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Last Night In The NBA: Now Is Not The Time To Start Playing Poor Basketball

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Happy Wednesday everybody and welcome to another edition of Last Night In The NBA where we catch you up on everything that went dwon from the night before in the Association. It was a busy Tuesday night as we had 8 games on the schedule, many of which had playoff seeding implications. With the end of the season just on the horizon, these games are starting to become more and more important, making for a pretty good entertaining night of basketball. If you were busy and couldn’t watch, here’s what happened

Spurs (43-32) 106 vs Wizards (41-33) 116

If WSH wants to avoid Lebron in the first round, they need more wins like they got last night. They still have a bunch of work to do in order to catch IND who is the 5 seed as they trail by 2.0 games, but with Wall coming back pretty soon this was a step in the right direction. This Wizards team is a little weird, because unlike previous years they are pretty balanced when it comes to their record home and away.  With MIL and MIA also winning it was important that they beat SA and they did it through a pretty balanced offensive approach. Seven guys finished in double figures and they shot 54/41% as a team.

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After a little 3 game skid the Wizards’ schedule is about to get a little easier, with DET/CHA/CHI up next. If they are looking to make one last push, this is the time to do it.

For SA, things were close up until that little 38-21 second quarter. Even winning the fourth by 12 points you can see they weren’t all that close. That’s what happens when Aldridge only scores 13 points and no other starter finishes with more than 11. The Spurs did everything you expected them to do, they shot an OK percentage, they took care of the basketball, they just didn’t have enough firepower.

But who cares about the score of this game. The biggest thing Spurs fans are worried about is the fact that it appears LMA hurt his knee. That’s why you see he only played 18 minutes. I think it’s safe to say that the Spurs may already be cooked, but if they have to enter the playoffs with a hurt Aldridge, it’s beyond a wrap for them.

Nuggets (40-35) 110 vs Raptors (55-20) 114

I was surprised coming off a B2B that the Nuggets were able to hang with the Raptors like this in their building, even if they ran out of gas towards the end. That’s the thing with TOR though, especially in their building where they are now 31-7. You can think you have them, and then in a blink of an eye your 5 point lead is gone and you’re down by 3 or some shit. The Raptors didn’t have a player score over 15 points and still managed to put up 114, that’s impressive, and it usually helps when you shoot 51% and turn it over just 9 times.

As you can imagine, their bench was once again dominant. Another 43 points on 21- 43 shooting. Three guys in double figures and this doesn’t even count CJ Miles who usually is going 2-11. With BOS doing their best to get back into the race, this would have been a pretty big loss for TOR given their upcoming schedule, so you have to give them credit for not panicking down the stretch and out executing DEN when it mattered most.

For DEN, I see now why they are so disappointing. Really needed them to pull out this win. The way Jokic was playing I thought we were golden

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add 20 points on 9-12 from Millsap and the Nuggets were well on their way. Then you remember that they are 13-25 on the road this year and have lost a billion games they should have won to ultimately keep them out of the playoffs. They’ve now lost 2 in a row and sit 2 games behind MIN for the 8th spot in the West. So close, yet so far.

Cavaliers (44-30) 79 vs Heat (40-35) 98

Man just when you thought the Cavs were back they got out and show their true colors. Very unfair! It has now become cliche to talk about how tough of an out MIA might be in the playoffs, but this game was an example as to why people think that. The Cavs apparently spent 2 days in MIA before this game and it showed. MIA on the other hand was ready, shot the ball well and got out to a quick 29-18 head start. From there, this game was a blowout by halftime.

MIA is now in the 7th spot and is just 1.5 games from catching WSH in the 6th. What makes them so tough is they don’t have just one guy to focus on. One night it could be Dragic, then Johnson or Olynyk. They’re extremely well coached and they can actually play defense. Those are things that are important come playoff time.

For CLE, I’m not sure what was worse, their shooting splits (36/15%) or their defense early in this game. Obviously things changed rather quickly when Jordan Mickey elbowed Love in the face and fucked his teeth up and gave him a possible concussion

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But not even Lebron played well in this game, finishing with just 18 points on 7-18 shooting. The Cavs are inching closer to now only losing their 3 seed to PHI, but also perhaps losing homecourt in the first round to IND. I know Cavs fans will say as long as they have Lebron it doesn’t matter, but look at last night for example. They were rested and not even Lebron could save them. In fact, they are VERY close to having a negative point differential, something that only MIL has amongst playoff teams and we all know how horrific their defense is. I do think it’s important that CLE gets homecourt simply because they are average at best on the road. A 25-11 to 19-19 difference isn’t something to sneeze at.

Bulls (24-50) 86 vs Rockets (61-14) 118

Well this went about as close to what we all expected. Even with Harden not playing I don’t think there is one person shocked by this score. The Rockets did get CP3 back and he was OK I suppose with 13/10 on 4-12 shooting, but the story was everyone else on the rockets who didn’t seem to miss

I mean this was a 20+ game by halftime and from there the Rockets pretty much coasted. Don’t mind them, they’ve just won another 10 in a row and increased their lead over GS to 6. It’s crazy, you blink and the Rockets have a double digit winning streak…..again. I really hope for their sake they don’t choke when it matters because this team is so damn good.

For CHI, who cares right? Last time I checked this helped them and they also got a great night from Baby Dirk

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Not to mention the young guys on the bench combined for 51 points 21-50 shooting. It’s hard for me to find a negative for them despite them being crushed by 30. Tanking is weird like that.

Trail Blazers (46-28) 107 vs Pelicans (43-32) 103

Now this was an important matchup. At the moment you have POR who is starting to separate themselves from OKC for the 3rd spot, and then you have NO who is legit fighting for their playoff positioning lives. UTA/SA/MIN are all breathing down their necks, so now is not really the best time to have dropped 2 in a row. They got a little lucky with SA also losing, but this game was thrilling until the very end. Dame is a baaaaaaaad dude

They needed a performance like that on a night for CJ McCollum went just 3-19, and it definitely helped to have solid production from their big man who finished with 21/10 on 10-14 shooting

A big fourth quarter (36 points) was ultimately the difference in this game, and that’s what you expect from a team that’s in POR’s position. Elite teams make plays down the stretch to steal a game they shouldn’t have won.

For NO, first things first, Anthony Davis was once again ridiculous

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Unfortunately, just he and Jrue Holiday showed up for this one

Those two blocks by Holiday in the final minutes on this game made me literally gasp out loud. That’s a guy who did not give up on either play and the fact that he’s a PG made it all the more crazy. But NO, guys, when you have the ball down 2 in the final seconds, you have to find a way to get AD a shot. Sure maybe not their first look, but once you get that OREB with 7 seconds left, AD needs to touch it. You would hate to see this loss end up screwing the Pelicans and Davis not even having the chance to win it.

Mavericks (23-51) 103 vs Kings (24-51) 97

Someone had to win this tank off, and sadly that team was the Mavs. As you know I have one rule when it comes to them, which is only watch for Dirk and Dennis Smith Jr. Well last night it wasn’t so much Dirk and Dennis as it was Harrison and Dennis

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For SAC, I know you don’t care about them so just watch Skal drop 19/8

Pacers (44-31) 92 vs Warriors (54-20) 81

Weird, take away all the Warriors best players and they kinda suck right? Who knew that was the case. A Warriors team not only losing at home, but only scoring 81 points feels weird to see. The Pacers though, big win for them as they try and keep pace with PHI who has won 7 in a row, and they’re just 0.5 games back to sold on to your butts.

They only had 3 players in double figures led by Oladipo and his 24/6/6 on 9-12 shooting

But don’t sleep on Bojan, he’s going to make some big time playoff shots in the near future you can take that to the bank. He was good too with 17 points on 7-13 shooting

Credit the Pacers for not giving up early once they were down 27-18 after one too. The second half was a defensive clinic, including holding the Warriors to just 11 fourth quarter points. That’s impressive.

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For GS, considering they are locked in the 2 seed I’m not sure anyone on the team or their fans give two shits that they are losing these games with their bench players and why would they? We all know this isn’t the Warriors team that we’ll see in a few weeks, they aren’t catching HOU, so for now it’s Health > Wins.

Even still, seeing just 2 Warriors in double digits in a game played at Oracle looks weird as fuck.

Bucks (39-35) 98 vs Clippers (40-34) 105

A tough loss for MIL, but a very important win for LAC. They’re clearly not giving up their dreams of catching MIN, and they sit just 1.5 games out of that final spot. Clips have won 2 in a row and it’s hard to pick a favorite performance. For example Milos showed us why exactly he’s the Passing God

and you add that to the solid nights from Lou Williams

and a couple daggers from Austin Rivers and this was a full team win

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I don’t think they get in, but at least they are giving it the old college try.

For MIL, I don’t think I’ll ever figure this team out. They have so much talent I don’t get why they are basically a .500 team. Giannis was his usual insane self

and Middleton held up his end

But that was it. Let’s see what they had to say about it

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Things seem great!

And that’s it! You’re now all caught up on everything that happened last night in the NBA. We’re back at it tonight with 8 games on the schedule but the matchups are less than ideal. There’s BOS/UTA but then literally not much else. Feel free to take the night off and go do something else, I’ll fill you in tomorrow on what happened.