The Skip Pass will be your home on Today’s Fastbreak for insights and nuggets on each game played in the NBA. This is different from your regular game recap or box score. We want to take you inside the game and call out things you might have missed.
Focus Games: Nuggets at Grizzlies, Mavericks at Lakers
Other Games: Hawks at Cavaliers, Timberwolves at Nets, Suns at Trail Blazers, Pelicans at Kings
GRIZZLIES 108 – NUGGETS 107
- The Grizzlies snatched victory from the jaws of a defeat. They forced Denver to turn it over and then got a buzzer-beater from Marc Gasol on a pretty baseline out of bounds play. Great pass from Vince Carter and terrific finish by Gasol.
- The Memphis bench was terrific, outscoring the starters 55-53. Carter led the way with 20 and Zach Randolph chipped in 16.
- Memphis gave Carter some diverse defensive assignments in this one, as they asked him to guard Danilo Gallinari, Gary Harris and Jamal Murray at different points. He did a solid job and isn’t a liability even at his advanced age.
- Playing without Wilson Chandler, the Nuggets’ bench couldn’t get much going. Just 25 total bench points for a group that had been solid so far this year.
- Offense wasn’t a problem for Denver. Allowing too many easy looks at the rim was. Jusuf Nurkic battled foul trouble all night long, so Memphis took advantage inside the paint.
- Kenneth Faried continued his resurgence as a valuable bench piece, as he had 11 rebounds and challenged a few shots at the hoop.
MAVERICKS 109 – LAKERS 97
- Harrison Barnes’ ascent from role player to featured scorer continued with 31 points on 11-18 shooting. Barnes is scoring in a variety of ways and has been handling the ball on a regular basis for an injury ravaged Mavs lineup.
- Seth Curry scored a career-high 23 points, including 4-7 from deep. Rick Carlisle has put him in good situations where he’s able to have in impact. In addition, he had four rebounds, four assists and three steals to cap a career night.
- Andrew Bogut had no real impact on the offensive end, but he was a deterrent all night on defense. He had several good challenges at the rim and grabbed eight rebounds.
- Turnovers did the Lakers in in this game. 16 total turnovers, six from Julius Randle alone, offset a good shooting night.
- Outside of D’Angelo Russell, the Lakers had some trouble sharing the ball. The guards especially were shooting almost every time they touched it.
- Not enough help from the Lakers veterans, as Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov combined for just six points on 3-9 shooting.
HAWKS 110 – CAVALIERS 106
- Dennis Schroder exploited the Cavaliers’ lack of a defensive point guard on his way to a career-high 28 points. Schroder got into the lane at will, and the Cavs had no answer for him.
- Mike Muscala’s productive 10-point night included a big time follow-up jam over Tristan Thompson and LeBron James.
- The Big Three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love showed up for this one, but no one else did. They combined for 76 points. Tristan Thompson was noticeably absent with zero points and only two rebounds in 25 forgettable minutes.
NETS 119 – TIMBERWOLVES 110
- Brooklyn continued to bomb away from the outside, shooting 12-33 for the game from behind the arc. Brook Lopez hit three more triples, which is as many as he had hit in his career entering this season. He’s now at 10 total threes on the year.
- Isaiah Whitehead played well with a 6/7/7 line in 26 minutes. He was also solid on defense against fellow rookie Kris Dunn.
- The Wolves need to win games like this to be taken seriously as a playoff contender. It starts with getting things cleaned up on the defensive end of the floor. Far too many lapses, especially in simple things like rotations after pick-and-roll/pop actions.
- Tyus Jones was a bright spot with 12 points, five rebounds, seven assists and five steals. He’s earned a spot with his play while Ricky Rubio has been injured.
TRAIL BLAZERS 124 – SUNS 121
- Another monster game for the Portland backcourt, with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum combining for 71 points on 23-41 shooting overall, 7-14 from distance and 18-20 from the charity stripe.
- Al-Farouq Aminu left the game with a calf strain after just four minutes. Any sort of lengthy absence would hurt Portland, as he is the key to their defensive versatility.
- In the backcourt battle, the Suns’ duo of Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker came up short, but still had a great night. They combined for 54 points on 17-31 shooting from the field and 16-17 from the line.
- Marquese Chriss got his first start of his career. He wasn’t great, but it pushed Jared Dudley to the bench and the reserve unit stabilized. Four players scored in double figures off the bench.
- Dragan Bender got the most playing time he’s seen so far and responded with 10 points. He played a lot at the 5 spot with Tyson Chandler out, and he presents a matchup problem for a lot of opposing centers.
KINGS 102 – PELICANS 94
- Nice game for Arron Afflalo with 15 points and only one missed shot. He could be the third scorer the Kings have been missing.
- Darren Collison made his debut after an eight-game suspension. He looked a little rusty, but had nine points and four assists off the bench.
- Once again, too little help for Anthony Davis. This time it was on the defensive end. The Kings scored far too easily from all over the floor with little resistance.
- No team seems to need some sort of shakeup more than New Orleans, who is now 0-8 on the season. They’ve been in just about every game, but they don’t have the talent to close out a win.