by Leo Sepkowitz | @LeoSepkowitz
On Friday night, Indiana thwarted Miami, the Clippers forgot to bring their offense to Canada and the Lakers picked up a win without Dwight Howard.
Pacers (28-19) 102, Heat (29-14) 89
The Pacers played suffocating D against Miami all night on Friday. They held the Heat to 47 percent shooting, and led by David West’s 30 (12/15), shot nearly 56 percent from the floor themselves.
West was on from start to finish, consistently taking advantage of mismatches with Shane Battier and Rashard Lewis. Erik Spoelstra apparently thought that Battier’s ability to stretch the floor—something he absolutely did not do—was more important than playing a guy who could actually defend West. Paul George hit a few shots late, and finished with 15 points, 6 boards, 6 assists and 2 steals while playing great defense against LeBron James.
LeBron did score 28, but the Heat offense frequently stalled and couldn’t get good looks. Dwyane Wade scored 17 on 16 shots and Chris Bosh added 13, though he played pretty miserably early on.
Indiana is now 18-3 at home, and have beaten Miami by double-figures both times they’ve faced off this season.
Raptors (17-30) 98, Clippers (34-14) 73
The Clippers were awful last night. They scored fewer than 20 points in each of the first three quarters, allowing Toronto to turn this one into a laugher.
Rudy Gay made his debut as a Raptor and led the game with 20 points. He played 33 minutes and knocked down 3 threes. DeMar DeRozan and Amir Johnson each scored 19. Toronto made more threes (12) than free throws (10) on the night.
LA made shy of 35 percent of their shots overall, including 3-of-19 from downtown. They were 20-of-31 from the stripe. Blake Griffin (4/11) finished with 17 and 9, and Jamal Crawford scored 14 despite making just 1-of-7 three-point tries.
Despite the blowout, the game produced one awesome highlight curtesy of Caron Butler.
Celtics (23-23) 97, Magic (14-32) 84
Boston, now playing without Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger for the year, looked pretty sharp last night. Granted it was against the Magic at home, but they got nice contributions from a bunch of guys.
Kevin Garnett (14 & 10) and Paul Pierce (14 & 11) both double-doubled, and Pierce added 7 dimes. Jeff Green scored a team-high 17, and his benchmates Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa each added 12.
The Magic got double-doubles from Nikola Vucevic and Andrew Nicholson—both acquired in the Dwight Howard trade. Moe Harkless, also picked up for DH, had 8 points and 8 rebounds. E’Twaun Moore scored 14 off the bench.
Knicks (29-15) 96, Bucks (24-21) 86
Milwaukee led by six points at halftime, but New York dominated the second half. They took a one-point lead into the third and were up double-figures for most of the fourth.
Carmelo Anthony only made 7-of-22 shots and committed 7 turnovers—usually a recipe for disaster. He finished with 25 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Tyson Chandler was huge with 20 rebounds, and the Knicks got 17 points from Amar’e Stoudemire and JR Smith and 14 from Raymond Felton.
Ersan Ilyasova went for 19 points, 7 boards and 4 steals for Milwaukee. Larry Sanders missed all six of his shots, but grabbed 10 rebounds and rejected a pair of shots. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis combined for a lame 30 points on 38 shots.
76ers (20-26) 89, Kings (17-31) 80
Philly got at least 20 points from Jrue Holiday, Nick Young and Thaddeus Young, who also snagged a game-high 15 rebounds. Jrue committed 8 turnovers, but the Sixers controlled this game for the most part. A nice second half from Sacramento made things a little interesting, but they were never in a position grab their sixth road win of the season.
Tyreke Evans dropped 29 for Sacramento. Isaiah Thomas scored 24, including 10/10 free throws, and was a +11 while on the floor. The Kings bench shot a combined 2-of-14 for 7 points.
Nets (28-19) 93, Bulls (28-18) 89
Chicago was able to play Brooklyn close despite Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich out with injury. They led by four after three, but the Nets opened the fourth hot and hung on late.
Brook Lopez was the game’s high-scorer with 20. Gerald Wallace scored just six, but grabbed 13 rebounds and had a huge tip-in in the final minute. He played 41 minutes and made 3-of-4 shots from the floor. Andray Blatche scored 11 points, and interestingly played instead of Lopez in crunch time.
Taj Gibson slid into the starting lineup and scored 16 points with 9 rebounds and 2 blocks for Chicago. Luol Deng scored 18 and Nate Robinson double-doubled with 12 points and 11 assists. He committed only 2 turnovers, but missed 12 of 16 shots he attempted. Marco Belinelli dropped 18 off the bench.
Pistons (18-29) 117, Cavaliers (13-34) 99
Detroit dominated most of this game. They led by seven at the break before opening up a big lead in the third period. Brandon Knight and Kyle Singler each scored a game-high 20 points. Greg Monroe double-doubled with 18 and 16, and Rodney Stuckey scored 14. He’ll be coming off the bench when Jose Calderon joins the club this weekend.
Detroit made 54 percent of their shots from the floor—better than the 53.5 percent clip they shot from the free throw line. They’re now 13-12 at home, a nice mark for a developing team.
Kyrie Irving took a rare night off, making just 4-of-10 shots with 5 assists and 3 turnovers. Tristan Thompson played well with 19 points (9/11) and 9 rebounds. Marreese Speights dropped 17 off the bench.
Grizzlies (30-16) 85, Wizards (11-34) 76
Memphis held Washington to 26 points in the second and third quarters combined, leading to a low-scoring win. Marc Gasol scored 13 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, handed out 5 assists and blocked 2 shots. Zach Randolph tallied 11 boards and Mike Conley led the team with 18 points. Tayshaun Prince made his Grizzlies debut and scored 14 off the bench.
Nene was the only Washington player with more than nine points. He scored 14 on 16 shots. Emeka Okafor posted 8 points and 10 boards. John Wall tallied 9 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists before leaving with a shoulder injury. Washington was just 5-for-20 from beyond the arc and attempted three free throws.
Nuggets (30-18) 113, Hornets (15-32) 98
Denver played a sweet second half to push their home record to 20-3. Andre Iguodala dropped 24 on only 14 shots. Ty Lawson scored 21 points with 13 assists and zero turnovers—wow. Danilo Gallinari scored 18 and Corey Brewer added 17 off the bench.
Anthony Davis double-doubled with 13 and 10 for New Orleans, and added 3 blocks. Ryan Anderson led the team with 21 off the bench, and Greivis Vasquez scored 13 points with 9 assists. Greivis has been a revelation this season. He’s averaging 9.5 assists per contest, and has certainly earned it. He seemingly hovers around 10 assists every single night, and a quick look at the assist column in his game log will likely surprise you.
Jazz (26-21) 86, Trail Blazers (23-23) 77
Utah led by 15 at halftime, but Portland was able to get back in the game late. They cut a big deficit down to five with four minutes to play, but couldn’t get any closer from there. Utah closed the game on a 6-2 run.
Al Jefferson scored 21 points and grabbed 10 boards for the Jazz, who were without Gordon Hayward. Paul Millsap added 15, and Derrick Favors tallied 12 rebounds in just 23 minutes off the bench.
Damian Lillard was big for Portland with a game-high 26. But LaMarcus Aldridge made only 6-of-17 shots, and Nicolas Batum and Wes Matthews combined to shoot 5-of-15 in the loss.
Mavericks (20-27) 109, Suns (16-31) 99
Phoenix led 71-61 in the third before falling apart. Dallas went on a 13-4 run to end the quarter, and outscored the Suns 35-24 in the fourth. Dallas was led by OJ Mayo (20) and Darren Collison, who scored 19 points on just 9 shots. Vince Carter, who’s been playing well lately, scored 17 off the bench. Both Elton Brand and Shawn Marion (14 points) grabbed double-digit rebounds and blocked 4 shots.
Shannon Brown, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic, Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley each scored at least 16 for Phoenix. Dragic dished out 9 assists and committed only 2 turnovers.
Lakers (21-26) 111, Timberwolves (17-26) 100
The Lakers scored a huge 68 points in the first half before predictably cooling down. The T-Wolves pulled within five in the fourth quarter before Kobe Bryant decided not to lose.
Kobe finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. I’m not exactly the first to point this out, but it’s pretty scary how amazing he is. Pau Gasol started in place of Dwight Howard and looked like his old self. He went for 22 points and 12 rebounds. Antawn Jamison played 28 minutes and scored 18 off the bench.
Alexey Shved led Minnesota in scoring with 18 points. Derrick Williams added 15 points and 9 rebounds, and Ricky Rubio scored 9 points with 7 assists and 2 steals.
The two teams combined to make 22 threes. Minnesota shot a higher percent from the floor, but the Lakers hit 13 more free throws on 17 more attempts and won the rebounding battle by 17.