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About Last Night: Giannis vows vengeance against Hezonja



Mario Hezonja might want to steer clear of Giannis Antetokounmpo when the Bucks return to Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day.

Early in the first quarter of the Knicks’ 136-134 overtime victory, Hezonia stole a pass and raced down the court on a solo fast break. Antetokounmpo couldn’t quite pull off the chasedown block as Hezonia euro-stepped past Khris Middleton and threw down a nice jam.

There was plenty of contact but no foul called, with Antetokounmpo going to the court in the aftermath. As Antetokounmpo gathered himself, Hezonja purposefully stepped over Antetokounmpo’s legs on his way to the other end of the court, reminiscent of Allen Iverson in the 2001 Finals.

When asked if he was bothered by the play, Antetokounmpo said, “Oh, yeah,” and continued to say he would punch Hezonja where it hurts next time.

Antetokounmpo, who finished with 33 points and 19 rebounds, responded minutes later with an emphatic dunk of his own and screamed as he brushed past Knicks forward Noah Vonleh on his way to the Bucks huddle.

How many days until Christmas?


Pistons spoil Curry’s return


Stephen Curry: “It felt good to be back … but in the first half I was going 100 miles an hour without my timing being back.”

Stephen Curry returned after missing 11 games with a groin strain, but the Warriors’ road woes continued.

Curry showed some rust, missing seven of his first 10 shots, before heating up in the second half. He finished with 27 points in 37 minutes on 10-of-21 shooting.

The Warriors, now riding a six-game road losing streak after the 111-102 loss in Detroit, keep losing the battle underneath. The Pistons had six more points in the paint and 12 more second-chance points.

Steve Kerr blamed himself for the defeat, which saw the Pistons finish with 12 3-pointers and 14 offensive rebounds to Golden State’s six and eight, respectively.


Hayward’s best game as Celtic

Gordon Hayward collected 30 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, and the Celtics cooled off the Timberwolves 118-109.

Playing more aggressively than we’ve seen in a while, Hayward scored 11 of Boston’s final 15 points over the last 3 1/2 minutes of the game and made four of five shots from 3-point range.

“That’s got to be a mindset of mine, looking to get to the rim a little more,” said Hayward. “I was rewarded for that a little bit tonight with some free throws.”

Can we call this the night Hayward finally returned to his pre-injury All-Star form? His teammates thought the occasion was worth celebrating …


Rockets honor and remember Bush

The Rockets held a moment of silence and showed a video in honor of George H.W. Bush, who long had a relationship with the Rockets and several former players, including Yao Ming and Dikembe Mutombo.


Bogdanovic vs. Bogdanovic

Throw out the records when the Bogdanovic brothers get together.

Actually, they’re not related. They’re not even from the same country. 

Sacramento’s Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 20 points off the bench, while Bojan Bogdanovic had a season-high 27 for Indiana in the Kings’ 111-100 victory over the Pacers.

The game featured 25 lead changes and was decided by Willie Cauley-Stein’s putback with 16.1 seconds left.

In a postgame interview, Bogdan discussed the wild finish and even acknowledged the difficulty announcers encounter have when both Bogdanovics are on the court.


Stat of the night

Hayward became the first NBA player to come off the bench and record 30+ points, 9+ rebounds and 8+ assists in a single game since Detlef Schrempf on Feb. 13, 1993

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About Last Night: Legendary Lakers



Triple-doubles are rare enough. Even rarer is the air in which two teammates accomplish the feat on the same night.

That’s what happened in Charlotte on Saturday, where LeBron James (24 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists) and Lonzo Ball (16 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) each logged a triple-double in L.A.’s 128-100 rout over the Hornets.

The Laker duo becomes just the eighth set of teammates in NBA history to earn triple-doubles in the same game. Jason Kidd and Vince Carter were the most recent teammates to accomplish the feat, having done so on April 7, 2007. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson did it for the Lakers in 1982.

The complete list – 

Lakers vs. Hornets, Dec. 2018: LeBron James (24 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists), Lonzo Ball (16 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists). 

Nets vs. Wizards, April 2007: Vince Carter (46 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists), Jason Kidd (10 points, 16 rebounds, 18 assists).

Clippers vs. Bulls, Jan. 1989: Michael Jordan (41 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists), Scottie Pippen (15 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists))

Celtics vs. 76ers, March 1987: Larry Bird 17 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists), Robert Parrish (14 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists).

Lakers vs. Pistons, Dec. 1982: Magic Johnson (26 points, 16 rebounds, 12 assists), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 19 points, 10 rebounds, 10 blocks).

SuperSonics vs. Rockets, March 1969: Lenny Wilkens (36 points, 14 rebounds, 14 assists), Art Harris (14 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists).

Pistons vs. Knicks. March 1964: Ray Scott (23 points, 20 rebounds, 11 assists), Donnie Butcher (19 points, 15 rebounds, 15 assists).

Royals vs. Warriors, Jan. 1962: Oscar Robertson (28 points, 14 rebounds, 16 assists), Bucky Buckhorn (19 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists)


Harden heating up


James Harden posted yet another triple-double on Saturday.

Speaking of triple-doubles, James Harden had himself one in Houston’s 105-97 win over Memphis. The reigning Kia MVP finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, marking the seventh time in his career he had logged triple-doubles in back-to-back games.

Houston’s all-time record when Harden rings up all those double figures: 31-7.


Rising Suns

Devin Booker is back and maybe, just maybe, better times are ahead for the woebegone Phoenix Suns. The fourth-year guard led Phoenix to a 107-99 win over Minnesota, amassing 28 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

The victory gave Phoenix its first consecutive wins of the season — and their first such streak since Dec. 29, 2017.

Oh yeah, and it looks like they’ll be trading Trevor Ariza after all.


Get yourself a friend like…

Kyle Kuzma, who made sure LeBron didn’t resume play without addressing a flaw in his otherwise flawless beard.


Bulls Finnish strong

No Zach LaVine. Down 21 on the road. Normally those two factors would have made a Bulls loss a foregone conclusion.

Not this time. Lauri Markkanen spearheaded Chicago’s second-half comeback in which he and Kris Dunn (29 second-half points combined) nearly outscored the entire Spurs team (31) after halftime. In the end, it was the Bulls who wound up as unlikely victors at the Alamo.

Markkanen finished with 23 points, his second 20-point performance in nine days — with the Bulls winning both of those games.


A cappella only, please

Sorry, Lance, but no air guitars allowed while celebrating.


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Grizzlies GM Wallace dubs failed trade ‘unfathomable’



Chris Wallace has been in the NBA since 1986. He’s seen and done a lot as a front office executive.

On Saturday, the Grizzlies’ general manager told reporters he hadn’t seen anything quite like the three-team trade between Memphis, Phoenix and Washington that ultimately fell through.

“What happened last night was unfathomable. I’ve never experienced this before,” Wallace told reporters.

The Grizzlies, Suns and Wizards had a deal in place that would have sent swingman Trevor Ariza to Washington, Kelly Oubre to Memphis and Austin Rivers to Phoenix. When reports differed as to whether the Suns were acquiring Dillon or MarShon Brooks from Memphis, however, the deal fell apart. Phoenix insisted on Dillon Brooks, while Memphis maintained it had intended to deal MarShon Brooks all along.

Neither team was willing to yield on its stated preference, leaving Phoenix and Washington to agree on a two-team trade the following day. Both Brooks, meanwhile, remain with the Grizzlies.

“That forced me to do something I’ve never done in 30-plus years working in this league with seven teams, is to drag two players out of a locker room and tell them they’ve been traded and then eventually have to come back and tell them, ‘Oh, no, you haven’t been traded,'” Wallace said.

“We ask a lot of these guys and we try to communicate with them at all times,” Wallace added. “We do not want them to know about trades from another party; we want to be the ones that tell them. We were forced to come in at that time and say something. That put us in a very difficult situation.”

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James, Ball earn triple-doubles in same game



The meshing of LeBron James with the young Lakers now includes a significant milestone.

James and second-year guard Lonzo Ball each finished with a triple-double during the Lakers’ 128-100 rout at Charlotte on Saturday. The four-time Kia MVP finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists before sitting out the fourth quarter. Ball amassed 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists before exiting with 6:54 remaining.

The Laker duo becomes just the eighth set of teammates in NBA history to earn triple-doubles in the same game. Jason Kidd and Vince Carter are the most recent teammates to accomplish the feat, having done so on April 7, 2007. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson did it for the Lakers in 1982.

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