Tag: lebron james

The Celtics survive against the Heat, pulling away with a 110-105 win

The Celtics survive against the Heat, pulling away with a 110-105 win

With the Tuesday win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics have clinched another playoff spot for the fifth straight time and the tenth in the past eleven years.  Last season in the playoffs, they had to go on without their star player, Kyrie Irving, and lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Cavaliers, 3-4.  The Celtics will look to avoid a second straight loss, though, as they host the Miami Heat.

The Heat, on the other hand, are still trying to stay alive in the playoff hunt as they are sitting at the eighth spot with a 38-38 record.  They will hope to make a second straight postseason appearance and a ninth in the past eleven years.  Last season, they lost in the first round to the Philadelphia 76ers, 1-4.  They will try to grab their third straight victory tonight.

The Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat have battled each other a grand total of 135 times in the past as the Heat won 56 games while the Celtics went on to grab 79 wins.  This meeting will mark the third of four times that these teams will play each other this season.  The last time they saw each other was on January 21 when the Massachusetts team handed the Heat a 99-107 loss.  During that game, Kyrie Irving scored 26 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, dished off 10 assists, committed 8 steals, and blocked one shot while Derrick Jones settled for 18 points, 9 rebounds, one steal, and one block.  Dion Waiters also had 18 points.

INACTIVES:

Miami Heat:

-Rodney McGruder (knee; 7.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.7 APG, 40.7 FG%, 35.6 3P%, 74.3 FT%)
-Josh Richardson (heel; 16.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.1 APG, 41.2 FG%, 35.7 3P%, 86.1 FT%)
-Justise Winslow (thigh; 12.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.3 APG, 43.6 FG%, 38.0 3P%, 62.9 FT%)
-Udonis Haslem (coach’s decision; 0.8 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.0 APG, 33.3 FG%, 0.0 3P%)
-Yante Maten (coach’s decision)
-Duncan Robinson (coach’s decision; 2.4 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.2 APG, 34.4 FG%, 26.9 3P%, 66.7 FT%)

Boston Celtics:

-Brad Wanamaker (coach’s decision; 3.4 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 1.4 APG, 46.3 FG%, 50.0 3P%, 90.0 FT%)
-Robert Williams (coach’s decision; 2.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.2 APG, 71.7 FG%, 64.3 FT%)
-Jaylen Brown (back; 13.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 46.3 FG%, 34.2 3P%, 66.3 FT%)
-Greg Monroe (4.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.4 APG, 46.4 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 57.4 FT%)
-R.J. Hunter
-P.J. Dozier (1.4 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 0.0 APG, 42.9 FG%, 50.0 3P%)

GAMETIME:

The Boston Celtics would have a slight upper hand in the first half as they shot forty-three percent from the field while the Miami Heat shot forty-one percent.  Kyrie Irving got hot for 15 points while knocking down four 3-pointers in the process.  He also had five rebounds, one assist, and two steals while Jayson Tatum helped out with eleven points.  The Missouri-native had two 3-pointers in the first quarter while recording four defensive rebounds and three assists.

Former Atlanta Hawks’ center Al Horford scored nine points while grabbing six boards.  Marcus Smart earned himself eight points in the 13 minutes that he played while drilling two buckets from beyond the arc.  2017 All-Star Gordon Hayward played the most minutes off the bench but was held to just six points on sixty-six percent shooting from the field.

On the other end of the court, Bam Adebayo dropped ten points while getting ahold of ten rebounds and blocking two shots.  Former Houston Rockets’ guard Goran Dragic also had ten points while Dion Waiters had seven points, including a three-pointer late in the second period.  Hassan Whiteside was kept to just three points off the bench while Kelly Olynyk helped out with a three-pointer in the second quarter.  Dwyane Wade played 12 minutes off the bench as he had nine points but it was the home team who went into halftime with a 61 to 47 advantage.

The South Beach would attempt to make a comeback as they went on a 58 to 49 run in the second half, shooting forty-eight percent from the field.  During that run, Dragic lit the floor up with 20 points while knocking down 3 three-pointers in the process.  He also had one rebound, three assists, and four steals while Olynyk added 11 more points to his scoring total.  Adebayo earned himself nine more points while shooting a perfect one-hundred percent from the field.  He also had a trey at the end of the game.

Both Horford and Irving scored ten more points each for the Boston Celtics.  Horford had five rebounds, four assists, and one steal, as well, while Kyrie Irving had three rebounds and two assists.  Tatum and Smart collected eight points each as the Celtics held on to hand the Miami Heat a 105-110 loss.  Kyrie Irving finished the game with 25 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and two steals while Goran Dragic had a season-high 30 points, along with one rebound, 5 assists, and a season-high and career-high-tying 5 steals.

So…what’s next?

The Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat will play each other again on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

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The Clippers clinch a playoff spot by defeating the Timberwolves, 122-111, earning their 6th straight win

The Clippers clinch a playoff spot by defeating the Timberwolves, 122-111, earning their 6th straight win

The Los Angeles Clippers have been on a hot streak as of late, winning 11 of their last 14 games.  They will look to grab their sixth straight win as they battle the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.  They are in high hopes of staying alive in the playoff race while the Timberwolves are still struggling to get there.  The Timberwolves have recently ended a five-game losing streak by defeating the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, 112-99.

The Clippers and the Timberwolves have played each other a grand total of 114 times in the past as the Los Angeles team won 58 games while the Timberwolves defeated them 56 times.  This game will mark the third and final time that these two ball clubs will meet up this season.  February 11 was the last time they played each other as the Timberwolves pulled away with a 130-120 win.  Karl-Anthony Towns finished that game with 24 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals while Lou Williams earned himself 45 points, one rebound, 4 assists, and one steal.

INACTIVES:

Los Angeles Clippers:

-Luc Mbah a Moute (knee; 5.0 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.5 APG, 44.4 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 40.0 FT%)
-Landry Shamet (leg; 9.0 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.3 APG, 43.4 FG%, 42.0 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
-Justin Bibbs (G-League)
-Angel Delgado (G-League; 3.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 25.0 FG%, 50.0 FT%)

Minnesota Timberwolves:

-Robert Covington (ankle; 13.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 43.1 FG%, 37.8 3P%, 76.4 FT%)
-Luol Deng (Achilles; 7.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 0.8 APG, 50.0 FG%, 31.8 3P%, 71.4 FT%)
-Taj Gibson (calf; 10.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.2 APG, 56.6 FG%, 32.4 3P%, 75.7 FT%)
-Derrick Rose (elbow; 18.0 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 4.3 APG, 48.2 FG%, 37.0 3P%, 85.6 FT%)
-Jeff Teague (foot; 12.1 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 8.2 APG, 42.3 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 80.4 FT%)

GAMETIME:

The Los Angeles Clippers would set the tone in the first half as they shot fifty-eight percent from the field, holding the Minnesota Timberwolves to forty-one percent.  Danilo Gallinari chalked up 14 points as he had 3 three-pointers in the first period.  He also recorded five rebounds, two assists, and one steal while Patrick Beverley helped out with 11 points.  As for Beverley, he also drilled 3 three-pointers while dishing out four assists and blocking two shots.  Lou Williams, who is making a case for second straight Sixth Man of the Year Award and third overall, played 11 minutes off the bench but only had nine points.

As for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Andrew Wiggins put up 13 points while shooting forty-five percent from the field.  He earned three of those points from beyond the arc while grabbing one rebound and giving out three assists.  Dario Saric saw to it that he got 11 points while hitting two three-pointers.  Two-time All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns was limited to just six points, earning them all from the charity stripe, while recording 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.  Anthony Tolliver played the most minutes off the bench but was held scoreless as the visiting team went into halftime with a huge 75 to 55 advantage.

The Minnesota team would attempt to make a comeback in the second half as they sparked up a 56 to 47 run, shooting forty-five percent from the field.  During that run, Towns lit the floor up with 18 points, knocking down two three-pointers in the last quarter.  He also had eight rebounds while Wiggins contributed with nine points, hitting a trey in the fourth period, as well.  Both Josh Okogie and Tyus Jones had five points while Dario Saric added seven more points to his scoring total.  Rookie Keita Bates-Diop played the most minutes off the bench as he scored seven points.

The California team would still manage to close the game out as Montrezl Harrell threw up 12 points off the bench.  Danilo Gallinari had eleven points while Temple collected nine more points.  Lou Williams played 18 minutes off the bench, earning eleven extra points as the Los Angeles Clippers escaped with a 122-111 victory.  Danilo Gallinari finished the game with 25 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, one steal, and a season-tying-high six three-pointers.  Karl-Anthony Towns settled for 24 points, along with 13 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.

So…what’s next?

The Los Angeles Clippers will head to the Fiserv Forum to battle Giannis Antetokounmpo (27.4 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 6.0 APG, 58.2 FG%, 24.4 3P%) and the Milwaukee Bucks (55-19) on Thursday at 8:00 p.m.  This will be the second and last time that they see each other this season.  The last time they met up was on November 10 when the Clippers pulled away with a 128-126 overtime win.  During that game, Montrezl Harrell scored 26 points, pulled down 9 rebounds, dished out one assist, and blocked one shot while Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points, 18 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks.

The Minnesota Timberwolves will host Stephen Curry (27.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.2 APG, 47.1 FG%, 43.0 3P%) and the Golden State Warriors (50-23) on Friday at 8:00 p.m.  This meeting will mark the fourth and final matchup between these two teams this season.  March 19 was the last time they saw each other as the Timberwolves fell short to the Warriors, 107-117.  Stephen Curry finished that game with 36 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals while Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points, 21 rebounds, 4 assists, and one steal.

The Nets eliminate the Lakers from the playoffs as they defeat them, 111-106

The Nets eliminate the Lakers from the playoffs as they defeat them, 111-106

The Los Angeles Lakers are on the brink of playoff elimination if they happen to get defeated by the Brooklyn Nets tonight in the Staples Center.  It would also mark the first time since 2004 that LeBron James would miss the postseason.  The Lakers on currently on a four-game losing streak, trying to avoid a fifth straight loss, which would tie their longest losing streak on the season.

The Nets, however, are trying to stay alive in the playoff run as they are sitting at the seventh seed with a 37-36 record.  They are seeking their second straight victory as D’Angelo Russell hopes to beat his former team.  It’s been four straight years since the Brooklyn Nets failed to make the playoffs but their confidence is at an all-time high.

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets have met up with each other a grand total of 92 times as the Lakers won 68 games, holding the New York team to just 24 victories.  This event tonight will mark the second and final time that these two ball clubs will see each other this season.  December 18 was the last time they played each other as the Nets escaped with a 115-110 win.  During that game, D’Angelo Russell scored 22 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, dished off 13 assists, and blocked one shot while LeBron James had 36 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists, one steal, and one block.

INACTIVES:

Brooklyn Nets:

-Allen Crabbe (knee; 9.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.1 APG, 36.7 FG%, 37.8 3P%, 73.2 FT%)
-Shabazz Napier (illness; 9.4 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 38.9 FG%, 32.9 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
-Treveon Graham (coach’s decision; 5.0 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 32.9 FG%, 26.2 3P%, 77.8 FT%)
-Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (coach’s decision; 8.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.6 APG, 41.3 FG%, 19.1 3P%, 64.9 FT%)
-Dzanan Musa (G-League; 2.0 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.1 APG, 40.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 0.0 FT%)
-Theo Pinson (G-League; 4.9 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 34.9 FG%, 28.2 3P%, 86.4 FT%)
-Alan Williams (G-League; 3.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 0.8 APG, 60.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 50.0 FT%)

Los Angeles Lakers:

-Lonzo Ball (ankle; 9.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.4 APG, 40.6 FG%, 32.9 3P%, 41.7 FT%)
-Josh Hart (knee; 7.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.4 APG, 40.7 FG%, 33.6 3P%, 68.8 FT%)
-Brandon Ingram (Deep Venous Thrombosis; 18.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, 49.7 FG%, 33.0 3P%, 67.5 FT%)
-Lance Stephenson (coach’s decision; 7.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.0 APG, 43.5 FG%, 37.9 3P%, 67.7 FT%)
-Scott Machado (coach’s decision)
-Mike Muscala (ankle; 6.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.2 APG, 38.4 FG%, 32.7 3P%, 81.5 FT%)

GAMETIME:

The beginning of the game would be held close as the Brooklyn Nets shot thirty-six percent from the field while the Los Angeles Lakers completed thirty-two percent of their shots.  Former Cleveland Cavaliers’ shooting guard Joe Harris ended up scoring thirteen points while drilling three 3-pointers.  The other four points came from the charity stripe.  He also had two defensive rebounds while Jarrett Allen contributed with nine points and nine rebounds.

D’Angelo Russell would drop six points in the first half while finishing the game with 21 points against his former squad.  Rookie Rodions Kurucs was able to knock down a three-pointer early in the first quarter while DeMarre Carroll was held scoreless.  Spencer Dinwiddie played 16 minutes off the bench but only had five points.

On the other end of the court, JaVale McGee got hot for fourteen points while shooting seventy-eight percent from the field.  He also had nine rebounds and three blocks while  Kyle Kuzma recorded eleven points while hitting two three-pointers.  LeBron James only had eight points in the first half but managed to get four rebounds and six assists.  Texas-native Alex Caruso played the most minutes off the bench but only had two points while the Nets went into the locker room with a close 44-43 lead.

The Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles would continue to battle it out as the Lakers shot forty-eight percent from the field in the second half while the Nets shot forty-four percent.  Carroll would make up for his scoreless first half as he got hot for 15 points, nailing three 3-pointers in the process.  He also collected five rebounds while Russell also had 15 points.  The former Laker hit four shots from beyond the arc while dishing out eight assists and grabbing a defensive rebound.  Dinwiddie played the most minutes off the bench as he earned 14 points, hitting a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter.

As for the California ball club, McGee continued to show out as he poured 19 more points on the Nets while shooting seventy-three percent from the field.  He was able to pull down 11 more rebounds while preventing three of the Nets shots to go in.  James warmed up with 17 points while recording eight more assists and five rebounds to go along with a steal and a block.  Caruso had eight points off the bench but it wouldn’t matter as the Brooklyn Nets crept away with a 111 to 106 win over the Lakers, officially eliminating them from the playoffs.  This would be the sixth straight year that the Lakers would miss the playoffs and the first time over a decade that LeBron James would miss the postseason.

Joe Harris finished the game with twenty-six points, three rebounds, and two assists while D’Angelo had 21 points against his former team, along with two rebounds, thirteen assists, and three steals.  JaVale McGee ended up with a career-high thirty-three points and a career-high twenty rebounds.  He also had one steal and six blocks.

So…what’s next?

The Brooklyn Nets will travel to Oregon for their next stop to battle Damian Lillard (26.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.7 APG, 45.2 FG%, 37.3 3P%) and the Portland Trail Blazers (44-27) on Monday at 10:00 p.m.  This will mark the second and final time that these teams will play each other this season.  The last time they saw each other was on February 21 when the Trail Blazers handed the Nets a 113-99 loss.  Jusuf Nurkic finished the game with 27 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, and 3 blocks while Allen Crabbe settled for 17 points, 4 rebounds, one assist, and one block.

The Los Angeles Lakers will host Buddy Hield (20.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 46.1 FG%, 43.0 3P%) and the Sacramento Kings (35-36) on Sunday at 9:30 p.m.  This game will mark the fourth and final meeting between these two ball clubs this season.  The last time they saw each other was on December 30 as the Lakers slid away with a 121-114 win.  During that game, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 26 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, gave out one assist and stole the ball twice while De’Aaron Fox recorded 26 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, and one block.

The Denver Nuggets prove they’re the best with a 95-86 win over the Toronto Raptors

The Denver Nuggets prove they’re the best with a 95-86 win over the Toronto Raptors

The best team in the Eastern Conference and the best team in the Western Conference will meet up tonight to battle it out in a must-see.  The Toronto Raptors will travel to Colorado to take on the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.  Neither team has lost more than ten games this season and have yet to lose five or more in a row.  The Raptors are coming off a 128-122 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers while the Nuggets are looking for their third straight victory.

The Toronto Raptors and the Denver Nuggets have battled each other a grand total of 45 times in the past as the Raptors won 18 games while the Nuggets went on to win 27 games.  This matchup will mark the second and final meeting between these two ball clubs this season.  The last time they played each other was on December 3 when the Nuggets pulled out with a 106 to 103 victory.  During that game, Nikola Jokic scored 23 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, dished off 15 assists, and committed 2 steals while Kawhi Leonard had 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists.

INACTIVES:

Toronto Raptors:

-Kyle Lowry (back; 14.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 10.0 APG, 43.6 FG%, 33.0 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
-Norman Powell (shoulder; 5.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.9 APG, 47.6 FG%, 40.9 3P%, 75.0 FT%)
-Pascal Siakam (back; 14.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 60.4 FG%, 36.7 3P%, 78.4 FT%)
-Jonas Valanciunas (thumb; 12.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, 57.5 FG%, 30.0 3P%, 81.9 FT%)
-Jordan Loyd (G-League; 4.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.3 APG, 100.0 FG%, 100.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Fred VanVleet (back; 9.7 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 4.5 APG, 42.5 FG%, 36.7 3P%, 76.9 FT%)

Denver Nuggets:

-Will Barton (hip/core; 16.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 57.1 FG%, 55.6 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Gary Harris (hip; 16.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.9 APG, 43.8 FG%, 32.4 3P%, 79.1 FT%)
-Paul Millsap (foot; 13.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 49.8 FG%, 40.0 3P%, 72.7 FT%)
-Michael Porter (back)
-Isaiah Thomas (hip)
-Jarred Vanderbilt (foot)
-Brandon Goodwin (coach’s decision)
-Tyler Lydon (coach’s decision; 1.8 PPG, 0.4 RPG, 0.0 APG, 75.0 FG%, 75.0 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
-Thomas Welsh (coach’s decision; 0.8 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.3 APG, 66.7 FG%, 50.0 3P%)

GAMETIME:

The Toronto Raptors would have the slight upper hand during the first half as they connected for 47 percent of their shots while the Denver Nuggets completed 35 percent.  Kawhi Leonard scored ten points in the beginning half while grabbing 6 rebounds and dishing off two assists.  Serge Ibaka also had ten points as he earned three of them from beyond the arc in the second quarter.  New York-native Danny Green chipped in with 7 points while Delon Wright had eight points.  OG Anunoby played nine minutes off the bench but was kept to just a three-pointer early in the second period.

On the other end of the floor, Nikola Jokic chalked up ten points of his own while shooting 40 percent from the field.  Jamal Murray, who is averaging 18 points a game this season, was limited to just a trey in the first quarter.  Mason Plumlee would score six points while Juancho Hernangomez was held scoreless.  Monte Morris played the most minutes off the bench but only dropped five points while the visiting team went into halftime with a 47-39 advantage.

The Colorado team would enter the second half with the mindset of completing a comeback, sparking up a 56 to 39 run.  During that run, Murray made up for his poor first-half performance, lighting the floor up with 16 points, knocking down two treys in the process.  He would finish the contest with a total of nineteen points.  Jokic also had 16 points as he collected six rebounds and gave out two assists.

Torrey Craig earned himself eight points while hitting two three-pointers in the third quarter.  Hernangomez would continue to struggle in the game as he only scored two points, all coming from the free-throw line.  Monte Morris played 22 minutes off the bench as he had seven points, including a three-pointer in the third.

As for the Canada team, Leonard stayed hot as he dropped nineteen more points, hitting a three-pointer in the third quarter.  Wright helped out with seven points but it wouldn’t matter as the Denver Nuggets come back from an eight-point deficit to win the game, 95-86.  Nikola Jokic finished the game with 26 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals while Kawhi Leonard had 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists.

So…what’s next?

The Toronto Raptors will host Victor Oladipo (20.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.0 APG, 43.4 FG%, 33.6 3P%) and the Indiana Pacers (19-10) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.  This game will mark the first of three matchups between these two teams this season.  The Raptors would win the regular-season series last season, 3-1.

The Denver Nuggets will host Harrison Barnes (17.9 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 41.7 FG%, 40.4 3P%) and the Dallas Mavericks (15-12) on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m.  This matchup will mark the first of three meetings between these ball clubs during this season.  Last season, both the Nuggets and Mavericks tied the regular-season series up at 2 apiece.

The Pistons end the Celtics’ eight-game winning streak, 113 to 104

The Pistons end the Celtics’ eight-game winning streak, 113 to 104

The Boston Celtics are currently in the midst of their longest winning streak this season, looking for their ninth straight victory.  They will hope to do that as they battle the Detroit Pistons at the Little Caesars Arena.  The Pistons, however, are facing the complete opposite situation.  They are trying to find a way to put an end to what is now a six-game skid.

The Celtics and the Pistons have played each other an inclusive total of 420 times in the past as Detroit Pistons won 156 games while the Boston team went on to win 264 matchups.  This meeting between the two teams will mark the third of four times that the Celtics and Pistons will battle each other during this season.

The last time they saw each other was on October 30 when the Celtics pulled out a 108-105 victory.  During that game, Kyrie scored 31 points, pulled down 5 rebounds, dished off 5 assists, and committed one steal while Blake Griffin finished with 24 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, and one block.

INACTIVES:

Boston Celtics:

-Jabari Bird (personal)
-Al Horford (knee; 12.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.4 APG, 49.1 FG%, 34.1 3P%, 70.0 FT%)
-Guerschon Yabusele (ankle; 1.8 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.4 APG, 32.0 FG%, 20.0 3P%, 87.5 FT%)
-Semi Ojeleye (coach’s decision; 3.7 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.1 APG, 39.7 FG%, 28.6 3P%, 63.6 FT%)
-Brad Wanamaker (coach’s decision; 3.2 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 1.4 APG, 48.1 FG%, 44.4 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
-PJ Dozier (G-League; 3.5 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 50.0 FG%, 50.0 3P%)

Detroit Pistons:

-Henry Ellenson (ankle; 6.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 40.0 FG%, 50.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Zaza Pachulia (illness; 4.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, 38.6 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 80.3 FT%)
-Glenn Robinson (ankle; 4.8 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 39.0 FG%, 30.6 3P%, 84.6 FT%)
-Ish Smith (groin; 9.2 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 3.0 APG, 41.5 FG%, 32.9 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
-Khyri Thomas (coach’s decision; 1.8 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 0.6 APG, 33.3 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
-Keenan Evans (G-League)
-Zach Lofton (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%)

GAMETIME:

With both the Pistons and the Celtics having something to prove, they played hard in the first half, shooting in the low 50-percents.  Kyrie Irving would get hot as he scored 17 of Boston’s 56 first-half points.  He nailed a three-pointer in the middle of the first period while recording 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.  Marcus Morris, who is averaging a career-high 15 points per game this season, was kept to just seven points in the 15 minutes that he played in the first half, finishing the game with a sum of nine points.

Jayson Tatum, Aron Baynes, and Marcus Smart all chipped in with six points each while Smart earned his from beyond the arc.  Gordon Hayward, who is still trying to bounce back from a nasty injury he endured in last season’s opener, played the most minutes off the bench but was kept to just two points.

On the other end of the floor, Blake Griffin put up 11 points on 36 percent shooting, including a trey in the first period.  Reggie Bullock, who missed the last five games due to an ankle injury, drilled two three-pointers and a free-throw to earn himself seven points.  Andre Drummond had 5 points in the first half but grabbed 6 rebounds and blocked one shot while recording one assist and one steal.  Langston Galloway played 15 minutes off the bench as he chalked up 10 points, helping the home team gain a 57-56 lead at halftime.

The Detroit Pistons would be about business in the second half as they went on a 56 to 48 run, shooting 46 percent from the field.  Griffin added 16 more points to his scoring total while earning four defensive rebounds and two assists.  He did, however, have five turnovers.  Andre Drummond contributed with 14 points while going up for 14 boards and preventing 3 shots from going in.  Jose Calderon, who is averaging a career-low two points a game this season, played the most minutes off the bench but was kept to just three points.

As for the Massachusetts team, Marcus Smart lit the floor up with 15 points while hitting three treys.  He also had 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals while Tatum helped out with 11 points.  Irving struggled in the last half as he was limited to just nine points on 23 percent shooting.  Hayward had four points off the bench but it wouldn’t matter much as the Pistons held on to end the Celtics’ eight-game winning streak, 113-104.  Blake Griffin finished the game with 27 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and one steal while Kyrie Irving had 26 points, a season-high-tying 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals.

So…what’s next?

The Boston Celtics will host T.J. Warren (18.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.3 APG, 52.1 FG%, 44.4 3P%) and the Phoenix Suns (5-24) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.  This matchup will mark the second and final meeting between these two ball clubs this season.  November 8 was the last time they met up as the Celtics escaped with a 116 to 109 victory.  Kyrie Irving finished that game with 39 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and one block while Devin Booker settled for 38 points, 3 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 steals.

The Detroit Pistons will host Giannis Antetokounmpo (26.6 PPG, 13.2 RPG, 6.1 APG, 58.2 FG%, 13.1 3P%) and the Milwaukee Bucks (19-9) on Monday at 7:00 p.m.  This will be the second of four games that these two teams will play against each other this season.  The last time they battled each other was on December 5 when the Pistons fell to the Bucks, 92-115.  During that game, Eric Bledsoe scored 27 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, dished off 4 assists, and committed 3 steals while Blake Griffin had 31 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and one block.

The Orlando Magic were able to hold off the Chicago Bulls, 97-91

The Orlando Magic were able to hold off the Chicago Bulls, 97-91

The Chicago Bulls have been going through a lot of drama on and off the court lately.  Not only was Fred Hoiberg relieved of his head coaching duties over a week ago, but the Chicago Bulls recently suffered their worst loss in franchise history against the Boston Celtics, 133-77.

Having a new head coach didn’t seem to make matters better as there have been reports that he would have players go through a two-and-a-half hour practice, which most of the players are against.  The Chicago Bulls would look avoid a third straight loss and a ninth straight road defeat as they battle the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center.  The Magic, on the other hand, are trying to get away from a fourth straight loss.

The Chicago Bulls and the Orlando Magic have seen each other a total of 116 times in the past as the Bulls won 64 games while the Magic ended up winning only 52 of those matchups.  This game will mark the first of four times that these two ball clubs will meet up during this season.  Last season, the Bulls swept the Magic in their regular-season series, 4-0.

INACTIVES:

Chicago Bulls:

-Denzel Valentine (ankle)
-Antonio Blakeney (coach’s decision; 9.5 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.5 APG, 42.6 FG%, 44.8 3P%, 65.7 FT%)
-Cristiano Felicio (coach’s decision; 3.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 56.3 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 73.7 FT%)
-Cameron Payne (coach’s decision; 6.0 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, 40.3 FG%, 27.3 3P%, 88.0 FT%)
-Tyler Ulis (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG)
-Chandler Hutchison (illness; 4.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.8 APG, 42.6 FG%, 25.0 3P%, 55.6 FT%)
-Rawle Alkins (G-League)

Orlando Magic:

-Timofey Mozgov (knee)
-Khem Birch (coach’s decision; 2.4 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.2 APG, 58.8 FG%, 100.0 FT%)
-Isaiah Briscoe (coach’s decision; 1.9 PPG, 0.6 RPG, 0.9 APG, 42.1 FG%, 100.0 3P%, 40.0 FT%)
-Wesley Iwundu (coach’s decision; 4.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 37.5 FG%, 31.8 3P%, 77.8 FT%)
-Jarell Martin (coach’s decision; 2.7 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.6 APG, 35.4 FG%, 21.1 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Troy Caupain (G-League)
-Amile Jefferson (G-League)
-Melvin Frazier (0.0 PPG, 0.3 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%)

GAMETIME:

Both the Orlando Magic and the Chicago Bulls would put up a good fight in this game as they each shot in the high 40 percents in the first half.  Nikola Vucevic scored 13 points for the Magic while hitting a three-pointer late in the second quarter.  Former Nuggets player Evan Fournier was kept to just 6 points but was able to get off two assists in the 15 minutes that he played.

D.J. Augustin also had six points but he would collect his from beyond the arc.  Aaron Gordon was only able to score three points which came from the charity stripe.  He finished the game with a total of 8 points.  Terrence Ross played the most minutes off the bench but only scored six points, hitting a trey early in the second quarter.

On the other end of the court, the 2014-2015 All-Rookie selection Zach LaVine got hot for 14 points as he shot 67 percent from the floor.  He earned three of those points from behind the arc while recording 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and one steal.  Rookie Wendell Carter helped out with six points while Kris Dunn had five points and three rebounds off the bench.  Lauri Markkanen ended up with four points, three from distance and one from the free-throw line.  Robin Lopez played 15 minutes off the bench as he had five points but it was the home team that went into the locker room with a 51-46 lead.

Both teams continued to fight in the second half but the Bulls showed more accuracy as they completed 52 percent of their shots, holding the Florida team to 35 percent shooting.  Justin Holiday, who is averaging 13 points a game this season, lit the floor up with 16 points, drilling 4 three-pointers in the process.  LaVine would cool down as he only had nine points and four turnovers.

The Orlando Magic, however, found a way to continue to pull away as Vucevic dropped 13 more points, leading the Magic to a 97 to 91 victory over the Bulls.  This victory would bring a halt to the Magic’s three-game skid.  Nikola Vucevic finished the game with 26 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and one block while Zach LaVine settled for 23 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals.

So…what’s next?

The Chicago Bulls will travel over to Texas to meet up with DeMar DeRozan (24.1 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 6.2 APG, 48.0 FG%, 17.1 3P%) and the San Antonio Spurs (14-14) on Saturday at 8:30 p.m.  This will be the second and final game between these two teams this season.  Last time they saw each other was on November 26 when the San Antonio Spurs snuck away from the Bulls, 108-107.  During that game, DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points, pulled down 8 rebounds, and dished off 5 assists while Zach LaVine had 28 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists.

The Orlando Magic will host Donovan Mitchell (20.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.2 APG, 42.8 FG%, 30.3 3P%) and the Utah Jazz (14-15) on Saturday at 5:00 p.m.  This matchup will mark the first of two meetings between these ball clubs during this season.  The Magic ended up getting swept in the regular-season series against the Jazz last season, 0-2.

The Chicago Bulls push through the Oklahoma City Thunder, 114-112

The Chicago Bulls push through the Oklahoma City Thunder, 114-112

The Chicago Bulls are currently trying to avoid an 8th straight loss as they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the United Center.  The last time the Bulls suffered an 8-game losing streak was last year when they lost a total of 10 straight.  They are tied with the Atlanta Hawks for the worst record in the East at 5-20 and at risk of missing the playoff for a second straight time.

As for the Thunder, they are coming fresh off a 114-112 win against the Brooklyn Nets, all thanks to Paul George, who nailed a clutch 3-pointer to secure the win.  They are looking for their 5th straight victory.  The Thunder and the Bulls have played each other a grand total of 151 times in the past as the Thunder won 74 games while the Chicago team pulled out 77 wins.  This will mark the first of two matchups between these ball clubs this season.  The Thunder swept the Chicago Bulls last season in their season series, 2-0.

INACTIVES:

Oklahoma City Thunder:

-Andre Roberson (knee)
-Deonte Burton (coach’s decision; 3.5 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.4 APG, 44.4 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
-Raymond Felton (coach’s decision; 4.8 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 35.2 FG%, 17.9 3P%, 88.9 FT%)
-Abdel Nader (coach’s decision; 1.2 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.1 APG, 50.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%)
-Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (2.5 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.3 APG, 33.3 FG%, 25.0 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
-Tyler Davis (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 FG%)

Chicago Bulls:

-Kris Dunn (knee; 9.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 7.0 APG, 30.8 FG%, 25.0 3P%)
-Bobby Portis (knee; 10.5 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 41.5 FG%, 27.3 3P%, 55.6 FT%)
-Denzel Valentine (ankle)
-Antonio Blakeney (coach’s decision; 9.7 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.5 APG, 44.0 FG%, 44.8 3P%, 63.6 FT%)
-Cristiano Felicio (coach’s decision; 3.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.6 APG, 56.8 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 77.8 FT%)
-Tyler Ulis (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG)
-Rawle Alkins (G-League)

GAMETIME:

The Chicago Bulls would have control in the first half as they completed 57 percent of the shots they put up, limiting the Oklahoma City Thunder to 46 percent shooting.  The 2018-2018 All-Rookie selection Lauri Markkanen scored 16 points while knocking down four 3-pointers.  He also had 3 rebounds while Zach LaVine contributed with 13 points, 3 defensive rebounds, and 6 assists.  He was able to drill a trey midway through the first session while Ryan Arcidiacono had a 3-pointer in the first period.  He finished the game with just those three points.  Robin Lopez played the most minutes off the bench as he chipped in with 10 points.

On the other end of the court, Steven Adams put up 17 of Oklahoma City’s 62 points while pulling down 5 rebounds but had three turnovers.  Paul George scored 16 points which included a 3-pointer before the first quarter expired.  He shot 63 percent from the field in the first half but struggled overall as he only made 6 of his 16 shots attempted in the game, ending with 38 percent shooting from the field, lowest of all five Thunder starters.

Russell Westbrook recorded 9 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 steals while Terrance Ferguson was held scoreless in the 14 minutes that he played, attempting only two shots.  Former Atlanta Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder played the most minutes of all the reserves in the first half as he gave eleven points but it was the home team who went in the break with a 70 to 62 advantage.

The Thunder would not give up, though, as they came out of the locker room to spark a 50-44 run, including a big 29-17 run in the third period.  During that time, Westbrook added 15 more points to his scoring total while knocking down two 3-pointers.  He also collected 7 more rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals but had 7 turnovers.  George would start to see his shooting decline as he only scored three points, earning them from beyond the arc just one minute into the third.

MARKKANEN SAVES THE DAY:

With 34 seconds left in the game and the score being 109-108 in the Bulls’ favor, Dennis Schroder would complete a driving layup to give the Thunder a one-point lead.  That would force the Chicago team to call a timeout.  Out of the timeout, Justin Holiday would drill a huge three-pointer off of a Lauri Markkanen assist, giving the Bulls a 112-110 lead.  Four seconds out of a Thunder timeout, Russell Westbrook would drive the ball in the paint for a layup, tying the game up at 112 apiece.  But Markkanen respond as he made a driving layup with only four seconds left in the game to allow the home team to regain the lead.  Paul George would attempt a three-pointer after a Thunder timeout but would fail to convert as the Bulls hold off the Thunder, 114-112, bringing an end to their seven-game losing streak.

Zach LaVine finished the game with 25 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals but had a career-tying nine turnovers.  Russell Westbrook scored 24 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, dished off 13 assists, and committed a season-tying 4 steals.  Those stats would complete his triple-double (109th of his career; 5th of the season) but had a season-high 10 turnovers.

So…what’s next?

The Oklahoma City Thunder will host Donovan Mitchell (20.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 42.7 FG%, 29.2 3P%) and the Utah Jazz (13-13) on Monday at 8:00 p.m.  This meeting will mark the first of four matchups between these two teams this season.  The Thunder would win the regular-season series against the Jazz, 3-1, before losing to them in the first round of the playoffs, 2-4.

The Chicago Bulls will host Kyrie Irving (22.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 6.4 APG, 48.5 FG% 39.2 3P%) and the Boston Celtics (14-10) on Saturday at 8:00 p.m.  This will be the second time that these two teams will see each other this season as one more game lies ahead of them.  The first time they met up each other was on November 14 when the Celtics handed the Bulls a 111-82 blowout loss.  During that game, Jaylen Brown scored eighteen points, grabbed six rebounds, gave out three assists, and committed one steal while Shaquille Harrison had sixteen points, six rebounds, one assist, and four steals.

The Denver Nuggets survive the Toronto Raptors, 106-103

The Denver Nuggets survive the Toronto Raptors, 106-103

The Toronto Raptors not only the hottest team in the East but they are also the best team in the league right now, grasping a 20-4 record.  The only teams they have fallen to were the Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons, and Boston Celtics.  They will look grab their ninth straight victory as they host the Denver Nuggets.  If they do so, this will tie their all-time longest winning streak which they set last season.

The Denver Nuggets, on the other hand, are hoping to earn their sixth straight win, coming fresh off of a close 113-112 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers.  The Nuggets and the Raptors have seen each other a grand total of 44 times in the past as the Nuggets won 26 games while the Raptors were kept to just 18 games.  This game will mark the first of two times that these two ball clubs will face each other during this season.  Last season, these teams split the season series at one apiece.  Both teams will look to set the tone tonight.

INACTIVES:

Denver Nuggets:

-Will Barton (hip/core; 16.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 57.1 FG%, 55.6 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Michael Porter (back)
-Isaiah Thomas (hip)
-Jarred Vanderbilt (foot)
-Brandon Goodwin (coach’s decision)
-Tyler Lydon (coach’s decision; 2.3 PPG, 0.6 RPG, 0.0 APG, 75.0 FG%, 75.0 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
-DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell (G-League; 1.2 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 1.0 APG, 30.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
-Thomas Welsh (G-League; 1.3 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.5 APG, 66.7 FG%, 50.0 3P%)

Toronto Raptors:

-Lorenzo Brown (coach’s decision; 2.7 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, 37.8 FG%, 22.7 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Greg Monroe (coach’s decision; 3.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.4 APG, 51.5 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
-Malachi Richardson (coach’s decision; 1.3 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.0 APG, 27.8 FG%, 26.7 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
-Jordon Loyd (G-League; 4.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.3 APG, 100.0 FG%, 100.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Norman Powell (shoulder; 5.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.9 APG, 47.6 FG%, 40.9 3P%, 75.0 FT%)
-Chris Boucher (G-League; 4.3 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.0 APG, 50.0 FG%, 25.0 3P%, 66.7 FT%)

GAMETIME:

The Denver Nuggets would have complete control in the first half as they shot fifty percent from the field, limiting the home team to forty-three percent.  Nikola Jokic chalked up fourteen points while grabbing five rebounds and dishing off ten assists.  Jamal Murray helped out with twelve points as he was able to drill two three-pointers in the process.  Juan Hernangomez earned himself seven points which included a trey early in the first period.  Malik Beasley played the most minutes off the bench as he had eight points including two three-pointers in the second quarter.

As for the Canada team, former San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard got hot for sixteen points on sixty percent shooting.  He also had four defensive rebounds and two assists while Pascal Siakam chipped in eight points.  Kyle Lowry, who is averaging fifteen points a game this season, was held scoreless in the eighteen minutes that he played.  Danny Green had a three-pointer early in the first quarter while Serge Ibaka collected five points, two rebounds, one assist, and one block.  Jonas Valanciunas played ten minutes off the bench as he scored six points while the Nuggets went into halftime with a commanding 59 to 47 lead.

The best team in the league would bounce back, though, as they sparked a 56 to 47 run, shooting forty-nine percent from the field.  During that run, Leonard added eleven more points to his scoring total, including a three-pointer midway through the third period.  Ibaka earned ten more points, along with three defensive rebounds and one assist.  Lowry would still struggle as he was only able to hit a three-pointer and two free throws, ending the game with five points.  Fred VanVleet played the most minutes off the bench but was kept scoreless.

On the other end of the court, both Murray and Jokic scored nine points each.  Murray would go on to collect three defensive rebounds and three assists while Nikola Jokic had six rebounds, five assists, and two steals.  Paul Millsap would only have two points, ending the game with six total.  Beasley played fourteen minutes off the bench as he had seven points which held a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter.

DOWN-TO-THE-WIRE:

With only forty-one seconds left, the Raptors would have a 101-100 lead.  Nikola Jokic knocked down a twelve-foot jump shot with forty seconds left to put the Denver team up by one.  After a missed two-pointer and a missed three-pointer by Danny Green, the Raptors would have no choice but to foul after Juan Hernangomez grabs the defensive rebound.  He would make his second free throw after missing the first one, giving the visiting team a 103-101 lead.

Coming out of a timeout with only seven seconds left in regulation, Kawhi Leonard would drill a jump shot to tie the game up at 103 apiece.  After a timeout called by the Nuggets, Serge Ibaka ended up committing a costly foul away from the ball, sending Jokic to the charity stripe.  He was able to knock down his free-throw, giving them another lead.  Once they got the ball back, Leonard would commit the intentional foul, sending Nikola Jokic right back to the line.  He was able to knock down both of his free throws.  With time running out, Kyle Lowry would be forced to attempt a pull-up three-pointer but would not make it as the Denver Nuggets hold on to be the Toronto Raptors, 106 to 103.

FINAL RESULTS:

Nikola Jokic finished the competition with twenty-three points, eleven rebounds, fifteen assists, and two steals while Malik Beasley had fifteen points, two rebounds, and one assist off the bench.  Kawhi Leonard had twenty-seven points, eight rebounds, and two assists while Delon Wright scored nine points off the bench, as well grabbing three rebounds, dishing off two assists, and committing two steals.

So…what’s next?

The Denver Nuggets will travel down to Florida to take on Nikola Vucevic (21.0 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 3.8 APG, 55.3 FG%, 40.9 3P%) and the Orlando Magic (11-12) on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.  This will mark the second and final time that these teams will see each other this season.  The last time they played each other was on November 23 when the Nuggets handed the Orlando team a 112 to 87 loss.  During that game, Trey Lyles scored twenty-two points, grabbed two rebounds, and dished off one assist while Terrence Ross finished with eighteen points and one assist.

The Toronto Raptors will host Joel Embiid (27.0 PPG, 13.4 RPG, 3.5 APG, 46.8 FG%, 30.1 3P%) and the Philadelphia 76ers (17-8) on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.  The matchup will mark the second of four times that these two teams will meet up this season.  The last time they saw each other was on October 30 when the Canada team escaped with a 129-112 win.  Kawhi Leonard finished that game with thirty-one points, seven rebounds, four assists, and four steals while Joel Embiid had thirty-one points, eleven rebounds, four assists, and one block.

The Los Angeles Lakers hold off the Phoenix Suns, 120-96

The Los Angeles Lakers hold off the Phoenix Suns, 120-96

The Phoenix Suns are dead last in the Western Conference, tying the Cleveland Cavaliers for the worst record in the league at 4-18.  They will look to avoid a fifth straight loss as they battle the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center.  The Lakers, on the other hand, are looking pretty decent after a 0-3 start to the season, holding onto a 13-9 record.  Their current win-loss percentage is 59.1%, marking the first time they had a fifty-percent win-loss percentage since the 2012-2013 season.

The Suns and the Lakers have battled each other a grand total of 308 in the past as the Suns won 130 times while the Lakers went on to pull out 178 victories.  This game between the Suns and the Lakers will mark the second of four times that these two ball clubs will meet up this season.  The last time they played each other was on October 24 when the Suns fell to the Lakers, 131-113.  Lance Stephenson finished that game with twenty-three points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and two steals while Devin Booker also had twenty-three points, along with seven rebounds and seven assists.

INACTIVES:

Phoenix Suns:

-T.J. Warren (ankle; 17.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 51.1 FG%, 45.0 3P%, 84.6 FT%)
-George King (G-League)

Los Angeles Lakers:

-Rajon Rondo (hand; 8.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.5 APG, 45.5 FG%, 42.9 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
-Alex Caruso (G-League)
-Isaac Bonga (G-League)
-Johnathan Williams (G-League; 3.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.7 APG, 57.9 FG%, 20.0 FT%)

GAMETIME:

The Los Angeles Lakers would have control most of the first half as they shot fifty percent from the field, keeping the Phoenix Suns to thirty-eight percent.  Kyle Kuzma lit the floor up with eighteen points while hitting two three-pointers in the second quarter.  Brandon Ingram helped out with thirteen points while recording three rebounds and two assists.  He also had a three-pointer, which he drilled early in the second period.  Three-time NBA Champion LeBron James was kept to just twelve points but did have three rebounds, four assists, and one block.  Lonzo Ball was limited to just two points.  Josh Hart played ten minutes off the block but was held completely scoreless as he only attempted three shots.

As for the struggling Suns, former Orlando Magic forward Trevor Ariza scored eleven points on fifty percent shooting.  He also had three treys in the first quarter while earning four defensive rebounds, one assist, and four steals.  Josh Jackson chipped in eight points while Deandre Ayton put up six points.  Devin Booker had six points, as well, but went down with a hamstring injury in the second quarter and would not return.  Elie Okobo played the most minutes off the bench but was kept scoreless as the Lakers went into halftime with a 61 to 46 advantage.

The California team would close things out in the second half as LeBron James scored ten more points while hitting a three-pointer late in the third quarter.  He also had three defensive rebounds and four assists while rookie Moritz Wagner contributed with ten points of his own.  On the other end of the court, both Troy Daniels and Richaun Holmes scored nine points off the bench each but it wouldn’t mean much as the Los Angeles Lakers go on to defeat the Phoenix Suns, 120-96.  Kyle Kuzma finished the game with twenty-three points, eight rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block while Richaun Holmes settled for a season-high fifteen points, along with one rebound, a career-high four steals, and a season-high four blocks.

So…what’s next?

The Phoenix Suns will host Buddy Hield (18.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.7 APG, 47.3 FG%, 41.1 3P%) and the Sacramento Kings (11-11) on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m.  This game will mark the first of four times that these two teams will clash with one another this season.  Last season, the Suns won the regular season series against the team, 3-1.

The Los Angeles Lakers will stay at home as they host Demar DeRozan (23.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 6.0 APG, 48.2 FG%, 18.2 3P%) and the San Antonio Spurs (10-12) on Wednesday at 10:30 p.m.  This will be the third of four times that these teams will see each other this season.  The last time they met up was on October 27 when the Spurs handed the Lakers a 110-106 loss.  During that game, DeRozan scored thirty points, grabbed twelve boards, gave out eight assists, committed two steals, and blocked one shot while LeBron James finished with thirty-five points, eleven rebounds, four assists, and two steals.

The Kings would hold off the Pacers, 111-110

The Kings would hold off the Pacers, 111-110

The Indiana Pacers are 3-3 since losing Victor Oladipo to a knee injury, losing recently to the Los Angeles Lakers, 104-96.  They will look to get back on track as they battle the Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center.  The Kings, on the other hand, are trying to end a three-game losing streak, their largest losing streak this season.

The Pacers and the Kings have clashed with each other a grand total of 87 times in the past as the Pacers won 48 games while the Kings were limited to 39 victories.  This event will mark the first of two times that these two ball clubs will meet up this season.  Last season, the Pacers swept the Kings in the season series, 2-0.

INACTIVES:

Indiana Pacers:

-Victor Oladipo (knee; 21.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 4.7 APG, 44.0 FG%, 34.5 3P%, 71.2 FT%)
-Ike Anigbogu (coach’s decision; 0.0 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.0 FG%)
-T.J. Leaf (coach’s decision; 2.0 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 0.3 APG, 38.2 FG%, 20.0 3P%)
-Kyle O’Quinn (coach’s decision; 2.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.3 APG, 42.9 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Edmond Sumner (coach’s decision; 0.8 PPG, 0.2 RPG, 0.2 APG, 40.0 FG%, 50.0 3P%, 0.0 FT%)
-Alize Johnson (G-League; 0.7 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.0 APG, 50.0 FG%, 0.0 FT%)
-Davon Reed (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG)

Sacramento Kings:

-Yogi Ferrell (coach’s decision; 5.3 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.9 APG, 41.8 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Harry Giles (coach’s decision; 5.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, 44.9 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 41.7 FT%)
-Frank Mason III (coach’s decision; 5.2 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 3.0 APG, 38.5 FG%, 17.6 3P%, 72.7 FT%)
-Ben McLemore (coach’s decision; 2.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.3 APG, 30.8 FG%, 40.0 3P%, 0.0 FT%)
-Skal Labissiere (2.4 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.3 APG, 46.2 FG%, 20.0 3P%, 80.0 FT%)
-Wenyen Gabriel (G-League)
-Marvin Bagley III (back; 13.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 0.9 APG, 51.0 FG%, 30.4 3P%, 64.8 FT%)
-Zach Randolph

GAMETIME:

Despite the Sacramento Kings shooting only forty-seven percent from the field while the Indiana Pacers shot sixty-one percent, the game would be kept extremely close.  Bojan Bogdanovic ended up scoring thirteen points which included a three-pointer in the first quarter.  Both Myles Turner and Tyreke Evans dropped ten points each as Turner pulled down seven defensive rebounds.  As for Evans, he was able to knock down two three-pointers.  2013-2014 NBA Champion Cory Joseph played the most minutes off the bench but was kept to just a three-pointer late in the first period.

On the other end of the court, Buddy Hield chalked up eleven points while shooting fifty percent.  He had two three-pointers in the process while recording one rebound and three assists.  Willie Cauley-Stein helped out with ten points while pulling down seven rebounds and giving out two assists.  Former Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Nemanja Bjelica had eight points while De’Aaron Fox was limited to just five points.  Bogdan Bogdanovic played thirteen minutes off the bench as he chalked up nine points but the Pacers would go into halftime with a tight 60 to 58 lead.

Both teams would come out of the locker room on fire as the Pacers completed forty-six percent of their shots taken while the Kings shot forty-two percent from the field.  Bojan Bogdanovic continued to add to his scoring total as the put up fourteen more points which included a trey in the fourth quarter.  Thaddeus Young contributed with six points, as well as Darren Collison.  Collison earned all of his points from beyond the arc, though, while Myler Turner had four points.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored eleven points off the Sacramento bench while recording two defensive rebounds, four assists, and one steal.  Fox helped out with ten points but only shot thirty-three percent from the field.  Cauley-Stein had seven points while pulling down six rebounds, dishing off one assist, and committing one steal.

DOWN-TO-THE-WIRE:

With one minute and thirty-two seconds remaining in the game, the Pacers would be holding onto a 107 to 105 lead.  But Willie Cauley-Stein would finish an alley-oop pass from Bogdanovic to tie the game up at 107 apiece.  The Indiana Pacers would respond as Darren Collison drills a three-pointer to take a commanding 110 to 107 lead.  But with thirty-five seconds left on the clock, Fox would make a running layup off of a fast break to bring the home team within one.  After a couple of possessions, the Kings would call a timeout.  Out of the timeout, Cauley-Stein would take the ball and slam it home to give the Kings a one-point lead.  The Pacers would have a chance to respond but end up committing a jump ball violation turnover, allowing the Kings to secure the win, 111-110.

THE FINAL RESULTS:

Bogdan Bogdanovic finished the game with twenty points, two rebounds, six assists, and a season-high two steals for the Sacramento Kings.  Bojan Bogdanovic settled for a season-high twenty-seven points, along with three rebounds, and two steals for the Indiana Pacers.

So…what’s next?

The Indiana Pacers will host Zach LaVine (24.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.8 APG, 43.0 FG%, 30.3 3P%) and the Chicago Bulls (5-18) on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.  The game will mark the second of four times that the Pacers and Bulls will play each other this season.  The last time they saw each other was on November 2 when the Pacers slipped away with a 107 to 105 win.  During that game, Victor Oladipo scored twenty-five points, grabbed fourteen rebounds, gave out five assists, committed two steals, and blocked one shot while Antonio Blakeney finished with twenty-two points and three boards.

The Sacramento Kings will head over to Arizona to battle Devin Booker (24.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 7.0 APG, 44.0 FG%, 31.7 3P%) and the Phoenix Suns (4-18) on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m.  This will be the first of four times that these two teams will play each other this season.  Last season, the Suns won the regular season series, 3-1.