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Last Night In The NBA: It Was Weird

Portland Trail Blazers v Cleveland Cavaliers

Welcome everybody to another edition of Last Night In The NBA where we bring you up to speed on everything that happened the night before in the Association. There were a total of 5 games last night, most ended not close, but still entertaining nonetheless. If you happened to not be by a TV last night and missed it, here’s what happened

Cavaliers (25-12) 127 vs Trail Blazers (19-18) 110

Well this certainly was weird to see. I thought playing against CLE in 2K would prepare me for what my eyes were about to see, but once Isaiah checked in for the first time and looked basically like his old self, I couldn’t stop thinking how weird it was to see him not only play with Lebron, but in those colors. Definitely weird. In terms of how Isaiah actually played, all things considered I don’t think Cavs fans could ask for a better premiere

17 points on 6-12 shooting with 3 assists in just 19 minutes, while it sucked seeing him do it for the Cavs, I was happy to see Isaiah play this well. A few things stood out to me that led me to believe you could tell Isaiah was not only feeling better, but probably will be back to 100% faster than we think. The first was that drive on Napier where even though Isaiah is still a step slower as he works his way back, he was able to get the edge and take the contact. That was a very Isaiah Thomas drive. The second was his three point shooting. The threes he made off the dribble and off screens are great signs for Cavs fans. When Isaiah is making those, he’s feeling good.

Isaiah wasn’t alone as Lebron did his thing with 24/6/8/4 on 10-17 shooting

And Love 19/7 on 5-7 shooting with 4 made threes. The biggest surprise for me though with CLE came with their bench production. Four players with at least 9 points, the CLKE bench totaled 61 of the 127. Obviously Isaiah was a big part of that but Wade finished with 15/8 and Green had 10 as well. This game was actually pretty close until the fourth quarter when you guessed it, Isaiah heated up as did Wade and they turned in a 36-23 fourth quarter.

For POR, it was also a night of returns for them as well. Damian Lillard returned to the lineup after missing a few games, and looked just like his old self as well. He finished with 25/6 on 8-15 shooting with 6 made threes

In fact, most of the POR starters played really well outside of Aminu with 4 of the five guys notching at least 15 points. Outside of Dame it was Nurkic who was probably the best Blazer, he finished with 23/7/4 on 10-12 shooting

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Unfortunately for the Blazers, their bench did not make the trip to CLE. Just 23 points on 8-25 shooting isn’t going to cut it against a team that has won like 13 straight games at home and is one of the better teams in the league. Napier had a rough night on both ends for sure, as did Mo Harkless. POR is a bit lucky because all the teams around them in the West are also dropping games, so they haven’t exactly lost any ground, but their schedule is brutal moving forward so that could change in an instant.

Spurs (26-12) 100 vs Knicks (18-19) 91

This result has to be frustrating for Knicks faithful when you look and see that SA shot just 37/37%, had just 4 total players in double figures, and 60% of their starters combined for 17 points. You should lose games on the road when this kind of stuff happens, but as we know, the Spurs are the Spurs so is it really all that surprising? They held on for the 9 point win despite scoring just 19 points in the fourth, and they can thank Kawhi and LMA for that

Aldridge continues to look great even with Kawhi in the lineup and the true number 1 option again, and Kawhi looks a lot better as well now that he has had a few games under his belt. When two players combine for over half your points, that’s usually pretty impressive.

Despite the poor shooting from most of their team, they took care of the ball with just 8 TOs which obviously limited the Knicks from getting out and running. Surprisingly the Spurs moved to 9-10 on the road this season with the win, and having the record they do and not even be at the point where they are playing their best basketball it a bit terrifying.

For NYK, hard to beat SA when no starter has over 13 points and Porzingis goes 5-19. As a team they finished with 40/31% splits so it’s not as if they were thriving offensively either. Basically the only positive takeaway for the Knicks and their fans was Beasley was basically unstoppable off the bench

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Fortunately the Pacers have also lost 4 in a row, so despite being 4-6 in their last 10, the Knicks sit just 1 game out of the 8 spot in the East.

Suns (15-24) 104 vs Hawks (10-27) 103

If I told you that Suns/Hawks would be one of the most exciting games heading into last night, no chance you believe me. What we had was a good ol fashioned duel between three Hawks players and two Suns players. For PHX, it was Devin Booker and TJ Warren who combined for 65 of their 104

It certainly looked like the Suns were headed for a pretty bad loss, but then Booker went crazy scoring 8 points in 37 goddamn seconds as part of a game sealing 15-4 run. Then when it was time to win, they got what was perhaps the play of the night from Chriss, essentially saving the day.

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I said it a few weeks ago and last night reassured it. The Suns are a brutal watch, but worth it when Booker is in the lineup.

For ATL, their three guys were Illyasova, Schroder, and Bazemore, who combined for 61 of their 103

You know what doesn’t really make sense with me when it comes to ATL? How is it possible that they play a Plumlee 27 minutes but prized rookie John Collins only 20? When should that ever happen? Who is your future? You have 10 wins ATL, grow up.

Hornets (14-23) 131 vs Kings (12-25) 111

Not a whole lot of defense last night in Sacramento for either team, but more so for the Kings. CHA finished with 57/46% splits with 15 made threes and just 3, count em, 3 TOs! A total of 8 players in double figures it was almost a pick your poison situation for the Kings. What’s crazy is Kemba only had 12 points! This was a more balanced approach and by far the best offensive showing from the Hornets so far this season

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Not having a quarter under 28 points is certainly impressive, and I can’t really figure CHA out. I feel like they should be much better than their record, and perhaps their injuries are the main culprit, but this feels like an underachieving team to me, especially with how great Dwight has been playing.

For SAC, Fox returned to the lineup after missing a bunch of games and he played pretty well with 17 in his 33 minutes

ZBo also continues to turn back the clock with a 24/10 night on 11-18 shooting in his 25 minutes

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But the Kings couldn’t stop turning it over, and again there was that whole lack of defense thing that made this an uphill battle from the start. I will say though, Skal looked god with 17/15 on 50% shooting, so even if it meant WCS didn’t start, there’s that t be excited about in you’re a Kings fan.

Clippers (17-19) 113 vs Grizzlies (12-26) 105

Don’t look now, but the Clippers have won 4 in a row and 6 of their last 7. With Blake back they look more like themselves, he had 21/6/8 on 9-18 shooting in 36 mintues

CJ Williams came out of nowhere with 18 points

and perhaps the most exciting bench guard in the league Lou Williams led ALL scorers with 33

A team that everyone thought should blow it up sits just 1 game out of the 8 spot in the West, so it wouldn’t shock me if they are actually not sellers come the deadline. Why would you when a seed as high as 5 is still in play? Crazy what can happen when you get your best players back from injury. Too bad.

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For MEM, this is a team that should definitely blow it up, and I’m looking at you Tyreke Evans. Another strong performance of 18/5/6/3, at this point he’s literally the only positive thing when it comes to this god awful team. The Grizzlies were in it for sure until that 21 point fourth quarter, and really could have used a little more from Gasol instead of his 3-10 performance.

And that’s it! You’re now all caught up on everything that happened last night in the NBA. We have a jam packed schedule today with 12 total games including CLE/BOS, SA/PHI, NYK/WSH, DET/MIA, TOR/CHI, MIL/IND, and OKC/LAL. As always since this is a shit ton of basketball, if you by chance can’t watch it all, come back tomorrow and I’ll fill you in.