Post Up: Best in the West
The Thunder win in Sacramento and the Spurs beat the Lakers for the second time this week.
by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
A decent slate of games last night to ring in the weekend. Catch up on all the action below…
I was talking with my friend earlier today and we couldn’t believe that we didn’t bet against the Bobcats every night this season. We were appalled that it took us until the final week of the season to figure this out, we could have made some good money! Anyway, the Bobcats played a rare close game and hung tough with the Grizzlies for much of the contest. Gerald Henderson scored a career-high 32 points but as a team, Charlotte committed 22 turnovers with Memphis turning that stat into 27 fast break points. With the game tied at 71, the Grizz went on an 8-0 run that proved to be the deciding stretch in the game. Mike Conley scored 20 and dished out 7 assists, Zach Randolph chipped in with 14 off the pine as the Grizzlies came from behind for the win.
The Hawks were able to take advantage of a Celtics team void of Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus to earn a home win in a potential playoff series preview. Joe Johnson went for 30, and Josh Smith had a double-double with 19 points and 12 boards to hold off the pesky Celtics. Boston’s reserves did an admirable job and were able to stay in the game; the C’s pulled within one point of ATL five separate times in the fourth. Avery Bradley scored a career-high 28 points and Keyon Dooling scored 17 to pace the Celtics.
Why does it seem like the Cavs beat the Knicks every time they play? It’s infuriating. Last night’s win marked the tenth straight home win for Cleveland over New York–a streak that dates back to 2006. STAT returned for the Knicks but didn’t do much up front and the Cavs outrebounded their opponent 52-32 (16-11 offensively). After New York cut it to single digits in the fourth, Cleveland went on a deciding 14-4 run to ice the game. Kyrie Irving had a game-high 21, Manny Harris added 19 and a career-high 12 boards to beat a streaky Knicks team. Stoudemire had a game-high 15 and Melo scored 12 but the two stars combined for just four total rebounds.
The Warriors rolled out a starting lineup with two guys I’ve never heard of: Charles Jenkins and Mickell Gladness. With last night’s loss, Golden State has now lost 14 out of 16 and are ending SLAM favorite Mark Jackson’s first year as a head coach on a sour note. Despite all the injuries, Golden State tied the game at 67 late in the third quarter, but Dallas took over and went on a 22-8 run that extended halfway through the fourth and effectively put the game out of reach. Vince Carter scored all of his team-high 19 points in the second half, Brandan Wright added a season-high 17 off the bench and Dirk Nowitzki and Delonte West each scored 16 in the win. For the Warriors, Klay Thompson scored 26 and Brandon Rush added 20 points off the bench.
Kobe Bryant returned last night after a seven-game absence with a shin injury but it made no difference as the Spurs beat up no L.A. for the second time this week. Tim Duncan (21), Manu Ginobili (20) and Tony Parker (20 and 10 assists) combined for 61 points as the Spurs used an 11-0 fourth quarter run to take a 21-point lead to blowout the Lakers. After averaging 23.1 points per game with Bryant on the bench, Andrew Bynum scored 17 while Kobe led the way with 18. The Spurs outrebounded the Lakers 42-29 which led to 22 fast break points and outscored their opponent 54-30 in the paint in the dominating performance.
Oklahoma City led from wire-to-wire as they cruised to an eleven-point road win against the Kings. Kevin Durant had a monster game with 29 points, 14 boards and 7 dimes while teammates Russell Westbrook and James Harden finished with 18 and 20 respectively. The Thunder shot 53 percent from the field and scored 27 fast break points in the win. DeMarcus Cousins finished with 18 points and nine boards on 8-21 shooting and ‘Reke Evans dropped 16 to pace Sacramento.
Stat Line of the Night: Despite the loss, gotta show love to Avery Bradley’s career-high 28.
Play of the Night: Manny Harris gathers himself and hits it from halfcourt. This only happens against the Knicks.
Dunks of the Night: Byron Mullens with the dunk, but more importantly I had to document a point where the Bobcats had a lead in a game this season.
Tonight: Eight games on deck including important games with playoff implications out West between Denver and Phoenix, Golden State and Houston, and Orlando and Utah. Catch y’all tomorrow.