If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while planning your vacation to a new island…
1) The Knicks came from behind to beat the Spurs? Yes. What’s next, the Washington Generals beating the Harlem Globetrotters? The Spurs led by 13 in the third quarter and looked like they would run away, but what Gregg Popovich said afterward rang true — the Spurs didn’t respect the game. The Knicks did — starting with Alexy Shved. The Russian point guard made the play that sent the game into overtime by driving the lane, getting Tim Duncan to commit on defense, then dropping the ball off toLou Amundson, who hit the layup to tie the game and force overtime. Then in what was a sloppy OT Shved made maybe the key play, getting Borris Diaw to leave his feet on a pump-fake and jump forward, so Shved could draw the foul and get to the line. Then he had the key defensive play in overtime tipping away Duncan’s pass to a cutting Kawhi Leonard. You know if Shved is making key defensive plays it’s just the Knicks night. The problem for the Spurs is in the crowded West this is the kind of win they need to have. San Antonio had played well of late, just a rough time for a one-off night.
2) Detroit got a big game from Reggie Jackson and beat the Grizzlies? Yes. Detroit had struggled since bringing in Reggie Jackson at the trade deadline — they had lost 10 games in a row. Jackson had been up and down trying to fit in with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe up front. You had to question if Jackson was right for this team or if the Pistons let him walk this summer when he’s a restricted free agent. But Tuesday night Jackson was brilliant, scoring 23 points and dishing out 20 assists, the second guy to do it this season (the other was Brandon Jennings the game before he got injured). Other Pistons scored 25 buckets when Jackson was on the court, he assisted on 20 of them. Jackson was more comfortable with the stretch four Anthony Tolliver in for the injured Greg Monroe, who prefers to play closer to the rim. This was a game Memphis will feel it should have won (especially if Portland climbs past it in the standings) — the Grizzlies were up 15 at the half. Mike Conley being out shouldn’t have mattered at that point, this was a winnable game. Throw some credit to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who had 16 points in the third quarter for Detroit, including some back-to-back threes that helped change the game’s momentum.
3) The Pelicans are the eighth seed in the West again. Remember if the Pelicans and Thunder finish the season tied, it is New Orleans with the tie breaker. That’s where we are again — both teams are 37-30 — after the Pelicans got the one-point win over the Bucks Tuesday. One that seems lucky after Ersan Ilyasova’s wide-open three to win the game (seriously, how did he get that open?) hit the rim, the backboard, the rim again and fell harmlessly to the ground. We really were all watching this one to see Anthony Davis (20 points, 12 rebounds) vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo (15 points, nine rebounds and five assists). They went head-to-head a few times, which is always entertaining. But Davis is happier with the 18 points from Quincy Pondexter, the 16 from Omer Asik and the win. With Serge Ibaka out for pretty much the regular season, the Pelicans have a real opportunity. Will they take advantage?