Raptors 110 (23-7), Clippers 98 (20-11)
Though the first match-up of a busy Saturday around the NBA was tied at the half, it was the team from the North that’d pull away in the latter part of the game. The Raptors gave no cares that the Clippers team they visited were on an eight-game home winning streak. So Jonas Valanciunas (22 points and 11 rebounds) and Kyle Lowry (25 points and 7 assists) led the Raps to drop 61 points in the second half and hold the home team to 49. Toronto opened up the final period with a 13-2 run and eventually built a 17-point lead. Down by that many digits in the fourth usually means you’re done for—and in the case of the Clips—yes, they and their eight-game home winning streak were done for.
Magic 102 (12-21), Hornets 94 (10-21)
The Magic spoiled Kemba Walker’s career-night in Charlotte. Despite Walker’s 42 points (and 7 assists!), Orlando just had to come to town and take the win. The career-high from Walker was still pretty great though:
While Charlotte kept getting the ball to Walker, the Magic had plenty of guys who scored. Six out of the nine players who saw minutes were in double-figures. Nikola Vucevic led the team in both rebounds (11) and points (22). The Hornets managed to cut the Magic’s 15-point lead to single digits in the final minute of the game, but Orlando held on to win on the road.
Wizards 101 (21-8), Celtics 88 (10-18)
The result of this game seemed to be decided early on in the first quarter, when the Wiz came out and scored 15 points in the opening four minutes, while holding the visiting Celtics to merely 2. By the end of the first, the Celtics were down 30-12, and John Wall did this move for the second time in two games:
Kris Humphries (18 points) and Paul Pierce (17 points) led Washington in scoring. The home team was up by as many as 24 points, while Boston never tasted a lead once. Jeff Green had a game-high 23 points, but the C’s still dropped their fourth straight game.
Grizzlies 103 (22-8), Heat 95 (14-17)
After losing four games in a row, the Memphis Grizzlies finally had enough. They got their first win after a week and a half dryspell in Miami last night. Marc Gasol scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Mike Conley led the team with 24 points, and four other Grizz were in double figures as Memphis never gave up their lead.
They came close though. After trailing 19 points early in the second half, Miami cut Memphis’ lead to a single point, but they were unable to get over the hump. Dwyane Wade led his team and all players in scoring with 25, including a basket in the second quarter that entered him into the 18,000 career points club.
Bulls 107 (21-9), Pelicans 100 (15-15)
When I initially realized last night was Anthony Davis’ first NBA game in his hometown of Chicago, I had to sit back and let that sink in. He was plagued with injury the previous two seasons when his team visited the Windy City, that’s fine, yada yada. But then it hit me—a fact I and everyone else already know, but it’s worth saying over and over again. Anthony Davis is only in his third season as a pro. That’s scary.
AD finished the night with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 blocks in the Pelicans’ loss to the Bulls. The home team was led by its backcourt. Jimmy Butler recorded a game-high 33 points, and Derrick Rose added 19 in Chicago’s sixth straight win.
Pacers 110 (11-20), Nets 85 (13-16)
Oh, Kevin Garnett.
GIF: Kevin Garnett blows on David West’s face pic.twitter.com/55YDmfUp1u
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) December 28, 2014
KG pulled a Lance Stephenson and blew in not the ear, but the face, of David West. And unlike LeBron, West cracked no smiles, as he gave a shove to the established vet…which then resulted in a technical.
That tech was whatevs though, because the Pacers had control of the game and won it by 15 on Brooklyn’s home floor. Rodney Stucky led Indiana with 20 points, and West added 17. Another five Pacers were in double-figs to propel Indiana to a 27-point advantage and the W.
Hawks 90 (22-8), Bucks 85 (15-16)
After the Bucks came to the Hawks’ turf a night before and blew ‘em out by 30, Atlanta was like YO UNFINISHED BIZ when they went to Milwaukee.
Okay, so that’s not like a confirmed quote or anything, but I like to imagine that’s what the Hawks were thinking. The rematch in Wisconsin saw a relatively close game, with the Hawks’ greatest lead not going above 12. Jeff Teague led all scorers with 25, and Al Horford added 20. The Hawks forced 19 Milwaukee turnovers and kept the home team at 38.8 percent shooting to bounce back after a rough loss.
Jazz 88 (10-20), Sixers 71 (4-25)
Neither team shot particularly well in the game in Utah last night. The Jazz hosted the 76ers, and well.
Utah ended the first quarter with a 25-12 lead and headed into halftime with that 12-point advantage still in tact. After the break, the Sixers caught up in the third quarter when they tied the game at 46 and held their opponents to just 15 points. But it was finally in the fourth when Derrick Favors (17 points and 15 rebounds) and the Jazz turned up to outscore the visitors by 13 and seal the win.
Kings 135 (13-17), Knicks 129 (5-27) OT
Wait, this was only the seventh consecutive loss for the Knicks? Wait.
The New York Knickerbockers traveled to Sacramento to start a mini three-game West Coast road trip. DeMarcus Cousins scored a season-high 39 points when the Knicks came to town, 15 of which came in the first quarter alone.
Teammate Rudy Gay also scored 15 in that same first quarter as the Kings rolled to an 11-point lead early in the game. After trailing by 15, the Knicks finally picked it up in the fourth quarter, outscoring Sacramento 37-28 to force an overtime. In that OT, they fell short. Darren Collison (27 points and 10 assists) sank a 3-ball to break the tie with 1:22 remaining, and the Kings scored three more baskets to finish up the Knicks for good.
Warriors 110 (24-5), Timberwolves 97 (5-24)
It was a game between the best of the West and the worst of the West, and it went down like you’d expect. The Wolves built on their losing streak—now eight games long—to make their record 5-24. The Warriors have the exact opposite record at 24-5, and they broke their losing streak which was only two games long to begin with.
Minnesota’s largest lead in the game was five, and it was in the first quarter. By the end of the first period, Golden State led by eight and the lead only grew. Early in the fourth, the Warriors were up by 27, thanks to guys like Stephen Curry (25 points and 6 assists), Klay Thompson (21 points and 5 rebounds), and four other players who scored 10 points each. Thaddeus Young led Minnesota with 17, but the Wolves’ woes continue.