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Rundown 02.25.20 – Beal Hits 55 in Loss, Cavs Squash the Heat, D’Angelo Russell is 0-4 in Minnesota

He may have lost the dunk contest, but Aaron Gordon rocked the rim and the Nets last night, Khris Middleton and Bradley Beal combine for 95 in an instant classic, and Ricky Rubio picked the pockets of the Utah Jazz in a Phoenix win.

Eight games dotted the NBA landscape, with the Milwaukee Bucks dodging a Bullet, I mean, a Wizard (sorry, old school Washington Bullets pun there) as Bradley Beal put up 55 in an overtime loss.

Speaking of Washington Bullets, the son of former Bullets coach Bernie Bickerstaff is now 2-1 after taking the Miami Heat to overtime and winning last night in Cleveland. Congrats, J-Beezy!

Six other games as well …


Miami Heat  119
Cleveland Cavaliers  125 (OT)

J.B. Bickerstaff is making the most out of the weapons he does have on this roster, downing the Miami Heat for his second win in three games last night in Cleveland. Not only did he get 30 points and eight rebounds out of Kevin Porter, Jr., but he got six other Cavaliers involved and in double digit scoring. Other than Porter, Kevin Love (17 and 14), and Larry Nance, Jr. (16 and eight), he got 15 and nine from Tristan Thompson, 14-5-7 from Darius Garland, and 13 apiece from both Andre Drummond and Collin Sexton. Miami’s Bam Adebayo had a spectacular night and Goran Dragic matched Adebayo’s 22 points, but the Cavaliers weren’t about to be denied last night.

HEAT (36-21) 4th in the EastCAVALIERS (16-41) 15th in the East
Bam Adebayo
22 points – 13 rebounds – nine assists – three steals – four blocks
Kevin Porter, Jr.
30 points – eight rebounds – three assists – three steals
Goran Dragic
22 points – four rebounds – six assists
Kevin Love
17 points – 14 rebounds – four assists – two blocks
Jae Crowder
16 points – nine rebounds – three assists
Larry Nance, Jr.
16 points – eight rebounds – two assists – two steals

Philadelphia at Cleveland – Wednesday
Minnesota at Miami – Wednesday


Atlanta Hawks  112
Philadelphia 76ers  129

The Philadelphia 76ers are playing Jekyll and Hyde basketball again, coming out and throttling the Atlanta Hawks just two days after being beaten by 21 at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks. Of course, that can happen when you play the best team in the NBA and then switch up to a team that hasn’t reached 20 wins yet. While it may seem flattering that Joel Embiid has to score 49 points for the Sixers to beat the Hawks, consider that Ben Simmons is out indefinitely after re-aggravating a back injury, so the extra workload will be on the shoulders of Embiid, #VFL Tobias Harris, #VFL Josh Richardson, and Furkan Korkmaz. Here’s where they will miss J.J. Redick and his ability to create space and knock down shots. Atlanta was carried by Trae Young, De’Andre Hunter and John Collins.

HAWKS (17-42) 14th in the EastSIXERS (36-22) 5th in the East
Trae Young
28 points – seven rebounds – 10 assists
Joel Embiid
49 points – 14 rebounds – three assists – three steals – one block
De’Andre Hunter
22 points – seven rebounds – two assists
#VFL Tobias Harris
25 points – six rebounds – four assists – one steal – one block
John Collins
21 points – nine rebounds – one assist – two steals
Furkan Korkmaz
15 points – six rebounds – two assists – one steal

Orlando at Atlanta – Wednesday
Philadelphia at Cleveland – Wednesday


Milwaukee Bucks  137
Washington Wizards  134 (OT)

Try as they might, the Washington Wizards just couldn’t pull the upset over the Milwaukee Bucks last night, despite a career high 55 points from Bradley Beal. Shabazz Napier had his best game as a Washington Wizard as well, but the hot shooting from the Bucks (56 percent) was too much for the host Wizards in the end. Khris Middleton scored 40, including Milwaukee’s final nine points, to seal the win with Giannis Antetokuonmpo watching from the bench after fouling out with a minute and a half left in regulation. Beal’s career night came on the heels of his career high of 53 in a loss to the Chicago Bulls. The loss also keeps the Wizards 4.5 games back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference – the Bucks are the fastest team in NBA history to have clinched a playoff spot, which they did with the win over Philadelphia on Saturday night.

BUCKS (49-8) 1st in the East, NBAWIZARDS (20-36) 9th in the East
Khris Middleton
40 points – five rebounds – five assists – three steals
Bradley Beal
55 points – two rebounds – three assists
Eric Bledsoe
23 points – seven rebounds – 10 assists
Shabazz Napier
27 points – four rebounds – seven assists – two steals
Giannis Antetokuonmpo
22 points – 14 rebounds – two assists – one block (fouled out)
Ish Smith
13 points – two rebounds – seven assists – two steals

Milwaukee at Toronto – Tonight
Brooklyn at Washington – Wednesday


Orlando Magic  115
Brooklyn Nets  113

After the dust settled at the Barclays Center last night, the Orlando Magic were still in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, and the Brooklyn Nets were still in seventh – but Orlando is now within striking distance, only 1.5 games back of the Nets. The Magic came back from a 19 point hole to take the win, on the strong shoulders of the true Slam Dunk champion Aaron Gordon, who dropped a game high 27 points and 10 rebounds, but his two blocks had the most effect, as he swatted away a potential game winner in the waning moments of the game. Spencer Dinwiddie led the Nets with 24 points.

MAGIC (25-32) 8th in the EastNETS (26-30) 7th in the East
Aaron Gordon
27 points – 10 rebounds – four assists – one steal – two blocks
Spencer Dinwiddie
24 points – one rebound – eight assists
Terrence Ross
21 points – eight rebounds – one assist – one steal
Caris LeVert
19 points – five rebounds – eight assists – one steal
Evan Fournier
21 points – one rebound – four assists
Garrett Temple
18 points – two rebounds – five assists – one steal

Brooklyn at Washington – Wednesday
Orlando at Atlanta – Wednesday


New York Knicks  112
Houston Rockets  123

In the Houston Rockets’ last game, James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined for 72 points after shooting a GQ Magazine photoshoot together. Last night, they combined for 37 as Harden did his part in scoring just a shade over half of 72 and Westbrook took a game off for load management, but the team came together and hit for 72 in the first half to put the game out of reach for the New York Knicks in Houston. While Dennis Smith, Jr. had arguably his best game this season, one cannot ignore facts: In the 273 minutes that Frank Ntilikina and Damyean Dotson have shared the court this year, New York has outscored their opponents by 32 points. With Smith and Kevin Knox on the floor, the Knicks have been outscored by 143 points. Smith and Knox were once reportedly the future of the franchise.

KNICKS (17-40) 13th in the EastROCKETS (37-20) 4th in the West
R.J. Barrett
21 points – six rebounds – three assists – one steal
James Harden
37 points – six rebounds – nine assists – two steals
Julius Randle
17 points – 12 rebounds – three assists – one steal
Ben McLemore
17 points – three rebounds
Dennis Smith, Jr.
15 points – seven rebounds – five assists – seven steals
Eric Gordon
16 points – two assists – two steals

New York at Charlotte – Wednesday
Memphis at Houston – Wednesday


Minnesota Timberwolves  123
Dallas Mavericks  139

Yes, D’Angelo Russell is 0-4 as a Minnesota Timberwolf. So is Malik Beasley. The same for James Johnson. All three led the Timberwolves in scoring last night, but are still winless with their new team as the Dallas Mavericks honored Dirk Nowitzki with a 41 points first quarter, scoring 81 in the first half to run away from the Wolves and on to a 16 point victory. And that was with Luka Doncic scoring a pedestrian 20 points in the game. He also had nine rebounds and seven assists. Russell led all scorers, and combined for 50 with Beasley, but Dallas had seven players in double digits, led by Tim Hardaway, Jr.’s 23 on the night.

TIMBERWOLVES (16-40) 14th in the WestMAVERICKS (35-23) 7th in the West
D’Angelo Russell
29 points – three rebounds – five assists – one assist
Tim Hardaway, Jr.
23 points – four rebounds – one assist – one steal
Malik Beasley
21 points – four rebounds – one assist
Luka Doncic
20 points – nine rebounds – seven assists – two steals – one block
James Johnson
19 points – five rebounds – one assist
Seth Curry
19 points – two rebounds – two assists

Minnesota at Miami – Wednesday
Dallas at San Antonio – Wednesday


Phoenix Suns  131
Utah Jazz  111

Utah ran out to a 12 point lead after one, but the Phoenix Suns flipped the scoreboard in the second quarter to even things up after the first half at 62-62. They continued their momentum in the second half while the Jazz went mute, and the Suns danced out of Salt Lake City with a 20 point win that hurt the Jazz more than it helped the Suns. Donovan Mitchell led all scorers, but it was Ricky Rubio who stole the game from the Jazz – literally. Rubio picked the pockets of his former teammates seven times last night, helping Phoenix to the win, creating opportunities with 11 assists as well. Devin Booker led the Suns with 24 points scoring.

SUNS (24-34) 12th in the WestJAZZ (36-21) 5th in the West
Devin Booker
24 points – four rebounds – 10 assists
Donovan Mitchell
38 points – four rebounds – four assists – one steal
Ricky Rubio
22 points – six rebounds – 11 assists – seven steals
Bojan Bogdanovic
16 points – three rebounds – two assists – two steals
Kelly Oubre, Jr.
18 points – three rebounds – two assists – one steal – one block
Jordan Clarkson
14 points – two rebounds – two steals

Los Angeles at Phoenix – Wednesday
Boston at Utah – Wednesday


Memphis Grizzlies  97
Los Angeles Clippers  124

Like their counterparts in the Eastern Conference, the Memphis Grizzlies are now a sub-.500 playoff team after losing back to back games in L.A. to the Clippers last night and the Lakers two nights ago. The loss to the Clippers looked much worse than their valiant effort against the Lakers. Despite two days of rest, the Grizzlies looked listless as they lumbered through a 40-14 first quarter, which set the tone for the night and was all the cushion the Clippers needed to ensure the 27 point win. Former Grizzly JaMychael Green had 13 and nine off the bench against his former club, but it was Kawhi Leonard shooting 58.8 percent on the Grizzlies for his game high 25 points in as many minutes. 

GRIZZLIES (28-29) 8th in the WestCLIPPERS (38-13) 3rd in the West
Ja Morant
16 points – one assist
Kawhi Leonard
25 points – eight rebounds – three assists – two steals
Gorgui Dieng
14 points – 10 rebounds – one steal – four blocks
Montrezl Harrell
22 points – two rebounds – three assists – two blocks
Josh Jackson
14 points – five rebounds – one assist – two blocks
JaMychal Green
13 points – nine rebounds – one assist – one steal – one block

Memphis at Houston – Wednesday
Los Angeles at Phoenix – Wednesday


(All Times Eastern)

7 p.m.
Charlotte Hornets
Indiana Pacers
Fox Sports Indiana
7:30 p.m.
Milwaukee Bucks
Toronto Raptors
8 p.m.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Chicago Bulls
NBC Sports Chicago
9 p.m.
Detroit Pistons
Denver Nuggets
10 p.m.
New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Lakers
Fox Sports New Orleans
10 p.m.
Boston Celtics
Portland Trailblazers
NBC Sports Boston
10:30 p.m.
Sacramento Kings
Golden State Warriors
NBC Sports California


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
  • Denver
  • Oklahoma City
  • Atlanta 

A corporate trainer by day, he currently resides in SEC Country near Knoxville, Tennessee.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia

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