Wizards (6-2) 107, Pistons (2-6) 103
John Wall scored 27 points, dished 11 assists, and gathered 3 steals to lead the Wiz Kids to their sixth win in eight games. However, the first half belonged to the other team’s starting PG. Brandon Jennings dropped 21 points through the first two quarters, finishing with 32 on the night to go along with 10 assists and 2 steals. Jennings went cold in the fourth, but his teammates picked up the slack and the game remained close until the very end. Wall hit a free throw with seven seconds left to give Washington a two-point lead, but proceeded to miss the second attempt. Fortunately for the Wiz, Paul Pierce was there to tap the rebound out to Rasual Butler, who sank two from the charity stripe to put the game away.
Wall was instrumental in the win, slicing through double-teams, finding open shooters, and clamping down defensively after Jennings’ hot start. Marcin Gortat contributed 14 points and 13 rebounds, Butler had 18 on 7-8 shooting off the bench, and The Truth chipped in with 13 and 8. For the Pistons, Greg Monroe put up 17 and 9, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 20.
Hawks (4-3) 100, Jazz (3-6) 97
A slight uniform mishap couldn’t stop Paul Millsap from having a huge night. His 30 points, 17 boards, 2 steals, and 2 blocks carried Atlanta to victory over the lowly Jazz. Millsap, Jeff Teague (20 points, 8 assists), and Kyle Korver (17 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists) stepped up in a big way without injured teammates DeMarre Carrol and Mike Scott. Utah led late in the game but missed its final seven shots en route to the team’s fourth loss of the season. Despite the L, there were positives for the Jazz; Alec Burks (22 points) led a balanced scoring attack which featured six players—including all five starters—in double figures. Derrick Favors posted 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks, Enes Kanter dropped 16, and Trey Burke finished with 11 points and 11 dimes.
Thunder (3-6) 109, Celtics (3-4) 94
No KD? No Russ? No problem. In case y’all haven’t noticed, Reggie Jackson can hoop. His 28 points and 8 assists catapulted the Thunder to its first road win of the season last night, and he’s now averaging 21.8 PPG and 7.4 APG through six games. Some people were frustrated with OKC’s inability to land a big name in free agency, but don’t sleep on newly acquired Anthony Morrow. Dude dropped 28 points (4-5 from three) in 31 minutes off the bench, and while he won’t produce those numbers on a consistent basis, they’re reassuring for the time being. Rajon Rondo had another stellar outing with 20 points, 12 assists, and 2 steals, but the Celtics shot just 9-33 from three-point land and couldn’t stop Jackson or Morrow in the second half. Avery Bradley had 17, Kelly Olynyk and Jeff Green each had 14, and Sullinger had 14, 11, and 6, but it wasn’t enough.
Pacers (3-6) 81, Heat (5-3) 75
I guess the Heat forgot that rebounding is maybe, kinda, sorta important in basketball. Miami was out-rebounded 53-28 (!) at home and fell to Indiana in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. D-Wade scored 20 points but received zero help offensively; apart from Shawne William’s 15, no one else on the Heat roster reached double digits scoring. Chris Bosh shot just 3-13 for 9 points, and Josh McRoberts saw increased minutes but managed only two made field goals (one of which was filthy—see below). Meanwhile, the Pacers relied on the strong play of Chris Copeland (17 points, 5 rebounds), Roy Hibbert (16 points, 15 rebounds) and Donald Sloan (15 points, 6 rebounds). LeBron’s talents were definitely missed in South Beach last night.
Magic (3-6) 97, Knicks (2-7) 95
Basketball is rotten in the Big Apple. Despite Phil Jackson’s replies to the commish, there’s no way the Zen Master is pleased with the basketball on display right now. A 2-7 start probably isn’t what he envisioned when he signed on as team president. Last night, Orlando trailed New York by four points heading into the fourth quarter, but the Magic took the lead midway through the period. The Knicks hung around ’til the end and a Carmelo Anthony three-pointer cut Orlando’s lead to one with four seconds left. Evan Fournier missed the back end of two free throws, which gave NYK an opportunity. However, JR’s potential game-winning trey was off-target and the Knicks fell to 2-7. Fournier (career-high 28 points, 4 steals) and Nikola Vucevic (20 points, 13 rebounds) captured the dub for Orlando, while ‘Melo (27 points, 5 rebounds) and Smith (19 points off the bench) got theirs in the loss.
Pelicans (4-3) 109, Lakers (1-7) 102
I tried to start this one off without mentioning Anthony Davis, but it was impossible. Young’n is simply unbelievable. On Tuesday night, Kobe Bryant told the press that Davis can be one of the best power forwards ever. A day later, AD put up 25 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 blocks against the Mamba. The 21-year-old is now averaging 24.7 PPG/12.9 RPG/4.4 BPG with a PER of 35.33. Not too shabby, eh?
The Los Angeles Kobes have now dropped two straight after finally winning a game on Sunday night. Bryant scored 33 on 10-28 shooting with 5 assists and 4 rebounds. The Pelicans turned Bryant misses into fast-break opportunities for Davis—many of Tyreke Evans’ 11 assists went to his star teammate. Jrue Holiday went for 17 and 5, while Ryan Anderson did his thing off the bench with 17 and 8. Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin provided 16/6 and 15/4 respectively, but it hardly even seemed like they were on the court with Kobe launching the rock whenever he felt like it.
Suns (5-3) 112, Nets (4-3) 104
We already know that Gerald Green and Isaiah Thomas have starting-five caliber talent, but it’s still cool to see them come off the bench and combine for 49 points. They led the way for the Suns, who were already coming off an impressive win against Golden State. Goran Dragic added 18 points and 6 assists for Phoenix. Six Brooklyn players—Joe Johnson, KG, Brook Lopez, D-Will, and Mirza Teletovic—scored in double digits, but the Nets failed to contain the Green-Thomas combo and succumbed to PHX’s fast tempo in the second half.
Rockets (7-1) 113, Timberwolves (2-5) 101
After finally losing a game—Saturday night’s 98-87 defeat at the hands of the Warriors—the Rockets got back on track thanks to big games from their two superstars. Dwight dropped 22 points and 10 rebounds and James Harden finished with 23 points and 10 assists as Houston pulled away in the second half despite missing Patrick Beverley, out with a hamstring injury. The most intriguing matchup of the night was Harden-Wiggins. Wiggins went for 15 points and blocked one of Harden’s shots off the glass, but it was Harden who eventually got the best of the rook. Corey Brewer shot a perfect 7-7 from the field for 18 of Minnesota’s points. Rockets-Wolves was played at Arena Ciudad de Mexico—the first regular-season game played in Mexico since 1997.