by Brett Weisband | @weisband
Raptors (16-15) 101, Wizards (14-16) 88
The Raptors climbed over .500 for the first time in four years, dismantling the Wizards for a road win. DeMar DeRozan led the Raps in scoring with 20 points on an efficient 7-14 shooting performance, while Kyle Lowry registered another double double with 19 and 11 assists, his fourth in the Raptors’ last five games. As coach Dwane Casey said earlier this week, Lowry really is playing the best ball of his career; he’s averaging 19 and 8.9 over his past 10 games.
John Wall struggled for the Wizards after lighting up Toronto the last time these teams met. He scored 11 points on just 4-15 shooting and handed out only six helpers. After the Wizards kept it close in the first half, they were run out of the gym in the third. The Raptors torched Washington 36 points, hitting 14-15 shots in the period. Terrence Ross (14 points) hit all four of his three-pointers in the period, helping to get the blowout rolling.
Warriors (22-13) 101, Hawks (18-15) 100
Down double digits with six minutes to go in the game, the Warriors battled back to take a late lead. Trailing by two with just seconds remaining, everyone in the building knew the Warriors would be inbounding to Steph Curry (22 points, nine assists, eight rebounds, nine turnovers). They did, and when the trap came, Andre Iguodala (seven points, all in the fourth quarter) was left wide open on the wing. Curry found him and Dre drained the three, sending Golden State to their eighth straight victory.
The Warriors looked like they were falling victim to a schedule loss, playing the second night of a back-to-back on this Eastern road trip. Atlanta turned a halftime deficit into that double digit lead by early in the fourth, thanks to some sloppy basketball by the Warriors (21 turnovers). Atlanta got a well-rounded effort, putting six players in double figures. Pero Antic scored a career-high 16 points, including 4-6 three-point shooting, and Shelvin Mack came off the bench to pitch in 15 of his own.
Golden State hit just 6-27 threes on the night, but made enough in the fourth to complete the comeback. They were helped by strong scoring nights from David Lee (23 points) and Klay Thompson (21).
Pelicans (15-16) 95, Celtics (13-20) 92
New Orleans pulled out a close win in Boston, but may have lost a key piece to a scary injury. Ryan Anderson stayed on his back for several minutes after he and Gerald Wallace had a heads-first collision and was taken off on a stretcher with what the team is calling a “cervical stinger.” While the Pellies obviously need the sweet-shooting big man to make a playoff run, you’ve really got to hope Anderson is alright after the rough year he’s had off the court.
Back to basketball: Anthony Davis was his usually monstrous self for the Pelicans, scoring 23 points, pulling down nine rebounds and swatting three shots. Tyreke Evans, who looks like he’s finally adjusted to his sixth man role after a tough start to the season, had 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists for New Orleans. Boston wasted a strong effort from its starting backcourt; Avery Bradley scored 22, while Jordan Crawford, who may or may not be possessed by Brad Stevens, tied his career high with 11 assists.
Rockets (22-13) 102, Knicks (10-22) 100
Houston hung on for a win against the Knicks, as New York fouled up several opportunities to tie or take the lead in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. James Harden dominated for Houston, scoring 37 points, 27 of them coming in the second half. For the Knicks, Iman Shumpert had another huge game with 26 points, but missed a potential tying jumper in the waning seconds.
The Knicks had a chance to win it in with 43 seconds left on the clock, but Carmelo Anthony (25 points, eight boards) couldn’t get a shot off and skipped a cross-court pass to Beno Udrih in the corner, who threw up a brick. Tyson Chandler (13 and 11) corralled the rebound and kicked the ball out. J.R. Smith ended up with the ball wide open behind the arc. He could have held the ball for the final shot, but decided to ignore Chandler motioning for him to hold off and launched anyway. After the game, Smith admitted that he thought New York was down two. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2014 New York Knicks.
Houston trailed at several points in the second half, but opened the fourth quarter with a 10-1 run to pull ahead, with the lead changing hands several times after that. Dwight Howard (15 points) and Harden took over down the stretch, combining to score 13 straight for the Rockets to propel them to the win. Chandler Parsons threw up a double double for the Rockets, going for 17 and 11 boards.
Clippers (23-12) 119, Mavericks (19-14) 112
Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan put the Clippers on their backs in crunch time, leading a 16-2 run to close the game. Once again, though, injury was the biggest news. Chris Paul suffered a separated shoulder in the third quarter, and Doc Rivers told the media after the game that the point god will likely miss 3-5 weeks. Paul is one of the most irreplaceable players in the League, so we’ll have to see how the Clippers weather his absence in the hyper-competitive West. Doc will be riding with Darren Collison at point, and he acquitted himself well with 22 points while taking the majority of Paul’s minutes after the injury.
Griffin and Jordan both scored 25 points, with Jordan (11-14 from the field) establishing a new career high. Both players had double doubles as well, pulling down 15 and 18 rebounds, respectively. The two combined for 10 points in the closing run to power L.A. to the win.
Coming in as a gametime decision, Dirk Nowitzki shook off his ankle injury to score 24 points, with 14 coming in the first half. Nowitzki scored Dallas’ final points, putting the Mavs up two with a jumper. But Griffin came back with a three point play (he was 11-13 on free throws) to put the Clips ahead for good.
Nuggets (15-17) 111, Grizzlies (14-18) 108
Denver snapped its eight-game losing streak, squeaking past the Grizzlies to get a much-needed win at home. Ty Lawson (18 points, 12 assists, three steals) hit the biggest shot of the game, knocking down a three with 53 seconds to go, putting the Nugs up by six, enough for them to hang on for the win.
Zach Randolph’s 25 point, 13 rebound effort wasn’t enough for the Grizzlies, who fell farther out of the eight seed in the West with the loss; last year’s conference finalists are now 4.5 games out of a Playoff spot. Friday’s loss came just a week after the Grizz blew the Nuggets out of the building in Memphis.
Lakers (14-19) 110, Jazz (11-25) 99
Kendall Marshall, who has already been on four teams in his short career after being a first round pick in 2012, had a career game in his first start for the Lakers, leading them to a win over the Jazz. The North Carolina product went off for 20 points, 15 assists and six boards, all career highs, while turning the ball over just once. Marshall got support from Pau Gasol, who came close to a triple double with 23 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists.
Utah trailed by 20 points in the early going, but managed to cut the lead down to 90-86 midway through the fourth quarter. The Lakers managed to close them out, with Nick Young (20 points) hitting a fadeaway and getting a fastbreak dunk and Marshall knocking down a long three for the dagger. Gordon Hayward led Utah with 22 points and big man Enes Kanter came off the bench to register and 16-10 double double.