by Peter Walsh
For the second straight night, the Pacers notched a blowout victory over an inferior team. The Magic kept it close in the first half and only trailed by four midway through the second quarter. But the Pacers closed out the first half on a 17-8 run and took a 42-29 lead into the break. The Pacers poured it on in the second half, stretching their lead to as many as 25, and the Magic never threatened again. Paul George scored 19 points and Tyler Hansbrough scored 14 and grabbed 14 boards to lead Indiana. Arron Afflalo and Moe Harkless each scored 10 for the Magic.
After a close first quarter saw the Bucks take a four-point lead, Milwaukee opened the second on a 16-0 run and blew the doors off the hinges as they built their lead to as many as 27. Portland shot just 2-20 in the second quarter as the Bucks showed off their improving defense anchored by Larry Sanders. Sanders finished with 13 boards, 2 steals and 2 blocks in 40 minutes. Brandon Jennings scored 24 points, dropped 7 dimes and turned the ball over 6 times while Monta Ellis scored 21, grabbed 9 boards and dropped 8 dimes. Wes Matthews hit seven 3’s and led the Blazers with 28 points.
Denver has now won 13 straight and look like a force to be reckoned with after defeating the Thunder in Oklahoma City last night. Despite playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Nuggets came out with their usual breakneck pace. The Thunder matched Denver’s speed which played into the Nuggets’ favor. Denver scored 39 points in the second quarter and had the Thunder on their heels. Even though they trailed at the break, the Nuggets carried the second quarter momentum over into the second half and opened up the third quarter on a 15-4 run to give them a double-digit lead and control of the game. The Thunder cut the lead to five in the fourth, but Andre Miller–celebrating his 37th birthday–took over, hitting back-to-back jumpers, and finished with 13 points in the quarter (he finished with 20, 9 assists and 7 boards) to carry Denver to a huge dub.
The Nuggets dominated inside. They outscored OKC 72-50 in the paint and outrebounded them 52-45. Ty Lawson scored 25 points and Kenneth Faried finished with 13 points and 15 boards. KD led all scorers with 34 points and Russ Westbrook scored 25 but they didn’t get much help from their teammates as Kevin Martin was the only other member of the Thunder to score in double-figures.
The Kings used a balanced attack and a huge lift from its bench to pull the upset win over the Clippers. The game was tied up at 86 all when Toney Douglas (yes, Toney Douglas) took over. Douglas scored 17 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Kings ended the game on a 30-15 run and handed the Clippers their fourth loss in seven games. Marcus Thornton led all Sacramento scorers with six 3-pointers to finish with 25 points, Tyreke Evans scored 17 and dished out 5 assists and DeMarcus Cousins netted a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double.