Starting 5


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

1: A cold day in Denver

The Nuggets had a bad day at the line. That helped the Pacers erase a 14-point deficit and tie the game on the road. That is what Indiana likes to do — muddy up the game with physical play and get down and defend. The defense was superb for Indiana.

Until that final possession.

Andre Iguodala's physical defense on Paul George in a tie game gave the Nuggets the final possession with 0.5 seconds left. And so Denver went for the lob. Hoping for a miracle. They got one as Paul George tripped over his own feet and fell into Andre Iguodala.

You could liken it to throwing the ball into the end zone and hoping for pass interference. The referees through the flag and Iguodala got the chance to clinch the game and allow Denver to sneak away with a 102-101 win at Pepsi Center.

No blown lead would be enough to keep the Nuggets from this win. Not with Danilo Gallinari putting on an offensive show with 27 points on 9-for-16 shooting. It almost was a disaster, but Denver prevailed. Despite missing four consecutive free throws down the stretch with a chance to make the final margin much more comfortable.

2: Blowout of epic proportions

So that turned out to be a dud.

Apparently fast don't lie and the Rockets' fast-break offense was much better than the Jazz's on Monday night. Houston never looked back with a 125-80 walloping at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City.

It marked the worst loss for the Jazz since a 46-point loss to the Lakers on Feb. 4, 2000. It was Utah's worst home loss in franchise history. A few games with margins like these happen every year. But a 45-point spread is still just shocking to see in an NBA game.

With the way the Rockets like to run though, maybe it is not surprising that they just kept coming and coming. James Harden had 25 points on 15 shots. They hit 16 of 34 3-pointers. This was just pure offensive mastery.

And the slow-footed Jazz team, without their starting point guard, could not keep up. A lot of teams are finding that problem when they go up against the Rockets. Perhaps the next big test is still coming up for Houston — a trip to Denver. Let's see them run then.


Lee to Bogut… get used to it

Pizza Guy time

Harden's hammer

4: Line of the Night: Andrew Bogut — 12 points, 8 rebounds, 24 minutes

Not the most impressive line, but considering this was Bogut's first game of the season, it is worth noting. Andrew Bogut played his first game since November 7 and hardly looked like he missed a beat in Golden State's 114-102 win over Toronto.

5:  You can quote me on that

We needed this. We showed mental toughness. When we play together, basketball is easier. Rudy took some good shots and made them. We've got to help each other. We've got to help him. He has to help us. We need each together to win.

-Grizzlies center Marc Gasol after the Grizzlies held on for a 103-100 win over the 76ers

As long as we play the type of basketball we know we're capable of, we can beat any team. We can also lose to any team if we don't.

-Bulls guard Jimmy Butler after the Bulls defeated the Bobcats 93-85

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