by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
D.C. took its show on the road and won their third straight game by beating the Raptors. Bradley Beal, who has quietly been playing really well since John Wall’s return, led the Wiz with 20 points on 8-13 shooting while Nene scored 11 points and grabbed 9 boards. DeMar DeRozan’s three-point play cut the Wizards lead to seven with 3:38 left, but the Raptors couldn’t build on that momentum. Rudy Gay, who had a bad 1-11 shooting performance, missed a free throw and the Wizards responded with a Nene dunk and a Trevor Ariza layup to make it an 83-75 game. Kyle Lowry gave Toronto a chance with back to back 3-pointers to make it 89-84 with 7 seconds left, but it was too little, too late. DeRozan finished with 25 points and Kyle Lowry had 18 and 5 boards.
Behind 23 points and 22 boards from Al Horford and 23 points from J-Smoove, the Hawks beat the Pistons for their fifth win in six games. The Hawks led by ten at the half and dominated in the third quarter, outscoring Detroit 27-19 and stretching their lead to as many as 26. The Pistons did cut the deficit to 14 midway through the fourth, but Jeff Teague (20 points, 12 dimes) quickly quelled Detroit’s comeback attempt with a steal and a layup. Rodney Stuckey scored 22 points and Jonas Jerebko finished with 21 points and 6 boards.
With leading scorer Danilo Gallinari looking on from the bench thanks to a bruised thigh, the Nuggets ran circles around the Lakers to hand them their 30th(!) L of the season. Wilson Chandler started in place of Gallo and led the way with 23 points on 10-18 shooting in 25 minutes. The Nuggets were hammering dunks down left and right all while building an 18-point lead. Kobe did his damndest to bring the team back and his fadeaway with five minutes left in the game cut the deficit to seven. But by then it was too late as the Lakers couldn’t get any closer. Los Angeles was abused inside and allowed a staggering 78 points in the paint. Ty Lawson scored 22 points and handed out 8 assists and Corey Brewer scored 16 off the bench. Kobe finished with 29 points, 9 dimes and 6 boards. Dwight Howard finished with 15 points and 14 boards but shot a miserable 3-14 from the stripe.
Bone Thugs N Harmony – No Surrender
The Celtics played their fifth game in seven nights, faced one of the toughest road atmospheres in the NBA, went to overtime and still found a way to win. Paul Pierce (26 points, 8 dimes, 7 boards) provided the heroics for Boston after missing what would have been the game-winning shot at the end of regulation. In overtime, The Truth nailed a 3-pointer then hit a pull-up jumper over DeMarre Carroll to give the C’s a 106-101 lead with 1:12 remaining. Al Jefferson (15 points, 11 boards) responded with a mid-range J to cut the deficit to three but KG (13 points, 10 boards) hit a jumper of his own over Jefferson to put the Celtics up 108-103. Alec Burks’ layup with 37 seconds left cut the deficit to three and on the next possession, KG hit what would looked like the dagger after he banked in a 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring. But, the refs waived it off claiming the buzzer had already sounded and Utah had life. The Celtics opted to foul instead of defend so the Jazz wouldn’t be able to get off a tying three-point attempt and the gamble paid off. Paul Millsap hit both of his free throws to cut the lead to one and Courtney Lee hit both of his on the other end to push the lead back to three with 1.2 seconds left. Randy Foye attempted a 26-foot three but came up empty and the C’s escaped in overtime. Gordon Hayward scored 26 points and Avery Bradley finished with a season-high 18.