Ultra-dominant on the inside, the 2019 and 2020 double MVP added 12 rebounds and 6 assists in a meeting that long looked like a walk in the park for his Bucks, as they scored up to 33 units in advance.
So in an attempt to stop the "Greek Freak" (the Greek monster), who took everything, including the unfortunate Oshae Brissett, in his path by slamming an impressive dunk after a very distant last support, the Pacers took out the card from the "hack-a-Giannis", namely to systematically foul him, relying on his feverishness at free throws.
His 7/18 gave them a little right, since they came back to -7 four minutes from time, guided by the imposing Myles Turner (24 pts, 4 blocks), but Jrue Holiday (20 pts) and Khris Middleton (17 pts) were able to take over.
Milwaukee remains 3rd in the East, Indiana remains 9th despite this eighth loss in ten matches.
In 5th place is Cleveland, defeated in Oklahoma City (112-100) by undergoing the law of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, once again excellent (35 pts).
Particularly skilful (12/21 in shots, 8 assists), the rear chained a fourth meeting to at least 30 points and the Thunder (11th in the West) confirmed their recovery with this sixth success in eight matches, which closer to the play-offs.
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors after scoring a three-pointer against the Toronto Raptors on January 27, 2023 in San Francisco © Thearon W. Henderson / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP
Darius Garland (31 pts, 13 assists) was too alone to fill the absence of Donovan Mitchell (groin), at Cavs who still have a little lead over Miami (6th), winner of Orlando (110-105 ), despite being nine units behind at the start of the last quarter.
Jimmy Butler (29 pts, 6 assists, 6 rebounds) was dominant in the Heat's third straight success.
In the West, Golden State for its part won a second consecutive, which had not happened to it for ten games, at the expense of Toronto (129-117).
The Warriors, who go back to 7th place, were able to count on a very solid performance from Stephen Curry (35 pts, at 13/21, 11 assists), perfectly supported by his "splash brother" Klay Thompson (29 pts, 8 rebounds ).
In Minneapolis, the Wolves relied on Anthony Edwards, author of 25 points (7 assists) and a spectacular dunk on Jaren Jackson Jr, yet a formidable blocker, to defeat the Grizzlies, decidedly not at best at present.
Because what usually makes them strong, this ability to defend hard, to gallop better and score on the counter, has not worked for a few matches, despite the still commendable efforts of Ja Morant in triple-double mode (27 pts, 11 assists, 10 rbds).
Memphis is still a solid 2nd ahead of Sacramento.
Tribute to Tire Nichols before the game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on January 27, 2023 © David Berding / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP
Minnesota climbs to 8th place, showing the best in its game, like Rudy Gobert, still present defensively (13 rebounds, 3 blocks) and sometimes inspired in attack, contrary to what his 7 points suggest (at 3/5 ), like this back dunk on an alley-oop (pass in the air) and his blind pass in the back, decisive for Jaden McDaniels, in the money-time.
Before kick-off, the emotion was palpable in the ranks of the Grizzlies at the time of the minute of silence to honor the memory of Tire Nichols, an African-American who died at the age of 29 on January 7 in Memphis, after being passed beaten by five black policemen, who have since been charged with murder.
The discovery this Friday of the excruciating video of his arrest, and the fatal blows inflicted, deeply shocked players and teams of the league, who sent messages of sadness and condolences to the family of Nichols, the NBA calling the images '"horrible".
© 2023 AFP