Blazers 98, Thunder 94
As if we needed more evidence that the Blazers are legit in the West…
OKC led by as many as nine in the fourth quarter last night—at home—but Portland battled back and took a three-point lead with nine seconds left. Kevin Durant split his free throws, but an offensive board by Serge Ibaka kept the Thunder alive. But Durant missed a game-tying jumper with a few ticks still on the clock, sealing the W for Portland.
Neither team was particularly sharp offensively, but the Blazers got it done when it mattered. LaMarcus Aldridge hit 10/23 shots for 25 points to go with his 14 boards, and Damian Lillard dropped 21 with 11 dimes. Nicolas Batum, Robin Lopez and Wes Matthews all joined them with at least 12 points.
Kevin Durant dropped 37 and 14 for the Thunder, but nobody else really stepped up. Serge Ibaka scored 17, but obviously the team misses Russell Westbrook, and a game like last night’s really highlights how key he is (was) to the team’s success.
Hawks 92, Celtics 91
Boston led by as many as 18 in the early second quarter before letting this one slip away. They had four chances in the final minute to take the lead, but couldn’t convert.
Paul Millsap shouldered the load for Atlanta with Al Horford down—he dropped 34 (12/19, 10/14 FT) with 15 boards and a pair of blocks. Jeff Teague added 16, 5 and 6 and Kyle Korver added 14.
The Celtics got most of their offense from unlikely sources—Kelly Olynyk scored 21 (8/11) and Kris Humphries hit 7/13 shots for 18 points while grabbing 10 boards.
Cavaliers 91, Pacers 76
Cleveland hung in there in Indiana yesterday—they even led early in the fourth—but the Pacers put the clamps down late and ran away with a win.
The Pacers didn’t have a great shooting night, but it was good enough and their defense was great. Paul George (21 and 8) and Roy Hibbert (19) led the way in the W. Danny Granger came off the bench for 12 points and 4 boards in 16 minutes.
Nobody cleared 15 points for Cleveland. Anderson Varejao (14 and 11) was solid, but Kyrie Irving hit just 3/9 shots and Dion Waiters needed 13 shots to score 12 points.
Warriors 94, Magic 81
Golden State controlled this one the whole way. David Lee paced the Dubs with 21 and 9, and Steph Curry kicked in 15 (7/12).
Arron Afflalo was Orlando’s leading scorer with 15. The team shot 38 percent from the field and just 5/19 from deep on the night.
Kings 110, Rockets 106
DeMarcus Cousins (17 & 16) out-dueled Dwight Howard (15 & 8), and Rudy Gay (25) was great against the team that traded him on draft night back in ’06, leading to an upset win for the Kings on Tuesday night.
Isaiah Thomas dropped 17 with 10 dimes, too, and Marcus Thornton kicked in 15 off the bench.
James Harden was huge for the Rockets, hitting 12/26 shots and 9/10 free throws on his way to 36 points and 10 boards, but it wasn’t enough. Trailing by three with 12 seconds left, he got called for a charge that essentially put the game away.
Nets 92, Spurs 113
San Antonio handled the Brook Lopez-less Nets with ease last night. They led by 23 at the break and then dropped 39 points in the third quarter.
Tony Parker scored 18 points in just 27 minutes, and Tim Duncan went for 15 and 5 in the blowout win.
The Nets had a decent offensive output—five guys in double-figures including Mason Plumlee (15 and 13) and Paul Pierce (13)—but just couldn’t slow down the Spurs’ offensive attack.
Raptors 85, Bulls 79
The Raptors might actually be kinda good. Last night, they held the offensively challenged Bulls to just 36.6 percent shooting from the floor en route to a nice road win.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 15 with 9 boards, Kyle Lowry added 13 with 6 dimes and the bench was solid, as Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Greivis Vasquez each scored at least 8.
The Bulls got 16 from Luol Deng, 15 from Jimmy Butler and 16 boards from Joakim Noah, but Carlos Boozer had an off night (1/8), and that did them in.
Bucks 94, Lakers 79
The Lakers were pretty brutal last night. Pau Gasol and Nick Young each scored 25, but they combined to shoot only 17/44, and the rest of the squad was even worse from the field. Guys like Shawne Williams (2/5, 36 minutes), Jordan Farmar (0/5, 20 minutes), Jodie Meeks (2/9, 42 minutes), Ryan Kelly (2/6, 19 minutes) and Jordan Hill (2/5, 12 minutes) really struggled.
Meanwhile, the Bucks got a huge 37 from Brandon Knight. He hit 15/25 shots, 3/8 treys and snagged 8 boards. Ersan Ilyasova finally woke up, scoring 15 points with 12 boards, and the Greek Freak had 8 points and 11 rebounds in the win.
Bonus: Vintage Show Of The Day
This season, I’ll be posting a semi-random highlight video of a former baller at the bottom of my Post Ups. This is my last Post Up of the season, as I’ll be passing the torch to a great new SLAM writer for January and beyond. It seems only right that I finish this thing with the GOAT. Thanks for reading this season and have a great 2014.