NBA: Miami is doing well, Brooklyn is doing a little better, the Lakers too

“Currently I am unable to score 30 or 40 points,” James Harden admitted this week. Against the Pacers, “the Beard” reassured Brooklyn fans by scoring 29 points (8 assists, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks), including 16 free throws out of 19 attempted.

In the previous five matches, he had only been allowed 15 shots on the line, and complained about being “stigmatized” by the referees, with the new rules aimed at stopping giving shots to shooters who cause adverse faults.

Kevin Durant added 22 points (11 rebounds, 7 assists) and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 21 including 17 in the second half, to rectify the situation after a bad start. The veteran pivot passes the symbolic bar of 20,000 career units.

Still a little laborious, the Nets however returned to a balanced record (3-3), just like Toronto, winner in extremis of Orlando (110-109), thanks in particular to the promising rookie Scottie Barnes, solid 4th choice of the last draft (21 pts at 9/14, 9 rebounds), and like the Lakers.

Usually, when LeBron James goes, LA goes. Spared by his ankle, which forced him to rest for two matches, the “King” was full of envy (26 pts, 8 assists, 3 interceptions) and led the 2020 champion to success against his former Cavaliers.

It is in the money-time, by inflicting a 15-2 in four minutes that the Lakers, long jostled on their floor, made the difference, also relying on the address of Carmelo Anthony (24 pts, 6 / 8 behind the arc) and a serious match from Russell Westbrook (19 pts to 8/13, 5 assists, 6 rebounds).

Jokic mate Doncic

Earlier, Miami disposed of the Hornets to add a fourth victory in five games and share the lead in the East, with New York, Chicago and Washington surprising at the start of the championship.

Seeing the Floridians, finalists in 2020, is not surprising. Relying on a defense still as dissuasive (Charlotte shot 38.9%), they owed their success to their strong men: Jimmy Butler (32 pts at 12/19 on shots, 10 rebounds, 5 assists), Bam Adebayo (26 pts, 19 rebounds) and Tyler Herro (26 pts at 9/13, 6 assists).

“The basketball IQ of this team is very high. We have experienced and knowledgeable guys who can understand and handle situations in real time. It matters in this league,” said coach Erik Spoelstra.

In Denver, the Nuggets made short work of the Mavericks (106-75) and the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, well recovered from the knee blow received Tuesday against Utah, did not have to force his talent offensively ( 11 pts, 16 rebounds, 8 assists) to contribute. As for Luka Doncic, he did not force his own to remedy it (16 pts, 5/18 on shots).

The Nuggets (3-2) come back up to Dallas, just like Portland, who fell from the Clippers (111-92) with a good harvest at three points (19/41) including five for Damian Lillard (25 pts). LA side, Paul George shone (42 pts, 8 rebounds) but too alone to prevent this 4th setback in five matches.

A meager record shared by New Orleans, still deprived of Zion Williamson (foot) and beaten by Sacramento (113-109).

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NBA: Miami is doing well, Brooklyn is doing a little better, the Lakers too

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