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Last Night In The NBA: A Full Slate That Was Filled With Surprises

Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets

Welcome back to another edition of Last Night In The NBA where we catch you up on everything that happened the night before in the Association. Hopefully, your at the point of the week where you just need to get through today. Just make it through these long 8 hours and you won’t have to come back to work until 2018. Well, allow me to help you with a large chunk of those hours. A ton of shit went down last night with 12 games in action, and if you missed any of it, here’s what happened

Raptors (21-8) 129 vs Hornets (11-20) 111

Don’t look now, but the Raptors are now tied with the Celtics for the fewest losses in the East, and own the best point differential by a wide margin. They’ve won 4 in a row and are 9-1 over their last 10, and now join BOS and CLE as the only teams in the East with double digit road win. If it felt like TOR couldn’t miss in this game, that’s because they really didn’t. Their 129 points tied their season high, and they finished the night with 53/28% splits with three starters going for at least 20 points, with DeRozan finishing with 28, OG with 20 and Ibaka a season high 24

The Raptors finished with a season high 35 assists, and you could make the argument that they are playing the best basketball in the East right now.

For CHA, for some reason Batum took just 1 FGA in 26 minutes and didn’t score a point, and aside from Dwight and Kemba’s 15, no other starters reached double figures. Known in the past as a defensive team, CHA certainly didn’t play much defense, and that brutal 41-21 second quarter was essentially all she wrote for the Hornets.

The good news is they got a career night from Jeremy Lamb, who had 32 on 11-17 shooting in 28 minutes off the bench

Now 11-20 and 9-9 at home, the Hornets sure have some work to do if they want to get back into the playoff picture

Pacers (18-14) 105 vs Hawks (7-24) 95

Don’t let the final score fool you, this was much closer than probably every Pacer fan wanted, but a wins a win. Led by Oladipo’s 23 on 8-15, the Pacers did a good job taking care of the ball (6TOs) and finished with 48/33% splits. A good all around performance from Myles Turner who had 20/6 on 6-13 was huge for them

and Bogdanovic chipped in 19 on 8-14 as well, and when IND gets that kind of shooting from their main guys, and then get’s clutch Oladipo plays late

while they play good defense, it’s no surprise they won.

For ATL, sure being 4-11 at home is probably not the best. And yeah it’s probably hard to beat good teams when nol starter scores over 13 points, but who cares about all that. All Hawks fans should care about is how their prized rookie John Collins looks, and that my friends, is great

Heat (16-15) 90 vs Celtics (26-8) 89

Full blog is coming, but I would just like to take this opportunity to apologize to the Washington Wizards. I now know what it feels like to be GM7 Kelly Olynyk’d, and quite frankly it is not a pleasant experience, so I would like to apologize for any jokes I made at your expense last Spring.

Kings (11-20) 104 vs Nets (11-19) 99

Epic toilet bowl battle in this one, where someone was forced to win and that someone was the Kings. SAC is in an interesting position because they have all this young talent that clearly needs reps, but at the same time ZBo is on an absolute tear. Not only did he snag his 10,00th rebound, but he followed up his 27 point performance with a nice 21/8/3 on 8-11 shooting in 26 minutes last night

He had some held though, as George Hill led all scorers with 22 on 7-9

and Bogdanovic had 14

This production was important because with no Fox, and Hield and Mason III combining to go 2-15, they really needed this sort of night from their starters. Not great was blowing a 21 point lead down to 2, but they held on and that’s all that matters.

For BKN, for a team that got off to a decent start, their injuries are starting to catch up with them because at 11-19 and losers of 4 straight, it’s time to start paying a little closer attention to that pick. Right now it’s looking like the 9th pick, but that could change in an instant because as expected, the depleted Nets stink.

This was nice though

Now I have a question. Many people told me on Twitter that Okafor just needed to get out of PHI and he would show that he can actually play in the NBA. Well, he’s played in 1 game since the trade, with the rest being DNP-CDs, so what exactly is the issue? Stauskas got traded and we’ve seen him play, this is the fucking NETS and Okafor can’t crack the rotation? Why trade for him if you don’t plan on playing him? Is he really THAT terrible? They say he’s not in basketball shape which is the lamest cop out ever. He’s not in good enough shape to play 10 minutes? Maybe actually playing will help him get in basketball shape?

Or maybe he just stinks.

Bulls (10-20) 112 vs Magic (11-21) 94

How about these Baby Bulls! A 7 game win streak out of nowhere, at this point I say fuck it just keep going and make the playoffs to get your young kids experience. The Bulls are playing some exciting basketball, finished last night with 50/33% splits, and their 112 points marked the third straight game CHI has been over 110, which is crazy for a team that is averaging just 99 points a night. They got there with 6 players in double figures, led by Denzel Valentine’s 16/10/5 on 6-9 shooting but the real story is the domination by both Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic.

Since Mirotic came back, I’m not sure the Bulls have lost, and they combined for 29/15 on 10-20 shooting off the bench. These guys may hate each other, but for some reason when they step on the court, they make basketball magic.

For ORL, remember when this team was 8-4? They’ve now gone 3-17 since. Woof city. No Aaron Gordon obviously is an issue, but so is finishing with 39/18% splits. Vucevic showed up with his 18/10/5, and Payton sort of flirted with a triple double with 14/6/8, but the Bulls controlled them from the start and even a 28-22 fourth quarter wasn’t nearly enough.

The interesting thing for ORL is the recent play of Hezonja. Here’s a guy the Magic did not choose to keep, and they are showcasing him a little bit as a potential deadline deal. He finished with 12 points on 5-10 shooting, and while he as underachieved so far in his NBA career, perhaps someone could steal him and actually get something out of him

Lakers (11-18) 122 vs Rockets (25-5) 116

You could make a case that this was the game of the night. The Lakers came out BLAZING, with a 37-22 lead after one, and while they would eventually blow that lead and this game turned competitive, they matched HOU punch for punch until the final buzzer. Yes Lonzo was solid with his 16/9/4, but he was not the story. The story was the best rookie on this team Kyle Kuzma. In a career night, we saw a player that defined the term “locked in”. I’m not sure Kuzma even felt himself shoot these shots he was that unconscious. He finished with 38/7/4 on 12-17, including 7 made threes

It’s crazy he showed flashes this summer, and never really stopped. Kuzma probably won’t win ROY, but he just is another example of how deep this rookie class is. Kuzma is legit and only going to get better. That makes me a little sick.

Corey Brewer came off the bench and dropped 21, which you could say was a surprise considering he’s scored more than 10 points just ONCE heading into this game. You think he was motivated to play HOU?

Also, nice block Lonzo

For HOU, a pretty tough loss, and the first since CP3 came back that snapped their 14 game winning streak. Not often that James Harden can score 51 points and this team loses, which was wild

Makes you wonder what would have happened if Paul didn’t leave in the fourth with a sore leg, because they had a nice revenge game from Ariza who had 18/11, and Gordon did his thing off the bench as well with 21 in 36 minutes. HOU has been playing better defense this season, but last night wasn’t one of those efforts as the Lakers had the second highest scoring finish of their season.

Sometimes guys just get crazy hot. I think HOU will be fine

Thunder (16-15) 107 vs Jazz (14-18) 79

Big division win for OKC, who is now tied for the best defensive rating in the NBA. OKC’s Big 3 showed up, combining for 58 of the 107, with Melo/PG13 both going for 18 on 5-12, and Westbrook with a very efficient 24/10/7/4 on 10-13 shooting

This win bumped the Thunder up to a current 6 seed, and they are tied with POR and just 2.5 games back of MIN for the 4 spot and division lead. Get OKC at home and they are an entirely different beast, which is why getting that 4th spot will be so important for them come playoffs. After all the hot takes and the early season turmoil, the Thunder are right there. You hear that OKC? You’re right there. Don’t trade Paul George to CLE.

For UTA, the road is a big time issue, as they’re now 3-13, and last night with no Gobert and no Donovan Mitchell, it’s no surprise they didn’t break 80. Rodney Hood had 17 on 5-11, but that was pretty much it.

Mavericks (9-23) 110 vs Pistons (17-14) 93

Another surprise result. A game that started close was blown open in the second quarter by DAlL with a 43-28 quarter, and they then backed that up with a 24-13 point third. How did they do it? Well they got 25 from Harrison Barnes and a nice 15/5 from Dennis Smith Jr

while as a team shooting 53%

7 of DAL’s 9 wins have come at home, and they played every guy non the roster which you usually only see them do in blowout losses.

For DET, no Avery Bradley was clearly an issue, and as a result they struggled from behind the arc going just 7-24. A rough night shooting for Tobias Harris didn’t help, and a quiet night from Drummond was a surprise, as the Pistons finished with just 4 guys in double figures.

Anytime Anthony Tolliver is leading your team in scoring, you have a problem.

Timberwolves (19-13) 112 vs Nuggets (16-15) 104

Just like OKC had, this was a nice division win for MIN. Outside of Wiggins, almost everyone who played for MIN played well, especially KAT/Butler/Crawford who combined for 70 of the 112

Despite the heavy minutes, MIN was able to have their best defensive/offensive quarter when it mattered most in the fourth. They didn’t play a full 48, but made enough plays down the stretch, mostly by Butler, to steal this game on the road in what was the first matchup between these two teams. This win also got MIN over .500 on the road and brought them to 16-6 in the West.

For DEN, they were without Gary Harris which is obviously a big factor, but Jokic is back to looking like Jokic with his 22/6/4, although his 10 TOs were pretty bad. Jamal Murray also stepped up and had 30 to continue his really strong season

DEN is fighting it right now, dropping to the 7 spot and 4-6 over their last 10. They’ve had to deal with injuries and all that, but despite that have been really hard to beat at the Pepsi center. Hopefully Harris isn’t out too long because this team is a lot of fun when they have all their horses.

Spurs (22-10) 93 vs Trail Blazers (16-15) 91

Another nail biter. Every damn game it seems like the Blazers are in a tight game down the stretch, I mean just look at their last three games. A 93-91 win, a 108-107 loss, and now a 93-91 loss. Brutal stuff. With no Kawhi and No Tony Parker, the Spurs needed someone to step up, and that’s exactly what their frontcourt did

42/25/6 for LMA and Gasol isn’t too shabby. In fact, this was the first 20./10/5 performance from Gasol in over a year.

For POR, it’s tough to win when CJ goes 5-22 and as a team they shoot 39/24%. Guys like Nurkic/Dame/Turner played well, they even got 14 off the bench from Napier, but they needed just a few more plays down the stretch and they couldn’t get it done.

You thought maybe when Dame hit this three there would be some magic

but it was not meant to be I guess

Warriors (25-6) 97 vs Grizzlies (9-22) 84

Yeah, we know GS even missing guys is a billion times better than MEM, so just enjoy the highlights. No explanation of this game needed

For MEM, this was cool

Clippers (12-18) 108 vs Suns (11-22) 95

Gallo may be out for a while with a torn butt muscle, but the Clippers pulled this out mostly due to 21 from Austin Rivers, a nice 12/20 from DeAndre, and then 18 from Lou Williams off the bench

Oh and some more gifts from the passing God himself

They still need to blow this team up though. Just pull the trigger.

For PHX, TJ Warren is having a great season and chipped in 22/10, and Josh Jackson had his moments in a 17/4 performance

which should excite you if you’re a Suns fan. The problem is you can’t have 36/22% splits. A 1-6 performance from Ulis and a 2-12 from Canaan isn’t great, and with Monroe being a DNP-CD it makes you wonder if he could be a potential buyout candidate.

Basically this team is hard to watch when Booker isn’t playing, so he needs to get back ASAP.

And that’s it! You’re now all caught up on everything that happened last night in the NBA. We have 5 games on tonight including BOS/NYK, CHI/CLE, and TOR/PHI, so it should be a fun ass night once again. If you can’t watch that’s fine, just check back in tomorrow and I’ll fill you in.