Another busy day of hoops means more opportunities for teams to move up in the standings.
Devin Booker and the Suns remain undefeated, T.J. Warren continues to get buckets for the Pacers and Jamal Murray came up big for the Nuggets in his first game in the bubble.
Here's a closer look at how each of Saturday's games impact the playoff picture in the Eastern and Western Conference.
LA Clippers 122, Portland Trail Blazers 117
No Kawhi Leonard, no problem. Even without the two-time Finals MVP, the Clippers were too much for the Blazers.
Paul George scored a team-high 21 points for the Clippers, but it was Rodney McGruder who hit the biggest shot of the game for the Clippers.
💥 MCRGUDER 💥 FOR THE LEAD!@FoxSportsWest | @RodneyMcGruder pic.twitter.com/bvc8HFC0cx- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) August 8, 2020
CJ McCollum scored a team-high 29 points for the Blazers while dishing out eight assists.
What it means: A tough loss for the Blazers. The Clippers are one of the best teams in the league, but the Blazers should've been able to take advantage of them being without Leonard and Montrezl Harrell. With the loss, the Blazers fall 1.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed and are now only half a game ahead of the San Antonio Spurs for the No. 9 seed. Portland's next three games are against the Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets.
Denver Nuggets 134, Utah Jazz 132 [2OT]
What a game.
It was big shot after big shot, with Donovan Mitchell sending the game into overtime...
OOOOOHHHH?!?!?! pic.twitter.com/oqLGjnSMrr- utahjazz (@utahjazz) August 8, 2020
...and Nikola Jokic sending it into double overtime.
Best center in the league. pic.twitter.com/4Ikgih5UPx- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) August 8, 2020
Ultimately, the Nuggets prevailed behind some strong play from Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. While Jokic had 30 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, Murray flirted with a triple-double himself with 23 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in his first game back from injury, and Porter Jr. recorded a 23-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Mitchell shot only 12-for-33 from the field but made some big-time plays in the fourth quarter and overtime to keep the Jazz alive.
What it means: There's still a lot up in the air in the middle of the Western Conference. The Nuggets are now only 1.5 games behind the LA Clippers for the No. 2 seed while the Jazz fall a spot in the standings, moving from No. 5 to No. 6.
Indiana Pacers 116, Los Angeles Lakers 111
Another game. Another HUGE scoring night for T.J. Warren!
The Pacers forward poured in 39 points on a sizzling 15-of-22 shooting from the field and 5-of-8 from the 3-point line as they handed the Lakers their third-straight loss.
T.J. WARREN CAN'T BE STOPPED! pic.twitter.com/cfMT5N9dIc- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) August 9, 2020
In a game that featured 17 lead changes, Warren shut it down for good, burying his fifth triple of the night with 9.9 seconds remaining - one of his three big buckets in the final 90 seconds of the game.
LeBron James led the Lakers with 31 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, while Anthony Davis shot just 3-of-14 from the field for his eight points and eight rebounds.
What it means: The Lakers have already secured the no.1 seed in the Western Conference, however, for the Pacers, this win ties them on record with the Heat for the fourth seed in the East.
Phoenix Suns 119, Miami Heat 112
The Suns keep winning!
Devin Booker continues to fill it up in the bubble, scoring 35 points and six assists, on 15-of-26 shooting from the field to lead the Suns to a 5-0 record in Orlando.
2⃣6⃣TH 30-PT GAME 🔥@DevinBook with the 2nd-most 30-point games in a single season in franchise history! pic.twitter.com/PqsCqMcPJK- 5-0 (@Suns) August 9, 2020
Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro led the Heat with 25 points apiece as the Heat fall to a 1-4 record through five games.
What it means: The undefeated Suns climb into 10th, sitting just 2.0 games back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed and a half-game back of the Portland Trail Blazers in ninth.
The Heat are now tied with the Pacers (43-27), with the teams to face each other twice in the remaining three games, with a spot in the top four on the line.
Dallas Mavericks 136, Milwaukee Bucks 132 [OT]
Luka! Luka! Luka!
The Dallas Mavericks star was in the zone against the Bucks, pouring in 36 points, 14 rebounds, and a career-high 19 assists for his third triple-double in the bubble and 17th for the season.
1⃣9⃣ DIMES FOR DONCIC. pic.twitter.com/0RuPHzAyIA- NBA (@NBA) August 9, 2020
Doncic took over down the stretch, powering a 16-0 run for the Mavs across the final minutes of regulation and into overtime, creating some history along the way.
Luka Doncic had 36 points, 14 rebounds and a career-high 19 assists in the Mavericks OT win over the Bucks. He now has a league best 17 triple-doubles this season.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 9, 2020
Doncic is the youngest player in NBA history to lead the NBA outright in triple-doubles. h/t @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/aVwHYRSqhA
Giannis Antetokoumpo and Brook Lopez led the Bucks with 34 points apiece, while Khris Middleton added 21 points and 11 assists.
What it means: No movement in the standings for either team, with the Bucks, assured of the no.1 seed in the East and the Mavs locked into the no.7 seed in the West. However, with the playoffs just around the corner, performances like this will give Mavs fans plenty of confidence, with their high-powered offence proving too much for the no.1 defence in the league!
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