A lot of the talk ahead of Wednesday night’s game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks centered around the fact that Kawhi Leonard would not be suiting up for the home-team Clippers due to “load management.” To many, this was a big letdown, as a match up with Giannis Antetokounmpo on national television was considered must-see TV. With all of that being said, those that did watch ended up getting a heck of a game anyway, with a different man stepping up to rival Giannis for the Clips. Giannis ultimately did prevail, posting 38 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in a 129-124 road win, but it wasn’t before he had to out duel Montrezl Harrell. Harrell had 34 points of his own on the night, showcasing just how strong the Clippers depth chart truly is. Giannis, of course, didn’t do it alone, getting a lot of help from George Hill’s 24 off the bench. The win is the fourth in a row for the Bucks and means that they are 6-2, while the Clippers fell to 5-3 thanks to losing their first game on their home floor. One interesting tidbit to point out is that Clippers coach Doc Rivers was incensed after the game after a challenge on a foul was upheld. We’ll see where this heads, if anywhere, in the days and weeks to come.
The Golden State Warriors are clearly not the same team have all come to know in recent years. That was once again underlined on Wednesday night as James Harden and the Rockets laid siege to them in Houston in a comfortable 129-112 win. Harden put up 36 points and dished out 13 assists in the victory, while the Warriors were led by Alec Burks’ 28 on a night where they were once more very shorthanded. The loss means the Warriors are now just 2-6 on the season, while the win means the Rockets improved to a 5-3 record thus far. Neither team have had the best of starts, and there are many doubters about the Rockets’ defense right now. However, the major issue is with Golden State, who at this rate look like there is little to no chance they will make the playoffs. Even if they do, they will surely be a lower seed, something unthinkable in the last few years to even fathom.
Reigning NCAA Men’s Basketball champions Virginia began their 2019/20 season on Wednesday night with a road game, a rarity in the game, at Syracuse. And they showed just why, even at #11 in the country, they are always going to be a contender to win under coach Tony Bennett. They won this game 48-34. Yes, you read that correctly: 48-34. They gave up just 13 made buckets, accounting for a total Orange shooting percentage of just 23.6%. It’s a ridiculous stat that shows just how good and vital defense is to them, and that will no doubt continue to be their hallmark going forward. Mamadi Diakite had 12 points in the win, while Jay Huff had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.