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The Rundown 120919: If the Playoffs Began Today, Ant Drops 50, Raptors Drop Off

The Lakers are devouring teams with Anthony Davis hitting 50, Nemanja Bjelica and Trae Young each get 30 to help their teams win, and Herro is the hero in Miami.

If the playoffs started today

In the Eastern Conference, you’d have:

  • Orlando (8) and Milwaukee (1) – Bucks win that series 4-1
  • Brooklyn (7) and Boston (2) – Celtics win that series 4-2
  • Indiana (6) and Miami (3) – Heat win that series 4-2
  • Toronto (5) and Philadelphia (4) – Sixers win that series 4-2

SECOND ROUND

  • Philadelphia (4) and Milwaukee (1) – Bucks win that series 4-3
  • Miami (3) and Boston (2) – Celtics win that series 4-2
  • EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
    Boston (2) and Milwaukee (1) – Bucks wins that series 4-3

In the Western Conference, you’d have:

  • Phoenix (8) and Los Angeles (1) – Lakers win that series 4-0
  • Oklahoma City (7) and Los Angeles (2) – Clippers win that series 4-1
  • Utah (6) and Dallas (3) – Mavericks win that series 4-2
  • Denver (5) and Houston (4) – Rockets win that series 4-2

SECOND ROUND

  • Houston (4) and Los Angeles (1) – Lakers win that series 4-2
  • Dallas (3) and Los Angeles (2) – Mavericks win that series 4-3

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

  • Dallas (3) and Los Angeles (1) – Lakers win that series 4-3

NBA FINALS

  • Milwaukee (1) and Los Angeles (1) – Lakers win that series 4-2

But under the George Karl model, if the playoffs were to begin today …

  • Phoenix (16) would play Los Angeles (1) – Lakers win that series 4-0
  • Oklahoma City (15) would play Milwaukee (2) – Bucks win that series 4-1
  • Orlando (14) would play Boston (3) – Celtics win that series 4-1
  • Brooklyn (13) would play Miami (4) – Heat win that series 4-2
  • Utah (12) would play Los Angeles (5) – Clippers win that series 4-3
  • Indiana (11) would play Philadelphia (6) – Sixers win that series 4-1
  • Denver (10) would play Dallas (7) – Mavericks win that series 4-2
  • Toronto (9) would play Houston (8) – Rockets win that series 4-2

SECOND ROUND

  • Houston (8) would play Los Angeles (1) – Lakers win that series 4-2
  • Dallas (7) would play Milwaukee (2) – Mavericks win that series 4-3
  • Philadelphia (6) would play Boston (3) – Sixers win that series 4-3
  • Los Angeles (5) would play Miami (4) – Clippers win that series 4-2

SEMI-FINALS

  • Los Angeles (5) would play Los Angeles (1) – Lakers win that series 4-2
  • Philadelphia (6) would play Dallas (7) – Sixers win that series 4-2

NBA FINALS

  • Philadelphia (6) would play Los Angeles (1) – Lakers win that series 4-3

Thoughts on which playoff system works best?

I think that the Top 16 is the only playoff seeding chance the NBA needs to make.

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Denver Nuggets  102
Brooklyn Nets  105

The Denver Nuggets have lost their second straight game, notably which has happened because outside of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, no one else has shown up. Critical, because they play Philadelphia next. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets have won three straight and still don’t have Ol’ What’s-His-Name back. Spencer Dinwiddie is coming into his own.

NUGGETS (14-7)NETS (13-10)
Nikola Jokic
24 points – 11 rebounds – six assists
Spencer Dinwiddie
24 points – four rebounds – eight assists
Jamal Murray
21 points – three rebounds – five assists
Jarrett Allen
19 points – 11 rebounds – two assists – one steal
Jerami Grant
15 points – two rebounds – one steal – one block
Garrett Temple
15 points – six rebounds – three assists – one steal

NEXT UP
Nuggets at Sixers – Tuesday
Hornets at Nets – Wednesday

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

Atlanta Hawks  122
Charlotte Hornets  107

It was Vintage Vince off the bench last night helping Trae Young, Jabari Parker and the Atlanta Hawks get back on the winning track in Charlotte. Vince Carter came off the bench for seven of nine shooting while Young had his 10th 30+ point game of the season. Alex Len also had 13 and 10 in the paint for the Hawks.

HAWKS (6-17)HORNETS (9-16)
Trae Young
30 points – six rebounds – nine assists
P.J. Washington
20 points – eight rebounds – three assists – one steal – two blocks
Jabari Parker
19 points – seven rebounds – one assist – one steal – two blocks
Miles Bridges
20 points – six rebounds – one steal
Vince Carter
17 points – one rebounds – two assists – one block
Devonte’ Graham
12 points – six rebounds – eight assists – two steals

NEXT UP
Hornets at Wizards – Tonight
Hawks at Heat – Tuesday

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Chicago Bulls  105
Miami Heat  110 (OT)

If the Miami Heat were holding out for a hero, they got one in rookie shooting sensation Tyler Herro last night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Herro had three three pointers in the 13-8 overtime session, one at the end of regulation, and shot 45.5 percent, both from the field and from downtown to help the Heat to their 10th straight win at home.

BULLS (8-16)HEAT (17-6)
Lauri Markkanen
22 points – seven rebounds – two assists – one steal
Tyler Herro
27 points – six rebounds – three assists – one steal
Zach LaVine
18 points – six rebounds – three assists – two steals
Jimmy Butler
23 points – six rebounds – seven assists – one steal – one block
Kris Dunn
16 points – five rebounds – two assists – three steals
Bam Adebayo
21 points – 13 rebounds – six assists – three steals – one block

NEXT UP
Raptors at Bulls – Tonight
Hawks at Heat – Tuesday

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

Toronto Raptors  104
Philadelphia 76ers  110

Is it me, or were the Toronto Raptors playing hungrier with Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry out and on the injured list? Toronto hasn’t been the same, they’ve seemingly lost their rhythm since those two returned to the lineup and Pascal Siakam seems to have relegated himself to the back seat as Philadelphia moved ahead of the Raptors in the Eastern Conference standings with last night’s win.

RAPTORS (15-7)SIXERS (17-7)
Kyle Lowry
26 points – six rebounds – five assists – two steals
#VFL Tobias Harris
26 points – six rebounds – three assists – one block
O.G. Anunoby
19 points – 10 rebounds – two assists – four steals – one block
Matisse Thybulle
20 points – two rebounds – three assists – three steals – one block
Pascal Siakam
16 points – seven rebounds – two assists – one steal
Ben Simmons
16 points – 11 rebounds – nine assists

NEXT UP
Raptors at Bulls – Tonight
Nuggets at Sixers – Tuesday

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

Los Angeles Clippers  135
Washington Wizards  119

Now that’s a little more like it. The way the Clippers played with both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard clicking like they did last night (only the second game this season like this) is why the Clippers will get their own arena, a separate identity than the Lakers, and finally flourish in their own right. The Clippers’ win moves them right up to the underbelly of their stepbrothers and roommates in L.A. and in the Western Conference.

CLIPPERS (17-7)WIZARDS (7-15)
Kawhi Leonard
34 points – 11 rebounds – five assists – one steal
Davis Bertans
25 points – three rebounds – two assists – one steal
Paul George
27 points – six rebounds – six assists – four steals
Troy Brown
22 points – five rebounds – four assists – two steals
Montrezl Harrell
20 points – five rebounds – one block
Bradley Beal
20 points – two rebounds – five assists

NEXT UP
Clippers at Pacers – Tonight
Wizards at Hornets – Tuesday

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

Sacramento Kings  110
Dallas Mavericks  106

Some poetic justice for former Kings head coach Dave Joerger, who believed in Nemanja Bjelica so much last year that it was one of the things that ultimately cost him his job. Last night, Bjelica scored a career high 30 points on the road in Dallas to beat the Mavericks, while Marvin Bagley III still sits out, this year with a fractured right wrist.

KINGS (9-13)MAVERICKS (16-7)
Nemanja Bjelica
30 points – seven rebounds – four assists – one steal – one block
Tim Hardaway, Jr.
29 points – one rebound – two assists – one steal
Buddy Hield
26 points – four rebounds – five assists
Luka Doncic
27 points – seven rebounds – eight assists
Harrison Barnes
13 points – seven rebounds – four assists – one steal
Dorian Finney-Smith
13 points – eight rebounds – three assists – one steal

NEXT UP
Kings at Rockets – Tonight
Pistons at Mavericks – Thursday (Mexico City)

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

Oklahoma City Thunder  108
Portland Trailblazers  96

The guard corps of the Oklahoma City Thunder collaborated once again, and all of a sudden, your Oklahoma City Thunder are in the top eight of the Western Conference. Who’da thunk it? Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder, that’s who, as the trio combined for 62 points in the win of their first game of this current road show. They get the Jazz in Utah tonight. Carmelo Anthony, after netting his guaranteed money, had another chocolate pudding emoji night, shooting 22.2 percent for nine points.

THUNDER (10-12)TRAILBLAZERS (9-15)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
21 points – nine rebounds – three assists – one steal
Damian Lillard
26 points – three rebounds – seven assists – one steal
Dennis Schroder
21 points – two rebounds – two assists
C.J. McCollum
20 points – five rebounds – two assists – two steals
Chris Paul
20 points – four rebounds – two assists – three steals
Hassan Whiteside
14 points – 10 rebounds – three assists – five blocks

NEXT UP
Thunder at Jazz – Tonight
Knicks at Blazers – Tuesday

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

Minnesota Timberwolves  125
Los Angeles Lakers  142

Oh, you can throw eight players with double digit scoring at the Los Angeles Lakers if you’d like, but when Anthony Davis and LeBron James combine for 82 points, 11 rebounds, 19 assists, five steals and a blocked shot, it’s best to just get out of the way and let the big dog eat. Eat he did, as Davis’ 50 was a career high and the Wolves were nothing more than chew toys for the Lakers. Dwight Howard celebrated his birthday with the win, scoring eight and grabbing six, while Karl-Anthony Towns headed off to Phoenix with his tail between his legs.

TIMBERWOLVES (10-12)LAKERS (21-3)
Karl-Anthony Towns
19 points – four rebounds – eight assists – one steal
Anthony Davis
50 points – seven rebounds – six assists – four steals – one block
Andrew Wiggins
19 points – two rebounds – three assists
LeBron James
32 points – four rebounds – 13 assists – one steal
Josh Okogie
18 points – four rebounds – one assist
Alex Caruso
16 points – four rebounds – four assists – two steals

NEXT UP
Timberwolves at Suns – Tonight
Lakers at Magic – Wednesday

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MONDAY’S LINEUP / MY PICK ‘EMS
Los Angeles Clippers at Indiana Pacers – 7 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Midwest-Indiana
Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics – 7:30 p.m. EST – NBC Sports Boston
Detroit Pistons at New Orleans Pelicans – 8 p.m. EST – NBATV
Toronto Raptors at Chicago Bulls – 8 p.m. EST – NBC Sports Chicago
Sacramento Kings at Houston Rockets – 8 p.m. EST – NBC Sports California
Orlando Magic at Milwaukee Bucks – 8 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Florida
Minnesota Timberwolves at Phoenix Suns – 9 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Arizona
Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz – 9 p.m. EST – AT&T Sports Rocky Mountain
Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors – 10:30 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Southeast

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WESTERN CONFERENCEEASTERN CONFERENCE
Los Angeles Lakers   (21-3) .875Milwaukee Bucks   (20-3) .870
Los Angeles Clippers   (17-7) .708Boston Celtics   (16-5) .762
Dallas Mavericks   (16-7) .696Miami Heat   (17-6) .739
Houston Rockets   (15-7) .682Philadelphia 76ers   (17-7) .708
Denver Nuggets   (14-7) .667Toronto Raptors   (15-7) .682
Utah Jazz   (13-10) .565Indiana Pacers   (15-8) .652
Oklahoma City Thunder   (10-12) .455Brooklyn Nets   (13-10) .565
Phoenix Suns   (10-12) .455Orlando Magic   (11-11) .500

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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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