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The Kings come back from a first-half deficit to defeat the Grizzlies, 102-99

The Kings come back from a first-half deficit to defeat the Grizzlies, 102-99

It’s been twelve straight years that the Sacramento Kings have missed the playoffs.  The last time they were in the playoffs was in 2006 when Rick Adelman was the head coach.  The Kings ended up losing in the first round to Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs, 2-4.  Since then, they have yet to be above .500 until this season, winning 52 percent of their games.

The Kings are, however, trying to break a two-game losing streak and avoid a third straight loss at home.  They are pretty confident that they can do so as the Memphis Grizzlies will be visiting California to take them on tonight.  The Grizzlies have lost four in a row and if they fail to win tonight, they will suffer their longest losing streak of the season at five.

The Sacramento Kings and the Memphis Grizzlies have met up a grand total of 87 times in the past as the Kings won 47 games while the Grizzlies were kept to 40 victories.  This game tonight will mark the third of four meetings between these two teams this season.  November 16 was the last time they saw each other as the Grizzlies defeated the Kings, 112-104.  Jaren Jackson finished that game with 27 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks while De’Aaron Fox had 23 points, 4 rebounds, 10 assists, and 2 steals.

INACTIVES:

Memphis Grizzlies:

-Dillon Brooks (knee; 6.8 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.9 APG, 40.9 FG%, 36.8 3P%, 77.8 FT%)
-Chandler Parsons (knee; 5.7 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.7 APG, 41.2 FG%, 30.0 3P%)
-D.J. Stephens (G-League; 2.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 50.0 FG%)
-Omri Casspi (illness; 5.4 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.9 APG, 56.3 FG%, 36.0 3P%, 60.5 FT%)
-Joakim Noah (heel; 4.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.1 APG, 45.5 FG%, 64.3 FT%)
-Ivan Rabb (coach’s decision; 2.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 0.7 APG, 63.2 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 71.4 FT%)
-Yuta Watanabe (coach’s decision; 1.3 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.0 APG, 33.3 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)

Sacramento Kings:

-Marvin Bagley (knee; 12.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 0.9 APG, 53.6 FG%, 34.6 3P%, 68.3 FT%)
-Skal Labissiere (coach’s decision; 3.2 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.4 APG, 40.0 FG%, 30.0 3P%, 54.5 FT%)
-Frank Mason (coach’s decision; 5.2 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, 39.3 FG%, 19.0 3P%, 71.4 FT%)
-Ben McLemore (coach’s decision; 2.2 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 0.3 APG, 20.7 FG%, 31.6 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
-Troy Williams (G-League; 5.7 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 0.6 APG, 46.0 FG%, 34.1 3P%, 60.0 FT%)
-Harry Giles (G-League; 5.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1.2 APG, 47.6 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 52.0 FT%)
-Wenyen Gabriel (G-League)
-Zach Randolph

GAMETIME:

The Memphis Grizzlies would have complete control in the first half as they shot 54 percent from the field, keeping the Sacramento Kings at a very low 29 percent completion.  Rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. ended up scoring 12 points while recording 4 rebounds, one assist, and 2 blocks.  Jackson Jr. knocked down a trey in the first period while Mike Conley also dropped 12 points, earning all of them from beyond the arc.

New Jersey-native Kyle Anderson chipped in with 8 points on a perfect 100 percent shooting from the floor.  Marc Gasol was kept to just five points in the 18 minutes that he played but was able to hit a three-pointer late in the first quarter.  He was also able to grab 5 rebounds but ended up turning the ball over four times.  Shelvin Mack played the most minutes off the bench as he earned seven points, hitting a trey in the first period.

On the other end of the floor, Iman Shumpert, who has missed the previous three games, scored 11 of the Kings’ 40 first-half points.  He was able to knock down two three-pointers in the second quarter while De’Aaron Fox helped out with nine points on 38 percent shooting.  Fox ended up hitting a trey in the first quarter while dishing off 4 assists and committing 3 steals.

The 2016-2017 All-Rookie selection Buddy Hield contributed with six points but shot a team-low 18 percent from the floor in the first half.  He earned all six points from behind the three-point line while grabbing five rebounds.  Willie Cauley-Stein only had four points in the 19 minutes that he played but did happen to get his hands on 8 boards.  Former Minnesota Timberwolves’ forward Nemanja Bjelica played 15 minutes off the bench but was kept scoreless as the Memphis Grizzlies walked into the locker room with a commanding 53-40 advantage.

The home team would make an incredible comeback as they sparked up a huge 62 to 46 run, shooting 48 percent from the field.  During this comeback, Hield added to his scoring total as he lit the floor up with 22 points, hitting four treys in the fourth period.  Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 12 points off the bench while hitting 3 three-pointers in the process.

Shumpert quieted down in after an impressive first half, going completely scoreless in the second half.  Cauley-Stein chipped in with eight points while recording five rebounds, two assists, and one steal.  Bjelica played the most minutes off the Kings’ bench as he dropped eleven more points.

As for the visiting team, Garrett Temple tried to keep the Grizzlies in it as he dropped 15 points, shooting 83 percent from the field.  He was able to drill 3 three-pointers while Conley had eleven more points.  JaMychal Green scored four points off the bench but it wouldn’t matter as the Sacramento Kings succeed in the attempted comeback, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies, 102-99.  Buddy Hield finished the game with 28 points, 8 rebounds, one assist, and one steal while Mike Conley had 23 points, a season-high-tying 7 rebounds, 5 assists, one steal, and one block.

So…what’s next?

The Memphis Grizzlies will stay in California to take on LeBron James (28.0 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 7.0 APG, 52.0 FG%, 36.7 3P%) and the Los Angeles Lakers (18-13) on Sunday at 9:30 p.m.  This will mark the second of three times that these teams will see each other during this season.  The last time they battled each other was on December 8 when the Lakers handed the Grizzlies a blowout loss, 111-88.  During that game, Kyle Kuzma scored 20 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, dished off 6 assists, committed one steal and blocked one shot.  LeBron James also had 20 points, along with 8 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 steals while Wayne Selden finished with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and one block.

The Sacramento Kings will host Anthony Davis (28.0 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 4.7 APG, 50.4 FG%, 33.8 3P%) and the New Orleans Pelicans (15-17) on Sunday at 6:00 p.m.  This will be the second of four games that these two ball clubs will play against each other this season.  October 19 was the last time they played each other as the Pelicans escaped with a huge 149-129 victory.  Nikola Mirotic finished the game with 36 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists while Willie Cauley-Stein settled for 20 points, 7 rebounds, and one assist.

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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 Mavericks hand the Hawks a 114-107 loss

The Mavericks hand the Hawks a 114-107 loss

It’s been three years since the Dallas Mavericks have made a postseason appearance and eight years since their first and only championship.  With the 7th seed in their possession and holding onto a 14-11 record, they will look to sneak into the playoffs this year.  The last time they made the playoff, they lost in the first round to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 1-4.

The Mavericks will hope to grab a third straight victory as they host the Atlanta Hawks at the American Airlines Center.  As for the Georgia team, they were able to bring a halt to a four-game losing streak by defeating the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, 106 to 98.  The Hawks made it to the playoffs ten straight times before seeing it come to an end during the 2017-2018 season.

The Hawks and the Mavericks have met up a grand total of 75 times in the past as Hawks won 43 games while the Dallas Mavericks were held to just 32 wins.  This will be the second and final time that these two squads will see each other this season.  The last time they met up was on October 24 when the Hawks handed the Mavericks a 111-104 loss.  Kent Bazemore finished that contest with 32 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals while Wesley Matthews settled for 23 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.

INACTIVES:

Atlanta Hawks:

-Daniel Hamilton (coach’s decision; 1.5 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.5 APG, 25.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
-Omari Spellman (hip; 6.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.0 APG, 38.6 FG%, 31.7 3P%, 75.0 FT%)
-Jeremy Lin (back; 11.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 3.1 APG, 51.2 FG%, 41.3 3P%, 84.1 FT%)
-Taurean Prince (ankle; 15.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 43.1 FG%, 36.7 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
-Miles Plumlee (knee; 4.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.9 APG, 68.2 FG%, 57.1 FT%)
-Alex Poythress (G-League; 5.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 0.8 APG, 53.1 FG%, 35.7 3P%, 47.1 FT%)

Dallas Mavericks:

-Ryan Broekhoff (coach’s decision; 1.5 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.2 APG, 35.0 FG%, 29.4 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Salah Mejri (coach’s decision; 1.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.3 APG, 54.5 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Dennis Smith (wrist; 13.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.2 APG, 44.0 FG%, 35.9 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
-Daryl Macon (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG)
-Ray Spalding (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG)
-Kostas Antetokounmpo (G-League)
-Dirk Nowitzki (ankle)

GAMETIME:

Both teams would start off hot as the Mavericks shot 45 percent from the field while the Hawks completed 43 percent of their shots.  John Collins scored 12 points for the Georgia team while gathering 8 rebounds and one assist.  He had help from Kent Bazemore, who offered 11 points, which included a three-pointer early in the first quarter.  Rookie Kevin Huerter had eight points while knocking down 2 three-pointers in the second quarter.  The other rookie, Trae Young, also had eight points which included two treys.  Alex Len played the most minutes off the bench but was kept to just two points.

On the other end of the floor, Luka Doncic chalked up 12 points while recording five rebounds and three assists.  2014-2015 NBA champion Harrison Barnes had 11 points while drilling 3 three-pointers in the first period.  Former Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan chipped in with 7 points, along with seven rebounds and one assist.  Dorian Finney-Smith played 14 minutes off the bench as he had five points but it was the visiting team that went into halftime with a 52-51 lead.

The Texas team would close things out in the second half as they went on a 63-55 run, completing 49 percent of their attempted shots.  During that run, Barnes continued to add to his scoring total as he put up 14 more points, which held two three-pointers.  Doncic had 12 points while grabbing 5 rebounds, dishing off 3 assists, recording one steal and one block.

As for the Hawks, they tried to stay in it as Young got hot for 16 points while shooting 57 percent from the floor.  Both Huerter and Bazemore helped out with 11 points each while John Collins contributed with 8 points.  Dewayne Dedmon scored seven points in the 18 minutes that he played in the second half but it wouldn’t matter as the Dallas Mavericks escaped with a 114-107 win.  Harrison Barnes finished the game with 25 points, 3 rebounds, and one steal while Trae Young had 24 points, 10 assists, and 2 steals.

So…what’s next?

The Atlanta Hawks will head to the TD Garden to take on Kyrie Irving (22.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 6.4 APG, 48.2 FG%, 39.1 3P%) and the Boston Celtics (17-10) on Friday at 7:00 p.m.  This will mark the second of four matchups between these two teams this season.  The last time they met up was on November 23 when the Celtics came away with a 114-96 win.  During that game, Aron Baynes scored 16 points, pulled down 9 rebounds, dished off 4 assists, and blocked one shot while Jeremy Lin finished with 19 points, 5 rebounds, 10 assists, and 3 steals.

The Dallas Mavericks will head out to Arizona to battle T.J. Warren (17.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.3 APG, 51.4 FG%, 43.0 3P%) and the Phoenix Suns (4-24) tomorrow at 10:30 p.m.  This will be the second of four more times that these ball clubs will play each other this season.  October 17 was the last time they met up as the Suns won the season opener, 121-100.  Devin Booker finished that game with 35 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists while Dwight Powell had 16 points, 5 rebounds, one steal, and one block.

The Spurs are able to hold off the Jazz, 110-97

The Spurs are able to hold off the Jazz, 110-97

The San Antonio Spurs are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.  The last time they failed to make a postseason appearance was back during the 1996-1997 season, a season before they drafted Tim Duncan.  Since then, they have won five championships, the most recent one against the Miami Heat in the 2014 Playoffs.  Right now, they sit at the 13th seed in the Western Conference with a 12-14 record, hoping to grab a second straight win over the Utah Jazz at home.

The Jazz, on the other hand, are trying to make the playoffs for a third straight time, losing the last two in the Western Conference Semifinals; one against the Golden State Warriors and one against the Houston Rockets.  The Utah Jazz will hope to win for a third straight time.

The San Antonio Spurs and the Utah Jazz have battled each other a grand total of 210 times in the past as the Jazz won 94 games while the Spurs went on to win 116 games.  This meeting will mark the second of three matchups between these two ball clubs.  The last time they saw each other was on December 4 when the Jazz blew the Spurs out of the building, 139-105.  Donovan Mitchell finished that game with 20 points, one rebound, 2 assists, and 2 steals while Jakob Poeltl had 20 points, 7 rebound, one assist, and one block.

INACTIVES:

San Antonio Spurs:

-Dante Cunningham (abdomen; 4.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.3 APG, 44.7 FG%, 44.2 3P%, 90.0 FT%)
-Pau Gasol (foot; 6.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.3 APG, 51.2 FG%, 57.1 3P%, 72.2 FT%)
-Dejounte Murray (knee)
-Davis Bertans (personal; 7.2 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 0.9 APG, 48.0 FG%, 44.9 3P%, 93.3 FT%)
-Lonnie Walker (G-League)
-Ben Moore (G-League)

Utah Jazz:

-Tony Bradley (G-League)
-Naz Mitrou-Long (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%)
-Georges Niang (3.3 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.5 APG, 44.0 FG%, 38.2 3P%, 85.7 FT%)
-Tyler Cavanaugh (G-League)

GAMETIME:

The San Antonio Spurs would show dominance in the first half as they shot 50 percent from the field, limiting the Utah Jazz to 36 percent shooting.  DeMar DeRozan, who averaged 20 points a game in his first 9 years with the Raptors, got hot for 16 points in the first half of this contest.  He also had 5 defensive rebounds and 2 steals while LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in with 14 points on 78 percent shooting.  Aldridge used his 6’11” height to his advantage as he pulled down 5 boards and blocked 2 shots from going in.

Brooklyn-native Rudy Gay was kept to just three points in the half while Bryn Forbes was able to cough up four points.  Derrick White scored only two points in the 16 minutes that he played as he attempted just three shots.  Marco Belinelli, who averaged a career-high 14 points last season, played the most minutes off the bench as he scored 8 points, including two 3-pointers in the first.

On the other end of the court, the Jazz’s leading scorer this season, Donovan Mitchell, was kept completely scoreless in the 18 minutes that he played in the first half.  He did manage to grab 3 defensive rebounds while stealing the ball twice from his opponent.  Thabo Sefolosha came off the bench to carry the load as he had 9 points, shooting a perfect 100 percent from the field.  He also had a trey while Rudy Gobert helped out with 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and one block.  Ricky Rubio also had seven points which held a three-pointer in the first period.  Royce O’Neale played 13 minutes off the bench as he had 5 points but it was the home team that went into halftime with a huge 54 to 36 lead.

Mitchell came out of the locker room hot as he lit the floor up with 27 points to make up for his poor performance in the first half.  He shot 53 percent from the field while hitting 3 three-pointers.  Rubio also scored more in this half as he had 19 points, finishing the game out with a total of 26 points.  Gobert added 5 more points to his scoring total while Derrick Favors had only two points, going scoreless in the first session.  O’Neale played the most minutes off the bench as he didn’t even attempt a shot.

As for the 5-time champions, Gay made up for his first-half performance as he had 20 points on 90 percent shooting.  He also had 10 rebounds, 2 assists, one steal, and one block while DeRozan saw to it that he got 12 points.  Forbes was able to get it going as he earned 11 points while LaMarcus Aldridge had just six points.  Former Portland Trail Blazers guard Patty Mills played 14 minutes off the bench as he had just a three-pointer but the Spurs were still able to hand the Jazz a 110-97 defeat.  DeMar DeRozan finished the game with 26 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, and one block while Donovan Mitchell had 27 points, 5 rebounds, one assist, 2 steals, and one block.

So…what’s next?

The San Antonio Spurs will host Deandre Ayton (15.8 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 59.5 FG%, 00.0 3P%) and the struggling Phoenix Suns (4-22) on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.  This game will mark the third of four times that these teams will battle each other during this season.  The last time they saw each other was on November 14 when the Spurs fell to the Suns, 96-116.  During that game, T.J. Warren scored 27 points, pulled down 4 rebounds, gave out 2 assists, and committed 3 steals while DeMar DeRozan finished with 24 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.

The Utah Jazz will visit Oklahoma to take on Paul George (24.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 4.4 APG, 42.3 FG%, 35.2 3P%) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (16-8) on Monday at 8:00 p.m.  This will be the first of four matchups between these teams this season.  Last season, the Oklahoma City Thunder won the regular-season series, 3-1, but ended up losing in the first round of those playoffs to the Jazz, 2-4.

The Memphis Grizzlies overpower the New Orleans Pelicans, 107-103

The Memphis Grizzlies overpower the New Orleans Pelicans, 107-103

The Memphis Grizzlies are currently in the midst of recovering from one of their worst seasons ever as they finished last year with a 22-60 record.  Last time they had a record that bad was back in the 2007-2008 season, the year before they drafted Marc Gasol.  The Grizzlies are coming fresh off a 96-86 win that earned over the impressive Los Angeles Clippers, who are also recovering from a disappointing previous season.  The Grizzlies will look to grab a second straight win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

As for the Pelicans, their season isn’t going as they planned as they are sitting at the eleventh spot in the Western Conference with a 13-13 record.  Last year, they made the Playoffs but fell to the Golden State Warriors in the Semifinals, 1-4.  Since then, they have been without DeMarcus Cousins, who averaged twenty-five points a game in the two seasons he spent with them.

The Memphis Grizzlies and the New Orleans Pelicans have battled each other a total of 60 times in the past as the Pelicans defeated the Grizzlies 32 times while the Pelicans captured 28 wins.  This meeting between the two teams tonight will mark the first of four times that these two ball clubs will see each other during this season.  Last season, the regular-season series between these teams were tied at two apiece.

INACTIVES:

Memphis Grizzlies:

-Dillon Brooks (knee; 6.8 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.9 APG, 40.9 FG%, 36.8 3P%, 77.8 FT%)
-Chandler Parsons (knee; 5.7 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.7 APG, 41.2 FG%, 30.0 3P%)
-Wayne Selden (coach’s decision; 5.8 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 41.1 FG%, 34.1 3P%, 86.7 FT%)
-D.J. Stephens (coach’s decision)
-Jevon Carter (G-League)
-Ivan Rabb (G-League; 2.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.7 APG, 61.5 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 60.0 FT%)
-Yuta Watanabe (G-League; 1.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)

New Orleans Pelicans:

-Nikola Mirotic (illness; 18.9 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.1 APG, 46.5 FG%, 36.4 3P%, 83.8 FT%)
-Elfrid Payton (finger; 9.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 47.1 FG%, 42.9 3P%, 63.6 FT%)
-Ian Clark (coach’s decision; 4.0 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 37.0 FG%, 31.1 3P%, 90.0 FT%)
-Andrew Harrison (coach’s decision; 3.8 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 1.4 APG, 31.0 FG%, 20.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Wesley Johnson (coach’s decision; 4.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.8 APG, 42.1 FG%, 43.2 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
-Jahlil Okafor (coach’s decision; 3.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.1 APG, 50.0 FG%, 100.0 FT%)
-Trevon Bluiett (G-League)
-Frank Jackson (G-League; 4.3 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 0.6 APG, 36.5 FG%, 29.6 3P%, 71.4 FT%)
-Kenrich Williams (0.8 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.0 APG, 33.3 FG%, 50.0 3P%)

GAMETIME:

Both teams made it very clear that this will not be a game that one would run away with as the Grizzlies closed the first quarter out with a 31-30 lead.  The New Orleans Pelicans  ended up shooting 55 percent from the field in the first half while the Memphis Grizzlies completed 49 percent of their shots.  Marc Gasol chalked up 12 points in the first half, earning four of those points from the free-throw line.  This would mark Joakim Noah’s second game in a Grizzlies uniform as he scored four points in his season debut against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Noah looked a little better this time around as he put up nine points on 80 percent shooting.  He also had four defensive rebounds and two assists as he came off the bench.  Mike Conley, who is averaging a career-high 21 points this season, struggled from the field as he made only 2 of his 6 shots, finishing the game with nine points.  Former Philadelphia 76ers guard Shelvin Mack played the most minutes off the bench but was held scoreless, only attempting 3 shots.

As for the Pelicans, Anthony Davis tallied 6 points in the first quarter and 13 points in the second quarter.  He shot 73 percent from the field while pulling down six rebounds, committed one steal, and preventing three shots from going in.  Julius Randle, who averaged 19 points for the Los Angeles Lakers last season, scored 13 points while Jrue Holiday chipped in 12 points.  E’Twaun Moore played 11 eleven minutes off the bench but only had two points to show for it as the home team walked into the locker room with a tight 60-58 lead over the Memphis team.

The Grizzlies would take it upon themselves to close things out as they sparked up a 49 to 43 run, limiting the Louisiana team to just 36 percent shooting.  JaMychal Green scored 13 points off the bench while New York-native Kyle Anderson had 12 points.  Both Green and Anderson had a three-pointer in the third quarter while shooting 71 percent from the field each.  Marc Gasol and Mike Conley would be limited to just three points each but Conley would take his from the charity stripe while Gasol had a trey.

Randle tried his best to keep the Pelicans involved with 13 points, along with 9 rebounds and 2 steals.  But it wouldn’t help that he had two turnovers.  Davis, who has averaged a double-double in all but one of his seasons (his first season), was kept to just six points on 20 percent shooting.  But he did have 5 rebounds, 3 assists, one steal, and one block in the final 17 minutes that he played.  Holiday helped out with 8 points but it was Memphis Grizzlies who pulled away with a 107-103 win.  JaMychal Green finished with a season-high 24 points, along with 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and a season-high three 3-pointers.  Julius Randle had 26 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.

So…what’s next?

The Memphis Grizzlies will host LeBron James (28.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 6.6 APG, 52.5 FG%, 36.9 3P%) and the Los Angeles Lakers (15-9) on Saturday at 8:00 p.m.  This game will mark the first of three times that these two teams will fight each other this season.  They tied the regular-season series up two apiece last season.

The New Orleans Pelicans will travel to Michigan to take on Blake Griffin (24.9 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 5.0 APG, 46.4 FG%, 36.2 3P%) and the Detroit Pistons (13-9) on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.  This will be the first of two times that these squads will see each other this season.  The Pelicans were able to sweep the Pistons last season in their regular-season series, 2-0.

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 Trail Blazers top the Suns with a 108 to 86 victory

The Trail Blazers top the Suns with a 108 to 86 victory

The Phoenix Suns currently hold the worst record in the league at 4-20 and things haven’t gotten any easier as they are now without their up-and-coming Devin Booker.  They are on their way to tying their longest losing streak of the season at seven games if they don’t win tonight.  Believe it or not, they have not had a winning streak yet this season.

The Portland Trail Blazers, on the other hand, are trying to avoid a fourth straight loss, which would mark their longest losing streak this season.  The Trail Blazers and the Suns have battled each other a grand total of 254 times in the past as the Suns won 135 games while the Oregon team was kept to 119 victories.  Tonight will be the first of three times that two ball clubs will go against each other this season.  The Suns got swept last season against the Trail Blazers in the regular-season series, 0-4.

INACTIVES:

Phoenix Suns:

-Devin Booker (hamstring; 23.5 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 6.7 APG, 43.9 FG%, 31.3 3P%, 84.2 FT%)
-T.J. Warren (ankle; 17.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 51.1 FG%, 45.0 3P%, 84.6 FT%)
-Ryan Anderson (coach’s decision; 3.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.1 APG, 31.7 FG%, 20.6 3P%, 78.6 FT%)
-George King (G-League)

Portland Trail Blazers:

-C.J. McCollum (ankle; 21.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.4 APG, 46.4 FG%, 36.1 3P%, 82.9 FT%)
-Anfernee Simons (2.2 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.2 APG, 33.3 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 25.0 FT%)

GAMETIME:

The Portland Trail Blazers would set the tone early in this game as they outscored the Phoenix Suns in the first quarter, 34 to 9.  This would not be the first time the Suns were held to just nine points in the first quarter as the Sacramento Kings had the same effect on them during the December 4th matchup.  The Suns would lose that game by seventeen points.  In this game, though, Troy Daniels scored ten points off the bench as he had two three-pointers in the second quarter.  Josh Jackson helped out with eight points on fifty percent shooting.  Overall, the Suns would complete thirty-eight percent of their shots in the first half while the Portland Trail Blazers completed fifty-five percent.

Damian Lillard got hot with twenty-one points for the home team while knocking down three three-pointers in the first quarter.  He also had five rebounds, six assists, and one steal.  Jusuf Nurkic chipped in seven points on only thirty-eight percent shooting.  Seth Curry was kept completely scoreless while Al-Farouq Aminu had five points.  Jake Layman played the most minutes off the bench as he had seventeen points while the Trail Blazers went into halftime with a commanding 62 to 41 advantage.

The Suns would come out of the locker room with a sense of urgency as they scored forty-seven points in the second half, twenty-seven in the fourth quarter.  Rookie Elie Okobo dropped nine points while hitting a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter.  De’Anthony Melton scored seven points off the bench while both Josh Jackson and Richaun Holmes had six points each.

The Trail Blazers would make sure to keep fighting as Zach Collins scored ten points in the eighteen minutes he played off the bench.  Evan Turner had six points off the bench while Lillard was limited to four points but his play wasn’t really needed for the rest of the game as the Portland Trail Blazers handed the Phoenix Suns a 108-86 loss, tying their longest losing streak this season at seven games.  Damian Lillard finished the contest with twenty-five points, five rebounds, eight assists, one steal, and one block while Troy Daniels had a season-high fifteen points, along with three rebounds, and one assist.

So…what’s next?

The Phoenix Suns will host Josh Richardson (19.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.3 APG, 41.1 FG%, 39.9 3P%) and the Miami Heat (9-14) tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m.  This will mark the first of two meetings between these two teams this season.  Last season, the Miami Heat swept the Suns in their regular-season series, 2-0.

The Portland Trail Blazers will host Karl-Anthony Towns (21.3 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 49.1 FG%, 41.2 3P%) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (13-12) on Saturday at 10:00 p.m.  This will be the third of four times that these two teams will battle each other during this season.  The last time the Trail Blazers and the Timberwolves saw each other was on November 16 when the Timberwolves defeated the Trail Blazers, 112-96.  Andrew Wiggins finished that game with twenty-three points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block while C.J. McCollum had eighteen points, one rebound, two assists, and one steal.

The Warriors knock off the Cavaliers, 129 to 105

The Warriors knock off the Cavaliers, 129 to 105

This would have been one of the most hyped matchups of the season but with LeBron James being gone, it’s just another game for the defending champions.  Tonight, the Golden State Warriors will visit the Quicken Loans Arena to battle the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers.  The Warriors are facing difficulties of their own, though.  They are currently trying to recover from their two only losing streaks this season; one being a four-game losing streak and another one being a recent two-game skid.

Even though they are still without Draymond Green, who is missing his ninth straight game due to a toe injury, the Warriors were still able to get past the Atlanta Hawks, all thanks to Stephen Curry, who outscored the Hawks in the first quarter by himself, 18-17.  This meeting between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers will mark the first of two games between these teams this season.  The Warriors swept the regular season series against the Cavaliers last season before sweeping them in the NBA Finals.

INACTIVES:

Golden State Warriors:

-DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles)
-Draymond Green (toe; 6.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 7.2 APG, 44.4 FG%, 22.2 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
-Damian Jones (pectoral; 5.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.2 APG, 71.6 FG%, 64.9 FT%)
-Damion Lee (G-League; 5.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.2 APG, 43.4 FG%, 41.4 3P%, 80.0 FT%)

Cleveland Cavaliers:

-Sam Dekker (ankle; 6.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.0 APG, 45.8 FG%, 38.5 3P%, 80.0 FT%)
-Kevin Love (toe; 19.0 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 3.5 APG, 32.3 FG%, 29.2 3P%, 81.8 FT%)
-David Nwaba (knee; 6.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.6 APG, 42.4 FG%, 22.7 3P%, 67.6 FT%)
-Ante Zizic (knee; 3.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 0.4 APG, 50.0 FG%, 62.5 FT%)
-J.R. Smith (personal; 6.7 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.9 APG, 34.2 FG%, 30.8 3P%, 80.0 FT%)

GAMETIME:

The game would be held somewhat close in the first half as the Cleveland Cavaliers shot forty-nine percent from the floor while the Golden State Warriors completed fifty-one percent of their shots.  Former Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood scored fifteen points while hitting two three-pointers early in the first quarter.  Rookie Collin Sexton contributed with twelve points which held three three-pointers while Tristan Thompson chipped in five points, eight rebounds, and one assist.  Larry Nance played sixteen minutes off the bench as he had nine points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block.

As for the Warriors, Stephen Curry got extremely hot as he chalked up twenty-five points while knocking down six three-pointers in the process.  He also had three defensive rebounds, four assists, and one steal while Kevin Durant earned ten points for himself.  Durant was also able to drill a three-pointer in the second quarter while grabbing five defensive rebounds, dishing off five assists, committing one steal, and blocking two shots.  Four-time All-Star Klay Thompson was kept to just six points on twenty-nine percent shooting while recording three defensive rebounds.  Jonas Jerebko played the most minutes off the bench but only had six points while the Cavaliers went into halftime with a 64 to 58 advantage.

The Warriors would hit the Cavaliers with a huge 71 to 43 run in the second half as they shot fifty-four percent from the field, holding the Ohio team to forty percent.  During that run, Curry continued to put up a shooting display as he had seventeen additional points, nine coming from beyond the arc and the other eight from the free-throw line.  He also had six defensive rebounds and three assists while Durant put up fifteen points with three three-pointers in the third period.  Thompson would make up for that tough first half he had as he scored ten points with two three-pointers in the fourth.  Jerebko played twelve minutes off the bench as he had only five points which included a three-pointer late in the third.

On the other end of the court, both Thompson and Sexton had nine points apiece while Tristan Thompson saw to it that he got eleven rebounds.  The second round pick in the 2015 draft Cedi Osman scored seven points while knocking down a three-pointer early in the third quarter.  George Hill would be held scoreless in the eleven minutes that he played.  Jordan Clarkson played the most minutes off the bench as he put up seven points but it wouldn’t matter as the Golden State Warriors defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 129-105 final score.  Stephen Curry finished the game with forty-two points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and one steal while Collin Sexton had twenty-one points, two rebounds, and three assists.

 

The Cleveland Cavaliers will host Buddy Hield (18.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.6 APG, 47.5 FG%, 41.8 3P%) and the Sacramento Kings (12-11) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.  This will be the first of two times that these ball clubs will face each other this season.  Both teams tied the regular season series last season at one apiece.

The Golden State Warriors will visit Wisconsin to take on Giannis Antetokounmpo (27.6 PPG, 13.2 RPG, 6.0 APG, 57.8 FG%, 11.5 3P%) and the Milwaukee Bucks (15-7) on Friday at 9:30 p.m.  This game will be second and last one that the Bucks and Warriors will play against each other this season.  The last time they fought each other was on November 8 when the Milwaukee Bucks handed the Warriors a 134-111 blowout loss.  During that game, Eric Bledsoe scored twenty-six points, grabbed four rebounds, dished off six assists, and committed one steal while Klay Thompson finished with twenty-four points, three rebounds, three assists, one steal, and two blocks.