Records fell all over the NBA this weekend, with 351 points shared between the Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings, and there was another 71-point performance in Portland. Elsewhere, Philadelphia hosted an excellent, high-intensity match between two championship-caliber teams. Overall, it was an excellent weekend for basketball fans and bettors. Check out our NBA picks of the weekend action.
If you look in the history books after this weekend, numbers three and four on the highest single-game scoring totals in an NBA match will be occupied by two Pacific Division rivals, the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers. It’s even more remarkable that both reached the totals in the same game.
Featuring an astonishing 351 points, the game is the second-highest total scoring matchup in NBA history. Both teams shot at 58.6% or better from the field, hit 44 from beyond the arc and it was a wildly competitive game between two high-quality teams.
Russell Westbrook debuted for the Clippers after his release from the Utah Jazz, and his 14 assists tied for the most dimes in a team debut in LA Clippers history. Westbrook also brought the best out of Kawhi Leonard, who had his best game since his ACL injury in 2021. He finished with 44 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks in a career-high 46 minutes.
Paul George scored 34 points, and Norman Powell scored 24 from the bench. This excellent Clippers performance would have beaten nearly every team in the NBA.
Not the Kings. Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox led Sacramento around the court and combined to score 45 and 43, respectively, with each also contributing five dimes. They became the first pair of teammates to score 40+ and contribute five assists since Paul George and Russell Westbrook for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2019.
The Clippers kept pulling ahead but couldn’t overcome the Kings’ dynamic offense. LA was up 145-131 with 4:25 remaining in regulation and led by six in each overtime period, but Sacramento fought back and brought the win back to Northern California. After beating their divisional rival for the second time this season, the Kings are (+300) with NBA betting apps to win the Pacific Division, which could be quite valuable given their sensational offense.
Luckily for basketball fans, the two sides meet again on Friday, March 3.
The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers met at the Wells Fargo Center and were separated by a Jayson Tatum shot from beyond the arc with just 1.3 seconds left on Saturday night. Remarkably, Joel Embiid landed a near-full-court shot in response but couldn’t get the shot off before time expired.
The Celtics remain the favorites to win the NBA with most USA sports betting sites, valued at (+280), while the 76ers are fifth favorites with sportsbooks at +1300. Philadelphia battled hard but came up short against a Boston team that has proved its resilience this season and was pushed to its limits again. While Boston hasn’t always been easy to watch, they have been hard to beat.
Boston fell behind by 15 points in the third quarter but dug deep to get out of the hole and overcome Philadelphia. The team’s stars produced yet again: Jaylen Brown scored 26 points, Derrick White 18 and Al Horford hit five threes that turned the game on its head.
In the end, Tatum was the hero with the walk-off three-pointer. “I dream about taking those shots,” Tatum said. “The worst thing that can happen is you miss.” Tatum didn’t miss. He celebrated the win by giving his jersey to Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith, a Celtics fan.
For Philadelphia, it was a case of what might have been. Embiid scored 41 to stay in the hunt for MVP with NBA betting sites, but he could have tied the game had he pitched his shot from downtown a millisecond earlier. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak, but there was hope in the Sixers’ performance, especially after the poor showing in the last meeting between these two teams, where Boston beat them 106-99.
Boston remains the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, and with clutch players like Tatum, Brown and Horford, it’s hard to see who can get the best of them this season.
“My Mom calls me and says [Lillard] tied your record. … [I] gotta get 72 now,” said Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell Sunday night. After scoring the most points from an NBA player in 17 years, Damian Lillard matched Mitchell’s feat in just under two months.
Lillard backed up an excellent All-Star Game performance with a record-breaking night for the Portland Trail Blazers against the Houston Rockets, equaling Donovan Mitchell’s season-high 71 points. The 32-year-old became the eighth player to score over 70 in a game and the first over the age of 30. He also broke a franchise record in the process. Oh, and led the Trail Blazers to a victory.
“I enjoy those moments in the game when I'm just going after people when I'm in attack mode," said Lillard. His 13 three-pointers from 22 attempts were just one away from breaking a record set by Klay Thompson in 2018. He was 22-of-38 from the field and made all 14 free throws. His 41 first-half points were also a career-high for the seven-time All-Star.
Wilt Chamberlain still holds the record for most points in a game, with 100 made in March 1962. Lillard has had five 60-point games in his career, with only Kobe Bryant, with six, and Chamberlain, with 32, having more. In typical style, Lillard wasn’t bothered by the performance, saying, “Was I supposed to be overly excited, or what?"