Pacers are Indy’s .500 after Win over Bulls
|Chicago Bulls (2-5)||95|
|Indiana Pacers (3-3)||108|
The Indiana Pacers raced out to a 55-42 first half performance over the visiting Chicago Bulls and never looked back last night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
- Zach LaVine: 21 points – six rebounds – two assists
- Wendell Carter, Jr.: 20 points – 10 rebounds – two assists
- Thaddeus Young: 12 points – three rebounds – one assist
- T.J. Warren: 26 points – five rebounds – three assists
- Malcolm Brogdon: 22 points – three rebounds – seven assists
- T.J. Leaf: 13 points – 15 rebounds – one assist
The Pacers, who had already been missing Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner, were also without Domantas Sabonis, missing with a calf strain. Malcolm Brogdon has already proven himself an asset through the Pacers’ first five games and last night was no exception.
But The T.J.s (Leaf and Warren) stepped up big to get the Pacers to the .500 mark in Indy.
The Bulls have played inconsistently at best all season long and lucked into two wins, but have been absolutely disappointing on the road. One of the lone bright spots on the roster is Wendell Carter, Jr., who is playing better than his career averages at 14.6 points per game and 9.4 rebounds a night.
He had 20 and 10 last night in support of Zach LaVine.
Lauri Markkanen (11 and six) and Otto Porter, Jr. (4-3-3) are underperforming at best as the Bulls languish through another 82 game season, that this year looks like a tank job.
- The Pacers win was enhanced by the fact that they had a team-high 28 assists.
- LaVine has now scored 2,000 (2,020) points in 93 games as a Chicago Bull; Michael Jordan did it in 73 games and Derrick Rose reached the mark in 86 games.
- During one part of the game, the Pacers played nothing but T.J.s and Holidays, with Leaf, Warren, and T.J. McConnell playing alongside Justin Holiday and Aaron Holiday.
Lakers @ Bulls – Tuesday
Pacers @ Hornets – Tuesday
Heat Blast Rockets with Nearly 50 in First Quarter
|Houston Rockets (3-3)||100|
|Miami Heat (5-1)||129|
I thought this was going to be an exciting game to watch. But watching the Miami Heat wallop the visiting Rockets with a 46 point first quarter was akin to watching the Mike Tyson – Evander Holyfield event back in the late 90s.
The Heat, in essence, bit Houston’s ear off last night.
- James Harden: 29 points – four rebounds – three assists
- Chris Clemons: 16 points – three rebounds – one assist
- Ben McLemore: 14 points – 0 rebounds – one assist
- Duncan Robinson: 23 points – six rebounds – one assist
- Meyers Leonard: 21 points – four rebounds – one assist
- Jimmy Butler: 18 points – seven rebounds – nine assists
James Harden may have improved his shot selection and percentage, and gone 14 of 14 from the free throw line, but he was only 33.3 percent from downtown and got little help from the rest of the Rockets, as they backslid to .500 on the season.
Miami, while having the services of Jimmy Butler to fall back on, have instead opted to allow their rookies and young guys to showcase their talents in the last few games – all wins, though two were against the Atlanta Hawks.
Tyler Herro (12-7-7 last night) and Kendrick Nunn (5-1-5 last night) put on a rookie showcase in each of their wins against Atlanta last week, but it was virtual walk-on Duncan Robinson who led the Heat last night. Robinson signed a two-way deal with the Heat in July of 2018, signed a regular contract in April of this year, and led the team to it’s fifth victory in six games last night against arguably one of the higher-scoring teams in the NBA.
The Rockets need more than 10-4-6 from Russell Westbroook and another nothing game (4-1-0) from recent millionaire signee Eric Gordon. It was two-way player Chris Clemons who was second to Harden on the night.
That’s not enough. In fact, if I’d been Mike D’Antoni last night, I’d have rested all my starters, including Harden, after spotting the Heat almost 50 points in 12 minutes.
- Miami had a 48-point quarter at New York in 1989 and a 47-point quarter at Boston in 1990. The 46-point quarter was a Heat home record.
- The only bigger leads after one quarter was the Los Angeles Lakers up on the Sacramento Kings 40-4 after one quarter in February 1987, and the Baltimore Bullets leading the Kansas City-Omaha Kings 45-12 after one quarter in December 1972.
- Houston got no closer than 25 points the rest of the game.
- Houston has now lost 13 of 17 games in Miami; they are on the short end of the 33-32 mark in the series.
Rockets @ Grizzlies – Tonight
Heat @ Nuggets – Tuesday
Kings of the Road
|New York Knicks||92|
The Sacramento Kings notched their second win of the season last night in the unlikeliest of places – on the road, and in Madison Square Garden.
- De’Aaron Fox: 24 points – two rebounds – six assists
- Buddy Hield: 22 points – four rebounds – one assist
- Harrison Barnes: 19 points – four rebounds – one assist
- Marcus Morris: 28 points – six rebounds – two assists
- R.J. Barrett: 22 points – five rebounds – three assists
- Allonzo Trier: 11 points – four rebounds – four assists
Sacramento came into MSG with an energy unmatched by the New York Knicks, as they ran out to a 61-41 first half and never looked back in the second win of the season for head coach Luke Walton.
The starting five for the Kings ran up 89 of the team’s 113 points, 28 of their 49 rebounds, and 17 of 25 assists. Richaun Holmes went for 14 and 10, while Nemanja Bjelica added 10, eight and six on 80 percent shooting.
One has to wonder if Marcus Morris is regretting his decision to leave his contract in San Antonio before the ink even dried. The Spurs are 4-2, and could likely be undefeated still had they had the kind of numbers that Morris has in New York. The Knicks have one win with R.J. Barrett leading the way in statistics, with Morris close behind at 17.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game.
- Head coach David Fizdale started Bobby Portis ahead of Mitchell Robinson. Oops – Portis scored two, Robinson had 10.
- Julius Randle shot a meager four-of-13 for only eight points and seven rebounds.
- Sacramento opened the second quarter on an 11-0 run to put more distance between itself and New York.
Kings @ Raptors – Wednesday
Knicks @ Pistons – Wednesday
Lakers Give Spurs Their Second Loss
|Los Angeles Lakers (5-1)||103|
|San Antonio Spurs (4-2)||96|
A 30-18 second quarter put just enough distance between the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs for L.A. to hand the legendary franchised its second loss of the young season.
- Anthony Davis: 25 points – 11 rebounds – two assists
- LeBron James: 21 points – 11 rebounds – 13 assists
- Avery Bradley: 16 points – three rebounds – one assist
- Dejounte Murray: 18 points – 11 rebounds – four assists
- Rudy Gay: 16 points – 10 rebounds – three assists
- DeMar DeRozan: 14 points – seven rebounds – five assists
Lost in the shadows of LeBron James and Anthony Davis has been the play of several veterans who’ve come on board to help the duo bring the Lakers back to prevalence, even the NBA Finals.
Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Dwight Howard formed a core last night that ably supported James and Davis, combining for 44 points to nearly match the 46 that James and Davis put up.
Howard went seven-of-seven and also had 13 rebounds, rounding out the perception that someone, somehow has brought back the Orlando Magic version of Dwight Howard – at least when it comes to heart and hustle.
San Antonio was lethargic at best, with no Spur breaking the 20 point barrier, though Dejounte Murray seems to be rounding back into shape.
- Howard missed all of his season with the Washington Wizards last year while rehabilitating a knee injury.
- The Spurs finished six-of-25 from downtown.
- It’s the first time that James has won a game at the AT&T Center since 2015.
Lakers @ Bulls – Tuesday
Spurs @ Hawks – Tuesday
Doncic’s Triple Double, Dallas’ Twin Towers Net Win in Cleveland
|Dallas Mavericks (4-2)||131|
|Cleveland Cavaliers (2-4)||111|
With last night’s impressive performance in Cleveland, Luka Doncic has taken the season lead in triple doubles with three under his waistband. LeBron James and Russell Westbrook have two apiece, and Nikola Jokic, Draymond Green and Kyrie Irving each have one.
- Luka Doncic: 29 points – 14 rebounds – 15 assists
- Kristaps Porzingis: 18 points – nine rebounds – 0 assists
- Jalen Brunson: 14 points – two rebounds – six assists
- Kevin Love: 29 points – eight rebounds – two assists
- Jordan Clarkson: 17 points – one rebound – one assist
- Tristan Thompson: 11 points – 12 rebounds – four assists
The consistent improvement by last year’s Rookie of the Year have the Dallas Mavericks sitting in the fourth position in the Western Conference, a game behind the Los Angeles Lakers.
Doncic could possibly be a ROY who goes to the NBA’s Most Improved, though he might be hard-pressed to beat Indiana’s Malcolm Brogdon. His 26.7 points per game, 10.36 rebounds and 9.5 assists are head and shoulders above his career averages and having Kristaps Porzingis in the fold seems to have taken the pressure off the young forward.
Seven Mavericks scored in double digits last night, while a nice game from Kevin Love is lost in the Cavaliers’ fourth defeat of the season.
Expect the Cavs to try and get something for Kevin Love before All Star if things in Cleveland don’t improve. Personally, I’d put Love and Tristan Thompson on the block now.
Love would be a great fit in Portland, where he played his high school basketball.
- The Mavericks went ‘Twin Towers’ for a time in the game, pairing the 7’3” Porzingis with 7’4” Boban Marjanovic; they teamed up for 30 points and 17 rebounds.
- The Cavs were without Matthew Dellavedova and Brandon Knight.
- Love’s 29 was a season high.
Celtics @ Cavaliers – Tuesday
Magic @ Mavericks – Wedenesday
40 in the Fourth Power Clips Past Jazz
|Utah Jazz (4-3)||94|
|Los Angeles Clippers (5-2)||105|
When you’re trying to win a game on the road in a hostile environment, allowing your opponent to drop 40 on you when everyone’s tired isn’t the way to go if you’re the Utah Jazz and trying to make your move in the Western Conference standings.
Donovan Mitchell: 36 points – four rebounds – six assists
Bojan Bogdanovic: 19 points – three rebounds – four assists
Rudy Gobert: 12 points – 14 rebounds – 0 assists
Kawhi Leonard: 30 points – six rebounds – three assists
Montrezl Harrell: 19 points – eight rebounds – two assists
Lou Williams: 17 points – five rebounds – three assists
With a glut of teams at the 4-2 mark through six games, Utah had its chance to move up to 5-2 and erase their first-week disappointment, but instead reached back to that disappointment with the same kind of game – where Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic doing the majority of your scoring while getting little help otherwise.
Two of Utah’s starters – Royce O’Neale and Mike Conley – combined for eight points (all Conley), while Mitchell shouldered the load once again.
Meanwhile, they Jazz allowed Kawhi Leonard to score 18 of his 30 points in a 40-25 fourth quarter performance for the Clippers. Without that 15 points edge, this would have been a ball game.
The Clippers’ bench showed out again, after two of L.A.’s starters combined for worse than O’Neale and Conley; they combined for four points (Patrick Beverley and Patrick Patterson).
The Clippers are still a game behind the Lakers, which seems to be the story of their franchise.
Prior to tonight’s game, it was announced that Ed Davis will be out for four weeks with a fractured fibula suffered Friday night in the loss to Sacramento.
Both teams shot under 35 percent in the first half, playing to a 39 percent tie for the game, though the Clippers took 92 shots to Utah’s 78.
LAC outrebounded the Utah 54-37 in the game and forced 14 turnovers.
Sixers @ Jazz – Wednesday
Bucks @ Clippers – Wednesday
Detroit Pistons @ Washington Wizards – 7 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Detroit
New Orleans Pelicans @ Brooklyn Nets – 7:30 p.m. EST – NBATV
Houston Rockets @ Memphis Grizzlies – 8 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Southeast
*** GAME OF THE NIGHT ***
Milwaukee Bucks @ Minnesota Timberwolves – 8 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Net
Philadelphia 76ers @ Phoenix Suns – 9 p.m. EST – NBC Sports Philadelphia
Portland Trailblazers @ Golden State Warriors – 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