Pistons 77 (12-12), Hornets 87 (13-9)
Charlotte shot just 34.1 percent from the field but committed just 6 TOs the entire game—an area in which they’ve excelled. Kemba Walker dropped 25 points for the eighth time this season, and Andre Drummond posted 26 points and 20 rebounds in the loss.
Celtics 117 (13-9), Magic 87 (10-13)
Boston was actually losing by a point at halftime, but then scorched the Magic for 68 points in the second half. Orlando, not a particularly gifted offensive team, could not keep up. Isaiah Thomas was out with a groin injury, and Marcus Smart played well in IT’s absence (13 points, 5-7 shooting). Avery Bradley had a game-high 23 points in the blowout.
Nuggets 111 (8-14), Nets 116 (6-15)
The Nets led the entire 48 minutes and even held a 29-point lead mid-way through the third quarter. But Denver steadily chipped away until it was a two-point game with 16 seconds remaining. The comeback wasn’t to be, though. Brook Lopez had 24 and 8 rebounds in the win.
Heat 95 (7-15), Hawks 103 (11-12)
While beating the Heat at home isn’t exactly something to brag about, the Hawks needed a win in the worst way. After starting the season 9-2, Atlanta dropped 10 of their next 11 games and seemed to be in free-fall mode until tonight. The Hawks held the lead until Miami cut it to 3 in the fourth quarter. ATL countered by taking it to the paint—where they got 58 of their points on the night—and ended up hitting 10 of their final 13 attempts.
Blazers 107 (12-11), Bucks 115 (11-9)
The Bucks seem to have figured out a formula for success. Over the past two weeks, Milwaukee has led the League in points in the paint per 100 possessions. They’re also getting to the line at will. Sure, they’ve played the Nets and Magic twice apiece in that span, but they’ve also added quality wins against the Cavs and now the Blazers. The Bucks got 54 points in the paint and attempted 37 free throws while turning the ball over only 10 times. Giannis Antetokounmpo notched his second triple-double of the season with a line of 15, 12 boards, 11 assists and 4 blocks.
Lakers 95 (10-14), Rockets 134 (15-7)
The Lakers all of a sudden are a very bad NBA team again. The team has really struggled to score with D’Angelo Russell, Nick Young and Larry Nance Jr all missing time recently. This is their fourth loss in a row and second blowout in the that span. Houston, on the other hand, has looked very sharp of late, winning 9 of their last 11 games and playing very efficient ball. Houston blew the game open with 43- and 39-point first and third quarters, and grew the lead to 42 points in the fourth.
Everybody ate tonight!! 🔥🔥
— Clint Capela (@CapelaClint) December 8, 2016
Cavs 126 (15-5), Knicks 94 (12-10)
After dropping three straight games last week, it’s probably fair to say the Cavs are back on track. After beating the Raptors on Monday, Cleveland drummed the Knicks, who had a nice four-game win streak going. The Cavs led the entire 48 minutes, and made 22 threes on an incredible 55 percent shooting from outside. LeBron had a tidy 25 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists and passed the time in the fourth quarter by doing the water flip challenge with Kyrie Irving.
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) December 8, 2016
Kings 120 (8-13), Mavs 89 (4-17)
Sacramento has been playing some surprisingly decent basketball as of late. They’ve been protecting the paint and defending the fast break—both good signs that the players are engaged and putting forth effort. They limited the Mavs to just 30 points in the paint while scoring 68 of their own in that same area. They blew the game open by outscoring the Mavs 29-12 in the third and grew the lead to 33 in the fourth. DeMarcus Cousins led the way with 24 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks.
Pacers 109 (11-11), Suns 94 (6-16)
With a relatively full bill of health once again, the Pacers still need to find their identity. There were good signs in this game, though: Jeff Teague notched a season-high 11 assists and Paul George posted a healthy 25 points and 13 rebounds.
Warriors 115 (19-3), Clippers 98 (16-7)
Excluding the double-OT loss to Houston, the Warriors haven’t dropped a game since November 4. They’re easily the hottest team right now, and it’s beautiful basketball to watch. The Clippers, on the other hand, have been playing no better than an average NBA team over the past two or so weeks. Something’s gotten into them since their 14-2 start. L.A. was actually +27 in bench scoring and the Warriors only shot 23.3 percent from three, but it still was never close. Stephen Curry had 19, 6 assists and tied a career-high with 7 steals.