In Wednesday's games, a promising young player sustained his hot hand and a star walked off the court with a knee injury. The Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies attempted to win their first games since the official restart of the season.
The Western Conference could have a play-in tournament between the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds. In the eighth spot, the Grizzlies have struggled to pick up wins as the Portland Trail Blazers creep up behind them in the standings following a 110-102 victory over the Houston Rockets Tuesday.
In the Eastern Conference, the Washington Wizards haven't closed the gap on the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets, but they had a competitive matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Almost a week into the regular-season bubble games, the brackets in both conferences remain fluid. Which teams and players put on a show Wednesday? Let's revisit all the action with scores, stats and highlights.
Utah Jazz 124, Memphis Grizzlies 115
Joe Ingles (UTA): 25 PTS (6-11 3PT), 4 REB, 5 AST
Mike Conley (UTA): 23 PTS, 5 REB, 7 AST
Jonas Valanciunas (MEM): 21 PTS, 14 REB, 3 AST
Ja Morant (MEM): 20 PTS, 6 REB, 9 AST
The Utah Jazz found their way back into the win column, taking down the Grizzlies after consecutive losses. Joe Ingles led his team to victory with his sharpshooting Wednesday.
As a team, the Jazz shot 40 percent (18-of-45) from three-point territory. Without forward Bojan Bogdanovic (wrist surgery), that's the type of shooting performance Utah needs for a postseason run.
Donovan Mitchell didn't have an efficient scoring output, converting 7-of-18 from the floor, but he broke down the Grizzlies defense to find a comfortable range on his shot, rocked the rim after cleaning the glass and finished with 18 points.
The Grizzlies have yet to win a regular-season game in the bubble. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Jaren Jackson Jr. will miss the remainder of the campaign with a torn meniscus. Rookie forward Brandon Clarke replaced him Wednesday, scoring six points and grabbing five rebounds.
Four Grizzlies scored 20 or more points, including Grayson Allen off the bench. Yet, Utah outscored Memphis by eight in the final quarter to close out a win.
Philadelphia 76ers 107, Washington Wizards 98
Joel Embiid (PHI): 30 PTS, 11 REB, 3 STL, 2 BLK
Tobias Harris (PHI): 17 PTS, 6 REB
Thomas Bryant (WAS): 19 PTS, 10 REB, 2 STL, 4 BLK
Troy Brown Jr. (WAS): 17 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST
The Philadelphia 76ers needed a full four quarters to put away the Wizards. They also did it without Ben Simmons. In the third quarter, he exited with a knee injury, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the two-time All-Star's MRI came back clean, and he's considered day-to-day.
Joel Embiid finished with a 30-point double-double to help seal the victory. Shake Milton established a rhythm from deep, scoring on three of his five attempts from beyond the arc.
If Simmons misses some time, Milton has to contribute on a larger scale as a scorer, distributor and on the defensive end.
The Wizards dropped to 0-4 in the NBA restart and fell behind the Charlotte Hornets (23-42), who didn't qualify to enter the bubble.
Without All-Star guard Bradley Beal, Washington had a long shot to pull within four games of the No. 8 seed to force a play-in tournament. Barring a complete collapse for the Nets and Magic, the Wizards won't have a chance at a play-in tournament series.
Denver Nuggets 132, San Antonio Spurs 126
Michael Porter Jr. (DEN): 30 PTS (5-9 3PT), 15 REB
Nikola Jokic (DEN): 25 PTS, 4 REB, 11 AST
Rudy Gay (SA): 24 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 2 BLK
Derrick White (SA): 23 PTS, 3 REB, 7 AST
Michael Porter Jr. exploded for 30-plus points in a second consecutive game, propelling the Denver Nuggets to another win.
Porter put the ball on the floor and showcased his shooting range Wednesday. His ability to score anywhere on the court fills a void as Jamal Murray (hamstring), Gary Harris (hip) and Will Barton (knee) nurse injuries. More importantly, he worked well with Nikola Jokic, who dished out 11 assists.
With Jerami Grant logging 22 points off the bench, the Nuggets showed they're still viable offensively without two of their top three scorers, Murray and Barton.
The San Antonio Spurs kept the scores tight going into the final quarter with the game tied at 89. Rudy Gay recorded a team-leading 24 points off the bench.
Derrick White and DeMar DeRozan combined for 41 points and 15 assists. Individually, the other three Spurs starters scored fewer than 10 points. San Antonio's defense allowed the Nuggets to shoot 55 percent from the floor.
This game featured a ton of free-flowing offense, and Denver pulled away midway through the final quarter.
Oklahoma City Thunder 105, Los Angeles Lakers 86
Chris Paul (OKC): 21 PTS, 7 REB, 6 AST
Danilo Gallinari (OKC): 19 PTS, 7 REB
LeBron James (LAL): 19 PTS, 11 REB, 4 AST
Despite locking up the No. 1 seed, the Los Angeles Lakers played LeBron James and Anthony Davis for 30 and 29 minutes, respectively. However, the duo shot a combined 10-of-30 from the field as the Purple and Gold looked out of sorts offensively.
Only two Lakers, James and Kyle Kuzma, eclipsed 10 points, while the Oklahoma City Thunder controlled the game from start to finish. Chris Paul dominated Los Angeles, using swift moves to shake defenders, shooting 8-of-12 from the floor and finding his teammates for easy buckets.
The Thunder can make a run in the standings with two teams that have gone winless in the bubble coming up on the schedule in the Grizzlies and Wizards. They're tied with the Houston Rockets for the No. 5 seed just a half-game behind the No. 4-seeded Utah Jazz.
Toronto Raptors 109, Orlando Magic 99
Fred VanVleet (TOR): 21 PTS, 4 REB, 10 AST
Pascal Siakam (TOR): 15 PTS, 6 REB
Aaron Gordon (ORL): 9 PTS, 11 REB, 5 AST, 3 BLK
The Toronto Raptors locked down the Magic, who shot 40 percent from the floor. The defending champions have the length to cover the floor and the quality depth to keep fresh bodies on the court.
Raptors guards Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet took the spotlight—each dishing out 10 assists. The latter topped all scorers with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting:
Toronto continues to roll through competition, winning its first three games. It sits in a comfortable spot as the No. 2 seed five games ahead of the Boston Celtics. The two squads will square off Friday.
Boston Celtics 149, Brooklyn Nets 115
Jaylen Brown (BOS): 21 PTS (5-9 3PT), 4 REB
Jayson Tatum (BOS): 19 PTS (5-8 3PT), 2 REB
Robert Williams III (BOS): 18 PTS, 5 REB, 3 BLK
Coming off an upset victory over the No. 1-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, the Nets tried to carry over that momentum against the Celtics. However, Boston didn't allow any hope for its opponent.
The Celtics outscored the Nets by at least nine points in each of the first three quarters. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum established their shooting rhythms and scorched the net from downtown, converting a combined 10-of-18 in three-point attempts.
Second-year center Robert Williams flashed on both sides of the court with a strong finish and a stop at the hoop.
The Celtics put together a dominant performance without Kemba Walker who had a rest day for his knee.
Williams could become a key component of the rotation going forward. With his interior defense, Boston may have someone to challenge Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jimmy Butler at the rim. He could see more minutes in the playoffs.
Updated Playoff Picture
1. Milwaukee Bucks (54-14)
2. Toronto Raptors (49-18)
3. Boston Celtics (45-23)
4. Miami Heat (43-25)
5. Indiana Pacers (42-26)
6. Philadelphia 76ers (41-27)
7. Brooklyn Nets (32-36)
8. Orlando Magic (32-37)
9. Washington Wizards (24-44)
1. Los Angeles Lakers (51-16)
2. Los Angeles Clippers (45-22)
3. Denver Nuggets (45-23)
4. Utah Jazz (43-25)
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (42-25)
6. Houston Rockets (42-25)
7. Dallas Mavericks (41-29)
8. Memphis Grizzlies (32-37)
9. Portland Trail Blazers (31-38)
10. San Antonio Spurs (29-38)
11. New Orleans Pelicans (29-38)
12. Phoenix Suns (29-39)
13. Sacramento Kings (28-39)