Thursday, July 30
4. Utah Jazz (42-23) beat New Orleans Pelicans (28-37) 106 – 104
- Top Performers:
Donovan Mitchell, UTAH: 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals
Brandon Ingram, NO: 23 points, 8 rebounds
- 💰UTAH +2.5, 💰u229
- Takeaway: Where was Zion?
15 minutes? Seriously? Once again, the NBA gave the Pelicans the spotlight of Opening Night, and once again NBA fans were disappointed by the severe lack of Zion. The Pelicans should have won this game. Utah is without their second best scorer and is just trying to stay afloat, while the Pelicans have a complete roster and are still fighting a very tough battle to get into the playoffs, which by any indication means Zion should play! They were up 12 at the half and 8 entering the fourth, yet they threw away their lead and Zion sat the final 8 minutes. What the hell is going on?! He’s had four and half months off and he still needs a minutes restriction?! Props to the Jazz for a solid comeback, but for real, this was the Pelicans’ game to lose. Where the hell was Zion?
Side note: Brandon Ingram is KD 2.0, don’t @ me
1. Los Angeles Lakers (50-14) beat 2. LA Clippers (44-21) 103- 101
Anthony Davis, LAL: 34 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists
Paul George, LAC: 30 points (6/11 3pt), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals
- 💰LAC +4.5, 💰u219
- Takeaway: Paul George can ball
The Clippers lost, but wow did Paul George show that he can ball. Lou Williams is still sitting out because he couldn’t help himself to some Magic City wings and Montrezl Harrell is out for personal reasons, so the Clippers were forced to play without the depth they usually thrive off of. They currently lead the NBA in bench points averaging 50-something per game. Out of those 50, Lemon Pepper Lou and Trez combine to average 37.3 of them. With them out, everybody else would have to pick up the slack. Behind Paul George and Kawhi, the Clippers still managed to come within two points of a fully loaded Lakers squad, with a shot at the end to win it. Both Clippers stars had outstanding nights, but wow, Paul George couldn’t miss. He torched the Lakers shooting 54% from behind the arc and 64% from the field, punishing anybody who dared to give him just enough space to pull up. Him and Kawhi put the clamps on Bron for the first three quarters, too, and willed the Clippers into a game they were supposed to be out of. Props to the Lakers for securing the bag. AD had a great night (he spent most of it on the FT line, though) and LeBron showed everyone at the end of the game why you should never doubt the King.
Side note: Where did LeBron’s gray beard go?
Friday, July 31
7. Orlando Magic (31-35) beat 8. Brooklyn Nets (30-35) 128 – 118
Nikola Vuvevic, ORL: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, BKN, 24 points, 4 rebounds
- 💰ORL -8.0, 💰o210.5
- Takeaway: Yes, the Nets are that bad
Okay, I was a Brooklyn believer going into this. I knew they were missing half of their team, but they did okaaay in the scrimmages, and the Magic are just bad enough that I thought the Nets had a shot. I took Brooklyn +7.5, and boy was I wrong. The first half was okay for Brooklyn, nobody was really playing defense and they hung in there with some surprisingly strong shooting from the field. But as soon as they got cold, they completely collapsed. They were outscored by 41-23 in the second half. They couldn’t make a shot for their life, and on the other end of the court, some traffic cones may have been more effective at stopping Orlando. Once the Magic went up big, there was no coming back despite Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot’s (who?) best efforts. The Magic swapped places with the Nets in the standings, and for future reference, do not bet on the Nets. The overs might be cash, though…
Side note: $5 to anyone who can name five players on the Nets roster without looking
Portland Trail Blazers (30-37) beat 8. Memphis Grizzlies (32-34) 140 – 135 OT
C.J. McCollum, POR: 33 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals
Jaren Jackson Jr., MEM: 33 points, 3 rebounds
- 💰POR -3.5, 💰o224.5
- Takeaway: The Blazers came to ball
Insane game and good play all around. Both teams had double digit leads, and both teams lost double digit leads. This game should be motivating for both franchises, despite the fact that the Grizzlies lost. Both teams showed they’re more than capable of contending in this highly competitive environment, Portland just got hot in overtime. Would watch again 10/10 times.
Side note: Melo is BACK! Until next game…
Phoenix Suns (27-39) beat Washington Wizards (24-41) 125 – 112
Devin Booker, PHX: 27 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
Rui Hachimura, WAS: 21 points, 8 rebounds
- 💰PHX -7.0, 💰o224.5
- Takeaway: The Booker-Ayton duo has potential
Phoenix showed a lot of promise this game. Ayton played very well, taking and making threes and making his presence known in the paint. Devin Booker was still Devin Booker, and in short the Suns won a game that they should have won. For Washington, Rui Hachimura showed he has a lot of potential in this league and should be dangerous in years to come. But right now he’s still on a desolate Washington team with little to play for.
Side note: Did anyone actually watch this game? I could put anything here and you would believe it…
1. Milwaukee Bucks (54-12) beat 3. Boston Celtics (43-22) 119 – 112
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL: 33 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists
Jaylen Brown, BOS: 22 points, 4 rebounds
- 💰MIL -4.5, 💰o218.5
- Takeaway: Too much golf?
Jayson Tatum has been spending too much time on the links and not enough time in the gym. He’s a very mental player. This is why when he’s hot he’s practically unstoppable and will pull up from 30 feet, but when he’s cold, and he knows he’s cold, he becomes a walking brick. It was very evident that four and a half months off took a toll on Tatum’s game. As soon as he started missing shots, the misses only got worse. He finished the night 2-18 from the field, with multiple defensive lowlights towards the end of the game as well. Let’s hope this turns around quick, because the rest of Boston looked ready for anything, and with pre-hiatus Tatum back they could go all the way.
Side note: Terrible officiating in crunch time raised a lot of eyebrows. How much leeway is Giannis permitted just because he’s Giannis? The MVP is awarded two extra fouls to give, apparently.
San Antonio Spurs (28-36) beat Sacramento Kings (28-37) 129 – 120
DeMar DeRozan, SAS: 27 points, 5 rebounds, 10 assists
De’Aaron Fox, SAC: 39 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists
- 💰SAS +3.5, 💰o223
- Takeaway: This is DeRozan’s team
DeMar went off in the fourth quarter, scoring 17 points and taking over the game to secure the win for the Spurs. He showed incredible control over the game, choosing his shots meticulously and getting the exact results he wanted. This was a fantastic performance for DeMar and served as a great reminder to the rest of the league that they can’t be caught sleeping on the Spurs. De’Aaron Fox proved a tough handle all night, giving San Antonio the work with 39 points. Overall, the Kings looked good, but they were no match for Pop and the Spurs, who look to be heating up.
Side note: De’Aaron Fox with less hair is even faster than before, confirmed.
6. Houston Rockets (41-24) beat 7. Dallas Mavericks (40-28) 153 – 149 OT
James Harden, HOU: 49 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 blocks, 3 steals
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL: 39 points, 16 rebounds, 2 steals
- 💰HOU +1.0, 💰o232.5
- Takeaway: Infinite points
Holy scoring. The Mavs and Rockets combined for 160 points in the first half, the highest scoring half in over 20 seasons. Both teams were firing at a crazy rate, and it seemed like there was no defense played. On Houston, Harden had another explosive night, dropping 49 on a near triple-double, while Russ was also 2 assists off one with 31 points for himself. Kristaps Porzingis took advantage of Houston’s small lineup, clearly, dropping 39, and Luka recorded a triple-double for himself while Trey Burke lit it up off the bench with 8 threes. Seemingly everyone was unstoppable in this nailbiter and heartbreaking loss for Dallas. What a comeback from Houston, though, who managed to comeback from down 7 points in the last 45 seconds.
Side note: Harden broke basketball. I forgot how infuriating it was to watch him draw a thousand fouls every night. This was a sharp reminder.