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The Skip Pass: Last year’s finalists take care of business at home

AP Photo/Ben Margot

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: Celtics at Cavaliers, Thunder at Warriors

Other Games: King at Magic, Pacers at Bucks, Nuggets at Timberwolves



  • The Cavs showed the shorthanded Celtics no mercy. They repeatedly got good shots at the rim or kicked out for open threes.
  • Kyrie Irving was hot early, finishing with 23 points. LeBron James took over in the second half and closed the game with 30 points and 12 assists.
  • Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye were good off the bench, combining for 26 points.
  • One down point for Cleveland was allowing Boston to score 122 points, including 71 in the second half. Even though they were without Al Horford and Jae Crowder, the Celtics were still able to get good shots all game. The Cavaliers seemed to be fairly disinterested in extending much effort on the defensive end tonight.


  • Boston was able to rally back into the game behind a huge second half from Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas. The Celtics showed good grit to hang in this one despite being down two starters at the defending champs.
  • Thomas finished 0-6 from three but rebounded from a poor start (for him) to the year from the FT line by going 14-14.
  • Rookie Jaylen Brown was +15 in 35 minutes. He drew his first ever start and had a great all-around night. He finished with 19 points on 8-16 shooting from the floor and 3-6 from three. He also added five rebounds and three steals. The most impressive play of the night was when he got LeBron James on his hip along the baseline and drove for a two-handed dunk.




  • Kevin Durant put this one away early. He scored 29 of his game-high 39 in the first half. He got the upper hand in his first of many anticipated matchups with his former team.
  • Klay Thompson seemed to get back on track with 18 points on 7-15 shooting, including 4-8 from deep.
  • Andre Iguodala continues to have issues finishing at the rim. He’s missed several layups this year. He almost seems hesitant when he goes up and often double clutches.
  • It was a nice night for Zaza Pachulia. He played good interior defense and chipped in with eight points, 10 rebounds and a surprising five assists.


  • Oklahoma City was out of it by halftime after being outscored 37-11 in the second quarter.
  • Not many positives in this one, but Domantas Sabonis played fairly well on the offensive end with 13 points and three assists.
  • Victor Oladipo also played well, scoring 21 points on 4-6 shooting from behind the arc and 8-13 overall.
  • The Thunder simply couldn’t handle their former teammate Durant and got rolled over with the huge second quarter. They also seemed to let their emotions get the best of them at times. This is something to watch for when the teams meet again.


MAGIC 102 – KINGS 94


  • This was more like the Magic team we thought we might see. They controlled the pace and forced the Kings into to some tough shots. They were especially impressive in the fourth quarter, holding Sacramento to just 16 points.
  • Evan Fournier was one off his career-high with 29 points. The Kings had no answer for him as he shot 10-15 from the floor.
  • Jeff Green was impressive offensively off the bench with 15 points in just 19 minutes.


  • The Kings fell to 2-4 overall with a third consecutive road loss. This was a game that was winnable for Sacramento against a similar caliber of team.
  • Omri Casspi got his first significant playing time of the year with 23 minutes off the bench. He finished with 12 points and five rebounds.
  • DeMarcus Cousins continues to have a dominating season offensively. He finished with 33 points and manhandled the Magic big men inside all night.


BUCKS 125 – PACERS 107


  • Jabari Parker hit a career-high four threes on his way to 27 points. He’s rapidly developing into an elite level scorer.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo stuffed the stat sheet with a 27/7/9 line to go along with two blocks and two steals. He also defended Paul George for most of the night and forced him into 9-20 shooting.
  • Milwaukee got nice performances off the bench from Greg Monroe and Malcolm Brogdon. Monroe had 16 points, 16 rebounds and six assists. Brogdon added 12 points, five assists and three steals.


  • Indiana’s early-season struggles continued. They aren’t defending well at all. All too often Milwaukee got wide open jumpers or uncontested runs to the rim.
  • Al Jefferson looked like he was 50 years old in this game. He had problems getting up and down the floor and shot just 1-8 against an uninspiring Bucks frontline.
  • One bright spot was the play of Aaron Brooks off the bench. He scored eight points and added a little energy when he was inserted into the game.




  • Denver got up big and held off a fourth quarter Minnesota rally to even their record at 2-2. It looked like they might be headed for overtime again, but Nemanja Bjelica’s three at the buzzer went in and out to give the Nuggets the win.
  • Jameer Nelson and Wilson Chandler were excellent off the Denver bench. Nelson had 14/7/7 and Chandler scored 19 points on 8-12 shooting.
  • Jamal Murray had his first start of his career but disappointed going 0-8 from the field and 0-4 from three.


  • Karl-Anthony Towns was a handful all night with 32 points and 14 rebounds. He did struggle some on the defensive end as Jusuf Nurkic scored 18 points.
  • Kris Dunn’s second career start was up and down. He had just three points on 1-6 shooting, but handed out nine assists and snagged three steals.
  • The Wolves could use some more production from the bench. Only Bjelica showed up in this one with 14 points and eight rebounds. The rest of the bench combined for just nine points.

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