The Kobe Bryant tribute continues in the NBA, as the Lakers faithful got to honour the fallen legend at the Staples Center.
LeBron James jumpstarted the tribute by sharing a well-spoken cathartic speech and urged everyone to never forget the franchise’s cornerstone before taking on the Blazers.
On the other side of the country, we witnessed super rookies Zion Williamson and Ja Morant go at it for the first time in their pro careers.
SBOTOP offers you our NBA 2020 results for today.
Toronto Raptors 105-92 Detroit Pistons
Toronto remain the hottest team in the NBA by extending their winning streak to 10 games.
Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka combined for 51 points as they trounced the Pistons on Friday night, earning for themselves the second-best record in the Eastern Conference before the All-Star break.
This means that Nick Nurse will coach Team Giannis in the All-Star Weekend since Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer already did so last season.
The Raptors took advantage of a sluggish start by the visitors, as they were still missing the likes of Luke Kennard and Blake Griffin.
Andre Drummond recorded a 20-point 20-rebound performance despite a scoreless first half while Derrick Rose notched his 14th straight game scoring at least 20 points in the losing effort.
Brooklyn Nets 133-118 Chicago Bulls
Kyrie Irving put on another Kobe-esque performance by scoring 54 points in super-efficient fashion.
The spitfire guard made all his shots in the first half and finished 19-for-23 from the field, making him the first player in Nets history to score at least 45 points in three games in a single season.
Brooklyn never trailed in this game because of everyone’s contributions. Irving was backstopped by Spencer Dinwiddie who tallied 20 points off the bench.
Taurean Prince, Jarrett Allen, and Garrett Temple scored in double digits too for Brooklyn with 16, 12, and 11.
Zach LaVine had 22 points while Luke Kornet added 19 points for the Bulls.
Houston Rockets 128-121 Dallas Mavericks
James Harden snapped out of his funk by unloading 35 points against the Mavericks sans Luka Doncic. His backcourt mate Russell Westbrook continued his torrid scoring by adding 32.
The Beard also grabbed a season-high of 16 rebounds as the Rockets played small for the most part because Clint Capela was out due to a bruised heel.
Dallas were trailing by 16 points entering the final frame, but they simply wouldn’t go down easy. It took late threes by Austin Rivers and James Harden for the home team to seal the deal.
Kristaps Porzingis recorded 35 points and 12 rebounds as Dallas lost their second consecutive game.
New Orleans Pelicans 139-111 Memphis Grizzlies
Zion Williamson got the better of Ja Morant in their first matchup as his Pelicans pounded the Grizzlies at home.
The hulking forward continues his fine rookie campaign after making his debut against the Spurs few games ago. This time, Williamson scored 24 points in 29 minutes, including an alley-oop dunk that wowed the home fans.
New Orleans were simply efficient that night as they shot 54-per cent from the field and knocked down 15 three-pointers.
Jonas Valanciunas led Memphis with 18 points while Ja Morant added 16 points in the losing effort.
Denver Nuggets 127-115 Milwaukee Bucks
Denver defied our NBA 2020 as they handed Milwaukee are rare defeat at home.
The injury-ravaged Nuggets were led by Will Barton who posted 24 points and eight rebounds while two-time All-Star Nikola Jokic added 15 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists.
After trailing by seven points at halftime, Denver got a one-point lead in the third period via a Malik Beasley three. Will Barton added on to their lead by scoring an outside shot and the Nuggets never looked back.
The Antetokounmpo siblings made personal history when they were inserted together in the starting lineup for the first time. Giannis poured in 31 points, 16 rebounds, and nine assists, while Thanasis added four points in just five minutes of playing time.
Oklahoma City Thunder 111-107 Phoenix Suns
Chris Paul showed us once more why he’s deserving of an All-Star selection as he led the Thunder to a comeback victory against the Suns.
The diminutive floor general, along with Dennis Schroder, sparked a 13-0 run late in the penultimate period to take the lead for good.
Danilo Gallinari top scored for OKC with 27 markers while Dennis Schroder and Chris Paul put in 24 and 20 points respectively.
Devin Booker and Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 27 apiece for the Suns. However, they’ve accounted for 10 of their 19 turnovers.
Portland Trail Blazers 127-119 Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers returned to the hardwood for the first time since last week as they hosted the Blazers last Friday night.
However, it was the duo of Damian Lillard and Hassan Whiteside who stole the show by combining for 78 points – including some backbreaking baskets down the stretch.
The Blazers almost squandered their 12-point lead when the Lakers made a 9-0 run fueled by Kobe Bryant chants, but the visitors held on with the home team struggling to make shots on their end.
Anthony Davis lit up the stat sheet by contributing 37 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, and five blocks, while LeBron James did his part by adding a 22-point, 10-assist double-double in the loss.