Sometimes defense is overrated, and when you have a collection of offensive talent like Brooklyn does, all you have to do is outscore the opponent. That is exactly what the Nets did on Tuesday night.
In the fourth quarter of Brooklyn’s 124-120 win over Los Angeles, the Nets went to work on offense. They averaged 1.440 points per possession, and Kyrie Irving scored eight straight to help Brooklyn lock up the win. The trio of Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden combined for 90 points on 33-of-51 shooting (64.7 percent) for the game with Irving hitting six 3-pointers and Harden registering his fourth triple-double as a Net, and his second in as many games.
When facing an offense like this, opposing teams can’t afford to go cold … and the Clippers did just that. After starting the game 9-for-11 from the floor and opening up multiple double-digit leads, Los Angeles froze in the fourth quarter. The Clippers averaged just 1.154 points per possession, went 10-of-24 from the floor and shot 3-of-11 from 3-point range. Those are not figures that will keep you in a game against a team with Brooklyn’s offensive ceiling.
These two teams meet again on Feb. 21 at Staples Center, and I for one, can’t wait to see these teams run it back a second time.
Before we get to the notes, shout out to Fred VanVleet who most definitely reads these game notes on a daily basis. VanVleet put together a stupid performance on Tuesday night, draining 11-of-14 3-point attempts while scoring 54 points and single-handedly bringing Toronto to a 123-108 victory over Orlando.
The Magic are now 2-12 SU/3-11 ATS in their last 14 games with no end in sight to their struggles. Orlando has almost no shot-creation on this roster anymore due to its cluster injuries, and that has left them with the worst offensive rating in the league over this 14-game stretch (103.0). A two-game series on back-to-back nights in Orlando against the Bulls awaits, and you can bet they’ll be a hefty underdog on Friday and Saturday.
Anyway, on to the show…
Note: * indicates that team is on second leg of a back-to-back.
Updated injury reports can be found here.
Updated odds for every game can be found here.
Indiana Pacers* at Milwaukee Bucks (-8.5, 232)
After two poor road losses to New Orleans and Charlotte, the Bucks bounced back in a big way on Monday night, housing the Portland Trail Blazers 134-106 at home. The Bucks allowed just 0.987 points per possession; a refreshing performance considering their 117.5 defensive rating in the six games prior. So, are Milwaukee’s defensive issues fixed, or did they take advantage of a short-handed Portland team that had a poor shooting night (15-of-42) against the worst perimeter defense in the league? It is more than likely the latter, and now they must face an Indiana team that ranks eighth in overall offensive efficiency (113.5) and is starting to hit its stride on offense.