by Peter Walsh
Jrue Holiday tied the game up at 91 with 1:20 remaining and the Sixers were the first team to threaten the Heat this late since the Kings took them to double overtime a few weeks ago. Playing on the road, Miami responded with a 7-3 run–which included a huge bucket from Dwyane Wade–to close out the game and escape with their 20th straight dub. LeBron scored 27 points, dropped 8 dimes and grabbed 7 boards and DWade finished with 21 points and 8 boards. Holiday scored 21 points, grabbed 7 boards and dished out 7 dimes and Thad Young scored 24 and grabbed 15 boards.
The Wizards led 66-46 early in the third quarter but the Bucks ripped off a 32-9 run over the rest of the quarter and cut the deficit to three heading into the fourth. But Washington calmed down, got themselves together and scored the first 7 points of the quarter and eventually compiled an 18-6 run to hold on for the win. John Wall finished with 23 points, 10 assists and 6 boards and Martell Webster scored 20. Monta Ellis finished with 26 points and 8 dimes and Larry Sanders scored 17 points and 11 boards before receiving two techs for arguing a call.
Roy Hibbert scored a season-high 27 points on 10-15 shooting, grabbed 12 boards and blocked 4 shots as Indiana steamrolled the T’Wolves. Despite being severely shorthanded, Minnesota hung around and only trailed by seven midway through the third quarter. The Pacers then got hot and went on a 9-0 run to take a 16-point lead. But Minnesota wouldn’t go down without a fight and went on a 10-0 run of their own to pull within six with 10 minutes to go in the game. Seldom used rookie Orlando Jones took over down the stretch and scored 10 of his 12 points over the final nine minutes to help Indy get the win. Paul George finished with 17 points, 5 boards and 4 dimes. Ricky Rubio score 21 points, dropped 10 dimes and grabbed 6 boards.
The Celtics ran over the Raptors in the second half, outscoring them 63-48, to get an easy win as Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett reached new scoring milestones. Pierce surpassed Charles Barkley to move into 20th place on the all-time scoring list and KG moved into 15th after surpassing Jerry West. Salute to these two future Hall of Famers.
The Lakers lost the game but were dealt an even bigger blow when Kobe went down with an ankle injury. In the closing seconds of the game, Bryant went up for a baseline jumper that would have tied it up and came down on Dahntay Jones’ foot. Bryant stayed down for a few scary minutes. Kobe eventually walked off the court under his own power but he was in noticeable pain. If he misses an extended period of time (which I doubt he will, no matter how much he’s hurting) the Lakers playoff hopes could be in jeopardy.
Houston started the game sluggishly and the Suns took an early five-point lead. After a timeout by Kevin McHale, the Rockets came back out with a new intensity and closed the half on a 22-2 run to take a 58-45 lead into the half. From there, Houston continued to pour it on and they ran away with this one. All five Houston starters scored in double figures and Donatas Motiejunas led the way with 19 points on 7-12 shooting.
The Thunder led by as many as 32 and its starters were pulled late in the third quarter as they cruised to a victory. KD led the way with 23 points and 10 boards and Russ Westbrook finished with 19 points, 7 boards and 9 dimes. Gordon Hayward led Utah with 20 points.
The Kings absolutely romped the Bulls, leading by as many as 45 for their easiest win of the season. Sacramento opened the second quarter on a 26-4 run to push the lead to 34 and the rest of the contest was uncompetitive. Tyreke Evans led the way with 26 points, 7 dimes and 5 boards and Isaiah Thomas scored 22. Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 21 points.
Melo’s return to Denver was uneventful (outside of some fan heckling) as the Nuggets crushed the struggling Knicks. The Nuggets took a 64-42 lead into the half and stretched the lead to 97-69 after three quarters. The Nuggets rested their starters in the fourth. Wilson Chandler scored a game-high 24 points, Danilo Gallinari scored 16 and Dre Iguodala finished with 14 points, 6 boards and 6 dimes. Iman Shumpert finally put together a good shooting night, scoring 20 points on 8-10 shooting.
The Grizzlies continued their awesome play out west with an 11-point win over Lob City. Memphis dominated inside, outscoring the Clippers 46-30 in the paint and beat LA to seemingly every loose ball. The Grizzlies took the lead for good early in the third quarter ater a 14-2 run made it a 63-54 game. Los Angeles made a few runs but never got close than six down the stretch. Marc Gasol scored 21 points, Z-Bo grabbed 8 boards to go along with 13 points, Tayshaun Prince scored 18 and Mike Conley finished with 17 points and 11 dimes in the win. CP3 led Los Angeles with 24 points and 9 dimes. Memphis has won 14 of their last 15 games.
The Warriors were in control for much of the contest but the Pistons cut the lead to just three with 10:41 left to go in the game. Head coach Mark Jackson quickly re-inserted his starting frontcourt of Andrew Bogut and David Lee and the two helped trigger an 8-2 run to give Warriors control down the stretch. Steph Curry hit five 3-pointers and finished with 31 points and 8 dimes. Lee scored 20 and grabbed 15 boards and Jarrett Jack scored 19 off the bench. Rodney Stuckey led Detroit with 22 points.