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Last Night In The NBA: Everybody Was A Little On Edge Apparently

Toronto Raptors v Philadelphia 76ers

Hello and welcome everybody 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 and ooooohhhhhhh boy was yesterday a doozy. Given that it was MLK Day, things started in the afternoon and took us all the way until the late hours of Monday night, and if you were like me and had to work and couldn’t watch everything, this blog is for you. Here’s what happened

Hornets (17-25) 118 vs Pistons (22-20) 107

In the first game of the day we’ll start with the disappointing loss from the Pistons. They have no business losing to CHA at home, and yet, here we are. They had no answers for a team that really isn’t known for being an explosive offensive team, and the 118 points were the most CHA has scored in their last 4 games. That’ll happen when three guys break the 20+ mark and as a team they finish with 51/45% splits

After keeping things close for most of the game, Kemba woke up in the second half and the Hornets pulled away in the final frame. As good as this win is for CHA, the best news is that their coach Steve Clifford is set to return to the sidelines tomorrow after stepping away for a bit. That’s great to hear.

For DET, what happened to the defense? At one time during the year they were among the best point differential teams in the East, but they’ve slid, now sitting in the 8 spot with a 0.5 point differential. That’s not good. Offensively they were fine, with their starters all doing well outside Drummond and as a team finishing with 48/51% splits including 15 made threes. You shouldn’t lose games when that happens, unless you’re playing piss poor defense.

Guys like Tobias Harris had 20, Ish Smith a 19/10 and Avery Bradley had 15. Shit, even Reggie Bullock dropped 20 on 8-13 shooting and they still couldn’t get it done

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It’s been quite a fall from grace for DET, and I’m not buying it’s all because Reggie Jackson is injured sorry.

Sixers (20-20) 117 vs Raptors (29-13) 111

Not the best return for Kyle Lowry that’s for sure. As the Sixers are prone to do, they built a near 20 point lead against one of the better teams of the East. That’s not news. The news is they didn’t blow the lead! A dominant performance from Embiid

with a solid Simmons showing right behind him

the Sixers got off to a great start. It should also be noted that TJ McConnell was terrific too, perhaps his best all around game of the season

This win was important not just for the standings as PHI marches to get back into the playoff hunt, but also their psyche. Another blown huge lead against a top team would have been brutal. But the fun in this game came at the end, when once again Ben Simmons found himself in a little drama

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It always seems like he’s in these fake scrums, this time it was Lowry telling him to meet him in the hallway to get it going. It seemed as if Lowry was down, and I think it’d actually be a pretty good matchup. Simmons is a giant freak, but Lowry is a legit crazy person who isn’t exactly a skinny guy. Who knew this would set the tone for what was to come.

For TOR, like I said, a tough game for Lowry who made his returned from a bruised butt. He finished 3-16, and as a team the Raptors really struggled shooting the ball. DeRozan led the way with 18 points, but he took 24 shots to get it and when you have 40/28% splits and your top guys can’t buy a bucket, things tend to not work out. In fact, Delon Wright was the only one who really shot it all that well off the bench

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The Raptors have now lost 3 of 4 and have already lost the same amount of games in January as they did in the entire month of December. Sucks when you don’t have an easy schedule I suppose.

Bucks (23-23) 104 vs Wizards (25-19) 95

Man are the Wizards confusing. Just when it looked like they were poised to make some movs up the standings, MIL comes right in and shits on their parade. It all starts with Giannis, who had one of the more ridiculous days in the league, going for a 27/20/6

You usually only see guys like Capela, Whiteside, and DeAndre Jordan flirt with the 20 rebound games, so for it to come from a SF/G/Hybrid/Freak sure is impressive. But he had help too, with Bledsoe doing his thing with 23/4/3/4

and Middleton dropping in with 19/6/4/3

then Brogdon saying don’t forget about me and my 16/4/3

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Those guys did all the work as no other Bucks player had more than 6 points. The Bucks desperately needed this win as they are part of that 5-8 group where everyone is separated by just 1 or 2 games, and this brings them that much closer to .500 on the road. Much like DET, I’m not sure where the MIL defense has gone, as they actually have a negative point differential. What happened to that length? Fair to say MIL is one of the more underachieving teams we have this year?

For WSH, does anybody plan on helping John Wall and Bradley Beal? They certainly didn’t last night. Just three total players in double figures, it was Wall/Beal/Oubre and jack shit else;. You aren’t going to beat the talent of MIL by doing that, at home no less. I suppose the 23 TOs had something to do with their result, and after winning the first quarter, they then dropped the next three

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Hawks (12-31) 102 vs Spurs (29-16) 99

Um what? While I understand that Kawhi didn’t play, again I ask….what? How were the Hawks able to beat the Spurs on a night when they weren’t even that ridiculous offensively and the Spurs only turned it over 9 times? This may be the biggest surprise win of the season, and you can thank Dennis Schroder and Ilyasova who had nearly half their points

Considering Prince and Plumlee were basically non factors, it was up to the second unit to pick up the slack in terms of front court production, and pick it up they did. John Collins finished with 12/8 and Dedmond 12/10. Who knew late game execution from the Hawks would be the deciding factor, but credit Schroder he didn’t panic after the late Danny Green three and converted with 10 seconds left to seal it.

For SA, there was LMA who had 25/11, but not much else. They didn’t shoot terribly, finishing with 42/36% splits, but they didn’t get enough from guys in order to cover for no Kawhi. Other than Aldridge, no starter made more than 4 baskets, and the two main guys off the bench in Bertans and Mills combined for 8-25. Surprisingly the Spurs are now 10-14 on the road, and they’ve now dropped down to the 4 spot in the West. They are kind of like TOR in that they are nasty at home, but very beatable on the road

Knicks (20-24) 119 vs Nets (16-28) 104

Did the Knicks get a little lucky here? It’s hard to say, I mean when you have Porzingis looking very unicorny it’s not really luck. It’s also not lucky to see Beasley come in and dominate, which he did as well

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But it is a bit lucky to beat a pesky BKN team when 60% of your starting five combines for 13 points. The good news is the second unit for the Knicks was lights out, and as a team they almost never missed, finsihing with 51/56% splits.

While Beasley may have been the offensive beast of the second unit, how bout Frank! 10/7/10 in 29 minutes is very Rondo like

The Knicks need all the wins they can get, and they saved the best for last in that fourth quarter winning it 36-23. Usually we’ve seen them run out of gas late, but they pulled through and now are 5-15 on the road. Progress!

For BKN, it was not as pretty. 36/34% splits, 60% of their starting lineup combining for 19 points, and really only Carroll and LeVert doing much

Need BKN to start to get back to winning by the way. Not the biggest fan of their 5 losses in 6 games.

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Bulls (17-27) 119 vs Heat (25-18) 111

It’s probably costing them a top 5 pick, but man are the Bulls fun to watch now that they are healthy. Based on what we’ve seen this would definitely be a playoff team had they been healthy all year, which is not something ANY of us saw coming. Pick a poison last night, Baby Dirk’s 19/9 becoming the fastest rookie EVER to 100 3PM, to LaVine’s 18/5/5 in just 20 minutes, to Holiday’s 25 to more solid bench production from Mirotic and Valentine

Remember, the Bulls will still add a lottery talent this year, and have one of the largest cap space situations heading into the summer. This rebuild looks pretty good from an outsider’s perspective.

For MIA, this broke their win streak, and overall they still played pretty well. Often times an offensive performance like this will net you a lot of wins, and there are encouraging signs from Olynyk and Ellington as well as Dragic, all of whom netted at least 20

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This was actually one of those weird games that the Heat made 10+ threes and still lost. That’s almost never happened this season, and as long as they can get back to playing just a little bit of defense, they should be fine.

Grizzlies (14-28) 123 vs Lakers (15-28) 114

Another winning streak ended last night, this one being the Lakers little 5 game streak. With no Lonzo and no Ingram that’s not really a surprise, and the Grizzlies were balanced, with 8 total players in double figures led by rookie Dillon Brooks who had 19 points on 6-8 shooting

Not a ton of defense from LAL, but what I liked from MEM was the play of Tyreke Evans. We’re used to seeing him score a bunch of points but last night was a different approach, he was more of a facilitator

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Also was impressed with Deyonta Davis, he is turning into quite a player in a reserved role

For LAL, with main players out others had to step up, and guys like Kuzma, Hart, and KCP rose to the challenge

Given their recent stretch of good basketball you’d think the Lakers could still pull this out, but as we’re learning as the season goes on, defense is important.

Thunder (24-20) 95 vs Kings (13-20) 88

Boyyyyy were the Thunder close to a disaster. Playing careless against SAC almost cost them, 18 TOs is way too much and you can look right at Westbrook as the main culprit. Not only did he have 10 TOs, but he also got tossed late. Sure he almost had the rare quadruple double, but they sure were playing with fire. His battle with De’Aaron Fox was fun though

The other members of their Big 3 were pretty solid as well, with Melo finishing with 20/9 on 7-19 and PG13 18/4/4/5 on 7-17. The fourth quarter of this game was horrific to watch from an offense standpoint for both teams, it was almost as if they used all their offense in that third quarter, but credit OKC for fighting back from a 48-33 deficit in the first half.

For SAC, I would imagine shooting 39/24% had something to do with their inability to break 90, but they’re young and learning so give them a break

Warriors (36-9) 118 vs Cavaliers (26-17) 108

One of the more anticipated games of the day, many are saying this is a Finals preview, and finally both teams played each other with their full rosters. We learned what we already knew really, that at full strength the Warriors are still a terrible matchup for CLE. Too old, too slow, can’t switch like they used to, and if this version of the Cavs were to play GS in a Finals series, that’s a sweep.

Despite things being relatively close in the first half, with CLE actually leading at the break, it never felt like the Warriors weren’t about to just go on their classic run and take control. Well, that’s exactly what happened in that third quarter. As soon as Curry dunked with about 10 minutes left in the 3rd, you knew it was a wrap.

For CLE, they certainly don’t have a Lebron problem, he was once again fantastic against GS with 32/8/6/3 on 12-18 shooting

The problem was his help. Love had a pretty quiet 17/5, and Isaiah who’s still getting his legs under him struggled shooting early and finished with 19/4 on 8-21. They got nothing from Korver or really anyone on their bench, Wade certainly didn’t help with his 5-14 performance either.

There are good things to take away, for example offensively there were times where you could tell Isaiah was starting to look like Isaiah between the threes and the floaters in the lane. The problem is right now the Cavs haven’t figured out how to cover for him defensively, and when Lebron is the only one who truly shows up against a team like GS, they have no shot. The fact that they played this poorly at home in the second half, especially that fourth quarter, was a bit surprising.

Could CLE drop all the way to the 4/5 spot? It’s entirely possible and that would have to be the lowest a Lebron team would ever be seeded right? Someone double check that for me.

Pacers (24-20) 109 vs Jazz (17-26) 94

By this point the blog is pretty long, so just enjoy the battle between Oladipo and Mitchell because it was fucking awesome

Clippers (22-21) 113 vs Rockets (30-12) 102

If you were awake for this, you got the best story of the night. Coley has the entire fight situation covered for you here, but even from a strictly basketball perspective, this was a fun game to watch, especially if you’re a Clippers fan

For HOU, this snapped their 3 game streak and spoiled CP3’s return to his old stomping grounds, but from what I’ve been reading Harden is set to come back Thursday which they desperately need. With almost no production from their second unit, it’s not often they’ll make 10+ threes and lose while only turning it over 12 times but here we are. I think we can all agree that a 2/7 matchup between these two teams would be pretty entertaining

And that’s it! You’re now all caught up on everything that went down on a pretty eventful day in the NBA. We have just 4 games tonight, and as usual you can check back here tomorrow for anything you may have missed.