Last Night In The NBA: Not Everyone Had A Great Christmas

Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets

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 went down on the hardwood from the night before in the Association. Seeing as how some of you may have had to spend the day with your family and all that other bullshit, maybe you didn’t get to catch all 5 games we were blessed with. And seeing as how some of you out there didn’t have the PTO available to take off until 2019, you’re stuck in the cubes hating life with the fire of a thousand suns. I can’t leave you hanging like that. It is my job to make sure you have some fresh original content to try and kill your day with because nobody wants to be at work right now. Thankfully, we had a fun day/night of basketball and there’s a lot to talk about. If you missed any of the action keep reading, here’s what happened

Milwaukee Bucks (23-10) 109 vs New York Knicks (9-26) 95

For a team that’s played on Christmas more than any other franchise, the Knicks sure do stink on this day. I don’t think anyone predicted them to win this game when we first saw the matchup, and at least they did keep it close for the first half which was nice of them, but as a team they shot just 36/28% and that’s not going to cut it against a talent like MIL.

There were bright spots though, like the play of Kevin Knox who is having himself a pretty good rookie season while not getting much attention for it because his team stinks

Here’s how he looks over his last 5 games, not too shabby!

Screen Shot 2018-12-26 at 7.15.24 AM

and if you ex[and that to the whole month of December he’s at 17.9/6.1 with 41/38% splits and 2.4 3PM a night. At just 19 years old, that’s legit. They also had a solid night from a surprise player this year in Noah Vonleh who had 14/15 and one sweet ass block on Giannis

but outside of that. the third quarter they lost 36-22 is what did them in, and they are now tied with the most losses in the league and have a brutal schedule of MIL/UTA/DEN/LAL/POR/GS/IND/PHI/WSH/OKC up next. Could they win any of those? They’ve already lost 5 in a row and 10 of their last 11, and in my opinion they have to be the tanking favorites right now.

For MIL, in his first Christmas performance Giannis certainly didn’t disappoint

and for a team that shot just 6-32 from deep, they got to the line at will and nice balance. Malcolm Brogdon was back in the lineup and looked like the best guard on the floor

The Bucks are now just 1 game back of TOR for the top spot in the East, and with NYK/BKN/DET/ATL on deck before they play TOR, we could have a new #1 seed by that game in early January.

Oklahoma City Thunder (21-12) 109 vs Houston Rockets (18-16) 113

If the first game of the day was a dud, that was not the case with game number two. These two teams certainly don’t like each other, and in a battle of MVPs and two teams playing better than anyone out west, we knew we were in for a real treat that did not disappoint. For OKC, their two best players showed up, they weren’t all that efficient but they certainly were impactful

together they went 16-45 which certainly is not good, but with efficient nights from guys like Steven Adams

and 10/5/6 from Dennis Schroder off the bench the Thunder were able to hang close enough after a huge Rockets third quarter and this was close basically until the final whistle. The Thunder did a great job of punching back all the way until the final minute where they got things to a one possession game, but sometimes Harden is going to Harden and there’s nothing you can do.

For HOU, that’s what happened. Over 30 points for his 7th straight game, James Harden has single handedly turned around the Rockets season. Or at least he’s in the process of doing that. They’ve won 7 of theier last 8 with that one loss being by 2 points, and even without CP3 the Rockets have scratched and clawed back to where we thought they might be. There’s still a ways to go but they are definitely playing much better

It certainly helps when you have someone like Clint Capela who set a Christmas rebounding record with a ridiculous 16/23

and then even Austin Rivers, someone who has been on this team for about 45 seconds hits two huge late threes!

This wasn’t one of those games where Harden just lived at the line either. Harden took just 7 FTA, as a team they took only 17, and with 19 turnovers it’s a little surprising they were able to pull this one out. They did make 14 3PM which is on brand for them, and they’re now 11-5 at home and just 1.5 games from a top 4 seed in the West. We know they’ll be without Paul for a little while, so Harden is going to have a ton of performances like what we just saw if they want to tread water. People aren’t talking about him all that much for MVP, but how can you deny how ridiculous he has been over the last few weeks.

Philadelphia 76ers (22-13) 114 vs Boston Celtics (20-13) 121 F/OT

We’ll be talking about the Celts in their usual blog, so let’s take this time to talk Sixers. Sixers fans are now currently in the spinzone of how this was just a normal regular season game, no big deal, doesn’t mean anything. It’s cute. In reality, this was a huge game for them because it was the first time they got the play this Boston team with their new team. You know the one that completed the Process and was going to vault them ahead of the Celtics. Not so fast. Now it’s true, Joel Embiid blew his load early and was an absolute beast, the Celtics had no answer for him for about 95% of the game. They did when it mattered most, as he went just 1-4 in the fourth and OT, but before then? He dominated

Hell even Jimmy Butler shook his slow start and even his big shots late

granted he couldn’t guard Kyrie to save his life, who went 5-7 against Butler, but there’s no denying he makes their team better and tougher to defend. Then there was Ben Simmons, who’s line looks good with 11/14/8, but is a player Brad has completely figured out. I would say he was mostly a nonfactor in this one and that’s a problem for PHI because he’s sort of important to them

What we saw last night is basically what we already knew. The lack of shooting on the Sixers is a big problem and until they figure that out they are going to struggle against Boston. Brad straight up doesn’t guard Simmons or TJ McConnell, and good luck relying on Mike Muscala to consistently make jumpers. It has to be discouraging that the Sixers made 15 3PM and still lost. Their Big 3 played well and still lost. Again. For the 9th time in 11 tries. But things are different now, remember that.

Los Angeles Lakers (20-14) 127 vs Golden State Warriors (23-12) 101

What the hell? Did you know in all 4 of the Warriors home losses they’ve been absolutely blown out? What a weird part of their season. It was a rough night shooting the ball as the Warriors finished with just 40/25% splits and only 9 3PM. Pick a name and they struggled whether it was Durant (5-13), Curry (5-17) or Klay (2-7). Outside of Iggy I would say everyone else pretty much stunk

I don’t think anyone expected this, especially once LeBron left with a pulled groin, but at the same time it’s December and I’m not sure the Warriors have even started to give a shit. I mean they trailed the whole way and then only scored 19 points in the fourth quarter. A fully healthy Warriors team doing something like that tells me they probably weren’t taking the Lakers too seriously, which is stupid.

For LAL, of course LeBron was pretty legit before his injury

But this win is not about LeBron, it’s about all the other Lakers who were awesome

Not only were the other nonLebron starters solid, the Lakers also got 53 points from their bench which is pretty outrageous. The Lakers shot 55% only turned it over 12 times, and were over 30+ points in 3 of the 4 quarters. We call that a beatdown folks. This win helped them stay in the 4 spot out West and they are now just 1.5 games behind OKC for 3rd.

Portland Trail Blazers (19-15) 96 vs Utah Jazz (17-18) 117

Yeah, the Jazz still make no fucking sense. They’ve now won 3 of their last 4 with their only loss coming by 1 point to OKC, and suddenly they are able to score the basketball which is rare for them.

They shot 55/44% with 13 3PM and used a big 35 point second quarter to get some space, and then another big 34 point fourth to close it out. We got to see that legit UTA defense that is the backbone of their success, and even though Donovan Mitchell only shot 8-18, he had more than enough help with 6 other guys in double figures, including 44 points from the second unit. You combine that depth with Rudy Gobert being a defensive monster, and that’s how you win comfortably over a quality opponent.

For POR, rough night for Dame/CJ who combined to go just 13-35, and as a team their offense really let them down as they finished with 39/39% splits and just 9 3PM. The Blazers are now 6-10 on the road, have lost two of their last three, both have come against the Jazz, and they are holding onto that 6 spot in the West by the skin of their teeth. Defense is always going to be the achilles heel of this team, and until they get that settled they are going to be in a dogfight to stay in the top 8 all year.

And that’s it! You’re now all caught up on everything that went down yesterday in the NBA. We’re back tonight with 10 more games on the schedule so if you can’t watch them all just check back in in the morning and I’ll bring you up to speed.