Sixers (9-37) 89, Pistons (17-30) 69
This one was ugly from the start.
The Sixers jumped out to a 24-4 (!) lead and never looked back. The Pistons came within nine points a couple times, but Michael Carter-Williams (14 points, 10 assists), Robert Covington (19 points) and JaKarr Sampson (13 points, 8 boards, 2 steals) made sure Detroit never got any closer.
In doing so, Philadelphia snapped a six-game losing streak. Greg Monroe (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Jodie Meeks (19 points, 2 steals) were bright spots for the Pistons. Jerami Grant posterized Jonas Jerebko:
Cavaliers (27-20) 99, Blazers (32-14) 94
No LeBron in action? No problem.
With King James missing from the lineup due to a sprained wrist, Kyrie Irving decided to drop a career-high, NBA season-high 55 points. Kyrie shot 17-36 overall including an astounding 11-19 from beyond the arc to go along with 5 assists and 2 steals. The Cleveland PG’s incredible performance came just five days after Klay Thompson’s record-breaking 37-point third quarter. Oh, and did I mention that Irving also hit one of his three-balls with seven seconds left to win the game? Yeah, that happened.
This past month’s cover man was straight up unguardable at Quicken Loans last night, and the Cavaliers earned their eighth straight win as a result. Timofey Mozgov and Kevin Love chipped in with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 points, 12 rebounds, respectively. LaMarcus Aldridge was a monster in his own right with 38 points, 11 boards and 2 blocks. However, the night belonged to Kyrie. Peep the highlights below and shout-out to Cavs’ color commentator Austin Carr for coming up with “Kyridiculous,” which I couldn’t help but use for today’s headline.
Raptors (31-15) 119, Kings (16-28) 102
Toronto cashed in on 17 threes to win its fourth straight game and 31st on the season. The turning point was the third quarter, in which the home team went on a 29-10 run. DeMarcus Cousins’ foul trouble hurt Sacramento’s chances.
Lou Williams (27 points, 3 steals) led the way offensively for the Raptors. He and Greivis Vasquez (18 points, 6 assists) each hit four three-pointers. All-Star starter Kyle Lowry put up 13 points and 7 dime while Jonas Valanciunas held down the post with 15 points, 9 boards and 2 blocks. The Kings got some nice production from Rudy Gay (22 points) and Ben McLemore (17 points, 5 rebounds). After missing five games with a sprained wrist, Carl Landry finished with 14 points and 7 assists in 23 minutes. However, Sacramento struggled on the defensive end.
Terrence Ross showed off his acrobatics:
Hawks (38-8) 113, Nets (18-27) 102
The Hawks took control in the fourth quarter to win their 17th straight game — a franchise record.
What more is there to say about this team? As discussed in nearly every Post Up, Atlanta is by far the most dominant team in the East. Paul Millsap (28 points, 15 rebounds, 2 blocks) was terrific in last night’s victory over Brooklyn, and, to keep it all the way one hundred, he should be starting in the All-Star game. Speaking of which, how many Hawks deserve spots? Three, four?
Al Horford posted 20 points, 10 boards and 5 dimes, Jeff Teague and 13 points and 11 assists and Kyle Korver added 17 points and 2 blocks. The Hawks gave up the rock six times in the first seven minutes of the game, but they got their act together and have now won 31 of their last 33. Atlanta’s 38 wins match their win total for the entirety of last season. The Nets had solid individual performances but they weren’t enough against Atlanta’s balanced offensive attack. Joe Johnson scored 26 in a loss against his former team, Jarrett Jack had 14 points, 13 boards and 2 steals and Brook Lopez contributed with 18 points and 7 boards.
Rockets (32-14) 99, Mavericks (30-17) 94
The Mavericks trailed by three points with seconds remaining, but Chandler Parsons’ inbounds pass was off-target and landed out of bounds. James Harden (17 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 steals) sank two free throws to put the game out of reach.
Josh Smith (18 points, 6 boards, 3 blocks) and Corey Brewer (14 points, 4 steals) were among a multitude of Rockets to step up in Dwight Howard’s absence (ankle injury). Parsons’ 21 (5-8 on three-pointers), Monta Ellis’ 33 and Dirk Nowitzki’s 14 points look good on paper until you realize Dallas committed 23 turnovers.
Timberwolves (8-37) 110, Celtics (16-28) 98
Kevin Martin returned to Minnesota’s lineup after missing more than two months — 34 games with a fractured wrist — and scored 21 points.
The T-Wolves got the best of the Celtics in a matchup between two lowly Eastern Conference squads. Boston was clearly exhausted in the final game of a six-game road trip. Gorgui Dieng (16 points, 14 boards, 3 blocks), Zach Lavine (17 points, 6 assists, 3 steals) and Thaddeus Young (12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals) all showed out.
Zach LaVine is obviously ready for the dunk contest:
Nuggets (19-27) 93, Pelicans (24-22) 85
The Nuggets ended a seven-game skid thanks to balanced scoring and stingy defense. Anthony Davis (24 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks) injured his groin in the third quarter and is expected to undergo an MRI today. Let’s all hope it’s not serious — we enjoy watching him too much!
The Pelicans shot just 32 of 82 as a team (39 percent). Meanwhile, Denver moved the ball much better than it had during the losing streak. The game was tied at 70 going into the fourth quarter. The Pels failed to score during the final three minutes, and Denver took control. Kenneth Faried (14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals), Jusuf Nurkic (15 points, 9 boards), Ty Lawson (13 assists) and Arron Afflalo (20 points) all played parts in the win. Tyreke Evans dropped 25 and 6, but his team took the L.
Knicks (9-37) 100, Thunder (23-23) 92
It always hurts when you’re without the reigning NBA MVP.
Kevin Durant missed his second straight game with a sprained big toe. Still, no problem for the Thunder against the friggin’ Knicks, right? Wrong.
Carmelo Anthony had a huge outing with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 2 steals. Langston Galloway dropped 18 to go along with 3 steals. Lance Thomas had 17 points and Jason Smith posted a statline of 11/11/6. New York, winners of four of its last five, is playing with boatloads of confidence. The Knicks withstood 40 points on 13-30 shooting from Russell Westbrook. Serge Ibaka added 10 points, 10 boards and 2 blocks, while Reggie Jackson had 13, 7 and 4 steals. However, the absence of Durant leaves a giant void in OKC’s lineup that’s awfully difficult to fill. Perry Jones started in his spot and went scoreless on five attempts.
Spurs (30-17) 95, Hornets (19-27) 86
Wednesday was Coach Pop’s 66th birthday. What better present than a win?
Tim Duncan (12 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals) and Danny Green (16 points, 3 blocks, 2 steals) were crucial for San Antonio on both ends of the floor. Popovich is now three victories away from 1,000 career wins.
Brian Roberts has taken over the point guard role for Charlotte with Kemba Walker set to miss around six weeks with a torn left meniscus. Tony Parker (17 points) took full advantage of the mismatch, taking Roberts to the hole time and time again. The Spurs almost blew an 18-point first half lead — they had a dry spell in the third quarter, in which they shot just 4-21 from the field. However, the home squad was able to recapture its first half magic in the final period and snag its 30th W of the season.
Clippers (32-14) 94, Jazz (16-30) 89
Jamal Crawford poured in 21 points in the fourth quarter on Tuesday night’s win over the Nuggets.
Wednesday night’s performance wasn’t as special, but it was impressive nonetheless. Crawford dropped 21 including four three-balls to help Los Angeles win its sixth straight game. CP3 had 21 points, 6 dimes and 5 rebounds, Blake Griffin put up 17 points and 7 boards, and the Clippers won their 13th consecutive matchup with the Jazz. LAC trailed late in the game and executed down the stretch to take the lead and hold on to it. Utah’s frontcourt of Derrick Favors (18 points, 9 rebounds) and Enes Kanter (21 points, 11 rebounds) were tough to contain in the loss.
Suns (27-20) 106, Wizards (31-16) 98
After being down by 22 points at one point, the Wizards cut Phoenix’ lead to just four with 1:17 remaining thanks to eight straight points from Otto Porter. Unfortunately for Washington, Markieff Morris (16 points, 7 rebounds) responded right away and the Suns pulled away for good.
PJ Tucker (12 points, 10 boards, 2 steals) had a beast of a fourth quarter — he had 10 points and 7 rebounds in the final period — and PHX fought off DC’s late run. The Wiz Kids were playing their fourth game in five nights, and looked energy-depleted against a fast, run-‘n’-gun Suns team. Goran Dragic (20 points, 2 steals) and Isaiah Thomas (18 points) had their way against John Wall (11 points, 7 assists, 2 blocks) and Bradley Beal (13 points). The Wizards will look to bounce back when they return home to face the Raptors on Saturday.