Three Things is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks going that make the NBA great.
1) Giannis Antetokounmpo passes Jordan on triple-double list in Bucks win
The Bucks were embarrassed. They should have been losing by 36 at home to the Nuggets on Sunday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo did what great players do — he took it personally and didn’t let it happen again. Tuesday night, the Greek Freak had 33 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists, his fourth triple-double this season and the 29th of his career, moving him past Michael Jordan to 18th on the all-time list (although triple-doubles weren’t really a thing when Jordan played, and the game’s pace was much slower then). The Bucks got the win over the Wizards 112-98.
“Obviously [the loss to Denver] was kind of embarrassing… We have to realize that in order for us to be great, we’ve got to play hard. We cannot expect that people are just going to hand us the game when we go out there,” Antetokounmpo said, via the Associated Press. “People are coming for us. People are hunting us right now. They get excited when they see, `Milwaukee Bucks, world champs.’ We’ve got to play every single night hard and build that habit.”
The Bucks slump — 6-8 in their last 14 games before Tuesday — combined with the recent strong play of centers Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid had hurt Antetokounmpo in the MVP race in some minds. While it didn’t help his narrative, Antetokounmpo is still playing at an MVP level — 28.9 points, 11.3 rebounds and 6 assists a game, shooting 53.6% overall, with elite defense and some of the best advanced stats in the league this season. He is still in the MVP mix with a few months left in the season.
Milwaukee led by 17 at one point early in the third quarter but Washington battled back to make it a game in the fourth, before Antetokounmpo and the Bucks flipped the switch and pulled away. Jrue Holiday scored 22 and Bobby Portis 17 added 17 points for the Bucks.
The Wizards will be without Bradley Beal for at least four games due to a wrist injury, and without him Kyle Kuzma stepped up again and scored 25, while Montrezl Harrell added 20.
2) Watch Devin Booker drop 35 as the Suns win 11th straight beating Nets
The Phoenix Suns are just steamrolling everyone right now.
Tuesday night it was the short-handed Brooklyn Nets — still no Kevin Durant — and it was Devin Booker’s turn to do the driving, scoring 35 as the Nets rolled to a 121-11 win. That’s 11 straight for the Suns, who went 13-1 in January.
Booker got help from Mikal Bridges, who had a season-high 27 while switching off between guarding Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Irving led the Nets with 26 points.
Chris Paul scored 20 and dished out 14 assists. The Suns are the best basketball team in the world right now and it doesn’t feel particularly close.
3) Raptors’ Gary Trent Jr. have fifth straight 30+ point game in win
The hottest player in the league you’re not talking about? Gary Trent Jr.
On Tuesday, he scored 33 against the Bulls, shooting 6-of-10 from 3 as part of Toronto’s 110-106 win. That makes it five straight games he has scored at least 30, which ties the franchise streak owned by DeMar DeRozan, who happened to be back in the building with the Bulls to see it.
The Raptors have won three in a row and 5-of-7, including two wins over the Heat plus one over the red hot Hawks. At 26-23, they sit eighth in the East, but only two games out of sixth and avoiding the play-in. Something to watch going forward in a tight conference.
Highlight of the Night: DeMar DeRozan with the monster throw down
DeMar DeRozan does more than drain midrange jumpers. He threw down a dunk some of us didn’t know he still had in him.
DEMAR WITH THE HAMMER pic.twitter.com/x8ANvAAqND
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) February 2, 2022
Last night’s scores:
New Orleans 111, Detroit 101
Milwaukee 112, Washington 98
Toronto 110, Miami 106
Chicago 126, Orlando 115
Minnesota 130, Denver 115
Golden State 124, San Antonio 120
Phoenix 121, Brooklyn 111