The second night in a hat trick of three seven-game nights in the NBA (there are seven more games tonight) showed us how vulnerable the Los Angeles Clippers are, the Miami Heat as well, and how Atlanta stays the same worst team in the NBA.
First, a look at the current standings:
|WESTERN CONFERENCE||EASTERN CONFERENCE|
|Los Angeles Lakers (32-7) .821||Milwaukee Bucks (35-6) .854|
|Denver Nuggets (27-12) .692||Boston Celtics (26-11) .703|
|Utah Jazz (27-12) .692||Miami Heat (27-12) .692|
|Houston Rockets (26-12) .684||Toronto Raptors (25-14) .641|
|Los Angeles Clippers (27-13) .675||Philadelphia 76ers (25-15) .625|
|Dallas Mavericks (24-15) .615||Indiana Pacers (24-15) .615|
|Oklahoma City Thunder (22-17) .564||Brooklyn Nets (18-20) .474|
|Memphis Grizzlies (18-22) .450||Orlando Magic (18-21) .462|
Los Angeles Clippers 104
Denver Nuggets 114
The Denver Nuggets have yet to lose back to back home games this season, and reclaimed the second spot in the Western Conference last night in Denver as they sunk the Los Angeles Clippers by 10 points. With a 37-22 blitz in the second quarter, the Nuggets had the Clippers down by as many as 20 points, a deficit from which L.A. couldn’t recover.
|CLIPPERS (27-13) 5th in the West||NUGGETS (27-12) 2nd in the West|
30 points – five rebounds – four assists – three steals
20 points – 15 rebounds – six assists – one steal
|Lou Williams |
26 points – four rebounds – four assists – one steal
19 points – four rebounds – two assists
25 points – eight rebounds – one steal – two blocks
15 points – three rebounds – two assists – three steals
Cavaliers at Clippers – Tuesday
Hornets at Nuggets – Wednesday
Charlotte Hornets 92
Phoenix Suns 100
On a night when their leading scorer shot just 25 percent from the field, the Phoenix Suns stepped up and carried the load to their 16th win of the season, preventing the Charlotte Hornets from earning their 16th, led by Kelly Oubre, Jr.’s 25 points and season high 15 rebounds. The Hornets have lost four straight games and 10 of their last 12.
|HORNETS (15-27) 9th in the East||SUNS (16-23) 10th in the West|
24 points – five rebounds – two assists – one steal
|Kelly Oubre, Jr.|
25 points – 15 rebounds – one assist – three steals – two blocks
22 points – one rebound – eight assists – three steals – one block
18 points – nine rebounds – two steals – one block
15 points – eight rebounds – five assists – one steal
12 points – four rebounds – nine assists – one steal – one block
Hornets at Blazers – Tonight
Suns at Hawks – Tuesday
Miami Heat 121
New York Knicks 124
As Marcus Morris missed his fourth straight game, the New York Knicks stepped up and delivered the Miami Heat their second straight loss by a three point margin, delivering the Heat a blow in the fourth quarter, 40-27, to close out a quality win in Madison Square Garden last night. The Knicks had 11 steals to Miami’s two, and the Heat committed twice as many turnovers (14) than New York.
|HEAT (27-12) 3rd in the East||KNICKS (11-29) 14th in the East|
25 points – 10 rebounds – six assists – one block
26 points – eight rebounds – four assists – two steals
20 points – two rebounds – one assist – one steal – one block
23 points – five rebounds – three assists – two steals
19 points – four rebounds – one block (fouled out)
|Kevin Knox II|
17 points – five rebounds – two assists
Knicks at Bucks – Tuesday
Spurs at Heat – Wednesday
Utah Jazz 127
Washington Wizards 116
It’s been nearly two years since the Utah Jazz won nine games in a row. Tomorrow night, in Brooklyn, they’ll go for their 10th consecutive win. Bojan Bogdanovic has arguably been one of the best offseason acquisitions – for any team – and adding Jordan Clarkson is a key to why the Jazz ripped off their ninth straight last night sans Donovan Mitchell. Clarkson dropped 17 of his 23 points in the second half, where the Jazz outscored Washington, 72-50, to take the win.
|JAZZ (27-12) 3rd in the West||WIZARDS (13-26) 12th in the East|
31 points – three rebounds – three assists
25 points – one rebound – four assists – one steal
23 points – two rebounds – three assists – two steals
18 points – four rebounds – one assist – one block
21 points – 14 rebounds – two assists – one steal – two blocks
|#VFL Jordan McRae|
16 points – six rebounds – two assists – one block
Jazz at Nets – Tuesday
Wizards at Bulls – Wednesday
Atlanta Hawks 86
Brooklyn Nets 108
Kyrie Irving returned to the Brooklyn Nets and Trae Young (left hamstring) was absent from the Atlanta Hawks’ lineup last night in Brooklyn as the Nets used a 37-16 first quarter to clip the Hawks’ wings without their leader, and dropped them with a 22 point loss. Atlanta shot a measly 33 percent to Brooklyn’s 53 percent in the game, and got outrebounded by an astounding 62-33 margin. Irving shot 10 of 11 from the field in his return. The Hawks’ team photo will be placed on milk cartons everywhere this morning after losing their fourth straight game.
|HAWKS (8-32) 15th in the East||NETS (18-20) 7th in the East|
20 points – two assists – five steals
21 points – four rebounds – three assists – one steal
12 points – three rebounds – three assists – four steals
14 points – five rebounds – two assists
10 points – four rebounds – one assist
13 points – eight rebounds – one assist – one block
Suns at Hawks – Tuesday
Jazz at Nets – Tuesday
San Antonio Spurs 105
Toronto Raptors 104
DeMar DeRozan returned to Toronto last night and helped the San Antonio Spurs erase a double digit deficit to defeat the team that dared to win a championship after DeRozan was traded for Kawhi Leonard. Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam returned after 11 game absences to combine for 35 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. But the champs are still without the services of Marc Gasol and Fred VanVleet. San Antonio countered an 82-69 lead going into the fourth quarter by outscoring Toronto, 36-22, to escape with the one point win.
|SPURS (17-21) 9th in the West||RAPTORS (25-14) 4th in the East|
25 points – eight rebounds – four assists – two steals
21 points – 14 rebounds – one assist – one block
15 points – two rebounds – three assists
20 points – three rebounds – four assists – one steal
13 points – four rebounds – four assists – two blocks
16 points – three rebounds – 15 assists – two steals
Spurs at Heat – Wednesday
Raptors at Thunder – Wednesday
Golden State Warriors 102
Memphis Grizzlies 122
It was the Memphis Grizzlies’ fifth straight win and the Golden State Warriors’ eighth straight loss last night in Memphis, where Jonas Valanciunas sent a reminder out to NBA fans that he’s still a viable member of what the Memphis Grizzlies are capable of doing and are doing. Five straight might not mean anything to fans of teams like the Milwaukee Bucks or Los Angeles Lakers, but in Memphis, it’s the early dawn on a quiet winter for Taylor Jenkins’ crew. They face a tough test on Tuesday night when the powerhouse duo of James Harden and Russell Westbrook come to town, but may have momentum and faith in their favor.
|WARRIORS (9-32) 15th in the West||GRIZZLIES (18-22) 8th in the West|
34 points – seven rebounds – four assists
31 points – nine rebounds – one assist – one steal – two blocks
13 points – six rebounds
|Jaren Jackson, Jr.|
21 points – five rebounds – two assists – one steal – two blocks
13 points – three rebounds – two assists
11 points – seven rebounds – 10 assists – one steal
Warriors at Mavericks – Tuesday
Rockets at Grizzlies – Tuesday
(All times Eastern)
New Orleans Pelicans
Fox Sports Detroit
Fox Sports Midwest-Indiana
NBC Sports Boston
Oklahoma City Thunder
Fox Sports Southeast
NBC Sports California
Los Angeles Lakers
Tracy Graven is a Senior NBA Analyst for BackSportsPage.com.
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 NBARadioShow.com, 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, and Oklahoma City.
A corporate trainer by day, he currently resides in Tennessee.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia
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