Wizards (20-8) 102, Knicks (5-26) 91
First and foremost, happy holidays, SLAM fam. We appreciate you!
In the first of five XMas matchups, John Wall (24 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds) and the Wizards took it to the Knicks at MSG. The 6-4 point god had it going from the start, accumulating 9 points and 6 assists during the Wizards’ highest scoring first quarter of the season. JWall was tremendous both in the halfcourt and in transition, driving to the bucket and finishing or finding teammates such as Kris Humphries (14 points, 6 rebounds) and Bradley Beal (17 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds) for open shots. While his team struggled as a whole, Carmelo Anthony found the cup with ease in the first half, scoring from both inside and out. The second quarter belonged to Beal, who put up 9 in the period. The Wiz led 60-44 at halftime.
Wall made the play of the game with a minute left in the third quarter, splitting the defense and putting the spin cycle on Jason Smith with a 360 layup. Things got testy in the fourth when Quincy Acy threw a punch at Wall and was subsequently ejected. ‘Melo got his 34 points on 13-28 shooting in 43 minutes of play and Jose Calderon contributed 16 points, 4 boards and 4 dimes, but the Knicks fell to an abysmal 5-26 on the year.
Thunder (14-16) 114, Spurs (18-12) 106
Russell Westbrook is one-man wrecking crew. It seemed like he was everywhere on the court at once in OKC’s 114-106 dismantling of the Spurs, and the statline doesn’t lie; #0 went 14-28 from the field for 34 points to go with 11 assists, 5 rebounds and 5 steals. He was downright unstoppable—midrange pull-ups, finishing in the paint with contact, dunks, it didn’t matter. Westbrook picked up most of the slack without KD on the floor, but teammates Steven Adams (16 points, 15 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals), Serge Ibaka (21 points, 9 boards) and Anthony Morrow (15 points, 5 rebounds, three-balls down the stretch) also came through in a big way. Tim Duncan dropped 15/6/5, Manu approached a triple double with 11/13/7 and Matt Bonner chipped in with 17 points, 4 rebounds and one beautiful, beautiful, Bonner dunk (see it below in all its glory).
Heat (14-16) 101, Cavaliers (17-11) 91
Dwyane Wade (31 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals) turned back the clock as Miami conquered the Cavs in LeBron James’ return to South Beach. DWade scored 24 of his points in a torrid first half which included an outrageous put-back dunk over Kevin Love. Luol Deng (25 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists) had his best all-around game as a member of the Heat and Miami got the W despite playing without Chris Bosh yet again. LeBron dropped 30 points, 8 assists and 4 boards but missed eight costly free throws. Kyrie put up 25 points, 4 rebounds and 3 dimes in the loss and bruised his left knee in the final seconds. It’s unclear if Uncle Drew will be able to suit up for Friday’s tilt against Orlando.
Bulls (20-9) 113, Lakers (9-20) 93
Chicago’s dynamic backcourt of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler combined for 41 points and the Bulls took command in the fourth quarter to beat the Kobe-less Lakers. Pau Gasol did work against his former team, scoring 23 points and grabbing 13 boards in what was an emotional victory for the seven footer. Nikola Mirotic added 13 points and 7 rebounds off the bench for the Central Division-leading Bulls. Wesley Johnson (19 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals) and Jordan Hill (16 points, 6 rebounds) were bright spots for Los Angeles.
Clippers (20-10) 100, Warriors (23-5) 86
After falling to the Lakers on Tuesday night, the Warriors struggled in the second half yesterday and ultimately lost to the other Los Angeles team as well. CP3 posted 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals, Blake Griffin had 18 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals and Jamal Crawford had 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter en route to the double digit victory. The Clippers shot just 4-24 in the first quarter but were able to get it together and pull out a W against the NBA’s best team record-wise. Steph Curry’s scoring was down, as the baby-faced assassin only provided 14 points but did put up 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. Harrison Barnes also had a nice game with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 2 steals. Forget basketball, though; Spencer Hawes may have won the night with this gem of an outfit. Suit game definitely on fleek.