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The Rundown – 11/26/19: Giannis Freaks Out, Vintage ‘Melo, Buddy Love, Trae Young

Giannis Antetokuonmpo went off for 50 points, Carmelo Anthony led the Blazers with half of that on his breakout night, Buddy Love scored 41 and Trae Young had 37, both in losing efforts.

In last night’s 11 games, the MVP Giannis Antetokuonmpo went off for 50 points, Carmelo Anthony led the Blazers with half of that on his breakout night, Buddy Love scored 41 and Trae Young had 37, both in losing efforts.

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Riding No. 8, He Rises Again

Brooklyn Nets (9-8)108
Cleveland Cavaliers (5-12)106

Cleveland, OhioKyrie Irving didn’t make his return to Cleveland last night, where he was drafted No. 1 and starred with the Cavaliers for six solid season. Rumor has it, the multi-million dollar guard won’t be with the team in Boston for his return their, either. Regardless, Spencer Dinwiddie continues to rise to the occasion, hitting the game winner with 1.9 seconds remaining, scoring 23 points and dishing nine assists in Brooklyn’s ninth win of the season. It was the Nets’ fourth win in a row and now the team is a game above the .500 mark. Jarrett Allen did his part with 22 points and 21 assists, Joe Harris had 19 and six, and Taurean Prince finished up with 18 and six.

For the Cavaliers, Jordan Clarkson shared game high honors with Dinwiddie, with 23 of his own. Larry Nance, Jr. had 20 and 13, Collin Sexton added 18, Cedi Osman 15, and Darius Garland finished up with 11 points. The Cavs were without Kevin Love’s services for the second straight game. He is suffering from a sore back.

Brooklyn
PTS: Spencer Dinwiddie – 23
REB: Jarrett Allen – 21
AST: Spencer Dinwiddie – 9
Cleveland
PTS: Jordan Clarkson – 23
REB: Larry Nance, Jr. – 13
AST: Kevin Porter, Jr. – 7

NEXT UP
Nets at Boston – Wednesday
Magic at Cavaliers – Wednesday

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Kennard Leads Pistons to Win

Orlando Magic (6-10)88
Detroit Pistons (6-11)103

Detroit, Michigan – Two of the league’s most inconsistent teams met last night, and it was the Detroit Pistons’ turn to win, so they did just that, dropping a 15 point loss on the Orlando Magic, a team already beset by injuries. Detroit overcame getting blown out in the first quarter to put a 50-33 torque on the Magic in the second half to seal the win. Luke Kennard led all scorers with a 20 point night. He also had four rebounds and seven assists. Blake Griffin added 17, Bruce Brown, Jr. had 13 and eight, and it was 12 apiece for Langston Galloway, Christian Wood, and Svi Mykhailiuk.

Orlando is without Nikola Vucevik until at least Christmas, but Mo Bamba filled in nicely with six points and 12 rebounds off the bench, though he should be the starter. Terrence Ross led Orlando with 19 points on 50 percent shooting. Evan Fournier added 17, and Markelle Fultz continues his comeback with a solid 16 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals. Jonathan Isaac rounded out the Magic’s scoring with 10 and six. The Magic are winless through seven road games this season. Aaron Gordon and Michael Carter-Williams were out for Orlando as well as Vucevic.

Orlando
PTS: Terrence Ross – 19
REB: Mohamed Bamba – 12
AST: D.J. Augustin – 5
Detroit
PTS: Luke Kennard – 20
REB: Andre Drummond – 18
AST: Luke Kennard – 7

NEXT UP
Magic at Cavaliers – Wednesday
Pistons at Hornets – Wednesday

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Pacers Race Past the Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies (5-11)114
Indiana Pacers (10-6)126

Indianapolis, Indiana – With 67 points off the starting line and 104 points through three quarters, the Indiana Pacers rarely saw the Memphis Grizzlies at all, except through the rearview … and I think we all agree, the rearview is the best pace to see a Grizzly, isn’t it? T.J. Warren led with 26 points on 73.3 percent shooting. Five others followed suit as Jeremy Lamb added 19 on 50 percent shooting, Aaron Holiday added 16 on 66.7 percent from the field, and Malcolm Brogdon finished with 14 points, six rebounds and eight assists on six of 12. Domantas Sabonis had 13 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and two steals in the win, while T.J. McConnell finished up with 11 points, five rebounds and six assists. The 126 points were the Pacers’ highest output this season. They led by as many as 29.

Memphis was led by overall leading scorer Jaren Jackson, Jr., who had 28 points to go along with his five rebounds. Ja Morant finished with 19 points and 10 assists, fellow rookie Brandon Clarke shot for 88.9 percent off the bench to net 17 points, and Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots for the Grizzlies, who are still trying to find their identity at 5-11.  

Memphis
PTS: Jaren Jackson, Jr. – 28
REB: Jonas Valanciunas – 11
AST: Ja Morant – 10
Indiana
PTS: T.J. Warren – 26
REB: Domantas Sabonis – 13
AST: Malcolm Brogdon – 8

NEXT UP
Clippers at Grizzlies – Wednesday
Jazz at Pacers – Wednesday

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Hawks Continue to Get Shot Down

Minnesota Timberwolves (9-8)125
Atlanta Hawks (4-13)113

Atlanta, Georgia – Even having a national brand like State Farm on your home arena doesn’t ‘insure’ (sic) much of anything these days, especially for the Atlanta Hawks, who fell to their 13th loss of the season last night at State Farm Arena. Neither does having a dynamo like Trae Young on your team. Young dropped 37 points on the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves and the Wolves brushed it off like it was nothing. Young got little help but from Jabari Parker’s 22 and seven, and 13 off the bench from Bruno Fernando, despite head coach Lloyd Pierce going 10 deep on a rotation.

The Timberwolves only slept on the Hawks in a 34-16 second quarter that kept Atlanta viably in the game. Otherwise, Minnesota devoured the Hawks in a 38-30 first, and a 71-49 second half. Without the second quarter, the Hawks were outscored 109-79. Karl-Anthony Towns finished with a respectably solid 28 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, as well as two blocked shots. Andrew Wiggins came through with 25 and six, Jarrett Culver added 14, and it was 13 apiece for both Gorgui Dieng and Keita Bates-Diop. Minnesota’s bench scored 46 points.  


Minnesota
PTS: Karl-Anthony Towns – 28
REB: Karl-Anthony Towns – 13
AST: Karl-Anthony Towns – 8, Jeff Teague – 8
Atlanta
PTS: Trae Young – 37
REB: Jabari Parker – 7, Allen Crabbe – 7
AST: Trae Young – 9

NEXT UP
Timberwolves at Spurs – Wednesday
Hawks at Bucks – Wednesday

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Celtics Repay One Point Loss with One Point Win

Sacramento Kings (7-9)102
Boston Celtics (12-4)103

Boston, Massachusetts – If there is any such thing as a moral victory for the Sacramento Kings, it’s that they’ve played the Boston Celtics about as tough as possible in their two-game season series, which is split at 1-1 home and home after last night’s Celtics win in Boston. The Kings beat Boston in Sacramento back on November 17th, 100-99, in what started Boston’s slide out of first place in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics would go 1-3 that week in their swing out West.

Last night, without the services of Kemba Walker (neck sprain), Boston followed the lead of Jaylen Brown’s 24 points. Jayson Tatum added 20 and six, Enes Kanter returned to the starting lineup to the tune of 13 points and nine assists, and Marcus Smart ground it out with 17 points, three rebounds, seven assists and a game high five steals.

The Celtics did all they needed to overcome a career night from Buddy Hield. Hield scored 41 points on 57.7 percent shooting in a losing effort. Harrison Barnes added 20, and Bogdan Bogdanovic chipped in 13, but that’s all Sacramento got from head coach Luke Walton’s 10 man rotation. Hield was 11 for 21 from downtown.

Sacramento
PTS: Buddy Hield – 41
REB: Nemanja Bjelica – 6
AST: Bogdan Bogdanovic – 8
Boston
PTS: Jaylen Brown – 24
REB: Enes Kanter – 9
AST: Marcus Smart – 7

NEXT UP
Kings at Sixers – Wednesday
Nets at Celtics – Wednesday

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Heat Continue to Cement Themselves in the East

Charlotte Hornets (6-12)100
Miami Heat (12-4)117

Miami, Florida – Anybody who thought the Miami Heat’s quick start was a mirage had better take some time and watch this team within a team play sometime. Not only do they have cagey veteran leadership, but they’ve developed a very young core that – if they are allowed to stay together – will be a very dangerous team for the foreseeable future in South Beach. No LeBron James’ talents needed.

That veteran leadership was on display last night in the form of the formerly discontented Jimmy Butler, now all smiles in his new home. People who feel good about themselves get the best results, and Butler led all in scoring with 21 points and seven assists on 54.5 percent shooting. Bam Adebayo matched Butler on the 21, and added 13 rebounds and five assists. Kendrick Nunn chipped in 19, Tyler Herro had 18, and Kelly Olynyk finished with 15 and 16 on the night. The Heat are undefeated at AmericanAirlines Arena, but they head to Houston next, where they are 1-5 in their last half dozen trips there.

Charlotte, despite their fast start, has slowed down to a .333 team, despite the emergence of Terry Rozier of late. (Personally, I’d have stuck with Devonte’ Graham as my guy, but … ) Rozier led the Hornets with 19 points and nine rebounds. Graham had 16 points and eight assists, Malik Monk came off the bench to score 13, Bismack Biyombo had 11, and Cody Zeller wrapped the Hornets’ scoring with 10 points.

Charlotte
PTS: Terry Rozier – 19
REB: Terry Rozier – 9
AST: Devonte’ Graham – 8
Miami
PTS: Jimmy Butler – 21, Bam Adebayo – 21
REB: Kelly Olynyk – 16
AST: Jimmy Butler – 7

NEXT UP
Pistons at Hornets – Wednesday
Heat at Rockets – Wednesday

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Raptors Prove They Still Have Championship Blood in Their Veins

Philadelphia 76ers (11-6)96
Toronto Raptors (12-4)101

Toronto, Ontario – Hey, Kawhi Leonard may be gone to L.A., but he instilled something in these Toronto Raptors that everyone should get a chance to experience in their lifetime: How to be a champion. It’s like a drug – once you get a little taste, it’s hard to get it out of your system. The Raptors weren’t ready to surrender that feeling to the Philadelphia 76ers just yet, despite the fact that everyone outside Toronto is counting them out when it comes to a repeat.

But to hold Joel Embiid scoreless is a rite of passage in its own category and the Toronto Raptors did just that last night. It was up to #VFL Josh Richardson to lead the Sixers. J-Rich had 25 points and six rebounds, while #VFL Tobias Harris volunteered 18 points and five boards. Mike Scott had 12, Al Horford finished with a very pedestrian 11 and 10, and Ben Simmons had 10 points, nine rebounds, and 14 assists. Embiid, who had said he was going silent mode on social media, also did so on the scoring end, shooting 0 for 11 from the field and 0 for three from the free throw line. He did have 13 rebounds.

Toronto was led by Pascal Siakam’s 25 points, tying Richardson for game high honors. Siakam also had seven rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocked shots. Fred VanVleet contributed 24 points and eight assists, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson finished with 16 and 10, O.G. Anunoby had a dozen, Terence Davis had 11, and it was 10 and five for Norman Powell. You might remember that these 12-4 Raptors are without six players: Kyle Lowry (left thumb), Serge Ibaka (right ankle) – though Ibaka may be back within a week, Dewan Hernandez (right thumb), Patrick McCaw (left knee), Matt Thomas (fractured left finger) and Stanley Johnson (left groin).

Philadelphia
PTS: #VFL Josh Richardson – 25
REB: Joel Embiid – 13
AST: Ben Simmons – 14
Toronto
PTS: Pascal Siakam – 25
REB: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – 10
AST: Marc Gasol – 9

NEXT UP
Kings at Sixers – Wednesday
Knicks at Raptors – Wednesday

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Anthony Gets His Rhythm Back, Leads Portland to Win

Portland Trailblazers (6-12)117
Chicago Bulls (6-12)94

Chicago, Illinois – You may remember that at one point in his career, Carmelo Anthony wanted to play in Chicago; last night he got his chance, albeit with a different team than the Bulls and with different sidekicks than the Banana Boat Crew. After struggling through his first three games with Portland, Anthony broke out a bottle of the vintage ‘Melo (circa 2004) last night with a game high 25 points on 50 percent shooting, much better than the 30-40 percent he’d been putting up since last week. C.J. McCollum followed suit with 21 of his own, Rodney Hood added 16 and six, Damian Lillard and Hassan Whiteside each dropped a 13 piece, and Skal Labissiere added 12 points and eight rebounds. Lillard had a dozen assists and Whiteside a dozen rebounds. Anthony has moved ahead of Alex English with 25,615 career points, 18th on the NBA’s all time scoring list.

Magic Johnson’s ‘Most Improved,’ Zach LaVine was back to a modest 18 points and five assists after scoring 49 in his last outing. Wendell Carter, Jr. finished with 12 and nine, Tomas Satoransky and Denzel Valentine each had 11, and it was 10 points for the continually underperforming Lauri Markkanen. The Bulls trailed by as many as 28 points in this game as Portland blazed out to a 90-66 run in the final three quarters.

Portland
PTS: Carmelo Anthony – 25
REB: Hassan Whiteside – 12
AST: Damian Lillard – 12
Chicago
PTS: Zach LaVine – 18
REB: Wendell Carter, Jr. – 9
AST: Zach LaVine – 5, Tomas Satoransky – 5

NEXT UP
Thunder at Blazers – Wednesday
Bulls at Warriors – Wednesday

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Too Much Greek, Even More Freak

Utah Jazz (11-6)118
Milwaukee Bucks (14-3)122

Milwaukee, Wisconsin – The reigning NBA MVP had an MVP night in front of his home fans at FiServ last night, scoring a season high 50 points against the visiting Utah Jazz, interrupting their rhythm and flow as one of the top teams in the Western Conference. Giannis Antetokuonmpo added 14 rebounds, six assists and two steals to his showstopping performance to keep the Jazz at bay. Wesley Matthews added 19 points, Eric Bledsoe had 13, and Pat Connaughton finished with 11 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots.

Utah finished with six in double digits overall, led by Bojan Bogdanovic’s 24 points on 60 percent shooting. Donovan Mitchell spun up 20, Joe Ingles had 15 and five, Georges Niang added 13, Jeff Green had 11 off the bench, and Emmanuel Mudiay rounded out the night with 12 points, five rebounds and five assists, shooting an amazing 83.3 percent in reserve. The Jazz closed within 120-118 with 43 seconds remaining, but would get no closer. The loss drops the Jazz to sixth in the tight Western Conference.

Utah
PTS: Bojan Bogdanovic – 24
REB: Tony Bradley – 11
AST: Mike Conley – 9
Milwaukee
PTS: Giannis Antetokuonmpo – 50
REB: Giannis Antetokuonmpo – 14
AST: Giannis Antetokuonmpo – 6

NEXT UP
Jazz at Pacers – Wednesday
Hawks at Bucks – Wednesday

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Lakers Take Advantage of Hapless Spurs

Los Angeles Lakers (15-2)114
San Antonio Spurs (6-12)104

San Antonio, Texas – The only reason this game wasn’t the ninth loss in a row for the San Antonio Spurs can be summed up in three words: New. York. Knicks. Had it not been for the Knicks on San Antonio’s schedule, we’d be looking at a skid of nine games, possibly 10 as the Spurs take on the Minnesota Timberwolves tomorrow night. 

Last night was the second time they’ve run into the Lakers this season. Last time it was in this same building, by fewer points (seven), and just a different Los Angeles Lakers’ star drubbing them further into the win-loss column. LeBron James took the reins last night, scoring 33 points and 14 assists. Anthony Davis, who scored 25 points on the Spurs back on November 3rd, finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks, doing a number on the Spurs once again. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope shot 71.4 percent en route to his 14, Rajon Rondo added 13, Troy Daniels had 11 and Kyle Kuzma kicked in 10.

San Antonio struggled to keep pace, especially in the second half, where they were outscored, 60-48. LaMarcus Aldridge put up 30 points along with five rebounds, L.A. native DeMar DeRozan had 24 points, Bryn Forbes added 13, and Derrick White went for 11 points. But these are two entirely different basketball teams, and it was like watching the young guns at the YMCA taking on the old guys from church ball. You knew the Lakers were going to win this one.

Los Angeles
PTS: LeBron James – 33
REB: Anthony Davis – 12
AST: LeBron James – 14
San Antonio
PTS: LaMarcus Aldridge – 30
REB: Jakob Poeltl – 8, Dejounte Murray – 8
AST: DeMar DeRozan – 5, Bryn Forbes – 5

NEXT UP
Lakers at Pelicans – Wednesday
Timberwolves at Spurs – Wednesday

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Thunder Just a Little Bit Better

Oklahoma City Thunder (6-10)100
Golden State Warriors (3-15)97

San Francisco, California – The six win, 10 loss Oklahoma City Thunder are still trying to figure things out in this rebuilding year. Sixteen games in, despite their record, I think it’s going pretty well. At least we can say, better than expected. For one thing, it has groomed Dennis Schroder, who came in to lead the team in scoring off the bench with 22 points. Chris Paul added 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Danilo Gallinari finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 12 and five, while Steven Adams put in his usual 10 and 10. It was Oklahoma City’s first road win this season.

Golden State, playing in lame duck, lost season mode, was led by Glenn Robinson III, who had a game high 25 points, two rebounds, five assists, two steals and a blocked shot. The Ky’s the limit as Ky Bowman put up a season high 24 points and also had three rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Eric Paschall finished with 13 and 10, while Jordan Poole had 11, six and four. Golden State led most of the way before the Thunder scored the final 13 points of the game. The Warriors were without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, D’Angelo Russell, and Kevon Looney – basically a starting lineup in a parallel universe of not so long ago.

Oklahoma City
PTS: Dennis Schroder – 22
REB: Steven Adams – 10
AST: Danilo Gallinari – 6
Golden State
PTS: Glenn Robinson III – 25
REB: Eric Paschall – 10
AST: Marquese Chriss – 7

NEXT UP
Thunder at Blazers – Wednesday
Bulls at Warriors – Wednesday

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TONIGHT’S LINEUP / MY PICK ‘EMS
Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas Mavericks – 8:30 p.m. EST – NBATV
Washington Wizards at Denver Nuggets – 9 p.m. EST – Altitude

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The Rundown w/T-Money is a daily column “all things NBA” that will run through the entirety of the season, and the playoffs through the NBA Finals
Tracy Graven is a Senior Analyst for BackSportsPage.com.
He has written the NBA for the last two decades and is also tackling the NFL, NCAA, and 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.
He currently lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with his wife and five children.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia

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