Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trail Blazer, Blazers win 136-119

Top Performers

Luka Doncic

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
15 6 10 7/19 0/5 1/6 1 1

Damian Lillard

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
36 5 10 11/20 4/11 10/10 0 0

Biggest Takeaways

  • The Portland Trail Blazers snap their five-game skid with a win over the Dallas Mavericks by holding Luka Doncic to a season-low 15 points. That and Damian Lillard dropping 36 points is the story of the game. Hate to make it sound so simple, but you have to realize that Doncic has been terrorizing the league all season long the last time he scored under 20 was in the opening game against the Orlando Magic where he scored 16 points, but he only played 16 minutes. So, for the Blazers, who are in the bottom ten in defensive rating, holding him to his lowest-scoring total of the season is major accomplishment .
  • Offensively though, the Blazers also reached their second-highest point total of the season with 136. This is due to seven players finishing in double figures including the trifecta of Lillard, Anfernee Simons, and Jusuf Nurkic combining for 80 points.
  • On the other hand, the Mavericks relied on Reggie Bullock, who was an absolute madman from three with all 24 of his points coming from hitting 8-of-10 from three. Spencer Dinwiddie led the team with 25 points and hit four three-pointers of his own, but the three-point barrage from these two just wasn’t enough.


Atlanta Hawks vs. Toronto Raptors, Hawks win 114-103

Top Performers

Dejounte Murray

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
27 8 9 10/17 2/5 5/6 2 0

Scottie Barnes

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
27 12 2 9/16 0/1 9/10 3 1

Biggest Takeaways:

  • The Atlanta Hawks were in complete control all night long as they never trailed in this game. The All-Star backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray looked in unison as they combined for 56 points and seemed to be getting whatever they wanted. A guy who has started to come along strong for the Hawks is Onyeka Okongwuwho is coming off 18 points and 20 rebounds in the win over Indiana, had another big night with 10 points and 13 rebounds in this one. With the trade deadline quickly approaching, Okongwu is starting to make those “trade John Collins” rumbles a little louder.
  • It’s about damn time. Although it came in a loss, it was good to see a good Scottie Barnes game where his two-way ability was just imprinted throughout the game. Of all the Raptors’ starters, Barnes was the only one effective, and good things happen when he is aggressive. He was tied for first on the team in shot attempts with 16. With news that the Raptors have become the new “Sellers team” heading into the trade deadline, the magnifying glass hones more on Barnes. His play over these next few weeks heavily influences whether or not the front office believes they can choose to rebuild around him or if they should simply re-tool.

 

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat, Heat win 111-95

Top Performers

Jrue Holiday

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
12 3 10 5/14 1/7 1/4 1 0

Gabe Vincent

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
27 3 2 11/14 5/8 0/0 5 0

Biggest Takeaways:

  • Vincent is on a HEATER! All puns intended of course. No, but seriously, over the last two games (both ironically against the Milwaukee Bucks), Vincent has combined for 55 points while hitting 10-of-19 threes along with seven steals. Maybe he just has their number or something, but the Heat continues to get strong production from guys stepping up to fill roles while others are injured.
  • Other notable contributors for Miami were Bam Adebayo and Victor Oladipo. Adebayo secured another double-double on the season with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks. Like I always say, the Miami Heat are a lot better when Adebayo is aggressive and, in this one, he led the team with 19 shot attempts. Good things happen when Adebayo operates as a high-volume scorer. Then there’s Oladipo, who also had 20 points as the leading scorer off the bench while playing the third-highest minutes on the team (35).
  • Rough night for the Bucks’ offense. Despite having six players end in double figures, the highest scorer for them was Bobby Portis with 15 points. The dynamic duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton are still out due to knee soreness.

 

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Indiana Pacers, Grizzlies win 130-112

Top Performers

Ja Morant

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
23 3 10 7/17 0/3 9/12 0 1

TJ McConnell

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
13 8 11 6/10 1/2 0/0 2 0

Biggest Takeaways:

  • Morant adds another unbelievable dunk to his list as the Memphis Grizzlies go on to get their 9th straight victory, which is the longest active winning streak in the NBA. The backcourt of Morant and Desmond Bane were locked in as they combined for 49 and Bane seemed to get his touch back a bit as he went 5-of-11 from three.
  • A guy to keep an eye on is second-year forward, Santi Aldama. I have a little Maryland bias toward the guy considering he went to Loyola, but he has developed into a Swiss army knife for the Grizzlies. He finished this game with a season-high 17 points, but he is typically not viewed as a scorer. He is a dirty work guy and his impact on the game shows throughout the box score with a steal here, a block there, a handful of rebounds, and so on. He is becoming a guy that Memphis trusts and he has become a very productive player.
  • This was a carry job by the Indiana Pacers bench to help even keep this close. With Chris Duarte leading the way with 25 points, the Pacers’ bench scored 66 of the team’s 112 points. Of the starters, Ben Mathurin (16 points) and Isaiah Jackson (12 points, seven rebounds, four blocks) were the only ones who imprinted themselves on the game. The Pacers are currently on a three-game losing streak, all coming after Tyrese Haliburton went down with an elbow sprain.

 

Boston Celtics vs. Charlotte Hornets, Celtics win 122-106

Top Performers

Jayson Tatum

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
33 9 6 12/27 4/14 5/5 0 1

LaMelo Ball

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
31 7 9 11/27 1/8 8/8 1 0

Biggest Takeaways:

  • With no Jaylen Brown (right adductor tightness), Malcolm Brogdon stepped up in a major way as Jayson Tatum’s wingman in this win. The two combined for 63 and each hit four threes. Marcus Smart played maestro to the who thing with 12 assists along with 13 points. Since the crazy blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder a few weeks ago, the Celtics are back to their winning ways as they are currently riding a six-game winning streak.
  • This should be considered as a tank season for the Charlotte Hornets, but at least Ball is playing well. Since coming back from injury in mid-November, Ball is averaging 24 points, 8.6 assists, and 5.4 rebounds on 41.9% shooting from the floor and 37.2% from three. If he didn’t have a sample size of only 20 games, he would likely be another guard getting heavy consideration for an All-Star roster spot this season.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, Timberwolves win 110-102

Top Performers

Jarrett Allen

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
19 8 2 8/10 0/0 3/3 0 2

Anthony Edwards

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
26 6 7 10/18 3/6 3/3 1 0

Biggest Takeaways:

  • The Minnesota Timberwolves got this one done off the strength of Anthony Edwards and great play from their bench. Naz Reid and Jaylen Nowell combined for 33 points and 11 rebounds. Even Luka Garza got in on the fun with nine points in nine minutes. But something worth noting is that after an awkward dap-up between former teammates Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, Gobert would go on to play only 13 minutes before leaving the game with right groin soreness. Not saying Mitchell gave Gobert “the Spida Touch,” but the injury could shelf another All-Star big man for the T-Wolves.
  • Speaking of Mitchell, he didn’t have a great game either. In 36 minutes, Mitchell had just 14 points and six assists while shooting 5-of-16 from the field and 2-of-9 from three. For the Cavs, this was all about the big men. Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley each had 19 points and eight rebounds while Kevin Love chipped in with six points and eight rebounds off the bench.

 

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Utah Jazz, 76ers win 118-117

Top Performers

James Harden

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
31 6 11 11/19 4/10 5/5 0 0

Jordan Clarkson

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
38 9 5 16/29 3/12 3/3 0 0

Biggest Takeaways:

  • With 5.7 seconds left in the game, Joel Embiid knocked down a big-time jumper to help steal the road victory against the Utah Jazz. Embiid finished the game with 30 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks while getting to the line 13 times.
  • Big night for the backcourt tandem of James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, who combined for 52 points and hit nine total threes. This was pretty much a game where the Three Amigos did all the heavy lifting along with Shake Milton who filled the Tobias Harris (out with left knee soreness) role as the fourth scorer as Milton finished with 17 points off the bench.
  • With no Lauri Markkanen (out with left hip contusion), Jordan Clarkson had the ultimate green light. As he led the team with a season-high 38 points, Clarkson took 29 shots with the next most shot attempts on the team coming from Malik Beasley who had 14. Mind you he played 36 minutes.
  • Strong games from rookie center Walker Kessler and Talen Horton-Tucker as well. Walker continues to prove that he should be considered for the All-Rookie first team as he finished this game with 15 points, 12 rebounds, a steal, and two blocks while shooting a perfect 7-for-7 from the field. We might need to start calling it the “Kessler Trade” instead of the “Gobert Trade.” Then you have Horton-Tucker who added 20 points and six rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench.