Welcome back to another edition of Last Night In The NBA where we catch you up on everything that happened from the night before in the Association. Again, if you’re stuck in the cube today, fear not because we had 10 games on the schedule last night which means you probably won’t have to do anything at work for a little while if you just continue on. If you missed any of the excitement, here’s what happened
Mavericks (11-25) 98 vs Pacers (19-16) 94
Look out for the Mavericks! After just squeaking by against TOR at home the game before, they followed that surprising win with another one, this time on the road of all places against a pretty good Pacers team. If you can believe it they did it with no player scoring more than 15 points, but were pretty balanced with 6 players in double figures
Somehow they were able to come back from a 90-84 deficit with around 5 minutes left, and a late game IND turnover sealed it. Credit the Mavs for shooting 51%, taking care of the ball (9 TOs), and really settling down after that first quarter.
For IND, this is a tough one to drop at home, and they’ve now lost 3 of their last 5 with their only wins being BKN/ATL. Not exactly the best stretch of their season. Now obviously, not having their best player in Oladipo probably played a role in this outcome I would say, but the Pacers starters did play pretty well with all five players finishing in double figures, and as a team they had 48/40% splits which isn’t terrible.
The problem for them was the TOs (15) and the egg they laid in the fourth quarter. With how tight things are in the 4-8 seeds in the East, the Pacers are probably beating themselves up over this one. Sad!
Hawks (9-25) 113 vs Wizards (19-16) 99
Speaking of teams that are beating themselves up over a loss against a really bad team, welcome Washington! All that good momentum from a big Christmas win right out the window with a beat down by the damn ATL Hawks. Did you know this was the first time all season the Hawks have won back to back games and their 113 points were the 5th highest total of their season?
Illyasova had 20, Schroder 21, and Belinelli 19 off the bench, and the Hawks completely dominated what was a close game in the first half over the final 24 minutes. A 35 point fourth quarter was the icing on the cake in what was probably one of their best wins on the year.
For WSH, face the facts, Schroder outplayed John Wall and a Plumlee outplayed Gortat. Bradley Beal led the way with 20 for the Wizards, and they were actually pretty balanced with 5 other guys in double figures, they just couldn’t overcome the 4-15 performance from those two guys.
Would I have preferred this type of showing on Christmas? You bet, but this is your classic example of a team getting up to play someone, and then the next night not having that same fire and energy, and got a result that often happens when you do that. They are right with IND in that 4-8 range, so this loss was tough to stomach as well
Celtics (28-10) 102 vs Hornets (12-22) 91
Full blog is coming per usual, but this is how I would best sum up the evening
Bulls (12-22) 92 vs Knicks (17-17) 87
Look at these Baby Bulls go! Now winners of 9 of their last 11 they are fucking rollllllllling. Playing the most exciting basketball in the East I would say, it makes you wonder if this team had all it’s guys the whole year, would they at least be an 8 seed? I mean since Mirotic came back, they are beating current playoff teams and look entirely different.
As a Bulls fan you have to be ecstatic about what you saw from your two main young cornerstones in Baby Dirk and Kris Dunn who combined for 29 points and were HUGE down the stretch of this win
This was one of those rare grind it out games that CHI hasn’t really had yet because their bench didn’t really do much. Both Portis and Mirotic only combined for 12 points and as a team CHI had just 40/35% splits with 15 TOs so while it wasn’t pretty, it still counts. They may be killing their potential lottery pick, but that shit is such a crap shoot anyway I say just have fun and enjoy the ride. Chances are there will be a nice little losing streak to get them back on track anyway.
For NYK, I’m just a blogger, but I would say 14 points in the fourth quarter was a problem, as was the 17% shooting from deep. Only 3 guys in double figures led by Porzingis’ 23 on 9-22 shooting
but other than that, it was struggle city. Somehow unable to free him up for a final 3PA on their last possession, probably not the best drawn up play by Jeff Hornacek where not only were you bailed out by a non call on what was definitely 5 seconds, but then the result being a Kanter three, something he has taken just 2 of all year, was not great.
The Knicks have now lost 3 straight and are currently a game out of the 8 spot, making them the only team not in the playoffs at the moment with a positive point differential.
Timberwolves (22-13) 128 vs Nuggets (19-16) 125
This may have been one of if not the game of the night. A big time Northwest Division showdown, MIN now leads that head to head matchup 2-0 and has a 3 game lead on DEN for that 4 spot. They’ve won 5 in a row and they can sure as hell thank Jimmy Butler for this one, because the man was as possessed as I’ve ever seen him on the offensive end
39 points (12 in OT) on 10-20 shooting while also living at the line (16-18) he was their offense down the stretch because DEN simply couldn’t stop him. Wiggins chipped in 21 on 7-13 and Taj Gibson who has been a great signing for them also had 20
with KAT pouring in a modest 14/13/6 with 4 blocks.
And how could I forget, considering we are talking today about time machine performances, this big time shot from Jamal Crawford who still is getting it done at a high level
He had 12 off the bench
For DEN, sooner or later you are going to have to beat this MIN team, that’s the reality. They sure thought they had it with some of the performances they got, including 28 from Barton
23 from Trey Lyles
22/9/4 from Jokic
and 21 from Jamal Murray while only turning the ball over 9 times. That all adds up to wins more often than not. You have to give them credit, the Nuggets fought back from being down 19 on the second night of a back to back which is impressive to see form such a young team. They just were dealing with too much Jimmy Butler.
Pelicans (18-16) 128 vs Nets (12-22) 113
There are few things on this planet I love more than Vintage Rajon Rondo, and last night we were blessed with perhaps the most vintage Rondo performance of all time.
30 minutes, 1-5 from the floor, 2 points, 7 rebounds, 25 assists. Beautiful stuff
One of the best pure passers in the NBA, Rondo was a goddamn maestro out there. While some of his assists may have been generous, I don’t care. I love that Rondo can still do Rondo things.
And yeah, AD was pretty good too with 33/11
Boogie was dominant with his 27/14/5 and Moore/Holiday combined for 43 points, but the story is Rajon Rondo. The Pelicans had 53/51% splits and just 10 TOs helping them now win their 3rd game in a row and sit in the 7th spot in the West. I’d say a HOU/NO series would be pretty fun no?
For BKN, losers of 3 straight and 2-8 over their last 10, they are embracing their tank. That doesn’t mean guys didn’t have solid games, as Quincy Acy had 18, LeVert had 22 and Stauskas had 21 all off the BKN bench
That Stauskas trade really seems to be working out for him. He’s been pretty solid in every opportunity he’s been given.
Thunder (20-15) 124 vs Raptors (23-10) 107
What did we talk about the other day? The Raptors are average on the road, and have now lost back to back games for just the second time all season. The reason, at least last night, was the OKC Big 3 played like a Big 3.
Hard to beat this OKC team when their main dudes combine for 81 of the 124. Their shot distribution was fairly even, all shot great from the floor, and aside from Westbrook, the entire team took care of the ball. Holding TOR to just 19 points in the fourth was big and don’t look now but OKC has won 6 in a row and 8 of 9. They trail MIN by just 2 games and currently find themselves in a 5 seed. Those two teams have been matching each other blow for blow and it will be wild to see them down the stretch and also in a potential playoff series.
I think we’re learning that teams take different timelines to gel. For the Celtics, it happened right away. For CLE, it took a week or two for them to hit their stride. HOU and GS it was right away as well. For OKC, it’s taken them a couple months to figure out how to play together, and luckily for them it’s a lonnnnnng season. If this team is healthy and clicking at the right time, they are absolutely a threat in the West.
For TOR, look it’s hard for them to beat good teams if their two best players combine to go 7-26 for 28 points. That’s just not going to cut it. I will say CJ Miles continues to be a great addition to their second unit, but outside of him they were mostly trash
Kings (12-22) 109 vs Cavaliers (24-11) 95
Vintage Rondo AND Vintage Vince Carter in the same night!
24 gigantic points for Carter, who finally outscored Lebron in a game for the first time in 10 years! He was on another level in his 30 minutes off the bench going 10-12 from the floor and led ALL scorers. I don’t know where he pulled that performance from, it may never happen again, but boy was it fun to watch.
You know who else is fun to watch on the Kings? Bogdan Bogdanovic
16 points on 6-9 shooting, kid can play.
Before we move on, it wouldn’t feel right without also showing this little move. Hey Lebron….SEEE YAAAAA
For CLE, Lebron did have another triple dub
and this wasn’t the first time they’ve lost to a bad team. They have losses against BKN/ATL/ORL on the season, but this is the first time they’ve lose back to back game since the end of October. They move to now 2.5 games back of BOS, but the good news is Isaiah is about to be back so there’s that.
Warriors (28-7) 126 vs Jazz (15-21) 101
Fucking Warriors man. No Curry, two of their starters combine for 13 points, no starter has over 21, and they score 126 points? What assholes.
Tell me Jordan Bell’s 5/13/7 doesn’t remind you of someone? Patrick McCaw is basically a rotation player for any other team in the league given how they’ve developed him, he had 18 and then there’s Nick Young living his best life with 15 on 6-9 (nice) shooting. Nuts.
For UTA, not all bad! Mitchell looked great
and Rodney Hood had 26 off the bench
Now the bad news is you’re 3-15 on the road, have lost 6 of your last 7 and are most definitely heading to the lottery. Losing Gobert was absolutely brutal, but that’s life.
Now, do they make Favors available?
Grizzlies (11-24) 109 vs Lakers (11-22) 99
Man, did it pay to be one of the worst teams in the league last night. With no Lonzo I’m not surprised if you didn’t watch this, but you missed a hell of a performance from the Grizzlies. Tyreke Evans went into Staples and put on a show, finishing with 32/7/7/7 on 8-17 shooting
He may end up being the hottest commodity at the deadline given how he’s played this season, and the fact that MEM doesn’t own his Bird Rights and definitely aren’t keeping him.
MEM also got a pretty nice showing from their young promising big man Deyonta Davis, who was big for them down the stretch
For LAL, I have just one thing to say.
And that’s it! You’re now all caught up on everything that happened last night in the NBA. A little lighter of a schedule tonight with just 5 games, but almost all of them should be great matchups. We have BOS/HOU, MIN/MIL, SA/NYK, DET/ORL, and PHI/POR. As always if you miss any of it, just come back tomorrow and I’ll fill you in