by Jake Fischer

Grizzlies (34-25) 110, Wizards (31-29) 104

Memphis opened up a 15-point lead heading into the fourth quarter and the Grizz looked like they would cruise to an easy victory. Mike Conley’s triple with 4:56 left in the game gave Memphis its biggest lead of the night of 18, but that’s when John Wall and company came storming back. Over the next 4:48, the Wiz surged to a 25-9 run to cut the Grizzlies’ lead to 106-104. Wall, Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza combined for 18 of those 25 points, but it was also encouraging to see Otto Porter come off the bench and knock down two threes while playing lockdown perimeter defense. Porter was a +13 when on the court.

Alas, the Grizz held off Washington’s late run thanks to clutch free throw shooting from Conley and Marc Gasol. For the game, Conley dropped 20 points and dished 7 assists while Gasol had 10, 8 dimes and 7 boards. Memphis snapped the Wiz’s six-game winning streak while moving just a game out of the 8th spot in the West.

Bulls (33-27) 80, Nets (29-29)

Brooklyn started the game off on a 10-2 run, taking full advantage of its opportunity to get back to .500 for the first time since November 5 when the Nets were 2-2. Deron Williams was back to All-Star form, shaking and baking and getting to the rim with ease. D-Will finished with 20 points and 6 assists while four other Nets players were in double figures. In what was probably the best moment of the night, Jason Collins received a standing ovation when he checked into the blowout for Williams with 2:41 left in the game. It was Collins’ first home game returning to the franchise he once went to the NBA Finals with since becoming the first openly gay NBA player and signing a second 10-day deal with Brooklyn.

Knicks (21-40) 85, Pistons (24-36) 96

Trying to get out of a season-low funk, the Knicks opened the game strong after getting embarrassed for six-straight L’s, jumping out to a 28-20 lead after the first quarter. Then Andre Drummond took over, grabbing a career-high 26 rebounds to go along with 17 points, giving him a franchise-record 44th double-double of the season. Drummond didn’t just catch lobs on offense, though. He showed an array of post moves to get around the likes of Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler. Don’t look now, but Andre Drummond is seriously in the “Who Are The Top 5 Centers In The NBA?” discussion.

Bobcats (27-33) 107, Heat (43-14) 124

Let the MVP debate commence.

After Kevin Durant seemingly locked up the hardware in the first half of the season, LBJ has re-entered the discussion. A career-high 61 points. 22-33 shooting. 8-10 from three-point land. 7 boards. 5 assists. 25 points in the third quarter alone. Damn.

By the way, Big Al put up a ridiculous 38 points and 19 rebounds in the loss. Dude’s been playing like an arguable 3rd Team All-NBA Center this season. Seriously.

Jazz (21-39) 88, Bucks (12-47) 114

Milwaukee stomped all over Utah with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sitting courtside in Brew-Town. The Bucks’ 26-point victory now makes them 2-4 since the February 20th trade deadline after going just 10-43 through their first 53 games. The difference might be Ersan Ilyasova. The Turkish big man had 31 points and 5 boards on 13-14 shooting Monday and has been averaging 16.6 points, 6.6 rebounds over his last 5 games after posting just 10.5 per night on the season.

With the win, the Bucks are now just 2.5 games up on the Sixers for the best odds at the No. 1 pick in this May’s draft lottery. Oh, and here’s your obligatory Greek Freak highlight:

Wolves (30-29) 132, Nuggets (25-34) 128

Many have considered Kevin Love to be the best power forward in the NBA for several years now. Kenneth Faried would likely agree. Love manhandled “The Manimal” in the paint on Monday, going for 33 points, 19 rebounds and dishing 4 dimes. The outing was Love’s 50th double-double in the Wolves’ 59 games. The Wolves’ victory ends a five-game road swing since February 23 4-1, yet Minnesota is still 5 games back from the Mavs in the 8th spot out West.

The Nuggets clawed back after trailing by as many as 23 points in the second half. The comeback effort was mostly due to Ty Lawson who had 31 points and 11 assists after missing 9 games with a broken left rib.

Lakers (21-39) 107, Blazers (41-19) 106

Holding on to a 106-105 lead with 29.8 seconds left, Portland called timeout. Terry Stotts drew up a play to give LaMarcus Aldridge a posted up on his favorite left block, but the All-Star was denied, swung the ball back up top and Nicolas Batum found Wes Matthews in the right corner. Matthews uncharacteristically hesitated and forced a fade-away three that clanked off the iron. The Lakers then got the ball with 7.1 seconds left inbounding below the foul line of Portland’s basket. While the refs reviewed video to see if the ball went off Kent Bazemore or Wes Matthews, Mike D’Antoni drew up a beautiful back-screen-and-lob play from Bazemore to Wes Johnson to give LA an improbably 107-106 lead.

Jodie Meeks then defended Damien Lillard’s game-wining attempt and forced him to heave a fade away three-point game-winning prayer. Lillard’s shot missed everything and the Lakers snuck out of the Moda Center with an upset victory.

Pelicans (23-37) 89, Kings (21-39) 96

New Orleans signed Tyreke Evans to a 4-year, $44 million dollar deal this summer assuming he could be a relentless scorer off the bench for a team with playoff aspirations and three high-quality starters in Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis. Obviously, the injury bug has nipped the Pelicans more times than you can count and the newly branded team won’t even sniff the postseason this year. Evans hasn’t helped much. He’s shooting just 40 percent from the field, 17.7 percent from three and a career-low 12.2 points per game. Monday night was different. The 2010 Rookie of the year scored 27 points on an efficient 8-15 shooting back in his old city. He also grabbed 10 boards and dished 8 assists to flirt with a triple-double.

However, Evans’ old team overshadowed his big performance. Five Kings players scored in double-figures as DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas led the way with 23 and 22 points, respectively. The Kings also won despite losing the turnover battle by 9.