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The Rundown w/T-Money

Rundown 8.20.20 – Mavs, Jazz Make it Interesting

A sigh of relief from the stress of being down 0-1, as Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks knot things up; the Jazz did the same, while Boston and Toronto went up 2-0 in their respective series last night.

As the NBA Playoffs continue into teams’ second games, the no fans, no home court stigma is starting to creep into players’ heads and mess with their psyche … and favored teams are starting to show the cracks of stress as a result.

It’s not stresses that kill us – it’s how we handle them. Our response is something that we choose. And Utah and Dallas bounced back extremely well last night, handling the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers, respectively, to tie their series at a game apiece.

Boston overcame the news of not having Gordon Hayward for four weeks by blowing out the Philadelphia 76ers, who scored the same as they did in Game One, almost point for point. And the Toronto Raptors put the Brooklyn Nets in an 0-2 hole.

It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way that you carry it.


Utah Jazz  124
Denver Nuggets  105
(Series tied 1-1)  

The Utah Jazz took Monday’s overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets very, very personally. 

While Donovan Mitchell put the team on his back with a historic 57 point performance, the team paid him back last night by chipping in solid team performances, even though the Jazz were without Mike Conley again. Conley is back after the birth of his son, but must undergo a four day quarantine.

But, Mitchell was at his best again, this time only for 30 points, but welcomed the help from people like Jordan Clarkson (26 points), Joe Ingles (18 points), and Rudy Gobert (19 points, seven rebounds). Rookie and former Indiana Hoosier Juwan Morgan even got his first start, scoring five points in 14 minutes of action. Morgan had only gotten into a handful of games, averaging 1.7, 1.4, and 0.3 through 21 games prior to last night.

From what looked like lento, if not larghissimo, from the majority of the Jazz in Game One (save Mitchell), Utah went on to define most every stage on the musical scale in the way they approached Game Two.

Largo. Adagio. Andante. Moderato. Allegretto. Allegro. 

Like that, Utah had a 61-48 lead at the break. And then after halftime, they went vivace, allegrissimo, presto, even dare I say, prestissimo as they blew past the ritardando Nuggets and took a 104-79 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Crushed the Nuggets into fool’s gold in nearly every important statistical category except rebounds and turnovers 

As much as he was a dominant factor in Game One, Jamal Murray was pretty much a non-factor last night, scoring only 14 versus a team high 36 on Monday afternoon, as the workload was mostly carried on the shoulders of Michael Porter, Jr. and Nikola Jokic

Both finished with 28 points, Jokic had 11 boards and six dimes, as well.

Donovan Mitchell
30 points – one rebound – eight assists – one steal
Nikola Jokic
28 points – 11 rebounds – six assists
Jordan Clarkson
26 points – four rebounds – three assists – one steal
Michael Porter, Jr.
28 points – six assists – one block
Rudy Gobert
19 points – seven rebounds – three assists – two blocks
Jamal Murray
14 points – three rebounds – four assists

NEXT GAMES (All Times Eastern)
August 17: Nuggets 135, Jazz 125 (OT)
August 19: Jazz 124, Nuggets 105
August 21: Nuggets vs. Jazz – 4 p.m. – TNT
August 23: Nuggets vs. Jazz – 9 p.m. – TNT
August 25: Jazz vs. Nuggets – TBD – TBD
August 27: Nuggets vs. Jazz – TBD – ESPN
August 29: Jazz vs. Nuggets – TBD – TNT


Brooklyn Nets  99
Toronto Raptors  104
(Toronto leads, 2-0)

Despite losing their first two games against the reigning NBA Champion Toronto Raptors, the Brooklyn Nets aren’t taking anything lightly. And if the Raptors are smart, they won’t take anything for granted as the series shifts to … well, the same court at HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida on Friday afternoon.

Learning from their mistakes that caused the second quarter blowout in Game One, the Nets made some changes and buckled down on defense to a 53-50 halftime lead, and 80-74 after three, yesterday afternoon.

But that 11 point deficit in the 19 point fourth quarter doomed the Nets to what many had already expected, a loss and being two down in the series. Garrett Temple gave it his best effort with 21 points, while Caris LeVert and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot combined for 33 more. LeVert also had 11 of Brooklyn’s 25 assists. Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris both finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds apiece, while Tyler Johnson had a dozen in the loss.

Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell each had 24 points for the champs, while Kyle Lowry finished with 21 points and 10 dimes. Pascal Siakam was the only other Raptor in double digits with 19 points. He also had six rebounds. O.G. Anunoby got the starting nod ahead of Serge Ibaka, but their stats were pretty much a wash.

The Nets may be without Harris in Game Three, as the forward left the bubble for non-medical personal reasons. Harris is averaging 14.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists through the season, and is shooting 48.6 percent.

Garrett Temple
21 points – three rebounds – three assists – one steal
Norman Powell
24 points – six rebounds – two assists – one steal
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
17 points – two rebounds – one steal
Fred VanVleet
24 points – five rebounds – 10 assists – one block
Caris LeVert
16 points – six rebounds – 11 assists – one block
Kyle Lowry
21 points – nine rebounds – three assists – two steals – one block

NEXT GAMES (All Times Eastern)
August 17: Raptors 134, Nets 110
August 19: Raptors 104, Nets 99
August 21: Raptors vs. Nets – 1:30 p.m. – NBATV
August 23: Raptors vs. Nets – 1:30 p.m. – TNT
August 25: Nets vs. Raptors – TBD – TBD
August 27: Raptors vs. Nets – TBD – ESPN
August 29: Nets vs, Raptors – TBD – TNT


Philadelphia 76ers  101
Boston Celtics  128
(Boston leads, 2-0)

About the only thing consistent about the Philadelphia 76ers is that they have scored 101 poi9nts in each of their two playoff losses, the latest last night against a Boston Celtics team that seemed just fine without Gordon Hayward.

Hayward, who suffered a Grade III ankle sprain (I suffered one of those when I played basketball – was told by my doctor then that I’d have been better off if I’d broken it) on Monday night will be out four weeks.

This time around, Joel Embiid scored a couple more points with 34 to lead all scorers. But #VFL Josh Richardson hit for 18 for the second straight game, Shake Milton added one more point than last game, and #VFL Tobias Harris was once again the fourth leading scorer on the floor for Philadelphia, this time with two fewer than his 15 on Monday night.

Too many similarities to Monday night to move the needle last night on the Celtics, who were led by Jayson Tatum’s 33 points, including a heave from just inside half court that mimicked Damian Lillard’s. (Lillard’s was cleaner, though – didn’t have to bank it in).

Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown combined for 42, while Marcus Smart and Enes Kanter added 10 points apiece in the convincing win. The 33 for Tatum was his second career playoff high in a row – he scored 32 points in Game One. 

Tatum has said he ‘wants to be that guy’ for the Boston Celtics – twice in two games in these playoffs, he most certainly has been. It will just be gravy when and if Hayward returns.

Joel Embiid
34 points – 10 rebounds – three assists – one block
Jayson Tatum
33 points – five rebounds – five assists
#VFL Josh Richardson
18 points – three rebounds – three assists
Kemba Walker
22 points – four rebounds – two assists – one steal
Shake Milton
14 points – three rebounds – four assists
Jaylen Brown
20 points – five rebounds – one assist – one block

NEXT GAMES (All Times Eastern)
August 17: Celtics 109, Sixers 101
August 19: Celtics 128, Sixers 101
August 21: Celtics vs. Sixers – 6:30 p.m. – TNT
August 23: Celtics vs. Sixers – 1 p.m. – ABC
August 25: Sixers vs. Celtics – TBD – TBD
August 27: Celtics vs. Sixers – TBD – ESPN
August 29: Sixers vs. Celtics – TBD – TNT


Dallas Mavericks  127 
Los Angeles Clippers  114  

It seems it’s a completely different Dallas Mavericks team when Kristaps Porzingis remains in the game, instead of railroaded out on a couple of nonsensical whistles. And Luka Doncic doesn’t have to score 42 or let a beautiful triple double go to waste.

Yes, the Dallas Mavericks made things interesting in the Western Conference, if only for a night, as they defeated the Los Angeles Clippers, everyone’s sentimental favorite in the West.

Of course, it helped that Doncic got way more assistance and support last night than he did on Monday night from the rest of the team. He led with 28, eight, and seven, while Porzingis and Tim Hardaway, Jr. combined for another 40 points. Trey Burke came alive with 16 off the bench and Seth Curry nearly matched him at 15 points, while Boban Marjanovic hit for 13 and nine.

L.A. never really got it going, despite some really nice numbers on the stat sheet. After taking a 61-56 deficit into the locker room at the half, they came out and allowed the Mavericks to outscore them 37-29 in the third, and that was all the cushion the Mavericks needed to coast to the win. In fact the lead, and play, was so comfortable, Doncic was able to watch from his seat on the bench. Foul trouble contributed to that, but it gave the remaining Mavs a sense of confidence and purpose in extending their lead without their leader on the floor.

Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with 35 points and 10 rebounds, but Paul George only shot 23.5 percent, netting just 14 points and 10 rebounds. George missed his first five shots in the game. Lou Williams is back in rhythm at the sixth man position and dropped his number – 23 – while Marcus Morris matched George’s 14. Reggie Jackson added 11 and Montrezl Harrell came off the bench with 10 points on 75 percent shooting.

Luka Doncic
28 points – eight rebounds – seven assists
Kawhi Leonard
35 points – 10 rebounds – two assists – one steal
Kristaps Porzingis
23 points – seven rebounds – one block
Lou Williams
23 points – four rebounds – seven assists – one steal
Tim Hardaway, Jr.
17 points – two rebounds – three assists – one block
Paul George
14 points – 10 rebounds – two assists – one steal

NEXT GAMES (All Times Eastern)
August 17: Clippers 118, Mavericks 110
August 19: Mavericks 127, Clippers 114
August 21: Clippers vs. Mavericks – 9 p.m. – TNT
August 23: Clippers vs. Mavericks – 3:30 p.m. – ABC
August 25: Mavericks vs. Clippers – TBD – TBD
August 27: Clippers vs. Mavericks – TBD – ESPN
August 29: Mavericks vs. Clippers – TBD – TNT


TOMORROW’S LINEUP (All Times Eastern)

1 p.m.
Miami Heat
Indiana Pacers
3:30 p.m.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Houston Rockets
6 p.m.
Orlando Magic
Milwaukee Bucks
9 p.m.
Portland Trailblazers
Los Angeles Lakers


Tracy Graven is a Senior NBA Analyst for
He has written the NBA, and done NBA radio, for the last two decades for HoopsWorld, Swish Magazine, and HoopsHype, the Coach Scott Fields Show and, and is also tackling the NFL, NCAA, and will be pinch-hitting on some Major League Baseball coverage for BackSportsPage.
He’s spent 20 years in locker rooms in 

  • Orlando
  • Boise (G League) 
  • San Antonio
  • Phoenix
  • Denver
  • Oklahoma City
  • Atlanta 

A corporate trainer by day, he currently resides in SEC Country near Knoxville, Tennessee.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia

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