• It’s funny how much can change after just one year. Remember the days when Chef Curry was just cookin’ up everyone and the Warriors were an unstoppable force? How the Sixers were just a laughing stock and no one took them seriously? When triple-doubles weren’t as common as they were now? Oh how times have changed. Anyways, on a less busy Friday night of NBA action, Hoop-Ball has got you covered! Nikola Jokic is back with another joke, the Warriors continue to struggle, and the Kings lose another close one! Week 20 is almost over so let’s hop right into Saturday’s Daily Dish! Also follow @HoopBallTweets for up to the minute updates or hit me up on Twitter (@NguyenTDanh) if you have any questions!

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    Hornets 121, Magic 81

    The Hornets destroyed the Magic tonight and it wasn’t even close. Kemba Walker needed just 24 minutes to scorch the Magic, dropping 23 points (five treys), one assist and one block. Nicolas Batum wasn’t too bad himself, adding 15 points, three rebounds, 10 assists and one steal. They were both unstoppable tonight and the Hornets will need them to continue playing like this if they have any hope of making the playoffs.

    Marvin Williams had one of his best, if not his best, game of the season. He reeled in a career-high 18 rebounds to go with 12 points, seven assists and one steal. Expect Williams to continue his dominance while Frank Kaminsky (shoulder) is out. The Hornets’ bench was also great tonight and contributed largely in this blowout. Marco Belinelli had 18 points, Christian Wood posted 14 points, five rebounds and two steals, while Brian Roberts added 15 points (three treys) and four assists. Life couldn’t get any easier than tonight for this Hornets squad.

    The Magic got clowned today, but at least Aaron Gordon managed to drop 20 points and five rebounds. Elfrid Payton did a bit of everything with eight points, two rebounds, 12 assists, one steal and one block. Evan Fournier played decently with 14 points (two treys) and one steal. Bismack Biyombo struggled from the line (1-of-8) but still finished with seven points, 10 rebounds and one block. The Magic will bounce back so don’t make any rash moves based on this blowout.

    Rockets 115, Bulls 94

    This game was also a blowout, but not one without a slight scare for the Rockets. James Harden rolled his ankle after stepping on Denzel Valentine’s foot and left the game for a short moment. The Beard did return to the game and looked fine, dropping 19 points (three treys), seven rebounds, 13 assists and three steals. MVP, don’t scare thee. Ryan Anderson returned to action tonight and got hot from beyond the arc, scoring 21 points (six treys) to go with three rebounds and one steal. He was slumping prior to this so hopefully that’s in the past.

    Trevor Ariza had a great all-around game, posting a double-double with 13 points (two treys), 11 rebounds and two steals. Clint Capela was solid in his 24 minutes, finishing with 17 points, seven rebounds and one assist. Lou Williams actually had an off shooting night (4-of-11), but still managed to score 18 points (two treys) with two steals and one block. The Rockets have been a fantasy gold mine all season long and it doesn’t look like they’ll be stopping anytime soon.

    As for the Bulls, Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler were the only two putting in work tonight. Wade posted 21 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Butler added 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and one steal. Cameron Payne did have 11 points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal in 16 minutes of play, but will have to do more if he wants to solidify his spot in Chicago.

    Hawks 105, Raptors 99

    The Hawks pulled out a nice victory over the Raptors tonight and closed the gap slightly for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors couldn’t stop Paul Millsap tonight and it lead to another well-rounded line from the big man. Millsap scored 21 points (one trey) with six boards, four assists, one steal and one block. He’ll be their go-to guy down the stretch as they jockey for a better playoff seed. Tim Hardaway Jr. got the start tonight and continued his second half surge, dropping 20 points (three treys) with six assists and two steals.

    Dennis Schroder was also unstoppable tonight, scoring 26 points with six boards and five assists. He was just too fast for Cory Joseph to handle and it looks like all is well after the benching Schroder received for his recent actions. Dwight Howard chipped in with a massive double-double, scoring 16 points with 10 boards, one steal and two blocks. The Hawks still have some ground to makeup but are definetly on the right track.

    DeMar DeRozan didn’t shoot the ball very well (12-of-30), but still managed to finish with 28 points, eight boards and six assists. Teams are starting to throw multiple defenders at DeRozan, making it hard for him to get his shots up. With Kyle Lowry out, it seems like teams are starting to figure out how to slow him down and this isn’t a good thing for the Raptors. Serge Ibaka was solid before fouling out in 30 minutes, scoring 18 points (two treys) with three boards and one block. Cory Joseph added 11 points, eight assists and four steals, while Jonas Valanciunas slowed down with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

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    Bucks 99, Pacers 85

    Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton lead the Bucks to an impressive victory over the Pacers tonight. The Greek Freak filled up the stat sheet with 21 points (one trey), eight rebounds, five assists, five steals and one block. Middleton continued his strong play with 21 points (three treys), three rebounds, two assists and one steal. He did have seven turnovers, so that was a downer on his value tonight. We all know what the Greek Freak can do but Middle is now turning it up since returning from injury and owners couldn’t be more ecstatic. Greg Monroe also contributed off the bench with a big 18 points to go with seven boards, two assists, one steal and one block.

    Paul George scored a team-high 18 points to go with 11 rebounds, six assists and three steals in a disappointing loss to the Bucks. George has been on fire but the rest of the team has been a hit or miss lately. Jeff Teague posted 17 points, four rebounds, four assists and three rebounds, while Monta Ellis dropped 12 points, two rebounds and one assist. Besides these three, the rest of the team had trouble scoring tonight, including Myles Turner (six points, three steals and two blocks). Look for the Pacers to bounce back next game.

    Timberwolves 103, Warriors 102

    The young guns pulled out the victory tonight in a very close matchup against the Warriors. Andrew Wiggins dropped 24 points, four boards and two steals, while Karl-Anthony Towns went to work with 23 points (two treys), nine boards and two blocks. If you look closely, the Wolves are still in the race for a playoff spot and this dynamic duo is letting the league know that they haven’t given up yet. Ricky Rubio also continued his hot play as of late with 17 points, 13 assists, four rebounds and one steal. It was a very entertaining game and we can expect more competitive matchups as the Wolves continue to grow.

    Stephen Curry’s shooting struggles continued tonight as he hit just 10-of-27 shots. The Former MVP finished with a solid 26 points (one trey), six boards and seven assists, but something is clearly wrong with the Chef. Draymond Green also struggled with his shooting (1-of-8), finishing with five points, six rebounds, seven assists and two steals. Klay Thompson was the only Warrior that managed to breakout tonight, dropping 30 points (three treys) and six boards. Curry, Thompson, Green, and Andre Iguodala will all be resting Saturday against the Spurs and maybe a night off will get them back on track as their journey continues without Kevin Durant.

    Nuggets 119, Celtics 99

    The Nuggets surprisingly blew out the Celtics tonight and a huge part of it was due to a man named, Nikola Jokic. He missed his last two games due to illness but gave it a go tonight and dropped an outstanding 21 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and one block. Danilo Gallinari (20 points, five rebounds, one assist and two steals) and Wilson Chandler (23 points, eight rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block) both did their part tonight’s victory. Gallo has been posting top-20 value over the past two weeks and Chandler is putting out top-50 value. Jamal Murray chipped in with 13 points (one trey) and three boards off the bench and has yet to be fully unleashed.

    Despite the loss, Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford both posted efficient lines. IT4 finished with 21 points, two rebounds, five assists and one steal, while Horford recorded 15 points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal. Avery Bradley broke out of his slump with 16 points (four treys), two rebounds, two assists and one steal. He’s taken a huge step back after his injury but owners shouldn’t give up on him as his upside is still there. Marcus Smart remains relevant despite coming off the bench, posting 13 points, seven rebounds two assists and one steal.

    Mavericks 105, Nets 96

    The Mavericks continue to chug along as they get the W over the Nets tonight. Seth Curry continues to shoot better than his brother, finishing with 18 points (three treys), five boards and four assists. Yogi Ferrell got things going with 17 points (three treys) and one steal. This backcourt duo continues to impress and their crafty, quick moves is what throws other teams off.

    Dirk Nowitzki continues to add to his points total with another 13 tonight (three treys). He won’t blow you away with his stat lines but remains a reliable scorer to own down the stretch. Harrison Barnes also chipped in 21 points with seven rebounds and remains a solid option for the Mavericks in terms of scoring.

    Isaiah Whitehead had a career-high 24 points (three treys) in the loss tonight and continues is strong play as of late. Jeremy Lin filled up the stat sheet with his 18 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. He was productive for most of the night and this is what owners were hoping for when they drafted him, minus the injuries. Trevor Booker also added 15 points, seven boards and three assists but his glory days are long gone.

    Wizards 130, Kings 122

    This game needed to be settled in double overtime, where the Wizards made the Kings disappear. John Wall and Bradley Beal lit it up in Sacramento and in the end, they were too much for the Kings to handle. Beal exploded for 38 points (five treys), 10 rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block, while Wall was right behind him with 25 points, four rebounds, 12 assists and two steals. At this very moment, they sure are playing like the best backcourt in the league.

    The third option for the Wizards, Otto Porter, did not disappoint either, finishing with 18 points (two treys), six rebounds, two steals and one block. He may be the most consistent and underrated player in the league. Bojan Bogdanovic continues to be a supersub off the bench, scoring 17 points with one steal. Although his style of play hasn’t changed, at least his scoring has been consistent since joining the team.

    Willie Cauley-Stein put up a massive double-double, posting 20 points, 13 rebounds and one steal. The Kings will be rolling with him the rest of the way and he’ll only get better from this point on. Darren Collison also double-doubled tonight with 14 points and 10 assists. Aaron Afflalo and Buddy Hield both scored 18 points each; and while Afflalo was efficient (6-of-10), Hield was inconsistent, scoring all his points in the first half. For more on this game, click here!

    That’ll do it for Saturday’s dish. Thank you to all the readers and subscribers! Cheers! #HoopBall #WeTheNorth

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