PBT’s Tuesday Night NBA Winners/Losers: Grizzlies grind ends Warriors streak

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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 thinking “Aliens” is the best technology movie ever

source:  Memphis Grizzlies. Welcome to the Grindhouse. In what was one of the best, most entertaining games of the season the Grizzlies ground down the Warriors, holding all that flashy firepower to 8.7 points per 100 possessions less than they average on offense. Stephen Curry shot just 9-of-25. Draymond Green was 2-of-11. Andre Iguodala 3-of-10. And the Warriors as a team shot just 41.1 percent. Meanwhile the Grizzlies got a combined 41 points from the big man combination of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph (the Warriors missed Andrew Bogut in this one). The Warriors are versatile, played small and the scrapped in this one, but Memphis played better down the stretch and got the 105-98 win and snapped the Warriors 16-game winning streak. I’ve been asked on a few talk radio shows if the Grizzlies can they keep this up come the playoffs? What do you think they’re doing right now — they dragged Golden State into a playoff style game and beat them. Teams should fear Memphis come the playoffs.

source:  Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder. We focused a little on Kevin Durant, who reached the 15,000 point milestone, but it was Westbrook who was the best player on the court in the Thunder’s win over the Kings. Westbrook had 32 points, seven assists, six rebounds, four steals, and he just put pressure on Sacramento all night long. With the win the Thunder are just half a game back of New Orleans for the eight seed in the West. That didn’t take long and they will be a playoff team by the end of the week. It’s going to be a much harder climb to catch the teams still above them, they aren’t going much higher up the ladder. Then at the end of the season it will get amusing to watch the teams at the top of the West jockey to avoid the Thunder in the first round.

source:  Milwaukee Bucks. That just sucks. When Jabari Parker went down Monday night I really wanted to believe it was just a sprain as first reported, even though when you watched the video of the injury and his reaction that didn’t seem likely. Tuesday night we found out the clear frontrunner in the Rookie of the Year race is out for the season with a torn ACL. That just sucks for the Bucks. This could mean more Giannis Antetokounmpo (playing the four), more John Henson when he gets healthy in the next week. And it could mean trouble for the playoff chances of the Bucks, who have looked good but Parker was a key part of their rotation.

source:  John Wall. He is playing fantastic basketball of late and that continued Tuesday night against Minnesota in another Wizards’ win — he had 21 points and 17 assists. That was the 100th double-double of Wall’s young career.

source:  Anthony Davis. The Pelicans’ star missed one game with a chest contusion but returned on Tuesday night wearing a special flak jacket for protection under his uniform. Clearly it didn’t slow him down — Davis had 31 points on 12-of-15 shooting, plus pulled down 9 rebounds and blocked three shots as the Pelicans picked up a win over Utah. The Jazz have a quality front line but they had no answer for Davis. Nobody does.

source:  The Barclays’ Center roof. Pretty new building to be sporting leaks already. But just more than a minute into the first half between the Heat and Nets the game was delayed because of a leaky roof in Brooklyn that was dripping on the court. It took more than 30 minutes to fix the problem. And no, even that could not save the Nets from another loss.

Watch Bam Adebayo score 38, lift Heat to win over Wizards

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MIAMI (AP) — Bam Adebayo scored a season-high 38 points and the Miami Heat beat the Washington Wizards 110-107 Friday night.

Caleb Martin added 20 points and Kyle Lowry finished with 13 points while Tyler Herro had 11 points and 10 assists for the Heat, who won their second straight at home against Washington after their 113-105 victory Wednesday.

Adebayo’s two free throws with 1:37 remaining put Miami ahead 105-104 lead then extended the advantage on a short jumper with 38 seconds left.

“It was one of those things where my teammates gave me the ball and I was taking advantage of the mismatch,” Adebayo said. “They were shots (Washington) let me have.”

Adebayo has scored in double digits in all 18 of his appearances this season. He’s had double-doubles in half of those games; Miami is 6-3 in those contests.

“He had a lot on his shoulders, really the last several games with a lot of different lineups and everything,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You need that stability from your leaders. I think at some point we’ll print up these shirts, `Mr. Reliable,’ and I’ll wear them, probably.”

Lowry also had eight assists, seven rebounds and a four-point play with 3:15 left for a 103-102 lead – the 11th of what would be 13 lead changes on the night.

And it was another close game for the Heat, who are already 4-3 in games decided by three points or less this season.

“That’s what’s happened really for, it seems like several weeks,” Spoelstra said. “It just feels like every single one of these games is going down to the last possession.”

The Wizards cut the deficit on Bradley Beal‘s dunk before Martin made two free throws with 12.5 seconds for the final margin, then hounded Beal defensively on the game’s last possession and forced the Wizards’ All-Star into a miss to end the contest.

“I take pride in trying to make stops,” Martin said. “Those are the types of situations you dream about, game on the line against a guy like Bradley Beal with the ball late shot clock. I just tried to make it as tough as possible.”

Beal and Kyle Kuzma finished with 28 points Kristaps Porzingis added 18 points for the Wizards.

“We did enough throughout the course of the game to put us in position to win,” said Beal, who returned from a one-game absence because of a quadriceps contusion. “We had several leads and ended up giving up those leads late. It was a matter of us getting stops at the defensive ends.”

Heat leading scorer Jimmy Butler (right knee soreness) missed his fifth straight game because of right knee soreness while shooters Max Strus (right shoulder impingement) and Duncan Robinson (left ankle sprain) also sat out.

The Heat rallied from a 12-point deficit late in the first quarter and cut it to 59-56 at halftime.

“Obviously, we had shots late that were makeable to keep them at bay,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said.

Another Hornets injury: Hayward out indefinitely with fractured shoulder

Philadelphia 76ers v Charlotte Hornets
Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images
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The basketball gods have not been kind to the Hornets this season. LaMelo Ball missed the start of the season with a sprained ankle, got back and played just three games before re-injuring it by stepping on a fan’s foot while chasing a loose ball out of bounds. Miles Bridges will not be with the team. Cody Martin had his knee scoped and is out, and Dennis Smith Jr. is out with a sprained ankle — and that’s just the guys out right now.

Now add Gordon Hayward to the list. He is out indefinitely with a fractured shoulder. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news.

Hayward has a long history of injuries and has battled shoulder issues all season. There had been hope in Charlotte that he could stay healthy long enough to contribute to some wins and build up some potential trade interest (his name came up in Russell Westbrook scenarios, for example). In the 11 games he played, he averaged 16.3 points and shot 38.1% from 3. Of course, a trade was always a longshot because Hayward is owed a fully guaranteed $31.5 million next season, no team was taking that on without sweeteners.

With him injured, a trade is out of the question (other than part of a salary dump).

Kevin Durant says ‘it’s cool to see’ LeBron break all-time scoring record

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LeBron James remains on target to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA all-time scoring record, although with the games he has missed this season the target date now looks more like late February/early March.

Kevin Durant is excited to see it, as he told Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“To be the No. 1 in anything, there’s 8 billion people in the world, we just figured that out last week, so to be the No. 1 of all time at scoring the basketball, I’m sure it’s going to be a range of emotions for him,” Durant said at Friday’s shootaround, in advance of a game against the Indiana Pacers. “But to be in an era where we see this live is pretty cool as well. You probably can’t even describe the emotions and feelings him and his family and his friends are going to go through, but it’s cool to see it up close.”

Durant is currently 18th on that all-time scoring list (having just moved past Kevin Garnett), which is impressive in its own right even if he is not going to catch LeBron. LeBron’s feat has taken all of his 20 NBA seasons, and that is what impressed the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich.

“LeBron is taking care of himself so well that he’s been able to play a bundle of games for a lot of years. And that’s what he takes,” Popovich said before his Spurs took on the Lakers. “But he gets credit for taking care of himself and being able to be out there. The way a lot of players don’t even come close to. His commitment to the game and to what he has to do, has allowed him to be in this position.”

LeBron’s quest continues to generate a lot of buzz around the league. He just hopes it’s not the lone bright highlight out of this Lakers’ season, but his team has a lot of work to climb up to the postseason out of a 5-11 start.

 

Leonard, George both out for Clippers Friday, Jokic probable for Nuggets

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When Kawhi Leonard returned and was put in the starting lineup, the Clippers said it was time to buckle down and truly start their season.

Instead, how about another round of injuries?

Paul Goerge is missing his third consecutive game with a hamstring tendon strain, while Leonard has a sprained right ankle and this is his second game out.

Adding to the troubling news for the Clippers in this game, Nikola Jokic is probable.

The Clippers won the first three games Leonard was back, and they have a ridiculous +31.7 net rating in the limited minutes that George and Leonard are on the court together. But the question heading into the season — even among those backing the Clippers to come out of the West (*raises hand*) — was whether would they stay healthy enough to live up to that potential? So far, the signs are not promising.

Yet, the Clippers are 11-8 despite the injuries and just a game back of the top-seeded Suns in a West where no team has run away with it. They are not out of it, but they must find a way to get their stars on the court together for an extended period.