Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: No Paul, No Problem
The Clippers were without Chris Paul after he bruised his knee late in Saturday's game against the Magic. For a deep team like Los Angeles, it could fill someone in and make it all work. Paul is still very much the straw that stirs the drink for the Clippers and so against a team like the Grizzlies, another up-and-comer nemesis in the Western Conference, it seemed like the Clippers had a tall order.
Nope, not at all.
Balance was key for the Clippers again as they had four players score in double figures and no player scored more than 16 points (Jamal Crawford reached that mark). But every Clipper who entered the game scored. That is what depth gives you.
Depth is not supposed to allow you to defeat a key Western Conference rival 99-73 on the road.
Yes, the Grizzlies were without Rudy Gay for this game as trade talks continue to swirl involving his name. But Memphis cannot compete even with an undermanned Los Angeles team when it shoots 30 percent from the floor. The fact it happened at home is especially disheartening.
2: A bit under the weather
The weather in Utah is not at all like it is in Miami. And any sunny disposition the Heat have is fading a bit as they take their lumps on the road.
Miami suffered another road defeat that had some questionable decisions from Erik Spoelstra and some of the players. The Heat are not ones to panic at a mid-season losing streak, but there are suspicions that the "Problem of More" is beginning to creep in for the defending champions and this new mix of players is not quite working out as expected.
LeBron James was his usual LeBron self with 32 points. It was the other members of the Big 3 who struggled — Dwyane Wade had 11 points and Bosh 16 as both played fewer than 30 minutes.
Utah built a 19-point fourth quarter lead and James helped lead a comeback that made it a game toward the end. But that was too little too late.
The frustration though was palpable. Referees had to eject a fan sitting courtside for sniping with Wade during the game. Bosh, who was pretty effective throughout the night on offense at least, did not play the final 16 minutes of the game. He could have been a big help for the Heat in getting over the hump rather than relying solely on James to carry the load.
This Heat team will be fine. This West Coast trip is testing their mettle.
I thought only the Heat did this
Able to leap John Wall in a single bound
Barea no looks to Pek
4: Line of the Night: Dion Waiters — 33 points, 12/18 FGs, 5 assists
It would have been easy to pick Kevin Durant or Rajon Rondo for his triple double. That is what we expect from these guys. Dion Waiters though continues to emerge and play well for Cleveland. In the 124-116 loss to Sacramento, he looked as unstoppable as Kyrie Irving usually does.
5: You can quote me on that
That’s just us having fun. I mean, that’s the best basketball we’ve played all year team-wise. Everybody really stepped up. Everybody made shots, played great defense, rebounded the ball well. It was just a great team effort overall.
I’m getting a little older, so younger guys are coming in and I have a mark on my back. I’ve made a couple of All-Star (Games), but I’m a target every night and I just want to go out there and defend. What I do best is run the show, and I made a lot of lucky shots tonight.