Bucks Blow Past Warriors; Grizzlies Win 11th Straight
The Milwaukee Bucks reminded the world on Thursday night how they won the NBA Title just one season ago and how they intend on winning it once again this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo posted a triple-double of 30 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists as the Bucks took care of the Golden State Warriors with ease on their home floor, 118-99, on TNT. The blowout included a 39-point lead by halftime, which was two points shy of their largest halftime lead in franchise history. All of this helped welcome back head coach Mike Budenholzer from a COVID-19 break, as his team never trailed in their 27th win of the season. The Warriors were without Draymond Green due to left calf tightness, which was his second straight game out, but the Bucks were also a a bit shorthanded without Jrue Holiday for a fourth straight game. Although, plenty of other stepped up, including Khris Middleton with 23 points, Bobby Portis at 20, and Grayson Allen with 15 in the rout. Meanwhile, the Memphis Grizzlies stayed hot with their 11th straight victory, 116-108, over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Desmond Bane led the way with 21 points, while Jaren Jackson Jr. had 20 to help his team pull away in the final minutes of the fourth. Ja Morant totaled 16 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds in a complete effort, while John Konchar also stepped up with a double-double of 15 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. This win helped avenge a 138-95 blowout at the hands of the T'Wolves for the Grizzlies on November 20th, which was their largest losing margin of the season. A lot has changed since then, as the Grizz are now a top three team in the West, and even Anthony Edwards' 30 points was not enough on this night.
Other key scores saw Shai Gilgeous-Alexander post 33 points to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 130-109 upset of the shorthanded Brooklyn Nets. Will Barton led the way with 21 points before leaving with a strained neck in the Denver Nuggets' 140-108 trouncing of the Portland Trail Blazers. And the New Orleans Pelicans stayed hot behind Brandon Ingram's 24 points for a 113-89 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Hawks Deal Cam Reddish to Knicks
The Atlanta Hawks have found a new home for Cam Reddish, who basically got phased out of being a prime target for these Hawks, as they dealt him to the New York Knicks in exchange for forward Kevin Knox II and a 2022 first-round draft pick via the Charlotte Hornets. Atlanta also sent Solomon Hill and a 2025 second-round pick to New York to complete the deal. The former 10th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft has averaged career highs with 11.9 points per game on 40% shooting and 90% at the free throw line. He has also added a 38% clip from three-point range, which is up 12% from last season, and got his first two career 30-point game this year. Despite that, the Hawks have locked in the likes of Trae Young and John Collins with big contracts, making them the center of their future, while Reddish will now have a chance to push the Knicks back to another potential playoff run.
UCLA Falls in OT; Wisconsin Beats OSU For Sixth Straight
The Oregon Ducks got head coach Dana Altman his 700th career win in the best possible way, with a major road upset in conference play Thursday night. Jacob Young posted a career-high 23 points as the Ducks went out west and shocked the third-ranked UCLA Bruins, 84-81, in overtime. The win was the fourth in a row for the road team, who got their 10th win of the season, and then swarmed the court at Pauley Pavilion in a mostly empty arena. Will Richardson added 12 points despite being one of three Ducks in foul trouble, but that did not stop them from handing the Bruins their first conference loss of the season, second defeat overall, and snapping their five-game winning streak. Johnny Juzang scored 23 points with nine rebounds on the night, while the Ducks' Altman reached the 700-win milestone in his 33rd season as a Division I head coach. And the 13th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers stayed hot, getting their sixth straight victory at home with a 78-68 win over the 16th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. Brad Davison led the way with 25 points, while Tyler Wahl added 20 points, as Wisconsin moved to 14-2 on the season and 5-1 in Big Ten play. Wahl was just one point shy of his career-high, while Johnny Davis continued to be a nice spark off the bench with 14 points and nine rebounds. The win for the Badgers avenges an 18-point defeat on the road against Ohio State in December, as E.J. Liddell had 18 points and a career-best six assists in a losing effort. The Badgers got off to a nice 18-7 start in the first half and never trailed, pulling away for good on Davison's three-pointer with 7:32 to play.
Other key scores saw the fifth-ranked USC Trojans bounce back from their first loss with an 81-71 win over Oregon State. Jalen Terry's 28 points powered DePaul to a 96-92 upset of the 20th-ranked Seton Hall Pirates. The 19th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders stayed hot after consecutive top-10 wins by taking care of Oklahoma State, 78-57. And Drew Timme's 30 points led the second-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs in a 110-84 blowout of BYU.
Texans Fire Head Coach David Culley
The Houston Texans gave head coach David Culley just one season before deciding to pull the plug on him Thursday afternoon, firing him one year after he took the job. The Texans went 4-13 in his lone season with the team, but the front office decided that the long time assistant was not the fit in his first-time coaching gig at the age of 65. Culley was previously the Baltimore Ravens' assistant coach for two seasons, as well as the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach. Overall, he compiled 43 years as an assistant in the NFL and college football, but he led the Texans to the same number of wins as they got last season under interim coach Romeo Crennel, who replaced Bill O'Brien. Of course, the Texans continue to deal with the drama that is quarterback Deshaun Watson, who requested a trade last January, but the 23 lawsuits against him does not make him a favorable option for other teams, making the situation that much more difficult for the Texans.
Kings Skate Past Penguins; Rangers Blank Sharks
The Los Angeles Kings shifted themselves in to third place in the Pacific Division on Thursday night, handling the Pittsburgh Penguins out west, 6-2. The home team used a strong third period, including scoring three goals in a span of 1:23, as they got their third straight victory and now have 19 wins and 43 points on the year. Anze Kopitar scored twice and added an assist, while Dustin Brown got his 700th career point. Jonathan Quick was solid in the net, finishing with 27 saves, while only giving up goals to Kris Letang and Radim Zohorna. Letang's tally extended his point streak to six straight games, but Tristan Jarry allowed six goals on 45 shots, as the Penguins have now dropped two of three games since winning 10 in a row. And the Kings were helped out just about simultaneously, as the New York Rangers went on the road to shut out the San Jose Sharks, 3-0 at the SAP Center. The loss moved the Sharks out of the third place spot in the Pacific, and the Rangers were sparked by Braden Schneider's first career NHL goal in his NHL debut. Ryan Strome got the assist on that big tally in the third period, while Chris Kreider scored twice on Adin Hill to reach 200 career NHL goals, including the first shorthander of his career. Igor Shesterkin returend from a three-game absence due to COVID-19 and had 37 saves in the shutout, as the Rangers moved in to first place in the Metropolitan Division with 52 points and 24 wins, while leading the league with 14 road victories on the season.
Other key scores saw the Boston Bruins celebrate Tuukka Rask's return with a 3-2 victory thanks to 25 saves from the veteran and David Pastrnak's hat trick. Steven Stamkos' 18th goal helped the Tampa Bay Lightning double up the Vancouver Canucks, 4-2. The St. Louis Blues were powered by goals from Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich, moving one point out of first place in the Central with a 2-1 win over the Seattle Kraken. And Jeff Skinner scored twice as the Buffalo Sabres upset the Nashville Predators, 4-1, on the road.