Originally written on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Granger

Every morning, we'll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

 

1:  The Blazers free fall continues

A month seems like, well, a lot longer than a month in this insane NBA season.  And it has only been a month since the Blazers were the best team out West.  But the Blazers haven't just come crashing to earth, they've falling through the upper crust of the earth, leaving one of those cartoonish person-shaped holes behind. 

Portland is 4-6 in February after blowing an 18 point lead to Chris Paul (13 4th quarter points) and the Clippers.  They have fallen to just one game above .500 and they are currently on the outside of the playoff race looking in.  Without Aldridge, the Blazers built a nice lead over the cold Clips behind Nicolas Batum.  But his last basket came early in the third quarter.  Raymond Felton dropped a goose-egg and Gerald Wallace was only 2-7 in 42 minutes.  

Those three guys have to play their best basketball without Aldridge, and, to varying degrees, they're not getting it done.  The Clippers comeback was impressive but not entirely surprising because you have to expect Chris Paul to catch fire at some point.  He's too good, and too competitive, to roll over and die.  But if Portland isn't going to get a full team effort on a consistent basis, they're just going to keep falling further out of the hunt.  They don't have a superstar to carry them out of slumps.  Even Aldridge, as good as he can be, isn't at that level yet.  So Portland is going to have to come up with something to get everyone on the same page... or this thing going to get worse. 

2:  Derrick who?

Derrick Rose has missed four straight games with a bad back, but that has barely slowed the Bulls down.  They're 3-1 in that stretch, and the lone loss was a four-point defeat in Boston in a game where Rajon Rondo dropped a massive 32 point, 15 assist, 10 rebound triple double.  Unlike the Blazers, who are disintegrating without their star player, the Bulls are rallying and getting contributions from unsung heroes. 

Last night, Mike James came into the game and provided an unquestioned spark for Chicago in an 89-80 win over the Boston Celtics.  His 8 points and 4 assists in 17 minutes threw Boston off balance and allowed Luol Deng to chuck daggers from deep.  Deng finished with 23 points thanks to a 6-9 performance from the 3, hitting a huge shot every time the Celtics looked like they might entertain a thought of stealing the game.  Deng also added 10 assists and his typically stingy defense on Paul Pierce.  After Pierce dropped 6 quick points to start the game, He was held to just 8 the rest of the way.

The Bulls showed why they are regarded as one of only two legitimate title contenders in the East.  Even without their megastar, they can get contributions from anywhere at any time to compensate and hold the fort until he comes back.  

3:  HIGHLIGHTS!!!

Blake Griffin from a complete standstill, reaches out to snag the board and then brings it back for the follow dunk

     

Rajon Rondo and Chris Wilcox connect on the lob

Kenyon Martin can still get up

 

4:  Line of the night: Danny Granger - 32 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist

Granger played through the pain of a sprained ankle to help the Pacers snap a five-game losing streak.  Really, the only thing that could stop Granger last night was a power outage.

I like the ref at the end of the clip.  "C'mon Avery... we know things are bad, but you can't be pulling the plug like that.  Just sit back and take it like a man."

With Granger back, and this back-to-back-to-back out of the way, the Pacers can now try to get back to being the team they were at the beginning of the month:  a fluid offense with too many weapons to guard and a solid defensive team that makes you work for what few points you can get.

5: You can quote me on that

''We definitely missed him. Danny brings a lot. He's our best scorer. He defends so well, with Danny out, that definitely hurt us.''
     -Paul George, on playing without Danny Granger 

New York Knicks It Is!
     -JR Smith, on Twitter, regarding his NBA destination 

[follow]

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cardinals Bruce Arians benches Logan Thomas on Christmas Day

Richard Sherman: Marshawn Lynch having MVP season

Curt Schilling tweeted advice to Johnny Manziel

Aaron Rodgers buys TVs for Packers teammates

Harbaugh smiled when asked about Michigan's bday tweet

Jackie Robinson West Little League accused of cheating

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Police: Fire that burned down McClain's home 'suspicious'

Furniture store will refund purchases if OSU wins title

What each NFC team in the hunt should ask for from Santa

Is SI ashamed to mention Jameis Winston on its cover?

Kobe Bryant disappointed Lakers didn't get Rajon Rondo

Niners OT Anthony Davis takes shot at offensive coordinator

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Is the NFL playoff system heading south?

WATCH: Quincy Acy ejected for throwing punch at John Wall

Billy Beane did not want to trade Josh Donaldson

Peyton Manning plans to be back with Broncos next year

WATCH: Blazers announcer botches Damian Lillard call

WATCH: P.K. Subban disguises himself, surprises kids for Xmas

Baseball cards: a fan's love for the ultimate stocking stuffer

Packers game is a career defining moment for Stafford

A look inside Jason Grilli's contract with the Braves

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

WATCH: Bahamas Bowl ends on insane Hail Mary play

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Dan Le Batard sums up Miami's relationship with LeBron

Is the NFL playoff system heading south?

WATCH: Announcer botches call

Police: McClain fire 'suspicious'

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

Bahamas Bowl ends on crazy Hail Mary

49ers OT Davis takes shot at coordinator

Will FIFA ever care to change?

Top storyline for each Week 17 game

40 great Christmas-related sports names

Nick Mangold and dealing with feelings as a sports fan

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.