Bobcats (34-36) 124, Trail Blazers (45-25) 94
Charlotte gave the Trail Blazers a taste of their own medicine, repaying a blowout at Porland’s hands earlier this year with a romp of their own. Al Jefferson had 28 points and Kemba Walker went for 26, with each star picking up 6 assists and getting an early rest. Gerald Henderson had 23 for the ‘Cats, who shot 52 percent to snap a two-game slide.
The Blazers were smothered by Charlotte’s excellent team defense, which held them to 40 percent from the field. Damian Lillard led Portland with 20 points, but shot 7-19 to get there.
Rockets (47-22) 118, Cavaliers (26-44) 111
The Rockets have had little trouble since Dwight Howard went down, as they picked up their third straight win without the All Star center. James Harden went off for Houston, scoring 37 points on 9-15 shooting while handing out 11 assists in just three quarters of play. The Beard took control of the game in the third quarter, when he scored 17 points to push the Rockets’ lead as high as 29 points in the quarter. Chandler Parsons had 16 points and 6 assists for Houston.
Cleveland trailed by 18 with about four minutes to go, but went off on a 9-0 run to make the final score more competitive. Dion Waiters had 26 points and 8 assists in the loss, while Tyler Zeller had 23 off the bench.
Grizzlies (41-28) 82, Pacers (51-19) 71
The Memphis defense has been a buzzsaw since Marc Gasol returned from injury in January, and they ripped through Indiana’s offense on Saturday night. Mike Conley scored 21 points and Zach Randolph had 18 points and 13 boards, but the defense was the star.
Over the last two months, Memphis has been the League’s stingiest defensive unit, allowing just 97 points per 100 possessions since mid-January, and they bludgeoned the Pacers into 36 percent shooting while blocking 8 shots. Mike Miller provided an offensive boost, hitting 4-6 treys and netting 13 points, all in the second quarter. Marc Gasol played nearly 40 minutes a night after injuring his ankle.
Paul George’s awful play continued, as the All-Star starter shot just 2-10 and scored 8 points for the Pacers, while Lance Stephenson put up 15 points. Indiana is just 10-7 since making a splash at the trade deadline with the Evan Turner trade.
Pelicans (29-40) 105, Heat (47-21) 95
Anthony Davis is a one-man wrecking crew, and he destroyed the Heat with another monster effort in an upset of the champs. With 30 points and 11 rebounds, Davis set a (fairly arbitrary) franchise record by scoring 28 or more points for the eighth straight game. Tyreke Evans had 16 points and 8 assists for the Pellies, who have won three of their last four.
After pulling out a tough win on Friday night, the Heat rested two starters, Dwyane Wade and Greg Oden, as they lost for the seventh time in 11 games. LeBron James had 25 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists, but didn’t have enough on this night to carry the Heat by himself. James rolled his ankle in the third quarter, but was able to stay in the game. Michael Beasley scored 16 off the bench on 8-12 shooting as the Heat squandered an opportunity to gain a game on Indiana in the Eastern Conference standings.
Bulls (39-21) 91, 76ers (15-55) 81
It’s a familiar story at this point: despite playing hard and hanging in for much of the game, the 76ers fell short against the Bulls as Chicago pulled away in the fourth quarter. Joakim Noah led the Bulls with a line of 20-8-4, blocking 3 shots as well, Jimmy Butler went for 17-8-6 and Taj Gibson and D.J. Augustin both netted 16 off the bench.
The Sixers might have found a way to take the lead in the second half if they could have figured out how to make a jump shot. Philly missed its first 18 attempts from 3-point range and finished 1-20 from deep on the night. Thaddeus Young scored 28 points as the top scorer in the game, while Henry Sims continued to show he belongs on the floor with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Philadelphia has now lost 24 straight, the second-longest streak of all time. They’re three losses away from breaking the record and have just 12 games left in this miserable season.
Jazz (23-47) 89, Magic (19-51) 88
Trey Burke proved last spring that he’s very comfortable playing in March. That carried over to the NBA, as the rookie drained a game-winning 3-pointer from the corner with just over a second left on the clock, sending the Jazz to victory. Burke (17 points) shook off a horrid start – he was 2-11 shooting the ball through three quarters – to score 8 points in the final quarter, knocking down 3-4 shots and two triples. Richard Jefferson scored 21 points and Utah’s young front court of Enes Kanter (11 points, 11 rebounds) and Derrick Favors (11 points, 12 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles.
The Magic just missed out on picking up what would have been their fifth road win of the season, and they still sit at the bottom of the NBA with a 4-33 road record. Victor Oladipo scored 19 points, Arron Afflalo dropped 18 and Nikola Vucevic had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. The Magic dropped their eighth straight in this ugly game, as neither team topped 40 percent from the field.
Clippers (49-21) 112, Pistons (25-44) 103
The Clippers distanced themselves from the Pistons in the second half, pulling away for a home win. Chris Paul was nearly perfect in the victory, scoring 28 points on 10-15 shooting while piling up 15 assists against just 2 turnovers. Blake Griffin poured in another 25 for L.A., who got back to their winning ways after having their 11-game winning streak snapped in their last contest, all the way back on Monday. Danny Granger scored 14 points off the bench, hitting all three of his triples, and DeAndre Jordan had 9 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks.
Detroit was uncharacteristically hot from long-range, knocking down 12-29 3-point attempts to keep it close throughout. Brandon Jennings dropped 19 points, while Andre Drummond (16 points, 12 rebounds) had a double-double.
Spurs (53-16) 99, Warriors (44-27) 90
At this point, it feels like nothing is going to stop the Spurs. Playing without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, San Antonio went on the road to Oakland and won their 13th straight game. Tony Parker hit for 20 points to lead the Spurs and Tiago Splitter had 17 points and 14 rebounds in Duncan’s absence. The Spurs jumped out to a big lead early, going up by as many as 13 in the first quarter, then hit timely shots throughout the second half as Golden State drew closer. Kawhi Leonard had 16 points and 7 rebounds, and Marco Belinelli netted 15 off the bench.
Stephen Curry had 20 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists for the Dubs, who struggled offensively for much of the night. They shot 40 percent overall and hit 3-15 from long range. Klay Thompson put up 16 points, while Andrew Bogut snared 17 rebounds and blocked 4 shots.