Good morning everybody happy Friday and welcome back to another edition of Last Night In The NBA where we bring you up sot speed on everything that went down from the night before in the Association. We had 5 games on the schedule on Thursday and it was a night of offensive explosions. Of the 10 teams that played, only 2 of them did not score at least 120+ points. That means if you love offense, last night was a night for you. It was another night filled with late game drama, insane individual performances, and OT thrillers. If you for whatever reason missed any of the action, here's what happened.
Boston Celtics (27-13) 123 vs Milwaukee Bucks (37-6) 128
We'll get to the Celts in their usual blog like we always do, so for now let's focus on what an insane offensive performance this was from the Bucks. I know the final score says they won by 5, but if you watched this game you knew they were in control the entire way, were up double digits after about 3 minutes, and had a 20 point lead 13 minutes into the game. The Celts had a slow first two minutes with nothing but poor shot selection and turnovers, and just like we all know the Bucks do, they took those opportunities and destroyed you with easy buckets.
But they also couldn't miss from three. Everyone on the roster who took a three minus Giannis (0-5) was lights out. I'm talking 11-12 in the first half or some shit. They finished 16-31 as a team, the bench finished 9-11, and you just aren't going to beat this team when they shoot 49/51%, make that many threes and only turn it over 10 times. Not to mention when they get a 27 point lead. Just an unreal shooting performance from a team that is deep as fuck
Every time the Celts tried to make a run, the Bucks found a way to respond. The impressive part was once it got down to 6 in the 3rd quarter, the Bucks responded with a 17-3 run all while Giannis was on the bench. That's a little terrifying. The season series is now 1-1 with each team winning on their home floor, but one thing was clear after watching this. The Bucks are about 10,000 tiers above any other team in the East.
Phoenix Suns (17-24) 121 vs New York Knicks (11-31) 98
The Knicks as you can imagine are one of the teams that didn't drop 120, I know that might come as a surprise to some, but shooting 41/30% with 18 TOs is going to bite you in the ass every single time. It also doesn't help that they lost RJ Barrett to injury. They had themselves a good first quarter but then things sort of unravelled from there especially defensively, it's never ideal to give up three straight 30+ quarters at home. Outside of Julius Randle and Marcus Morris there really wasn't any offense with this group
and the Knicks are now 3-7 over their last 10 and are closing in on the worst record in the East. I don't know why they wouldn't be sellers at the deadline, but they also haven't exactly shown the ability to have any idea what they are doing.
For PHX, their playoff hopes are definitely still alive if you can believe it. They just just 2 games out of the final playoff spot and are 6-4 over their last 10 which just so happens to be better than any of the teams ahead of them in the standings. With Ayton back in the starting lineup they got great performances from their three best players, each with at least 25
Now I know the Suns won't always get to play the Knicks, but here we are at the halfway point of the season and the Suns season is still alive. That feels like progress to me. With Ayton putting up 20/20s and Booker having himself an All Star caliber year, the Suns are already quickly approaching their win total from last season. Just two more to go.
Utah Jazz (28-13) 132 vs New Orleans Pelicans (16-26) 138 F/OT
I don't know what it is between these two teams, but whenever they play there is always high drama late. Last week it was a blatant foul on Brandon Ingram that wasn't called even thought it was 100% clear that Rudy Gobert fouled him. Last night it was a bullshit foul with 0.2 seconds on an inbounds pass against NO immediately after Ingram's game winner. Then there was also the crediting Mitchell with a three when his foot was clearly on the line. Just bone job after bone job from the refs to the Pelicans on their home floor. I mean see it for yourself
But they prevailed in OT and Brandon Ingram went nuts. Not only is he an All Star this season, but he's a max level player this summer and there are no two ways about it
49/8/6 on 15-25 shooting and 16-20 from the FT line. What a monster night from a guy who is betting on himself to secure that bag. To do it against a team like UTA who had been rolling and winners of 10 straight, that's even more impressive. You add in some 21/11 on 10-12 from Derrick Favors who was back in the lineup
and listen, this team is only 3.5 games back of 8th and get Zion back next week. Is it crazy to think that maybe they can go on a run and somehow sneak in? I don't know how you can officially rule it out. With Holiday back, Redick back, Zion back, and this level of Ingram? That feels like it could be an 8th seed no?
For UTA, I'm sure they'll complain about that foul on Gobert late but whatever they got a couple prayers from the refs in this game so it's a wash. Donovan Mitchell matched Ingram almost point for point with 46 of his own
Good secondary scoring from Gobert who had 17/14 and Bogdanovic who continues to have a great season in UTA with 26
The Jazz just didn't have it defensively which is a bit surprising if you look how they've been on that end during this streak. A huge 42 point third actually gave them the lead heading into the fourth, but they couldn't close. Long winning streaks usually end in weird fashion, so to lose in OT while scoring a shit ton of points feels about right.
Denver Nuggets (28-12) 134 vs Golden State Warriors (9-33) 131 F/OT
Speaking of OT, what a prayer here by the Nuggets to avoid disaster. Make no mistake, they were getting thoroughly outplayed by the Warriors for the majority of this game. They were down 15 after the first quarter and 17 at the break. To the Warriors. They slowly chipped away in the third, came out and dropped a 40 piece in the fourth to send it to OT, and then from there they squeaked it out even with Jamal Murray not playing. I don't care if this was on then road, the Nuggets should never be losing to the Warriors, and this win put them back in the 2 seed which seems to be changing by the day.
What makes the Nuggets so dangerous is how balanced they really are. Sure you know about Jokic who is a beast
and it was more of the same for him. Then there was the 31 from Will Barton which was huge filling in for Murray and Gary Harris not being active
but the difference here was the bench. Three guys with at least 15, some monster play from MPJ and Malik Beasley who combined for 45
and this Nuggets team is tough to beat when they shoot 47/48% with 17 3PM. The 19 TOs were why this was a game in the first place, but as a Nuggets fan I would be relieved they figured their shit out and avoided the disaster loss. Especially with how tough the West is, that would have been a brutal one to drop.
For GS, hey they almost had it! Their starting backcourt was legit early and helped set the tone
and just like the Nuggets they got great production from their second unit led by Alex Burks and his 25 but in the end the Warriors did what they usually do this year and found a way to lose. Just 6-14 at home this season, another triple single from Draymond, nobody should be surprised they choked this game. You should be surprised it was a game in the first place.
Orlando Magic (20-22) 95 vs Los Angeles Clippers (29-13) 122
The Clippers did not fuck around in this game. They built an early lead after the first, extended it to 19 at the half and that was that. Solid on both ends and legit balance with 7 players in double figures, this was your standard NBA beat down.
Kawhi was the main problem with 32/5/5 in only 30 minutes on 12-20 shooting, and this win has them tied with DEN and 7-3 over their last 10. It feels like the DEN/LAC/UTA/HOU grouping is going to fluctuate seeding all season long since nobody can really separate, so being up on bad Eastern Conference teams is one way to stay with the pack.
For ORL, really all they had was the production from their frontcourt with Gordon and Vucevic combining for 42 of the 95
and as we know if you want to beat the Clippers in their own building, you basically have to be perfect. Shooting 39/33% is not exactly perfect. No real bench help outside of Terrance Ross who had 16 but shot 5-15, Fultz wasn't all that efficient, the same with Fournier, but hey the Magic are still locked into the 7 spot in the East and there is certainly no shame in losing to perhaps one of the best teams in the NBA. Shooting like shit on the road against a good defense happens.
And that's it! You are now all caught up with everything that went down last night in the NBA. We're back with a full slate tonight if you aren't heading to the bars, and you can always check back here in the morning if you are. Have a great Friday!