After the NBA’s marquee teams and biggest stars gave fans a Christmas Day feast Tuesday, the rest of the league returned to action Wednesday. And some players were clearly more pumped than others.
Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose made a triumphant return to Chicago, where he starred for eight seasons, scoring 24 and handing out eight assists in a 119-94 win over the Bulls. The crowd greeted Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP, with chants of “MVP” during his performance.
— The whole city of Chicago 🌹 pic.twitter.com/Xozh4wTZhE
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) December 27, 2018
“I had to crack a smile … it meant a lot,” Rose said afterward (via NBCS).
In one of the night’s biggest games, the Spurs defeated the visiting Nuggets 111-103. The loss knocked Denver (21-11) out of first place in the Western Conference. They’re now a half game behind the Warriors, who were idle.
DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 27 as the Spurs (19-16) won for the fifth time in six games.
Studs of the Night
High-scoring sixth man Spencer Dinwiddie scored a career-high 37 to lead the Nets to a double-overtime win over the Hornets.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 20 points and 20 rebounds in the Timberwolves’ win over the Bulls.
Devin Booker poured in 35 points to help the Suns escape with a 122-120 victory over the Magic.
Rookie star Luka Doncic scored 21 points and added 10 assists and nine rebounds in the Mavericks’ 122-119 win over the Pelicans.
Kent Bazemore scored 32 points in the Hawks’ loss to the Pacers.
Dud of the Night
Nuggets guard Jamal Murray made only four of his 19 shots and had a minus-20 rating in Denver’s loss to San Antonio.
Hassan Whiteside spins his way to a big dunk
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 27, 2018
How does Derrick Rose hit this shot?
D. Rose hangs and hits it in Chicago! pic.twitter.com/q6nFZW8DdQ
— NBA (@NBA) December 27, 2018
Celtics (20-13) at Rockets (18-15) 8 p.m. ET — A nice inter-conference matchup that would have fit right in with the marquee slate on Christmas. After a rocky patch in late November and early December, the Rockets have now won seven of eight. However, Chris Paul is out with a strained groin and James Harden is questionable (bruised calf). The Celtics are coming off a big overtime win against the 76ers on Christmas Day, led by Kyrie Irving (40 points).