by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad

Just ‘Cause:

Kobe’s 81 against the Raptors.

Knicks 100 (13-4), Bobcats 98 (7-10)

This game was absurd on many levels–the Knicks shot 41 three’s!–and the final few minutes were so sloppy that it made sense that J.R. Smith hit the game winning buzzer beater with Melo looking on from the locker room. The Knicks had absolutely no business winning this game but the Bobcats shot themselves in the foot over and over, committing five turnovers on their final six possessions to give the Knicks a chance to win. With the game tied at 98 and the clock winding down, Mike Kidd-Gilchrist threw a contested cross court pass that was picked off by Ray Felton. With J.R. Smith streaking down the sideline, the Knicks had a fast break opportunity and Felton dished off to Smith who inexplicably pulled the ball out. Jason Kidd sprinted from across the court and nearly ran the ref over trying to call timeout with under four seconds left. Out of the timeout, Smith caught the inbounds dribbled left and hit a step-back buzzer beater over MKG to win the game. Basically, Smith turned down a fast break layup to call timeout and hit a contested buzzer beater. Unbelievable.

Quick Hitters:

– The Bobcats won pretty much every major statistical category but turnovers once again plagued them.

– Before leaving the game, Anthony scored 23 points. Tyson Chandler scored 18 and grabbed 17 boards. Ray Felton scored 17 and dished out 9 assists.

– Kemba Walker scored 25 and dropped 11 dimes. Gerald Henderson scored 18 off the bench.

Pacers 99 (10-9), Blazers 92 (8-11)

Paul George followed up his 34-point performance against the Bulls with a 22-point encore to lead the Pacers past the Blazers for a home win. George was big in the second half, accounting for ten points during a 20-4 run that spread over the third quarter and early into the fourth that put Indiana up 82-64. The Blazers stormed back with a 17-4 run of their own and after a Damian Lillard layup, the score was 85-81 Pacers. Indy found their composure and a dunk by George Hill pushed the lead back to seven. The Blazers had a chance late to cut the lead to three, but Roy Hibbert blocked J.J. Hickson’s shot and the Pacers hung on for the win.

Quick Hitters:

– Over the last two nights, Paul George has scored 56 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, dished out 7 assists and stole the ball 4 times. He shot 21-40 from the field and 5-12 from beyond the arc. Dude is going in.

– Dame Lillard continued his strong start with a 23-point, 6-assist performance.

– The Blazers bench was awful once again, this time only scoring 13 points.

– David west shot 8-11, scored 16 points and grabbed 10 boards.

Celtics 104 (10-8), Wolves 94 (8-9)

Playing in his first game after serving a two-game suspension for fighting with Kris Humphries, Rajon Rondo picked up right where he left off with a 17-point, 11-assist outing. KG, once again, played great against his former team and scored 18 points while grabbing 10 boards.  The Celtics shot 52.6 percent from the field and used a 20-11 late third quarter run to shake off the Wolves. In the fourth, Boston opened up a 15-point lead after Jason Terry hit a three with under eight minutes to play. The C’s led by at least 12 the rest of the way and cruised to a double-digit home victory.

Quick Hitters:

– Kevin Garnett is now 10-0 against his former team.

– All five Celtic starters scored in double-figures.

– Kevin Love led all scorers with 19 points. He also grabbed 13 boards.

Warriors 104 (11-7), Pistons 97 (6-14)

The triumvirate of Klay Thompson, David Lee and Steph Curry each had big games to snap the Pistons’ three-game home winning streak. Thompson hit five three-pointers in the third quarter to finish with a season-high 27 points. Curry scored 22 points and dropped 10 dimes (his fourth straight game of 20 and 10) and Lee scored 20 points and grabbed 11 boards. In the third, Curry and Thompson combined for six three’s to turn a two-point lead into a 15-point lead which they eventually pushed to 20 thanks to a 39-point third quarter. The Pistons finally stopped the bleeding and stormed back, chipping away at the lead before hitting seven straight shots to pull within three with a minute left. Unfortunately for them, the Warriors hit their free throws to close out the game.

Quick Hitters:

– Tayshaun Prince was the only Pistons’ starter to score in double-figures. He finished with 24. The Pistons’ bench combined for 53 points.

– Curry’s 20-10 streak is the longest by a Warrior since Tim Hardaway’s streak in December of ’92.

Hawks 108 (10-5), Nuggets 104 (9-10)

The Nuggets let another close one slip by to fall below .500, spoiling Ty Lawson’s season-high 32 points. Al Horford came up big for the Hawks, notching his third straight double-double with 25 points and 12 boards while Josh Smith celebrated his 27th birthday with 16 points and 13 boards. The Nuggets opened up the second half with an 8-2 run but the Hawks countered with a run of their own and built an 11-point lead. The Hawks held strong until two and a half minutes left when Danilo Gallinari hit two free throws. Lawson followed that with a three which gave Denver a 101-99 lead with two minutes to go. The Hawks regained the lead in the final minute but with a chance to tie, Lawson dribbled the ball off his foot. Josh Smith smelled blood, picked up the ball, raced down the court and hammered down a dunk while getting fouled for a three-point game that proved to be the decisive play of the game.

Quick Hitters:

– Josh Smith is currently averaging 16.1 points, 7.6 boards, 3.7 dimes, 2.4 blocks and 1.4 steals. The last player to do so was David Robinson. I love Josh Smith.

– Lou Williams scored 16 off the bench.

– Corey Brewer scored 19 off the bench, Gallo scored 16 and Mozgov grabbed 13 boards.

Bulls 95 (9-8), Cavs 85 (4-15)

Behind a season-high 23 points (10 in the first quarter) from Marco Belinelli the Bulls fended off the Cavs to put their record over .500. Cleveland cut the lead to five after Tyler Zeller hit two free throws with two minutes left in the third but the Bulls ended the quarter on an 8-4 run to make it a 72-63 lead entering the fourth. The Bulls kept their intensity and focus up while Cleveland ran out of gas and never got it closer than nine.

Quick Hitters:

– Anderson Vareajo notched his 10th straight double-double. He also extended his streak of games with at least 15 total boards and five offensive rebounds to ten in a row which is two shy of Moses Malone’s record.

– Cleveland shot under 40 percent.

– All five Chicago starters scored in double-figures. Luol Deng finished with 22, Boozer finished with 10 and 12, Joakim Noah scored 13 and grabbed 15 boards and Kirk Hinrich chipped in with 11.

Lakers 103 (9-10), Pelicans 87 (5-12)

With a bucket in the first half, Kobe joined the illustrious 30,000 point club along with Kareem, Karl Malone, MJ and Wilt. Kobe is the youngest player ever to reach the 30,000 point milestone. Salute.

Spurs 110 (15-4), Bucks 99 (8-9)

The Bucks slide continued last night after getting manhandled by the Spurs reserves in the fourth quarter. With the game tied to start the fourth, Pop put full faith in his reserves to keep the game close. They rewarded his faith with a 17-3 run led by Gary Neal, Matt Bonner, Nando De Colo, James Anderson and Tiago Splitter. By the end of the run, the Spurs’ bench had built a 93-79 lead with seven minutes to play. The Bucks did outscore San Antonio over the rest of the quarter but it was too little, too late as the Bucks fell below .500 for the first time this season.

Quick Hitters:

– Tony Parker and Gary Neal led the way with 22 points each. Parker and Neal outscored the duo of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings 44-35.

– The Spurs outrebounded the Bucks 53-36. They also outscored them 52-32 in the paint.

– Ersan Illyasova scored 17 points off the bench.

Jazz 87 (10-10), Magic 81 (7-11)

Al Jefferson was dominating with 31 points and 15 boards before leaving the game late in the fourth with a back injury. Jefferson had already done too much damage inside in the second half, hitting 9 of 12 shots, to carry the Jazz to victory over an Orlando team that had won two straight. The Magic kept things close, overcoming a 14-point deficit to take a one-point lead with three and a half minutes to go. After that, Randy Foye drilled his only bucket of the night to trigger a 9-2 run that put the game to bed.

Quick Hitters:

– Big Baby led the Magic with 18 points and 12 boards.

– The Magic shot 1-15 from three. The Jazz shot 1-10.

– Paul Millsap chipped in with 22 points.

– The Magic turned the ball over 20 times compared to Utah’s 13.

Kings 107 (5-12), Raptors 100 (4-15)

Despite Kyle Lowry’s 34 points, 11 assists and 5 boards, the Kings held off the Raptors thanks to 23 points from ‘Reke Evans and a 25-point, 13-rebound double-double. Sacramento completely dominated inside, outscoring the Raptors 56-30 inside while outrebounding Toronto 47-40. The game was back and fourth throughout but with the score tied at 95 and two minutes remaining, ‘Reke hit back-to-back three’s to give the Kings a six-point lead which proved to be insurmountable.

Quick Hitters:

– Cousins and Jason Thompson combined for 25 points and 12 boards before the half while holding Toronto’s frontcourt to 11 points and 4 boards.

– Lowry scored 15 of his 34 in the third quarter.

Clippers 112 (13-6), Mavs 90 (8-11)

All you need to know: