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Last Night In The NBA: A Busy Friday

Cleveland Cavaliers v Indiana Pacers

Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of Last Night In The NBA where we catch you up on everything you may have missed from last night in the Association. With a little while to kill before football starts, combined with the fact that there were 9 games last night we have a lot to cover. If for whatever reason you didn’t get to watch, here’s what happened.

Hornets (16-24) 99 vs Jazz (17-25) 88

Much like the Clippers, the Hornets have been one of the teams hit mosts with major injuries. That’s why you almost have to throw their record out because the lineup we saw last night has certainly not been there all season. Looking most recently the Hornets have won 4 of their last 6 and are a bad loss to DAL away from winning four straight.

Last night they didn’t shoot all that well, just 41/33% splits, but they got balanced scoring with 6 players in double figures. As you can expect Kemba led the way with 22/6, and both Frank The Tank and Jeremy Lamb were solid off the bench with a combined 27

This win brought CHA to 11-11 at home, but they’re still a wide 5 game gap from the 8 spot in the East. Barring any sort of injury, I don’t see any of the current teams sliding that drastically, so while they beat the Jazz, it’s probably a lost year.

For UTA, same deal really, injuries have not been kind to the Jazz. I honestly respect you a reader so much that I almost didn’t even talk about them because no one should have to hear about a team that couldn’t break 90, had 36/34% splits and just one starter with more than 7 points.

But when Donovan Mitchell drops 35 on 10-20 shooting, you should probably watch it

Kid is a bonafide stud.

Pacers (22-20) 97 vs Cavaliers (26-16) 95

*The entire internet outside of Cavs Twitter when Oladipo made that three with 2 minutes left and Lebron missed that three at the buzzer to complete a 22 point collapse*

In what could be a little first round playoff preview, last night the Pacers delivered yet another body blow to the Cavs. Safe to say they haven’t had the best week, and after getting blown out by a billion in back to back games, this time losing by blowing a 20+ point lead is just the type of shit I need directly inserted into my veins. Give me the chaos, give me the passive aggressive Lebron quotes, I’ll take all of it. Lord knows we may only be able to enjoy this for a few more months before it’s time to stop playoff Lebron. So how did the Pacers pull it off? Through great guard play

Collison gave them 22

Oladipo had 19

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and in a matchup everybody loves, Lance came off the bench and not only went right at Lebron, but finished with 16/11 on 6-11 shooting

For CLE, outside of Lebron and Love, nobody did jack shit. Playing without Isaiah because of it being a back to back, nobody stepped up to be that third scoring option. JR Smith/Calderon/Crowder combined to go just 9-23 for 22 points. When you don’t have scoring depth, you get quarters like what CLE had in the 3rd, which they lost 32-16. That great first quarter which they won 34-12 all for nothing.

Remember, the Cavs had the easiest schedule in the NBA when they were winning all those games. People seemed to ignore that fact and instead considered many of the Cavs problems fixed when they won 13 in a row. They’re about to play a much tougher schedule in the second half (currently 27th), so it’s not as if this is just a rough patch they have to get through. There are real concerns, and at this point you’re in denial if you think otherwise. Having said that, the Cavs have earned the right to not give a shit until Spring. When you have the option to run a high pick and switch with Lebron in the playoffs so he can go one on one with the other team’s big in space, you get the benefit of the doubt.

But they stink right now, and there’s no chance Lebron allows the team to not make some sort of move at the deadline.

Wizards (24-18) 125 vs Magic (12-31) 119

You know who is sitting there waiting for the Cavs to keep dropping? The Wizards. Just 2 games out from that 3 spot in the East, this is a team that is healthy and poised to make a jump. They’ll be able to do that if they can consistently play like they did last night, especially the performances from their two stars

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Not terrible to get 60 of your 125 from two guys, but it doesn’t really surprise me that they were able to feast on the backcourt of ORL. What did surprise me was the production they got from their second unit, because we all know that when it comes to the Wizards, it’s all about their bench scoring. Last night they got it, with 37 total points, led by Ian Mahinmi’s 17

They didn’t play the best defense we’ve ever seen, but when you shoot 56.8% it doesn’t really matter now does it.

For ORL, since they aren’t going to win many games, at least it was still fun to see some of their guys have good nights. Payton, Biyombo and Simmons were all solid

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Nets (16-26) 110 vs Hawks (11-31) 105

Here we go BKN! Way to snap your 3 game skid after winning 3 of 4. I will say this, given their injuries to the PG position it has given us one of the better stories of the season in Spencer Dinwiddie. This dude has great size and has been a great find for the Nets

20/10 last night, it’s no surprise the Nets guaranteed his contract for the rest of the year.

But that’s not all! Jahlil Okafor, not dead

He played just 12 minutes and didn’t grab any rebounds, but he DID have 17 points on 6-8 shooting. Not bad! As of now the Nets pick is slated for the 9th spot, but they are creeping up on CHA/UTA/NYK/PHI level.

For ATL, for the millionth time, let me know if you’ve heard this before. Dennis Schroder leads the team in scoring with a bunch of points, nobody else really does anything, and the Hawks lose.

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He had 34 on 26 shots and only two other Hawks ended up in double figures. Same old same old.

Warriors (34-9) 108 vs Bucks (22-19) 94

Even without Curry, the Warriors were able to recover from a poor 3rd quarter, make enough plays down the stretch, and improve to an insane 18-3 on the road this season.  They did it with only 3 players finishing in double figures, but Durant and Draymond more than picked up the slack.

Durant had 26/6/6 on 12-20 and Draymond 21/10/7 on 8-17 with both playing the 36+ minutes. As crazy as it sounds, what makes the Warriors even harder to beat than just dealing with those two, is their second unit is so goddamn deep. Four guys with at least 8 points, this team just keeps coming at you no matter who is in the lineup

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For MIL, they certainly did their best, with solid performances from Giannis. Bledsoe and Brogdon

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But when you want to beat the Warriors, you need ALL you guys to show up, and Middleton’s 2-12 really hurt. So does getting just 19 points from your bench. You can’t possibly hope to beat GS while not breaking 100, but you have to give them credit for hanging in their given how this game started.

Timberwolves (28-16) 118 vs Knicks (19-23) 108

It’s very hard to stay with a team when they shoot 51% and have 8 guys in double figures like MIN had, so it’s a bit shocking that this was a 10 point game. KAT led the way with 23/15/9 on an efficient 9-15

and surprisingly he was the only player to break 20 points on this team. Wiggins and Butler had just 16 and 13, in fact it was Taj Gibson that had the second most points with 17 on 8-11 shooting. What a good signing he has been for them. This win now marks the 4th straight for MIN, and they are starting to separate themselves in that 4 spot. They have a 5 game lead over POR, and are now just 0.5 games behind SA for the three spot. Safe to say they are starting to figure things out.

For NYK, a quiet night from Porzingis will make things tough, and despite 17/10 from him and 16/12 from Kanter, it wasn’t enough. They also got a solid 18/8 from Jarrett Jack

but that fourth quarter proved to be their downfall. Down 1 entering the final frame, they scored just 22 points which was their lowest of any quarter while not playing much defense on the other end. That’s not usually going to work out for you but is consistent with the Knicks season. It’s as if they’re two completely different teams based on where they play. 15-8 at home and a brutal 4-15 on the road. They have some work to do to get into the playoff hunt, sitting 3 games back as of today.

Pelicans (21-20) 119 vs Trail Blazers (22-20) 113

Another close game POR is involved in, and this time they had no answers whatsoever for Boogie and AD. 60 of the 119, and Boogie was especially outrageous with 24/19/8

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That’s called asserting your will. They also got great nights from Jrue Holiday

and Darius Miller

which basically made their 18 TOs a non factor. These two teams are separated by just 0.5 games in the West, as the 5-8 seed battle continues to be must watch stuff almost every night.

For POR, Lillard was back and looked like himself with 23/8

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Same with CJ and his 23/4/4, and even guys like Aminu and Nurkic showed up with 19 apiece

The problem was their bench didn’t bring much to the table, finishing with just 12 points. And there was that whole AD/Boogie thing too, but that certainly didn’t help in a game in which they lost by 6.

Nuggets (22-20) 87 vs Grizzlies (13-28) 78

It’s a little weird a DEN game against a poor team like this was a game in which they didn’t break 90. They weren’t completely healthy so perhaps that’s why but this was a horrendous offensive showing for both sides. So just enjoy some Jokic magic and call it a day

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For MEM, poor Marc Gasol

Rockets (30-11) 112 vs Suns (16-27) 95

No Harden no problem for HOU considering Gordon and CP3 were more than capable of beating this lowly suns team. The Rockets starters were balanced, with everyone reaching double figures and 4 of 5 netting at least 17 points led by Paul’s 25

After some shaky losses, the Rockets seem to have figured things out without Harden in the lineup, now winners of 3 straight and a 3 game lead over SA in their division.

For PHX, at this point you should be watching them just to see Devin Booker do outrageous shit on a consistent basis. He finished with 27/6/9 on 9-18 shooting and did shit like this

Also, how about Dragan Bender showing life!

I’ll say this, despite not winning often, the Suns do play hard. It’ll be interesting to see what high lottery talent they add to this group.

And that’s it! You’re now all caught up on everything that happened last night in the NBA. With all the football on today don’t worry about trying to also catch the 7 NBA games on today. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. Have a great rest of your Saturday!