by Leo Sepkowitz | @LeoSepkowitz
Jazz (4-6) 93 at Sixers (5-4) 99
Philly led for most of this game, though it got interesting toward the end. The Sixers were up 84-73 with 6:39 left, but Utah went on a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to four with under three minutes left. The Jazz never got any closer, though, and Philadelphia moved above .500.
Jrue Holiday played a great game for the Sixers, dropping a game-high 26 points while handing out seven assists and grabbing six rebounds. Jason Richardson was big too, putting in 20 points on 12 shots and pulling down eight boards.
Paul Millsap led Utah with 22 points and seven rebounds. DeMarre Carroll was strong off the bench, going 6-for-6 with 17 points, five boards and two steals.
Mavericks (5-5) 83 at Pacers (4-6) 103
This was a strange game. Dallas actually led by one at the break, but it was all Pacers in the second half. Indy outscored the Mavs 28-18 in the third quarter and 27-16 in the fourth. Each Pacer starter scored double-digit points, and Sam Young also chipped in 14 off the bench. The team as a whole shot 47 percent from the floor.
For the Mavericks, OJ Mayo continued to prove doubters wrong, scoring 19 points on 13 shots. He’s averaging just under 22 points per contest this season while shooting 49 percent from the field. Dallas is staying afloat at 5-5, but obviously misses Dirk Nowitzki badly right now.
Magic (3-5) 110 at Pistons (1-9) 106
Before the season started, I thought Orlando had a 1-18 start written all over them. They’ve proved me wrong. With last night’s win, they advanced to 3-0 in games Jameer Nelson plays in. The team scored 39 fourth quarter points in their come-from-behind win last night. They trailed by one point with 47 seconds left after a pair of Kyle Singler free throws, but a JJ Reddick three put them on top. A Greg Monroe miss was followed by a Glen Davis bucket, and free throws sealed the win from there.
Two guys (Davis and Nikola Vucevic) grabbed 13 rebounds for Orlando. Reddick scored 23 points. Arron Afflalo dropped 19 of his own. Nelson tallied 10 assists.
On the flip side, the Pistons have been very disappointing. They certainly weren’t considered playoff contenders entering the year, but with a core of Monroe and Brandon Knight, I thought they’d be better than 1-9. Monroe (23 & 7), Knight (10, 12 & 6) and Tayshaun Prince (18 points, 7/11 shooting) all played well, but didn’t get enough help from their teammates.
Warriors (5-4) 106 at Timberwolves (5-4) 98
Last night the Warriors led by just three at halftime, but expanded that lead to 13 after the third quarter. However, the T-Wolves were able to get back in the game late. They trailed by just four with 35 seconds left, but poor late-game execution cost them a shot at a big comeback win.
Derrick Williams had a sweet game for Minnesota scoring 23 points to go along with seven boards and four blocks. Alexey Shved was big off the bench, scoring 22 points with seven assists.
Meanwhile, Golden State has been a pleasant surprise. Stephen Curry has been healthy, and scored 17 points. David Lee and Harrison Barnes, though, were the team-high scorers, putting in 18 each. The two also combined for 22 rebounds. Mark Jackson has his guys playing well, and if Andrew Bogut can ever come back healthy, they could be a threat to grab the eighth seed in the West.
Thunder (7-3) 110 at Hornets (3-4) 95
This game was never close, as OKC took a 37-point lead into the fourth quarter, but that’s not to say it wasn’t entertaining. At halftime, the Thunder led 66-37 (not a typo), when Kevin Durant and Kendrick Perkins started yelling across the court at Hornets coach Monty Williams. Players gathered around mid-court, but it didn’t go any further than that. KD and the Thunder came out in the second half and continued to dominate the game.
Durant and Kevin Martin each scored a game-high 27 points. Westbrook shot just 3-of-11 from the floor, but handed out 12 assists. Ryan Anderson scored a team-high 15 off the bench for the Hornets. Anthony Davis hit just 4-of-14 shots, but grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked two shots in 29 minutes.
Knicks (6-1) 95 at Grizzlies (7-1) 105
There’s one big takeaway from this game. Playing in Memphis is the toughest matchup in the West. After taking down the Thunder, Heat and Knicks this week alone, the Grizzlies have won 15 straight games at home, and seven in a row overall.
Memphis led the previously 6-0 Knicks by five at halftime, but erupted in the third quarter. With the Knicks in bad foul trouble, the Grizzlies went on a 19-1 run and led by as many as 21 points. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, who was facing his old team, were practically unstoppable. Z-Bo and Gasol combined for 44 points (on 21 shots) and 22 rebounds.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 20 points, but was limited to 30 minutes because of foul trouble. Rasheed Wallace played well off the bench, going for a season-high 13 points. New York actually shot a higher percent from the field, but terrible play from their second unit paired with 26 Grizzlies free throws did the Knicks in.
Hawks (4-4) 112 at Kings (2-7) 96
Atlanta crushed Sacramento, 34-20, in the first quarter. The Kings battled back and outscored the Hawks, 36-24, in the second quarter, putting them down two at half. However, Sacramento managed just three points in the final six and a half minutes of the third quarter, allowing Atlanta to take a commanding 86-70 lead.
Kyle Korver was huge for the Hawks, drawing a start and scoring 22 points while hitting 5-of-5 from deep. Josh Smith and Al Horford combined for 39 points and 18 boards.
For the Kings, Marcus Thornton and Aaron Brooks combined to score 30 points off the bench. DeMarcus Cousins hit just 4-of-15 shots, but totaled 16 boards and seven assists.
Suns (4-6) 102 at Lakers (4-5) 114
LA is making the firing of Mike Brown look pretty smart right now. After a 1-4 start under Brown, they’ve won three of four games and are looking sharp. Last night, in their final pre-D’Antoni game, Kobe Bryant led the game with 31 points and six dimes, while Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol both recorded double-doubles.
The big surprise was the play of Metta World Peace, who shot 7-of-14 from the floor on his way to 22 points. He’s been playing well all season, and should be an interesting guy to watch under D’Antoni.
The Suns had some leads in the first half and kept the game close. Goran Dragic continued his strong season, scoring 22 points while dishing out seven assists. Luis Scola chipped in 18 points and eight rebounds.
Rockets (4-5) 117 at Blazers (4-5) 119
Harden vs. Lillard Pt. II was a doozy. Houston led, 79-78, after three quarters. They opened up a seven-point lead with 4:30 to play, but an 8-3 Blazers run cut the lead to two. A pair of Lillard buckets put Portland up 111-108 with 17 seconds left, when the Rockets’ Marcus Morris knotted the game with a triple. A Lillard three-point attempt was off the mark at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.
Lillard scored the Blazers first five overtime points, but the Rockets stayed right with him. The game remained tied with 1:21 left, when a LaMarcus Aldridge free throw gave Portland the lead. A bucket by Aldridge put Portland up by three, but the Rockets were unable to tie it this time.
The rookie star Lillard dropped 27 points while tallying five rebounds, five assists, two steals and three threes. Nicolas Batum, though, led all scorers with 35 points. He also blocked five shots, hit five threes and grabbed six boards. It’s the second time Batum has dropped at least 30 in the last four games.
For Houston, Harden scored 29 points, while shooting 8/18 from the floor and 11/12 from the line. Omer Asik continued to dominate the glass, pulling down 16 boards (seven offensive) while scoring 16 points. Chandler Parsons was huge, too, dropping 19 points and 11 rebounds.