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Rundown v01.26.20 – ‘Bron Pass Kobe, Kyrie Hits 45, Jazz Win 11 of Last 12, Don’t ‘Sleep’ on Dort

LeBron James 33,655 passes Kobe Bryant, Rudy Gobert's defense powers the Jazz, Kyrie Irving rang up 45, Zach LaVine hung 44 on Cleveland, and Chris Paul's leadership is showing in OKC, who have won four straight with Luguentz Dort starting and defending.

Who is Luguentz Dort?
Dort, a Canadian basketball player by way of Jacksonville, Florida and Arizona State, has excelled with the G League’s Oklahoma City Blue, and started the last four games for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Ironically, all of them have been wins for the Thunder.

[photo courtesy of Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

Because of Dort? Well, in a weird sort of perception, yes.

Dort has been assigned to guard the toughest of the tough in the Thunder’s last four opponents, and his efforts whow in their numbers:

James Harden29 points9 rebounds6 assists31.0 percent
Evan Fournier12 points1 rebound6 assists41.7 percent
Trae Young26 points2 rebounds16 assists35.0 percent
Andrew Wiggins22 points3 reboundsOne assist44.4 percent

Granted, the points are there to a degree … but look at each of those stars’ shooting percentages with Dort guarding them like a rabid bulldog.

And in their respective games against the Thunder this last week, both Evan Fournier and Trae Young went scoreless in the first quarter.

You can argue against Dort, but numbers don’t lie.

The only exception may be James Harden, who has missed 80 of his last 100 three pointers. It’s a good thing the Houston Rockets picked up Russell Westbrook – he has led Harden and the Rockets through this adversity.

But give it up for – and keep an eye on – Luguentz Dort.

The other irony is Dort’s name, which in French, means ‘sleeps.’ 

But don’t sleep on this guy.


Dallas Mavericks  107
Utah Jazz  112

The Dallas Mavericks may have stampeded out to an 11 point first quarter advantage, but the Utah Jazz made sweet music when it counted, in the second (30-22) and fourth (32-23) quarters to push the Mavericks to their 17th loss of the season, while Utah won its 32nd game and reaffirmed its position as second seed in the Western Conference. Luka Doncic and Donovan Mitchell’s results basically cancelled each other out, and the play of Rudy Gobert – specifically his defense – was the difference in the game. The Jazz have now won 11 of their last 12 games. Four games separate these two teams in the rankings.

NOTE: The Dallas Mavericks acquired center Willie Cauley-Stein from the Golden State Warriors for a second round draft pick.

MAVERICKS (28-17) 6th in the WestJAZZ (32-13) 2nd in the West
Luka Doncic
25 points – six rebounds – seven assists – two steals
Donovan Mitchell
25 points – eight rebounds – five assists – two steals
Seth Curry
19 points – four rebounds – four assists – one steal
Bojan Bogdanovic
23 points – one rebound – one assist – one block
Kristaps Porzingis
15 points – two rebounds – one assist – one steal – one block
Rudy Gobert
22 points – 17 rebounds – two assists – five blocks

Mavericks at Thunder – Monday
Rockets at Jazz – Monday


Brooklyn Nets  121
Detroit Pistons  111 (OT)

A 15-5 burst was all that the Brooklyn Nets needed after battling the Detroit Pistons to a 106-106 tie at the end of regulation, after coming back from a 60-50 halftime deficit to Detroit at Little Caesars Arena last night. Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 45 points, but dropped 17 of those in a huge 30-17 third quarter to bring the Nets back into the game. He could have ended it in regulation, but missed a three pointer and the two teams went to the extra period. Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert combined for 21 off the Brooklyn bench.

NETS (19-25) 8th in the EastPISTONS (17-30) 10th in the East
Kyrie Irving
45 points – six rebounds – seven assists
Derrick Rose
27 points – four rebounds – six assists – two steals
Jarrett Allen
20 points – 15 rebounds – one assist – one steal – four blocks
Andre Drummond
20 points – 21 rebounds – two assists
Joe Harris
16 points – six rebounds – two assists
Svi Mykhailiuk
19 points – five rebounds – three assists – one steal

Nets at Knicks – Tonight
Cavaliers at Pistons – Monday


Chicago Bulls  118
Cleveland Cavaliers  106

The Cleveland Cavaliers probably don’t want to see Zach LaVine much anymore, if at all.  The Chicago Bulls guard has dropped 86 points on the Cavs in the last eight days and if he quit shooting or playing, Cleveland would probably be okay with it. The game was tied at 69 before the Bulls went on a stampede that turned into a 40-19 third quarter – as if Cleveland, Ohio were Pamplona, Spain – and bloodied the host Cavaliers to take control of what had been a fairly even game until halftime. Kevin Love led the Cavaliers with 20 and 11.

BULLS (18-30) 9th in the EastCAVALIERS (12-34) 14th in the East
Zach LaVine
44 points – 10 rebounds – eight assists – one steal
Kevin Love
20 points – 11 rebounds – two assists – one steal
Tomas Satoransky
19 points – six rebounds – six assists – three steals
Collin Sexton
18 points – two rebounds – three assists – one steal
Thaddeus Young
11 points – three rebounds – two assists – three steals – one block
Cedi Osman
18 points – one rebound – six assists – two steals

Spurs at Bulls – Monday
Cavaliers at Pistons – Monday


Oklahoma City Thunder  113
Minnesota Timberwolves  104

A 15 point advantage in the third quarter on the road in Minneapolis showed that it really doesn’t matter what court the Oklahoma City Thunder play on, as long as it’s 94’ x 50’ and has two 10’ hoops, they’re going to show how a team should overcome adversity and come out with a win. For a ‘rebuilding’ team that was to have had no chance at sniffing a winning record, much less the playoffs, the Thunder have done it 28 times as of last night. At 28-19, while they’d be a seventh seed in the Eastern Conference right now as well, at least the seventh in the East would boast a winning record. Chris Paul’s leadership could be seen again last night, as the Thunder’s guard corps handily won out over a combined 59 point effort from Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Dennis Schroder continues his evolution and Darius Bazely jumped into the fray last night, as well. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 11 and seven on the night.

THUNDER (28-19) 7th in the WestTIMBERWOLVES (15-31) 14th in the West
Dennis Schroder
26 points – four rebounds – two assists – one steal
Karl-Anthony Towns
37 points – eight rebounds – six assists – two steals – two blocks
Chris Paul
25 points – four rebounds – 10 assists – two steals
Andrew Wiggins
22 points – three rebounds – one assist – one steal
Darius Bazley
15 points – six rebounds – one assist – one steal – one block
Keita Bates-Diop
11 points – two rebounds – two assists

Mavericks at Thunder – Monday
Kings at Timberwolves – Monday


Los Angeles Lakers  91
Philadelphia 76ers  108

The Philadelphia 76ers jumped out to a 10 point lead in the first quarter, and the Los Angeles Lakers never seemed to recover. To be honest, the Lakers’ body language looks like they’re still reeling from being bombasted by the Boston Celtics earlier in the week. Or maybe, they’re just wearing down, tired of being the only two Lakers doing anything of significance and everything but the kitchen sink. LeBron James’ lone takeaway from his visit to Philadelphia was passing Kobe Bryant on the all time NBA scoring list in Bryant’s hometown. James passed Bryant’s 33,643 points with a simple layup, but finished the game with 29 points to end at 33,655 … and many more to go.

LAKERS (36-10) 1st in the WestSIXERS (30-17) 6th in the East
Anthony Davis
31 points – seven rebounds – two assists – two steals – one block
#VFL Tobias Harris
29 points – eight rebounds – one assist – one block
LeBron James
29 points – seven rebounds – eight assists – one steal
Ben Simmons
28 points – 10 rebounds – eight assists – four steals
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Seven points – two rebounds – two assists – one steal
Al Horford
16 points – six rebounds – one assist – one steal

Lakers at Clippers – Tuesday
Warriors at Sixers – Tuesday


(All Times Eastern)

3:30 p.m.
Houston Rockets
Denver Nuggets
4 p.m.
Toronto Raptors
San Antonio Spurs
KENS (San Antonio)
6 p.m.
Washington Wizards
Atlanta Hawks
NBC Sports Washington
6 p.m.
Boston Celtics
New Orleans Pelicans
6 p.m.
Brooklyn Nets
New York Knicks
6 p.m.
Los Angeles Clippers
Orlando Magic
FSN Prime Ticket
6 p.m.
Phoenix Suns
Memphis Grizzlies
Fox Sports Southeast
9 p.m.
Indiana Pacers
Portland Trailblazers


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, and Oklahoma City.
A corporate trainer by day, he currently resides in Tennessee.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia 

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