Good morning everybody and welcome back to another edition of Last Night In The NBA where we bring you up to speed on everything that happened from the night before in the Association. It was a busy night of basketball with 9 total games on the schedule, and unlike the other night where everything was a blowout, last night did once again give us a handful of close games and high drama, as well as some of the best offensive performances of the season. We have a lot to get to so I won’t waste any time, if you didn’t watch any basketball last night, here’s what happened.
Boston Celtics (6-4) 107 vs Denver Nuggets (9-1) 115
We’ll be talking more about the Celts later, so let’s focus on what happened for the Nuggets. The story of not only the game, but perhaps the night has to be the work of Jamal Murray
What an insane performance, I don’t know really what else to say. He started off the game hot, had 23 at the half and essentially was carrying the Nuggets by himself. It didn’t matter who the Celts threw at Murray he got where he wanted and was at a level few others have reached this season. Then when things got to the fourth quarter, he barely missed. I think before his final two attempts at 50+ he was like 7-8 or something along those lines. Just total domination from the third year player who you could tell was so exhausted yet couldn’t stop scoring. He single handedly took care of a good Celtics team and the Nuggets honestly could not show you any more to convince you they are for real. This team is really good, and Jokic was for the most part pretty quiet.
And give me a break over the ending about how he shouldn’t have shot that last three. Whatever man, he wanted to go to 50, and if it bothered you so much, don’t let him get to 50. I look at it like this, Boston fans never hate it when the Pats run up the score, the response is “if you don’t like it stop them”. Well that’s how I view this. Was it maybe a dick thing to do? Sure, but he earned that right to go for it because he torched you the entire night. Non-issue in my opinion.
Miami Heat (4-5) 120 vs Detroit Pistons (4-5) 115 F/OT
Don’t look now, but the Pistons have lost 5 in a row. Oh how times can change in the blink of an eye. About a week ago they were 4-0 and riding high, now they are under .500 losing home games to a kinda stinky Heat team.
This game was close early with each team making their own run, the Heat’s came in the third and the Pistons’ in the fourth. With no Whiteside in the lineup you knew it was going to be a long day against this DET frontcourt, but with vintage Wade coming in with 18 off the bench
and then the starting MIA backcourt dropping 48 points, they were just able to survive.
For DET, as expected, the frontcourt was a problem
Crazy what can happen when Drummond isn’t going up against Joel Embiid and gets completely dominated, he’s actually a force. With Blake, despite the losses you’re still getting MVP production and it’s clear that a healthy Blake Griffin is still every much a problem in this league. Throw in a solid performance from Reggie Jackson as well
and the Pistons were close to finishing off the comeback. They just ran out of gas a little bit in OT which is annoying, and I think it’s safe to say they need to stop the bleeding fairly soon.
Houston Rockets (4-5) 98 vs Indiana Pacers (7-4) 94
One of the better games of the entire night, this was a battle until the final seconds. In a game that included players known for making big shots and big plays, it was James Harden and the Rockets that made just a few more plays down the stretch to secure this much needed win. Finally all back together this looked a little bit more like the Rockets we’re used to. They made 15 3PM, the P&R with Harden and Capela was unstoppable, and they even were able to overcome a 4-12 performance from CP3
The biggest thing is that the Rockets finally got back to defending, because IND can be a problem at home if you’ve watched them play recently. A big fourth quarter for the Rockets was ultimately the difference, as they now move to 4-1 on the road and have won three straight. Given how they started the year, I think Rockets fans will take any sign of improvement.
For IND, Oladipo was once again the man,
but he didn’t get much help from any other starter as no one else had more than 11 points. Sabonis continues to be a force off the bench with another 17/8/5 on 7-9 shooting, but as a team they struggled from deep, just 8-28, and it’s hard to beat a Rockets team when they make nearly twice as many threes. But the Pacers did have their opportunities late, they just couldn’t muster up the same magic they had against BOS earlier in the week.
Cleveland Cavaliers (1-0) 100 vs Orlando Magic (4-6) 102
I bet you didn’t think a Cavs/Magic game could be exciting huh? Shame on you! Even the shitty teams can find a prayer and play an exciting down to the wire game, and that’s exactly what this was. Give the Cavs credit, things may be a disaster for them at the moment, but they played hard and got some solid contributions from guys like Thompson and George Hill
while also shooting a surprising 51/43% for the game. Now things shouldn’t have been this dramatic, but they got off to a slow start only to rebound with a 32-12 third quarter. You would think that would allow them to easily walk to a win right? Wrong. Collapse city. They gave up 32 points in the fourth, and just like we’ve seen earlier this year, gave Evan Fournier one last chance to hit a dagger shot, and guess how it went.
For ORL, as you can see, that shot went in
Fournier (a name you should never Google), is a weird player in that his team always stinks, but he’s actually pretty good. I feel like whenever the Magic do something like this, it’s always him who makes the shot. He had help for sure, as Aaron Gordon was pretty good with 23/9 on 9-15 shooting
Vucevic had another double double with 14/10 and they got a nice 39 points from their bench. I know this was against CLE, but I still think ORL can be feisty on any given night despite their record.
Chicago Bulls (3-8) 116 vs New York Knicks (3-8) 115 F/2OT
I told you, sometimes shitty teams play really really exciting games and this was yet another example. A matchup of two teams that couldn’t want to win any less, they wouldn’t stop until we had two rounds of free basketball. For the Bulls, I mean what more is there to say about Zach LaVine? Just a cool career high 41 for him
Any doubt about his offensive quickness or explosion as he worked his way back from his injury should for sure be put to bed by now. Defensively sure he still has a room to grow, but offensively? LaVine is one of the most gifted offensive players this league has. The Bulls only had four players in double figures, went 8-30 from deep and had 19 TOs, and despite a poor fourth quarter were still able to pull it out. Of their three wins so far, two of them have come on the road, and you have to love Wendell Carter Jr snagging 11/13 with 6 OREB, and what another great job from Blakeney off the CHI bench who had 17 points on 6-13 shooting.
For NYK, like the Bulls you didn’t really care about the win or loss, but instead just seeing good play from your young talent. Well, I think even Knicks fans walk away from this game happy, which is unusual
It’s pretty wild when you think about how goddamn young this Knicks team is, and once Knox came on the floor they had the youngest lineup in NBA history or some shit like that. Good to see him back after his ankle injury too, even if he only played 5 minutes. Hell, even Emmanuel Mudiay showed up and played well off the bench!
That’s how weird of a night it was in NY.
New Orleans Pelicans (4-6) 116 vs Oklahoma City Thunder (5-4) 122
Pelicans have a road problem I think. Now just 1-5 away from home, they have now lost 6 in a row and every single game on this road trip. The worst part about this stretch is all 6 games are against Western Conference playoff teams. Not great! They even had AD back for this one, and he was OK with 20/8, but he did 5 have TOs and went 7-20
In order to pick up the slack guys like Julius Randle and Jrue Holiday had to step up and they did, combining for 48 points
but a slow start in which they gave up 36 points in the first quarter, and then a brutal third quarter in which they lost 38-23, there’s not much you can really do there. Even one last ditch effort in the fourth quarter after Westbrook went down wasn’t enough. You can’t turn the ball over 20 times like the Pelicans did on the road in this one, and 9-29 from deep doesn’t really help either. Like the Pistons, the Pelicans have come crashing back down to earth, only they play in a conference where you can’t really fuck around and go on these long losing streaks.
For OKC, it sucks that Westbrook got hurt. Who knows how long he’s going to be out, but it looks like an ankle issue. When that happened, it meant that Dennis Schroder was going to have to step up, and while he may not be able to do it for a long stretch of time, he did it last night
This also means Paul George is going to have to become that #1 option for this team, and last night was a good step in that direction as well
The defense here is still a concern as 116 is a lot to give up at home, but they took care of the ball with just 12 TOs and with give players with at least 13 points did enough on that end to pull it out. Westbrook had a nice 17/7/9 before going down, and I just hope it’s nothing that keeps him on the sidelines for too long.
Toronto Raptors (10-1) 124 vs Utah Jazz (4-6) 111
I mean look, even without Kawhi Leonard in the lineup, the Raptors are a machine. I don’t know how else to say it, they are a collection of basketball murderers. I’ll give the Jazz credit, this was close for about a quarter, and then from there it was a wrap. The Raptors shot a ridiculous 57% from the field, made 13 3pPM and had 6 players in double figures and 8 players with at least 8 points. I just don’t know how you beat this team right now they are that good
Right after going what like 15-17 against the Lakers, Ibaka followed that up by going 8-8 last night. What a fucking wagon this team is at the moment.
For UTA, they are still winless at home which is very surprising given they are only without Donovan Mitchell. An important piece for sure, but that’s still weird. They’ve now lost 4 in a row and like the Pelicans can’t really afford to go on this type of slide. Outside of Alec Burks and his 22 off the bench, there really wasn’t all that much to be excited about
Memphis Grizzlies (5-4) 101 vs Golden State Warriors (10-1) 117
The thing with this game was GS wasn’t even playing that well, MEM was playing above their heads, and they still weren’t really all that close once we got to the third quarter for the classic Warriors bukkake. They won that frame 34-15, and that was that.
For MEM, Dillon Brooks was good off the bench with 18 points, but other than that this was a game they most likely want to forget. Tough to beat a team like GS when your two best players combine for 17 points. That won’t get it done.
Minnesota Timberwolves (4-7) 109 vs Los Angeles Clippers (6-4) 120
Hey Jimmy Butler played in this one! He was his usual self with 20/4/5 on 6-13 shooting, but guess what it still didn’t matter. Even KAT was good, with 20/12 of his own, but he was given just 13 FGA which seems like a problem. Honestly I’m just happy Derrick Rose is still playing at a high level, he’s one of the few Wolves you cannot complain about to start this year
Sadlty MIN trailed the whole way, had a rough night from deep and didn’t really show any signs of wanting to play defense, which is a bit problematic. Good thing Jimmy Butler got all that rest though, that was important.
For LAC, three guys with at least 20 points will usually do the trick
and then you sprinkle in a little 13/7 from Montrezl Harrell off the bench and that’s how you win comfortably at home against a team that hates each other and their coach.
And that’s it! You’re now all caught up on everything that happened last night in the NBA. We’re back tonight with 4 more games but really only the MIL/POR matchup is all that exciting. Feel free to take the night off and just check back in the morning and I’ll bring you up to speed on what you missed.