Morning Shootaround: No Phantom

Masked Irving doesn't ride this time
Bobcats 86, Cavaliers 80

Kyrie Irving broke his nose in Wednesday's game against the Timberwolves. He planned to re-don his mask and play through the pain. Irving is not going to let a broken nose stop him.

Tony Dejak/AP/Albany Times UnionThe Cavaliers though have to soldier on with Irving in whatever condition he is in. That could mean some ugly games are on the way. He scored 18 points and dished out 10 assists for the Cavaliers as they got out to a slow start but a lead nonetheless — 18-12 after one quarter.

Charlotte had the answers in the fourth quarter though. Scoring the 86-80 victory at Quicken Loans Arena.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 16 points to lead the Bobcats in scoring and help them score the victory.

Charlotte has proven in the early part of the season that they are not the same squad as they have been in the past. Al Jefferson is providing a solid base to build from. Jefferson though missed this game and Charlotte needed to rely on its defense and solid defense and shot-blocking from Bismack Biyombo and Josh McRoberts.

Neither team cracked a field goal percentage better than 40 percent in this slog of a game. 

Pistons outlast Kings
Pistons 97, Kings 90

Detroit snapped a four-game losing streak with a big road win on the team's West Coast swing. Josh Smith scored 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds, dished out seven assists and had five steals for his stat-stuffing night. Andre Drummond had 15 points and 18 rebounds, outdueling DeMarcus Cousins' 26 points and 13 rebounds. It was a big effort from Detroit to secure the win.

Iguodala makes Warriors real contender?
Jazz vs. Warriors, 10:30 p.m.
Thunder vs. Bucks, 8:30 p.m.

The NBA is still buzzing about the turn of events that led to Andre Iguodala hitting a game-winning fall-away jumper to defeat the Thunder on national TV. For Golden State it was the first really solid win of the season and put the league on notice that this Golden State team might be ready to do something more. Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld was ready to declare that the Warriors could do more. Golden State certainly should be considered among the league's contenders now.

Teague powers Hawks past Sixers
Hawks 113, 76ers 103

Everyone has waited for "Playoff Teague" to make an appearance in the regular season. It appears Atlanta finally saw him in a regular season game. Jeff Teague scored a career-high 33 points. DeMarre Carroll had 21 and Al Horford had 20 as the Hawks held off the spunky 76ers, who appear to be coming back down to Earth some with Michael Carter-Williams out with a foot injury. Evan Turner had 27 points, but seven turnovers in this shootout. 

Trail Blazers keep rolling
Trail Blazers 109, Celtics 96

Portland seems well on its way to making good on its Playoff goals, defeating Boston on the road and winning the team's fifth straight game. LaMarcus Aldridge was the author of much of the Playoff talk as his impending free agency remains a major storyline in the Rose City. He is doing his part to get the Blazers there. He scored 27 points and added 12 rebounds to lead Portland to the win and get them to an impressive 7-2.

Jazz can't hold on
Spurs 91, Jazz 82

The Jazz seemed ready to build a winning streak. Yes, a winnin streak for the one-win Jazz after taking a 13 points lead after the first quarter and a seven-point lead into the final quarter. This is the Spurs though, and they are never out of the game. The young Jazz learned a valuable lesson as Tony Parker scored 22 points to lead the way. Kudos to the Jazz though for fithing. Utah got all five starters in double figures including Derrick Favors with 20 points and 18 rebounds. Scoring only 11 bench points though kept Utah from maintaining their leads.

Joe Clutch saves the day
Nets 100, Suns 98, OT

Joe Johnson has long been known for his clutch shots in big moments. He added another one to his legend. Johnson hit a layup as time expired to give the Nets their first road victory and get the team going on the right track. The Suns hot start appears to be cooling off. Johnson needed the bucket to make up for his 6-for-19 performance. Brook Lopez had 27 points to lead the way.

Bulls rout Raptors without Rose
Bulls 96, Raptors 80

The Bulls opted to sit out Derrick Rose on Friday night in preparation for Saturday's second showdown with the Pacers. That did not matter though as the Bulls still stifled the Raptors and scored an easy victory. Luol Deng scored 19 points and the Raptors got very little offense going aside from DeMar DeRozan's 37 points. Toronto's inefficiency is derailing their Playoff hopes early on.

LeBron outduels Dirk
Heat 110, Mavericks 104

It is always fun to see a classic scoring duel between LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki, probably the two most unique talents in the NBA. LeBron James won that matchup with 39 points in the win. Dirk Nowitzki was no slouch with 28 points on his own. Dallas and Miami like to play fast paced and they delivered in a big way in this game. 

Pacers remain perfect
Pacers 104, Bucks 77

Milwaukee got Zaza Pachulia, Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour back after using a skeleton crew in a close loss to Orlando. That was still way too much to overcome against the Pacers who continue to win convincingly. Indiana got 24 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks from Roy Hibbert as Milwaukee simply could not attack the interior and get easy shots. Paul George added 22 points as the Pacers are staking their claim to be the long-term best team in the NBA this season.

Randolph powers Grizz past Lakers
Grizzlies 89, Lakers 86

Zach Randolph hit a few really quirky hook shots. That is what you have to do when you make your living with your back to the basket. Randolph scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. The Lakers fought hard and kept the game within distance, but a missed 3-pointer late kept the game at a three-point lead. This was Memphis' first road win and a much-needed win.

Nuggets pull together
Nuggets 117, Timberwolves 113

The Nuggets have always been known as a team that has balanced scoring and plays well together. It led Denver to a 50-win season last year. This year has been a struggle to find that identity again. Friday against Minnesota, Denver came pretty close to finding it. The Nuggets put seven players in double figures, including four off the bench. Wilson Chandler led the way with 19 points off the bench. Kevin Love scored 28 points and Kevin Martin had 27 points for a decidedly unbalanced Minnesota effort.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily