Breakfast Special: Lonzo Ball, Who Is Made of Glass

Lonzo Ball is injured again, this time sustaining a left knee contusion in the Lakers’ 103-93 win over the Mavericks at home.

Ball was his usual can’t-shoot-a-lick self in his 24 minutes, scoring eight points while shooting 3-of-7 from the field, 1-of-3 from three, and 1-of-2 from the line…then again, all those percentages (42.9/33.3/50) were actually improvements on his horrid season totals.

Ball says he’s not likely to miss much time, but with the Lakers’ playoff hopes deader than disco at 33-41 (they were officially mathematically eliminated when they lost to the Pistons Monday night), they might as well just shut him down before he does any more damage to himself.

The Mavs did a nice friendly gift wrap of this one, hitting just 39.3 percent of their shots and 29.5 percent of their threes against 46.8 and 27.3 for Los Angeles.

Highlights:

Boston’s Young Core Sends A Message

Guerschon Yabusele, Jayson Tatum, Aron Baynes, Terry Rozier, and Jaylen Brown started against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City Wednesday night.

Brown finished the game by drilling a game-winning three in a 97-94 victory.

Nobody saw it coming.

The Celtics’ youth movement has taken the absence of their stars and determined to put a stop to talk that they’re just the Maine Red Claws.

Brown had 21 points, Tatum had 16, and Rozier had 13 (on 4-of-15 shooting, a massive crash back to earth in his past two games after that 33-point outburst late last week) in the win.

Oh, and Boston shot 57.1 percent from three including the game-winner. That will get you some Ws in the standings.

Brown’s your man of the match as he makes his case for being the best guy named Brown ever to wear No. 7 for Boston:

The Clippers On A Mission

Just when you’re ready to write off the Clippers, they handle their business against a bad team, going to Phoenix and winning 111-99.

Tobias Harris had 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting, the Clips overcame a 21-14 loss of the turnover battle, and the team as a whole shot 53.8 percent from the field and 47.1 percent from three.

Harris is, of course, your man of the match, as the Clips sit just one game behind Utah for eighth…and one game ahead of Denver for tenth.

Speaking of, the Western Conference tiebreaker mega-article is coming later today, so stay tuned for that.

Lightning Round!

Cleveland beat Charlotte 118-105 to effectively end the Hornets’ season for good; while they’re not mathematically eliminated, even if they win out, they’ll go 40-42, and that’s simply not going to hack it.

Miami and Milwaukee both have 39 wins; if they win even two games each (or Charlotte loses again), that’s going to be all she wrote for real.

The Cavs, meanwhile, hold on to third place thanks to 41 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists from LeBron James on 14-of-26 shooting.

Philadelphia hangs on to fourth place with a win in a game they were supposed to win, beating the Knicks 118-101.

Dario Saric led the way with 26 points and 14 rebounds, while Ben Simmons again flirted with a triple double on 13 points (6-of-7 shooting), eight rebounds, 10 assists…and 1-of-4 from the free throw line. He’s turning into DeAndre Jordan out there.

Last time Philly won eight in a row, Allen Iverson was still on the team.

Brooklyn beat Orlando because someone had to win.

Seven players had at least 13 points for the Nets in a super-sized Total Team Effort in the 111-104 victory. D’Angelo Russell‘s 16 points and 12 dimes make him the man of the match:

Memphis beat Portland because sure, why not, they just beat Minnesota the other night, how about catching the Blazers on a SEGABABA? Damian Lillard was out, his replacement Shabazz Napier shot just 2-of-11, and despite 42 points on 16-of-25 from C.J. McCollum, Portland lost 108-103.

MarShon Brooks led the Grizz with 21 points off the bench as the team shot 52 percent from long range:

And speaking of Minnesota, the Timberwolves bounced back after that bad loss and beat the Hawks 126-114 behind 56 points on 19-of-32 shooting from Karl-Anthony Towns.

Even though Atlanta shot 53.2 percent from the field and 48.1 from three, losing the turnover battle 20-13 and the getting their butts kicked by KAT battle 56-0 cost them the contest.

That’s a franchise record, by the way:

We’ve got the big West playoff piece coming later and also Is He Any Good, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!