NFL POWER RANKINGS AND LATEST NBA NEWS: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Late-game heroics, unlikely top scorers, and unfortunate injuries… get ready to dive into the latest information and previews for the most important NFL and NBA games.
NBA Standings & News to Focus On
- Pels get win over Clippers, Valančiūnas shines with 39 points & 15 boards
- Cavs beat Mavs from Allen’s 28 points and 14 rebounds
- Boogie Cousins to sign with Bucks
- Nets’ Harris, Magic’s Suggs, Grizzlies’ Morant, and Nuggets’ Porter Jr. to all miss significant time from injuries
- Jokic returns from four-game injury hiatus, tallies 27 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists in win over Heat
- Suns get 17 straight wins by defeating Warriors, Booker injures hamstring
Valančiūnas is the new Steph with 39 points
Don’t sleep on the Pelicans right now, because Jonas Valančiūnas is one of the hottest shooters in the league. Okay, let’s pull that back a bit. The Pels’ big man was nevertheless on fire versus the Clippers on Monday night’s NBA game. Getting their 6th win of the season, the Pelicans and most notably Valančiūnas were simply too much for the Clips. Jumping out to a 37-22 first quarter, the Pels never looked back and closed things out for a huge road win, 123-104.
The biggest talking point was Valančiūnas going 7-8 from the three-point line (15-24 overall) and piling in a career-high 39 points, as well as 15 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one turnover. Valančiūnas is leading the team in PPG (18.5) and RPG (12.3) right now. However, it was also on the boards where things got nasty for the Clippers, with New Orleans out-rebounding L.A. 47-35. The Clippers got a decent effort from Paul George with 27 points, but simply had no answer for defending inside buckets, as the Pels outscored L.A. in the paint, 66-32.
Injuries continue to decimate lineups
The injury bug continues to ravage the NBA, with several players going down for either the entire season or several weeks. Orlando’s exciting new rookie, Jalen Suggs, fractured his right thumb after getting his hand swatted in a drive to the basket in the Magic’s loss to Phili on Monday. Brooklyn’s three-point ace, Joe Harris, is expected to be out roughly two months after receiving surgery on his left ankle. The Nets will badly need his shooting when the playoffs roll around, so at least this is not the worst time to be out of action.
In a blow to the NBA standings of the 10-10 Memphis Grizzlies, point guard Ja Morant will miss at least two weeks after suffering a left knee sprain in a loss against the Hawks last Friday. Although Memphis is glad that the sprain didn’t turn into any ligament tear, it’s still a big setback to a Grizzlies team vying for a playoff spot, not to mention general fans of Morant’s acrobatic moves to the hoop and his thunderous dunks.
Perhaps the most gut-wrenching injury update, however, is the news that Denver’s Michael Porter Jr. will have surgery on his lower back and is likely to miss the entire remainder of the season. Porter Jr., who dropped several places in the 2018 draft due to back concerns, has been a bright spot in Denver with his dynamic scoring punches and clutch three-pointers.
Although he is often criticized for his defensive lapses, Porter was a much-needed scorer for the Nuggets after the team’s other star player, Jamal Murray, is recovering from a torn ACL and is still in doubt to return this season. Porter recently signed a five-year, $172 million max contract with Denver, so the team has got to wonder if that is money well spent for the future or not. Still, the Nuggets have current MVP and absolute wonder kid Nikola Jokic, so the ship will stay steady at any rate.
Two Exciting NBA Games Coming Up
Clippers @ Lakers on Friday 3rd December
The good ol’ Battle of L.A. never has a dull moment. Although neither team is exactly rocking our world, somehow this match-up tends to bring out the best in each squad. It’s a real shame we can’t see Kawhi for the Clippers, as he may well miss the entire season after recovering from an ACL injury, but PG13 is nevertheless playing out of his mind and could easily carry the Clippers to a victory. George is leading the team in PPG (25.9) and APG (5.1), but most importantly, is displaying a better shot selection and helping his teammates get involved.
The Westbrook experiment is looking slightly iffy in Laker Land, as he is still turning the ball over in wild, face-palming plays, as well as standing too stationary on offense when he’s playing off-ball. He can get in the groove well enough in transition offense and sometimes shows good shot selection, but the jury is still out on this one. LeBron and AD will need to have monster games to grab a much-needed win, but we still think the Clippers’ will get the victory with a balanced scoring attack.
Heat @ Bucks on Saturday 4th December
These two teams have met in the playoffs with varying results. In 2020, Miami shocked everyone and destroyed the Bucks 4-1 in the East semifinals. On the other hand, the Bucks ruined the Heat 4-0 in the East first round. Both teams are looking solid, with Miami 3rd and Milwaukee 5th in the NBA standings, respectively. So far, there are no major injury concerns to speak about, but as it’s a Milwaukee home game and Giannis is just reaching another level right now, we’ll take the Bucks in a comfortable win. With such history here, it’s going to be a fun game at any rate.
NFL Power Rankings & News
- WFT secure 17-15 win in exciting finish against Seattle
- Cowboys’ DT Tristan Hill gets one-game suspension for punching Raiders’ Simpson
- Panthers’ RB McCaffrey out for season after left ankle injury
- Dallas coach Mike McCarthy enters COVID-19 protocols
- Surgery not needed for Rodgers’ broken toe
Panthers lose McCaffrey for the season
In yet another heavy blow for the 5-7 Carolina Panthers, running back Christian McCaffrey will now miss the entire season due to a left ankle injury he received during a 33-10 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday.
An MRI on Monday showed enough damage that the injury would cause McCaffrey to miss the last five regular season games (the Panthers are on a bye for Week 13). The good news is that surgery will not be needed and McCaffrey is expected to make a full recovery for the 2022 season.
McCaffrey will have participated in only 10 out of 33 games by the end of the season – something that’s hard to ignore after the Panthers made him the highest-paid running back of all time with a four-year, $64 million extension. He’ll end the season with 442 yards rushing and 343 yards receiving.
Fuller saves the day for Washington in victory over Seahawks
In a wild ending to Monday night football, the Washington Football Team got the 17-15 win by managing to hold off a late-game touchdown attempt by Seattle.
With Washington gripping on to a 17-9 lead in the final moments of the 4th quarter, QB Russell Wilson helped push Seattle 96 yards on 10 plays, before finishing the incredible drive with a 32-yard touchdown pass to receiver Freddie Swain.
With a 17-15 WFT lead and only 15 seconds remaining, the Seahawks endeavored for the subsequent two-point conversion attempt, but a heroic interception from Washington’s cornerback, Kendall Fuller, stopped the play and captured the dramatic win. The victory is Washington’s third straight and places them second in the NFC East at 5-6.
The win still held a bit of sour note with the news that WFT’s kicker, Joey Slye, will miss the next three weeks with a hamstring injury he suffered late in the first half against Seattle.
Two Exciting NFL Week 13 Games Coming Up
Giants @ Dolphins on Sunday 5th December
Both teams sorely need a victory to secure a playoff spot, but neither is going to give it up willingly. Miami (5-7) is on a four-game winning streak and currently has an average of allowing opposing teams roughly 11.5 PPG. The 4-7 Giants looked iffy at the start of the season but have picked things up recently. In any event, Giants QB Daniel Jones will have to have the game of his life if they’ll have any chance, but we still think the Dolphins take care of business with their smothering defense.
Cardinals @ Bears on Sunday 5th December
The 9-2 Cardinals, who are on top of our NFL Power Rankings, will look like an oncoming juggernaut to the 4-7 Bears. However, this might be an interesting game with both teams potentially sluggish after coming off a bye week. Arizona will need QB Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins back from injuries to make it a comfortable win, but even without their stars, it should be a close victory for the Cardinals.
Author: Joe Garland