Connect with us

The Rundown w/T-Money

Rundown v12.23.19 – The One Change, Weekend Wrap, and Guess Who’s Back?

Guess who's back in the Western Conference picture? And Kevin Love says Ja Morant saved his life, after nearly taking it.

The ONLY change that should be made … is re-seeding the playoffs so that the 16 best records compete for the NBA championship.

Do you truly think that an in season tournament will yield anything?

If you think load management is bad now, teams will hold their marquee players out. 

Then, the format that was adopted from the G League will – in effect – become about as paid attention to and attended – as a G League Showcase game.

Just change the playoffs to the 16 best records.

Playoffs would look like this if we adopted this format today (based on the current standings):

(16) Orlando Magic – (1) Milwaukee Bucks … Milwaukee wins 4-0
(15) Portland Trailblazers – (2) Los Angeles Lakers … L.A. wins 4-2
(14) Oklahoma City Thunder – (3) Boston Celtics … Boston wins 4-1
(13) Brooklyn Nets – (4) Miami Heat … Miami wins 4-1
(12) Utah Jazz – (5) Toronto Raptors … Utah wins 4-3
(11) Dallas Mavericks – (6) Denver Nuggets … Dallas wins 4-3
(10) Indiana Pacers – (7) Houston Rockets … Houston wins 4-2
(9) Philadelphia 76ers – (8) Los Angeles Clippers … L.A. wins 4-3

(8) Los Angeles Clippers – (1) Milwaukee Bucks … Milwaukee wins series 4-3
(7) Houston Rockets – (2) Los Angeles Lakers … Los Angeles wins series 4-2
(6) Dallas Mavericks – (3) Boston Celtics … Dallas wins series 4-2
(12) Utah Jazz – (4) Miami Heat … Miami wins series 4-2

(4) Miami Heat – (1) Milwaukee Bucks … Milwaukee wins series 4-3
(6) Dallas Mavericks – (2) Los Angeles Lakers … Dallas wins series 4-3

NBA CHAMPIONSHIP
(6) Dallas Mavericks – Milwaukee Bucks … Dallas wins NBA Championship 4-3

WESTERN CONFERENCEEASTERN CONFERENCE
Los Angeles Lakers   (24-6) .800Milwaukee Bucks   (27-4) .871
Denver Nuggets   (20-8) .714Boston Celtics   (20-7) .741
Houston Rockets   (20-9) .690Miami Heat   (21-8) .724
Los Angeles Clippers   (22-10) .688Toronto Raptors   (21-8) .724
Dallas Mavericks   (19-10) .655Philadelphia 76ers   (21-10) .671
Utah Jazz   (18-11) .621Indiana Pacers   (20-10) .667
Oklahoma City Thunder   (15-14) .517Brooklyn Nets   (16-13) .552
Portland Trailblazers   (14-16) .467Orlando Magic   (12-17) .454

********************

FRIDAY’S GAMES

********************

Memphis Grizzlies  107
Cleveland Cavaliers  114

Nothing but potential trade bait auditions for the Cleveland Cavaliers as they defeat the Memphis Grizzlies.

MEMPHISCLEVELAND
Jaren Jackson, Jr.
24 points – three rebounds – one assist – two blocks
Jordan Clarkson
33 points – six rebounds – one assist – one block
Dillon Brooks
16 points – seven rebounds – four assists – two steals – one block
Kevin Love
21 points – 13 rebounds – one assist
Jonas Valanciunas
14 points – 14 rebounds – two assists – four blocks
Darius Garland14 points – five rebounds – two assists

NEXT GAMES
Kings at Grizzlies – Monday
Hawks at Cavaliers – Monday

********************

Sacramento Kings  105
Indiana Pacers  119

The Indiana Pacers win their fifth in a row over the Sacramento Kings.

SACRAMENTOINDIANA
Richaun Holmes
20 points – nine rebounds – one block
T.J. Warren
23 points – four rebounds – one assist – one block
Marvin Bagley III
17 points – five rebounds – one assist – three blocks
Myles Turner
17 points – three rebounds – two assists – one steal – two blocks
Justin James
14 points – three rebounds – two assists – one block
Domantas Sabonis
15 points – nine rebounds – six assists – two blocks

NEXT GAMES
Kings at Grizzlies – Saturday
Pacers at Bucks – Sunday

********************

Detroit Pistons  93
Boston Celtics  114

When you have six players in double digits, your center has no blocked shots, and nearly no one can complete the first three columns in that stat sheet, it’s should be no surprise you’re going to get beat by two young guns with the same stat line(s) and a hungry kid from the University of Tennessee.

DETROITBOSTON
Thon Maker
15 points – seven rebounds – one steal
Jaylen Brown
26 points – five rebounds – five assists – three steals – one block
Derrick Rose
14 points – four assists
Jayson Tatum
26 points – five rebounds – three assists – two steals
Andre Drummond
12 points – 11 rebounds – four assists – six steals
#VFL Grant Williams
18 points – three rebounds – one block

NEXT GAMES
Bulls at Piston – Saturday
Hornets at Celtics – Sunday

********************

Washington Wizards  118
Toronto Raptors  122

Despite being without Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell, and Marc Gasol, the Toronto Raptors welcomed Fred VanVleet back into the starting lineup after a five game absence, and keep finding ways to win as they downed the Washington Wizards on Friday night.

WASHINGTONTORONTO
Bradley Beal
37 points – seven rebounds – six assists – one steal
Kyle Lowry
26 points – four rebounds – nine assists – one steal
Ish Smith
26 points – one rebound – two assists – one steal – one block
Serge Ibaka
23 points – 10 rebounds – three assists – one block
Isaiah Thomas
13 points – two rebounds – five assists – one steal
Fred VanVleet
18 points – nine rebounds – eight assists – one steal

NEXT GAMES
Wizards at Sixers – Saturday
Mavericks at Toronto – Sunday

********************

New York Knicks  114
Miami Heat  129

Seven Miami Heat players scoring in double digits outdoes a nice 30 point effort from Bobby Portis as the Knicks fall again.

NEW YORKMIAMI
Bobby Portis
30 points – eight rebounds – two assists – three steals
Bam Adebayo
20 points – eight rebounds – three assists – one steal
Mitchell Robinson
18 points – four rebounds – one assist – one steal – one block
Goran Dragic
18 points – one rebound – eight assists
Marcus Morris
15 points – three rebounds – one assist – one steal
Duncan Robinson
18 points – three assists

NEXT GAMES
Bucks at Knicks – Saturday
Jazz at Heat – Monday

********************

Dallas Mavericks  117
Philadelphia 76ers  98

Kristaps Porzingis continues to improve without Luka Doncic in the lineup, and what a dangerous combo this will be come playoffs as the Dallas Mavericks take down the Philadelphia 76ers on the road.

DALLASPHILADELPHIA
Tim Hardaway, Jr.
27 points – four rebounds – one assist – one steal
Joel Embiid
33 points – 17 rebounds – two assists – one steal – one block
Kristaps Porzingis
22 points – 18 rebounds – one steal – three blocks
Ben Simmons
12 points – six rebounds – eight assists – three steals
Dorian Finney-Smith
11 points – six rebounds – four assists – two steals
#VFL Josh Richardson
10 points – six rebounds – four assists – two steals

NEXT GAMES
Wizards at Sixers – Saturday
Mavericks at Raptors – Sunday

********************

Phoenix Suns  108
Oklahoma City Thunder  126

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander drops a career high 32 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder continue to defy the oddsmakers and hit the .500 mark for the season one third of the way through. Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns continue to set … well below the .500 mark.

PHOENIXOKLAHOMA CITY
Ricky Rubio
24 points – two rebounds – eight assists – one steal
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
32 points – four rebounds – three assists – one steal
Devin Booker
18 points – four rebounds – three assists – one steal
Dennis Schroder
24 points – nine rebounds – six assists
Dario Saric
17 points – six rebounds – four assists – one steal
Danilo Gallinari
22 points – six rebounds – one assist – one block

NEXT GAMES
Rockets at Suns – Saturday
Clippers at Thunder – Sunday

********************

Minnesota Timberwolves  100
Denver Nuggets  109

The Denver Nuggets continue their climb into the top of the Rocky Mountain high expectations of the Western Conference by silencing the Minnesota Timberwolves – sans Karl-Anthony Towns – on Friday night to prepare themselves to face the Los Angeles Lakers in L.A. on Sunday night.

MINNESOTADENVER
Andrew Wiggins
19 points – three rebounds – six assists – one steal – one block
Jamal Murray
28 points – six rebounds – five assists – three steals
Gorgui Dieng
18 points – six rebounds – one block
Nikola Jokic
22 points – 10 rebounds – 10 assists – two blocks
Jeff Teague
13 points – two rebounds – two assists – one steal – one block
Will Barton
13 points – four rebounds – two assists

NEXT GAMES
Timberwolves at Trailblazers – Saturday
Nuggets at Lakers – Sunday

********************

Orlando Magic  103
Portland Trailblazers  118

The Portland Trailblazers treated their fans to a 31-13 opening quarter to set the night on cruise control against the visiting Orlando Magic Friday night to easily cross the finish line.

ORLANDOPORTLAND
Nikola Vucevic
23 points – 12 rebounds – one assist – six steals – two blocks
Damian Lillard
36 points – three rebounds – six assists – one steal
D.J. Augustin
17 points – one rebound – three assists
C.J. McCollum
31 points – eight rebounds – four assists – one steal
Evan Fournier
16 points – two rebounds – three assists – one steal
Kent Bazemore
11 points – four rebounds – one assist – one block

NEXT GAMES
Timberwolves at Trailblazers – Saturday
Bulls at Magic – Monday

********************

New Orleans Pelicans  102
Golden State Warriors  106

D’Angelo Russell lead the Golden State Warriors to their sixth win of the season on Friday night against a New Orleans Pelicans team that is aching to have Zion Williamson in the lineup, but smart enough to take their time with him.

NEW ORLEANSGOLDEN STATE
Jrue Holiday
25 points – eight rebounds – four assists
D’Angelo Russell
25 points – three rebounds – seven assists – two steals
Brandon Ingram
25 points – three rebounds – six assists – one steal
Damion Lee
20 points – seven rebounds – one assist
Lonzo Ball
14 points – five rebounds – two assists – five steals
Alec Burks
18 points – eight rebounds – three assists – four steals

NEXT GAMES
Pelicans at Trailblazers – Monday
Timberwolves at Warriors – Monday

********************

SATURDAY’S GAMES

********************

Utah Jazz  114
Charlotte Hornets  107

Bojan Bogdanovic continues to prove to be the best off-season acquisition for the Utah Jazz as he and Donovan Mitchell lead the Jazz past the Charlotte Hornets on the road on Saturday night.

UTAHCHARLOTTE
Bojan Bogdanovic
26 points – three rebounds – three assists
Terry Rozier
29 points – four rebounds – three assists – one steal – one block
Donovan Mitchell
20 points – four rebounds – nine assists – one steal – one block
Devonte’ Graham
22 points – three rebounds – four assists
Rudy Bobert
17 points – nine rebounds – one assist – one steal – three blocks
Cody Zeller
13 points – eight rebounds – one assist – two steals

NEXT GAMES
Jazz at Heat – Sunday
Hornets at Celtics – Sunday

********************

Atlanta Hawks  112
Brooklyn Nets  122

The Atlanta Hawks’ freefall continued Saturday night against a team that’s in a freefall of its own. One playing with its star and the other playing without its big name off season signee, but a star is being born in Spencer Dinwiddie. The Hawks are making the Golden State Warriors’ record look good.

ATLANTABROOKLYN
Trae Young
47 points – eight rebounds – six assists – one steal
Spencer Dinwiddie
39 points – six rebounds – six assists – one steal
Alex Len
23 points – 14 rebounds – two blocks
Garrett Temple
25 points – six rebounds – three assists – one steal – one block
De’Andre Hunter
14 points – five rebounds – two assists – one steal
Joe Harris
18 points – five rebounds – three assists – two steals – one block

NEXT GAMES
Hawks at Cavaliers – Monday
Knicks at Nets – Thursday

********************

Chicago Bulls  119
Detroit Pistons  107

The Chicago Bulls used a 66-48 second half to choke out the Detroit Pistons Saturday night.

CHICAGODETROIT
Zach LaVine
33 points – five rebounds – five assists – one steal
Markieff Morris
23 points – one rebound – six assists
Coby White
19 points – five rebounds – one assist
Andre Drummond
19 points – 14 rebounds – three assists – five steals – two blocks
Tomas Satoransky
16 points – eight rebounds – five assists – two steals
Luke Kennard
16 points – four rebounds – three assists

NEXT GAMES
Bulls at Magic – Monday
Sixers at Pistons – Monday

********************

Washington Wizards  108
Philadelphia 76ers  125

The Philadelphia 76ers stopped their three game losing streak with a resounding win over the Washington Wizards that features Washington’s Isaiah Thomas heading into the stands to confront heckling fans. (More details forthcoming on that situation).

WASHINGTONPHILADELPHIA
Bradley Beal
36 points – eight rebounds – six assists – two steals
Joel Embiid
21 points – 13 rebounds – three assists – two blocks
Isaiah Thomas
20 points – three assists
#VFL Josh Richardson
21 points – two rebounds – three assists
Troy Brown
19 points – five rebounds
#VFL Tobias Harris
16 points – six rebounds – four assists – two steals

NEXT GAMES
Wizards at Knicks – Monday
Sixers at Pistons – Monday

********************

Milwaukee Bucks  123
New York Knicks  102

The Milwaukee Bucks continued their dominance of the NBA at the expense of the New York Knicks. How dominant? Even Thanasis Antetokuonmpo got in on the action – and was the highlight of the night.

MILWAUKEENEW YORK
Khris Middleton
23 points – six rebounds – five assists – three steals – one block
Julius Randle
20 points – eight rebounds – two assists
Giannis Antetokuonmpo
22 points – 11 rebounds – 10 assists – two steals
Kevin Knox
19 points – four rebounds – two steals – three blocks
Kyle Korver
17 points – one rebound – one assist – two steals
R.J. Barrett
17 points – five rebounds – three assists – one block

NEXT GAMES
Pacers at Bucks – Sunday
Wizards at Knicks – Monday

********************

Sacramento Kings  115
Memphis Grizzlies  119

Despite a 37-28 fourth quarter attempted comeback, the Sacramento Kings didn’t have enough ammunition to take down the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday night. Memphis had seven in double figures for the win.

SACRAMENTOMEMPHIS
Harrison Barnes
25 points – four rebounds – five assists
Jaren Jackson, Jr.
18 points – five rebounds – two assists – three steals – four blocks
De’Aaron Fox
22 points – three rebounds – four assists – three steals
Jae Crowder
17 points – 10 rebounds – five assists
Richaun Holmes
18 points – 12 rebounds – two assists – one steal – one block
Dillon Brooks
16 points – six rebounds – three assists

NEXT GAMES
Rockets at Kings – Monday
Spurs at Grizzlies – Monday

********************

Los Angeles Clippers  134
San Antonio Spurs  109

It was DunkFest ‘19 in Kawhi Leonard’s return to San Antonio, as the Los Angeles Clippers dunked on the Spurs 20 times to take the easy 25 points win. Paul George shot 36.4 percent for 11 points. It was Leonard’s first win back in San Antonio.

LOS ANGELESSAN ANTONIO
Kawhi Leonard
26 points – seven rebounds – nine assists – four steals
DeMar DeRozan
24 points – three rebounds – three assists
Lou Williams
20 points – four assists – two steals
Marco Belinelli
17 points – two rebounds – one steal
Ivica Zubac
15 points – five rebounds – two assists – one steal
LaMarcus Aldridge
12 points – four rebounds – two assists – one steal – one block

NEXT GAMES
Clippers at Thunder – Sunday
Spurs at Grizzlies – Monday

********************

Houston Rockets  139
Phoenix Suns  125

The Houston Rockets outscored the Phoenix Suns 103-90 in the final three quarters to break away into the next stratosphere and put themselves in third place in the Western Conference. James Harden and Russell Westbrook are looking like an abominable duo in the league after combining for 77 points, 10 rebounds, 17 assists, two steals and two blocks on Saturday night.

HOUSTONPHOENIX
James Harden
47 points – six rebounds – seven assists – one block
Kelly Oubre, Jr.
26 points – five rebounds – four assists – one block
Russell Westbrook
30 points – four rebounds – 10 assists – two steals – one block
Devin Booker
19 points – six rebounds – nine assists
Clint Capela
14 points – 17 rebounds – three assists – one block
Elie Okobo
17 points – four rebounds – three assists – one steal

NEXT GAMES
Rockets at Kings – Monday
Nuggets at Suns – Monday

********************

Minnesota Timberwolves  106
Portland Trailblazers  113

If you’re Neil Olshey and you’re thinking of trading Hassan Whiteside, you’re not paying attention to the numbers the kid is putting up. Head case or not, I’ll take the 16 and 23 nights. Or the 16 points, 22 rebounds and seven blocks he had against Minnesota on Saturday night.

MINNESOTAPORTLAND
Andrew Wiggins
33 points – six rebounds – one assist – three blocks
Damian Lillard
29 points – three rebounds – seven assists – one steal – one block
Jeff Teague
18 points – six rebounds – eight assists – one block
C.J. McCollum
26 points – two rebounds – three assists – three steals – one block
Shabazz Napier
18 points – four rebounds – four assists – three steals
Kent Bazemore
19 points – two rebounds – two assists – three steals – two blocks

NEXT GAMES
Timberwolves at Warriors – Monday
Pelicans at Trailblazers – Monday

********************

SUNDAY’S GAMES

*******************

Indiana Pacers  89
Milwaukee Bucks  117

A 28 point win should be impressive enough, but the 34-16 insult to injury fourth quarter the Milwaukee Bucks had at home last night versus the Indiana Pacers demonstrates that hunting season has turned the hunted into the hunters. Milwaukee is on a mission. League best. Don’t @ me.

INDIANAMILWAUKEE
Domantas Sabonis
19 points – 18 rebounds – five assists – two steals – two blocks
Wesley Matthews
19 points – one rebound – one assist – two steals – one block
Doug McDermott
15 points – three rebounds
Giannis Antetokuonmpo
18 points – 19 rebounds – nine assists – two steals – two blocks
Myles Turner
11 points – five rebounds – one assist – one steal – one block
George Hill
17 points – nine rebounds – four assists – one steal

NEXT GAMES
Raptors at Pacers – Monday
Bucks at Sixers – Christmas Day

********************

Los Angeles Clippers  112
Oklahoma City Thunder  118

A 32-23 fourth quarter by the Oklahoma City Thunder spoiled Paul George’s return to Oklahoma City. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – acquired in the summer’s move – matched his career best 32 (set two nights before against Phoenix) to show who got the best of that trade … at least last night. OKC is now a game above .500 and in seventh in the Western Conference.

LOS ANGELESOKLAHOMA CITY
Lou Williams
22 points – three rebounds – seven assists
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
32 points – three rebounds – five assists – two steals
Montrezl Harrell
18 points – eight rebounds – one assist
Dennis Schroder
28 points – five rebounds – six assists – one steal
Paul George
18 points – two rebounds – three assists – two steals
Steven Adams
20 points – 17 rebounds – two assists – three steals

NEXT GAMES
Clippers at Lakers – Christmas Day
Grizzlies at Thunder – Thursday

********************

Denver Nuggets  128
Los Angeles Lakers  104

After a five point deficit in the first quarter, the Denver Nuggets spanked the Los Angeles Lakers, 105-76, over the final three quarters to gain ground on the first place Lakers in the Western Conference, while LeBron James sat (as I predicted last week). No load management, huh LeBron? It was Denver’s sixth consecutive win.

DENVERLOS ANGELES
Paul Millsap
21 points – one rebound
Anthony Davis
32 points – 11 rebounds – one assist – four blocks
Gary Harris
19 points –  one rebound – five assists – four steals
Kyle Kuzma
16 points – four rebounds – one steal – two blocks
Nikola Jokic
18 points – six rebounds – five assists – one steal – one block
Dwight Howard
Eight points – seven rebounds – one assist

NEXT GAMES
Nuggets at Suns – Tonight
Clippers at Lakers – Christmas Day

********************

Dallas Mavericks  107
Toronto Raptors  110

The Toronto Raptors scored 47 points in the fourth quarter to put away the Dallas Mavericks last night in Toronto. Dallas scored 21 in the final period. The 47 was a franchise record.

DALLASTORONTO
Jalen Brunson
21 points – four rebounds – nine assists – one steal
Kyle Lowry
32 points – eight rebounds – 10 assists
Kristaps Porzingis
19 points – 12 rebounds – one steal – two blocks
Chris Boucher
21 points – seven rebounds – two steals – four blocks
Dwight Powell
17 points – nine rebounds – three assists – one steal – one block
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
18 points – nine rebounds – two assists – one steal

NEXT GAMES
Raptors at Pacers – Tonight
Spurs at Mavericks – Thursday

********************

Charlotte Hornets  93
Boston Celtics  119

The Boston Celtics got their 20th win of the season last night with a 26 point smokeout of the Charlotte Hornets. It was also Charlotte’s 20th loss of the season. Jayson Tatum scored a career high 39 points in the win.

CHARLOTTEBOSTON
Devonte’ Graham
23 points – four rebounds – 10 assists
Jayson Tatum
39 points – 12 rebounds – two assists – one steal – three blocks
Bismack Biyombo
18 points – three rebounds – two assists – two blocks
Kemba Walker
23 points – one rebound – four assists
Miles Bridges
15 points – six rebounds – three assists – one steal – one block
Jaylen Brown
16 points – nine rebounds – five assists

NEXT GAMES
Celtics at Raptors – Christmas Day
Thunder at Hornets – Thursday

********************

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

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Featured Articles

Featured Writers

More in The Rundown w/T-Money