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Last Night In The NBA: Should We Start Believing In The Pacers?

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat

Happy Monday and welcome to another edition of Last Night In The NBA where we catch you up on everything that happened the night before in the Association. I wouldn’t blame you if you spent the day watching football and missed some of the NBA action from yesterday, there were 6 total games, most of which were actually pretty close. You don’t want to work, I don’t want to work, so let me tell you what happened.

Raptors (11-5) 100 vs Wizards (9-7) 91

I’m willing to look past this road loss for the Wizards, their second in a row, mostly because John Wall didn’t play. Sadly, they can’t look past it because with how tight the top of the East is probably going to be in terms of seeding, this was an important game between these two teams. So far they’ve split the season series, but we learned quickly that Tim Frazier is no John Wall.

The Raptors had their full squad, at least they had their full squad suit up, I can’t really say they all showed up. Outside of DeRozan, TOR’s starters went 12-32, and their best player off the bench in CJ Miles went 4-12. So how were they able to pull off a game that was close throughout? Well like I said, DeRozan showed up

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It also helped that TOR turned it over just 7 times.

For WSH, since Wall was out it was important that Bradley Beal carry most of the offensive load, and he did with 27 points on 11-23 shooting

Unfortunately, Markieff Morris didn’t get that same memo, going 1-10, not did Kelly Ourbre who went 2-7. What plagued WSH in this game wasn’t all that unfamiliar in my opinion. They’re second unit got outproduced by TOR’s bench, and they sort of choked in the fourth quarter scoring just 15 points. Wall or no Wall, those are two consistent problems so far for the Wizards this season.

Pacers (9-8) 120 vs Heat (7-9) 95

Remember before the year started, after the PG13 trade when a lot of people on the internet thought IND was going to be one of the worst teams in the league? Along the same lines of the CHI/BKN/ATL’s of the East? Well, it’s looking more and more like they were dead wrong when it comes to this team. The Pacers average the 4th most points a night in the East at 109.1 per game, and they are one of five teams that currently have a positive point differential.

This was a 1 point game at half, and then that 32-13 third quarter happened and it was curtains for MIA. They had no way of stopping either Myles Turner or Bogdanovic, who combined for 51 points on 20-28 shooting

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The Pacers have now won 4 of their last 5, and outside of that little skid where they lost to PhI/NYK/NO/DET, they’ve actually been pretty good. It’s at the point now where I would almost be shocked if this wasn’t a playoff team. Oladipo is having too good a year, Turner is too good a player, and it’s possible the Central division sends four teams to the playoffs.

For MIA, they’re lucky they were even in this game to begin with considering Dion Waiters went a stellar 0-10, although he did have this pretty fancy assist

and Bam had this nice dunk

But the MIA defense, yikes. They allowed IND to shoot 60% from the field and 47.8% from deep. I can;t really figure MIA out, they’ve lost 3 of their last four, and are 3-5 at home. Oh yeah, and they have BOS coming on deck. Poor Pat Riley.

Warriors (13-4) 118 vs Nets (6-10) 111

With no Kevin Durant who sat with a sprained ankle, the Warriors probably thought they were just going to be able to coast thorough BKN, and for the most part they were right. They were up by as much as 22 points at halftime. Steph Curry was insane, with 39/11/7 in 33 minutes

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But he would foul out, and the Nets would eventually cut it to 4 with around 2 minutes left in the fourth. Luckily, the Warriors also have Klay Thompson who had 7 huge points down the stretch to close it out

I will say though it has to be somewhat concerning that the Warriors are giving up these 40+ point quarters. I get they coast a lot since it’s November, but still.

For BKN, Spencer Dinwiddie is really turning into a solid NBA guard in his new opportunity with so many BKN point guards out. He finished with 21/8

Allen Crabbe also had one of this best games as a Net, and his three point shooting was a main reason why things got so tense late

Pistons (11-5) 100 vs Timberwolves (10-6) 97

You interested in a little controversy? Well this ending certainly had it. A big win for DET, who continues to make a case for being the second best team in the East through the first month of the season. Their starting five for the most part played great, with four of the guys reaching at least 16 points, and Andre Drummond leading the way with 20/16 (4-5 from the line!)

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This is how the Pistons are winning games, by scoring just enough and relying on their defense, which is giving up the 2nd fewest points in the East, to get them over the hump. They caused 20 TOs in this game and held MN, who had all their players, to under 100. That’s a recipe for success.

However, they won on some bullshit. If you’re a MIN fan, you know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about what Reggie Jackson did during Jimmy Butler’s FTs at the end of this game

Should Butler still have made the FT? Yeah, but you don’t really do that type of shit once everybody is set at the line. His face said it all. It was an unfortunate ending for a player who actually had a pretty legit performance. His 26/10/4/5 on 10-15 shooting was great

Pretty sure I saw something like a MIN player hadn’t had a line like that since KG, so that’s impressive.

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Wiggins was solid offensively as well, finishing with 24 points on 11-18

That’s a tough loss for MIN though, who has been playing much better over their last 10 games and finds themselves 3rd in the West.

Suns (7-11) 113 vs Bulls (3-11) 105

Don’t look now, but the Suns now have the same amount of wins as LAL/UTA/OKC/MEM/MIA and more wins than LAC/CHA/BKN/CHI/ATL/SAC/DAL. Consider me shocked. Now beating 3-11 team certainly isn’t anything to get overly excited about, but it was still a grind it out win.

Ty Warren and Devin Booker led the way with 42 combined points

and as a team the Suns finished with 50% shooting, and a big fourth quarter to help secure the win. Despite both teams going on runs early, it was a one point game entering the final 12 minutes and a relatively high score for two teams who can’t really score.

For CHI, like you expect, it was all about Baby Dirk. 26/13 on 10-18 shooting, it looks more and more like the Bulls actually hit on this pick. Lauri has been awesome to watch so far

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Remember Kris Dunn too? He may be like 35 as a second year player, be he was pretty nice as well

Like Big Cat always says, at least the Bulls have a direction now, and some young promising talent to get you through the losing. That’s what rebuilding in the NBA is all about.

Lakers (7-10) 127 vs Nuggets (9-7) 109

I think I’ve figured out Lonzo Ball. He’ll stink for a string of games, then pull out an impressive triple double only to then go back to stinking again. But credit him for balling out in this game to the tune of 11/16/11 on 5-13 shooting

The talent is there, now the next question is can he maintain the consistency. It’s a lot to ask of a teenager on this typeonf stage, but I think it’s a fair expectation of the #2 pick, the same way it’s fair to expect that out of Simmons or Tatum. The good news for the Lakers was most of their other young talent showed up as well. Kuzma had 17, and Randle 24

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Julius Randle is interesting because he CAN help the Lakers moving forward, but they’re clearly not going to waste cap space on him which makes you wonder, how much will he get on the open market? He’s still an extremely raw player, but the talent is there. Does he get Kelly Olynyk money, or something crazy?

For DEN, rough night for Jokic, getting tossed after 12 minutes on some pretty petty bullshit. You don’t see Jokic get thrown out very often that’s for sure. When they aren’t scoring 140+ points,it’s hard for DEN to win games with this type of defensive effort. The Lakers never had a quarter where they scored under 28 points, the Lakers shot 53%, and for the love of god could they not stop turning the ball over. 21 for the game, and it felt like 50000 in that second quarter as the Lakers started making their run.

I will say this though, I did like this pass from Millsap

And that’s it! You’re now all caught up on everything that happened last night in the NBA. We have a full slate of games tonight, 11 in all, including some pretty good matchups like MIN/CHA, CLE/DET, IND/ORL, POR/MEM, WSH/MIL, and OKC/NO so I suggest you get comfortable and watch. If not, just check back here tomorrow and I’ll have you covered.