Three things to Know: Clarkson ejected as Jazz continue to slide

Three Things To Know is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA must-watch.

1) Jordan Clarkson ejected as Jazz continue to slide, Grizzlies continue to rise

Desmond Bane is very good at basketball — a true No.2 option next to Ja Morant in Memphis — and he continues to play his way back into shape after missing 17 games with a toe injury.

Bane’s role stepped up on Sunday with Ja Morant out, and he scored 24 points with nine assists and led the Grizzlies to their sixth-straight win. The Grizzlies look like a team starting to find its stride with Jaren Jackson Jr. adding 19 points, eight rebounds and five blocks.

Utah continues its slide — but that’s not what everyone is talking about out of this game.

Jordan Clarkson was ejected for a blow to Bane’s head — then squaring up and getting ready to fight. And egging on the crowd to boo as he walked off the court.

Squaring up is a thing with Clarkson.

To be clear, that was an easy call for the refs — Clarkson made a wild swing nowhere near the ball and slapped Bane in the head. The league has been cracking down on blows to the head for a couple of seasons now.

Since shocking the league and starting 10-3, the Jazz have gone 10-20 and slid below .500, behind the Lakers and into 12th place in the West. They have the 27th-ranked defense in the NBA and a strong offense can no longer cover that up. The illusion of that early start has worn off and Danny Ainge and company head into the trade deadline next month with questions about what they want this roster to look like in a few years. Is it time to sell some veterans at the deadline and continue the pivot into a rebuild that started over the summer?

2) Kevin Durant injury overshadows Nets’ win

The Brooklyn Nets earned a tough win in Miami on Sunday, one they got when Royce O’Neal was in position for the putback on a missed Kyrie Irving long-bomb 3.

That’s not the story of the game.

Kevin Durant left the game late in the third quarter when Jimmy Butler had his shot blocked by Ben Simmons and accidentally fell into Durant’s leg. Durant fell to the ground, could not return to the game, and will have an MRI back in New York on Monday.

One never knows with knee injuries, but the Nets sounded relatively positive after the game, which is a good sign.

Durant has played at an MVP level averaging 30 points a game with a 67.5 true shooting percentage, plus putting up 6.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists a night this season. They can’t afford to be without him for an extended stretch.

Durant suffered a knee injury about this time last season — Bruce Brown fell into his other knee on another fluke play — when and missed 21 games. Hopefully this injury is not as severe.

3) Bam Adebayo threw down the dunk of the night over

Bam Adebayo has been underrated this season. While the Heat have been a roller coaster with Jimmy Butler in and out of the lineup, role players not stepping up and them missing PJ Tucker, Adebayo has been a defensive anchor and shown growth in his offensive game. He is having his best season ever.

And he did this to Joe Harris Sunday.

He’s not getting in as a starter, but the coaches should vote Adebayo in as an East frontcourt reserve for the All-Star Game next month.

Check out more on the Grizzlies

LeBron James, Kevin Durant lead first round of fan NBA All-Star voting PBT Podcast: Why scoring is up and NBA power rankings talk NBA Power Rankings: Nets jump up to top spot while Nuggets now second

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