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Marquette In The WNBA/NBA Bubble: A Catch Up Edition

Let’s go over what happened on Friday and Saturday in pro hoops action.

NBA: Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets
Jae Crowder, hitting the shots.
Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Bucks 119, Boston Celtics 112 — On Friday, Milwaukee jumped out to a 15 point lead in the first quarter and looked like they had full control of the game right out of the gate, but Boston took their best shots and kept on coming. The Celtics took a one point lead twice in the third quarter and again midway through the fourth before the Bucks closed on a 12-5 push to push away from a tie game and notch the win in their first game of the Restart.

If you were wondering if Giannis Antetokounmpo was ready or motivated or whatever you want to call it as the Restart begins at Walt Disney World, he answered that question in a resounding way. 36 points in 32 minutes on 14-for-20 shooting is crazy great, and that’s before we talk about his 15 rebounds and seven assists. We’re here for the Wesley Matthews talk, though. “All” he did in 26 minutes was sink two of his six long range attempts and hit all three of his free throws to add nine points to the proceedings. Maybe that doesn’t sound like much, but 1) that’s what he’s there to do and 2) Matthews did get one of those triples to put Milwaukee up 105-101 with 5:16 left to go and the game was very much still in doubt.

Miami Heat 125, Denver Nuggets 105 — The final score reads like the Heat wrecked the Nuggets, but that’s not the full story. Denver led by seven late in the second quarter and by as many as six in the early goings of the third quarter. Miami took control of the show with a 38-22 third quarter by the time the 12 minutes was over, including a 29-12 burst to close the frame with a 15 point lead. Denver never recovered from that and Miami eventually led by as many as 28 before finishing with the 20 point win.

Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder both got the start for head coach Eric Spoelstra, and they both played their parts. Butler wrapped up with a 22/4/7 outing in just 29 minutes, and he added three steals, too. Crowder was more of a role player in the proceedings as you might expect, adding nine points, seven rebounds, an assist, and a steal. All nine points came from behind the arc, as Crowder connected on three of his four long range attempts.

Los Angeles Clippers 126, New Orleans Pelicans 103 — Doc’s boys are looking better. After getting nudged out of the way by the Lakers in the opening game of the Restart, LA bounced back with a 23 point win over New Orleans to even their restart record at 1-1. They did this on the back of a franchise record 25 made three-pointers, and I don’t know about you, but I think winning basketball games gets pretty easy when you shoot 53% from behind the arc as a team.

It was all Clips all the time, as New Orleans never led in the game and LA got out to a 12-2 lead in just a little more than two minutes. It would be just 12 at the end of the first quarter, but when that 12 points means that LA had scored 37 to be up 37-25, the Pelicans were clearly in trouble. The game fell apart for New Orleans right after the Clippers took a 20 point lead for the first time in the game, as the margin quickly ballooned over 30 before it got to halftime. It would crest 40 late in the third quarter when Reggie Jackson dropped in a three-pointer to make it a 103-61 game with 2:09 left in the frame.

The game tightened up a bit by the end, but that’s more about head coach and noted Marquette guy Doc Rivers using his bench liberally as the game went on. No one played more than the 26 minutes logged by Kawhi Leonard and Marcus Morris and everyone who saw the court got at least four minutes of action for LA. Paul George led the team in scoring, getting 28 points in just 25 minutes, while Leonard added 24 in his PT.

Minnesota Lynx 78, Connecticut Sun 69 — Things are not going well for Natisha Hiedeman’s squad in the Wubble. A seven point halftime lead evaporated in the third quarter against the Lynx on Saturday, and Minnesota ran away with the game by putting together a 17-9 fourth quarter to send the Sun to 0-4 on the season. Connecticut is one of just two winless teams in the WNBA now, and they’re the first to lose four games as New York is only 0-3.

No one’s going to say that DeWanna Bonner is letting the Sun down. The offseason acquisition scored 28 points and added four rebounds, two assists, and two steals for Connecticut here. Most impressively, she went 5-for-11 from behind the three-point line after struggling from long range to start the season. Bonner is doing exactly what the Sun want her to do, but as was the case previously, they’re not getting enough from anyone else. Sure, Brionna Jones went for 15 and 7, but Alyssa Thomas missed all five of her field goal attempts and no one else on the roster managed to get into double digits.

Hiedeman got just short of nine minutes of run in this one, but she was far from productive. She missed her only field goal attempt, and she missed three of her four free throws attempts, too. Other than the lone freebie, her only positive contribution to the squad was a steal.

I’d put game highlights in here, but the WNBA doesn’t do full game highlight packages like the NBA does.

Up Next: The Bucks are back at it with a 7:30pm CT start against Houston on Sunday night on ABC. Miami gets their next game on Monday afternoon as they’ll tangle with Toronto at 12:30pm CT on NBA TV. The Clippers are off until Tuesday when a date with Phoenix awaits at 3pm CT on NBA TV. Connecticut will try for their first win of the year on Tuesday night when they face off against Seattle for the first time in the Wubble. Tipoff on that one is at 8pm Central on ESPN2.