Hornets vs Cavaliers

Why isn’t Montrezl Harrell starting for the Hornets? Just because he won 6th Man of the Year doesn’t mean he’s permanently a sixth man. Especially when you play Mason Plumlee over him. In every single game, Harrell has outplayed Plumlee, so why is he still starting? Only other thing to comment on is Isaiah Thomas receiving another 10 day contract, putting up 10 points, five rebounds, and three assists. We’ll see how he fits, and if his contract is guaranteed for the rest of the year, but personally I doubt it. As for the Cavaliers, Daruis Garland was the only one to show up offensively, putting up 33 points on 60% shooting.

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Pacers vs Magic

The most underrated trade day acquisition might be Jalen Smith for the Indiana Pacers. Stuffing the statsheet last night with 13 points and 15 rebounds on 66% shooting, 50% three-point shooting, and perfect free-throw percentage. Now, 15 rebounds obviously isn’t sustainable but in his last three games he’s averaged eight, which is a huge improvement. It’s nights like these that lead to more opportunities and more playing time, especially on a rebuilding roster. As for the Magic, I have nothing to say. A young core trying to balance minutes, opportunities, and shot attempts while Markelle Fultz nurses back to health on the bench. Once healthy I fully expect him to take over the starting role, sliding Cole Anthony down to the two and leaving Jalen Suggs on the bench.

Knicks vs 76ers

Since the All Star break, RJ Barrett is playing like a gosh darn All-Star starter. Averaging 28 points, six assists, and four rebounds in his last ten, putting up 30 points, six rebounds, and seven assists last night. Not to be outshined, Julius Randle has also been returning to form as of late, averaging 28 points, six rebounds, and four assists in his last ten games. Unfortunately, their coach still can’t figure out a competent rotation around them. Why is Jericho Sims playing almost as many minutes as Cam Reddish? Granted, a big was needed to match up against Joel Embiid, but a wing defender for James Harden or Tyrese Maxey would’ve been more prudent, since they were cooking. Speaking of which, notice who I didn’t mention in that description, Tobias Harris. He might be losing his place on the team with Harden generating more offensive opportunities for Maxey, and both Matisse Thybulle and Joel Embiid outpacing him defensively. It’s gonna be one interesting offseason for the 76ers, that’s for sure.

Jazz vs Rockets

I have very little to say on this match up. Everyone who was expected to perform, did so last night. Here’s two minor thoughts I had while watching this game. Why do the Jazz keep giving Trent Forrest more opportunities than Nickeil Alexander-Walker? Walker didn’t play at all while Forest played 10 minutes. The same thing happens when comparing their averages. Additionally, wasn’t it supposed to be Sengun Season after the All-Star break? Wasn’t the point of trading Daniel Theis to free up the paint for Alperen Sengun? I realize he missed every contested shot he took, but his PER numbers are quite good. Give him more chances, Houston.

Heat vs Bucks

Will the lack of scoring come back to bite the Heat? When Gabe Vincent is the second-highest scorer, there may be a problem in the playoffs. However, it is only a regular season game, so we can’t judge too heavily yet. As for the Bucks, was it really worth cutting DeMarcus Cousins to trade for Serge Ibaka? I’m still upset at that, as he was exactly what was needed and is now killing it in Denver. But you thought you could get better and now you’re stuck with Ibaka, Greg Monroe, and down Donte DiVincenzo.

Kings vs Pelicans

Why must the Kings be the Kings? That is to say, why must the Sacramento Kings suck? Not to get too personal, but an underdog franchise trading for one of my favorite players currently playing is a team I now want to cheer for. Why must they suck? To highlight a few positives from last night, Domantas Sabonis nearly had another triple-double, putting up 15 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists. Donte DiVincenzo put up a solid defensive effort, grabbing four steals last night.

As for the Pelicans, last night was the best result from a Zion-less roster. Defensively, Jonas Valanciunas and Herbert Jones locked down, contributing 14 defensive rebounds and three blocks respectively. Whilst on the offensive end CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram took care of business scoring 17 and 33 respectively. Jaxson Hayes did a little bit of everything, but once Zion Williamson returns, he will revert to a reserve role.

Thunder vs Nuggets

If you wanna play a fun game, head over to the box score for the Thunder, look at the bench and see if you can recognize a single player. Special shoutouts to Lindy Waters III and Olivier Sarr for the most 2K generated sounding names. I jest, they’re both better basketball players then I will ever dream of being, and hey they beat the hottest team in basketball. As for highlights last night Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continues to go on a tear putting up 29 points. Tre Mann has established himself as a rotational player for this squad, as he’s a great spark of energy and should continue to see more minutes.

You know what stands out to me about this loss? The Nuggets as a team collectively only had 25 assists, four coming from Nikola Jokic. The ball movement was absolutely abysmal last night. It’s a combination of not hitting open guys and shooters not moving off the ball enough. Bones Hyland was the one exception, hitting five of six three-point attempts. I talked up DeMarcus Cousins earlier, but you can clearly see the effects of age on him. Not as agile or engaged on the defensive side of the ball.

Trail Blazers vs Suns

The Blazers played 10 different players by the end of the first quarter. Did anyone truly expect them to win this game? In fairness, by the end of the game both teams had exhausted their benches so, fair is fair. Just an absolute blowout of a game with the Suns winning 120-90.