There is no shortage of NBA action on the second Sunday in January, with seven games on the docket.
We got things started early with two Eastern Conference matinees. Ben Simmons put up a monster game to help the Sixers hold off the Knicks, while the Raptors won a double-overtime thriller over the Wizards in D.C that featured a duel between Kawhi Leonard and Bradley Beal.
The later action is highlighted by a pair of intriguing Western Conference match-ups. First, the defending champion Golden State Warriors will visit the upstart Dallas Mavericks, who are led by Rookie of the Year frontrunner Luke Doncic. Just halfway through his rookie season, Doncic has already proven to be a must-watch player, and it will be interesting to see him go up against a defense as dangerous as Golden State’s.
Then, the top-seeded Nuggets will host the fourth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in an intriguing potential playoff preview at the Pepsi Center. Considering how tight the playoff picture is in the West, every game between potential contenders is an important one.
NBA schedule for Sunday, Jan. 13
*All times Eastern
Beal and Leonard duel in double OT thriller
The Raptors were cruising to a win over the Wizards until Bradley Beal and Co. came roaring back to force overtime, and then double-overtime. But in the end, Toronto pulled out the victory by two points in a thrilling contest. Along the way, Beal and Kawhi Leonard staged their own personal duel. Beal finished with 43 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists, recording his second 40-point triple-double of the season. The only other player with such a game this season is James Harden, who has done it four times. Leonard, meanwhile, went for 41 points of his own, and added 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Simmons’ monster game gets Sixers past Knicks
The Sixers hung on to beat the Knicks, but it was a much tougher task than they probably expected. Ben Simmons, as per usual, was the main factor in their victory. He finished with 21 points, 22 rebounds and nine assists on 10-of-13 shooting from the field. The 22 rebounds were a career-high, and it was also his first 20-20 game.
Giannis goes off against Hawks
Giannis Antetokounmpo missed out on the Bucks’ last game against the Wizards, but he was back in the lineup on Sunday against the Hawks. And he was ready to go. The Greek Freak went for 33 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals to lead the Bucks to an easy win. Then, after the game, he got to swap jerseys with Vince Carter.
Ross soars for a slam
Young hits a step-back jumper on Antetokounmpo
Trae Young has already shown that he is more than capable of knocking down shots from all over the floor and he reminded Giannis Antetokounmpo of that fact on Sunday by hitting a step-back jumper over the MVP candidate.
Embiid gets it done on both ends
Joel Embiid showed once again why he’s one of the best big men in the league. First, he got up for an emphatic rejection on the defensive end, then he ran the floor and threw down the slam off the fancy feed from TJ McConnell.
Antetokounmpo fires a perfect no-look assist to Bledsoe
The Milwaukee Bucks let the Atlanta Hawks hang around for a little while on Sunday before opening things up and creating a sizeable gap between the two in the second half. With the Bucks looking to wrap things up in the fourth, Giannis dropped off this dime to Eric Bledsoe.
Beal rocks the rim
Bradley Beal has been impressive since John Wall went down with a season-ending injury, and he kept that up early against the Raptors with a strong drive and dunk.
Simmons gets up for the alley-oop
Ben Simmons got the Sixers’ game with the Knicks off to an exciting start with a sweet one-hand alley-oop.
LeBron James will not be in uniform this evening when the Los Angeles Lakers host his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, as he continues to work his way back from a groin injury he sustained in the Lakers’ win over the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day.