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Last Night In The NBA: Not A Bad Way To Spend A Sunday

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Happy Monday everybody and welcome 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. With no football on yesterday, those looking for a way to cope with their hangover or avoid doing chores, or run from the scaries, could look to the NBA for entertainment. With 7 games in total, not the worst way to spend a Sunday. In fact, this may have been one of the more eventful days of the season thus fay, and if you missed it, first I’m sorry, second here’s what happened.

Bucks (26-22) 110 vs Bulls (18-32) 96

Don’t look now, but the Bucks have now won three straight since firing Kidd. Those who hated Kidd will be quick to point that out, but it should be mentioned those wins are against PHX/BKN/CHI, so one could argue they would have won those games anyway. Personally, I think it has more to do with Giannis coming back in the lineup, because when he plays you get nights like last night, where he drops 27/9/8 pm 11-19 shooting

I know with the Bucks the story is usually about Giannis, but we shouldn’t act like Khris Middleton hasn’t been playing some really good basketball lately as well. He finished with 20/7/5 in this game

and over his last 5 is averaging 24.8/7.0/4.6 with 56/41% splits. All of those are up from his season averages. The Bucks are within striking distance of the 4 spot in the East, and if they plan on getting there those two are going to be a big reason why. Also, how bout 500 year old Jason Terry still getting it done!

For CHI, that little run they went on where they were beating everybody feels like a long time ago. They’ve now lost 5 of their last 6, but as we know who really cares about if they win or not. This season is all about developing their young talent, and for the most part their young talent played well. Baby Dirk with another double double with 17/10

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Denzel Valentine a solid 18/5/4 off the bench in 30 minutes

and Grant chipped in 15/4/5 of his own on 6-10 shooting. Their problem was they didn’t get the same dominant production from Portis/Mirotic off the bench like they usually do, as the second quarter was really the one that did them in. I will say the Bulls do play better at home, where they have 11 of their 18 wins, and I’d say if they can go on a nice losing streak to get back into the high lottery, after the promise we’ve already seen from their young dudes, this would be a successful year.

Also, Benny the Bull stays king

Rockets (35-13) 113 vs Suns (17-33) 102

If you were looking for a nice offensive battle on your quiet Sunday, then this was the game for you. The back and forth between Harden and Booker was worth the price of admission, and since he won we’ll start with Harden’s 27/10/8

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Prettttaayyyy prettttayyyyy pretttayyyyy prettay good. Safe to say the Rockets own the Suns, with this being their 7th straight win and 14 out of the last 16 meetings. If you’re a HOU fan, you may be a little nervous after Trevor Ariza got hurt and then Harden appeared to be dealing with something in the fourth considering he missed time with a hammy injury not too long ago. I would say both of those guys are pretty important to what HOU tries to do.

The Rockets have righted their ship, and if not for a 2 point loss to NO would be winners of 6 straight. Still four games behind GS, I wouldn’t expect them to catch the Warriors, but the way they’re playing they certainly don’t have to worry about getting caught from someone like Sa or MIN.

For PHX, what do I always say. They may never win, but you should be watching these games just for the entertainment factor of Devin Booker. Well yesterday he did not disappoint, finishing with 31/3/10 ub 41 minutes

As it so often is with PHX, it came down to Booker and TJ Warren, who also had 24/5 in his 39 minutes

The Suns have lost four in a row, but their season was over already so no big deal really. Potential buyout candidate Greg Monroe did get tossed for arguing with the officials, so if you’re a fan of a team that might need a big, keep your attention on what is going on in PHX with him. He can definitely help somebody if they need a scoring big man.

Clippers (25-24) 112 vs Pelicans (27-22) 103

Despite all the injuries and all the drama, the Clippers find themselves just 1 game out of the final playoff spot in the West. This all but kills the chance that they would be sellers by the deadline, and after a little three game skid they’ve now won 2 in a row and 8 of their last 11. Part of that comes when you get Blake Griffin back, and he looks like Blake Griffin again

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but he wasn’t the only Clipper to play well. DeAndre Jordan was a beast with 12/19 on 6-8 shooting, Tyrone Wallace who has been GREAT for them pouring in 19/6

and then when it was time to go to the bench and let Lou Williams cook, he delivered like he has basically every game this season

I think we all should be rooting for the Clippers for the rest of the year, not to go on a HUGE run or anything, but just enough wins to snag them the 7 seed. We deserve that playoff series.

For NO, this was the first game you can say they missed Boogie. Sadly, Dante Cunningham could not fill that role. Anthoy Davis was still awesome with 25/17/6, and both Jrue Holiday (20/9/7) and E’Twuan Moore were solid (18), but other than those three guys, not one Pelican was in double digits. Not going to beat a good LAC team like that

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Could this be the start of their fall out of the 6 seed and the playoffs all together? Time will tell, but this is their new reality which makes you think which pieces could be up for sale in a few weeks (NOT ANTHONY DAVIS).

Cavaliers (29-19) 121 vs Pistons (22-25) 104

Hey look, an offensive explosion from the Cavs! 30+ points in three of the four quarters, they got it done with big nights from Lebron (25/8/14)

and a solid 20/11 on 8-14 shooting for Kevin Love. This was his third straight double double and the fifth in his last seven games. As a team the Cavs shot 50% from the floor, and now have won back to back games since inserting Tristan Thompson into the starting lineup. Holding any team to 104 is OK, but for the Cavs it’s extremely impressive considering they are allergic to defense. A big fourth quarter helped deal the win, which they won 31-17. I don’t know where they found the defense, but good for them.

This win marked the 20th straight game they’ve broken 100 at home, which is the longest streak in 30 years.

For DET, things aren’t going to great. We’re now hearing that Avery Bradley is on the trade block, and even though guys like Tolliver played well

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and Tobias Harris had 20/5, Drummond 17/11/4, not having Avery in the lineup clearly hurt. The Pistons are now 9-16 on the road, and 3 full games out of the 8 seed. Talk about a collapse from early season success my word. They may as well start shopping, but the problem is they have way too many wins to start to think about getting some of the top lottery talent. Tough spot for sure.

Raptors (33-15) 123 vs Lakers (19-30) 111

And just like that, the Raptors are 1 game out of the top spot in the East. What was impressive about this win was it wasn’t the usual Raptors formula of relying solely on Lowry/DeRozan. Instead, 7 total players finished in double figures, and neither of those two were the leading scorer. That honor goes to Fred VanVleet, who had 25 off the bench

don’t be fooled by the final score either, the Raptors had to fight to win this game, with every quarter after the first being decided by 4 points or less. TOR has been a bit inconsistent over their last handful of games, but now are within striking distance of finally passing Boston. If they are to do it, it will be impressive considering MIN/WSH/POR are up next for them.

I must say though, not a huge fan of their City jerseys.

For LAL, for the most part you need your starters to play really well to beat TOR at home. Unfortunately, the Lakers starters couldn’t buy a basket. The second unit was a different story though, with Larry Nance Jr pouring in 15/8 off the bench on 7-8 shooting

and Alex Caruso chipping in with 11 and 1 sweet dunk

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This loss finally snapped the Lakers 4 game winning streak, and they moved to 7-16 away from Staples.

Thunder (30-20) 122 vs Sixers (24-22) 112

This game has already been well documented on this site so for PHI’s perspective you can go find Jordie’s blog. Obviously the story of the night was the continued battle between Westbrook and Embiid, but there were also some pretty good performances from other Thunder players that helped secure the win.

The Thunder look really good, even with losing Roberson for the year. Who even remembers their shaky start? Not me. What’s crazy is they finished with just 10 TOs and Westbrook only had 1 which is insane given how he plays. The Sixers have been one of the better teams in the East as of late, so this is very much a quality home win for OKC, where they are now 19-7.

For PHI, per usual, just enjoy the brilliance of Simmons and Embiid

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Spurs (33-19) 113 vs Kings (15-34) 98

Two things with this game. First, how about the battle of the 40 year olds!

Unreal these two are still getting it done. I hope they play forever.

Second, much like PHX, you should be watching SAC games just to be able to see De’Aaron Fox. Guy is going to be reaaaaaaaaaalllly good.

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And that’s it! You’re now all caught up on everything that happened last night in the NBA. We’re back tonight with 6 games including BOS/DEN, PHI/MIL, and CHA/IND. As always if you miss anything just check back tomorrow and I’ll have you covered.