No power? No problem! Here are my thoughts from yesterday’s NBA action!
Monday was a five-game schedule sandwiched between seven-gamers on Sunday and Tuesday. National TV gave us a tripleheader in which each network got a piece of the action. Mavericks-Jazz aired on NBA TV, ESPN gave us Raptors-Bucks, and Nuggets-Lakers went down on TNT.
Due to an act of God, I was literally rendered powerless to watch the second half of the first game or any of the latter two matchups live. But a blackout can’t keep me down, because I still have my daily recap ready for you!
Today, however, I’m switching things up a bit. I will cover all five games on the docket. This slate was too good for me to skip over any one matchup.
What was your biggest takeaway from yesterday’s action? Let me know in the comments!
Phoenix Suns 128, Oklahoma City Thunder 101
The formatting of my previous Nightly Notebooks coupled with the Suns only making one national TV appearance in the Bubble has kept me from gushing over how amazing they have been during the Restart.
Like, OMG, aren’t they just the best!?!??
I’m not surprised Phoenix is playing well in the Bubble. Things are bound to turn around when you have a star like Devin Booker, a coach like Monty Williams, an actual solid point guard in Ricky Rubio, and several promising youngsters like DeAndre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and Cameron Johnson.
I am surprised, however, that this team has managed to go 6-0. That’s a special type of locked in! It makes me wish this run would never end! But with two tough matchups remaining (Philadelphia and Dallas) and the real possibility that winning out may still not be enough to reach the play-in round, the sustainability of the Suns’ streak is on shaky ground.
Dallas Mavericks 122, Utah Jazz 104
My power went out when the Jazz were up by about 20 points very early in the third quarter, so I wasn’t tripping too much. I figured Utah had the game in hand and my power would come back on in an hour or two. I was terribly wrong on both accounts.
Utah scorched the nets in the first half, going 13-of-24 from beyond the arc. However, the Jazz accomplished that with their normal Restart rotation sans Donovan Mitchell. In the second half, Utah rested their starters and let the bench handle things.
Unfortunately for Utah, the reserves didn’t have the range to maintain the advantage. The Mavericks were already resting Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dorian Finney-Smith, so they continued to utilize their full available rotation in the second half. Dallas’ 34-14 fourth quarter was enough to complete the turnaround and avoid being blown out.
Toronto Raptors 114, Milwaukee Bucks 106
Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka, and Giannis Antetokounmpo all sat out this game, so there is only so much that can be gleaned from this game. However, Chris Boucher had a huge night, leading all scorers with a career-high 25 points along with 11 rebounds.
Boucher is already a two-time NBA champion, and as a Montreal native he gets to represent his home country every time he puts on a Raptors jersey. Yet it still feels like his story is just beginning. Good on him for stepping up and helping to deliver his team a key win.
Meanwhile, the Bucks are now 2-4 in the Bubble. This loss came with only Giannis sitting while the Raptors had three starters out. The Nets loss was a big red flag, but I figured the Heat loss righted the ship. Now, with their second set of consecutive losses in the Restart, I am definitely concerned about the Bucks.
Miami Heat 114, Indiana Pacers 92
This game wasn’t much of a shooting clinic. Both teams combined to go 42.3% from the field, 30.7% from three-point range, and 65.9% from the free throw line. The only difference-maker in this slugfest was a bad third quarter from the Pacers, which allowed the Heat to outscore them 37-23.
T.J. Warren came back to Earth, finishing with just 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Jimmy Butler had the best night of anyone, finishing with 19 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, and four steals. He only shot 5-of-13 from the field, but supplemented that by going 9-of-11 from the free throw line.
On Heat Point Guard Watch, Goran Dragic returned from his two-game absence and got the start, just his second of the season. Kendrick Nunn was out; he left the Bubble on Friday for personal reasons, but has returned and is completing his mandatory quarantine. He’s also set to miss Miami’s game Wednesday against Oklahoma City. Dragic finished with 11 points (on 5-of-16 shooting), nine assists, six rebounds, and five fouls.
Los Angeles Lakers 124, Denver Nuggets 121
Hey, good on the Lakers for getting back into the win column after their three-game losing streak. But seeing how the game unfolded, I’m not fully sold that the Lakers have figured it out.
Kyle Kuzma, maker of the game-deciding three-pointer with :00.4 left, lived up to his role as third leading scorer; his 25 points were only bested by LeBron James‘ 29 points and Anthony Davis‘ 27 points. However, I’m still wondering if he can be consistent enough in the postseason?
Kuzma went 3-of-5 from beyond on the arc in this game, but has shot 31.6 percent this year. He dropped 25, but averages 12.8 per game. I still have my doubts, but if his offense becomes more reliable, that will be huge for the Lakers’ title hopes.
Also, it should be noted that the Nuggets ran out a lineup of Monte Morris, P.J. Dozier, Bol Bol, Keita Bates-Diop, and Mason Plumlee for the final 14 minutes of the game. This lineup outscored the Lakers 41-40 over that span, with LeBron on the floor of 13 of those minutes and Davis on the floor for 10 of them. How is the team with two superstars struggling against a lineup of reserves!?
Nevertheless, the Lakers have one more re-seeding game left as they face the Sacramento Kings on Thursday. I’d be surprised if LeBron or AD play, but maybe the rest of the team can take the momentum of this win and carry it into the final game.