Scores, Scores, Kevin Durant and Jock Landale, Ben Simmons Injury Update, Boston Celtics Breakdown

Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns made another statement in a dominant 125-104 win over the Chicago Bulls.

Durant had 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists in the win and was really starting to form a solid connection with Australia’s Jock Landale, who impressed off the bench.

Landale had nine points, six rebounds and a team-high plus 10 off the bench, but it was his connection with Durant in particular that got Suns reporters talking.

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“I love that Jock is being rewarded for the hustle and bustle that we’ve seen throughout the year,” Suns reporter Greg Esposito said on the PHNX Suns Podcast.

“He talked about trying to help guys feel better about themselves and being their hype type. I like that KD is his hype guy.

“KD is hammered for leadership. Those little things are guides, to walk up to Jock and pat him and say ‘You did it’, to encourage him and build that chemistry with the back-up center.”

As the Suns near the playoffs, coach Monty Williams must decide whether to keep Landale or Bismack Biyombo as the team’s reserve.

However, Gerald Bourguet said what Landale is starting to produce lately is a testament to how valuable he could be in this backup role.

“So far, a lot of KD’s mid-range pull-ups have come from a Jock Landale screen,” he said.

“I don’t know what makes them build this chemistry so quickly, but on a couple of rolls, KD throws him the bounce pass before Jock is even in the room. He just trusts that he will be there. Hopefully it’s something they can build on because as we mentioned before, KD makes those all-bank lineups that much more playable.

“We talked about Jock or Bis for the playoffs. If that’s the jock we’re getting that can be productive and energize, hit the glass and put up good screens, jock is a really good part of your playoff rotation.”


Brooklyn – which has struggled mightily since swapping Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving – broke a four-game sled with its first Signature win of its post-Superstar era.

And they did it, charging back from a huge hole for a 115-105 win over Boston in front of a stunned, sold-out crowd of 19,156 at the TD Garden.

The Nets (34-28) trailed by 28 points in the second quarter, taking advantage of a 51-19 blitz that extended through the break and turned the game around. It was also a blueprint for how they hope to look in the future, led by up-and-coming Mikal Bridges and a young core.

The Nets’ 28-point rally equals the biggest comeback win in franchise history, previously coming on February 16, 2022 at the Knicks and March 19, 2019 at Sacramento.

During a visit to TD Garden on February 1, Brooklyn had been blitzed 139-96 by the Celtics. Irving had spoken wistfully of his time in Boston, vowed to find a way to beat it, then demanded a trade two days later. That led to Durant’s departure and the dissolution of their supposed super team.

Mikal Bridges led the way. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“I try to keep it simple with our guys and not overcomplicate it,” Jacque Vaughn said. “The goal is that we try to win the basketball game every night. That’s the goal (every) night and then we take care of whatever happens next.

“I haven’t talked to our guys about where we are in the standings in a week’s time, I really don’t want them to look that far ahead. For us, our game plan (Boston) is dedicated and trying to give what we have.”

You have given enough.

Upon their return to the stage, they gave the first hint of a promising future. They had lost six out of seven since Bridges and Cam Johnson arrived. But the former yielded a game-high 38 points and ten rebounds — a shake of a small change to take over and look like a piece of a building block down to the last detail.

The latter shrugged off a slow start to add 20 points on his birthday.

Boston (45-18) was led by Jaylen Brown’s 35.

Jaylen Brown had 35 points. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Brooklyn had to dig out a hole – make a ravine out of it – of her own making.

They were 13-3 just out of goal and it was 35-13 after a layup by Derrick White at 1:51 in the first quarter.

Brooklyn’s deficit swelled to 51-23 after a Jaylen Brown layup – yes, it was a procession to the brink – with 7:23 remaining at halftime. But they absorbed the defensive energy, got out and ran with pace and pace.

The Nets scored either transition buckets or a dangerous early offense and started a 51-19 blitz that stretched the half.

Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith had come over from Dallas for Irving, and the former found the latter for a 3-pointer corner at halftime, sending the Nets into the dressing room only 64-55.

Embiid starts phenomenal but useless 3! | 00:41

Johnson’s free throw put Brooklyn ahead, and center Nic Claxton capped the run, giving them a 74-70 lead.

Bridges, which appeared bumpy after driving past White, were pretty much the Flash’s only setback. But when he got back on the floor minutes later and continued his attack on the Celtics, Brooklyn fans could breathe a sigh of relief.

The Nets – who failed to buy a basket early – hit 65 percent, including 6-of-9 from the 3-point range. And they were sparked by a suddenly harassing defense that kept the Celtics off the ground on just nine of 25.

Dinwiddie extended the lead to 106-90 on a step-back 3 with 6:54 to play. The rest was garbage time — but shockingly, Brooklyn was on the right end.

There was some bad news for the Nets ahead of Saturday’s game, however, as coach Vaughn revealed Ben Simmons has suffered another setback.

Ben Simmons had a setback. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Simmons has already been sidelined with knee pain but is now struggling with another injury, although Vaughn is adamant the Australian will not be shut down for the season.

“During his strengthening process, he had back pain,” Vaughn said.

“Now we’re in the process of strengthening the knee while also managing the back … I’m really in it day-to-day with how it’s looking due to the addition of the back forward.”

– New York Post


Elsewhere, Josh Giddey impressed on both sides of the floor as the Oklahoma City Thunder hit a season-best five-game losing streak with a 130-103 win over the Utah Jazz.

The Aussie put on an early show with a smooth spin move and also fed his teammates to find Jalen Williams for a wild dunk later in the game.

Giddey finished the game with 18 points after shooting 8-for-17 from the field, although the 20-year-old couldn’t get any of his 3-point attempts to be put down.

But it was still a productive performance from Giddey, who turned the ball over just once while managing six rebounds, 13 assists, a steal and a block in the win.

Josh Giddey impressed for the Thunder. (Photo by Carmen Mandato / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)Source: AFP

Giddey also got plenty of help, with Aaron Wiggins exploding off the bench for a team-high 27 points while four other teammates were in double figures.

All-Star Lauri Markkanen, meanwhile, led the lead for the Jazz even after a slow start, finishing the game with 20 points to go with 10 rebounds despite also having six turnovers.

The win was crucial for the Thunder, who improved to a 29-34 record after falling behind in the Western Conference as the race for the play-in tournament heated up.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, also included in the league’s health and safety protocols, was sidelined alongside Kenrich Williams (wrist, season) with an abdominal strain.


Loss to Orlando Magic 117 Charlotte Hornet 106

Portland Trailblazer 111 Loss to Atlanta Hawks 129

New York Knicks 122 loss Miami Heat 120

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