Seattle Storm 87, Connecticut Sun 74 — It goes into the record books as a loss for the still winless Sun, but we have to acknowledge the historical importance of this game. Natisha Hiedeman got the nod in the starting lineup for head coach Curt Miller, replacing Bria Holmes. It was the first WNBA career start for Hiedeman, and as such, makes this the first game that a Marquette player has ever started a WNBA game. Hiedeman played more than three-quarters of the minutes for the Sun, finishing with eight points, seven rebounds, a team high five assists, and a steal. She knocked in two of her five three-point attempts, and given that the Sun shot just 28% from long range as a team, that’s a really important aspect that Hiedeman can provide to the team.
As has been the case for a number of games this season, Connecticut had this one in their hands until they didn’t late. Seattle scored the final 13 points of the third quarter to open up an eight point lead, 61-53, at the break, and then an 11-0 run by the Storm in the fourth quarter sealed it up.
20 points from Brionna Jones led the way for the Sun, while DeWanna Bonner had a bad night and only scored five points on 2-for-9 shooting. Connecticut had been riding Bonner for big performances previously but falling short. Here, things went the other way, and it still went as a loss for the Sun.
Brooklyn Nets 119, Milwaukee Bucks 116 — Yeah, that seems bad for the team with the best record in the NBA, but let’s explain it. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton played just 15 minutes each, all in the first half, while Brook Lopez and OUR GUY~! Wesley Matthews sat this one out completely. So there’s that.
It was an oddly compelling game to watch when you consider the fact that Brooklyn is a ragtag bunch of guys relative to what their roster was when the season began last fall and Milwaukee clearly didn’t really care what the result of the game was. I don’t think we have to get too deep into analysis here since Mike Budenholzer elected to see if his bench could win a game all on their own and our reason for paying attention — the aforementioned Mr. Matthews — didn’t even play.
Phoenix Suns 117, Los Angeles Clippers 115 — Well, this is really turning into a bummer of an update article. Devin Booker scored 35 for the Suns, including a jumper as the buzzer sounded to keep Phoenix alive for a playoff spot and push the Clips back towards a mush of teams in the middle of the Western Conference standings.
With five Restart games left to play, LA has just a half game lead on Denver for the #2 seed, with Utah two games further back and OKC jockeying with Houston a half game back of the Jazz. In short, OUR GUY~! Doc Rivers has a little bit more stress in his life right now.
The Clips should have had a chance to win the game. Kawhi Leonard hit a pair of freebies with 31 seconds left and LA induced a stop on the other end, but Mikal Bridges came up with a steal on the ensuing possession that gave Phoenix and Booker a chance to get the win.
Leonard finished with 27/7/3 for the Clippers, who also got 23 points from Paul George and 18 points from Ivica Zubac.
Miami Heat 112, Boston Celtics 106 — FINALLY, some good news. Miami lead the entire way in this one, building a lead as large as 16 late in the second quarter and fending off a Boston charge in the third before securing the victory at the final horn.
It is, however, not all good news. OUR GUY~! Jimmy Butler sat this game out with a sore ankle stemming from Monday’s loss to Toronto. Remember, this game was actually on Tuesday, just one day after the loss to the Raptors, so it’s not terribly surprising that head coach Eric Spoelstra didn’t take a risk with his MVP. With the win, Miami stayed ahead of the Pacers for fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings and pulled closer to Boston for the #3 spot. The Celtics picked up a win on Wednesday to create a two game lead over the Heat, but the Heat still have five games left to play versus just four for the Celtics.
Jae Crowder gave the Heat eight points on the night, going 2-for-4 from long range to get most of those. He also added four rebounds. Bam Adebayo was the big star for the Heat in Butler’s absence, getting a double-double on 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Up Next: Who’s ready for a busy Thursday of action? We have two Marquette-centric teams facing off today, as Miami and Milwaukee tangle at 3pm Central on TNT. The Clippers get the Mavericks immediately after that one wraps up and/or at 5:30pm CT on TNT. Connecticut goes for their first win of the season when they square off with Dallas in a 7pm start on NBA TV.