by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
The Clippers shot a season-high 58.7 percent from the field and blew out the Sixers in Philly to conclude their eight-game road trip on a high note. The Clippers led wire-to-wire and led 56-33 at halftime, giving the Philly faithful little to cheer about as they watched their home team fall behind by as many as 32. Chris Paul scored 21 points and dropped 11 dimes while Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford each chipped in with 20. Nick Young was the lone bright spot for the Sixers. He scored a game-high 29 points and had 5 assists.
The Bobcats caught a step-slow Celtics team and ended their seven-game winning streak in Charlotte. The teams battled back and forth throughout and the C’s had a chance to tie it up late and send the game to overtime. The Bobcats trailed by four with a minute left when Gerald Henderson (16 points) hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to one. Avery Bradley (8 points) missed a jumper on the other end and Ramon Sessions (19 points) nailed an 18-footer with 25 seconds remaining to give the Bobcats a one-point lead. After a timeout, KG (16 points, 13 boards) missed a jumper and Byron Mullens (25 points, 18 boards) grabbed a big rebound and found Kemba Walker (18 points, 6 boards, 6 dimes) who was fouled and hit both of his freebies to give Charlotte a three-point lead with 15 seconds to go. On the next possession, Paul Pierce (13 points, 8 boards, 8 assists) got a good look at a 3-pointer but missed. He grabbed his own rebound and found Bradley for a chance to tie with time expiring but his attempt drew iron and the ‘Cats got a rare win.
After being marred by injuries and tough losses, the Timberwolves finally pulled one out for their first road victory since January 3. The Timberwovles led by 82-81 in the fourth quarter but quickly went on a 10-2 run sparked by Luke Ridnour, who scored 13 points in the final frame. The Cavs fought back and pulled within three with 1:56 left but Ridnour nailed a 3-pointer that proved to be the dagger. Ridnour finished with 21 points, Ricky Rubio scored 13 points and dropped 10 dimes and Nikola Pekovic notched a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double. Kyrie Irving finished with 20 points and 7 assists but rolled his ankle in the first half. He was in obvious pain but came back to play the second half. No injury report has been released.
An ugly game that saw both teams shoot under 40 percent ended with an overtime victory for Brooklyn. Indiana went on a 7-0 run that turned a three point fourth quarter deficit into a four point lead with 1:38 to go. The Nets hit two free throws to cut the lead to two and David West missed two straight mid-range jumpers to give the Nets a chance. Joe Johnson seized the opportunity by hitting a 10-foot bank shot to send the game to overtime. In the extra session, the Nets went on a 9-2 run to make it 85-79 then iced it with free throws. Brook Lopez finished with 25 points and 8 boards while Reggie Evans grabbed 22 rebounds. George Hill scored 22 points and dished out 6 assists for Indiana.
Ryan Anderson hit five 3-pointers and scored 31 points to lead the Hornets to a blowout victory over the Pistons. New Orleans ended the first half on a 14-5 run to take a 55-41 lead into the half. The Pistons never recovered and trailed by at least 12 points for the entire second half as New Orleans ran away with it. Robin Lopez shot 9-13 to finish with 23 points and 10 boards. Greg Monroe earned his seventh straight double-double with 17 points and 11 boards.
With Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan all sitting, Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 26 points to lead the Spurs over the Bulls. San Antonio led by 14 at three different point in the third quarter but Nate Robinson (20 points, 7 assists) led the Bulls back and helped cut the deficit to four with under a minute to go in the third. The Bulls eventually cut it to one in the fourth but the Spurs went on a 7-0 run to push the lead to 11 with under six minutes to go and the Bulls didn’t pose a threat down the stretch. Danny Green scored 18 and Gary Neal dropped 16 off the bench for San Antonio. Rip Hamilton scored 16 and Joakim Noah grabbed 15 boards for Chicago.
With Brad Beal and John Wall both finally healthy, the Wizards backcourt is starting to show its potential. Beal finished with 28 points on 10-17 shooting while Wall scored 14 and dished out 10 assists as the Wizards backcourt of the future led their team to a road win and their fourth-straight dub overall. With under nine minutes to go, the Bucks cut the deficit to three after a 6-0 run. After a D.C. timeout, Nene converted a three-point play that triggered a 9-0 run which put the Wiz up twelve and the game to bed. D.C. shot close to 60 percent from the field while the struggling Bucks shot under 40. Monta Ellis finished with 24 points, 8 assists and 6 steals for Milwaukee.
Josh Smith went 4-5 from three-point land to finish with a game-high 26 points, 13 boards and 6 dimes (if he gets traded, will this be the first time ever two playoff-bound teams traded their respective best player in the same season?) to lead the Hawks to a nice road win over the Mavs. Dallas had a chance to tie late after Elton Brand stole the ball from Smith with 30 seconds to go and the score 99-98 in favor of ATL. O.J. Mayo (19 points, 4 turnovers) pushed the ball but Devin Harris (15 points, 5 dimes) took his cookies and found Smith who sank two free throws to put the Hawks up three with 22 seconds left. On the next possession, Mayo again turned the ball over on an errant pass to Vince Carter and Jeff Teague’s (20 points, 9 assists) ensuing free throws iced the game. Dirk led Dallas with 24 points and 7 boards in the loss.