The Key Games and Results of Week 6
Someone actually came close to defeating the Warriors, the 76ers somehow won a game, and the Pelicans beat the Cavaliers. There was all sorts happening in week 6…
To start off their week as the still-undefeated reigning champions, the Warriors went to Utah to take on one of the NBA’s toughest defenses and the Stifle Tower himself, Rudy Gobert. It’s been one of the few matchups on their early schedule that was viewed as a potential challenge (along with the Warriors’ narrow 112-109 win over the Raptors on Saturday), and it certainly lived up to that expectation.
With just over five minutes left, the Jazz had a 90-92 lead and became close to actually making the Warriors lose their historic streak. In Utah, everyone believed it could happen. Their key players stepped up, as Gordon Hayward finished with 24 points, Derrick Favors had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Rudy Gobert recorded 13 points and 11 boards. They stayed close throughout, and even won the final quarter 26-23. Despite their efforts, though, it wasn’t enough when it mattered most.
With 5:40 remaining, Shaun Livingston hit his first three of the season. Straight after, he came up with a baseline cut and quick push shot to take a 3 point lead. When Favors came up with an and-one move in the post, the Jazz reclaimed a tense 1 point lead. Ultimately, though, there’s only one man who would close out this game.
Stephen Curry tied the game at 1:40 with a deep step-back two, Draymond Green came up with a steal that led to an and-one, then Curry created a three yet again to steal a 104-101 lead with 40 seconds left. Despite the late efforts of Alec Burks, the Jazz just didn’t have quite enough. However, they did prove what they are capable of and gave the Warriors a major scare. Even though the Jazz are 9-9, they can be so much more than a .500 team.
The 76ers actually won. Seriously, they won. They had more points than their opponent and everything. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but against a trigger-happy effort from Kobe Bryant, the 76ers avoided the worst start in NBA history and won to advance (“advance” hardly seems appropriate, but still) to 1-18 with the victory.
In all honesty, though, even if this may be the most depressing thing a Lakers fan could here, this was probably the only game the 76ers genuinely had a chance of winning by this point. They made the most of the Lakers’ 28th ranked offense and 29th ranked offense, while Robert Covington led the way with 23 points.
Kobe’s shot was off as usual this season, and despite his homecoming to Philadelphia for the last time, he only mustered 7-of-shooting. That wasn’t even the worse aspect of his night, though. What’s even worse is that he took 17 three pointers and made just 4 of them. Unless you’re Stephen Curry, you should never take 17 threes — especially when they aren’t falling. But that effectively sums up the Lakers’ season, as their defense has been so abysmal and lacking any effort that they’ve often resorted to trying to shoot their way to a win.
As is normally the case, that didn’t work — even if it was against the 76ers. The Lakers shot 37.1 percent on the game compared to Philly’s 46.8, and the 76ers even added 8 blocks (with 4 from Jerami Grant) to put together a solid defensive showing.
This is probably the lowest quality pairing of teams you’ll see in this segment, but the 76ers getting a win is going to be one of the rarest sightings in basketball this season. Such a rare occasion deserves a mention.
If you wanted a shocking result in week 6, you got it when the Pelicans survived overtime and defeated LeBron James’ Cavaliers.
J.R. Smith started in a hurry with 5 threes in the first quarter alone and the Cavs finished the opening period with a 27-21 lead. Then, after coming back a little in the second quarter, the Pelicans made it a 53-52 game at half time. As the night went on, the Pelicans slowly increased their lead with some three point shooting from Anthony Davis and the returned playmaking of Tyreke Evans, and established a 13 point lead with just under 7 minutes left in the game.
Then LeBron happened. As he took over for the Cavs and drove to the basket time and time again with constant aggression, he made a late flurry of points and converted an and-one layup to cut the deficit to only 1 point. After that, he buried a step-back jumper in the face of Omer Asik to take a 99-98 lead. Yet, despite his 19 points in the fourth quarter, the Pelicans managed to hang on and Jrue Holiday hit a huge three pointer to force a 105-105 tie.
Once it went to overtime, Davis made a host of jumpers as he had done all night and the Pelicans outlasted the late effort of LeBron. It just goes to show that anything can happen. The Cavs should have won this game relatively easily. However, as the Pelicans proved to themselves, if they play defense with some intensity, they can instantly help themselves compete with fast break opportunities.
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