Bucks 123, Wizards 113
Thunder 150, Celtics 117
Kings 117, Jazz 115
What went down
After the past days of insane performances and wild finishes, today’s three-game slate was supposed to be a relaxing, no-frills day for the league. Instead, each game delivered something crazy.
First up, there was Giannis Antetokounmpo’s career game against the Washington Wizards. Then there was the Oklahoma City Thunder’s historic showing against the Boston Celtics. But more on these later. The most jaw-dropping thing that happened today was the ending of the game between the Sacramento Kings and the Utah Jazz.
After everything that happened in the first two games, it seemed like the Kings were in for a nice easy blowout win against the Jazz to close out the day. That was until the anti-tank Jazz decided to fight back and make things interesting. That set-up an unbelievable ending to the game.
The game was tied at 115 with less than 10 seconds left on the game clock. De’Aaron Fox forced a switch and had Lauri Markkanen guarding him out in the perimeter. He called for the clear-out and went to work. He ran the clock down to four seconds and used a quick burst of speed to get past Markkanen all the way to the rim. His layup bounced off the backboard and around the rim before settling into the net with 0.4 seconds left.
That’s game… right?
With no timeouts left, the Jazz executed a full-court inbounds play. Markkanen got the pass, turned slightly and heaved up a shot that swished through the net.
Now, that’s game… right?
The officials reviewed Markkanen’s shot and he released it a tad too late, giving the Kings the win.
THIS SEQUENCE AT THE END OF JAZZ/KINGS REGULATION 🤯🤯🤯— NBA (@NBA) January 4, 2023
Fox puts the Kings on top with 0.4 left... Markkanen hits a wild shot that's waived off upon review.
Kings hold on in a THRILLER. pic.twitter.com/FnSZtEqxVW
Now, that’s game. Whew.
It seems like scoring 50 points has become commonplace in the NBA. Luka Doncic, Klay Thompson, and Donovan Mitchell all scored 50 or more points in a span of three days.
Giannis Antetokounmpo decided to join the five-oh party. He put up a career-high 55 points in their match-up against the Wizards today, leading the Bucks to a bounce-back win against the same team that beat them a few days ago. That surpassed his previous career-high of 52 points.
The Greek Freak shot 20 of 33 from the field and missed only one of his 16 free throws in the game. That’s the third straight game he’s scored 40 or more points. Given the tear that he’s been on, it was only a matter of time before Antetokounmpo breached the 50-point mark.
What he said
Here’s the thing about the NBA, anything can happen. Take the game between the Celtics and Thunder today. Oklahoma City was short-handed, missing their best player, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander while Boston was at full strength. This had all the makings for an easy Celtics win.
Unfortunately, Boston fell in the trap game. They came out flat and the Thunder made them pay. Oklahoma City dropped a franchise-record 150 points on the Celtics, getting the big blowout win over a strong East team. Five players scored 20 or more points for the Thunder. They dominated the Celtics in nearly every stat category and just hustled and pushed the pace at every opportunity.
As Jaylen Brown summarized, the Thunder embarrassed the Celtics.
Did you see that?
Everything was going in for the Thunder in today’s game, including this halfcourt shot by a fan that won him $20,000!
For 20K in OKC! pic.twitter.com/LoJQjrR7N5— NBA (@NBA) January 4, 2023
A franchise-best game and a lucky fan nailing an amazing shot? Just another day in the NBA.