Good morning everybody happy lazy Sunday and welcome back 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. As is tradition, chances are you're feeling a little banged up this morning and we're all just trying to survive until kickoff so what better way than highlights from 10 total games to get your mind right and have you ready to do nothing but watch football all day. It was a wild Saturday night with 4 of the 10 games coming down to one possession and 8 of the 10 being decided by 10 points or less. There was late game drama in almost every one of them, so if you missed any of there action here's what happened.
Phoenix Suns (8-7) 100 vs Minnesota Timberwolves (8-8) 98
This right here was a rock fight between two of the more surprising teams in the West. The Suns went into this pretty banged up, with no Baynes, Carter, or Rubio, which meant they were going to have to find their offense and defense from somewhere else. Safe to say the guys who combined for 60 of the 100 were up to the challenge
A nice 25/11 for Oubre and 35/12/9 for Booker, no other Sun finished in double figures and even though things sort of fell apart in that fourth quarter and they almost blew this game scoring only 18 points, it was pretty clear the Wolves had no answer whatsoever for either of those guys. Sometimes you have to win ugly and the Suns were nails from the line at 24-26 and they only turned it over 7 times. To me to go on then road against a team that's been playing well and you pull out a win without some key rotation players, thats the shit good teams do.
For MIN, you had similar production from your two key starters
They combined for 52 of the 98, but their problem was more around the slow start. An early 7 point deficit, this team only had 45 at the break and there was just too much Devin Booker to close for MIN to match. They needed that one momentum stop but never really got it. A Booker jumper in the last minute gave them a 4 point lead then it was a FT game from there which he isn't going to lose. A great effort by MIN sure, and KAT made 6 3PM which is NO FLUKE. The dude has a legit three point shot now and that's pretty terrifying.
These two I feel like are going to battle for the 7/8 seed all year, so H2H matchups are important no matter when they happen.
Chicago Bulls (6-11) 116 vs Charlotte Hornets (6-11) 115
The game before Zach LaVine was benched for some pretty terrible defense. Not exactly a shock because as we know his defense is pretty fucking pathetic. He seemed to take it a little personal and had one of the best clapbacks at his coach in recent memory. Oh you want to pull me and embarrass me? Let me just drop 49 in our next game with 13 3PM which is the 2nd most ever made in a game including the game winner.
What a confusing Bulls team man. You start off scoring 34 points and you look like you are going to cruise to an easy road win. Then you score 13 points in the 3rd quarter and allow CHA to get back in it to the point where you needed to drop 47(!!!) in the fourth including one of the craziest endings we've had all year. The Satoranksy three followed by the LaVine steal and three isn't exactly something you see every day.
While LaVine will get most of the hype and rightfully so, don't sleep on what Coby White did off the bench
The afro plays and look, the Bulls are only 1 game out of the final playoff spot with only CHA and WSH ahead of the. Is it crazy to think if this team goes on a run they could be in that 8 seed conversation? I'm someone who thinks LaVine could make an All Star team, hell I even blogged it
so I'm in on the Baby Bulls.
For CHA, now this is the Hornets we all expected. Not sure where their fourth quarter defense went but that's a different story for a different day. Nothing like losing in heartbreaking fashion, but hey at least their starting backcourt played well
and Marvin Williams was nearly perfect off the bench with 21 on 9-10 shooting which was a nice surprise. If you're the Hornets though, deep down you have to be happy that you lost this game. Let the Bulls make the playoffs, this team is much better served getting as high as they can in the lottery as opposed to losing in 4 games to MIL or some shit.
Orlando Magic (6-9) 106 vs Indiana Pacers (9-6) 111
OK so maybe Markelle Fultz can play. Maybe he just needed a fresh start in an environment that believed in him and now that he has that in ORL he looks like a completely different player
an efficient 13/9 with some big plays down the stretch, including a NASTY move on Holiday, its' great to see Fultz get over his yips and actually make a difference on the court. As a magic fan this has to excite you when you also pair it with the development of young stud Jonathan Isaac who had a monster night
They even got some quality minutes from Bamba off the bench so while they are unable to win on the road (0-6) there are some good young pieces on this roster paired with the proven vet in Fournier
The Magic should honestly be better than they are. Could be an early candidate for one of these teams that has for sure underachieved so far.
For IND, never great giving up 40 in a quarter like they did in the third, but they pulled this out by finally clamping down defensively and getting a nice balanced offensive approach on the other end. Sabonis led the way with 25/9
and with 6 players in double figures this was a team that finished 54/41% and frankly they needed every bucket. The 19 TOs were gross, but they got this done without Brogdon who has been basically their best player all season. The Pacers are a respectable 6-2 at home and are right in the middle of that 5-7 range, a place where they probably should be while we wait for Oladipo to get back.
Toronto Raptors (11-4) 119 vs Atlanta Hawks (4-12) 116
These Raptors just won't go away huh. They are somewhat beatable on the road at just 5-4, but when you have Pascal Siakam leading the way and showing no signs that his leap isn't for real
he finished with another 32 and luckily for TOR he didn't have to do it alone. You know who else has stepped up this season, especially with Lowry out? Fred VanVleet. You may remember him as the guard who outplayed Steph Curry in the NBA Finals
talk about a guy who has earned a big time extension. The Raptors also got some nice play from Normal Powell who isn't exactly a guy you expect to kill you but has shown to be more than capable
and you knew that no matter what the deficit was that the Raptors were going to figure out a way to come back. It's what they do. I'd say the 67 second half points took care of that.
For ATL, a tough loss for a team now 8 games under .500 and 4 games under .500 at home. Not great for a team many thought would crack the playoffs this year. But hey, at least there's Trae Young who at this point is approaching must watch status. The guy is taking logo threes like layups and hitting nothing but net. On the regular
he finished with a measly 30/10/10 and then there was De'Andre Hunter who had the best game of his professional career so far
who finished with 26 of his own. But what do we always say, if you can't play defense you're fucked against good teams plain and simple. The Hawks absolutely could have won this game if they just put up any sort of resistance down the stretch on the defensive end. Late game execution is about more than just scoring, and you could tell the Raptors experience served them well.
The Hawks are clearly one of these teams that will be worth the watch on League Pass because of Trae Young, but they probably aren't going to win a whole lot like we thought.
San Antonio Spurs (6-11) 111 vs New York Knicks (4-12) 104
The Spurs finally won a road game! They finally had a game in which they won that both LMA and DeRozan finished with a positive +/-!! Considering both of those things almost never happen at the same time, it's worth celebrating even if this did come against the Knicks. At this point, Spurs fans can't complain
it's not often you see SA finish with 53/52% splits and it was good to see they held onto their early 25 point lead. Sure they made it way harder on themselves and actually gave the Knicks hope, but whatever a win is a win.
For NYK, by now you're probably a little used to this by now so it's not like Knicks fans would be bummed with this result. We know they only look like an NBA team when playing the Mavericks. At least Mook is balling out
and RJ Barrett continues to show great signs
To be honest this season is more about developing the young guys, and ya know, actually giving Frankie Smokes minutes because he's a legit force defensively
so who cares if they couldn't beat a bad Spurs team at home.
Miami Heat (11-4) 86 vs Philadelphia 76ers (11-5) 113
I don't know how you couldn't be excited for this matchup. Heat Twitter so desperately wants the world to consider them an East favorite, you had Jimmy Butler returning to the team he gave the middle finger to, Josh Richardson revenge, it was great. Well then the game actually started and the Heat did not make the trip. I mean 13 first quarter points, down a billion before you could blink and Jimmy Butler had all sorts of problems. They finished with 40/25% splits and it wasn't even that nice if you watched it. This was supposed to be a good defensive team but we did not see that at any point in this game. If not for Tyler Herro, there wouldn't have been a damn thing to show you from the MIA side
For PHI, of course they booed the shit out of Jimmy Butler which was confusing because last time I checked Jimmy Butler came to this team and dragged them the deepest The Process has ever been so you'd think they would be appreciative, but I get it. He turned you down to go to another Eastern Conference team so that's going to get you booed every single time.
The cherry on top though is whooping his ass. I mean Josh Richardson was ridiculous from the start
Joel Embiid ate Bam alive, a guy who Heat fans will tell you should be in the DPOY conversation
and I'm sure Sixers fans were happy to see Horford/Harris finally be efficient in the same game together, combining for 37 points on 14-20 shooting.
Almost makes you forget that Simmons only had 4 points on 2-6 shooting in 27 minutes but whatever they won by a billion so who cares. They are now 7-0 at home, have won 4 in a row and surprisingly hit 14 3PM which if the Sixers are going to shoot 50/48%, it's a wrap for you.
Portland Trail Blazers (5-12) 104 vs Cleveland Cavaliers (5-11) 110
Is this rock bottom for the Blazers? Dame was back in the lineup and things did not get any better. They've now lost 4 in a row and 6 of their last 7 and I hate to say it but their season might be over. Just a waste of a great Dame season
Melo with a classic 5-15 (0-8) performance didn't make things any better
and once again defense is a big time issue for this team. Three straight quarters allowing a team like the Cavs to score at least 27 points? Have some pride. If the Blazers season isn't over, it's most definitely on life support which is NOT what anyone could have seen coming.
For CLE, it really came down to three guys getting whatever they wanted
Cavs fans have to like what they saw from Collin Sexton, and while Darius Garland has been a bit of a disaster so far and went just 3-12 (1-6) last night, you saw what Jordan Clarkson can give you every once in a while. Maybe it was the throwback jerseys, but the Cavs are a different team at home. They play good teams tough and it's no surprise 3 of their 5 wins have come in that building.
Los Angeles Lakers (14-2) 109 vs Memphis Grizzlies (5-10) 108
You may not want to believe it, but the Lakers are the best team in the NBA right now and certainly no later than 2nd if you want to argue MIL. They now are tied for the longest active winning streak at 7, they have the best record in the NBA, and they being carried by LeBron/AD who look fantastic together
The Lakers actually had to fight for this win, and we're seeing the problem defenses have when things get tight and youj have to handle this duo. AD hit a huge three late and then LeBron just took over to give them the lead. Davis' tip in sealed the deal and while they had a little bit of drama with a brutal Kuzma turnover in the final seconds, they held on and are showing on signs of slowing down.
For MEM, I think we all agree they need to wear these alternate throwbacks full time right? So fucking clean and they played great in them. Not a coincidence
It would have been a great upset for a young and exciting team, but like we see so many times they were done in by 1 bad offensive quarter in the third which helped give LAL life, and you give LeBron life and it tends to not work out for you.
Detroit Pistons (5-11) 90 vs Milwaukee Bucks (13-3) 104
No Blake and the Pistons shot 40/28%, what do you think happened? Outside of Andre Dummond and Derrick Rose playing well there's not much you need to know about the Pistons. Another team that's definitely not as good as we all thought, they fell to 1-8 on the road and have a long hill to climb to get back into playoff contention
For MIL, you may have heard this before but it was mostly GIannis. No other Buck had more than 13 points, they had just 3 players in double figures so this was more about Giannis' dominance and then their overall depth. They did have four bench players with at least 7 points, and that's what makes this team so tough. You get them at home it's already hard enough, but if you aren't able to stop Giannis either and then the rest of the roster is efficient, well good luck
New Orleans Pelicans (6-10) 120 vs Utah Jazz (11-5) 128
Nothing like a competitive late night game where there is exactly zero defense being played. The Pelicans continue to have games like this even if they don't end up winning, and watching Brandon Ingram break out like this has been fun to watch
we're also right in the middle of both Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick playing some of their best basketball of the season, they combined for a nice 48 points and 7 3PM
they still can't stop a nosebleed, but offensively this team is very fun to watch and that's without Zion. If he can be healthy and they can go on a run, this is a team I'd love to see in the playoffs. Unfortunately they've been sort of boned with injuries and you can't expect a young team like that to survive in the West shorthanded.
For UTA, Bogdanovic has proven to be a GREAT offseason signing and Donovan Mitchell had himself an All Star franchise type player performance
and obviously with Gobert out the defense was going to struggle which is what made those guys' performances all the more important. The Jazz are rounding out to be the beast we all thought, they are now 8-1 at home and are right there with the best of the best of the conference. If they can survive these games that Gobert misses with his ankle injury, they'll be in a great spot moving forward especially with Mitchell and Bogy playing like this.
And that's it! Phew, hopefully this helped with your hangover. We're back today with 5 more games but we all know you're watching football today so just check back tomorrow morning for what you missed. Have a great Sunday!