by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki turned back the clock yesterday afternoon but in the end it was Kobe’s Lakers who walked away the victors. Kobe was lights out in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 of his 38 points on 5-5 shooting to bury the Mavs in Dallas. After a dunk by Dirk gave Dallas a three point lead with 6:41 remaning, the Mavs unraveled down the stretch. Both Nowitzki and O.J. Mayo were hit with technical fouls and Los Angeles scored seven unanswered points on free throws. Dirk cut the lead to two with under 30 seconds left thanks to a tough fadeaway foul line jumper. Ron Artest hit one of two free throws on the other end to put the Lakers back up three. On the ensuing possession, Mayo had a chance to tie it up but his baseline three drew iron. Nowitzki finished with 30 points and 13 boards while Kobe added 12 boards and 7 dimes to his 38 points. Amnesty that.
Golden State turned the ball over 22 times, were outscored 62-36 in the paint and trailed by as many as 16 but still found a way to win on the road. Down by two with a minute-and-a-half to play, the Sixth Man of the Year candidate, Jarrett Jack, nailed a three to give the Warriors the lead for the first time since midway through the third. Ricky Rubio (16 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds) came back and hit a layup on the next possession but Steph Curry (18 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) answered with a three to put the Warriors up 99-97. The Warriors were up 100-99 in the closing seconds but the Wolves had a chance to win at the buzzer. Luke Ridnour got a good look but bis layup fell short and Golden State held on. Jack finished with 23 points and 8 dimes off the bench and David Lee notched a 22-point, 13-rebound double-double. Derrick Williams led the Wolves with 23 points and 12 boards.
The Heat blew a 22-point lead but a big fourth quarter from Dwyane Wade catapulted the Heat to their NBA best 11th-straight win. Wade got off to a slow start, shooting just 3-8 from the field, but was unstoppable in the fourth. Over the final five minutes of the game, Wade scored 11 of his 24 points and led the Heat back form a late eight-point deficit. With 2:16 left, Dion Waiters (26 points) nailed a step back jumper to give the Cavs a one-point lead but on the next possession, the Heat took the lead for good when Shane Battier (14 points) hit a dagger three. LeBron finished with 28 points and 8 dimes and Rio Chalmers scored 16. Kyrie Irving scored 17 points and dropped 5 dimes.
The Hornets snapped their three-game losing streak with a nice home win over the Kings. Isaiah Thomas hit a three with eight minutes left in the fourth to cut the Kings’ deficit to five but the young Hornets showed veteran poise and responded with six straight points to go up 11 and put the game to bed. Anthony Davis led the Hornets with 20 points and 8 boards and Greivis Vasquez came through with 12 points and 13 dimes. John Salmons scored 18 points for the Kings.
A defensive slugfest came down to free throws in Brooklyn. With the game tied up at 72 late, the refs missed a call that would have put Deron Williams at the line and Tony Allen was fouled on the next possession. Allen went on to hit both of his free throws and gave the Grizz the lead for good. Brooklyn shot just 5-13 from the stripe while Memphis shot 10-12. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combined for 30 points and 21 boards and Mike Conley scored 10 points while dishing out 7 dimes. DWill led all scoreds with 24 points on 9-15 shooting.
The Knicks entered last night’s game on a four-game losing streak and desperately needed a win before embarking on a tough stretch of their schedule. Luckily, Melo’s 29 points and STAT’s 20 on 9-10 shooting did the trick and the Knicks were able to beat the Sixers. After taking a 20-point lead, Philly came back late in the third and were threatening in the fourth. Jrue Holiday–who led all scorers with 30 points–kept Philly within striking distance and cut the deficit to just eight. J.R. Smith (14 points) finally put Philly away when he hit a dagger 3-pointer with 5:36 left in the game that put New York up by an insurmountable 13 points. Ev Turner scored 21, had 8 dimes and grabbed 6 boards for Philly.
The Spurs led by as many as 21 and made light work of the lowly Suns. Tony Parker sat and none of San Antonio’s starters played more than 33 minutes as the Spurs’ reserves took care of business for much of the game. Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 16 points and 9 boards and Patty Mills also chipped in with 16. Marcin Gortat led Phoenix with 21 points and 12 boards.
Wes Matthews made his presence felt after missing the previous two games with an injury. Matthews finished with 24 points and nailed a clutch 3-pointer with under a minute to go as Portland snapped its season-high seven game losing streak. With 1:46 to go, KG (20 points, 9 boards) hit a layup to tie the game up but Dame Lillard (12 points, 6 dimes, 6 boards) responded with a bucket and one to give Portland the lead. Boston wouldn’t score again and after Matthews’ aforementioned 3-pointer, it was all she wrote. Paul Pierce led the C’s with 23 points, 8 dimes and 7 boards.
The Thunder held Chicago to just 29.1 percent shooting from the field (the worst shooting performance in the NBA this season) as they steamrolled the Bulls in Oklahoma City. Russ Westbrook led the way with 23 points, Kevin Durant scored 19, grabbed 16 boards and dropped 6 dimes and Serge Ibaka finished with a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double.