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Last Night In The NBA: The Sixers Punch Back, Zion Is A Fucking Monster, The Spurs Won't Die And More

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 from the night before in the Association. We had a total of 5 games on the schedule on Tuesday night and really 4 of the matchups were pretty damn good. Measuring stick games, games with potential playoff implications, we had it all last night and if you missed any of the action here's what happened.

Los Angeles Clippers (37-17) 103 vs Philadelphia 76ers (34-21) 110

With all the bullshit flying around the Sixers, most of it self inflicted, this was a big time win for them in their final game before the break. While it doesn't answer any of their questions about being able to beat a good team on the road, handling the Clippers like they did was impressive. How could it not be? They pretty much controlled this game the whole way through, Simmons and Embiid showed to be the two best players on the floor

and their defense completely took Paul George out of the game. This is the shit that would annoy me as a Sixers fan, because when this team is on they can beat anyone in the world. The problem is their consistency. We know they are monsters at home, now 25-2, but whether or not they ever figure it out on the road is the ultimate question. As of now they trail MIA by 2 games for the 4 seed, and there may not be a team in which securing homecourt is more important for a playoff run. 

Getting solid contributions from Tobias and then a huge fourth quarter from Josh Richardson is what ultimately sealed this win

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and whenever you can beat a team considered a Finals favorite it's a good thing and you deserve all the credit in the world, now they just need to show they can play like this every night.

For LAC, I mean Kawhi showed up 

but what Clippers fans are going to learn with the addition of Marcus Morris is no matter who is on the floor with Mook, he is going to think he's their best player. Sort of like what happened in this game, especially the fourth quarter. That was a whooooole lotta Mook when maybe there shouldn't have been

Tough when both Lou Williams and PG13 combine to go 8-30, they never really could figure out PHI's defense, but honestly the Clippers offense wasn't all that bad. They did finish with 44/45% and only 9 TOs, their issue was they had no way of stopping Ben Simmons or really any Sixers from scoring in the paint. 

If we're going to be consistent, this is a LAC team that got destroyed by a DLo-less Wolves, beat the Cavs, and then got worked by PHI. If that was the other LA team the talking heads would be killing them, but the Clippers won't get that same reaction. I wonder why. They now trail DEN by 1 game for the 3 seed, and are just 6-4 over their last 10.

Boston Celtics (37-16) 105 vs Houston Rockets (34-20) 116

We'll talk about the Celts in their normal blog, so for this let's focus on the Rockets. Their new style has had it's bumps, but this was an example of why they went that direction. Going small allows Westbrook and Harden to have more space, and when they have more space that's usually a bad sign for an opposing defense. They did most of the damage combining for 78 of the 116 including 31 of the 42 FTs the Rockets had

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Harden went on something stupid like a 17-0 personal run in the third quarter to give them their separation, and from there even with the Celtics making a late run to make it 96-94, the Rockets immediately responded with FTs and threes to make this the first Celtics loss in 8 games. Call their style boring, complain about the FT difference, the fact is the Celts couldn't defend without fouling and those two pretty much had their way with anyone trying to defend them.

The Rockets weren't all that great shooting threes, just 13-45, but their ability to get to the line is what won them this game. It's not their fault the Celts bit on every single pump fake. A 42-25 FTA difference is pretty wild, but that's part of the game when playing HOU. The Celts weren't prepared for it and they got exposed. This was a big win for HOU to keep them within an earshot of UTA for the 4 seed, now just 1.5 games back.

Chicago Bulls (19-36) 114 vs Washington Wizards (19-33) 126

So this was really the only matchup of the night that didn't really matter. No surprises here how it turned out, you had Zach LaVine exploding for 41 and not much else so that was cool

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but they got down 10 early and that was pretty much a wrap. You would think a team that made 16 3PM might win, but then you see the Bulls also turned it over 20 times and this score makes sense.

For WSH, it was pretty much their same old story. Bradley Beal carried most of the scoring load

he had an efficient 30, and the only difference was the Wizards also had some nice secondary scoring, most notably Rui Hachimura who is back and looks better than ever

Three straight quarters of at least 30+, the one thing that has been consistent with this Wizards team is they sure can score. Can't defend to save their lives, but in terms of offense? This team routinely lives in the 120+ range.

Portland Trail Blazers (25-30) 117 vs New Orleans Pelicans (23-31) 138

Now this was an interesting matchup. Both teams are fighting like hell to catch MEM for the final playoff spot, the Blazers are 3 games back and the Pelicans 4.5. A much steeper climb for NO, but that's why wins against POR are important. They played this game without Brandon Ingram who sat with an ankle, so that meant it was Zion time and buddy did this man deliver

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31/9/5 on 10-17 shooting? Light work. I didn't know what to expect when Zion came back, I was curious if he would live up to the hype which seemed impossible, but dare I say he's been even better than I expected? 

Is it too early to call the ROY? I may have to dive into this later today.

In this win though, it was more than Zion. Great secondary scoring from guys like Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick provided the additional ammo

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They've now won 3 in a row and trail POR by just 1.5 games, so I wouldn't rule the Pelicans dead just yet.

For POR, this is a tough stretch. They've now lost 3 of 5, and in a race this tight every game matters. That's why Dame was so bullshit after the refs robbed them of that UTA game. In this one it was the same old story, their lack of defense ultimately did them in. There is only so much Dame and CJ can do offensively

The Blazers inability to ever stop someone is what has plagued them all year. They actually had a lead at halftime and then surrendered 75 second half points. What do you expect to happen? Going 7-29 from deep doesn't help either, but you have to play defense if you want to win in the NBA, even against non playoff teams. That's how deep the talent is and if you take nights off that's how you get blown out. Pretty simple.

San Antonio Spurs (23-31) 114 vs Oklahoma City Thunder (32-22) 106

Another big Western conference matchup. The Spurs are right there with POR/NO in fighting for that 8th spot, so a win against the Thunder was big. It kept them in line, just 1.5 back of MEM and for someone like HOU this OKC loss gave them a little more separation in the 5 spot. With no DeRozan in the lineup both LMA and Dejounte Murray did most of the damage in the starting unit with 50 combined points

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and they got this win through Spurs basketball. They didn't make shit for threes, just 7-25, but they took care of the ball and got to the FT line (27 FTA) while also sprinkling in some big bench scoring

This was much needed considering the Spurs are only 3-7 over their last 10, but just like everyone else that is bunched in this 9-11 spot in the West, you can't rule them out just yet.

For OKC, tough back to back losses at home which is unfortunate considering how bunched up the 5-7 seeds are. This now brings them tied with DAL for the 6th spot, and much like against BOS, it was their second half defense that ultimately let them down. It didn't help they only scored 14 first quarter points either, but the 65 SA second half points was simply too many to overcome.

Chris Paul was great and that shouldn't surprise you considering he's having a fantastic season

and SGA continues to blossom into a fucking stud

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but they just didn't quite have enough firepower. Gallo and Schroder combining fort 9-29 didn't help, nor did getting demolished on the glass. 

And that's it! You are now all caught up with everything that went down last night in the NBA. Hopefully this helped you kill some time this morning, have a great Wednesday!