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Five talking points from this weekend’s NBA action – Doncic levels another 50, Nets claim 11th consecutive win | NBA News

Dive in below to the talking points and reaction from a dramatic weekend, including video highlights, baffling statistics, game quotes, and all sorts of weird and quirky insights…

More madness from Luka

Five games, 250 points, 50 rebounds, 50 assists. Whatever they are feeding Luka Doncic over in Dallas needs to be shared with the rest of the league.

The Slovenian is fast cementing his place atop our 2022/23 MVP predictions and picks, and it seems there’s no stopping him.

Fresh from last week’s 60 and 50-point, game-winning performances, Doncic added another 51 to the count, including two free throws with 4.5 seconds left to seal a 126-125 victory against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

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Highlights of the Dallas Mavericks against the San Antonio Spurs in Week 11 of the NBA season.

“It’s incredible,” Mavericks center Christian Wood said on the night. “In my seven years in the league, I’ve never seen anybody do what he’s able to do. He’s on an incredible run. He’s playing like an MVP. Clearly one of the best players in the league.”

Aside from blazing down the court to destroy defenders within the paint, Doncic also intentionally missed two free throws to stop the Spurs from sending the game into overtime, a nifty trick he also repeated to similar success against the New York Knicks last week.

Whether it’s points, coy runs, darting passes, or even on the defence, it seems the schedule is set for more of Luka’s madness as we head into the All-Star and playoff permutations.

No stopping the Nets

It’s the Brooklyn Nets show, and the rest of us are just here to enjoy it as it all pans out.

Indeed, having snatched their 11th consecutive win on the weekend against the Charlotte Hornets, it seems that teams can’t figure out how to contain both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) looks on during the second half of a game against the Charlotte Hornets
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) looks on during the second half of a game against the Charlotte Hornets

The pair are averaging 59.7 points a game; Irving added 28, and Durant contributed with another 23 on Saturday. The more impressive stat, however, is their ruthless shooting efficiency. 51 per cent from the field (first in the NBA) and 39.1 per cent from the three-point line (first in the NBA) is not something you pick up overnight, but the Nets are sure running away with it.

Of course, they’ve had help. Nic Claxton and Royce O’Neale both racked up 14 points against the Hornets. Claxton, more importantly, has been a crucial figure on defence, averaging 3.2 blocks per game, as well as scoring into double digits on the other end.

If there’s anyone that can stop them, it might just have to happen with either one of Durant or Irving out of the action. But even that’s a tall order.

The return of the Warriors?

Since that harrowing defeat to the Nets, the Warriors have quietly been on the uptick, without the injured Stephen Curry, and with Jordan Poole leading the charge.

What we are seeing is what Steve Kerr had quietly hoped would occur from the onset of the season – the Dubs’ secondary unit supporting the first. What unfolded instead was an overworked first five that could never sustain any real winning runs. With four wins on the trot in the bank now, perhaps that’s changed.

Indeed, Poole racked up 41 points this weekend to help his side towards a 118-112 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, improving their record to 19-18. In the last five games, the Warriors forward is averaging 27.2 points, 3.4 assists, and 2.8 rebounds.

He has also been aided by Klay Thompson, who scored 31 this weekend, and Draymond Green, one of the league’s best defensive forwards when in form.

If the Warriors can keep Poole in this vein of form, perhaps there’s still hope for them and their playoff dreams.

Lost without Giannis

The Milwaukee Bucks’ latest defeat came against the 17-21 Washington Wizards. Yes, you read that right.

Sure, they did have several injuries to contend with. The list extended to Jrue Holiday (non-Covid illness) and Khris Middleton (knee soreness) last night as the Bucks capitulated to a 95-118 defeat.

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Highlights of the Washington Wizards against Milwaukee Bucks in Week 11 of the NBA season.

But perhaps the more concerning absence was that of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis was a late addition to the injury report, he had already been present for training. Soreness of the left knee was the official reason for his presence on the sideline, and the fact that this is a recurring injury does not bode well.

Giannis had been a force to be reckoned with this week. He had 43 points and 20 rebounds in a 123-114 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Friday night. He’d also done the same on Thursday, joining Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor as the only players in NBA history with back-to-back games of at least 40 points, 20 rebounds and five assists.

But without him leading the charge, the Bucks look lost. They seemed to have found their feet again last week, but it all goes downhill when the big man isn’t there.

‘No joke’ Jokic a plausible MVP shout

Everyone’s talking about Doncic doing a madness this week, but don’t sleep on Nikola Jokic. The Denver Nuggets star is powering his way to the top of the MVP conversations, averaging a staggering triple-double per game in his latest hot-shooting spell.

He hit his ninth triple-double of the season as recently as this past weekend, as the Nuggets won their 10th game in 12 against the Boston Celtics.

As the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, you would’ve expected more from the team that is touting as the league’s best. Instead, they failed to contain Jokic as he hit 10 of 13 shots from the field, while they themselves took their sweet time to get into top gear.

They definitely didn’t have luck on their side either. Indeed, the Celtics wanted a high-speed game, and instead they got a 30-minute delay as the rim had been bent by one of the Boston stars’ explosive dunks.

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Robert Williams throws down such a massive alley-oop it broke the rim and caused a 35-minute delay in the Celtics against Nuggets game.

It took six workers, two ladders, a level, phone calls and eventually a crew member taking it off the backboard before it was fixed. Players were allowed a brief warmup before play resumed – and then the Nuggets pulled away.

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