December 8, 2021

NBA preseason: Doncic, Giannis in MVP spotlight

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Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo were under the MVP spotlight as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Milwaukee Bucks, while Zion Williamson returned with a bang for the New Orleans Pelicans as the NBA preseason continued on Monday.

MVP contenders?

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks shakes hands with Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks 1:46
Highlights from the Dallas Mavericks’ preseason win over the Milwaukee Bucks

Doncic, favourite for this season’s MVP award, led the way with 27 points, eight rebounds and four assists while Josh Richardson chipped in with 23 points, seven rebounds and two assists to secure a 128-112 win for the Mavericks over the Bucks.

Reigning Most Valuable Player Antetokounmpo put up 24 points, 14 rebounds and four assists for the Bucks, but was just one for seven from the free throw line. Khris Middleton had 13 points, six rebounds and five assists, and new man Jrue Holiday 11 points, four rebounds and six assists.

Zion announces himself

Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans shoots the ball against the Miami Heat during a preseason game 0:59
Watch Zion Williamson’s best bits on Monday night

Second-year forward Williamson produced a game-high 26 points, 11 rebounds and two assists in 33 minutes of action to help the Pelicans towards a 114-92 win over the Miami Heat. Brandon Ingram finished the night with 22 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Tyler Herro top scored for the Jimmy Butler-less Heat with 17 points, five rebounds and six assists, and Duncan Robinson had 14 points and two rebounds. The newly-extended Bam Adebayo managed nine points, three rebounds and eight assists in 19 minutes.

VanVleet stars

The Toronto Raptors made it two wins from two against the Charlotte Hornets with a 112-109 victory thanks to 23 points and four assists in 22 minutes from Fred VanVleet. He was supported by 17 points from first-round rookie Malachi Flynn, 14 from Terence Davis and 12 from Pascal Siakam.

No 3 overall pick LaMelo Ball recorded his first points as a Hornet, coming away with 12 to add to three rebounds and two assists. Jalen McDaniels and Terry Rozier contributed 15 points apiece, and offseason addition Gordon Hayward 14.

Grizzlies overcome Timberwolves

Jonas Valanciunas supplied 22 points, four rebounds and five assists alongside Dillon Brooks’ 21 points, six rebounds and four assists as the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 123-104 to secure a clean sweep in the two-game preseason series. Talisman Ja Morant, meanwhile, had 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

No 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards posted 12 points, four rebounds and two assists for Minnesota, who were led by D’Angelo Russell’s 19 points.

Jazz see off Suns

Rudy Gobert came away with 20 boards to go with his 11 points in the Jazz’s 111-92 victory over the Phoenix Suns, with Bojan Bogdanovic top scoring for Utah with 18 points followed by Mike Conley Jr’s 16 and Donovan Mitchell’s 15.

New arrival Chris Paul made his debut for Phoenix, collecting five points, two rebounds and six assists in 18 minutes, while Devin Booker led the game with 27 points.

Cavs win two straight

The Cleveland Cavaliers clinched a 116-106 win over the Indiana Pacers after a game-high 23 points from Dante Exum and 17 points apiece for Darius Garland and Andre Drummond, the latter of which also put up 11 rebounds. Rookie forward Isaac Okoro, the fifth overall pick in 2020, recorded 15 points, three rebounds and four assists.

Domantas Sabonis was the Pacers’ top scorer with 18 points along with nine rebounds and three assists. Victor Oladipo managed nine points, two rebounds and two assists.

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