Good morning everybody happy Tuesday 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 7 games on the schedule and it was one of those nights that was filled with some weird shit. Nearly half were surprising upsets, we had massive surprising blowouts and late game drama. Last night showed that in this league on any given night even the best of the best can get beat, which is what makes things so fun. Especially as we head down the home stretch of the season and playoff seeding gets tighter. A few of these teams may regret what happened on Monday night. Were you busy and missed most of the action? That's OK, keep reading.
Utah Jazz (38-22) 126 vs Cleveland Cavaliers (17-44) 113
On a night filled with upsets, we sadly did not get one here. That's not to say the Cavs played poorly, they pretty much played the Jazz even outside the first quarter. Sort of a perfect game as a Cavs fan I would imagine, things were competitive, your young talent looked great, and you still got the important loss for the lottery odds. If we're being honest not enough is being made about COllin Sexton, he's been playing at a really high level since Jordan Clarkson got traded and he was fantastic in this game
He quietly has as good offensive numbers as a lot of young guards, like SGA, but nowhere near the hype. Maybe part of that is playing in CLE, but Sexton has been really good for a pretty long stretch. Same with Kevin Porter Jr, who in this game wasn't all that efficient but he was productive and has shown flashes as well over the last few weeks
Sprinkle in some 22/9 from Kevin Love with 6 3PM
and the Cavs made this Jazz defense work. This was a four point game at the half, the Cavs shot well at 46/42% with 17 3PM and only 6 TOs, but at the end of the day you have to get stops and that is not exactly something the Cavs are good at. Now 9-24 at home, this was pretty much expected.
For UTA, with how tight the seeds are in the West, this team needs all the wins they can get. I'm sure it helps secure those wins when you shoot 57/49% with 20 3PM. That beats pretty much everyone in the league. If you stepped on then floor as a member of the Jazz you pretty much shot the ball well, which shows how dangerous this offense can be…..when playing a shitty defense
The Jazz have now won 2 in a row, sit just 1 game behind HOU for the 4 seed and upped their lead over OKC to 1 game. As you can see this race is going to come down to the wire and one bad loss here or there could have serious playoff implications for anyone in the 2-6 seed. It's going to be a great finish.
Houston Rockets (39-21) 123 vs New York Knicks (19-42) 125
Oh no Houston what are you doing. I know this was a back to back but so fucking what. This is the Knicks we're talking about here. They had 9 wins at home heading into this game, and you give up 125 and lose? Yikes. Big yikes. Sure it's just one game and bas losses happen, but just when you were starting to make people believe your new style can work, you go and give the doubters this type of ammo. That's going to make Rockets fans insufferable now. They made 20 3PM but shot just 41/35%, and it's not often a team has four starters with at least 20 and still can't pull off a win
but it's pretty simple. When the Rockets defend like they did at the start of the year when they were a middle of the pack defensive team, their style hurts them. When they defend like the top 10 team they've been for the last few weeks, they are really tough to beat. This was not that defensive effort. This was pathetic. You give up 73 first half points to this Knicks team? You're going to regret this one for sure. The embarrassing thing was most of this damage came from the Knicks second unit players. That's bad.
For NYK, hey it's a lost season. They are destined for the high lottery, so why not let them enjoy what is probably one of the best wins of their entire season. RJ Barrett had a very impressive night with 27/5/5 on 10-18 shooting and was huge down the stretch
the frontcourt of Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle gave the Rockets fits all night which isn't exactly a great sign for their small ball
and while it may have been weird to see, this team executed down the stretch with clutch baskets. Sure Randle made things a little stressful by missing a FT late to keep the lead at 2, and sure Westbrook's game winner just rolled off the rim and out, but whatever. Go Knicks go!
Portland Trail Blazers (27-35) 130 vs Orlando Magic (27-34) 107
The Blazers just won't die, even with no Dame in the lineup. They are one of the teams bunched together in that 9-11 seed spot, all trying to catch MEM. As of now they are 3.5 back, but for a team that was 3-7 over their last 10 and just 11-22 on the road this year, they needed this win. The Magic aren't great but they technically are a playoff team, and at this point the Blazers should take any win they can get. The story here was CJ McCollum pulling his best Dame impression and finishing with 41/5/5
and Gary Trent Jr has been really solid filling in for Lillard. This dude can play and has shown that ever since Dame went down. He had another 24 points last night
and this dude plays hard and can get you buckets from deep. Great find by POR. This game was never really in doubt after the Blazers good start, and they wrapped it up with a 38-19 fourth quarter. They live to see another day.
For ORL, they pretty much are going to fluctuate between the 7 and 8 seed in the East, so this loss didn't really change anything for them. Not all that much to talk about outside of Vucevic's 30/11
and Terrance Ross's 23 off the bench
the worst shooting team in the league did what they do best and shot like shit. Just 38/32% for the game, they played no defense early and they never could recover. No Aaron Gordon which matters, but this isn't exactly a surprising result.
Memphis Grizzlies (30-31) 127 vs Atlanta Hawks (19-44) 88
I know the Hawks mostly stink, but I did not think they had a "lose by 40 at home" type of stink. I guess we should have seen it coming since they are 13-19 in their own building but still. Just 88 points? In a game Trae Young, John Collins, Huerter etc all play in? Giving up 127 isn't a surprise, that's what the Hawks do, but not even cracking 90 was weird.
Not exactly the Young vs Morant show we were expecting.
For MEM, after their little slide that made the bottom of the West race a little interesting, they've responded by winning 2 in a row. That may not seem like a big deal, but for a team fighting for their playoff lives it is very much a big deal. The name of the game was balance for the Grizzlies, with a total of 9 players in double figures. They shot 50/43% with 14 3PM and turned it the fuck on in the second half. This was a 3 point game at the half!! Then they came out and dropped 75 over the final 24 minutes and the rest was history
They did this without JJJ and a night where Dillon Brooks went 5-17, so who knows maybe their depth will play a legit role in getting them into the top 8.
Milwaukee Bucks (52-9) 89 vs Miami Heat (39-22) 105
By no means are the Heat bad, especially at home where they are now 26-4, but anytime the Bucks lose it's weird and anytime it happens and they don't even break 90 it's really weird. Especially when the entire roster is active. It's not often we see them come out and shoot 40/20% with only 7 3PM, that shit happens to other teams but never really MIL. Giannis was a complete non factor, Khris Middleton went 4-16 and 2-10 from deep, and they basically were down wire to wire. How many times has that happened this season? Very weird.
The loss means jack shit considering their lead in the East, but they do only lead the Lakers by 4 in the loss column for the best record in the NBA. If you want to think about a potential Finals matchup and homecourt, that lead matters.
For MIA, the win was huge for them because it gave them some separation as the 4 seed, and they are one of these teams where homecourt is massively important. Now 26-4 at home and 13-18 on the road so yeah beating the Bucks was big for them. It was your classic Heat type win, physical defense, win ugly, let your stars carry you etc
Something about these alternate jersey's man. So fire. The Heat have now won 3 in a row and trail BOS by 3 for the 3 seed, but chances are they finish in that 4/5. If PHI would get their shit together we could get a MIA/PHI first round which would be sweet, but as of this morning the Sixers are a 6 seed. Woof.
Dallas Mavericks (37-25) 107 vs Chicago Bulls (21-40) 109
OK what the hell is going on around here. We had the Knicks, we had the Heat, and now the Bulls are beating a legit playoff opponent? This isn't the Mavs of last year either that were pathetic on the road. They're 21-11 away from home! They had a 10 point lead after the first quarter and at the half! And then everything went to shit
When you're scratching and clawing for as high a playoff seed as possible, you can't lose to the Bulls. They woke up this morning in the 7 spot a game behind OKC. Maybe they prefer that so they can see DEN and not LAC in a first round series, and they didn't have Porzingis in this game but that doesn't mean it's not embarrassing to lose to a team that's 13-19 at home.
For CHI, no Zach LaVine so I'm not sure who thought the Bulls would actually pull this out, especially seeing as how their coach cannot stop self sabotaging them. But here we are, they got great production from the second unit, had a huge third quarter to take control and were able to hold on despite allowing a 32 point fourth quarter
To be honest the Bulls are only hurting themselves by winning, they're stuck in that 7 spot in the lottery standings and have some group to make up if they want to catch the Pistons/Knicks/Hawks. Nothing like having a dogshit season and then not even getting that high of a lottery pick. That's how you end up in purgatory.
Indiana Pacers (37-24) 116 vs San Antonio Spurs (25-34) 111
Both teams fighting like hell for the best playoff seed possible, the Pacers have closed the gap and leaped over PHI and the Spurs are in that group fighting for the 8th spot. You wouldn't think this would be all that important of a matchup but here we are. It mattered. The Pacers have been up and down since Oladpio returned, he was out in this one and it's no surprise they looked more like the team we saw at the beginning of the year
Despite their recent skid, I still believe in the talent on this team. They are going to be a bitch to play in a playoff series in my opinion. They have legit bigs, they have legit scoring in TJ Warren and Oladipo once he's right, they have a good coach etc. They've now won 4 in a row and are right back in the 4-6 seed conversation.
For SA, the loss now has them 4 games back of the 8 seed so maybe they are finally running out of gas. Their 3-7 record over their last 10 doesn't exactly help, and honestly they've had a great run but it's time to reset. No LMA which definitely played a role, but what can you expect when DeRozan goes 4-10 as the #1 option.
The Spurs are barely over .500 at home, they are 10 games under .500 on the road, for the first time in the last 20+ years it's safe to say the Spurs stink. That's weird in and of itself, but it's the truth.
And that's it! You are now all caught up with everything that went down last night in the NBA. We're back with another full slate tonight, and hopefully this blog helped kill some of your morning. Have a great Tuesday!