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Last Night In The NBA: Basketball Aliens Sure Did Their Thing

Milwaukee Bucks v Cleveland Cavaliers

Happy Tuesday everybody and welcome to another edition of Last Night In The NBA where we catch you up on everything that went down from the night before in the Association. If you’re currently experiencing basketball withdrawls from there being no NCAA tournament for a few days, well last night probably helped quench that thirst. We had 8 total games on the schedule that included everything from a big time return, to a tank off, to a 2OT thriller, all of which made up for a pretty entertaining Monday night. As always if you were busy and couldn’t watch, here’s what happened

Bucks (37-33) 117 vs Cavaliers (41-29) 124

In what could potentially be a first round matchup, I’m not so sure the Bucks want that. CLE moved to 3-1 against MIL with this win, and while that was all well and good I’m sure CLE fans are more excited about the return of Kevin Love. They were extra cautious with his recovery and didn’t rush him back, and last night showed that was probably the right decision. He stepped in and looked just like his old self, finishing with 18/7/4 on 5-13 shooting in just 25 minutes

I think it goes without saying how much Kevin Love will mean for this team moving forward, and the fact that he came back and looks great is a very positive sign for the Cavs as they close the season. But of course, we should also mention how insane Lebron was as he continues to do things most humans mere dream of on the basketball court

With almost every basketball person on the planet ready to declare Giannis the next Lebron, he showed us last night why he isn’t even close to be being done. I know it’s tempting to write off the Cavs because their defense is horrific and all that shit, but as long as they have these two guys at 100%, they’re a tough out no matter who it is.

For MIL, if they want to get out of the 8th spot you’d never know it by watching them. Now 15-19 on the road this season that is by far the worst mark of any playoff team, and they’re 4-6 over their last 10. The are giving up 106 points a night which is the 3rd worst of any playoff team (WSH 106.1) and that’s obviously the story of last night. MIL shot 51% and had multiple 30 point scorers, but none of that matters if you can’t defend. Why they can’t really is beyond me, none of their guys were hurt and all still have their super length, but this team flat out stinks on the defensive end. But like I said, at least a couple of guys dropped 30

Pacers (41-30) 110 vs Lakers (31-39) 100

It’s important that IND maintain a top 4 seed mostly because they are a much different beast at home. Now 24-13, they have the second most home wins of any current playoff team, and this win kept them close to CLE for the 3 spot by 0.5 games, while also maintaining their lead over WSH for the 4 spot by 0.5 games. Honestly with everyone in the 3-7 spots constantly winning, we’re almost in must win mode and we aren’t even in the final week of the season for IND.

They key to this win was balance. Five players with at least 15 points while shooting 49% as a team and having just 6 TOs is usually a recipe for success.

Oladipo had 20, Turner 21, and Lance a nice 16 off the bench. This game was fairly close until a big 3rd quarter (35-21) finally allowed IND to pull away for good. It’s crazy this team is competing for the 3 seed given what their expectations were, but that just goes to show you that this league can always throw you a curveball.

For LAL, they can probably stop their playoff dreams, if in fact they still had them. While that sucks considering they were playing well, I suggest Lakers fans spend their time enjoying the performances of their young talent, because they were great

I will say though, getting a 5-18 performance from your two main PGs probably isn’t the best. Anytime you can have the same number of TOs as FGM, you’re probably not doing something right.

Hornets (30-41) 94 vs Sixers (39-30) 108

After playing a little game of win one/lose one for a little while, the Sixers schedule has softened up recently and the result is 3 wins in a row. The sad news is they haven’t moved anywhere from their current 6 seed, but they do have the longest active winning streak of any current playoff team so that’s nice. As you can imagine, this win came mostly as a result of their two basketball aliens. That’s a sentence I feel like I write with every Sixers win, but that’s because it’s true. See for yourself

Sure Embiid had 9 TOs which was bad, but how about Simmons snagging 15 assists and 0 TOs? That’s #ActuallyGood. His last four games have been pretty ridiculous, even by his standards Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 7.45.51 AM

and it’s coming at just the right time for PHI. I think a PHI/CLE series would be fascinating, not just because of the talent on each side, but also the whole Lebron storyline. Could he possibly lose to PHI in a series then pull a Durant and join them? Of all the first round matchups we could potentially get, that’s the one I want.

Oh and how about Belinelli off the bench for 21 points? Everything coming up Philly!

For CHA, christ are they painful to watch. A nice 37/27% effort, they had two quarters in this game where they scored under 19 points. That’s a problem. Poor Kemba, poor poor Kemba. He deserves better

Nets (23-48) 118 vs Grizzlies (19-51) 115

Who says tanking can’t be exciting! Despite two teams that absolutely stink, this was for the most part an entertaining basketball game. It was riveting to see who could avoid the pain of victory and as I expected, the Grizzlies just wanted it more. BKN has to be careful as they go about their tanking ways, because every once in a while they have guys that can get hot, especially from deep. That was the story last night as they shot 50% as a team and made 16 3PM while taking 40 FTA. Remember, this was in regulation too so those are pretty outrageous numbers

For MEM, with no Gasol due to “illness” I can’t imagine MEM fans thought this would be that close, but thankfully they got back on track and continued their losing ways. No sense for them to get crazy and win 2 games in a row, that does more harm than good. Last night was also a night of returns for them as well, with Chandler Parsons and Andrew Harrison both returning to the lineup, and both looked pretty good

Parsons had 13 off the bench as well on 4-5 shooting in just 16 minutes, and it was weird to see him finally on the court given his injury history. It makes you wonder if he and Harrison now that they are back could potentially win MEM games they shouldn’t be winning, but it’s just cool to see them back on the court in my opinion.

Also a career night for Briante Weber and his 15 off the bench was nice as well

Nuggets (38-33) 141 vs Heat (38-33) 149 2/OT

This gets my vote for game of the night. On one side we had DEN who absolutely could not afford to lose this game if they wanted to keep their playoff dreams alive, and on the other we had a MIA team fighting to get out of that 8 spot. What resulted was a high scoring, nail biting, double overtime thriller on a casual Monday night. The Heat pulled it out mostly because Kelly Olynyk is a motherfucking beast

But also because once James Johnson got into overtime, he took matters into his own hands and ended DENs season

I’m pretty sure he had like 11 or 12 straight points, and remember this was all without Hassan Whiteside. I don’t really hear too much about MIA as a potential playoff threat, but they’re going to be a tough out for someone, whether it’s TOR/BOS/CLE. They have legit guard play with Dragic and Johnson, they have an offense that doesn’t rely on one guy so you can’t just use the same gameplan night in and night out, and they are one of the better three point shooting teams in the East. They went a ridiculous 20-36 last night with three guys finishing with at least 4 3PM. Don’t sleep on MIA that’s all I’m saying.

For DEN, it’s a wrap folks. If the loss to the Grizzlies wasn’t what did it, this loss was the final nail in the coffin. Their closing schedule is RIDICULOUS, with CHI/WSH/PHI/TOR/OKC/MIL/IND/MIN/LAC/POR/MIN to finish the season. I just don’t see them making up the 2 game difference they currently have for the 8th spot with those type of teams still to come. Sad really because they are a really fun offensive team, but that’s what happens when you lose games you shouldn’t this time of year. You pay the price.

Bulls (24-46) 92 vs Knicks (26-45) 110

Another quality tank off, unfortunately this one was not as exciting. The Knicks were in control the whole way and that’s large in part to the play of Tim Hardaway Jr who led all scorers with 22 points

Nothing about this game was fun to watch so I won’t make you suffer through it too much longer. I will say this though, I respect the Knicks sudden interest in tanking. They’ve really gone for it, and before this win had lost 17 of their last 18. That’s commitment folks.

For CHI, this isn’t new for them, they’ve been one of the best tanking teams all year. Losing while still keeping it competitive, this was a poster season of tanking for them. That’s why Bulls fans can enjoy the career night of Cristiano Felicio (17 pts) in good conscience because they got that AND improved their lottery odds. Well done.

Warriors (53-18) 75 vs Spurs (41-30) 89

OK now we know. You take Curry, Thompson, Durant, and Green away from GS, they kinda stink. Draymond left with some sort of pelvis injury which is a joke that writes itself, and GS never really stood a chance after that. They gave a pretty good effort, keeping things close in that 3rd quarter where the Spurs scored only 12 points, but at the end of the day it was just too much LaMarcus Aldridge

He now matches Tim Duncan with the most 30/10 games in a season, and he went OFF in that fourth quarter scoring 19 of his 33 points. SA has now won 4 in a row and after spending a day or two at the bottom of the standings find themselves in the 5 spot and just 1.5 games behind OKC. They aren’t dead yet, and this is even without Kawhi still. Only two other Spurs ended the night in double figures, so really LMA beat GS by himself. Impressive!

For GS, like I said they didn’t have their whole team so it’s no surprise they lost on the road in SA. I will say though, Quinn Cook is something serious, and a guy who absolutely deserves to be on their playoff roster. I think they can live without Kevin Looney or something, because this production is no joke

Of course every team had their shot at Cook and passed, then GS snags him and look what happens

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 8.15.59 AM

Fucking Warriors.

Pistons (31-39) 106 vs Kings (23-49) 90

Look at the Pistons still trying! How cute! Sure they may still be 6 full games behind MIL, but at least Blake looked great

This concludes your Pistons recap.

For SAC, we know they stink, but they’re still fun as hell to watch at times. In this one we had De’Aaron Fox do his thing while barely missing

and Buddy Hield with a solid 20 points in his role as a starter

and most importantly, we got history.

I hope Vince Carter keeps playing, and I mean that. He clearly still has some juice left in the tank, and I’d love to see the best dunker of my generation find his way into the Top 20 all time scoring list. Growing up all I heard about Vince was that he was just a dunker, well that would be a pretty cool accomplishment that I hope we get.

And that’s it! You’re now all caught up on everything that happened last night in the NBA. We’re right back at it tonight with 7 games on the schedule including some good ones like OKC/BOS, LAC/MIN, and HOU/POR. As always if you miss anything you can check back here in the morning and I’ll fill you in!