Morning everybody and welcome to another edition of Last Night In The NBA where we bring you up to speed on everything that went down from the night before in the Association. Honestly, this opening week of the 2018-19 NBA season has been ridiculous. The league could not have asked for a better start having to compete with playoff baseball and football. Team are coming out scoring a billion points a night, we had a full on fight on the night’s biggest stage, the whole thing has been incredible. Games are close and provide great drama and it’s not even November yet. We waited so long for basketball to be back in our lives and it is rewarding us right off the bat, you have to love that. Now if you were busy or maybe a little fucked up and didn’t catch all that went down with the 10 games we had last night, keep reading. You’re hung over right now so don’t worry, I got you. Here’s what happened
Boston Celtics (2-1) 103 vs New York Knicks (1-2) 101
I’ll have my deep dive into Jayson Tatum becoming the new owner of MSG soon, so let’s just focus on the Knicks quickly. Say what you want about them, but this is a scrappy ass team that is going to play hard as hell. Many people were giving me shit that the Celts couldn’t blow this team out, but since when do the Celtics blow people out? That’s not what they do. What they do is a game like last night where they make Tim Hardaway Jr look like he was actually worth that contract. They let a rookie like Alonzo Trier actually make an impact
When you play hard like the Knicks do, you’re going to be in more games than you think, and while they were unable to pull it out because Jayson Tatum is an absolute savage, Knicks fans should still be proud of this team. They are not one of these teams that’s just going to roll over and pray for a high lottery pick. They still may get that pick, but they are going to be entertaining to watch all year.
Toronto Raptors (3-0) 117 vs Washington Wizards (0-2) 113
Resting Kawhi, the Raptors on the second night of a back to back went into Washington and stole this game. This was another great example of the type of night we had in the league yesterday, with everything being close and stars doing star things. This Raptors performance is pretty standard, with seven players in double figures, and four of them coming from the bench. If you were a bench player and you played more than 10 minutes in this game, you had at least 10 points. That’s pretty good.
Kyle Lowry, who has looked great to start the year was the go to guy in this one with 28/12 in his starter high 35 minutes
but when things got tight, just like they did against BOS, it was Fred VanVleet that came up huge.
That is one big time pressured shot right there. This is why many believe the Raptors to be the leaders in the East, they are deep, and they can go on the road and pull off wins like this. That’s going to be huge for them moving forward if they don’t have to rely on their crazy home court advantage, and there’s no doubt they’ve looked the best in the East so far to start the year.
For WSH, I don’t want to sound dramatic, but with POR and GS on deck, an 0-4 start is a very real possibility. As is often the case, both John Wall and Bradley Beal were awesome, combining for 57 total points, but the problem was nobody else really showed up
In a weird twist the Wizards even had a great fourth quarter, scoring 31 points so this wasn’t usually how they lose games. Usually this is a time where they collapse, and that’s what has to sting for Wizards fans. Ending the night with 41/33% splits at home, against a team like TOR, isn’t going to cut it. The one thing this type of team did NOT need was a slow start, and frankly that’s exactly what it looks like they are getting.
Brooklyn Nets (1-2) 112 vs Indiana Pacers (2-1) 132
One of the few blowouts we got last night, this looked a whole lot more like the Pacers team I remember. A total of 9 players in double figures, a ridiculous 55.4/66.7% shooting night with 16 3PM and 22 FTA, the Pacers exploded to say the least. No quarter under 28 points, all led by Oladipo who had a pretty solid 25/7/3/4 on 50/50% shooting
Safe to says the breakout year we got last season was not a fluke. I’ll give the Nets credit, this was actually close after the first quarter, but when a team literally doesn’t miss like IND did, what are you going to do? When even Kyle O’Quinn is coming in and dominating, you have to just accept that it’s just not going to be your night
For BKN, they didn’t play poorly by any stretch. Scoring 112 points on 47/43% with 16 3PM on the road usually wins you a lot of ball games so they have nothing to be ashamed of. Outside fo D’Angelo Russell’s 5-16 shooting the starters were mostly efficient, and they bench guys like Dinwiddie, Faried, and Kurucs all played well. So far they haven’t been able to win on the road this season, but this is not the same roll over team we remember from BKN. They’ll fight till the end and may find themselves in the playoffs.
Orlando Magic (1-2) 115 vs Philadelphia 76ers (2-1) 116
Listen, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, and the Sixers were a little lucky last night. ORL missing a key FT at the end of this game secured the win and helped them avoid complete disaster. There was also JJ Redick going crazy, which doesn’t happen very often
They lost Simmons early due to back tightness, so pressure was then on guys like Embiid and Fultz to step up. This was no problem for Embiid who had another monster 32/10 performance
Fultz, not so much. He wasn’t bad, his 11/7 was respectable, but he shot just 4-11 and had a little bit of a fouling issue. So far this season he has 33/33% splits and if Simmons is going to miss any serious time, he’s obviously going to have to play better if the Sixers want to beat teams that aren’t Orlando.
But hey, a win is a win so if I’m a Sixers fan I forget about it and move on
For ORL, you blew it. Plain and simple you blew this game. Nikola Vucevic came out of nowhere and dropped a triple double on Embiid’s head
and it was all for nothing. You had Terrance Ross making 40 footers
Even Evan Fournier dropped 31
and it was all for nothing because you can’t make your FTs late. That’s a big time kick to the dick and Aaron Gordon should be ashamed of himself.
Charlotte Hornets (2-1) 113 vs Miami Heat (1-2) 112
The Hornets won a close game! I repeat, the Hornets won a close game! That almost never happens! Sure they almost blew a massive 20 point lead, but they didn’t! Congratulations to them. Also, Contract Year Kemba Walker is on a tear right now, with another 39 points and clutch baskets late, this guy is on another planet right now
Sure he took 31 of their 93 shots, but who cares when you’re as effective as Kemba has been. They needed every one of those points since Batum and Lamb combined to go just 6-22, and only Malik Monk reached double figures for the second unit. There should be a little concern with how they sort of let up in the second half, giving up back to back 30 point quarters to the Heat, but to steal a game like that on the road with a performance like Kemba’s is pretty impressive.
For MIA, credit to them for battling back when they easily could have just mailed it in after getting down 20+. Instead, we got some vintage DWade which will always be fun when playing in that building
I also feel like we got the early leader for dunk of the season from Derrick Jones Jr
and guys like Dragic (20/4/7) and Whiteside (11/15) did their part. This would have been an epic comeback that fell just short, but at least there was drama which is all you can ask for.
Detroit Pistons (2-0) 118 vs Chicago Bulls (0-2) 116
I’m telling you, every game last night was like this. The Pistons going on the road, somewhere they almost never won last year, and stealing a game like this is a positive sign for them moving forward. I know it’s the Bulls, but who cares. Blake looked great with his 33/12/5 on 12-23 shooting in a starter high 35 minutes
and when it came time for someone to step up and make the game winner, it wasn’t exactly who you would think. It was Ish Smith on a nice little drive to seal it
Many people thought Blake Griffin was crazy when he said the Pistons were going to win the NBA title, well all I know is there are three undefeated teams in the East, and they are one of them.
For CHI, you’re mad that you lost, but should you be? We’re all about the rebuild here and you do not exactly need wins right now. Instead you want young guys to show flashes and keep you entertained throughout the game. I’d say that’s what they got.
Did you know LaVine is the 3rd Bull ever to open a season with back to back 30 point games? Jordan and Bob Love were the others. Not too shabby! I also thought Wendell Carter Jr was good given the front line he was going up against, he finished with 8 points on 4-6 shooting. Give CHI credit, they shot 50% for the game and hung with DET every step of the way. All they needed was one defensive stop late, but again they shouldn’t focus on wins anyway.
Minnesota Timberwolves (1-2) 136 vs Dallas Mavericks (1-1) 140
I mean look at these scores! This was in regulation too. I don’t even know how to explain it because scores like this are not exactly what you would expect from these two teams, and yet they were both on fire. I’m talking 52/51% splits with 14 3PM for MIN, with their normal guys like KAT and Teague doing their thing
and then Derrick Rose coming out of nowhere with his 28 points off the bench.
Remember they had this sort of offensive production WITHOUT Jimmy Butler, so maybe they don’t need him? I mean sure they lost, but they won’t lose many if they put up this sort of offensive explosion. It was also nice to see KAT finally lead the team in FGA with 16, but moving forward I would suggest not giving up 43 points in the fourth quarter. That’s just asking for trouble.
For DAL, if I’m a Mavs fan I am loving life right now. Why? Because my young talent is proving to be really fucking good
Remember when people said Luka wouldn’t be able to cook like that against NBA defenders? What idiots. He looks fantastic and a shoe in for ROY. That stepback three over Wiggins? That was baddddddddd. last night was one of the highest scoring outputs in franchise history, and that’s what happens when you have 6 guys in double figures, shoot 50% and make 17 3PM, all while at least 5 of them had 19 or more points. Bottle that up and save it because if the Mavs are going to be like 75% of this moving forward, they are going to be awesome to watch.
Phoenix Suns (1-1) 91 vs Denver Nuggets (2-0) 119
Another one of the few blowouts we had last night, this game was a teaching lesson for the young Suns. We know that DEN is a tough place to play, but both Jokic and Jamal Murray put on a goddamn clinic. Ayton sure will remember this one because he was put in a goddamn blender
These two combined for 61 of the 119 so safe to say they were locked in, but that doesn’t mean others didn’t play well wither. Gary Harris had a nice 18/4/4 on 7-15 shooting, Millsap 14/10 on 5-10 shooting, and because of how well their starters played, they didn’t even need anything from the bench, which only put in 12 points.
It’s not all good news though. Will Barton went down with a hip injury, and it doesn’t sound great
For PHX, it was basically Devin Booker and his 25, other than that there wasn’t much. Tough to win in that building when you shoot 37/28% and have 19 TOs. Even harder when Ayton only has 5 points on 2-7 shooting
San Antonio Spurs (1-1) 108 vs Portland Trail Blazers (2-0) 121
It’s still weird to see the Spurs struggle on the road. They did it last year, and they did it again last night. Seeing them give up 121 points just doesn’t seem right, and while DeRozan held up his end of the bargain with 28 points on 11-22 shooting
and Bryn Forbes who is their emergency starting PG came out and played well
they needed more from guys like LMA and Rudy Gay who only had 12 points a piece. This was a team that took 100 FGA in this game and only 14 FTA. That feels weird. Defensively it was the second and third quarters that did SA in, I can’t imagine Pop is happy giving up 37+ points in both, especially when they did a great job in the fourth.
For POR, just like it will be all year, it was the Dame/CJ show. The two were great, combining for 53 points on 18-30 shooting and they made it seem as if SA had no answers for them whatsoever
Maybe, just maybe last year wasn’t a fluke for them either.
Houston Rockets (1-1) 124 vs Los Angeles Lakers (0-2) 115
Now, the biggest story from last night. It was already a big deal because it was LeBron’s home debut, but now it’s a big deal obviously because of the fight
I don’t care if he was in the wrong, or if he’s a Laker now, I will always side with Rondo. Fuck Chris Paul that mouthy bitch. You don’t come at Rondo like that and think you can punk him. He doesn’t play that shit. Good for him for swinging and yeah they’ll both be suspended and all that, but it was worth it in my mind. CP3 always tries to do this shit and it’s about time sometime clapped back.
Now in terms of the game, obviously Harden cooked
and before he got kicked out CP3 was pretty good as well
Offensively this was the Rockets team we remember with three straight 30+ point quarters to start the game, and they even flexed their defensive muscles in the fourth, holding the Lakers to just 18 points. This looked like a much different team than the one that got blown out by NO.
For LAL, yeah LeBron debuted and looked great
and Rondo had a triple double because he’s a beast
Hell even JaVale McGee was effective!
But this team still can’t shoot threes, still can’t really defend, and now they are going to have to deal with missing key guys. Who cares though, it was still some quality entertainment late on a Saturday night.
And that’s it! You’re now all caught up on everything that went down last night in the NBA. Hopefully this helps your hangover as you prepare for a day filled with football. We’re back tonight with 4 more games including ATL/CLE, SAC/OKC, GS/DEN, and HOU/LAC. As always just make sure to check back tomorrow morning and I’ll tell you what you missed!