Behind the Boxscore: Miami misses the ones



Orlando 105, Miami 90

Your Heat tried it all, ravers, Justise Winslow was back to pound the pavement as point forward and Hassan Whiteside had the sits down the stretch in favor of Bam Adebayo’s wild times. Kelly Olynyk came unleashed for defensive ferocity and Tyler Johnson, kids, returned to the rotation with an improved right hamstring.

None of this mattered, of course, the Magic are a powerhouse and there was absolutely no talking Orlando out of its win once the third quarter hit.

Evan Fournier’s rousing halftime speech gave way to Aaron Gordon walking his way into those weird three-pointers he pulls up for (3-3 in the third period), Terrence Ross popped for 19 off the bench, Nik Vucevic wasn’t swayed by Miami’s attempts to dangle the midrange right in front of him.

The Heat could not connect, Wayne Ellington and Josh Richardson combined for as many field goals as Josh collected fouls (four) and Wes Iwundu didn’t even have to play (for Orlando). Miami shot five free throws all night, incredible for a team that spends 9/8ths of its possessions jumping into people right in front of the rim.

Gordon finished with 20 and 13 rebounds, 16 of those came in the third when he shot those three weird three-pointers, Tyler Johnson capped his basketball evening with four points on 2-3 shooting in 13 minutes.

Magic: 12-12, Heat: 9-14

Dallas 111, Portland 102

A spirited as a still outside Sautee Nacoochee, these two clubs like the thought of each other but not the sight of one another.

Dallas played this as coolly as a team featuring DeAndre Jordan can act, recognizing advantages early and grinding out the victory parts later on.

The Blazers are inside the rough dip, three losses in a row to Dallas and San Antonio and the Nuggies, downed by the opponent’s pinpoint execution and effort in each. Portland made its triptych of conquerors work, at least, and it showed the chutz’ah in staging a comeback during Tuesday’s plop.

Damian Lillard was behind it, DeAndre “Scoreboard” Jordan was picking on him during dead balls in the second quarter and there was nothing Dame could do about it until shit got live again.

Lillard stunk in the first half and faded on some makeable shots down the stretch of this loss, but those legs still made a game out of this via that insistent touch of his, that big ol’ brain of his, that third quarter of his, 11-12 free throws on the night for the visiting point guard.

The help wasn’t enough for a road win.

Portland’s second unit plays defense like an old man slipping into the tub. The guys get where they eventually need to go but nothing bends like it should, least of all the knees, and by the end of it someone is peeing while sitting down.

Dallas led by as many as 19 in this game, Dennis Smith Jr. (a dozen points and nine assists) always works well against PDX, in this instance the cause appeared to be the defense played against him.

Mavs Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell came off the pine to finish a few times, and J.J. Barea was well on his way toward putting this win to sleep before he started to take things personally, and miss a few pull-up attempts (J.J. shot 3-11, I bet Barea loves that band).

This was when Portland made its move, against the cranky starters, Luka Doncic (21 points and nine boards) might be good for his age but defender Evan Turner is a grown man, PDX had its chances.

Dame (33 points on 23 shots, eight boards and eight assists, six turnovers) couldn’t turn the corner on a pair of would-be’s down the stretch and referee Ed Malloy let Doncic get away with words that Red Buttons was never allowed to use.

This contest should live in the hearts of both sides for at least hours to come.

Mavericks: 12-10, Trail Blazers: 13-11

Here’s Arvydas Sabonis dominating parts of a Sunday afternoon game that some of us watched after barely getting to bed by the end of Sunday morning:

Mark Cuban’s Mavericks are terrible at logos.

Utah 139, San Antonio 105

Worst of everything, you could imagine, the contest was never close but it was always “a Spurs versus Jazz game,” something that hasn’t been fun once in NBA history, not even in video games, what kind of dork picks the Spurs or Jazz in a video game, wait, you actually know how to call for a pick and roll on that controller?

San Antonio could not hit its two-pointers, the Spurs shot half as many free throws as the club is used to in 2018-19 and off-the-bench Marco Bellineli sucks at three-pointers now (32 percent this season, 1-4 on Tuesday).

The Jazz responded by hitting 20 three-pointers in 33 attempts, a lot of points in not a lot of time, Spurs ducking everywhere. Though this game was technically the shortest the NBA’s evening, it sure seemed to go on for a while.

Joe Ingles swished a lob attempt, a phrase that describes an entirely different thing in New South Wales.

Jazz: 12-13, Spurs: 11-13

San Antonio’s record is good for second-to-last in the West, No. 14, the Spurs are two games under .500 but have only the Suns underneath them.

Citing historical precedent, the Western Conference may annex Milwaukee.

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Indiana 96, Chicago 90

This was your harsh one, a lot of bad basketball performed loudly. Chicago got into its sets quickly with New Coach Boylen trying to get the kids interested in the NIT, the Pacers just trying to keep from laughing in spots where the cameras could focus.

For once, Indiana’s building wasn’t half-filled with half-red and half-black, the Bulls fans stayed at home, mostly Chicago’s fault for choosing to wear white on the road for another season. Subscribers will read more on the Bulls once this keyboard cools off.

The Pacers weren’t terrific without Victor Oladipo, but Darren Collison (23 points, so many tricks) is a damned professional and Myles Turner (five blocks, 18 points, 11 rebounds, three assists) canned several needed buckets down the stretch of this ultra-coarse 48.

Tyreke Evans is One Bad Friday (in Orlando) away from dipping below the Mendoza Line on shots willingly attempted from three-to-ten feet.

Pacers: 14-10, Bulls: 5-20

Sacramento 122, Phoenix 105

The Suns can’t score, and then Devin Booker left. Then the NBA asked Phoenix to play again on Tuesday night, and this is what happened.

The score was 36-9 after one period. It looked worse.

Precious little SACTO pressure left rookie DeAndre Ayton confused and ineffective, all Richaun Holmes (10 points, 11 rebounds, four turnovers, six for real fouls) could do was watch from the bench, chewing his way through to China on that mouthguard.

Suns starting point guard Elie Okobo also finished with five fouls, and five fouls on a 26-minute starting point guard is a problem, Phoenix. So are your parking lots, the glare is incredible.

North Hollywood’s DeAndre Melton brought the Suns back to respectability, holy shit he was fun, 21 points and five assists and we don’t care that one of his three three-pointers was a bank shot.

Kings: 12-11, Suns: 4-20


The sun stays out for something like four-and-a-half hours, this time of year, I recommend dancing in the biggest room you have available.

Tuesday was a short night so this is a free episode, and here is my pitch to potential subscribers: hey, if you subscribe you probably won’t unsubscribe.

Wednesday’s a big night, consider putting Thursday in your inbox, and thank you for reading this one.

(More to come.)