Rockets (53-24) 115, Thunder (42-35) 112
James Harden just edged out Russell Westbrook yesterday, both in the points column and in the final score.
Harden, who to me looks like a 49 percent owner of an MVP stake, dropped a game-high 41 in the win. He hit 11/13 free throws, 6/9 threes and handed out 6 assists. Dwight Howard chipped in with 22 (10/15) and 8 rebounds.
Westbrook managed 40 (12/29) to go with 13 assists and 11 rebounds, giving him nine triple-doubles since the All-Star break. He’s not believable at this point, but OKC is running a real risk of missing the postseason. Enes Kanter dropped in 21 and 17 in the loss, and is averaging around 18 and 11 since coming over from Utah.
Cavs (50-27) 99, Bulls (46-31) 94
This game was close throughout, but Cleveland was able to open up a three-possession lead in the final thirty seconds and hang on for the W. LeBron dropped 20, 12 and 10 while Kyrie Irving added 27. JR Smith posted one of his all-time JRiest lines: 8/17 from deep, 8/17 overall, 0/0 free throws, 24 points.
Mike Dunleavy led Chicago in scoring with 24.
Pacers (34-43) 112, Heat (34-43) 89
Paul George is back.
The star wing returned last night for Indiana, giving the team 15 minutes off the bench in a runaway win. He put up 12 shots, scored 13 points and grabbed a couple of rebounds. Regardless of where the Pacers go from here, it’s awesome to see him back on the floor, and, if nothing else, his return should go a long way toward shaking off heavy rust before next season.
That being said, the win draws Indiana even with Miami for the ninth spot in the East. Boston leads both teams by one game in the loss column.
Dwyane Wade dropped 27 for the Heat.
Spurs (51-26) 107, Warriors (63-14) 92
Kawhi Leonard was incredible last night, hitting 11/17 shots for 26 points to go with 7 steals in an easy win. Tim Duncan chipped in 19 and 7 in just 24 minutes.
Stephen Curry, the MVP race’s majority shareholder, scored 24 with 5 threes. Unfortunately, Klay Thompson (3/11), Draymond Green (2/11) and Harrison Barnes (2/7) were of little help in the loss.
Jazz (35-42) 101, Kings (26-50) 95
Rookie Rodney Hood has at times looked like a pretty sweet piece on the wing for Utah. Last night was one of those times.
The 23rd overall pick dropped a team-high 25 on 9/17 shooting in the road win. Rudy Gobert added 10 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks.
The Kings got big games out of DeMarcus Cousins (26 and 12) and Ben McLemore (20), but it wasn’t enough. Still, McLemore’s nice sophomore campaign has been a big victory for the team this season.
Knicks (15-62) 101, Sixers (18-60) 91
Andrea Bargnani was the best player on the floor last night, so…
The big man dropped 25 in 34 minutes, hitting 8/15 shots to go with 8 rebounds. Shane Larkin added 15 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists in the “win.”
Ish Smith led Philly with 17 and 7 assists.
A Sixers win would have drawn the two bottom-dwellers even in the loss column. New York might want this one back pretty soon.
Clippers (52-26) 106, Lakers (20-55) 78
Lob City pretty much ran the Lakers out of the gym last night. They jumped on Robert Sacre’s team early and led by 29 after three.
Just about everybody cleared double-figures for the Clippers, including DeAndre Jordan (16 and 11) and Blake Griffin (18). Chris Paul dished out 15 assists with just one turnover.
Wes Johnson was the Lakers’ high-man with 16.