It was almost a full slate last night in the NBA as all but two of the league’s teams tipped off in 14 cities, and will nearly replicate it again on Friday night. Until then, enjoy the read. Enjoy the food. Enjoy your loved one.
Happy Thanksgiving from me, and the entire staff at BackSportsPage.com
Walker Comes Through with the Resurrection
|Brooklyn Nets (9-9)||110|
|Boston Celtics (13-4)||121|
TD Garden – Five days rest does a man well. The last time we saw Kemba Walker, he was being hauled off on a stretcher. That was two games ago in Denver, Colorado. Last night, his resurrection was in full force as he tore the Brooklyn Nets a new one after one game of rest. Walker led everyone on the court with 39 points, six rebounds and four assists in his return to play, after what looked like a much more serious collision and injury than it turned out to be. Jaylen Brown finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, Jayson Tatum added 16 and nine, Daniel Thies was back in at starting center and finished with 12 and eight, and Marcus Smart had 10 points, four rebounds and five assists.
The Nets, who get another chance at these Celtics in Brooklyn tomorrow night, were led by Garrett Temple’s 22 points on 57.1 percent shooting. Joe Harris was close behind with 21 and five, Jarrett Allen double doubled with 17 and 14, Spencer Dinwiddie chipped in 16 points and dished 11 dimes, while Taurean Prince finished with 12 and David Nwaba closed out the night with 10. The Nets are 5-1 without Kyrie Irving in the lineup and at .500 headed back into the rematch with Boston on Friday night. We’ll see if he shows then …
PTS: Garrett Temple – 22
REB: Jarrett Allen – 14
AST: Spencer Dinwiddie – 11
PTS: Kemba Walker – 39
REB: Jaylen Brown – 10
AST: Jayson Tatum – 5, Marcus Smart – 5
Celtics at Nets – Friday
Magic Use Second and Third to Slide Past Cavs
|Orlando Magic (7-10)||116|
|Cleveland Cavaliers (5-13)||104|
Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse – This was a much needed win for the Orlando Magic, despite the fact that it was against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Magic needed to prove to themselves that they can win games without Nikola Vucevic, who is likely out until Christmas. Evan Fournier led all scorers with 30 points last night, Jonathan Isaac and Terrence Ross dropped in 16 apiece, and it was 15 each for both Markelle Fultz and Mo Bamba in the win. The Magic shot 48 percent on the night and outscored the Cavs 60-46 over the middle two periods to pull away for the win. It was Orlando’s first road win of the season.
Cleveland was led by Collin Sexton, who had 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Only four others scored in double digits, with Darius Garland pouring in 16 points on 62.5 percent shooting, Cedi Osman adding 14 points, Tristan Thompson with 13 and 15, and 11 and 10 from Larry Nance, Jr. Cleveland has lost eight of its last nine outings.
PTS: Evan Fournier – 30
REB: Jonathan Isaac – 7
AST: D.J. Augustin – 10
PTS: Collin Sexton – 20
REB: Tristan Thompson – 15
AST: Collin Sexton – 6
Raptors at Magic – Friday
Bucks at Cavaliers – Friday
Sabonis, Warren Double Up on Jazz
|Utah Jazz (11-7)||102|
|Indiana Pacers (11-6)||121|
Bankers Life Fieldhouse – In Bojan Bogdanovic’s return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, he looked very comfortable. The rims were as kind to him as he remembered them being as an Indiana Pacer. In fact, he scored a game high 30 points … and his team lost. Tough when there’s only support from three others. Donovan Mitchell added 26 points but barely any other stats, Rudy Gobert went 14 and 13 in his return, Joe Ingles had 12 points and four steals, and Mike Conley should have been on a milk carton, as he went missing in action. It was Utah’s second consecutive loss.
Indiana took full advantage, with Domantas Sabonis and T.J. Warren combining for 46 points at 23 apiece. Sabonis also had a dozen rebounds. Malcolm Brogdon added 22 points, four rebounds and eight assists. Jeremy Lamb finished up with 18, eight and six, and it was T.J. McConnell contributing 12 points, two rebounds, four assists and three steals. The Pacers have now won 11 of 14 and four straight games.
PTS: Bojan Bogdanovic – 30
REB: Rudy Gobert – 13
AST: Mike Conley – 5
PTS: Domantas Sabonis – 23, T.J. Warren – 23
REB: Domantas Sabonis – 12
AST: Malcolm Brogdon – 8
Jazz at Grizzlies – Friday
Hawks at Pacers – Saturday
Embiid Lets His Game Do the Talking
|Sacramento Kings (7-10)||91|
|Philadelphia 76ers (12-6)||97|
Wells Fargo Center – A game after dropping a goose egg in the scoring column, Joel Embiid reminded everyone last night who the most versatile big in the league is – Joel Embiid. The 7’ center put up 33 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past the visiting Sacramento Kings last night in the City of Brotherly Love. Matisse Thybulle added a career high 15 points while shooting 100 percent off the bench, #VFL Tobias Harris hit for 14 points and six rebounds, Al Horford finished with 12, seven and five, and Ben Simmons had 10 points and 14 rebounds. The Sixers remain undefeated at home.
Buddy Hield led the Kings with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists. Dewayne Dedmon had 18 points and six rebounds, Bogdan Bogdanovic threw in 17, and Harrison Barnes finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, six assists and a steal in the loss. Sacramento heads home with a 1-4 tail between its legs on this recent road trip. It doesn’t get any brighter as they face the Denver Nuggets next.
PTS: Buddy Hield – 22
REB: Harrison Barnes – 9
AST: Harrison Barnes – 6
PTS: Joel Embiid – 33
REB: Joel Embiid – 16
AST: Al Horford – 5, Ben Simmons – 5
Sixers at Knicks – Friday
Nuggets at Kings – Saturday
Hornets Sting Pistons for Eighth Straight Time
|Detroit Pistons (6-12)||101|
|Charlotte Hornets (7-12)||102|
Spectrum Center – Can they do it again Friday night? The Charlotte Hornets beat the Detroit Pistons for the eighth consecutive game last night in Charlotte, despite Blake Griffin’s best game this season, and behind an unlikely star in Bismack Biyombo. Biyombo led six Hornets in scoring in the win with 19 points and nine rebounds. P.J. Washington added 17 and five, Devonte’ Graham continued his incredible march through the 2019-20 season with 16 points, seven rebounds and a career high 15 assists, Miles Bridges finished with 15, six and three, Nicolas Batum added 13 and five, and Scary Terry Rozier had 12 points, despite shooting a miserable 27.3 percent from the floor. The win ends a five game skid for the Hornets.
Griffin shot nine of 21 to lead all scorers with 26 points. He also had six rebounds and two assists. Luke Kennard added 16 points, Andre Drummond finished with 14 points, 21 rebounds and seven assists, Derrick Rose had 13 points and eight assists, and it was a 10 spot for Langston Galloway. They do it again tomorrow night in the Motor City.
PTS: Blake Griffin – 26
REB: Andre Drummond – 21
AST: Derrick Rose – 8
PTS: Bismack Biyombo – 19
REB: Bismack Biyombo – 9
AST: Devonte’ Graham – 15
Hornets at Pistons – Friday
Raptors Continue to Take Care of Business
|New York Knicks (4-14)||98|
|Toronto Raptors (13-4)||126|
Scotiabank Arena – If you would have told me that the Raptors would lose Kawhi Leonard to free agency and then be up there with Milwaukee and Boston in the Eastern Conference almost a quarter of the way into the season, I’d have said you were on something highly illegal or your name was Tim Donaghy. But here they are, folks, third in the East in defense of their lone NBA Championship, 13-4 after soundly defeating the New York Knicks last night.
Pascal Siakam has become the anointed leader of this team. Last night he dropped 31 points behind five three pointers and eight rebounds to lead seven players in double digits. Fred VanVleet and Terence Davis added 15 points apiece, it was Chris Boucher, O.G. Anunoby, and Malcolm Miller all adding 13 points each, and a cool dozen from Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Anunoby and Boucher also logged 12 rebounds apiece, O.G.’s a career high, while Boucher’s points and rebounds were season highs.
The Knicks were underwhelming at best, their performance should certainly reignite talks of head coach David Fizdale’s dismissal (funny, my iMac kept wanting to autocorrect ‘dismissal’ to ‘dismal,’ proving that my iMac knows just as much about the Knicks this season as the rest of us do). Julius Randle led the Knick with 19 points and eight rebounds. No, ‘the Knick’ is not a typo – only one other player joined Randle in this game. R.J. Barrett had the decency to show up with 16 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
PTS: Julius Randle – 19
REB: Julius Randle – 8, Mitchell Robinson – 8
AST: Frank Ntilikina – 4, R.J. Barrett – 4, Dennis Smith, Jr. – 4
PTS: Pascal Siakam – 31
REB: O.G. Anunoby – 12, Chris Boucher – 12
AST: Terence Davis – 5
Sixers at Knicks – Friday
Raptors at Magic – Friday
Rockets Torch the Heat
|Miami Heat (12-5)||108|
|Houston Rockets (12-6)||117|
Toyota Center – When you’ve got the NBA’s leading scorer and Mr. Hustle playing alongside, it’s tough to beat the Houston Rockets. Especially if Jimmy Butler isn’t playing that night. That was the case last night as James Harden popped for a game high 34 point, six rebounds, five assist, one steal and one blocked shot performance to lead to Houston’s 12 win of the season. Russell Westbroook added 27 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals. Danuel House, Jr. took it to the house with 23 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals, and Gary Clark added 12 and eight off the Rockets’ bench.
Miami responded with six players in double digits, but Butler wasn’t one of them, out with an illness. Tyler Herro did his best to hold it down with 22 points and eight rebounds. Kelly Olynyk finished with 19 and six, and Bam Adebayo continued to be the best replacement for Hassan Whiteside, finishing with 17 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, one steal and a blocked shot. Both Duncan Robinson and Goran Dragic ended the night with 13 points apiece, and it was 10 and seven for Justise Winslow. The Heat got within 10 points with about a minute left in the game, but it wasn’t meant to be last night.
PTS: Tyler Herro – 22
REB: Bam Adebayo – 11
AST: Bam Adebayo – 8
PTS: James Harden – 34
REB: Russell Westbrook – 9
AST: Russell Westbrook – 7
Warriors at Heat – Friday
Hawks at Rockets – Saturday
Hawks Are Roadkill at This Point
|Atlanta Hawks (4-14)||102|
|Milwaukee Bucks (15-3)||111|
Fiserv Forum – I said at the beginning of the season, “if they let this core stay together” and “if they let Lloyd Pierce coach this young group.” The latter doesn’t appear to be happening. Waiting for John Collins to return from a 25 game suspension is not a viable game plan. About the only thing positive going on for the Atlanta Hawks right now is the resurrection of Jabari Parker. The young man scored a game high 33 points and had 14 rebounds against the high octane Milwaukee Bucks, but it wasn’t enough. Even with Trae Young shooting 50 percent (dude takes as many shots as James Harden on some nights). Young added 29, four and seven. DeAndre Hunter and Damion Jones chipped 10 apiece, but that’s all the support Atlanta got last night.
You gotta bring more than that if you want to beat the Milwaukee Bucks at home. Giannis Antetokuonmpo led Milwaukee with 30 and 10, and the return of Khris Middleton and his 16 point contribution on 38.5 percent shooting. That’s right, the Bucks are sitting atop the Eastern Conference with the Bucks’ second leading scorer having been down. He’s back. Ersan Ilyasova had 13 off the bench, Donte DiVincenzo hit for a dozen, Brook Lopez had 11, and Wesley Matthews added 10 points. It was Antetokuonmpo’s 18th double double performance this season. It was Milwaukee’s ninth straight win.
PTS: Jabari Parker – 33
REB: Jabari Parker – 14
AST: Trae Young – 7
PTS: Giannis Antetokuonmpo – 30
REB: Giannis Antetokuonmpo – 10
AST: Eric Bledsoe – 10
Hawks at Pacers – Friday
Bucks at Cavaliers – Friday
Clippers Drop Grizzlies to Stay in West’s Top Three
|Los Angeles Clippers (14-5)||121|
|Memphis Grizzlies (5-12)||119|
FedEx Forum – Last night’s win had nothing to do with the pairing of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. In fact, Leonard took the opportunity to help the NBA redefine load management last night, but we’ve never seen Leonard challenge or defy authority, have we? No, the Los Angeles Clippers were led by Lou Williams and Montrezl Harell off the bench, the second time in the last couple of games we have seen a monster game from Harrell. That makes the Clippers a much scarier team, does it not?
Both Williams and Harrell dropped 24 points on the Grizzlies last night, with Williams dishing out 13 assists and Harrell garnering 10 rebounds in the process. George added 22 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal. Ivica Zubac scored 10, and I’ll always give Patrick Beverley props when he busts his ass for the hustle points, the thing folks don’t normally see or pay attention to: Beverley finished the night with a strong six points, seven rebounds, 11 assists, one steal and two blocked shots for L.A. Harrell and Williams played off each other well, with Harrell tipping in a Williams miss for the game winning field goal.
Memphis came close on an L.A. team for the second game in their last three. They succumbed to the Lakers last Saturday by one point, so head coach Taylor Jenkins has the Grizzlies believing in themselves, just need to polish the edges. Veteran center Jonas Valanciunas led Memphis last night with 30 points (season high) and 16 rebounds (season high). Ja Morant and Jae Crowder added 20 points apiece, Morant with 11 assists. Jaren Jackson, Jr. had 17 and six, and Brandon Clarke came off the bench for 10 and six.
PTS: Lou Williams – 24, Montrezl Harrell – 24
REB: Montrezl Harrell – 10
AST: Lou Williams – 13
PTS: Jonas Valanciunas – 30
REB: Jonas Valanciunas – 16
AST: Ja Morant – 11
Clippers at Spurs – Friday
Jazz at Grizzlies – Friday
Timberwolves Add to Spurs’ Woes
|Minnesota Timberwolves (10-8)||113|
|San Antonio Spurs (6-13)||101|
AT&T Center – The only bright spot I see for the San Antonio Spurs in the immediate future is a spot on their December schedule where they play Sacramento and Cleveland at home in the AT&T Center and a six day layoff in between those two games. Otherwise, it’s a serving of Clippers, Pistons and Rockets beforehand and the Suns, Nets, Rockets again and Clippers again. The last Spurs’ home win was against the Oklahoma City Thunder three weeks ago on November 7th. They could go 4-9 in their next 13 games. Realistically, based on their play through the first 19 games of the season. A legendary team taking a 10-22 mark into 2020. That’s a tough row to hoe for anyone.
Last night didn’t help as the Minnesota Timberwolves came to town and dismantled this Spurs’ team’s confidence even more thanks to Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. Wiggins led all scorers with 26 points and eight rebounds. Towns finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. Keita Bates-Diop came off the bench for 16 points, Josh Okogie finished with 11, eight and three, and it was 10 points apiece for Jarrett Culver and Gorgiu Dieng. The Timberwolves finished with a season high 18 three pointers made.
San Antonio was led by LaMarcus Aldridge’s 22 points and six rebounds. DeMar DeRozan added 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Lonnie Walker IV finished with 11 points and Rudy Gay dusted off 10 points and 11 rebounds. The Timberwolves hadn’t won in San Antonio since April 17, 2013 – an 11 game skid that was stopped last night.
PTS: Andrew Wiggins – 26
REB: Karl-Anthony Towns – 14
AST: Karl-Anthony Towns – 6, Jeff Teague – 6
PTS: LaMarcus Aldridge – 22
REB: Rudy Gay – 11
AST: Derrick White – 6
Mavericks at Suns – Friday
Grizzlies at Timberwolves – Sunday
Beal, Wizards Shut Down the Suns
|Washington Wizards (6-10)||140|
|Phoenix Suns (8-9)||132|
Talking Stick Resort Arena – In Denver, Gary Harris may have shut Bradley Beal down, limiting the guard to 14 points in a Washington loss. In Phoenix, it was all green lights for Beal, who ripped off a game high 35 points on 61 percent shooting from the field, 66.7 percent from downtown, and perfect from the free throw line in nine trips. Thomas Bryant came in strong in support with 23 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and Ish Smith was the ‘ish’ with 21 points, four rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Davis Bertans added 16, Isaiah Thomas finished with 12 points, three rebounds and five assists, while Jordan McRae and Moritz Wagner each popped for 11 points.
Phoenix was ‘held’ to 51 percent shooting; Washington scorched the Suns with 57 percent on the road. The Suns were led by Devin Booker’s 27 points and eight assists. Ricky Rubio finished with 18 points, while it was 17 points apiece for Dario Saric, Cameron Johnson and Cheick Diallo. Saric had 12 reTyler Johnsonbounds and Diallo added 10. Kelly Oubre, Jr. finished the night with 12 and added 11 points in a tough loss for Phoenix. They drop a game below .500 for the first time this season.
PTS: Bradley Beal – 35
REB: Thomas Bryant – 9
AST: Ish Smith – 7
PTS: Devin Booker – 27
REB: Dario Saric – 12
AST: Devin Booker – 8
Wizards at Lakers – Friday
Mavericks at Suns – Friday
Davis Gives Pelicans Fans More Reasons to Hate Him
|Los Angeles Lakers (16-2)||114|
|New Orleans Pelicans (6-12)||110|
Smoothie King Center – If you think Anthony Davis left a sour taste in the mouths of New Orleans Pelicans fans the last time he exited the Smoothie King Center, you can imagine how incensed they were when he came in and dropped a 41 point, nine rebound night on his former team last night. LeBron James might not have been any more popular than Davis, as he’s seen as the villain who recruited Davis away. Also, he shot down the Pelicans with a night that included 29 points, five rebounds, 11 assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Kyle Kuzma jumped in the fray with 16 points on 75 percent shooting.
New Orleans kept pace better than expected, considering three pieces of their team played alongside James in L.A. before being boxed and shipped to The Big Easy. One of those was Brandon Ingram, who went for 23 and 10 against his former team. Josh Hart added nine and five, and Lonzo Ball did not play – likely hurting himself shooting the promo ads for the highly anticipated game. Jrue Holiday, who had a tight relationship with Davis and who was likely the most traumatized by the move, took it out on his buddy with a team leading 29 points, six rebounds, 12 assists and three steals, but threw the game away by inadvertently passing an errant pass to Davis (for old times’ sake?). J.J. Redick added 18 and Kenrich Williams went for 11 and seven on the night. The Pelicans lost due to an embarrassing 35-21 fourth quarter after going into the final period with a 89-79 advantage, plus the fact that 20 turnovers led to 19 L.A. points.
PTS: Anthony Davis – 41
REB: Anthony Davis – 9
AST: LeBron James – 11
PTS: Jrue Holiday – 29
REB: Brandon Ingram – 10
AST: Jrue Holiday – 12
Wizards at Lakers – Friday
Pelicans at Thunder – Friday
Blazers Getting it Together, ‘Melo Too
|Oklahoma City Thunder (6-11)||119|
|Portland Trailblazers (7-12)||136|
Moda Center at the Rose Quarter – We all bitched and moaned as Carmelo Anthony came back to the NBA with the Portland Trailblazers after a year’s absence from any competitive action and he was shooting 33 percent, 40 percent and finally 50 percent in his first few games as a Blazer. Well, folks, be careful what you wish for, because last night Anthony broke out with an 81.8 percent night in his home debut in Portland, the highest in his career out of 1,067 games in which he took at least two shots.
That, and Damian Lillard’s 27 points, five rebounds, and five assists, are what catapulted the Blazers past the Oklahoma City Thunder by 17 points in a convincing home win that had Blazers fans believing once again. Maybe the team, too. C.J. McCollum added 22 points, Hassan Whiteside added 21 and 16, and ‘Melo finished with 19 overall. Anfernee Simons and Rodney Hood rounded things out with 14 points apiece. Portland led 40-17 at one point and never had to look back.
The Thunder were led by Abdel Nader, whose name I haven’t heard in that capacity since the last time the Thunder’s roster was in flux and Russell Westbrook was out with injury. Nader finished the night with 23 points on 77.8 percent shooting. I don’t know, use him a little bit more, OKC? Danilo Gallinari had 14, Chris Paul hit for 16, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander chipped in 11, and it was a 10 piece for Dennis Schroder.
PTS: Abdel Nader – 23
REB: Steven Adams – 6, Deonte Burton – 6
AST: Chris Paul – 5, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 5
PTS: Damian Lillard – 27
REB: Hassan Whiteside – 16
AST: Damian Lillard – 5
Pelicans at Thunder – Friday
Bulls at Blazers – Friday
Bulls Give Warriors Fans Something to Cheer For
|Chicago Bulls (6-13)||90|
|Golden State Warriors (4-15)||104|
Chase Center – It’s nice to go into the Thanksgiving holiday with a win, if you’re fans of the Golden State Warriors, of which 18,064 showed up last night in San Francisco and the new Chase Center. So nice, that people in San Fran may opt for steak instead of turkey, as the Warriors carved up the Bulls. Eric Paschall led the team with a 25 point performance, also garnering seven rebounds and dishing five assists. Alec Burks popped for 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in another strong outing. Omari Spellman finished with 13 and 11, and continuing the ‘11’ streak, it was Marquese Chriss and Glenn Robinson III throwing in 11 points apiece in the team’s fourth win of the season. The injuries continue for Golden State, however, as head coach Steve Kerr cut his hand breaking a clipboard.
Chicago continues to be a dumpster fire, with intermittent glimpses of hope that head coach Jim Boylen can mold some of this talent into something other than a rancid meatloaf recipe. Zach LaVine went from cold back to hot again, scoring a game high 36 points in vain. His only other help came from Tomas Satoransky, who scored 19 points and had seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals. All the other Bulls took the day before Thanksgiving off as an extra holiday. I know all too well how that feels when your teammates do that. The Bulls’ next beating comes Friday in Portland.
PTS: Zach LaVine – 36
REB: Wendell Carter, Jr. – 9
AST: Tomas Satoransky – 7
PTS: Eric Paschall – 25
REB: Alec Burks – 10
AST: Draymond Green – 8
Bulls at Blazers – Friday
Warriors at Heat – Friday
TONIGHT’S LINEUP – No Games Scheduled
FRIDAY NIGHT’S LINEUP / MY PICK ‘EMS
Celtics at Nets – 12 p.m. EST – NBC Sports Boston
Hornets at Pistons – 7 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Detroit
Raptors at Magic – 7 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Florida
Bucks at Cavaliers – 7:30 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Ohio
Sixers at Knicks – 7:30 p.m. EST – NBC Sports Philadelphia
Hawks at Pacers – 8 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Midwest-Indiana
Warriors at Heat – 8 p.m. EST – NBC Sports Bay Area
Pelicans at Thunder – 8 p.m. EST – NBATV
Jazz at Grizzlies – 8 p.m. EST – AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain
Clippers at Spurs – 8:30 p.m. EST – FSN Prime Ticket
Mavericks at Suns – 9 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Arizona
Bulls at Blazers – 10 p.m. EST – NBC Sports Chicago
Wizards at Lakers – 10:30 p.m. EST – NBATV
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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