Behind the Boxscore: Miami can't cut it


Atlanta 115, Miami 113

The Heat have yet to win on the Vice Court, this has been six games so far, but that doesn’t mean this party has to stop. Make sure that ringer is on, if your guy ever calls back.

The Hawks needed a minute, most of the first quarter, the night’s hosts appeared to have one over Atlanta by way of wile and the advantage of everything they’d seen before, but that shit don’t last when the lineups aren’t working.

ATL feasted on Kelly Olynyk’s continuing presence on the Heat, Hassan Whiteside had his own blurps to contend with, the Hawks popped back from an early deficit to leave the Heat a step slow when it came to the DeAndre Bembry Concern, or the (inevitable) Dewayne Dedmon Return. John Collins was always around for easy buckets and Taurean Waller-Prince hit three three-pointers.

Kent Bazemore tried to work the hero as well, to mixed reviews, but the Hawks hung on. Somehow playing power forward and not center, hearty rookie Omari Spellman connected on two three-pointers, four steals, four offensive rebounds, 14 points and zero defensive rebounds in 20 minutes.

Josh Richardson had a chip-shot three-pointer to win this one, at the buzzer, the diver spun out but the buzzer kept on, in Josh’s head, at least until the next game.

It’s not like Miami Vice was an immediate hit right outta the gate or anything.

Hawks: 5-16, Heat: 7-13

Detroit 115, New York 108

It must be exhausting working as a Knicks fan, first you gotta remember everyone’s names and then you have to watch them all play basketball.

New York was incorrigible on Tuesday, firing shots that nobody could comprehend, forcing looks that neither man nor Emmanuel could ably connect on, failing to deliver us each from the group’s Luther “Ticky” Burden.

The Pistons weren’t great but they had the home rhythm, a smiling (he was working against the Knicks) Dwane Casey would call a set or Reggie Jackson would fling himself into the defense to save a possession. Piston Blake Griffin has no idea how basketball angles work, or that there is even a glass backboard behind the goal, he still hit for 30 because the Knicks kept fouling.

Noah Vonleh was asked to leave the game after six whistles, Mario Hezonga picked up six fouls in 16 minutes and also looked wholly unprepared for professional action.

Similar things could not be yelled about Knick rookie Allonzo Trier, young man worked up an outstanding game in trying to keep his lineups competitive, the averages are up to a dozen points and three boards and two assists in 24 minutes a game for the 22-year old.

Trier’s canned exactly half his pro shots and 46 percent of his three-pointers so far, some prospects were never meant to be anywhere else but up.

Pistons: 11-7, Knicks: 7-15

Toronto 122, Memphis 114

The Raptors understand how impressive this win was, the younger hopes drew enough to claim ownership of key advantages on Tuesday and the veterans are earnestly aware of how damned tough it is to come the hell back against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizz take the air out of the ball and sometimes they score with it, it’s always gonna be strenuous beating those sorts of teams at math.

Toronto teetered to start, the Raptors weren’t ready to outlast those exacting Grizzlies possessions and Memphis would have taken until 44 seconds had you let ‘em, Marc Gasol rang 27 all day and MEM swingman Kyle Anderson was understandably swinging tit for rat with Kawhi Leonard.

The Memphis bench was sublime, the Grizz brought Shelvin Mack to settle Kyle Lowry’s ass down a little, make him work defensively, Omri Casspi cocked jumpers like he was trying to lose a hairball, JaMychal Green stumbled into the right place during at least one of the correct times, the home team led by 17 at one point.

The Raptors are an exceptional ballclub, though, the team’s depth was on righteous display in the full of the evening. Coach Nick Nurse simply ticked off his Toronto until it came time to say “no” to Malachi Richardson — everyone else got a taste.

Fred VanVleet had to be the favorite, shaking off a dodgy fall to deliver 18 points on six shots, three steals and let’s go back to those shots: Fred didn’t miss a single attempt from the field.

Delon Wright was active, ready to penetrate, and OG Anunoby was in the right spots to collect the correct passes. C.J. Miles hit two threes and Jonas Valanciunas was crucial in wearing down Gasol as the hostilities gobbled grass from one bunker to the next.

Possessions didn’t get away from Memphis, but the night did. Toronto had to sit on the clock until the averages ran back the Raptor Way, it helps to meet these percentages without blinking and the visitors were cooled enough within these walls. Kawhi Leonard is the sleek you need and Pascal Siakum doesn’t sweat it.

Raptors: 18-4, Grizzlies: 12-8

Indiana 109, Phoenix 104

The Suns are a trip, the club’s movement is so much better this season and it leaves you a little garbled: Phoenix hasn’t been capable for a while, better part of a decade, the shock of observing the Suns slack with competency can stick with you.

The Pacers weren’t bothered by it, Indiana remained without Victor Oladipo but not absent movement and dedication, the team blasted all over the offensive glass and constantly probed for the advantage it knew was readily achievable, just a couple more passes, Phoenix still sucks.

The Suns do, Jamal Crawford somehow led a few of the team’s best surges and Josh Jackson delights in attempting shots he has absolutely no shot at connecting with. Mikal Bridges (1-6) was absent and DeAndre Ayton (18 and 12 rebounds, his 15th block as a pro) was too often an observer. Richaun Holmes would represent daffy for a few bursts before performing effectively for twice as long, Arizona is a strange place.

Doug McDermott worked his way into another solid showing, 21 points and five three-pointers, while Darren Collison dropped another prime-time special (with next-to no budget).

Myles Turner racked five blocks and hit for 13 rebounds with 16 points. Bojan Bogdanovic patted 2-3 three-pointers, he’s worked 21 games this season and has made fewer than half his long-distance attempts in only eight of those contests, dude leads the league at 53.5 percent from deep.

Domantas Sabonis was the click, though, seven offensive rebounds and 21 points off the bench. Even smiled.

Pacers: 13-8, Suns: 4-16

Denver 117, Los Angeles Lakers 85

The Nuggets made the Lakers look like less of a basketball team on Tuesday, like a bad plan in November, a crash without a course. Denver appeared head and shoulders taller throughout, dominating the offensive glass and whatever other shards were left rolling around the flatbed.

And this was against Los Angeles’ BIG lineup, no Tyson Chandler to start but Kyle Kuzma’s nearly-there arms paired with LeBron up front. JaVale McGee and Brandon Ingram’s length and Lonzo Ball, he’s a rebounder, let’s get after it in the thin air.

Nuggets weren’t interested, the obvious Laker plants in the crowd were less of an influence than the clarity was, Denver had a clear view of the tin all night and what was obvious: Lakers outside of LeBron couldn’t shoot, the Nuggets could sure as hell score.

In the end, LeBron’s early lay-ins didn’t do much for his percentages, he missed 10 of 15 and all four of his three-pointers, coughed it up four times.

This is what games in Denver are supposed to look like.

Nuggets: 14-7, Lakers: 11-9


If this song isn’t stuck in your head by your second snack, today, give it another listen.

Thank you so much for reading.

If dug liked this but want one twice as long and in your inbox all the time, consider contributing, or popping in to join our Slack channel during games.

This place is full of Behind the Boxscores and then on the weekend the kids leave the house and I get to write weird things about Shaq (this one is free to read, too).

(More to come.)