EXCITEMENT FOR THE NFL DIVISIONAL ROUND & THE HOTTEST NBA NEWS
We’ve got all the latest from the NFL playoffs, as well as the NBA scores you need to know about. Did your favorite team win? We hope so! Get the entire lowdown about football and basketball right here.
NBA Standings & News to Focus On
- Lakers back in form with win over Jazz, Westbrook with potential Dunk of the Year
- Hornets sting Knicks at MSG, Miles Bridges goes wild for 38 points
- Wizards get huge victory over 76ers, Kuzma posterizes Embiid on slam
- Hawks defeat Bucks for first home win since November 22nd
- Garland’s 22 points, 12 assists help Cavs take down Nets
- Durant, Lillard, and Draymond to all miss several weeks from injuries
Cleveland climbs standings with massive win against Durant-less Brooklyn
They say you simply have to play the team in front of you, and that’s how the Cavaliers took advantage of a Nets squad that’s full of drama. Grabbing the 114-107 victory at home, Cleveland was full of vigor and heart all night, but a balanced scoring attack helped secure the win.
All five starters scored in double figures, yet it was Darius Garland’s 22 points, 12 assists, and 6 rebounds that propelled the Cavs to a victory that moves them to fourth in the East NBA standings.
Garland looks like an absolute lock to make the All-Star game, as his flashy but substantial play has not only given hope to the Cavs, but also made the team darn good along with Jarrett Allen and rookie Evan Mobley. The third-year point guard is taking over the game at the right moments, and is quickly turning himself into the leader of a young Cleveland team. Garland is averaging 19.7 points, 3.3 boards, and 7.8 assists for the season.
On the Brooklyn side of things, well, things aren’t going to get any easier. This loss in Cleveland was the first game without Kevin Durant for around 4-6 weeks, as the superstar injured his left knee in the Nets’ previous game against the Pelicans. Brooklyn already appeared to miss KD’s ability to make the big play when it matters.
Irving played well enough and certainly kept the Nets within reach, as a 29-22 third-quarter win for Brooklyn made things interesting before the Cavs pulled away in the fourth and never looked back. Irving played 38 minutes and finished the game with 27 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists.
With Durant out for at least a month, you’ve also got the Irving and Harden drama to deal with. Irving is steadfast in his refusal of the COVID-19 vaccination, which means he can only play in away games due to New York’s rule of allowing vaccinated players and fans in arenas.
At the start of the season, the Nets wanted nothing to do with the part-time Kyrie Irving experiment, but injuries and health and safety protocols decimated the Nets roster, forcing the team to bring him back on a mercenary-like basis.
If KD’s injury and Irving’s vaccination situation weren’t enough, the Nets also have a James Harden problem to attend to. Harden has a $47.4 million player option for next year, which means he could re-sign with the Nets, but there have been significant NBA rumors about the possibility of Brooklyn trading the star guard for another significant talent, like Ben Simmons, for example. The Nets’ big three have only played two games together this season.
It’s all just speculation as of now, and perhaps Harden re-signs, Irving’s part-time play works out, and Durant comes back from injury to help Brooklyn win a championship… but still, things remain very interesting if the Nets go into the playoffs and leave without a title with three of the league’s biggest stars on their roster.
Two Exciting NBA Games Coming Up
Heat @ Hawks on Friday 21st January
The return of center Bam Adebayo from injury has got to feel great for the Heat, but even in his absence, the team played remarkably well and is holding on to second in the East NBA standings. It’s easy to forget that Miami went to the Finals in 2020 against the Lakers, but this is never a team to sleep on. Kyle Lowry has given them the veteran presence the Heat sorely needed, and the continued stellar play of Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro, as well as now Bam again, makes them a real threat.
The Hawks are starting to look better now that their roster is more or less as normal, so you’d be surprised if they stick to 12th in the East. With a big win over the Bucks on Monday night, we think the Hawks can continue their great play and take a tough win over the Heat to really show us what they’re made of.
Grizzlies @ Nuggets on Friday 21st January
Ja Morant and the Grizzlies continue to shock and amaze the league in equal measure, but Jokic and the Nuggets won’t go away despite missing two of their star players, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. This is an NBA game you won’t want to avoid if you’re looking for dazzling plays, as Morant’s high-flying lay-ups and dunks (and sometimes blocks) are always entertaining, but so too are Jokic’s crisp passes to teammates for an easy two points. Grizzlies should get this win, but it’ll be decided in the fourth quarter.
NFL Power Rankings & News
- Rams crush Cardinals to move into NFL Divisional Round
- Bucs’ right tackle Tristan Wirfs doubtful for next game with ankle sprain
- 49ers’ QB Garoppolo suffers sprained right shoulder, but still playing in next round against Packers
- Raiders fire GM Mike Mayock after three seasons
Rams prove they belong in the playoffs with convincing win over the Cardinals
The L.A. Rams progressed to the NFL’s Divisional Round in spectacular style, dispatching the Arizona Cardinals 34-11 in the last Wild Card matchup on Monday night. The Rams dominated on offense and defense to secure the victory against a Cardinals team that had high expectations.
Rams QB Matthew Stafford not only played brilliantly with but also ended his 13-year playoff drought. This is exactly the kind of play the Rams need of Stafford if they have any hope of taking down the current NFL champs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Tom Brady at their core. Stafford ended the win with 202 yards and two passing touchdowns – even running over the end zone for one of his own. He also completed 13 of his 17 passes without any interceptions.
Both Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp grabbed touchdown catches during the victory, while the Rams defense sacked Cardinals QB, Kyler Murray, two times and kept him from playing his usual solid form. Murray ended with 19 of 34 passes for 137 yards and two interceptions.
Murray’s worst play happened in the second quarter, when he flung the ball wildly out of the Rams’ end zone after pressure from linebacker Troy Reeder. Unfortunately for Murray, the ball went straight to Rams’ cornerback David Long, who practically took a few steps to cruise over the line for one of the easiest touchdowns you’ll ever see.
Four Exciting NFL Divisional Round Games Coming Up
Bengals @ Titans on Saturday 22nd January
The Bengals look like the best team to get a major upset. Tennessee will be no pushover and run the ball way more than any other NFL team, so Cincinnati will have to watch its run defense incredibly closely.
If Derrick Henry returns as the running back for the Titans, then he’ll be able to control the tempo and add a much-needed offensive punch to Tennessee’s game plan. If he’s healthy, that is, but all reports indicate he will play against Cincinnati.
If Henry is out of form or even not playing, then the Bengals have a huge chance here, especially if Burrow and Chase are connecting the way they did versus the Raiders. Look for the Bengals to take a surprising victory.
49ers @ Packers on Saturday 22nd January
It remains to be seen if 49ers’ defensive end Nick Bosa will be in good form after he left the win against the Cowboys with a concussion. Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers will have a field day if Bosa isn’t there to trouble his passing.
The 49ers have played well against the Packers in the regular season, but it seems like Green Bay will be rested after their bye week and are sure to come out firing. Expect a close game but ending in a Packers win.
Rams @ Buccaneers on Sunday 23rd January
The Buccaneers have the championships and Tom Brady, but they might want to look carefully over their shoulders at the oncoming Rams. Mike Evans and Brady have been connecting well as part of the Bucs’ offense, but Tampa Bay has lost to the Rams in the regular season before. Can L.A. pull off a shocking win? It will be wildly close, but the Bucs’ experience in the playoffs should help them get a victory.
Bills @ Chiefs on Sunday 23rd January
Both teams are looking incredible and this game is going to be arguably the best of the NFL Divisional Round. The Bills are incredibly balanced and have all the necessary pieces to take down a tough team such as the Chiefs. The Bills simply move the ball so well, and their defense knows exactly where to be at the right moment. Mahomes vs. Allen will be one of the most exciting QB battles in this round, but we just think Buffalo has got what it takes to move past Kansas City on Sunday.