Morning 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. We had a full slate last night, with 10 games in total, and while the matchups weren’t all that great, there were still a handful of really great performances. I would say I feel bad for those who missed it, but then I remembered I’m here to tell you all about it so if you missed anything, here’s what happened.
Lakers (26-34) 123 vs Hawks (18-43) 104
Don’t look now but the Lakers have won 3 in a row, albeit it being againsdt DAL/SAC/ATL but three in a row is three in a row. The Celtics can pretty much kiss that Lakers pick goodbye, and right now it looks like PHI will have the 10th and 17th pick in this summer’s draft. I know it’s against the Hawks who are tanking to perfection, but you look up and down the roster last night and almost everyone played well. They finished with 52/45% splits and made 15 threes which certainly helped them recover from 23 TOs, and they had 9 players in double figures which you definitely don’t see too often.
Brandon Ingram put on a show, leading the Lakers with 20/10/6 with 3 blocks on 10-16 shooting. His second season has been much better on the offensive end, and a lot of that has to do with his reworked shot
Ingram wasn’t the only young high lottery pick that showed out in this game, as Julius Randle had another double double with 19/10 on 8-13 shooting. Over his last 5 games and really during this streak, Randle has been on a tear
and it puts the Lakers in an interesting position this summer. How high are they going to be willing to go if someone gives Randle a big time offer? I do not think they created all that cap space to hold on to Randle, which means if he leaves whoever he goes to is going to get a pretty good player. I was surprised when they didn’t trade him and who knows maybe he’s their backup plan if they strike out on all the free agents.
Lakers fans also are pretty pleased this morning with how Lonzo Ball played, considering he did not miss a shot and finished with 13/7/5 with 3 steals in his 24 minutes
Unfortunately I do not think the Lakers make up the 7 game difference standing in between them and the 8th seed, so maybe all this winning is kind of hurting them, but when you consider they don’t own their pick who cares.
For ATL, they’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing when you get to this stage of the season and have no business of winning. They’ve now love 4 in a row and 6 of their last 7. Tankathon currently has them slated in the #2 spot which is more important than say, Taurean Prince going for 24 points
Nets (20-41) 104 vs Bulls (20-40) 87
Two tanking teams always makes for fun basketball, I’ve often said this. And to be honest that’s what we got in the first half of this game when things were close. The Bulls then remembered what their goal is this season and promptly had an awful second half in which they did not break 20 points in either quarter to help secure the loss. The Nets on the other hand kept playing well, and a lot of that was due to Jarrett Allen and his 18/9 on 8-11 shooting
I mean he killed Baby Dirk. Allen is proving to be a legit big man in his first season in the NBA, and when you look at some mof the other guys taken ahead of him, like Harry Giles, TJ Leaf, Justin Jackson etc, he’s definitely outperformed his 22nd draft spot. If you’re a rebuilding team, those are the kind of late first round picks that if you hit, really help the process.
The Nets are just 2-8 over their last 10, but even they are a little too good compared to the real tankers this year so their sitting right around 7th in the lottery standings, but like the race for playoff spots, the lottery order could look entirely different by the end of this week.
For CHI, they’re sort of right with BKN. Shitty, but not shitty enough. I know there will be a funeral service for Baby Dirk later today, but don’t let that distract you from his overall performance, which happened to be pretty good
He even almost had his revenge on Allen which would have been nice, but it was not meant to be. The Bulls also got a good night from Kris Dunn, who finished with 23 points on 9-15 shooting and has really had a great bounce back season from his rookie year
I will say though, I don’t think I’ve seen many teams play BKN and in 3 out of the 4 quarters not break 19 points. That’s impressive.
Celtics (43-19) 109 vs Grizzlies (18-41) 98
As usual the full blog is coming, but I’ll just say it feels great to have the November Celtics back.
Warriors (47-14) 125 vs Knicks (24-28) 111
Man it’s pretty tough to go BOS and then GS in back to back games so I’m not really surprised the Knicks dropped both. I give them credit for hanging in there, it looked like things were going to be a blowout early and they came back and at least made it competitive which many teams fail to do. Unfortunately, they didn’t really stop anybody
Another beautiful performance of ball movement, the Warriors finished with 31 assists on 44 baskets, had 51/48% splits, made 15 threes, went to the line 26 times, and turned it over just 12 times. It’s crazy that the Rockets can win 13 games in a fucking row, and not extend their lead over GS whatsoever. Still 0.5 back of HOU, the Warriors are playing some of their best basketball of the season and when they play like this I really don’t know how you beat them. At this point it’s getting a little mean how they let teams hang around and then just bukkake them in the third quarter, sort of like what they did last night where they had a 39-18 third.
For NYK, things were pretty balanced for them as well. A total of 7 players in double figures, they got great production from their second unit and their guard play
They need to go on a pretty big slide if they want to get into the conversation of the high lottery, and frankly I say why not go for it and see if you can get another unicorn. Their problem was all year with Porzingis they were too good to fully tank, but never good enough to make the playoffs. We like to call that NBA purgatory and it’s kind of the worst place you can be.
Raptors (42-17) 123 vs Pistons (28-32) 94
The Raptors just keep chugging along picking up wins. They are now a crazy 25-5 at home on the season, have won 8 of their last 9 (only loss was by 3) and while most nights teams that have this sort of success have a balanced approach, this game was mostly about their Big 3 of DeRozan/Lowry/Ibaka who combined for 59 points on 18-33 shooting. Remember too, they did this all in three quarters.
As a team they made 17 threes, finished with 52/44% splits and never had a quarter under 29 points. I know the story with TOR is going to be about how they perform in the playoffs, but I can’t imagine you watch this team and their new approach and style and think it’s the same team as last year. They may lay an egg in the playoffs sure, but heading in TOR fans have to feel much more confident about their chances as a 1 or 2 seed this year.
For DET, holy shit are they collapsing. That 5 game win streak after the trade seems like it was years ago. DET is now 9-19 on the road this season which stinks, and they’ve now lost 6 of their last 7 games where they now find themselves 3 full games out of the final playoff spot in the East. Talk about a fall from grace given how they started the year, you have to think if they miss the playoffs is this the end of SVG as their coach? They have a negative point differential, and one of the worst road records in the East and haven’t really done jack in his time there. Maybe the players are tuning him out or maybe they just stink, it’s hard to know since Reggie Jackson went down.
Drummond did notch his 37th game with at least 15 rebounds in his 18/18 performance, but none of that will matter if you keep giving up over 110 points, which the Pistons have now done in three straight games and five of their last six. That’s awful.
Pelicans (34-26) 125 vs Suns (18-44) 116
I thought Anthony Davis was crazy when he talked to Rachel Nichols and said every team was right there, and they just needed a run. Well, 6 wins in a row later and just 1.5 from the 3 seed in the West, the Pelicans are on that type of run and they have Anthony Davis to thank for it. The guy has been on 2K rookie mode for this entire run, and went even crazier than expected last night with a measly 53/18 with 5 blocks on 16-29 shooting and 21-26 from the line
This run is just ridiculous. No game under 27 points, 38 points 5 times and more than 40 points a total of 4 times he is on another level right now. He basically fouled out the entire PHX front line by himself, and has single handedly saved their season once Boogie went down. What a fucking monster.
Jrue Holiday was solid as well with 20 points on 8-13 shooting, but don’t get it twisted, last night’s win was all about AD.
For PHX, we all know they are terrible so it’s not a surprise they lost, so instead I urge PHX fans to focus on how your young guys looked, which was pretty good. They had Booker for go 40 on 50% shooting
and then Josh Jackson had a nice 20/12
and hey 116 points is nothing to laugh at with this team. Sure they may be 9-21 on the road, but they’re also slated to have the #1 pick at the moment, so in terms of accumulating high lottery pieces, the Suns are in a really good spot. Nothing makes that more clear than losing 10 games in a row, which the Suns are currently doing. That is how you tank friends.
Thunder (35-27) 112 vs Magic (18-42) 105
I know it’s the Magic, but the Thunder really needed this win given how jammed up everything is at the bottom of the West standings. Now 21-10 at home, they were able to overcome a poor shooting night from Westbrook and Melo mostly because of Paul George and their bench
The second unit combined for 48 points and made 7 of the 11 threes on the night, and things were close until ORL had a 15 point third quarter. The Thunder are in a weird place right now, where they are 5-5 over their last 10 but still very much alive in everything from the 3 seed to missing the playoffs completely. Making sure you beat bad teams, especially at home, is fairly important for them moving forward.
For ORL, the starters showed up, with all five ending in double figures and four of those five finishing with at least 15 points.
It’s funny to me to think back to their great start and think maybe this would be the year they wouldn’t be absolutely terrible, then I look at the calendar and their tanking position and see they are slated for the 3rd pick. I feel sorry for whatever high lottery talent is going to end up there, that franchise is all kinds of fucked up.
Mavericks (19-42) 109 vs Pacers (34-26) 103
This was the surprise of the night for sure given how well the Pacers had been playing. The problem was their defense did not make the trip and DAL really got whatever they wanted. They finished with 45/37% splits, turned it over just 10 times, and got solid outings from most of their main guys outside of Dirk who shot 3-10
For IND, they had own 4 in a row before this game, mostly beating up on all the stinky teams in the East so this was a shock. They are respectable on the road this season, and really blew an opportunity to make some progress climbing the East standings. Currently 5th and just 1.5 games back of CLE for 3rd, you can’t be dropping games to lottery teams at this point if you want to secure homecourt in the first round, where they are 21-11.
I also don’t think Myles Turner gets enough publicity when it comes to young promising big men in the NBA. The guy can play and he shoed last night
Oladpio did his thing as well with 21/5/4 on 8-13 shooting, and he set the franchise record with 43 straight games with a steal which is impressive. What was not impressive though was that fourth quarter defense, in which they gave up 41 points. Bad time of the game to forget how to defend in my opinion.
Rockets (47-13) 96 vs Jazz (31-30) 85
Even when the Rockets shoot like shit (43/27%) they still win. Unbelievable
besides those two nobody else really had it going, there was no Gordon, no Capela, and no Ryan Anderson yet the Rockets walked into an arena that is tough to play in and still pulled it out. This team is crazy and if Harden does not get the MVP this year what’s even the point of having the award. He’s been the best player, period.
For UTA, they may have lost, but watching Mitchell battle with Harden was entertaining as hell
but listen, you can’t struggle to shoot like they did and also turn the ball over 22 times and think you are going to beat the team with the best record in the NBA. That’s not how it works.
UTA still has some work to do, but their season is very much still alive as they are just 2.5 games back of the final playoff spot, and despite the loss they are playing well, with a 8-2 record over their last 10. Two teams from OKC/DEN/LAC/UTA is going to miss the playoffs, and right now it’s too early to say who.
Timberwolves (38-26) 118 vs Kings (18-42) 100
Nothing makes you forget that Jimmy Butler got hurt than playing the pathetic Kings, and if you look at the performance from MIN in this game, where their starters were great and they shot 52%, that was a nice distraction
The good news is they still have KAT, and KAT is what I would call good at basketball
Wiggins and Teague also helped out with 42 points combined on 12-29 shooting, and for a team that’s just 13-19 on the road, this was an important win for them. This win put them in sole possession of the 3 seed over SA, and for some crazy reason this team is starting to defend. I know things drastically change without Butler, but MIN is now 28-11 against the West this year, which is nothing to sneeze at.
For SAC, at this point we’re like over 2k words so who cares. They stink.
And that’s it! You are now all caught up on everything that happened last night in the NBA. We have 6 more games tonight with much better matchups like CLE/BKN (pick purposes), PHI/MIA, WSH/MIL. and LAC/DEN (huge). As always you can check back here tomorrow and I’ll let you know what you missed.