Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while finding Jesus on a tortilla…
LeBron James. No NBA game is over six minutes in, but this was about as close as it gets as Cleveland opened the game on a 21-0 run. It was another comfortable win for the Cavaliers, although an uneven one (Charlotte did come back). Of course, LeBron was at the center of it all with 27 points (on 19 shots), 13 assists (which were his most impressive plays), seven rebounds, three blocks plus late in the fourth when the Hornets were still hanging around and just close enough he hit a couple of key jumpers to seal the win.
Atlanta Hawks. Their recent winning streak came against a soft schedule, there was only one likely playoff team in the group. We all wanted to see a real quality win. We got that Monday. The Hawks withstood a fourth quarter run by the Bulls to pick up the win, 93-86. Down the stretch the Hawks were making defensive plays and getting key buckets from Al Horford (21 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in a throwback game) and others. That should make Hawks fans happy.
Los Angeles Lakers. That. Was. Ugly. The first half was statistically the worst half of basketball the Lakers have played since they moved to Los Angeles. They shot 16.3 percent, which is 7-of-43 from the floor. They gave up 60 points to a hapless Pacers offense. A Lakers team that had won three in a row clearly ran out of gas for a night.
Khris Middleton. Sure, he called bank. Down 94-93 to Phoenix with just 3.5 seconds left, Bucks’ coach Jason Kidd called a play where Middleton inbounded the ball then came out and took a handoff from the guy with the ball and used him as a screen. It didn’t really work, the defender turned him back, leading to an ugly shot and… it’s all about the results.
Kelly Olynyk. Yes, it still counts if it’s against the Sixers. Olynyk scored a career-high 30 points as the Celtics picked up a win over the Sixers. Actually Philly opened the game on an 11-2 run, but the Celtics turned it around when Olynyk entered the game (he had 14 first quarter points on 5-of-7 shooting). It was an impressive game as Olynyk was hitting threes and getting to the bucket (and finishing with confidence. Boston would like more of that please.
Robin Lopez. It was a fluke play, but the results for Lopez are a real problem — a fractured hand that will keep the Blazers center out for a while. It means more Chris Kaman and less of the Sideshow Bob hair of the Lopez brother. That’s not a win for anybody (save Kaman).