The Celtics survived a second-half explosion from the Lakers to fight back and leave Los Angeles with an epic 122-118 overtime win in a contest being called “the game of the year”.
Jason Tatum put forward his case to be crowned as the first ever winner of the newly rebranded Michael Jordan MVP trophy, scoring a game-high 44 points – including a clutch fadeaway over LeBron James to tie the game at the end of regulation and send it to OT – to go with nine rebounds and six assists.
Jaylen Brown was also terrific tallying 25 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, and three steals in the victory.
The Celtics were taking on their arch rival, the LA Lakers, hoping to find their offensive spark after back-to-back losses at Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers dropped their league-best record to 21-7.
The NBA’s best rivalry did not disappoint as the Celtics and Lakers delivered one of the best, most chaotic games of the 2022-23 season so far.
Boston looked to be cruising to victory when it led by 20 points just after halftime, before the Lakers exploded behind some excellent play from LeBron James and Anthony Davis to go on a 31-5 run snatch the lead.
Just when the Lakers looked to have gained the ascendancy, to lead by as much as 12 points very late in the fourth quarter, the Celtics offence awoke from it’s slumber to race back to trail by only two points with under a minute to play.
After AD (37 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 of 15 from the free throw line) inexplicably missed both of his free throws to give the Celtics a chance to regain the lead, MVP frontrunner Jayson Tatum took down James one-on-one, hitting a silky smooth fadeaway with 18 seconds remaining to tie the scores at 110 apiece.
Lebron (33 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists) had the final chance to win the game in regulation for LA but missed a three on the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
The Lakers struggled to score at the start of overtime as the Celtics cruised to the 122-118 win, improving to 22-7 on the season. Los Angeles fell to 11-16 following another heartbreaking loss.
GREEN GETS FAN BOOTED AFTER HEATED VERBAL STOUSH
Draymond Green appeared to have heard enough of what one fan was saying on Tuesday night.
The power forward had a fan removed from Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum as the Warriors trailed in the third quarter against the Bucks, pointing him out to officials from the other end of the court.
Other fans questioned security as the attendee in question was removed — and collected high-fives along his way out.
Green gets fan canned after complaint | 00:51
“[He said] some threatening stuff to my life,” Green told reporters after the game. “I was this close to really going back, diving all the way in, but I kinda just went back, told the official. When I told the official what he said, he’s like ‘He gotta get outta here’.”
The incident called to mind several recent incidents with LeBron James having fans kicked out of games, and Green’s defence of the Lakers star arguing with spectators during a Lakers-Pelicans game in March.
“To get booed by your own fans is very distasteful and disgraceful,” Green said on his Volume podcast in March. “I was shocked to see that… I thought that was pathetic. I thought that was extremely pathetic, and like I said I thought it was extremely distasteful from the fanbase of an organization that has the most championships in the NBA. Let’s not be so like spoiled brats.”
Green is no stranger to crossing the line himself. The Warriors star often finds himself among the NBA leaders in technical fouls and fines, and has had to issue multiple apologies to various league community members this season.
In June, he offered a mea culpa after he said on his podcast that ESPN analyst and former NBA player Kendrick Perkins went “from being enforcer to c–n.” That same month, after winning his fourth title with Golden State in eight seasons, Green told the crowd at the Warriors’ victory parade, “Thank you all, and it’s always f–k everybody else.”
-This story was first published in the New York Post and reproduced with permission
GIANNIS BALLS OUT AS BUCKS BLOW OUT WARRIORS
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks piled more road misery on NBA champions Golden State on Tuesday, thumping the Warriors 128-111.
The Warriors, coming off a convincing victory over the league-leading Boston Celtics in San Francisco, were hoping this trip would signal a reversal of their road fortunes.
Instead they fell to 2-12 away from home, 14-14 overall, in a testy encounter between the last two NBA champions that saw the frustrated Warriors assessed five technical fouls.
Three of those came in the first quarter, when Stephen Curry was furious at the lack of a foul call when he was shooting a three-pointer and head coach Steve Kerr continued the argument to earn a “T”.
“I was already mad at several non-calls in the paint,” Kerr said. “I felt like we were on the bad end of things to start the game. And then Steph Curry gets hit on the head on a three-point shot.
“That needs to be called,” Kerr said, adding that Curry’s unusual intense reaction was indication enough that a foul occurred.
“If Steph gets a technical, he definitely got fouled,” Kerr said. Trailing by 14 early in the second quarter, the Warriors pulled within six before the Bucks closed the first half on a 6-0 scoring run on the way to a 12-point halftime lead.
The third quarter brought no relief, the Bucks jumping to a 26-point lead midway through the period.
Milwaukee, led by 30 points and 12 rebounds from Antetokounmpo, out-scored the Warriors 48-30 in the paint and had 16 fastbreak points to the Warriors’ seven.
They out-rebounded the Warriors 55-37, and with the game out of hand Warriors coach Steve Kerr pulled his starters, no doubt hoping the rest will help when they tackle the Pacers in Indianapolis on Wednesday.
Bobby Portis added 25 points off the bench and Khris Middleton added 20 points for Milwaukee, who improved to 20-7 and inched closer to Boston atop the Eastern Conference.
PHILLY TRIO STAR AS SIXERS SURGE CONTINUES
Philadelphia big man Joel Embiid was dominant again scoring 31 points to go with seven boards as the 76ers thumped the Sacramento Kings 123-103 in Philadelphia. 2018 league MVP James Harden recorded 21 points, 15 assists, seven rebounds, and five steals to continue his recent strong play since returning from injury. Tobias Harris added 21 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists as the 76ers took control with 80 points in the first half. They led by 25 at the interval and were never threatened in the second half.
Two nights after his 53-point outburst in a win against Charlotte, Embiid connected on 10 of 16 shots from the floor to lead the Sixers to their third straight victory.
Domantas Sabonis tallied 22 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists for the Kings in the losing effort.
The 76ers improve to 15-12 on the season, while the Kings fall to 14-12.
ROCKETS STUN BOOKERLESS SUNS AS SILAS MAKES EMOTIONAL RETURN
It was an emotional night in Houston, where head coach Stephen Silas returned the sideline two days after the death of his father, three-time NBA champion and longtime NBA coach Paul Silas.
The Rockets dominated the first half, outscoring the Suns 27-15 in the second quarter to jump out to a 19-point halftime lead.
Phoenix won the second half by five points but never got close enough to get themselves back into the contest.
Jalen Green again led the way for Houston, scoring 26 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 4 assists, as all five starters reached double digits, to help the Rockets hand the reeling Phoenix Suns a fifth straight defeat, 111-97.
Chris Paul tallied 16 points, seven assists, six rebounds, and two steals in an otherwise disappointing performance for this slumping Suns team.
The Rockets improve to 9-18, while the Suns fall to 16-12.
JAZZ COOL HOT PELICANS TO STOP STREAK AT SEVEN
The Utah Jazz outscored New Orleans by 21 points in the second and third quarters to pull away for a 121-100 upset win over the Western Conference leading Pelicans.
Malik Beasley finished with 21 points and four assists, while Lauri Markkanen added 19 points and 11 rebounds in his return in an otherwise even performance from the Jazz to continue their strong form at home this season (10-5).
Zion Williamson was valiant in defeat – scoring 26 points, nine rebounds, and five assists for New Orleans – but didn’t have enough help from his teammates as Utah snapped the Pelicans’ seven consecutive win streak (prior to tonight’s loss they had won 12 of their previous 14 to surge into first place in the West).
The Jazz improve to 16-14 on the season, while the Pelicans fall to 18-9.
NBA HONOURS MJ BY RENAMING MVP TROPHY
The NBA is renaming its annual regular-season Most Valuable Player award after legendary star Michael Jordan – who claimed the honour five times with the Chicago Bulls.
The league unveiled the newly designed Michael Jordan Trophy on Tuesday, along with five other reimagined trophies named after league pioneers that will now be presented to the National Basketball Association’s end-of-season award winners.
Jordan, a six-time NBA champion, won five MVPs in his 15-season career, tied for second-most behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who won six.
The NBA’s Social Justice Champion award is named for Abdul-Jabbar. Other renamed awards announced Tuesday are the Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy for the Defensive Player of the Year, the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy for Rookie of the Year, the John Havlicek Trophy for Sixth Man of the Year and the George Mikan Trophy for Most Improved Player.
The NBA also announced a new award for Clutch Player of the Year, named after Jerry West, who played in nine NBA Finals and remains the only player to win Finals MVP while losing the series.
The new Michael Jordan Trophy was created with input from the NBA icon, who requested that it not be a likeness of him.
It features a player breaking out of a rock to reach for a crystal basketball, and includes elements that reflect Jordan’s career, including references to his jersey number 23 and his six NBA titles.
Previously, the league’s MVP trophy was named after former commissioner Maurice Podoloff, whose name will now be attached to a new trophy honouring the team that posts the best regular-season record.