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: Cavaliers at Raptors, Warriors at Pelicans
Other Games: Pacers at Nets, Magic at Pistons, Suns at Thunder, Hornets at Heat, Rockets at Mavericks, Lakers at Jazz
CAVALIERS 94 – RAPTORS 91
- Even on an off night, LeBron James had 21/8/7. He made several great passes tonight as well. Sometimes it looks too easy for him.
- Kyrie Irving had 15 points at the half but struggled to some extent in the second half before making a big three late. Seven turnovers are something he’ll need to clean up.
- The Cavs got almost nothing from their bench in this one. Only Mike Dunleavy, Iman Shumpert and Richard Jefferson played, and they combined for just 10 points.
- Kevin Love had to switch onto DeMar DeRozan several times throughout the night and, just like in Game 7 vs. Stephen Curry, he was able to force DeRozan into some tough looks.
- Tristan Thompson continues to be much underrated defensively. His ability to hedge and recover or switch on to smaller players is the key to the Cavs defense.
- Twelve first half turnovers for the Raptors put them in a hole they had to dig out of all night. Kyle Lowry had an uncharacteristic six turnovers himself and just four assists.
- Rookie PF Pascal Siakam started the game well and played with a lot of energy early. But he watched for most of the second half as Patrick Patterson drew 34 minutes tonight.
- The Raptors clearly miss Jared Sullinger on the boards and for his versatility on offense. Dwane Casey is still trying to figure out how to cobble together the frontcourt rotation while Sullinger is out.
- Jakob Poeltl gave Toronto good play with seven points and seven rebounds, including four offensive rebounds. The Raptors should feed him more minutes.
WARRIORS 122 – PELICANS 114
- This was more like what the Warriors expected to be. Especially impressive were the all-around efforts from Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.
- Golden State shot 25-28 from the charity stripe. That is an underrated part of their game: the ability to get to the line and make a great percentage of them.
- In terms of minutes distribution, Andre Iguodala is functioning as the backup center. Of course, he isn’t actually playing C, but he’s basically never on the floor with Pachulia.
- Patrick McCaw, who the Warriors are hoping will give them some scoring/shooting off the bench, sprained his ankle and may miss some time.
- Durant’s ability to use his length to challenge shots on one end and then finish on the other end is a new addition to the Golden State lineup. Harrison Barnes just didn’t bring that same ability.
- Anthony Davis has 95 points over his first two games. That is third most all-time behind Wilt Chamberlain and just ahead of Michael Jordan. Pretty good company to keep!
- Dante Cunningham had some great moments in this game. One sequence, in particular, stood out: Cunningham got way up and pinned a Durant layup in the square on the backboard. He then ran the floor and finished with a dunk. New Orleans can us this kind of production from him.
- Lance Stephenson had a nice game with 15/8/6 off the bench. For as long as Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans are out, the Pelicans need this kind of playmaking from Stephenson.
- New Orleans has to consider benching Omer Asik. They aren’t getting enough defensively from him to offset his lack of offense. The offense functioned better with Davis at the 5 and Cunningham and Terrence Jones playing the 4.
- Another strong night for Tim Frazier. He’s making the most of his opportunity to start while Jrue Holiday is out. Any fantasy players looking for assists would do well to pick up Frazier.
NETS 103 – PACERS 94
- The “BrookLin” show was in full effect as Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin combined for 46 points. Lin just missed a triple-double by one assist and one rebound.
- The Nets used their offense to erase a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter. They repeatedly ran pick and roll actions with Lin and Lopez, and the Pacers had no answer.
- Justin Hamilton had a second straight strong game with eight points and seven rebounds.
- The Pacers played “your turn, my turn” a lot on offense. With Paul George, Monta Ellis and Jeff Teague all most effective with the ball in their hands, this is going to be something to watch all year.
- After a big opener, Myles Turner battled some foul trouble and never got really comfortable. His final stat line looks good, but definitely a letdown from opening night.
- Outside of C.J. Miles, the Pacers bench was non-productive. Al Jefferson was a no-show tonight and Rodney Stuckey suffered a hamstring injured early on.
PISTONS 108 – MAGIC 82
- All-around terrific effort from the Pistons. Six players scored in double figures, and 11 players scored overall.
- Jon Leuer chipped in seven points, but more impressive were his nine rebounds.
- Ish Smith got into the paint at will and either scored for himself or set up his teammates.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would appear to have struggled again, but he simply wasn’t needed with the Pistons getting so many points inside.
- It was a poor effort on both ends of the floor for the Magic. After a competitive first quarter, they scored just nine points in the second, and the blowout was on.
- There were a lot of questions about the Magic offense and a lack of spacing going into the season. After two games, those questions remain and have been amplified.
- One positive was Aaron Gordon showing some late signs of life when he played mostly at the PF spot.
- Frank Vogel has work to do to solve issues on both ends of the court. The defense, especially at the rim, was supposed to be the team’s strength and hasn’t shown up at all yet.
THUNDER 113 – SUNS 110 OT
- Russell Westbrook did it all. Including almost all of the shooting. He took 44 of the Thunder’s 96 shots en route to a triple-double of 51/13/10
- Victor Oladipo took 17 shots and had 21 points. No one else got more than eight shots up.
- Andre Roberson made several high-level defensive plays to help OKC win the game. It is time to stop criticizing what he isn’t and to start celebrating what he is.
- Devin Booker continues to develop into a superstar level player. He was the player the Suns looked to repeatedly when they needed a big bucket.
- J Warren was excellent with 30 points on 13-18 shooting. He also added nine rebounds.
- Earl Watson made an odd choice late the game by taking Tyson Chandler off the floor and guarding Westbrook with Brandon Knight. Predictably the play ended up with Westbrook scoring at the rim.
- Only 18 combined minutes for Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss. It is fine to chase wins, but the future of the franchise also needs to play too.
HORNETS 97 – HEAT 91
- The Hornets fell behind by 19 points on the road, but chipped away to get the road W. Holding Miami to just 14 fourth quarter points helped a lot.
- Roy Hibbert was injured early, but Charlotte got 10/9 from Spencer Hawes off the bench in his place.
- After a nice opener on offense, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist regressed back to his norms. But he was his typically excellent self on defense.
- The Heat aren’t going to be very pretty to watch. They are tenacious defenders and will muck up the game as much as possible to mask an overall lack of talent.
- Tyler Johnson scored 12 off the bench but struggled to guard Kemba Walker late in the game.
- After Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside, Miami struggled to find offense. This could be a storyline the whole year.
ROCKETS 106 – MAVERICKS 98
- Trevor Ariza shot the lights out hitting 8-12 from the floor, 5-7 behind the arc and 6-6 from the line on his way to 27 points.
- The Rockets defense was much better tonight. They chased shooters off the arc with good closeouts and kept guys in front of them off the bounce. You could tell the effort and focus were there tonight.
- Nene was big off the bench with eight points. Interestingly enough, all eight came from the FT line on 8-12 shooting.
- Dirk Nowitzki missed the game as he was under the weather. In his absence, the Mavs got a look at their future, as Harrison Barnes had a career night with 31 points on 12-23 shooting.
- Seth Curry had another solid shooting night but really struggled on defense once again. He also committed four more fouls in just 20 minutes of play.
- Without Dirk and facing a small team, the Mavs just punted and started three guards in Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews and J.J. Barea. Unfortunately, those three combined to shoot just 3-15 from three.
JAZZ 96 – LAKERS 89
- The Jazz are already functioning like a well-oiled machine at times. George Hill being a competent point guard–and more so–makes all the difference. Veterans Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw help quite a bit as well.
- Derrick Favors returned from his knee injury 15 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks off the bench. Splitting Rudy Gobert and Favors is an interesting look and something the Jazz should consider making a regular thing. Favors can feast on backup big men.
- The Jazz missed a lot of good looks tonight, but that will come. Getting Gordon Hayward back will help that facet.
- Brandon Ingram was forced to leave the game with knee soreness. Something to keep an eye on, as the No. 2 pick has already shown good scoring ability.
- The Lakers just couldn’t get enough going offensively in this game. Most of that starts with D’Angelo Russell who was just 3-14 from the field. If he’s off, the Lakers offense struggles to make things happen.