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Last Night In The NBA: Not Everybody Is Enjoying 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Raptors

Hello everybody and welcome to a Friday edition of Last Night In The NBA where we catch you up on everything that happened from the night before in the Association. The day started with a little afternoon showdown in London and ended with some melting down in CLE, safe to say it was a pretty eventful day. If by chance you couldn’t watch, here’s what happened.

Raptors (29-11) 133 vs Cavaliers (26-15) 99

Heading into a matchup like this with no Kyle Lowry and no Serge Ibaka due to his suspension, it makes sense that the Raptors would finish with their highest point total of the season. They got to 131 once, but that took an OT to get to. This stayed in regulation, as the Raptors quarter scoring went like this: 30, 35, 35, 33. That is some all time terrible defense by CLE.

Here’s the crazy part, it wasn’t a game in which DeRozan went off either! He finished with just 13 points on 5-13 shooting. No starter finished with more than 16 points for TOR, but once the second unit came in, then things got a little out of hand. The bench combined for 76(!!) points including 10 made threes. I know TOR is one of the more deeper teams in the NBA, but that’s a little outrageous

Here’s the thing with TOR though. As well as they play throughout the regular season, people are going to be apprehensive about them until they show they can win in the playoffs. Maybe that’s a little unfair because this team is basically all new, but the playoff struggles of their two best players is real. I will say this though for TOR fans who may be annoyed with that, THIS version of the Raptors will be an entirely new beast, They don’t play the same style as those previous teams that underachieved, and as long as they get healthy for the Spring, they could absolutely be a team that causes problems in a series.

For CLE, my advice is for us all on the internet to get our jokes in now. We all know that this team aka Lebron will be a different beast come the playoffs, but in the meantime boy do they stink. I mean they were already the worst defense in the NBA before Isaiah came back, and it most certainly has not gotten any better. Lebron led the way with 26 which is nothing new

but there are definite warning signs. First, Kevin Love who is having a pretty good year, has been absolutely brutal in 2018, avergaing just 12/5 with 34/42% splits. He was 2-8 last night in 23 minutes. Then you factor in that the CLE starting backcourt went 2-20 including a brutal 2-15 from Isaiah, and I’m not sure what you expect to happen other than to lose by a billion.

It took a little while, but doesn’t it feel like Lebron knows this team doesn’t have it right now? I mean if we’re not supposed to care about what we see in January from the Cavs based on what Cavs Twitter says, why is he so mad?

Let’s look at the numbers. The Cavs are 29th in defensive rating at 109.5. They give up the 6th most points per night at 108.8 and opponents are shooting 47% from the floor (5th worst) and 37% (9th worst) from behind the arc against them. They look old, they look slow, they look disinterested. At this point what is JR Smith doing to help this team? How much can they really rely on Wade/Korver/and a weird good year from Jeff Green? This team has to make a deal at the deadline or something, but who do they have to move? They expect someone to take on Tristan Thompsons contract or something?

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Could we get to the point where Lebron demands they move the BKN pick for help, and then ends up leaving anyways? Oooohhhhh boy imagine that. I think it’s fair to rag of the Cavs now, but also understand that this doesn’t mean they still can’t make the Finals. I will say no team has ever won the title after being blown out in back to back games by 25+ like the Cavs just were, but we all need to remember the playoffs are not in January. At the end of the day Lebron has nobody but himself to blame for these struggles, remember it was him to pushed for CLE to sign TT and JR Smith to those extensions and it was him who beefed with Kyrie that forced that trade and it was him who brought in his buddy DWade. What Lebron is learning is that maybe he fucked up just a bit.

Celtics (34-10) 114 vs Sixers (19-20) 103

Full blog is on the way but I will say this. The Celtics are in a very similar position as the Raptors. This regular season has been fun as hell, and they are deep as hell, but this team needs to prove it in the playoffs as well. We as Celtics fans can partake in all the Lebron bashing we want to troll Cavs fans on Twitter, but just know they are not without their own level of pressure.

Aside from that, it did feel great to beat PHI yet AGAIN. Boston, Philly, US, England, even spotting them 20 points it doesn’t matter. And this was with a rested Embiid! Hopefully we won’t have to hear much from PHI fans for a while as they go back under their bridge.

Clippers (20-21) 121 vs Kings (13-28) 115

Despite blowing a 14 point lead in the fourth quarter, the Clippers held on for their third win in a row, and their 7th win in 9 games. Even with all their injuries the Clippers have bounced back, and find themselves just 0.5 games behind NO for the 8th spot and just 2.5 games behind POR for the 5th. This means that you can kiss them trading any players at the deadline goodbye. Or at least they aren’t blowing everything up, they’d be silly to. A big reason for this turnaround has been the play of Lou Williams who made a spot start last night.

You can make the case that Williams should be an All Star this year, and how do you like this for production in 2018?

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 7.45.29 AM

He’s been incredible and last night was no different. But he wasn’t alone! Montrezl Harrell came up huge off the bench with 25/5

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and Blake Griffin returned from his concussion which was scary shit

to drop 18/12/6 in 33 minutes

Another perk of the night was we got ourselves a good old fashion Serbian duel between Milo The Passing God and Bogdan Bogdanovic

Who doesn’t love a good Serbian duel?

For SAC, I can’t say they played all that bad, I mean 115 points on 49% shooting is pretty good despite De’Aron Fox going just 3-10. Guys like ZBo were good with 16/7, George Hill had 21 and the SAC bench was just as good as their starting five.

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They came up short in their comeback effort, but that’s not all that surprising.

Lakers (14-27) 93 vs Spurs (28-15) 81

You want to talk surprising, let’s talk about this game. Yes SA was without Kawhi, Tony Parker, Danny Green etc, but even still they should be able to beat the god awful Lakers. And yet, LA has now won 3 in a row, and got some very encouraging performances from their promising young players. For example, this may have been Lonzo Ball’s best overall game as a pro, finishing with 18/10/6/4 on 7-11 shooing and 4-7 from deep

To go along with that they had Brandon Ingram lead everybody with 26 points on 11-21 shooting

and so far in 2018 he’s averaging 18/5.6/3.8 with 56/53% splits. That’s pretty goddamn good. We haven’t seen the Lakers defend like this really at any point this season, and their big fourth quarter to close the game out showed some pretty good poise from a group of kids against a big time opponent in SA. I mean don’t get me wrong they still stink out loud, but this was definitely a nice showing after dropping what seemed like a million games in a row.

Also this dunk from Larry Nance was outrageous

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For SA, for the most part their starters did their job. Gasol struggled shooting against his old team, but guys like LMA, Murray (14/11/5) and Forbes (18 points) certainly played better than most expected. The problem was they got dogshit from their bench, with just 14 total points. They turned it over 20 times, something obviously not very Spurs like, and they had two quarters in which they couldn’t break 20 points.

The Spurs have been playing .500 basketball over their last 8 games, and are a bit fortunate that HOU has struggled as well recently, because despite their issues still remain just 2.5 games from that 2nd seed in the West. If you’re SA, wouldn’t you rather face DEN than OKC in that first round? That’s why seeding matters.

And that’s it! You’re now all caught up on everything that happened last night in the NBA. We have 9 more games tonight including some good ones like CLE/IND, GS/MIL, NYK/MIN, and POR/NO. As always go live your life tonight and check back tomorrow and I’ll fill you in on what you missed.