by Jake Fischer / @JakeLFischer
Jazz (7-21) 86, Magic (8-18) 82
Jameer Nelson missed a chance to tie the game with 3 seconds left after he failed to convert a runner down in Disney World. Following the miss, Gordon Hayward drained two free throws to ice Utah’s win in Orlando to secure the Jazz’s fourth road win of the entire year.
Trey Burke was masterful, dropping a line of 30 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds on the night while Victor Oladipo scored just 3 points on 1-12 shooting for a +/- of -21. Two weeks ago, we had all narrowed down the Rookie of the Year race to just Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams, but it’s time we put Burke into the mix as well.
Heat (19-6) 97, Indiana Pacers (20-5) 94
Whether or not you consider the Pacers and Heat to be a budding rivalry, these two Eastern Conference powerhouses don’t like each other. It made for yet another great match up, as Indiana dictated the pace for much of the contest.
The Pacers excelled when both Roy Hibbert and LeBron James went to their respective benches for significant time in the second quarter with three fouls apiece. Hibbert would go on to pick up two fouls early in the third quarter as well. Fortunately for Frank Vogel, that’s when Paul George heated up, scoring 12 points in the period. That’s when James and Mario Chalmers got chippy on the Miami bench.
Indiana pushed its lead back to 88-80 with 4:43 remaining, but then things sped up and Miami took control. The Heat rallied off a 16-6 run to take a 95-92 lead on a Ray Allen transition three with 59 seconds left and never looked back.
George and James each were terrific, posting nearing identical lines. George finished with 25 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals while James ended up with 24 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals of his own.
But the question remains, did Paul George get fouled on his missed a three at the buzzer?
Bobcats (12-14) 104, Raptors (9-14) 102
Kyle Lowry drained a three with 12 seconds left to bring Toronto even with Charlotte and send the game into overtime.
At the end of overtime, DeMar DeRozan drove and got fouled by Gerald Henderson with 1.0 second to go in OT, down 102-101. DeRozan, who finished with a game-high 30 points made one of two from the line to tie the game as the Air Canada Center braced for overtime.
But then Kardiac Kemba, who had 29 points of his own, curled off a screen and did the rest:
Pistons (13-14) 107, Celtics (12-15) 106
Jared Sullinger drained a three with 1:00 minute remaining to give Boston 105-104 edge over the visiting Pistons, their first lead since the C’s held an 81-80 at end of the third quarter.
Then, Brandon Jennings answered with a three of his own to put Detroit back up 2 with 46 seconds to go. Jeff Green bricked a right-handed runner as time expired and Detroit escaped unscathed. Detroit overcame a 42-23 deficit at the end of the first quarter following this ridiculous buzzer-beater from Suliinger.
Wizards (11-13) 113, Nets (9-16) 107
Could John Wall make his first All-Star game this season? He has his Washington Wizards in playoff contention for the first time since he arrived in DC and he’s out playing other floor generals like Deron Williams on a nightly basis.
Wednesday, Wall led the Wiz into the Barclays Center and stole one from the surging Brooklyn Nets while posting 21 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. The former Kentucky Wildcat swatted D-Will in the game’s final seconds to clinch the win to top things off.
Hawks (4-12) 124, Kings (7-17) 107
Sacramento had three players score 20 points or more, led by DeMarcus Cousins with 28, but it still wasn’t enough to top the visiting Atlanta Hawks. The road team had six players in double-figures, lead by Kyle Korver. Korver poured in 28 points on 8-10 shooting from three-point land while Al Horford also posted 25, 10 and 5 for the third-place team in the East.
Knicks (8-17) 107, Bucks (5-20) 101
The New York Knicks needed two overtimes to spoil Giannis Antetokounmpo’s first career start in the NBA and defeat the struggling Bucks.
At the end of regulation, John Henson, who finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds, missed a 19-foot jumper with a second remaining and Kris Middleton also bricked his follow.
Then in overtime, the Knicks secured an offensive rebound with 11.3 seconds left and had the ball up two points. But that didn’t stop Andrea Bargnani from being Andrea Bargnani:
Henson’s follow of a Brandon Knight—who led all scorers with 36 points—miss to tie the game at 94 sent it into double-overtime.
From there, New York cruised to a 107-101 victory despite that awful Bargnani decision, Carmelo shooting 9-29 and JR Smith shooting just 7-23. Your ’13-14 Knicks!
Trail Blazers (22-5) 109, Wolves (13-13) 120
Minnesota raced out to an enormous first half lead, at one point holding a 62-30 margin over the NBA’s best. Portland struggled out of the gate in the second night of a tough back-to-back, finding themselves in a 69-43 hole at intermission.
The Wolves came ready to play and their impressive effort started from the frontcourt, with Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic combining for 59 points and 26 rebounds.
But Portland came storming back. Behind Damian Lillard’s 36, 6 and 6, the Blazers outscored the Wolves by 15 in the second half and even cut Minnesota’s lead down to five points with 46 seconds left. Of course, it was too, little too late.
Grizzlies (10-15) 91, Mavericks (15-10) 105
The Mavericks played all 13 of their active players in their 14-point dismantling of the Grizzlies. Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas’ effort with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
Memphis has struggled since the calendar flipped from November to December. Without last season’s Defensive Player of the Year, Marc Gasol, out for the 12 consecutive game, the Grizz’s loss drops them to just 2-7 this month.
Bulls (9-15) 94, Rockets (17-9) 109
Without Derrick Rose, the Bulls have struggled mightily on the road. Wednesday’s loss to Houston dropped Chicago to just 2-5 in games away from the United Center without their former League MVP.
Houston dominated the game down low, outscoring Chicago 66-40 in the paint. That effort was largely due to Dwight Howard’s 25 points and an array of nifty drives from James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Patrick Beverley.
Beverley, who scored 15 points and added 3 assists, is averaging 11.0 points per game over his last five while Jeremy Lin has sat out with a back injury.
Pelicans (11-12) 95, Clippers (18-9) 108
When Anthony Davis fractured his left hand against the Knicks on December 1, he was expected to miss four to six weeks with the injury. Instead, The Brow sat just 7 games and came back with a vengeance, scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 32 minutes off the bench.
But, the Clippers and Doc Rivers’ high-octane was too much for the visiting Pelicans. Los Angeles had 7 players in double-figures, led by Blake Griffin who finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. DeAndre Jordan was also huge for the Clips, grabbing 20 boards to go along with his 14 points.