The phrase “that’s why they play the games” was made for nights like Tuesday in the NBA.
A quick glimpse at Tuesday night’s NBA slate appeared to reveal some lopsided matchups: The Brooklyn Nets versus the high-flying Los Angeles Clippers, the Milwaukee Bucks against the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Orlando Magic facing the mighty San Antonio Spurs on the road.
A recipe for some blowouts, right? Not quite. First, the 7-8 Bucks surprisingly steamrolled the Cavs 118-101 as J.R. Smith dapped up his friends on the sideline. Then, the 6-11 Magic knocked off an unusually sloppy Spurs team 95-83. To top it all off, the 4-12 Nets erased an 18-point lead to stun the Clippers in overtime 127-122 (much to Doc Rivers’ frustration).
Those three losses alone were historically rare.
To put that rarity into perspective: If you’re the gambling type, just a $100 three-team moneyline parlay on the Magic, Nets and Bucks would have netted you $20,712.50, per ESPN.com.
But the wackiness didn’t stop there. The Detroit Pistons, New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz also beat opponents with better records, meaning Tuesday’s NBA underdogs went a perfect 6-for-6.
Who says the NBA doesn’t have parity?
If you’re a Boston Celtics fan, though, you shouldn’t like Tuesday’s wild night. The Celtics, of course, own the rights to Brooklyn’s first-round draft pick in 2017, and after the Nets’ latest upset, there now are five NBA teams with the same or worse losing percentage as Brooklyn.
The Nets’ next four games also are against teams with records of .500 or worse — but as Tuesday shows, records sometimes don’t mean anything.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images