Suns 96, Knicks 98
This game was tight the whole way through, and New York grabbed a two-point lead in the final minute of regulation. In the waning seconds, Leandro Barbosa appeared to have the ball cleanly tied up by Kenyon Martin, but a foul was called on K-Mart, and Barbosa hit the subsequent free throws, sending the game into overtime.
Neither team scored in the final two minutes of OT, but the Knicks had jumped out to a quick lead and it stuck.
Melo led New York with 29 points and 16 boards. He hit just 9/24 shots from the field, but managed 8/9 shooting from the stripe. Raymond Felton scored 19 points (but amazingly had just 1 assist in 44 minutes), and Martin finished with 8 points and 9 boards in a solid effort. Don’t look now, but the 15-22 Knicks are slowly climbing back to relevancy.
Phoenix’s high-man was Goran Dragic with 28. He took advantage of the Knicks terrible rim protection all night, but didn’t get quite enough from his teammates. Barbosa finished with 21, but the Suns shot under 36 percent from the field, including a terrible 7/30 from three.
Bucks 94, Raptors 116
Toronto pulled ahead early and ran away with this game. Kyle Lowry was sharp with 23 points (6/8, 7/7 FT), 5 assists and 4 steals, and Jonas Valanciunas went for 17 and 10. DeMar DeRozan kicked in 19, 7 and 7, and Patrick Patterson came off the bench for 18, too.
In all, the Raptors shot above 50 percent from the field and 12/23 from deep.
Ersan Ilyasova had a big night for Milwaukee, scoring 29 points (11/16) with 9 boards in the loss. John Henson returned from an ankle injury and scored 8 points with 5 boards and 4 rejections in 17 minutes. Larry Sanders and Khris Middleton both struggled offensively, combining to shoot just 3/16 on the night.
Rockets 104, Celtics 92
Dwight Howard (32 and 11) led the Rockets to a fairly easy road win last night. Boston jumped out to an early lead, but Houston crushed the Cs in the final three quarters.
Each Rockets starter scored in double-figures, including Terrence Jones (12, 12 and 3 blocks) and Jeremy Lin (16 and 9 with 3 steals). Omri Casspi added 12 points off the bench.
Boston got 24 from Avery Bradley and 17 from Jerryd Bayless, but the rest of the team struggled. Jared Sullinger (3/11), Jeff Green (2/10) and Jordan Crawford (3/11) were unable to get much going in the loss.
Wizards 102, Bulls 88
Washington led by 13 points at halftime and the Bulls just could never quite close the gap.
John Wall and Nene each scored 19 to pace the Wiz. Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster combined for 28 points on 5/10 shooting from deep, and Bradley Beal chipped in 13.
It was the same story as always for Chicago, who got 19 points from Carlos Boozer but limited offense surrounding him. Kirk Hinrich and DJ Augustin combined to shoot 5/21 while splitting time at point guard, and Joakim Noah was held to 8 points (with 16 boards).
Spurs 101, Pelicans 95
The Pelicans hung with the Spurs for about 46.5 minutes before San Antonio shut the door.
Tony Parker dropped 27 (9/15, 9/10 FT) and 7 in the win, and Tim Duncan scored 18 points with 9 rebounds.
Kawhi Leonard scored 13 points with 6 rebounds—surprisingly slightly better numbers than his season averages. Marco Belinelli saw 30 minutes with Danny Green sidelined and scored 12 points with a pair of treys.
Anthony Davis was stellar for NOLA again, hitting 9/18 shots on his way to 22 points, 11 boards, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Brian Roberts filled in nicely for Jrue Holiday, connecting on 7/12 shots for 19 points.
Overall it was a solid game for New Orleans, but they face a tough battle in the second half of the season with Holiday, Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans all injured. Evans should be back pretty soon, but the Pelicans have been bitten by the injury bug worse than most teams this year, which is especially unfortunate since their 2014 draft pick belongs to Philadelphia.
Magic 88, Mavericks 107
Dallas’ offense clicked early (59 first-half points), and this game was never really in doubt.
Monta Ellis led the way with 21, while Vince Carter (17), Dirk Nowitzki (15), Jae Crowder (14), Jose Calderon (13) and Wayne Ellington (12) were all solid offensively, too.
Orlando got nice efforts from Glen Davis (19 and 8) and Jameer Nelson (21 and 7), among others, but it wasn’t enough. The Magic are now just 3-17 on the road (and 7-11 at home).
Nuggets 103, Jazz 118
It feels weird to say, but the Jazz just couldn’t be stopped last night. Utah was led by Alec Burks’ huge game: 34 points on 13/19 shooting and 8/8 free throws. Derrick Favors hit 7/12 shots for 19 points with 15 boards, and Trey Burke scored 18 points with 8 assists. Even Richard Jefferson was solid, finishing with 16 points (3/6 from deep).
JJ Hickson (21 and 10) and Ty Lawson (23 and 11) played well for the Nuggets in the loss. It’s tough to win on the road when you allow 118 points.
PS: It should be mentioned that Minnesota drafted the two starting point guards in this game and traded each on Draft Day. The total return: Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng and two years of Martell Webster before his revival in Washington. Yikes.
Bonus: Vintage Show Of The Day
This season, I’ll be posting a semi-random highlight video of a former baller at the bottom of my Post Ups. Today, I present…. Sheed!