At face value, last night in the NBA was not that momentous or even interesting. The Spurs and the Warriors continued doing their thing, two close games were played in the East and the Mavs unexpectedly lost. However, it was much more than that. Five games with so much action going on that you didn’t know where to look.
The first matchup pitted the home Miami Heat against the San Antonio Spurs who are not lifting their foot off the gas for a moment this season. They sure didn’t in Florida last night. They actually lost the first quarter but soon bounced back, winning the next three to put this game neatly away 119-101. Tim Duncan is still out but he has Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge to pick up the slack. In the fourth quarter, young Heat center Hassan Whiteside got ejected for elbowing Boban Marjanovic in the face. A true noob move.
In NYC, Kurt Rambis had his debut as the head coach of the Knicks and the Washington Wizards were in town, looking for an easy win against a team that has been struggling of late. And the Knicks did struggle. Despite a great Carmelo Anthony showing (33 points and 13 rebounds), they couldn’t beat the Wizards led by John Wall and his 28 points and 17 assists. The game ended 111-108 for the away team and it became even more obvious that the Knicks have quite a bit of building to do still.
The Boston Celtics were in Milwaukee to take on the Bucks and it was a close game in the best sense of the word. The teams were exchanging blows in the first half and then the Bucks took the third quarter 40-20. The Celtics bounced back, actually tying the game up at 111-111 with a second to go. Then, Avery Bradley did one of the dumbest things an NBA player has done this year and fouled Khris Middleton on the inbound play. Middleton hit the first one and then intentionally missed the second for the final score 112-111.
Believe it or not, but the Dallas Mavericks and the Utah Jazz played an even tighter game in Texas with the Jazz team trailing for the vast majority of the game. Thanks to an incredible three pointer from Rodney Hood, they managed to first take the game into overtime and then Gordon Hayward won it for the Jazz on a buzzer-beater in OT. The Jazz are almost back to full strength and they are streaking. The rest of the West should beware.
In the final game of the night, the Houston Rockets were in Bay Area to meet with the Golden State Warriors and they suffered the same fate as every other team that traveled to Oakland this year. They were summarily handed a 123-110 loss and didn’t stand a chance at any point in the game. The worst thing for the Rockets is that this loss takes them down a spot in the Western Conference, with the Jazz jumping ahead.