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Rundown v01.13.20 – Knicks Squelch the Heat, Clippers Fall, Jazz Win Ninth Straight

Kyrie Irving returned and Trae Young sat, Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic propel the Jazz, and Julius Randle and R.J. Barrett carry the Knicks past Miami last night.

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 CONFERENCEEASTERN CONFERENCE
Los Angeles Lakers   (32-7) .821Milwaukee Bucks   (35-6) .854
Denver Nuggets   (27-12) .692Boston Celtics   (26-11) .703
Utah Jazz   (27-12) .692Miami Heat   (27-12) .692
Houston Rockets   (26-12) .684Toronto Raptors   (25-14) .641
Los Angeles Clippers   (27-13) .675Philadelphia 76ers   (25-15) .625
Dallas Mavericks   (24-15) .615Indiana Pacers   (24-15) .615
Oklahoma City Thunder   (22-17) .564Brooklyn Nets   (18-20) .474
Memphis Grizzlies   (18-22) .450Orlando Magic   (18-21) .462

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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 WestNUGGETS (27-12) 2nd in the West
Kawhi Leonard
30 points – five rebounds – four assists – three steals
Nikola Jokic
20 points – 15 rebounds – six assists – one steal
Lou Williams
26 points – four rebounds – four assists – one steal
Jamal Murray
19 points – four rebounds – two assists
Montrezl Harrell
25 points – eight rebounds – one steal – two blocks
Gary Harris
15 points – three rebounds – two assists – three steals

NEXT GAMES
Cavaliers at Clippers – Tuesday
Hornets at Nuggets – Wednesday

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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 EastSUNS (16-23) 10th in the West
Dwayne Bacon
24 points – five rebounds – two assists – one steal
Kelly Oubre, Jr.
25 points – 15 rebounds – one assist – three steals – two blocks
Devonte’ Graham
22 points – one rebound – eight assists – three steals – one block
Deandre Ayton
18 points – nine rebounds – two steals – one block
Cody Zeller
15 points – eight rebounds – five assists – one steal
Devin Booker
12 points – four rebounds – nine assists – one steal – one block

NEXT GAMES
Hornets at Blazers – Tonight
Suns at Hawks – Tuesday

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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 EastKNICKS (11-29) 14th in the East
Jimmy Butler
25 points – 10 rebounds – six assists – one block
Julius Randle
26 points – eight rebounds – four assists – two steals
Kendrick Nunn
20 points – two rebounds – one assist – one steal – one block
R.J. Barrett
23 points – five rebounds – three assists – two steals
James Johnson
19 points – four rebounds – one block (fouled out)
Kevin Knox II
17 points – five rebounds – two assists

NEXT GAMES
Knicks at Bucks – Tuesday
Spurs at Heat – Wednesday

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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 WestWIZARDS (13-26) 12th in the East
Bojan Bogdanovic
31 points – three rebounds – three assists
Bradley Beal
25 points – one rebound – four assists – one steal
Jordan Clarkson
23 points – two rebounds – three assists – two steals
Davis Bertans
18 points – four rebounds – one assist – one block
Rudy Gobert
21 points – 14 rebounds – two assists – one steal – two blocks
#VFL Jordan McRae
16 points – six rebounds – two assists – one block

NEXT GAMES
Jazz at Nets – Tuesday
Wizards at Bulls – Wednesday


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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 EastNETS (18-20) 7th in the East
Cam Reddish
20 points – two assists – five steals
Kyrie Irving
21 points – four rebounds – three assists – one steal
DeAndre’ Bembry
12 points – three rebounds – three assists – four steals
Taurean Prince
14 points – five rebounds – two assists
Alex Len
10 points – four rebounds – one assist
DeAndre Jordan
13 points – eight rebounds – one assist – one block

NEXT GAMES
Suns at Hawks – Tuesday
Jazz at Nets – Tuesday

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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 WestRAPTORS (25-14) 4th in the East
DeMar DeRozan
25 points – eight rebounds – four assists – two steals
Serge Ibaka
21 points – 14 rebounds – one assist – one block
Rudy Gay
15 points – two rebounds – three assists
Norman Powell
20 points – three rebounds – four assists – one steal
Derrick White
13 points – four rebounds – four assists – two blocks
Kyle Lowry
16 points – three rebounds – 15 assists – two steals

NEXT GAMES
Spurs at Heat – Wednesday
Raptors at Thunder – Wednesday

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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 WestGRIZZLIES (18-22) 8th in the West
D’Angelo Russell
34 points – seven rebounds – four assists 
Jonas Valanciunas
31 points – nine rebounds – one assist – one steal – two blocks
Alec Burks
13 points – six rebounds
Jaren Jackson, Jr.
21 points – five rebounds – two assists – one steal – two blocks
Jordan Poole
13 points – three rebounds – two assists
Ja Morant
11 points – seven rebounds – 10 assists – one steal

NEXT GAMES
Warriors at Mavericks – Tuesday
Rockets at Grizzlies – Tuesday

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MONDAY’S LINEUP
(All times Eastern)

7 p.m.
New Orleans Pelicans
Detroit Pistons
Fox Sports Detroit
7 p.m.
Philadelphia 76ers
Indiana Pacers
Fox Sports Midwest-Indiana
7:30 p.m.
Chicago Bulls
Boston Celtics
NBC Sports Boston
8 p.m.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Minnesota Timberwolves
FSN
10 p.m.
Charlotte Hornets
Portland Trailblazers
Fox Sports Southeast
10 p.m.
Orlando Magic
Sacramento Kings
NBC Sports California
10:30 p.m.
Cleveland Cavaliers
Los Angeles Lakers
Spectrum SportsNet

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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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