THE NFL WILD CARD ROUND PLUS THE HOTTEST NBA NEWS
The NFL schedule is looking more exciting than ever now that the Wild Card round is fast approaching. Starting on Saturday 15th January, we’ve got massive games to look forward to like the Patriots vs. Bills, Rams vs. Cardinals, and Buccaneers vs. Eagles. In the NBA, the Grizzlies continue to crush the rest of the league and the return of Klay Thompson has sent feel-good vibes throughout the basketball world. Discover it all here.
NBA Standings & News to Focus On
- Clips stun Nuggets with huge 25-point comeback win
- Pelicans’ Ingram hits buzzer-beater to down Wolves
- Grizz defeat Warriors to grab franchise-best 10 straight wins
- Hawks trade Reddish to Knicks for Knox and 2022 first-round pick
- Bulls completely annihilate Pistons by 46 points
Coffey gets hot and guides Clippers to shocking comeback win over Denver
As the Nuggets discovered on Tuesday night, no lead is ever safe in an NBA game. Denver looked in control for the majority of the matchup against the Clippers in L.A., but a spirited resurgence late in the third quarter helped the home team secure an unlikely 87-85 victory. It’s a rare occurrence when the highest scorer on your team helps lead you to victory with just 18 points, but that’s what happened when Amir Coffey played 43 minutes in the Clippers win.
For Denver, it was a sad state of affairs in the second half, as a 25-point first-half lead simply evaporated before their eyes. The absence of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. as guaranteed scorers has never looked more glaring than right now in Denver. Aaron Gordon and Nikola Jokic were solid enough, with 30 and 21 points, respectively, but you really have to get out the binoculars to find anyone else with a notable scoring effort.
Not shooting the ball well is one thing, but defensive lapses are another, as Denver fell asleep again and again when guarding the Clippers, giving L.A. a massive 32-19 fourth quarter to turn the tide. Along with Coffey’s 18, Reggie Jackson was huge for the Clippers late in the game, scoring 11 of his 13 points in the final quarter.
A big part of the Clippers’ win was keeping big man Jokic to only three made shots during the entire fourth quarter, as the stifling L.A. defense certainly did its task. To make matters worse, the Nuggets even had two chances in the last few seconds to win the game. Jokic missed a wild three-point attempt, but Gordon had a millisecond to grab the rebound and throw up another try… yet that also rimmed out.
The turnovers said it all, too, as Denver had 20 compared to the Clippers’ nine. But one of the most disappointing parts was the Nuggets supporting cast, with heavy minutes from Austin Rivers, Facundo Campazzo, and Monte Morris, yet only 17 points between all three of them. Neither team was displaying a three-point shooting clinic, let’s be honest, as the Nuggets went four from 33 attempts behind the arc, while L.A. shot 10-34.
The win for the Clippers helps keep them alive in the West NBA standings at number eight (21-21), and they’ll need every victory they can get with Paul George still out for a few more weeks. It seems unlikely we’ll see Kawhi Leonard this season, either, as the team’s superstar is still rehabbing a torn right ACL injury. The Clippers had such high expectations upon the acquisitions of George and Leonard, but it could be that this season is unfortunately a write-off due to the significant missing pieces.
Denver, on the other hand, is currently 6th in the West NBA standings (20-19), but has looked rock solid at times this season thanks largely to Jokic’s incredible performances. It is currently possible that either Murray or Porter Jr. will return before the playoffs, but no official word has been given yet.
Two Exciting NBA Games Coming Up
Celtics @ 76ers on Friday 14th January
Neither team in the Eastern conference is likely to be having the season they expected. The Celtics are sitting in 10th place in the NBA standings due to some erratic play, but now that Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are back and healthy, Boston should get their act together. The 76ers are still shopping Ben Simmons in a trade, but as the deadline is on February 10th, you’d hope something is done before then to help Joel Embiid in his prime.
With this NBA game being in Philadelphia and Embiid playing out of his mind (leading the team with 27.0 PPG and 10.6 RPG), not to mention Boston being so unpredictable, it looks like a win for the 76ers. The Celtics should play better than they have been lately, but a road win against Phili won’t happen right now.
Warriors @ Bulls on Friday 14th January
Klay Thompson is back in the NBA! After missing a total of 941 games due to injury, three-point maestro Thompson is finally reunited with the Warriors. Although his minutes will be limited, it’s so great to see Klay back out there after so many years of hardship. That said, a game against the Bulls is no one’s idea of an easy time, so expect this one to go down to the wire. Chicago is leading the East (27-11) and is so exciting to watch right now, so look for the Bulls to get the win here.
NFL Power Rankings & News
- Giants fire coach Joe Judge after two seasons
- Browns assure fans QB Baker Mayfield will start next season
- Tampa Bay places defensive back Richard Sherman on injured list, Shaq Barrett will return to lineup
Which NFL player is going to have a sneakily good 2022 playoff run?
The NFL playoffs are finally set! Is Green Bay the favorite for the Super Bowl? Can Brady get one more championship? Will the Titans shock everyone in the league by picking up a title? There are many questions heading into the NFL Wild Card round, but which under-the-radar player could have the biggest impact on his team? We think it’s Allen Lazard from the Packers.
Green Bay already has an incredible wide receiver in DeVante Adams, but well, now they have two with Lazard. Already with eight touchdowns this season (not far behind Adams’ 11 TDs), the third-year WR is quickly emerging as a solid option for Rodgers to target throughout each game. Lazard simply makes Green Bay’s passing game nearly impossible to defend, especially if opposing teams lock in on Adams as the number one option. Look out for Lazard to have several huge moments during the upcoming NFL playoffs.
Two Exciting NFL Wild Card Games Coming Up
Eagles @ Buccaneers on Sunday 16th January
Current NFL champions Tampa Bay must look like an oncoming behemoth to the Eagles at this moment. Though they’ve earned their Wild Card spot, the Eagles will have trouble with their rushing attack against the Buccaneers’ defense that is arguably the best in the league. Tampa Bay is only permitting 88.4 rushing yards per game when playing at home.
Still, you rarely want to bet against Jalen Hurts, as he alone often has the potential to change the game and put the Eagles on his back. If the stars align, then things could get interesting. Tom Brady is, well, Tom Brady, so we all know that the Buccaneers can have a bad night but still get the win if he’s in form.
With the bizarre departure of Antonio Brown and also the season-ending injury to Chris Godwin, the wide receiver position is in a state of flux for Tampa Bay. All eyes will be on Mike Evans and Tyler Johnson to pull things together as wide receivers, but under a great Bucs offense, one has to think Tampa Bay will have a great “next man up” mentality to take the victory against Philadelphia.
49ers @ Cowboys on Sunday 16th January
The Cowboys and QB Dak Prescott, in particular, looked great in Week 18 and appear more ready than ever against the 49ers. Both squads have supreme athleticism when needed, but Dallas has just a slight edge in their individual matchups on the field.
One fact to keep in mind is that 49ers’ QB Jimmy Garoppolo will be playing with a right thumb injury, so be sure to look out for Dallas to capitalize on this and force the opposing quarterback to make rash decisions and clumsy mistakes. If San Francisco is going to get the victory, they will have to do it on the defensive end and try to prevent Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb from getting the catches he’s so good at finding.
Simply having more options to work with and a healthy Prescott playing some of the best football of his career will be enough to benefit the Cowboys. In the end, Dallas will take this one at home and survive, but it will be a grueling matchup that Cowboys fans will watch through their fingers.
Author: Joe Garland