Morning Shootaround: Christmas health

Life without Lopez tough
Pacers 103, Nets 86

If there is one bright spot to the disaster of a season this is quickly becoming for the Nets, it is that Brook Lopez fit nicely into his role and could still be counted on for his dependable average of 20.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

APThis being a disaster of a season, they of course cannot count on that anymore. Lopez broke his foot in Friday's loss to the 76ers and will miss the rest of the season. It is the same foot Lopez has had multiple surgeries on to repair.

The first game without Lopez did not turn out well as the Nets continue losing. And things got really ugly.

Not only did the Pacers win by 17 points at Barclays Center but Paul Pierce got kicked out of the game for what amounted to a clothesline on George Hill. Things seem only to get worse when the good teams come to town and the Nets are settling in at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Lance Stephenson scored 26 points to lead the Pacers in his hometown of Brooklyn. George also had 26 points. The Nets struggled to find someplace to get scoring with 17 points on 13 field goal attempts from Joe Johnson.

Things just seem to be getting worse for the Nets. And better for the Pacers.

LeBron rallies Heat past Hawks
Heat 121, Hawks 119, OT

Paul Millsap was draining 3-pointers at a scary good pace and the Hawks looked to be on their way to a win. Then LeBron James dunked all over Millsap (a confidence-ruiner if there ever was one) and Ray Allen was fouled on a late 3-pointer to force overtime. Atlanta did not stand a chance in overtimes as James took over. LeBron James scored 38 points to lead the Heat to the home win. He scored many of those in overtime to outpace the Hawks.

Suns roll again
Suns 117, Lakers 90

The point where NBA observers begin taking the Suns much more seriously is coming up pretty soon. The Lakers may not be the team to clinch that belief, what with some people suggesting they shut Kobe Bryant down for the rest of the season, but that day is coming. The Suns got 22 points from Gerald Green off the bench and 17 points and 20 rebounds from Miles Plumlee to continue their surprising and impressive start to the season.

Big is better for Detroit
Pistons 115, Cavaliers 92

The Pistons big lineup featuring Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith still has plenty of skeptics. The Pistons have proven they can beat just about anyone and lose to just about everyone as they figure this whole thing out. When they have games like they had Monday against the Cavs, it shows just what they can do. Brandon Jennings scored 21 points to go with 13 assists and Josh Smith scored 25 points to lead the Pistons to an easy road victory.

Bobcats keep up wild season
Bobcats 111, Bucks 110, OT

Cody Zeller admitted it has been a wild ride through his rookie season for the Bobcats. Charlotte is relevant again. Well, relatively. And Kemba Walker has been stellar for the Bobcats. They needed it again to hold off the Bucks and win in overtime. Zeller had 12 points off the bench and Al Jefferson scored 26 points for Charlotte as the team keeps up its winning ways and deliverd a home victory over Milwaukee.

Evans wins in return
Pelicans 113, Kings 110

Tyreke Evans has had an up and down career really starting in Sacramento. He reminded the Kings of what he was his rookie year when he won Rookie of the Year and left the league hungry for more of this young combo point guard. Evans scored 25 points to go with 12 assists to lead the Pelicans to a win over the Kings as the Kings got back from their unsuccessful East Coast trip. DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the loss.

Spurs ease past Raptors
Spurs 112, Raptors 99

Tim Duncan's crossover gif is the greatest product from this game. The Raptors, fresh off a win at Oklahoma City, were not going to get one in San Antonio. The Spurs got 26 points from Tony Parker in another typical Spurs easy victory. The Raptors got 23 points each from Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross.

Grizzlies bench powers
Grizzlies 104, Jazz 94 

Balance has been key for the Grizzlies and it was once again Monday in a win over the Jazz. Memphis got 51 points off the bench including 17 points from Jerryd Bayless and 15 points from Mike Miller off the bench. The Jazz had balance too, just not enough scoring. Trey Burke and Richard Jefferson each had 18 points in the loss.

Knicks lose Melo, nearly the game
Knicks 103, Magic 98 

The Knicks built a 25-point lead in the third quarter and then Carmelo Anthony — 19 points 7-for-14 shooting — sprained his ankle and was lost for the game. The Knicks completely lost their lead allowing the Magic to get within a single possession several times in the fourth quarter. Orlando just could not get over the hump. Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith came up with several big plays for New York to hold off Orlando on the road.

Dirk passes English
Mavericks 111, Rockets 104

Dirk Nowitzki passed Alex English for 14th on the NBA's All-time scoring list with 31 points in a true turn-back-the-clock performance for him and his Mavericks. Dallas also got 18 points from Monta Ellis in holding off the Rockets on the road. Dwight Howard scored 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as he continues to look rejuvenated. It just is not equaling wins right now.

Warriors grind past Nuggets
Warriors 89, Nuggets 81

You do not expect the Warriors to play very many games in the 80s and win them. This is an offensive team after all. Or maybe not. Golden State has been transformed thanks to defense. They proved that again against the Nuggets. David Lee scored 28 points to pace the Warriors and provide some offensive stability despite a 42.9 percent shooting performance. The Nuggets got 16 points from Ty Lawson in the loss.

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