by Leo Sepkowitz | @LeoSepkowitz
Bulls (15-10) 110, Knicks (19-7) 106
The final score was close, but Chicago dominated this whole game. They led by 15 points at halftime, and held 20+ point leads in the second half. A 45-point New York fourth quarter made things interesting, though. The Knicks kept threatening, but couldn’t string stops and scores together when they got within striking distance.
Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and coach Mike Woodson got ejected for the Knicks. Joakim Noah was tossed for Chicago. No big fights broke out, but there was plenty of chippiness throughout.
Luol Deng led the Bulls with 29 points and 13 boards, and added 3 threes. Maro Belinelli was great, too, scoring 22 points with 7 boards in 45 minutes. He hit 11-of-12 free throws. Kirk Hinrich narrowly missed a triple double, as he posted 16 points, 9 boards and 8 assists.
Anthony, JR Smith and Raymond Felton all scored at least 20 for the Knicks. Tyson Chandler attempted just one shot. The Bulls won the rebounding battle, 51-40, while shooting a higher percentage from the floor.
On the bright side for New York, they turned the ball over just ten times, meaning the coaching staff will be running sprints next practice.
Raptors (9-19) 93, Magic (12-14) 90
With under a minute remaining, Jameer Nelson knocked down a three to cut a Raptors lead to one in Toronto. A pair of Amir Johnson free throws put Toronto up three. Then Gustavo Ayon turned it over for the Magic, but a DeMar DeRozan miss gave Orlando a second chance.
After JJ Redick missed a three, E’Twuan Moore grabbed a long rebound and kicked to Jameer Nelson. Nelson promptly lost the ball, ending the game.
DeRozan led the Raptors in scoring with 17, despite hitting only 5-of-17 shots. Five other Raptors were in double-figures.
The Magic got a big game out of Arron Afflalo, who scored 26 points on just 11 shots. Nikola Vucevic double-doubled with 16 points and 12 boards. He also blocked 2 shots, and should continue to play well and see big minutes with Glen Davis out for at least a month.
Meanwhile, Dwight Howard’s former team and Dwight Howard’s current team have the same record.
76ers (13-14) 99, Hawks (15-9) 80
Philly controlled this one. Evan Turner played well with 21 points on 10-of-17 shooting. He tacked on 5 boards and 6 assists. Thaddeus Young chipped in 18 points and 11 boards. The Sixers as a whole made 51.2 percent of their shots, versus just 39.2 percent from Atlanta.
Lou Williams and Al Horford combined to shoot just 6-of-22. Jeff Teague was just 2-of-4. Josh Smith played a solid game, scoring 17 points on 16 shots, but obviously it wasn’t nearly enough.
Bucks (14-11) 99, Celtics (13-13) 94
Milwaukee led by six with 42 seconds left and Monta Ellis heading to the line. Safe, right? Guess again.
Ellis split his free throws before Paul Pierce knocked down a pair from the stripe to cut the lead to five. Brandon Jennings then missed both of his free throws, and a Jeff Green bucket made it a three-point game. With nine seconds left, Rajon Rondo stole the ball from Jennings, and a Pierce three tied the game with two seconds left. Larry Sanders missed a jumper for Milwaukee, sending the game into overtime.
With all of that momentum in front of their home crowd, the Celtics should have pulled ahead in OT, right? Guess again.
The game was tied at 94 with 36 seconds remaining before the Bucks closed on a 5-0 run.
Sanders, who has been a great surprise this season, exploded for 17 points, 20 boards, 2 steals and a block. He made 8/10 shots. Monta Ellis led the team with 27 points, and added 7 boards and 5 dimes. Jennings’ offensive struggles continued, as he made just 4-of-11 shots with 7 turnovers. He did grab 8 boards and hand out 11 dimes. Am I the only one who thinks he’s trying to play his way out of Milwaukee?
Pierce was huge for Boston, making 13-of-23 shots on his way to 35 points. He also pulled down 12 boards. Rajon Rondo tallied 11 assists, 5 boards and 4 steals. Jason Terry and Kevin Garnett combined for an awful 7/37 from the field.
Pistons (8-21) 100, Wizards (3-21) 68
The Wizards 21st loss in 24 games this season was of the 32-point variety in Detroit. I know the final score says all of that, but it needed to be emphasized.
They made under 33 percent of their shots from the floor, including 2-of-12 threes. Nobody played that poorly for them, but nobody got anything going, either. Jordan Crawford (20 points on 23 shots), Kevin Seraphin (10 points on 18 shots) and Martell Webster (10 points on 7 shots) were the team’s three leading scorers.
Despite the win, Detroit didn’t play very well. They made a mediocre 42 percent of their shots. Five players scored at least ten points, but nobody topped 15. Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe were their leading scorers.
The real star for Detroit, though, was rookie Andre Drummond, who finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 5 rejections in 21 minutes. He’s playing under 20 minutes per game this season, but is still averaging nearly 7 points and 7 boards while blocking 1.6 shots and shooting roughly 58 percent from the floor. He looks like the real deal, though still has tons left to prove.
The Pistons won the rebounding battle by 12, and knocked down 8 more threes than the Wiz. They also committed fewer turnovers and scored more points in the paint.
Pacers (15-12) 99, Cavaliers (5-23) 89
This was a great game for the first half. The teams were tied, 51-51, in the third when Indiana went on an 18-4 run. Lance Stephenson and Paul George had a lot to do with it.
Stephenson, who started and played 32 minutes, made 7/8 shots for 16 points. He handed out 7 dimes and tacked on two steals. It’s the eighth time this year he’s scored in double-figures. George made just 4-of-13 shots, but grabbed 5 boards while picking up a big 5 steals and a block. He was a +20 on the floor. David West double-doubled with 15 and 10.
Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 17 points, but made just 5 of his 13 attempts from the field. He salvaged his game by going 7/7 from the line. He handed out 5 assists but committed 6 turnovers.
Tristan Thompson played very well, shooting 5-for-9 for 12 points along with 13 boards and 2 blocks. That’s the exact type of game Cavs fans should want out of him. It’s his seventh double-double of the season, and second in three nights.
Grizzlies (18-6) 92, Mavericks (12-15) 82
The Mavs nearly erased a big fourth-quarter deficit before letting the game slip away last night. A 16-7 run early in the final period cut a 12-point Grizz lead down to three, but Memphis closed the game on a 16-9 run.
Neither team shot 41 percent from the floor or 30 percent from deep. Rudy Gay was the game-high scorer. He made 8/20 shots for 26 points. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol double-doubled, while Mike Conley handed out 11 assists and recored 4 steals. Memphis forced 24 turnovers on the night.
Shawn Marion double-doubled for Dallas. He made 6-of-11 from the floor and blocked three shots. Chris Kaman and OJ Mayo combined to go 7-of-23 from the field. Darren Collison left early with an illness and did not return.
Spurs (20-8) 99, Hornets (5-21) 94
Anthony Davis played well for New Orleans and they were able to keep up with the Spurs. The rookie made 8/13 shots and went 2/2 from the line. He finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal.
With 6 boards each from Robin Lopez (10 points) and Ryan Anderson (12), they won by 8 on the glass. They were within four with under six minutes remaining, but couldn’t get any closer.
Tony Parker led the way for San Antonio with 25 points. Tim Duncan went for 15 points, 10 boards, 5 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Manu Ginobili added 13 points and 7 dimes off the bench, though he connected on just 3/10 shots. Kawhi Leonard returned with 8 points in his first game in over a month.
Clippers (20-6) 97, Kings (8-18) 85
A couple of years ago, these two teams were pretty similar. In fact, in the ’09-10 season, the Clippers went 29-53—just four games better than the 25-57 Kings. The Clippers had Blake Griffin, but he missed what would have been his rookie season with a knee injury, as well as Eric Gordon. Meanwhile, the Kings’ Tyreke Evans won the Rookie of The Year. Both teams had bright futures with loads of young talent.
Now, the Clippers cashed in some of those players, including the now bad-knees Gordon, for an undeniable superstar in Chris Paul. They’re a top-two or -three team in the West. With their win on Friday, they’ve won 12 consecutive games. The Kings, on the other hand, have had problems developing their young talent.
DeMarcus Cousins is down from last season in nearly every stat across the board. Points, boards, blocks, steals, field goal percentage—you name it. Not to mention Evans, whose points and assists have gone down every season since he entered the league. Only New Orleans has fewer wins than Sacramento in the West this season.
Last night, Red LA dominated the first half. They took a 14-point lead into the break. It was briefly cut down to seven in the fourth quarter, but the game was never really in doubt.
Chris Paul went off for 24 points, 13 assists and 4 steals. Blake Griffin dropped 21 & 13 while Matt Barnes added 13 off the bench. Eric Bledsoe had as weird a stat line as you’ll come across from a 6-foot-1 player. In 19 minutes, he recorded 6 points, 3 boards, 1 assist, 3 steals, 3 blocks and 7 turnovers. He also made a couple of amazing plays that are posted below.
Cousins shot just 4/9 from the floor with 5 rebounds in 20 minutes. He was benched in the second half for “conduct detrimental to the team.” Jimmer Fredette played well late, and finished with 16 points. He was 6/7 from the stripe, 2/3 from downtown and 4/10 overall. The Kings totaled 32 rebounds, 21 fewer than LA.
Warriors (18-9) 115, Bobcats (7-19) 100
Once upon a time, the Bobcats were 7-5. After 14 straight losses, a top-5 pick looks a lot more likely than a .500 record.
Last night, Golden State just outplayed them. They won every quarter, and made nearly 52 percent of their shots. Charlotte hit just 36.7 percent. The Warriors were a huge 14-of-27 from downtown. Stephen Curry made 8 of those, and finished with 27 points and 8 assists.
David Lee triple-doubled with 23 points, 11 boards and 11 assists. He’s been great all season long, and I wonder if the Knicks wish they hadn’t swapped him for Amar’e Stoudemire right now. Klay Thompson scored 20. Draymond Green has been a rock solid player off the bench all season, and scored 11 in 20 minutes.
Gerald Henderson led Charlotte with 23 points, 5 assists and 4 boards. Kemba Walker added 16.