Lakers 78 (4-23), Thunder 118 (18-9)
Much was made of Kevin Durant’s rapport with Kobe Bryant entering Saturday’s game; Durant described Bryant’s career as “epic”, and the two even had dinner together. Ultimately, Bryant’s legacy would be a moot point, as the future Hall of Famer was sidelined with a sore right shoulder in the team’s 16th road loss of the season. KD and Russell Westbrook went a combined 12-for-24 from the field, and Enes Kanter provided an impressive double-double (14 boards with 19 points) in just 23 minutes. After the game, Lakers coach Byron Scott directed some pointed criticism at his team, which D’Angelo Russell countered with a barb of his own.
Lakers coach Byron Scott said it looked like his players were "scared" and "in awe" of OKC. Said he told them it was "pathetic."
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) December 20, 2015
D'Angelo always honest. "You try to make a run and sustain the run. There’s not much you can do when we’re trying to stay within the system"
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) December 20, 2015
Pacers 84 (16-9), Grizzlies 96 (14-14)
Memphis received double-doubles from Marc Gasol and Matt Barnes, as well as a vintage Vince Carter dunk en route to snapping Indiana’s three-game winning streak. Paul George led the Pacers with 29 points on 8-of-22 shooting, but will face a $35,000 fine from the league after calling out referees in Friday’s victory over the Nets.
Clippers 97 (16-12), Rockets 107 (14-14)
After jumping out to a 38-17 lead in the first quarter, Houston never looked back in their crucial victory over the Clippers. Dwight Howard led the way with 14 boards, two blocks and 22 points, while James Harden notched a double-double with 11 dimes and 18 points. The Clippers, meanwhile, will receive a well-timed off-day Sunday. The team shot 39.5 percent from the field Saturday, and have received a dearth of production from the bench; after fouling out in 20 minutes Saturday, Lance Stephenson has now scored 12 total points over his last 116 minutes of floor time.
Bulls 91 (15-10), Knicks 107 (14-14)
One game removed from a quadruple-overtime loss to the Pistons, the Bulls were understandably fatigued in a tough defeat to the surging Knicks. Despite an impressive double-double from Bobby Portis off the bench (prompting a #FreeBobbyPortis hashtag on Twitter), Chicago has absorbed two difficult losses in a row. After Saturday’s game, Jimmy Butler vented his frustrations on head coach Fred Hoiberg.
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) December 20, 2015
Having now won four straight, Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks to victory with 27 points, while Arron Afflalo and Lance Thomas pitched in with 18 and 13 points, respectively. Kristaps Porzingis helped the cause with this casual no-look feed to Anthony in the second quarter.
— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) December 20, 2015
Hornets 101 (15-11), Wizards 109 (11-14)
Guided by a 27-point effort from John Wall, Washington held off the resilient Hornets for their first win after a 1-3 road-trip. Despite entering the game with a shortened rotation, Wall found the energy to deliver this impressive swat on an attempted lay-up from Jeremy Lin.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) December 20, 2015
Lin followed his season-high 35-point effort against Toronto on Friday with 15 points, six boards, and seven dimes in Saturday’s loss. Sloppy play would be Charlotte’s undoing against Washington, committing 17 turnovers compared to 14 from the Wizards.