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The Skip Pass: A letdown in LA

Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. (7) falls over Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry after Curry pulled Nance down during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo

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: Hornets at Nets, Warriors at Lakers

Other Games: Hawks at Wizards, Heat at Raptors, Knicks at Bulls, Suns at Pelicans, Clippers at Grizzlies, Trail Blazers at Mavericks, Spurs at Jazz

HORNETS 99 – NETS 95

HORNETS

  • Kemba Walker and Nic Batum combined for 22 of the Hornets’ 23 first-quarter points. They shot 9-16 from the floor, while the rest of the team was 0-8.
  • The poor shooting continued in to the second quarter. Walker, Batum and Spencer Hawes combined to shoot 16-29 at the half. The remaining Hornets were 1-17.
  • The Hornets are off to a 4-1 start. Continuity of returning all five starters is a key, especially this early in the season.

NETS

  • Isaiah Whitehead made his first career start at PG, with both Jeremy Lin and Greivis Vasquez injured. He finished with eight points and had several strong drives to the basket. He’s not a pure PG, but the Nets can afford to give him developmental minutes while Lin and Vasquez are out.
  • The Nets continue to bomb away from distance. It hurt them as they were just 9-36 from downtown. They missed several threes late when they had a chance to tie the game.
  • Trevor Booker had a strong night with 12 points and 13 rebounds. He’s played well for the Nets, and his reasonable contract makes him a tradeable piece. If Brooklyn is looking for assets at the trade deadline, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Booker get moved.

LAKERS 117 – WARRIORS 97

LAKERS

  • The Lakers jumped out to a big lead early and never looked back. Any time Golden State made any sort of mini-run, Luke Walton would call timeout or one of the Lakers’ youngsters would make a play to get things back on track.
  • Brandon Ingram didn’t shoot well, just 2-8, but he was 8-9 from the free throw line. He also had six rebounds and three assists, and he finished a game-high +23.
  • If people still bought posters, Larry Nance Jr. would have put David West on one with a huge dunk in the first half. Nance had 12 points on 6-6 shooting and nine rebounds off the bench.
  • Lou Williams chipped in 20 points off the pine and gave the Lakers great confidence by going right at the Warriors from the moment he got in the game.

WARRIORS

  • Stephen Curry’s streak of 157 games with a made three-pointer came to an end. He was 0-10 from the behind the arc.
  • Both Curry and Klay Thompson couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat. They were a combined 2-20 from three and 9-35 overall. The Warriors aren’t likely to win many games with play like that from their backcourt.
  • Overall, the Warriors looked sluggish and disinterested. After an emotional night vs Kevin Durant’s former team and then traveling to Los Angeles, some letdown was to be expected. But this Warriors group doesn’t seem to have quite the same killer instinct as the version of the last two years.

WIZARDS 95 – HAWKS 92

WIZARDS

  • Big night for the Washington backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal. They combined for 49 points, helped by 19-22 shooting from the charity stripe.
  • Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat were also solid up front with 24 total rebounds and 30 points.
  • Another night with very little production from the Wizards’ bench. Just eight points on 4-19 shooting. Washington has to improve on that to be in the playoff mix.

HAWKS

  • Kyle Korver had a rough night after a strong start to the season. Only three points on 1-9 shooting and 1-6 from behind the arc.
  • Mike Muscala had a solid night with 10 points and seven rebounds, and he was a game-high +19.

RAPTORS 96 – HEAT 87

RAPTORS

  • DeMar DeRozan continued his strong play with 34 points. He was 14-24 from inside the arc. Highly unlikely this type of shooting can continue, but the Raptors will ride it while they can.
  • Terrence Ross had a big game off the bench with 20 points. The Raptors needed it on a night when the rest of the bench struggled offensively.

HEAT

  • Outside of Hassan Whiteside, the Heat didn’t have enough offense. Whiteside had 21 points and 16 rebounds. Surprisingly, he also handed out three assists. Rare is the night when he has more assists than blocks.
  • The one block Whiteside did get was an incredible play where he snatched a shot out of mid-air. He can do things defensively that almost no one else can.
  • Justise Winslow’s offensive struggles continued. He was just 5-18 from the floor. He’s taking far too many long twos, especially off step-backs.

 

KNICKS 117 – BULLS 104

KNICKS

  • 32 assists to just seven turnovers for the Knicks. Derrick Rose led the way with 11 dimes, while Brandon Jennings chipped in seven of his own off the pine.
  • Rose only shot 6-16, but he played a better floor game today. He made a concerted effort to make sure Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis got plenty of touches and shots.
  • It was a balanced effort for New York, as all five starters were in double figures.

BULLS

  • After hitting just seven total threes all of last season, Dwyane Wade hit five in this game alone. If Wade hitting threes really is a thing, the Bulls’ shooting woes might not be a worry anymore.
  • Rajon Rondo really struggled. He was just 2-10 from the field and couldn’t keep Rose in front of him. He didn’t seem overly engaged, which is rare for when he plays in a nationally televised game.

CLIPPERS 99 – GRIZZLIES 88

CLIPPERS

  • The Clippers put this one to bed early after opening a 20-point lead in the third quarter.
  • Chris Paul got to the free throw line 15 times, making 14. He was on the attack all night long. He scored 27 points and also had 11 rebounds and six steals.
  • Despite not doing much offensively, Austin Rivers had a strong defensive night. He was able to hound both Vince Carter and James Ennis into some tough looks.

GRIZZLIES

  • As it has been all too often in Memphis losses, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph had big games and no one else provided anything.
  • The Grizzlies scored 22 bench points and Randolph had 15 of them. He’s taken to his new sixth-man role well, but the rest of the Grizzlies’ bench is scuffling.

SUNS 112 – PELICANS 111 (OT)

SUNS

  • Devin Booker seems like he’s fully healthy again, and he led the way for the Suns. He scored 38 points and made several big shots down the stretch to help get the game to overtime.
  • P.J. Tucker had an outstanding defensive possession late in regulation to deny Anthony Davis the ball. Tucker fronted Davis initially, and when Davis went to move up set a screen, Tucker blocked his path and wouldn’t let him screen. Little things like that help win ball games.
  • A second straight DNP-CD for Dragan Bender. Phoenix is trying to win games, but developing Bender has to be part of the plan for future success.

PELICANS

  • The Pelicans have lost games in every conceivable way this year. This one was allowing Phoenix to rally back from five down in the waning seconds in regulation. And then they got beat backdoor by T.J. Warren for the game winner.
  • Anthony Davis finally got some help as six teammates finished in double digits. Langston Galloway, Buddy Hield and Lance Stephenson were particularly impressive off the bench, combining for 34 points.

TRAIL BLAZERS 105 – MAVERICKS 95

TRAIL BLAZERS

  • Damian Lillard continued his early-season MVP push with 42 points. Baby Dame D.O.L.L.A. has been virtually unstoppable this year when he wants to score the basketball.
  • Al-Farouq Aminu had a double-double with 12/10. He also hit three triples, showing some signs of breaking out of his early-season shooting slump.
  • Mason Plumlee feasted on a weak Dallas front line that played without Andrew Bogut. Plumlee put in 19 points with four rebounds, four assists and four steals.

MAVERICKS

  • Dirk Nowitzki is visibly hobbled by a sore Achilles. He played just 16 minutes before calling it a night. The Mavericks have had a long look at life after Dirk early in this season, and it hasn’t been pretty.
  • Harrison Barnes continues to be a bright spot. He had 17/10 in a game where he had very little help up front.

SPURS 100 – JAZZ 86

SPURS

  • Patty Mills got the start with Tony Parker injured and responded with 16 points. With Kawhi Leonard assuming the primary ball-handler role, Mills might be a better fit with the starters because of his ability to space the floor.
  • The Spurs won this game with their defense. They continually ran the Jazz off shots and harassed them into shooting just 37 percent for the game.

JAZZ

  • Rodney Hood had a nice night with 18 points, but he was the only one to really show up offensively for Utah.
  • After a string of strong games to start the year, George Hill had a tough night. Leonard picked him up for several possessions, and that made it tough for the Jazz offense to get started.
  • Derrick Favors continues to struggle. He had just six points on 3-13 from the floor. The Jazz really need him to turn it around soon.

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