Wizards 110, Cavaliers 93
Sixers 110, Nets 102
Bucks 136, Magic 118
What went down
The NBA has been a weird watch lately. If you’re not a Utah Jazz fan, chances are you've had to look at your favorite team’s starting lineup and go, “Who?”
There have been around 100 players called up to the league on hardship deals as teams have had to chug along amidst the churn of players in and out of health and safety protocols. Despite the gloom of the situation, it's been fun seeing old faces reappear. Remember Mario Chalmers? He's back with the Miami Heat. Isaiah Thomas, who was starting the other day for the Los Angeles Lakers, just signed another 10-day deal with the Dallas Mavericks. There have been 10 players who got picked up on multiple hardship deals.
It also took a toll on today’s slate of games as what would have been a fun rematch between the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets got postponed around five hours before tip-off. With Jeff Green, Bones Hyland, and Zeke Nnaji entering health and safety protocols, Denver did not have a minimum of eight players to play a game. Even their head coach Mike Malone had to enter quarantine. This was the 11th game postponed by the league.
Still, we were left with a few solid games, particularly the chippy contest between the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets. Both teams went back-and-forth with buckets and trash talk, winding up at a 97-all tie with 2:37 left in the game.
From there, the proverbial king of trash talk Joel Embiid bookended the Sixers’ closing 13-3 run with a pair of and-1 plays to seal their third straight win. Philly improved to 19-16. Brooklyn dropped to 23-10, still on top of the East standings. Hopefully, we get a nuclear Embiid-Durant Twitter thread from all of this.
😤 Joel Embiid closes out the game with this board and adds the and-1 bucket to be safe! pic.twitter.com/yTCykP7fm3— NBA (@NBA) December 31, 2021
Big time baller
Remember when the defending champs Milwaukee Bucks stumbled out of the gates this season? That feels like it happened two seasons ago because they are rolling over teams now, looking like they could again be the most complete team in the East.
They are so versatile mostly because of two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak is in-form for a third MVP nod as he showed with his all-around domination of the Orlando Magic earlier.
Khris Middleton puts it on the top shelf for Giannis to throw down!— NBA (@NBA) December 31, 2021
Giannis is up to 13 PTS & 8 REB for the @Bucks on NBA League Pass!
Watch Here: https://t.co/wVIrg3a7TL pic.twitter.com/Pj1VeJDRBs
Giannis made getting 33 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks look really easy. This might be the closest we’ll ever get to another Shaquille O’Neal.
What he said
Turning a pun on your name to a slogan: it’s voting season! Credits to Bobby “POTUS” Portis for this fun All-Star campaign.
🚨 Breaking news from the desk of Bobby POTUS 🚨: “My fellow NBA fans – I’m officially launching my campaign for All-Star 2022 and asking for your vote”! Retweet to vote @BPortistime for #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/FsdnHjWdPZ— Bobby BP Portis (@BPortistime) December 30, 2021
Did you see that?
It’s the league’s 75th anniversary so Evan Mobley decided to pay homage to Julius Erving – the league’s first true superstar ambassador.
This Evan Mobley reverse is unbelievable!— NBA (@NBA) December 31, 2021
He’s up to 14 points in the first quarter on NBA League Pass!
Watch Here: https://t.co/wVIrg3a7TL pic.twitter.com/h5digrYCzg
And did you know it’s LeBron James’s 37th birthday today? LeBron has now spent more than 50 percent of his life as an NBA player. What has he done with that time? Just look at this staggering stat from New York beat writer Tommy Beer.
Only one player in NBA history averaged more than 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game as a teenager:— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) December 30, 2021
Only one player in NBA history averaged more than 25 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game as a 36-year-old: