Post Up: Stay Woke

With fifth straight win, the Toronto Raptors are dominating the L, whether you notice or not.
by November 25, 2014
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Clippers 113 (8-5), Hornets 92 (4-11)

Coming off a game in which he scored a season-low 12 points, Blake Griffin got his mojo back in the Clippers’ Monday night match-up against the Hornets. Griffin recorded his season-high in rebounds (16) in addition to scoring 22 points. All-Star teammate, Chris Paul (22 points and 15 assists), put up a nifty double-double himself. He also got crossed up pretty bad, courtesy of Charlotte’s Kemba Walker (15 points and 6 assists):

But Kemba wasn’t the leading man for the Hornets. Cody Zeller, who saw a career-high scoring night (17 points) off the bench, had the hot hand on 5-7 shooting. When all was said and done however, Los Angeles was successful in giving Charlotte their sixth loss in a row.

Cavaliers 106 (6-7), Magic 74 (6-10)

Remember how LeBron said he wasn’t doing his job and that he stinks? Well, um…that wasn’t the case last night at all. The Cleveland Cavaliers hosted the Orlando Magic at the Q and blew ‘em outta there, ending their four-game losing streak. In the first quarter alone, James (29 points, 11 assists, 3 steals) had 16 points—the same number of points the entire Magic team scored in the opening and final periods. The Cavs’ lead extended to 33 at its peak, and they beat the Magic on fast break points 21-6. The Magic, who lost their second consecutive game, were led by Victor Oladipo (22 points and 9 rebounds) and Nikola Vucevic (18 points and 13 rebounds). They’ll look to bounce back Wednesday when they host the Golden State Warriors.

Trail Blazers 114 (11-3), Sixers 104 (0-14)

When we’ll see the Philadelphia 76ers’ first win…we’ll just never know. When we’ll see the Trail Blazers lose to break their current eight-game winning streak…we’ll also never know. The Sixers led by 2 at halftime last night, and built their advantage up to 6 in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Not soon after, the Blazers woke up and went on a 28-10 run. LaMarcus Aldridge (33 points and 11 rebounds) recorded 15 in the third to lead the Blazers in scoring their 39 points compared to the home team’s 28 in the quarter. It was a night of many points in the paint—70 of Philly’s points came from inside, which makes sense considering they were cold from the arc, 0-8. There’s always the next one…

Raptors 104 (12-2), Suns 100 (9-6)

The Raps continue to quietly dominate the NBA from The North. Currently sitting atop the Eastern Conference, and tied for the best record in the League, yeah um, HELLO TORONTO! Right from the start Toronto showed their prowess, led by center Jonas Valanciunas (27 points and 11 rebounds), who scored 15 points in the first quarter on a perfect 5-5. They headed into the locker room up by 6 and continued the solid play in the third to build a 17-point lead. The Suns vowed not to be put away so easily, however. They went on a 14-0 run early in the fourth quarter, made possible by an Eric Bledsoe (25 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) 3-pointer, a Markieff Morris (17 points and 8 rebounds) dunk, and another three 3-pointers from Isaiah Thomas (16 points). With 34.6 seconds left on the clock and the game tied, Patrick Patterson hit two clutch free throws—his only 2 points of the night—to put the Raptors up 100-98. Kyle Lowry (14 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals) spoiled the Suns’ attempt to tie the game, leading to a jump ball that the Raps controlled. After that, a game of fouling and hitting free throws persisted, and Toronto improved to 12-2, as the Suns fell to 9-6.

Rockets 91 (11-3), Knicks 86 (4-11)

It was all James Harden (36 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals) at the Toyota Center yesterday night. He led his Dwight-less Rockets to W over the visiting Knicks. Harden scored 14 points in the first half and 12 in the last five minutes of the game to help Houston close the game on a 19-4 run. The Knicks were Melo-less in the latter half—Carmelo Anthony (14 points and 7 rebounds) headed to the locker room before the second quarter ended due to back spasms, but of course, he was still New York’s leading scorer. The Knicks attempted to foul the Rockets three times in the final seconds, but the referees called nothing. Mike Breen noted that although calling the fouls in this particular situation wouldn’t change the end result, that doesn’t mean refs should ignore what’s going on right in front of them.

Pacers 111 (6-8), Mavericks 100 (10-5)

Another night, another milestone for Dirk Nowitzki. With a classic J in the Mavericks’ first quarter last night against the visiting Pacers, Dirk (22 points and 11 rebounds) passed Oscar Robertson for the No. 16 spot on the all-time made field goals list. Despite the feat, the Mavs lost their second home game of the season, allowing 111 points to the team ranked 28 in offense. The arc helped the Pacers a lot—they shot 50 percent from downtown, hitting 13-26. Donald Sloan (29 points and 5 assists) helped the Pacers a lot too, putting up game-high numbers on the road.

Bulls 97 (9-5), Jazz 95 (5-10)

Chicago opened their road match against Utah by outscoring their opponents 30-14 with both Pau Gasol (23 points and 9 rebounds) and Derrick Rose (18 points and 5 assists) in the starting lineup. They had a 21-point lead in the second quarter over the home team, but the Jazz weren’t having any of that. They rallied big time, outscoring the Bulls 36-22 in the third quarter to eventually take their first lead in the fourth. Also in the fourth, this powerful move by Enes Kanter (19 points and 8 rebounds):

Down two in the final seconds, Gordon Hayward (6 points, 4 rebounds) attempted a 3-pointer for the win, but came up short.