Two of the 10 rebounds Karl-Anthony Towns pulled down Wednesday night of the offensive variety, and one was important to the outcome of the game as it gets.
Off an errant shot from Andrew Wiggins at the top of the key with about three seconds left in overtime, Towns managed to snag a long rebound over Marc Gasol, who was boxing him out. He jumped while turning and leaving a 14-foot desperation try, nailing the baseline jumper as he fell away and overtime expired.
"I knew it was," said Towns, enjoying his first ever game winning, buzzer-beater. "It felt good." Towns finished with 16 points, well below his 22.8 point average, but he came up big when it counted. Early in the morning, we spent a lot of time on the bench during the first three quarters.
As always, we rate game-winning buzzer-beaters on our Horry Scale.
Reminder: The Horry Scale breaks down a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team behind or at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety night in January?) and celebration. Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1
DIFFICULTY: For a two-pointer, Towns' effort was near the top in degree of difficulty. He had to secure the rebound over defenders, keeping possession and turn for the shot immediately from a tough toward-the-baseline angle, knowing that only a second or so. There was no way to use the glass on this shot. Towns' 14-footer barely glanced at the rim as it swished through. Moving backward, he ended up out of bounds.
GAME SITUATION: As the announcer puts it: "A KAT-a-strophic finish for the Grizzlies." Down to the buzzer in overtime, Memphis needed the game desperately, having gone 1-9 over the past 10 games and above only Phoenix at the bottom of the Western Conference. So Towns' shot in overtime to give the Timberwolves the hard-fought win was for the struggling Grizzlies.
CELEBRATION: Towns had a smile on his face even before it was confirmed that the shot left his hand and tenth of a second before the buzzer.
GRADE: This was an exceptional shot, performed under pressure and in competition with Gasol, a good defender and rebounder. It was a routine game, though this gives the Timberwolves a slight boost in the playoff hunt. Three and a half Horrys.
The Utah Jazz came into Wednesday's game with the Portland Trail Blazers on a roll. They had won nine of their last 10 and were the second-hottest team in the league behind the Golden State Warriors, who have won 11 straight.
The Blazers' backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum changed that fixed. Call them the coolers.
The duo combined for 66 points in the Blazers' 132-105 win over the Jazz, scoring 45 points in the first half to put Utah well in the rear-view mirror. In a one-two punch, McCollum poured in 20 points in the first quarter and Lillard posted 15 in the second.
It was the third time this season that Lillard and McCollum had each scored 30 or more.
The Blazers never let up and finished with 132 points against one of the stingiest teams in the NBA.
Two young Celtics displayed outstanding dunking trial in the Celtics' 126-94 win over the Hornets. Boston, by the way, has won seven of its last 10 games.
In the third quarter, Jayson Tatum finished an outstanding all-open pass from Terry Rozier, slamming it down with one hand after attacking the basket from the left wing .
In the second quarter, Jaylen Brown did a little Dominique Wilkins-like rock the cradle on a breakaway dunk.
He's still an official member of the team, but are the New Orleans Pelicans moving on without Anthony Davis?
Head coach Alvin Gentry couldn't give a definitive answer when asked before the Nuggets topped the Pelicans 105-99 if the franchise player would ever play another game for New Orleans. Davis missed a sixth straight game with a sprained index finger, and set the NBA abuzz early this week with his desire to be traded.
– NBA TV (@NBATV) January 30, 2019
Other evidence that the Pelicans consider Davis gone is the fact that the team removed him from the introductory video played before home games. He is still listed on the team Web site's roster, but every other player on the active roster is part of the video
The Pels already took AD out of their intro vid. Petty 19 pic.twitter.com/sndEOIKHsD
– Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 31, 2019
And after the Pelicans beat the Rockets the other night, Gentry appeared to ignore Davis as he walked past the locker room. This is more fuel for the speculation four.
Alvin Gentry ignores Anthony Davis post game pic.twitter.com/ANGUBLGhpq
– The Render (@TheRenderNBA) January 30, 2019
The awkwardness is not likely to end soon. The Pelicans reportedly are in no rush to move Davis before the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
How much does Knicks' big man Enes Kanter like his job? Well, he kissed the Knicks' logo on the Madison Square Garden floor when he finally got into the game vs. the Mavericks in the third quarter. Kanter had been a "DNP" for four straight games. But his first action of the night didn't turn out that well. Maybe there's a reason for not getting too much playing time.
Enes Kanter finally gets into the game for the Knicks. Kisses the floor, immediately airballs. pic.twitter.com/wpvb3Y9dWj
– Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) January 31, 2019
The crowd had been chanting "we want Kanter," which he acknowledged with a wave before entering the
Dirk gets MSG love
Dirk Nowitzki may have made his last appearance at Madison Square Garden, scoring a season-high 14 points in the Mavericks' 114-90 win over the Knicks. He got a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd when he entered the game during the first quarter.