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NBA : UTAH BACK ON TOP IN THE WEST, DALLAS DOUBLES UP ON THE LAKERS

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The Jazz, winner of Toronto, took back the lead of the Western Conference while Dallas snatched a valuable win against Washington to climb to 5th place.

Utah takes the lead
The Jazz will have left the lead to Phoenix, its tormentor of the day before, for only 24 hours. The time to struggle to overcome the tough Raptors (106-102). The Suns can take it back on Sunday in Oklahoma City. Bojan Bogdanovic was decisive in attack (34 pts) in the absence of Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley. Rudy Gobert was very active (13 pts, 16 rbds). On the other side, Fred VanVleet struggled in vain (30 pts). Two rows behind Utah, is now Denver who beat and at the same time exceeded the Clippers (110-104), thanks to Nikola Jokic (30 pts, 14 rbds, 7 assists), author of an MVP game, a trophy he covets, and Michael Porter Jr (25 pts). On the Clippers side, Kawhi Leonard made a timid comeback (16 pts, 6 assists), after nine missed games, while Paul George did what he could (20 pts)

Westbrook and Doncic delight
A final rebound from the Slovenian prodigy, his 12th of the game, after a missed attempt behind the arc from Bradley Beal (29 pts), allowed the Mavericks to get a third straight win (125-124). Nine seconds earlier he had delivered his 20th assist to Dorian Finney-Smith, for the decisive bonus shot. Added to his 31 points, these statistics reflect a nice triple-double. All this in front of Westbrook, THE specialist of the genre, who failed to pass his 32nd of the season. On this game, he was mostly a scorer, as evidenced by his 42 points (10 rbds) which were finally insufficient. With the same record (36-27), Dallas is now ahead of the Lakers (6th), as they lead 2-1 in their head-to-head matchups. LeBron James & co will have to fight to avoid the playoffs.

Young replaces the Hawks
After three consecutive losses, there was a little urgency for Atlanta to win in order to keep the fifth place in the East. Mission accomplished at the expense of Chicago (108-97), thanks to Trae Young (33 pts, 7 assists), well helped by Clint Capela (20 pts, 11 rbds). Atlanta keeps one win better than Boston (6th) and Miami (7th), which won in Cleveland (124-107). The Heat recited an excellent collective score, its starters each scoring between 13 and 22 points, with point guard Kevin Nunn being the most prolific.

Indiana blows away the Thunder
An astonishing record fell in Oklahoma City, where the Thunder was crushed by the Pacers (152-95). A defeat of 57 points which is the heaviest in history for a team playing at home. And as a first never happens alone, the Lithuanian pivot Domantas Sabonis (26 pts, 19 rbds, 14 assists) had a triple-double at twenty points or more at halftime, which nobody had ever succeeded in the league. This success allows Indiana to keep its 9th place in the East, behind Charlotte (8th) which also won without difficulty at the expense of Detroit (107-94), in the wake of Terry Rozier (29 pts).

Golden State sees 8th place
In the West, Golden State won in Houston (113-87), to steal the 9th place from San Antonio (10th) and get closer to the 8th place still occupied by Memphis, beaten in Orlando (112-111). It took until the third quarter and the hot shot of Stephen Curry, then author of 23 of his 30 points, for the Warriors to make the Rockets fold. « It’s hard to stay consistent, and when you’re not in the game, you have to try to bring joy, energy. That’s how good things end up happening, » he commented. In 11th place, New Orleans held on to a slim hope of reaching the playoffs, beating Minnesota (140-136) after overtime, thanks to Zion Williamson (37 pts, 14/17 on the bench, 9 rbds, 8 assists).

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