Spurs 95 (33-19), Pacers 93 (20-33)
One thousand—1,000—yeah, that’s a pretty amazing number. Coach Gregg Popovich earned his 1,000th win last night as his San Antonio Spurs outdid the Pacers in Indianapolis. After leading by 2 points at halftime, the Spurs suffered through a #3rdQofDoom in which the Pacers outscored ‘em by 14 points. San Antonio woke up in the fourth, enough to score 30 and hold the opponents to 14. Midway through the final period, they cut Indiana’s lead in half. After tying the score a couple times with the help of free throws, Marco Belinelli hit a jumper to give the team from Texas a 2-point lead with 2.1 seconds on the clock. George Hill put up a contested 3-pointer at the other end to win the game, but he missed. The buzzer made it official.
Warriors 89 (41-9), Sixers 84 (12-41)
Despite all their starters scoring in double-figures and despite their four-game home winning streak, the Philadelphia 76ers lost the match-up they hosted last night against the NBA’s best, Golden State Warriors. They didn’t give up the win easily though, even without Michael Carter-Williams. The Sixers were up 4 at the end of the first quarter—you know, that quarter when KJ McDaniels did this:
By halftime, Philly was down only 2. But the third quarter saw 9 of their 27 turnovers. The Warriors opened the fourth quarter on a 16-2 run to take an 18-point lead, their largest of the game. The Sixers then scored another 12 to keep it close, but in the end, the Dubs came away with the dub for their best start through 50 games in franchise history.
Wizards 96 (33-20), Magic 80 (16-39)
The Wiz Kids know what they’re doing. In their home game against the Orlando Magic last night, they opened up the first quarter with 24 points, 18 of which came from the paint. They ended the half on a 6-0 run to take a nice 7-point lead at halftime, while also holding Orlando to just 27 percent from the field. John Wall ran the court with 9 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists, and the high-scorer for Washington was Rasual Butler off the bench with 15 points. In the third, Wall sent this pass to Nene (14 points), who followed through perfectly:
Marcin Gortat added 14 points and 14 boards for the Wizards, and the team from DC finished strong for a back-to-back win.
Heat 109 (22-29), Knicks 95 (10-42)
The New York Knicks are dead last in the Eastern Conference and dead last in the NBA. When they visited the Heat in Miami last night, they snapped South Beach’s three-game losing streak. Miami overcame a 14-point New York lead to win the game, its largest comeback victory this season.
Believe it or not, things looked up for the Knicks in the first quarter. Carmelo Anthony scored 14 of his 26 points, and New York went on a 20-4 run. But eventually the powers shifted, as they so often do. Miami went on a 13-3 run early in the third and outscored New York 25-18 in the period. Melo had to return to the locker room in the fourth when his knee bugged him, and Chris Bosh (32 points and 6 assists) and Miami subsequently took care of the win.
Bucks 103 (29-23), Nets 97 (21-30)
Another #3rdQofDoom…the victims this time? The Brooklyn Nets. After scoring 30 points in the first quarter on 70 percent shooting and going on an 11-0 run in the second quarter, the Nets’ 17-point lead was reduced to 5 by the end of the first half. In the third quarter, the hometown Milwaukee Bucks outscored the Nets 32-16 led by Khris Middleton who scored 12 of his 18 points in the period (he had 4 steals too). Jared Dudley added 19 points and 3 steals to help lift the Bucks to their seventh win in eight games.
Hawks 117 (43-10), Timberwolves 105 (11-41)
The best in the East took on the worst in the West yesterday in Minneapolis, and the best finished on top as expected. DeMarre Carroll had a large part to play in the Atlanta Hawks’ road win last night, as he scored a career-high 26 points. Al Horford added a season-high 28 to go along with 8 boards, and Paul Millsap contributed 19 points, 9 boards, and 7 assists in the win. The Hawks had 21 points from fast breaks compared to the Timberwolves’ 9, and they had 14 more points in the paint. In the third, Atlanta went on a 13-3 run to outscore the Wolves by 10, and they kept the momentum up in the fourth to walk out of the Target Center with a W.
Jazz 100 (19-33), Pelicans 96 (27-25)
The guys with Gordon in their names played pretty well yesterday, but only one’s team could come out with the victory. The winning Gordon was Gordon Hayward and his Utah Jazz. Hayward scored 32 points (14 in the third) to go along with his 7 boards, 8 assists, and 2 steals as the Jazz gave the Anthony Davis-less Pelicans their second loss in a row. After a close first quarter, the Pelicans outscored the Jazz 27-15 in the second period. Then in the third, the Jazz outscored Eric Gordon (season-high 31 points) and the Pels 29-15 thanks to a nifty 21-3 run. Derrick Favors added 18 points and 7 boards, and Enes Kanter provided a 14-point, 11-board double-double for Utah in the win.
Clippers 115 (34-19), Mavericks 98 (35-19)
The Dallas Mavericks had a rough first few minutes of last night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Both Tyson Chandler and Monta Ellis left the game and did not return with injuries. Without their leading rebounder and leading scorer, the night promised to be tough. The Clippers were shorthanded too, without Blake Griffin. But in his absence, DeAndre Jordan took on more of a scoring role. He had 22 points, but his dominance on the rebounding end did not diminish by any means. Jordan grabbed a career-high 27 boards last night, and Chris Paul contributed 25 points and 13 assists as the Clips rolled to a 115-98 win over the Mavs despite a valiant effort from Charlie Villanueva (season-high 26 points).
Thunder 124 (27-25), Nuggets 114 (19-33)
The OKC Thunder didn’t wait to get the ball rolling last night. After scoring 38 points in the first quarter, they were up by 20 over the hometown Denver Nuggets. They continued the charge in the second period especially with Durant (24 in the first half) catching fire. Despite a 41-point quarter from the Nugs, OKC went into the locker room at halftime up by 14. The Thunder never relinquished their early advantage to Denver, and as such walked away with an important win for the Western Conference standings.