by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
After a tough stretch that saw Brooklyn lose five straight, including a heartbreaker to the Knicks, a visit to Toronto was just what the team needed to get back on track. Despite missing Kyle Lowry, Andrea Bargnani, Landry Fields and Amir Johnson, this was no walk in the park for BK. The Raptors took advantage of a Nets frontcourt who were without Brook Lopez for the seventh straight game and went into the half with a 45-37 lead. Avery Johsnon musta said something that got his team to pay attention because the Nets came out on fire in the third and ripped off a 16-6 run to outscore Toronto 31-19 in the quarter. C.J. Watson came up huge for Brooklyn in the second half, scoring all 16 points over the third and fourth quarters while shooting 8-10 (4-4 from three) from the field. With the lead intact, the Nets held on as a shorthanded Toronto team ran out of gas.
— Joe Johnson led the way with 23 points.
— Ed Davis got his opportunity to start and made the most of it with a 24-12 double-double.
— Deron Williams had a tough night, scoring 12 points and only handing out 4 assists. He needs to get things figured out.
The frontcourt duo of Josh Smith and Al Horford combined for 29 points and 24 boards as the red-hot Hawks won their tenth in 12 games. ATL jumped out on the overmatched Magic early, outscoring them 16-2 to start the game and stretched their lead to as many as 19 by the third quarter. In the third, the Magic, as they have done many a time already this season, crawled back into the game and cut the lead down to eight after a four-point play from Arron Afflalo. But the Hawks responded with a 10-2 run of their own which was triggered by Kyle Korver’s three and Orlando’s six third quarter turnovers. That spurt proved to be the difference and the Hawks put Orlando away for good.
— The Hawks outrebounded Orlando 43-39 while outscoring them 38-32 in the paint.
— Josh Smith completely shut down Big Baby who shot 2-11 to finish with 10 points.
— Jeff Teague scored 16 points, grabbed 4 baords and dished out 3 assists.
The Pacers can’t seem to get their offense figured out with Danny Granger sidelined but if they keep playing defense the way they have been over the first part of the season, it might not matter. Indiana absolutely shut down the Cavs in the second half, holding them to a franchise-low 23 points that completely turned the tables of the game. The Cavs led 58-43 late in the second quarter but Paul George got hot and scored eight points during an 18-0 run that put the Pacers up 61-58. Cleveland was absolutely stymied in the second half and the deficit only grew.
— The Pacers outrebounded the Cavs 48-40 and outscored them 40-16 in the paint.
— C.J. Miles had his second straight game of 28 points.
— Paul George led the Pacers with 27 points on 10-18 shooting. He also grabbed 7 boards and 3 assists. My fantasy team has been pleased with his performance of late.
— In his second game back, Kyrie Irving scored 8 points and only doled out 4 assists.
Coming off a tough loss to the Clippers the night before, Chicago bounced back nicely and defeated the Sixers in Philly for a road win. Joakim Noah (21 points) and Luol Deng (19 points, 12 boards) led the way for Chicago who were missing Rip Hamilton and Kirk Hinrich. Despite having the previous day off, the Sixers looked run down in the fourth quarter. Jrue Holiday did his part, scoring 26 points and dishing out 9 assists, but his teammates didn’t come through when he needed them most. After Holiday hit a jumper to give Philly a one-point lead with over five minutes left, the Bulls ripped off a 7-0 run to take a six-point lead. Jason Richardson broke the scoreless streak with a three-pointer but Deng came right at the Sixers tired D with a layup to make the lead five, good enough to hold on for the win .
— Philly shot 5-11 from the stripe, the Bulls: 24-26.
— Philly won the battle inside, outrebounding their opponent 44-39 and outscoring them 44-32.
— Nate Robinson got the start at the One and finished with 14 points, 4 assists and only 2 turnovers.
— Ev Turner scored 15 and grabbed 8 boards.
Behind CP3’s 19 points, 10 dimes and 1 turnover and Matt Barnes’ 11 fourth quarter points, the Clippers survived a scare from the Bobcats to win their franchise-best tying (I think that makes sense) eighth straight game. Entering the fourth, the Clips held a seven-point lead over the skidding Bobcats but Charlotte crawled back within three. Feeling the pressure, Los Angeles turned it up on defense for the second straight night and held the Bobcats to two free throws over a five-minute span where they missed 11 shots and turned the ball over twice. Over that period, Barnes went on a tear, throwing down an alley-oop and knocking down a three-pointer to push the lead back to an insurmountable eight points.
— Byron Mullens scored 19 and grabbed 8 boards. Kemba scored 17.
— The Bobcats have lost nine straight after starting 7-5.
— Lamar Odom led the Clippers in rebounding with 9.
— Blake Griffin scored 19 on 9-17 shooting.
Draymond Green may be the only human who has talked shit to LeBron James on the basketball court and survived. Actually, Green did better than just survive, he came out on top–but we’ll get to that in a second. First things first, Klay Thompson went off in the first half, scoring 21 of his 27 in the first two quarters to keep the Warriors competitive on the road. In the second half, the Warriors kept up the intensity and continued to play even with the defending Champs, showing that they weren’t intimidated despite having such a young team.
With Steph Curry struggling, it was the play of Jarrett Jack that pushed the Warriors forward during the second half. Jack, who finished with 20 points, hit clutch shot after clutch shot over the third and fourth quarter. The intensity picked up as the game wore on and LBJ hit a bucket while being fouled by Green. The rookie couldn’t keep his mouth shut and started jawing at the reigning Finals MVP–bad idea. Instead of responding with words, James responded with his play and nailed back-to-back threes to swing all momentum back in Miami’s favor. But the Warriors kept chipping away and found themselves tied at 95 after holding the Heat scoreless over the final 3 minutes.
With the clock winding down, Jack had the ball at the top of the key and after Ray Allen and Shane Battier had a miscommunication, Green found himself wide open underneath for what would be the game-winning layup. LeBron had a chance to win or tie but missed a turnaround jumper as the clock expired and the Warriors escaped with a huge win.
— LeBron led all scores with 31 points. He has now reached the 20-point mark for the 25th consecutive game which is currently the longest streak in the NBA.
— David Lee scored 22 points and grabbed 13 boards.
— Wade hurt his neck late in the first half but returned in the second, though he was much less effective.
— Bosh shot 9-14 and had a quiet 21 and 13.
— The Warriors are 5-0 on their current road trip.
Up by eight in the fourth, the Celtics couldn’t hold off O.J. Mayo and the Mavs who fought back and tied the game up at 96 late in regulation. With a chance to win, Rajon Rondo had his shot blocked by Derek Fisher(!) and the game entered it’s first overtime session. With both teams winded, the two overtime sessions were far from pretty. After the two played to a stalemate in the first OT, Paul Pierce, who finished with 34 points, came out and nailed a three-pointer to put the C’s up by three. From there it got ugly. The two teams went on to miss ten consecutive shots until Rajon Rondo drove the lane and hit a layup against Mayo to score the second basket of the overtime session to give Boston a three-point lead with 35 seconds remaining. The Mavs couldn’t connect on the other end and Celtics just had to hit their free throws to hold on for the home dub.
— Rondo played 52 and a half minutes, shot 8-14, scored 16 points, dropped 15 dimes and grabbed 9 boards.
— Mayo scored 24 points but also turned the ball over 9 times in just under 52 minutes. As a team, the Mavs turned the ball over 28 times.
— The Truth became the 25th player in NBA history to score 23,000 points.
The Kings are having a tough year and without DeMarcus Cousins in the lineup due to suspension, Sacramento dropped another game to the Bucks. Brandon Jennings dropped 19 (on 8-21 shooting) while Monta Ellis notched a 17-point, 11-assist double-double to lead Milwaukee to the dub. The Kings had a chance to make it game after trailing by four at the end of the third but went on to miss 11 of their first 12 fourth quarter shots. The Bucks took full advantage and built a 15-point lead to cruise to the finish.
— Playing a sixth man role, ‘Reke Evans scored 17 and grabbed 7 boards.
— Ersan Ilyasova scored 16 and grabbed 14 boards off the bench.
Coming in to last night’s game, the Rockets were on three-game losing streak and badly needed a win to get back on track. No better team to play when you’re in that predicament than the Wizards. James Harden dropped 31 on 10-20 shooting and scored 17 in the first quarter alone–just as much as the Wizards scored in the quarter. With seven minutes to go in the third, the Wizards took a 52-51 lead but the Rockets shored up their defense and blocked three shots while forcing three turnovers over the next four minutes and twenty seconds. During that span, the Rockets went on a 15-2 run to impose their will on the Wiz. In the fourth, D.C. began to threaten but Chandler Parsons scored 11 of his 18 in the final 12 minutes to secure the Rockets’ first win since coach Kevin McHale’s return to the bench.
— Brad Beal led the Wiz with 20 points on 6-15 shooting. Emeka Okafor scored 19 and Martell Webster chipped in with 16.
— Omir Asik grabbed 16 boards and Patrick Patterson dropped 13 and blocked 3 shots.
The Hornets had the Thunder on the ropes but couldn’t deliver the knockout punch and OKC stormed back for a come from behind win. Led by Kevin Durant’s 25 second half points (he had 35 total) the Thunder erased an 11-point deficit in the third quarter. Coach Scott Brooks decided to go with a small lineup and put in Reggie Jackson, Eric Maynor, Kevin Martin, Durant and Nick Collison. The lineup made Brooks like a genius as they ripped off an 11-0 run and tied the game up on a Jackson three-pointer. The Hornets were able to regain the lead but a three by Martin with over six minutes left put the Thunder up for good.
— Martin scored 17 off the bench.
— Durant added 9 boards to his 35 points.
— Ryan Anderson scored 14, Austin Rivers scored 12, Anthony Davis scored 11 and Brian Roberts scored 16. The future is bright.
Minnesota and Denver went back-and-forth during last night’s bout and despite Kevin Love’s off night, the T’Wolves held on for a win. The Wolves built an 11-point lead with two minutes to go but the Nuggets didn’t give up and ripped off a 10-2 run over the next minute and change to pull within three to put themselves in position to win. The Nuggets were able to force a Five Second call but on the next possession and got the ball back with a chance. But, Dante Cunningham and Andrei Kirilenko forced Ty Lawson into a turnover and Kirilenko went the other way for a breakaway dunk to put Minny up five with 21 seconds to left. The Nuggs scored on their next possession and after a missed free throw from Cunningham, Denver had a chance to tie. With the clock winding down Lawson attempted a three that rimmed out as the buzzer sounded, giving the T’Wolves their tenth win of the season.
— Kenneth Faried had a huge game with 26 and 14 while Gallo chipped in with 24 and Lawson scored 17 and dropped 11 assists.
— Nikola Pekovic scored 22 and grabbed 11 boards. J.J. Barea scored 17 off the bench.
In the surprise of the night, the Suns, who were in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, beat the Grizzlies on a last second shot by Goran Dragic. It was a physical game, grind it out game as the refs swallowed their whistles and allowed the two teams to play. You would think that this would favor the Grizzlies with their big frontcourt, but with the lenient officiating, the Suns were able to pretty much foul at will and get away with it. After Rudy Gay tied the game for Memphis on a turnaround J with 46 seconds remaining, the Suns weren’t able to counterpunch and regain the lead. Gay had a chance to give the Grizz the first lead since the beginning of the fourth quarter, but failed to hit his jumper. Markieff Morris grabbed the board and Dragic was able to work his magic and pull off the win.
Up eight with four minutes to go is usually a good omen for the Spurs who rarely let a lead slip away when their up late. But the Jazz play their best ball at home and caught the Spurs playing on their heels, allowing them to crawl back into the game. Late in the fourth, Gordon Hayward took over, playing both facilitator and scorer to trigger a 9-1 run to tie the game up at 94. The two teams than traded buckets to tie the score at 96 which set the stage for an epic finish. With seven seconds remaining, Mo Williams caught an inbounds pass, dribbled towards Danny Green and nailed a game winner to knock off the Spurs.