Good morning! Here are the plays everybody will be talking about on Thursday:
Russell Westbrook hit a ref in the head with the ball. Was it intentional? Nobody knows for sure, but one former player said “yes.” Another former player stopped short of saying Westbrook did it on purpose, but did strongly suggest that it looked to be on purpose. What we do know is that one of the best passers in the NBA threw the ball with a little extra oomph in the direction of a ref who wasn’t looking. The refs did seemingly give Westbrook the benefit of the doubt by giving him a technical foul instead of ejecting him.
The Greek Freak sinks the Knicks with his defence and his jump shot. The Knicks had a lead and the ball in the closing seconds against the Bucks and then Giannis Antetokounmpo took over. First he defended an inbounds pass perfectly, knocking the ball off the leg of Derrick Rose and causing a turnover. Then he dribbled out the final eight seconds and sank a step-back jumper at the buzzer. Of course, it sure looks like Giannis committed a five-second, back-to-the-basket violation (a player is not allowed to dribble with his back to the basket for five seconds if he is closely guarded), but who’s counting.
Tottenham gets a huge win and ends Chelsea’s streak. The Spurs picked up a huge 2-0 win over rival Chelsea on Wednesday. The win not only ended Chelsea’s winning streak at 14, it also jumped Tottenham up to the all-important third spot in the Premier League table (the top three teams get automatic qualification into the group stage of the Champions League). Dele Alli scored both goals, with the first breaking a 0-0 tie in added time of the first half, and it was a beauty.
The LeBron-and-Curry-are-still-good-at-basketball bonus. We just couldn’t let either of these plays go, so they get bonus co-billing. Early in the Cavs’ loss to the Bulls, LeBron made an incredible — and underappreciated — over the shoulder, cross-court pass, from the corner, to Channing Frye for a wide-open three-pointer. Meanwhile, early in the third quarter of the Warriors’ win over Portland, Curry completed an 11-0 run with a nifty drive to the hoop that included a left-hand-to-right-hand switcheroo. Even Curry seemed to be amazed by his own shot.
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