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Nightly Grades: Heat lose again, Bobcats win again

By Royce Young | NBA writer

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

TeamGradeAnalysis
AIf you weren't already, it's definitely time to take the Raptors seriously. Very seriously. They're not just beating up on the Eastern Conference dregs, but now they're taking care of business against Western playoff teams playing with desperation. With a strong fourth quarter the Raptors put the Grizzlies away 99-86 behind 23 from Jonas Valanciunas. The Raptors are legit good, you guys. Get on board.
ADid you know: The Bobcats have won five of six, and now have taken their last eight at home. With a strong 105-93 win over the Timberwolves they're now within two games of .500, which in the East, puts you in contention for a top four seed. Al Jefferson, again dominant with 25 points and 16 rebounds.
AA promising season turned miserable sometime in January, but this is something to feel better about, at least for a minute. The Heat are slumping, but the Nuggets piled on, beating them 111-107 in Miami as Kenneth Faried put up 24 and 10.
BWith how inconsistently the Blazers have played the last month, this really was a nice win on the road against the Pelicans. Damian Lillard had 27 and Nicolas Batum had 18 -- yes 18 -- rebounds. Heading to the fourth, the Blazers trailed by one, by outscore the Pelicans by nine to hold them off 111-103.
BNo shocker the Spurs killed the Lakers by 34. But that's not only the Spurs ninth straight win, but that puts them on the plus side of this rivalry, 76-75 against the Lakers.
BThey kind of messed around for a while, struggling with the Jazz for a solid three and a half quarters. But they used a late third quarter spark to pull away a bit and despite a gross final 12 minutes, did enough to pick up the road win. That's 10 straight now.
BAny win is a big win for the Suns. No doubt they were supposed to beat the Celtics tonight, but there was no guarantee, especially not with a young team. Eric Bledsoe returned to the starting five and had 17 points, 10 rebounds and four assists as Goran Dragicpoured in another 20.

CNot a pretty win, because winning by seven over the 76ers is kind of like dunking on a Nerf goal. But it's probably just what the Pacers needed. Paul George had 25, Lance Stephenson played well (13-12-4) and David West added 18.
CGoing to overtime with the Magic is kind of gross, but you have to give credit to the Wizards any time they win one of these games instead of losing it. Because this is exactly the kind of game they've gotten really good at losing at times earlier this season. But they got the job done, surviving 21 from Tobias Harris, as John Wall had another double-double (21 points, 11 assists).
DGood try! They only lost by seven to the Pacers, which is pretty good, you know, considering. But that's now 19 straight losses, one within a franchise record.
FUh, heh heh, any time now guys. Come on now, heh. A 111-107 loss at home to the Nuggets, where Ray Allen was the leading scorer with 22. Since LeBron James had 61, he hasn't eclipsed 25 points, and the Heat have lost five of six. What's going on here?
FNot a devastating loss, but not a good one either. They're still a game up on the Suns, but with Phoenix winning, the gap tightened. The Grizzlies couldn't find any fourth quarter offense in Toronto, as the Raptors locked down. The Grizzlies have a little of breathing room, but every game is a must-win for them at this point.
FI'm calling it. Time of death, March 14, 2014. The Timberwolves are officially done this season. Losing by 12 on the road to the Bobcats, the Wolves are back to .500, and almost assuredly sunk in chasing a postseason spot.
FYou're really hard to figure out, Warriors. You've played better lately, but now you lose at home to the Cavaliers? Up 32-16 after the first quarter and then outscored by 25 the rest of the way? I don't get you at all.
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