by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
Paul George had another big game with 29 points, 5 boards and 4 dimes to lead the Pacers to their fourth straight victory and 15th straight home win. The two teams played to a deadlock in the first half but the Pacers pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring the Hawks 31-21 to take a nine-point lead into the fourth. In the fourth, the Pacers went on a 7-2 lead halfway through the quarter and after Lance Stephenson (14 points, 6 boards) hit a layup and George Hill (15 points, 8 dimes) nailed a three, Indiana was up 16 with 6:28 left and cruised to the finish. Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 24 points and 8 dimes.
Down Metta World Peace (suspension) and Dwight Howard (injury), the Lakers rolled into Brooklyn and left with a solid victory over the Nets. Tied at 80 late in the fourth, Kobe Bryant (21 points, 8 boards, 4 assists) crossed up Gerald Wallace (he had him on skates the whole game), drove the lane and yammed on both Wallace and Kris Humphries to give the Lakers momentum. Brook Lopez (30 points, 11 rebounds) responded strongly with a three-point play on the next possession but that was the last gasp for BK. The Lakers came back with three straight buckets and the Nets couldn’t find the bottom of the hoop over the last 1:11 of the game. Steve Nash (17 points, 8 assists) sealed it with four free throws in the last minute. Pau Gasol left the stadium on crutches after injuring his foot in the fourth quarter.
Goran Dragic went HAM and dropped 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Suns to victory over the new look Grizz. Dragic was ice cold through the first three quarters, shooting just 1-6, but shot 5-6 in the fourth–including two three-point plays–to snap the Suns’ two-game losing streak. With the score tied at 88, Dragic ripped off six straight points and Memphis couldn’t recover. Just for the record, I hate that the Grizzlies front office split the team up by moving Rudy Gay and much of the bench. I understand they had to do it for financial reasons but it’s so hard to win a Championship that if you have even a slight chance (remember, Memphis waxed the Heat earlier this season) you have to take it. Just my two cents. Jerryd Bayless led the Grizzlies with a season-high 29 points on 11-15 shooting and Zach Randolph scored 21 and grabbed 13 boards.
The Rockets hit an NBA record-tying 23 3-pointers in a rout of the Warriors last night. Jeremy Lin, who one year ago burst onto the national scene with his performance against the Nets, hit a career high five 3-pointers to finish with 28 points to go along with 9 dimes. James Harden hit four 3′s to finish with 18 points and Chandler Parsons also hit four to finish with 16 points an 8 dimes. Jarrett Jack led the Warriors with 20 points off the bench.
Denver trailed by 17 points in the first half but fought back and used a huge fourth quarter to win their seventh straight. Samuel Dalembert scored a career-high 35 points on 17-21 shooting and grabbed 12 boards but it wasn’t enough. Milwaukee turned the ball over three straight times late in the game that led to six straight fast-break points, including a ridiculous layup from Danilo Gallinari that put the Nuggets up 110-104 and sealed the game. Gallo scored 22 points and grabbed 5 boards, Ty Lawson scored 22 and dropped 7 dimes and Corey Brewer scored 20 off the bench.