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
It was a busy day yesterday as the NBA Pre-Season kept going at full steam, with international games being played in Japan and China, and the other ones in the respective arenas of each NBA team.
The day started with a rematch between the Houston Rockets and the former defending NBA champions Toronto Raptors. Like their first meeting, this one was also a very even match, only decided in the last couple minutes, as the score entered the 4th quarter tied at 90. The newly electric Houston Rockets duo, James Harden and Russel Westbrook, were the main stars of the game, appointing 22 points each, delighting the japanese spectators attending the game at Saitama Super Arena. The Rockets came up big in the decisive moments, avenging the previous loss suffered at the Raptors' hands, with the final score being 111-118 for the visitors.
Defender: IGHT IMMA HEAD OUT pic.twitter.com/HszQTfVw1S— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) October 10, 2019
DRAMATIC FINISH IN CHINA AMID TENSE POLITICAL ISSUES
Relations between the NBA and China are not particulary well after Daryl Morey's tweet, which originated a wave of criticism from the Chinese side, even cutting sponsors and various games related to the league. One of the most anticipated matches that were scheduled to take place on chinese lands, involved LeBron James and his former teammate Kyrie Irving, but people were unsure if the Chinese government was actually going to cancel it, like they did to another few games beforehand. Luckily for everyone involved, essentially the fans, who were eager to have a first-hand experience to see NBA players up close, the game went on without any problem.
However, an unfortunate blow to Kyrie Irving's face right at the beginning, sidelined him for the entirety of the match. Even so, without their main superstar, Brooklyn stayed competitive throughout the game due to Spencer Dinwiddie excellent display. The bar was raised high in the Lakers side, after a major beatdown on their first pre-season game against the Golden State Warriors, but Anthony Davis and LeBron James had quieter performances in Shanghai this time, though in limited minutes. The match was decided in the last possession as the California team couldn't capitalize on a wide open Caldwell-Pope three pointer. The final score was 114-111 in favor of the Brooklyn Nets.
.@SDinwiddie_25 led the team with 20 points as the Nets took the first of the two exhibition games vs. the Lakers in China— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) October 10, 2019
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD
Completed the Asian NBA matches, it's time to get back where the basketball is really played during the season, and that's on United States of America.
After playing two sensational games in India, the Sacramento Kings came back home to California to take on the Pheonix Suns. This was the least expected game of the night, between two teams that missed the playoffs last season, however, with some young exciting prospects. The Kings were favorites to win, and so they did. With six players in double figures, Luka Walton's squad leaned on team basketball to pick up his first win of the season, with De'aaron Fox leading the way with 18 points and 6 assists. From the Suns side, Devin Booker notched 18 points along with 7 rebounds.
On the other game of the night, the newly acquired current MVP Finals Kawhi Leonard was set to make his debut at Staples Center for the Los Angeles Clippers. However, he couldn't avoid a 20 point blowout by one of West's best teams in Denver Nuggets. With only 10 minutes of action, Leonard scored 7 points in a 50% efficiency from the field, to go with 6 assists. On the other side Jokic had a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds. In the end, the Nuggets calmly beat the Clippers 111-91.
ANOTHER MVP SEASON INCOMING?
The big story of yesterday's roundup of games is definitely Stephen Curry. The two-time MVP award winner exploded for 40 points in 25 minutes of action during his game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. In the first quarter, the 31-year-old already had 17 points as the Timberwolves couldn't find an answer for the Warriors guard. Coming from an embarassing defeat to the Lakers, Steve Kerr's team started the game on fire and looked poise to make a statement in front of their fans at their new arena in San Francisco. D'Angelo Russell and rookie Jordan Poole made an impact as well as they contributed with 16 and 19 points respectively.
This raises the question. Will we see another MVP season from Stephen Curry? Now that Kevin Durant left to New York City and Klay Thompson is out until the All-Star break, the elite shooter will need to carry the load on a stacked Western Conference. Much will depend on the team's record, but from an individual standpoint, it's definitely possible.
Stephen Curry to win the MVP award @5.50
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