Jimmy Butler offered baskets to every teammate20 April 2020 / Miguel Coelho
The 30-year-old didn't want his teammates to remain rusty... So he gifted them baskets
UTAH JAZZ v PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
One of the biggest games of the night happened in Salt Lake City, when the Utah Jazz hosted the Philadelphia 76ers in front of their fans.
With Joel Embiid’s return from suspension after his brawling incident with Karl Anthony-Towns, it was expected a tough matchup when it comes to the battle in the paint, as Rudy Gobert was the only big man active on the Jazz roster. The Frenchman had to be on his best level, with Ed Davis out, to contain both Embiid and Horford’s inside presence. Veteran guard Mike Conley, had a sluggish start to the season and if the Jazz were to take the best out of the 76ers, he also needed to deliver a better performance from the previous ones.
The game started out balanced as predicted by everyone, but then, Ben Simmons in an unfortunate incident, bumped his shoulder into Royce O'Neale’s chest in the 1st quarter, making him leave the game and not returning. The facilitator and initiator of Brett Brown’s offense was out for the remainder of the game, something that obviously played into the Jazz strategy. Simmons, known as well as a lockdown defender, was sorely missed since his injury, as Mitchell started to gain some rhythm, exploring the opposite team weaknesses.
“Defense is where we felt the pain of not having him the most”, Brett Brown said, following the Australian’s injury.
Even though things got more complicated for the road team, their team this year is loaded with veteran presence, who can play on both ends of the floor, so they never let the Jazz run away with score, disputing the game until the last play. A costly turnover by Josh Richardson when they had a chance to tie it and take the decision to overtime, was the nail in the coffin for the 76ers hopes. Donovan Mitchell, who’s been incredible to start the year, posted 24 points and 8 assists for Utah, while Joel Embiid had 27 points and 16 rebounds for Philadelphia.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS v MILWAUKEE BUCKS
Giannis Antetokounmpo is making his case again for an early MVP trophy bid. The forward keeps dominating teams in every single night, and this time the victim was the Kawhi-less Los Angeles Clippers.
A few hours before the game, NBA reported that Kawhi Leonard was out for yesterday’s marquee matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks due to load management. Much as been said already about this issue, even more when the games are being presented on national television. It is known that Leonard has a chronic disease in his quad, which makes him sit out several games so he can enter the playoffs on the best shape possible, however, other teams have been fined for the same actions, resting their top players when the games are nationally televised.
Without their superstar, the Los Angeles Clippers were heavy underdogs to win this game, as the Bucks were coming off three straight victories with a 10+ point differential. Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell were decided to not hand the victory on a plate to the Bucks, as they’ve come out on top in the 1st quarter. However, the LA bench usually composed by those two players, who provide instant offense, were depleted yesterday and they felt that heavily. Since the 2nd quarter, the Bucks started to gain control of the game and never looked back.
An incredible hot shooting 4th quarter from the three-point line had everyone in the arena thinking that the home team could actually snatch the win from Milwaukee’s hands. Landry Shamet was 4-4 from deep, and with the help of some big shots from Lou Williams, they almost tied the score on the last few possessions. But Giannis was determined to leave the arena with a win in his bag, netting 13 points in the last quarter, willing his team to an important victory against one of the main contenders for the Larry O’Brien trophy.
“He played the whole fourth quarter and was fabulous,” Mike Budenholzer said.
In this first three weeks of NBA action, Giannis cements himself along with LeBron James as the main candidate for MVP honors at the end of the regular season.
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