by Jake Fischer / @JakeLFischer
76ers (7-17) 100, Raptors (8-13) 108
The Toronto Raptors have won two of three since trading Rudy Gay, and it’s largely been due to more scoring opportunities for the team’s younger players. Friday night, DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross were the two young Raps to flourish, combining for 51 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists on 19-37 shooting. Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas and Greivis Vasquez all scored in double-figures as well.
For Philly, Evan Turner is still playing like a guy worthy of being considered an All-Star snub, posting 21 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. With players who signed new contracts before September 15 eligible to be traded on Sunday, could new Sixers GM Sam Hinkie move Turner next week while his stock is so high?
Bobcats (10-13) 94, Pacers (20-3) 99
Last season’s Indiana squad’s biggest weakness was its lack of depth. This season, after adding the likes of Luis Scola, Chris Copeland, Rasual Butler and CJ Watson, the Pacers might be one of the deepest teams in the League and Larry Bird’s club is rocking an East best 20-3 record.
Indy had six players in double-figures in its victory over the Cats on Friday, led by Lance Stephenson’s 20 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. With another matchup with the Heat on Wednesday, it’s impressive the Pacers were able to stay focused and hold off a frisky Charlotte team.
Cavaliers (9-13) 109, Magic (7-16) 100
Kyrie Irving hasn’t totally played like himself this season, and that’s largely the reason why his Cavs are still just 9-13 after beating the Magic on Friday. But over his last five games, Kyrie is dropping 22.2 points and 6.0 assists per game while shooting 45 percent from the floor and 39.1 percent from three. Behind their phenom PG, who hung 31 on Orlando, the Cavs have now won five of its last six games. The win was also just Cleveland’s second road win on the season.
Wizards (9-12) 99, Hawks (12-11) 101
After John Wall missed a look at a game-winner in regulation, Al Horford didn’t mess up his chance to seal the deal.
The bucket is Horford’s first career game-winner and caps off a dirty 34-point and 15-rebound night. With the win, the Hawks are now just the third team in the East with a winning record.
Knicks (6-16) 86, Celtics (11-14) 90
After the Celtics blew the Knicks out of Madison Square Garden 114-73 on Sunday, Carmelo Anthony said the loss was “embarrassing.” The Knicks thought they were on their way to revenge at the close of the third quarter, leading the Cs in Boston 73-68 with Melo in a groove.
But then Brad Stevens’ hard-nosed and poised young team outscored the Knicks 22-13 in the fourth quarter, behind Avery Bradley’s 13 final-period points. While blowing out the Knicks on the road might be more impressive, this one might mean more within the Celtics’ locker room.
Nets (8-15) 99, Pistons (11-13) 103
So much for the Nets finding their way to their pre-season expectations. Andre Drummond was just too much, totaling 22 points and 13 rebounds and leading the Pistons to a 21-point lead early in the third quarter. He also hit on a cool 6-8 foul shots.
Grizzlies (10-12) 98, Pelicans (11-10) 104
Eric Gordon has stepped up big time since Anthony Davis went down, upping his scoring average to 18.6 in the five games since The Brow fractured his hand. Gordon put up 25 points to lead New Orleans to a tough win over the visiting Grizz. Speaking of injuries, Memphis has now lost five of the eight games they’ve played since Marc Gasol went down with a sprained MCL.
Lakers (10-12) 97, Thunder (18-4) 122
This game wasn’t even a contest right from the opening tip. Holy cow have these teams gone in completely opposite directions since 2010.
Kevin Durant was absolutely masterful, scoring 31 points with 8 rebounds and 5 assists. He did it from the outside per usual, but also finished this beautiful alley from Russ, one of his 12 times on the night:
Kobe finished with just 4 points. His 13 assists might seem impressive, but those came with the price of 7 turnovers, too.
Bulls (9-12) 91, Bucks (5-18) 90
Joakim Noah put up a ridiculous 21 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks, but it was Mike Dunleavy who came up big in the game’s final moments:
The losses keep piling for the Bucks, who had playoff aspirations heading into the season. Unfortunately for fans of the Deer, they’ve only seen Milwaukee win two out of 12 games on their new, weirdly designed home floor.
Wolves (11-12) 110, Spurs (18-4) 117
Kevin Love’s big night of 42 points and 14 rebounds helped bring the Wolves to a 102-102 tie with the hosting Spurs with 5:01 left to play in the game. Sadly for Love, his 8 three points, which tied a franchise record, weren’t enough to outlast the defending Western Conference champs.
But behind Manu Ginoboli, who had 16 in the fourth, Pop’s crew rattled off a 15-8 run from then on. Tony Parker also dropped 29 on the night, while Tim Duncan flirted with a triple-double, turning in a 12-point, 14-rebound, 8-assist performance too.
Love, who missed just one triple on the game, was the first player to go for 40-plus on the Spurs since Derrick Rose did on February 17, 2011.
Jazz (6-19) 103, Nuggets (13-9) 93
Gordon Hayward had 30 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Jazz over the hosting Nuggets. Trey Burke also had a double-double, going for 10 points and 10 rebounds. Utah is now on a two-game winning streak and has gone 5-8 since Burke made his career debut against the Pelicans on November 20.
Kings (6-15) 107, Suns (13-9) 116
Rudy Gay was phenomenal in his debut as a member of the Sacramento Kings, scoring 24 points on 8-12 shooting after many criticized Sac-Town for trading for such an inefficient and expensive player. Many also speculated if Gay and DeMarcus Cousins could coexist in purple, but Miles Plumlee gave Cousins fits instead of any chemistry issues.
Phoenix benefited from 57 points from Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic and seven other players scored seven or more points as well.
Rockets 116, Warriors 112
Dwight Howard hit his third career three-pointer, helping Houston get out to an early lead in the Bay.
The fourth quarter turned into an incredibly fun back-and-forth game, with Golden State trying to string together another improbably comeback. But this time, it was Mo Speights who led the Dubs, scoring 12 points in the final period. Yet every time the Warriors would go on a run and the famous ORACLE crowd rose to its feet, Pat Beverley was there to quiet the home fans with an array of step-back jumpers. Nice win for H-Town.