Morning Shootaround: Better, not better

Burke makes Jazz better, not that better
Trail Blazers 130, Jazz 98

The Utah Jazz are an abysmal 4-16 entering Thursday's game. They are 1-9 on the road.

Don Ryan/AP Photo/San Diego Union-TimesYet things have looked up the past few weeks. Trey Burke made his season debut Nov. 20 and made an immediate impact for the team. Utah is 3-5 and won three of the five previous games entering Friday's game at Portland. Burke is averaging 12.6 points and 4.1 assists per game. Strong showing from the rookie point guard.

It has caused for hope. Yes, hope, with the woebegotten Jazz.

Let's pump the brakes a bit on that hope, measured as it already is for a team that has won three of its past five games. The Portland Trial Blazers have made mince meat of the NBA's best this week and got the Jazz as a tasty desert.

Portland made 17 of 23 3-pointers and shot 55.4 percent from the floor in dropping 130 points on Utah, continuing an incredible week for the suddenly surging Western Conference power. Wesley Matthews hit four of those 3-pointers on his way to 24 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and 15 rebounds in the win.

Burke missed six of his nine shots and had only one assist to go with seven points. Derrick Favors posted an impressive -40.

Utah is a young team. This is a lump they have to take.

Meeks' last ride
Lakers 106, Kings 100

Kobe Bryant announced he would make his 2014 season debut Sunday at home against Toronto. So Jodie Meeks, enjoy your last moments in the sun in Los Angeles. Meeks scored 19 points and hit five of his six 3-point attempts, including one late in the fourth quarter that helped the Lakers preserve the win over the Kings. Here comes Kobe Bryant back to relegate Meeks back to the bench.

Harden erupts for Rockets
Rockets 105, Warriors 83

The Rockets can look really good when they want to. Houston has the talent to be really good. Friday was a night that reminded the league that the team the Rockets envisioned they would be still exists somewhere. James Harden scored 34 points and Dwight Howard had 22 points and 18 rebounds as Houston used a 31-12 first quarter to win easily. The Warriors are a good team, so this is not a performance to look past so easily.

Danny Granger returns to practice
Pacers vs. Spurs, 8:30 p.m.

The Pacers might be close to getting a little bit better. The team that has looked like one of the best in the league this early in the season got former All Star Danny Granger back into practice Friday, some very good news on this West Coast swing for the Pacers. Having traveled from Portland and Utah, this could very well be the schedule loss that comes after the end of a long road trip.

Suns stop Raptors
Suns 106, Raptors 97

Markieff Morris scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds off the bench. P.J. Tucker scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. The Suns defeated the Raptors 106-97 at home thanks to some careful execution in the fourth quarter. Phoenix continues to surprise and play better than expected. The Raptors got 22 points off the bench from Amir Johnson and 21 points from Kyle Lowry.

Wiz go cold in OT
Bucks 109, Wizards 105, OT

The Wizards got the game to overtime, but could not do much in those final five minutes. The Bucks won the period 7-3 and skated past the Wizards for a road win. Khris Middleton had 29 points for Milwaukee and John Henson had 17 rebounds. John Wall wracked up his own stats with 30 points and Trevor Airza had 22 points to go with 12 rebounds in defeat.

Kevin Love out for Miami
Heat vs. Timberwolves, 8 p.m.

The Timberwolves will be without a key player when they take on the Heat on Saturday night. Kevin Love will miss the game to attend his grandmother's funeral. Rick Adelman missed practice Friday but should be back. There is no word yet whether the Heat will play Dwyane Wade or not. Wade is in and out of the lineup to rest his knee and missed the last two games. 

Thunder back to it
Thunder 109, Pelicans 95 

The Thunder lost a rough game in Portland a few days ago. It was a sign the Blazers are back on top and made the Thunder look at themselves very hard. Look completed. Oklahoma City is back to its winning ways. Kevin Durant scored 29 points and Russell Westbrook had 25 points on 50-percent shooting for the Thunder. The Pelicans got 18 points from Ryan Anderson but shot worse than 40 percent from the floor. 

Knicks keep it raining
Knicks 121, Magic 83 

The Knicks have a win streak folks. A night after relying on the 3-point line to snap a 9-game losing streak, the Knicks did it again. This time New York hit 17 3-pointers including 10 in the first half as the team turned a five-point halftime lead into an absolute rout and defensive clinic. Yes, the Knicks won a defensive clinic. Carmelo Anthony scored 20 points and New York domianted the second half 62-29. This was the Knicks' first home win since opening night.

Bobcats skate past Sixers
Bobcats 105, 76ers 88

Inconsistency is the eastern Conference. There is no getting around it. You never know which team is going to show up every time someone takes the floor. Once again, the Sixers and Bobcats proved that. Jeff Taylor stepped into the lineup for the Bobcats and scored 20 points to help Charlotte secure the win. Philadelphia was led by Tony Wroten's 21 points. It is a new person every day for these guys.

Thibs has no reason to criticize Bulls
Pistons vs. Bulls, 8 p.m.

Tom Thibodeau is known for being a cantankerous personality. He is never satisfied. After the Bulls topped the Heat though? Not a complaint. Not a single one. Congratulations Chicago, you did it! Wait, scratch that. There is one thing. There is always one thing. The Bulls played really well Thursday, but the trick is building on that in this new old reality without Derrick Rose. The Pistons beat the Heat too earlier this week and are not a pushover.

Korver sets record
Hawks 108, Cavaliers 89

Kyle Korver set the NBA record for most consecutive games with a 3-point make, adding more to his legend as a shooter. Korver scored 10 points and made two 3-pointers in setting the record. The Hawks easily won to give their home fans something to celebrate. Al Horford had 22 points and Paul Millsap scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Dion Waiters scored 30 points for the Cavaliers.

Celtics hold off Nuggets
Celtics 106, Nuggets 98

The Celtics opened up a 20-point lead and had to watch as the Nuggets slowly brought itself back into the game and make the Celtics sweat it. Denver had a 10-point advantage in the third quarter, but never got the game close enough to really threaten Boston. Only to make the Celtics nervous. Jordan Crawford had 22 points and 12 assists as he continued his stellar play for Brad Stevens' crew.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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