ANGELS – Three Things is NBC’s five-day coverage of last night in the NBA. Verify NBCSports.com Every weekday morning for what you missed the night before, plus the gossip, drama, and dunks that make the NBA a must-watch.
one) Anthony Davis third consecutive game of 30+, Lakers won third without LeBron
Darwin Ham preached this in his opening press conference, he said this to Anthony Davis when they had lunch right after Ham took over as Lakers coach, and he preached this before Sunday’s game against the Spurs:
The Lakers’ success starts with an aggressive Davis.
“It’s just how we should play, no matter who we play with…” Ham said. “Playing through it is the main key.”
Ham’s wish came true in the third game in a row. And for the third game in a row, the Lakers won.
Anthony Davis last 3 games:
38 points | 16 electronic warfare | 62.5% FG
37 points | 18 electronic warfare | 60.0% FG
30 points | 18 electronic warfare | 63.1 FG%
Lakers leader in PTS, REB, STL and BLK. pic.twitter.com/CDHy1ERMRR
— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 21, 2022
The Lakers had little trouble taking down the Spurs on Sunday night, 123–92.
The Lakers will take wins — and Davis’ strong performance — wherever they can find them. The fact that the wins came against the Spurs 6-12 (playing their fifth game in seven nights away and without their starting center), the Pistons 3-14 (without Cade Cunningham or Isaiah Stewart) and the Nets team, where Kevin Duran he himself pointed out the shortcomings of the model range, it does not matter. In the NBA, you have to beat the teams in front of you, and the Lakers did just that last week.
And they did it without LeBron James, who is sidelined with a groin injury and missed his fourth straight game on Friday. Ham said LeBron is progressing but did not give a timeline for his return.
Davis took advantage of the collision with teams forced to leave due to injuries – the Spurs had no center. Jacob Poeltl (knee), the Pistons without Stewart and the Nets are just small. The question is, can he build on that momentum and continue it when they face the Suns, Trail Blazers and Pacers in the next couple of weeks – do all teams have legitimate centers?
One of the highlights of the Lakers in this series was the game Austin Reeves more of a point guard/shot-maker role, managing the pick and roll – he’s good at that. Reeves has 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting on Sunday.
“I think the biggest thing he’s grown up with is just playing,” Davis said of Reeves. “He makes the right reads, he hits the paint, he uses a fake throw, he finds the right guys. So it’s definitely made a big step up from last year.”
This poses a small dilemma for Ham: when LeBron returns, Reeves will return to the bench, where Russell Westbrook dominates the ball in his new role (where he plays better). Can Ham find a way to keep Reeves on the floor next to LeBron as a secondary playmaker?
It’s a good problem for the Lakers. They’ve got two games against the same Spurs right after Thanksgiving, they’ll win both, and all of a sudden, the Lakers Nation are looking up. This is the beginning.
2) Vintage Clay Thompson arrives, loses 41 in Warriors first road win
All it took for the Warriors to win the road game was Clay Thompson’s flashback game. And play the Rockets.
Thompson lost 20 points in the first quarter and is on his way to 41 in the game.
Clay came out HOT in the first quarter 🔥 pic.twitter.com/v5BEFNEpg8
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 21, 2022
After the game, Thompson said it was good to take some pressure off. Stephen Curryshoulders. It’s a nice feeling, but Curry still scored 33 points, 15 assists and plunged a ridiculous dagger into the Rockets.
Look at the Rockets coach on the bench 😂 pic.twitter.com/oTqbMZVb9c
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 21, 2022
It’s a win that may have taken more effort than Steve Kerr had hoped; and again, the Warriors’ spares quickly succumbed to the lead, and the team had to work hard to win. However, there are upsides, and Thompson being on his feet – even overnight recovery is never linear – is a good place to start.
It’s a long season, but it’s a good step in the right direction for Golden State.
3) Kyrie Irving returns, but in court Ben Simmons stole the show
Kyrie Irving hasn’t played an NBA court since Nov. 1, missing eight games after tweeting a link to an anti-Semitic movie and “team-damaging behavior.”
He returned on Sunday but ended up having a relatively quiet night with 14 points and five assists. Kevin Durant pitched at 26.
Simmons doesn’t change his game or widen the field – 12 of his 13 shot attempts were in the paint, and the one that wasn’t was out of it. For coach Jacques Vaughn, it’s important that Simmons play with power, attack, find his shot and never hesitate. With Simmons closer to the All-Star Game, it was believed that the Nets had been traded for him.
Up next for Simmons: flight back to Philadelphia on Tuesday. It won’t be pretty. He says he’s ready for it, which will fire up 76ers fans even more. It will be basketball, which is a must-see.
BONUS THINGS TO KNOW: A strange sequence before and after the break led the Nuggets without Nikola Jokic or Jamal Murray – Beat the Mavericks.
As the half-time signal rang, Luka Doncic hit a three-pointer very similar to Luka. Time expired and both teams went to the locker room. However, as the referees reviewed the play, Doncic went out of bounds before kicking. Instead of taking the teams out of the dressing rooms to play the last two seconds of the half, they replayed those two seconds before the start of the second half. It was then that Doncic’s Slovenian teammate Vlatko Cancar leaked the 3rd half-court buzzer.
The Mavs-Nuggets had to replay the last 2 seconds of the first half after Luka Doncic went out of bounds before he scored 3 seconds.
Result: Vlatko Jancar swings from half court 😱pic.twitter.com/Do345rSOit
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) November 21, 2022
Denver beat Dallas 98-97. One item.
It’s a brutal loss for the Mavericks, who lost to the Nuggets without two of their best players. This shot is just the icing on the cake.
Currently Joel Embiid missing also for Philadelphia.
The 76ers have announced that Embiid has a left midfoot sprain and is now out of Tuesday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. Ben Simmons return game – and back-to-back on Wednesday against the Hornets. At this point, he will be re-evaluated: Philadelphia will hit the track and face Orlando on Friday.
This injury appears to have occurred on Saturday night against the Timberwolves when the 76ers Georges Niang fell on Embiid’s leg.
Not surprised to see Embiid in an injury report after his ankle flipped.
Glad it’s not something bigger, but Ben Simmons’ return to Philadelphia has lost its appeal with Embiid, Maxi and Harden.pic.twitter.com/P27LXACEDf
— Sean Barnard (@Sean_Barnard1) November 21, 2022
It’s been a brutal streak of injuries for the 76s, although Embiid has spoken of shoulder pain and other issues, a few days off could have been good for his body.
It’s going to be a tough time for the Sixers, who have a -16.1 net rating this season with Embiid, Harden and Maxi all off the court.