still sidelined with an injury. The Clippers, however, might have sneakily gotten better with the new pieces they’ve acquired.
The Clippers got Mason Plumlee, Eric Gordon, and Bones Hyland to complement the untouched core of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. In the debut of these new hires, all of them made decent contributions off the bench in a win versus the Golden State Warriors.
Going into this heavyweight Western Conference matchup, the Suns are just a game better with a 32-27 win-loss record while the Clippers held a 32-28 record. Sitting in fourth and fifth place in the West, respectively, the Suns and the Clippers are two teams looking to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Both teams showed it right from the tipoff. Despite playing without Durant, the Suns matched the offensive firepower of a complete Clippers team. Devin Booker helped his team hang with the Clips but he wasn’t particularly efficient in this game. Instead, it was Josh Okogie who showed off his offense skills, dropping a team-high 24 points on 56 percent shooting. Book finished with 19 points, shooting 9-of-19 from the field. Phoenix also got a boost from new Sun Terrence Ross, who scored 16 points off the bench.
The Clippers were too strong, though. Paul George and Terance Mann each scored 26 points, alternately torching the Suns’ defense that’s now missing the services of lockdown wing defenders Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson.
Vet Eric Gordon chipped in with 13 points, showing that he can still jump in on whichever team to get buckets.
For Phoenix, it wasn’t a bad showing, considering they’re undermanned. It will be a totally different story once No. 35 suits up soon.
Giannis Antetokounmpo left the game early versus the Bulls and didn’t return due to a right wrist sprain, but not before making history. The Greek Freak threw a dime to Jevon Carter to become the Bucks’ all-time assist leader:
A record-breaking assist!! pic.twitter.com/QaS14MOGwO— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 17, 2023
In lieu of Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez carried the scoring load and led the Bucks with 33 points on 72 percent shooting.
Bradley Beal and Anthony Edwards battled each other in a game of “Who Can Get More Buckets”. Beal narrowly escaped by getting a point over Edwards’ 34 points. Even better than his 35 points was the victory he gave the Wizards going into the All-Star break.
Check out this dagger:
.@RealDealBeal23 IS HOTTER THAN FISH GREASE🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/CaJSrUX52X— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) February 17, 2023
Beal’s scoring outburst made him only the second Wizards player in franchise history to reach 15,000 career points.
What he said
Kevin Durant has yet to officially put on a Phoenix Suns jersey and play actual minutes as a Sun, but already he’s setting up Devin Booker with the goods:
KD on new teammate Devin Booker: "He has a pure game. He can score from every area of the floor."— NBA (@NBA) February 16, 2023
Watch his introductory @Suns press conference live on the NBA App.
📲 https://t.co/WFdLNEjikq pic.twitter.com/1wXU5nhClf
Did you see that?
We’re seeing crazy stats almost on the daily now. Let this SGA stat be the one to make your jaw drop today:
If the season ended today, Shai would join MJ and LeBron as the only players since 1973-74 to average 30+ PPG, 5+ APG, 1+ SPG, 1+ BPG on 50% FG.— #NBAAllStar (@NBAAllStar) February 16, 2023
If you add a 90% FT qualifier, Shai stands alone. pic.twitter.com/WP5z3bZgNk