Spurs 110, Grizzlies 108
San Antonio was coasting for most of this game until a late surge by Memphis (23-7 over the final five minutes) forced this game into overtime.
The Spurs regrouped in the extra period, and the game was knotted up at 108 with a few seconds left. That’s when Manu Ginobili delivered a game-winning bucket for San Antonio, pushing their away record to an impressive 14-3 on the year.
Manu scored just 9 points on the night, but he certainly delivered when it mattered most. Tim Duncan posted 24 and 17 in 34 minutes, Kawhi Leonard scored 17 and Marco Belinelli added 19. Why no team offered Belinelli a real contract this summer after he and Nate Robinson took down the Nets in a seven-game Playoff series is beyond me. (The same goes for Nate.)
Wizards 97, Bobcats 83
Washington disposed of the ‘Cats pretty easily last night behind 21 from Bradley Beal, 17 and 8 from John Wall and a big 18 and 13 from Marcin Gortat. Martell Webster canned a pair of treys on his way to 10 points and Trevor Booker chipped in 12 and 8, too.
Gerald Henderson scored a game-high 27 for Charlotte, but it wasn’t enough. The Bobcats left 9 points at the line, got out-rebounded by 8 and committed 13 turnovers compared to Washington’s (impressive) 7 in the loss.
76ers 93, Cavaliers 111
How perfect that the two teams that got next to nothing for Andrew Bynum faced off on the day that Bynum was waived by yet a third disinterested team…
Cleveland simply smoked Philly in the Bynum Bowl, dropping 36 points in the first quarter and running away from there. CJ Miles was on a Heat Check the entire night, and finished with 34 points on 10/14 threes. Anderson Varejao (18 and 14) and Tristan Thompson (12 and 10) both double-doubled in the win, while Kyrie Irving managed 16 points and 8 dimes despite being a game-time call with a bruised knee.
Michael Carter-Williams had another mammoth night, the lone bright spot in Philadelphia’s loss. He hit 13/25 shots en route to 33 points, 6 boards and 5 assists. If he can stay healthy (not a given), he’s a lock for Rookie of the Year honors. Subtracting MCW’s numbers, the Sixers shot 21/61 on the night—good for a 34.4 percent clip.
Raptors 79, Pacers 86
Toronto battled pretty hard last night, but Indy is 17-1 at home this season for a reason—they (almost) always manage to pull away when it counts.
Roy Hibbert was an animal in the win, getting to the line 13 times (12/13 FTs) on his way to 22 points. He snagged 8 boards and added three rejections. Paul George (4/12, 11 points) and David West (2/6, 4 points) weren’t their sharpest, but the Pacers D is usually good enough to pick up the slack when the offense struggles.
Toronto got 28 from DeMar DeRozan and 20 off the bench from Patrick Patterson, but shot just 37 percent as a unit and got crushed on the glass, 53-36.
Pelicans 88, Heat 107
New Orleans led at the break in Miami last night, but the Heat put the clamps down for the final 24 minutes, leading to a blowout late.
LeBron led the Miami attack with 32 points on 13/22 shooting. He’s averaging over 25 points per game while shooting nearly 59 percent this season. Dwyane Wade kicked in 22 points, 8 dimes and 8 boards in 34 minutes, and Birdman came off the bench to hit 7/7 shots for 15 points to go with 7 rebounds against his old squad.
NOLA got 22 and 12 from Anthony Davis, but just didn’t have enough firepower down the stretch. Jrue Holiday (2/6, 4 turnovers) struggled, and nobody except for Brow really managed to get anything going in the loss.
Pistons 85, Knicks 89
A strong third quarter put the Knicks up 15 to start the fourth quarter of a nearly unwatchably bad game, but New York let the lead slip away. The Pistons had the ball trailing by just one with under 30 seconds remaining, but Josh Smith forced an absolutely brutal 17-footer that only went about 14 feet, essentially icing the win for NYK.
Melo dropped 34 for the Knicks and put the game away with a big offensive board and subsequent free throws in the waning moments. Andrea Bargnani finished with 13 points and 11 boards, and Raymond Felton chipped in 12. Iman Shumpert’s struggles continued with 2/8 shooting after it looked like he’d busted out of his funk with a strong showing on New York’s road trip last week.
Smith led the Pistons with 21 points, 12 boards, 5 assists and 8 turnovers. He was 8/9 from the stripe but just 6/14 from the field, consistently hoisting 17-20-footers. It was a frustrating game to watch in every sense.
Andre Drummond dominated the Tyson Chandler-less Knicks on the glass to the tune of 17 boards, and hit 4/8 shots and 4/6 free throws for 12 points. Greg Monroe chipped in 19. Brandon Jennings was basically invisible, finishing with 2/12 shooting and 5 assists.
The Pistons scored 48 points in the paint and shot only 3/19 from deep, yet seemed pretty content to keep jacking up long-range shots instead of going at a New York frontline that usually featured two of Kenyon Martin/Amar’e Stoudemire/Bargnani protecting the rim. Overall, very little of what transpired could be considered ‘good basketball.’
Suns 87, Bulls 92
No D-Rose, Luol Deng or Carlos Boozer, no problem for Chicago last night. They managed to hold off a pretty solid Suns team behind 14 and 16 from Joakim Noah and 19 and 10 from Taj Gibson. DJ Augustin and Tony Snell were solid off the bench in the W, combining for 25 points on 9/16 shooting. Whichever team lands Thibs in six months will be a lucky, lucky group.
Goran Dragic scored a game-high 21 for Phoenix in the loss. The Suns hung around for the entire game, but just couldn’t close the gap in the final few minutes.
Warriors 101, Bucks 80
Golden State led 50-48 at halftime before embarrassing Milwaukee over the final two periods. David Lee (22 and 18) paced the Dubs in the win, while Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson scored 15 each. They struggled with their shot (combined 3/17 from deep for the Splash Brothers), but 15 offensive boards helped Golden State big-time. Andrew Bogut snagged 12 rebounds in his return to Milwaukee.
Brandon Knight was strong again for the Bucks, scoring 18 points in 36 minutes. Ersan Ilyasova added 20 and 6 and OJ Mayo hit 5/8 shots, but the rest of the offense was terrible. A combined 5/26 from Larry Sanders, Luke Ridnour and Caron Butler is tough to overcome.
Lakers 97, Mavericks 110
The Mavs can score at a pretty elite level (11th in the L at 103 per game), and did just that last night. Dirk dropped 27 against a familiar foe, knocking down 12/20 shots in the W. Vince Carter added some punch off the bench with 19 points (7/12) in 26 minutes, and Monta Ellis (16 and 9), Jose Calderon (12 and 8) and DeJuan Blair (15 and 9) all joined him in double-figures.
LA got 24 from Jodie Meeks, 18 from The Kendall Marshall Resurgence, 17 from The Wesley Johnson Resurgence and 15 and 13 from The Pau Gasol Walk Year, but it’s nearly impossible to win on the road when the other team shoots over 53 percent (it’s only happened twice this season).
Celtics 98, Nuggets 129
Denver totaled 103 points over the first three quarters, and Boston couldn’t keep pace.
All five Nuggets starters scored at least 11 points, including Randy Foye (23), Ty Lawson (19 and 13) and Kenneth Faried (21 and 13). Denver drained a remarkable 14/31 shots from deep, aided by Foye’s 7/12 shooting from long-range.
Jeff Green scored 17 for the Cs, but needed 19 shots to get there. Similarly, Brandon Bass managed 15 points on 3/10 shooting and Avery Bradley scored 12 on 5/12 shooting (and was a -40 while on the floor, which is pretty meaningless but also pretty amazing in 31 minutes).
Thunder 101, Jazz 112
OKC was without Serge Ibaka (and, of course, Russell Westbrook), but 48 points from Kevin Durant allowed them to hang in there against a surprisingly strong Jazz offense.
The Thunder couldn’t buy a stop, though, allowing Utah to hit 59 percent of their shots, including 8/18 triples. Gordon Hayward was incredible, connecting on 13/16 shots, 2/3 threes and 9/13 free throws on his way to 37 points, 11 boards and 7 assists. He was simply dominant in the fourth quarter, knocking down a bucket every time the Thunder inched closer.
Five other Jazz players—Derrick Favors, Marvin Williams, Trey Burke, Richard Jefferson and Enes Kanter—cleared 10 points in the upset win.
Durant hit 14/34 shots and 17/19 free throws in his big game (zero turnovers!) and Reggie Jackson scored 20, but nobody else did anything. Like, nothing. Like, players not named Durant or Jackson combined to shoot 15/41 for 33 points with 28 rebounds. The Thunder jacked up 34 threes and sank just 6 of them, sadly reminiscent of their 2013 Playoff run without Westbrook.
Blazers 119, Kings 123
Portland led by 11 after one quarter, but Sacramento stormed back from there and hung on throughout a wild fourth quarter.
Sacto led by double-figures for nearly the entire fourth, but the two teams combined for a ridiculous 89 points. DeMarcus Cousins (35 and 13) and Rudy Gay (32) got huge for the Kings in the win, and Isaiah Thomas added 22 points, 8 assists and 7 boards.
Damian Lillard had 27 points with 1:05 left before dropping fourteen points in the final 65 seconds. In all, he finished with 41—26 in the fourth. He’s unbelievable when he gets hot. LaMarcus Aldridge posted 24, 8 boards and 5 assists in the defeat, which gave Portland its 5th road loss in 18 tries. They were 11-30 on the road last season.
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’s show features an epic duel between Bird and ‘Nique in the ’88 Conference Finals. Bird finished with 34 and Wilkins 47, though I won’t spoil it and say who won.