Post Up: It’s Over
The Bulls end the Heat’s incredible 27 game winning streak.
Toronto led by as many as 11 in the first half, but the wheels fell off in the second half and the Hawks capitalized. The Hawks led 81-80 in the fourth before Jeff Teague scored 10 points to lead a 16-0 run that put the Hawks up 17. With the win, Atlanta clinched a playoff berth for the sixth straight season. Teague led the way with 24 points and 13 boards and Al Horford finished with 26 points and 12 boards. Rookie Jonas Valanciunas finished with 19 points and 8 boards for the Raps.
Philly trailed 83-76 early in the fourth when they flipped the script and went on a 15-0 run to make it a 98-87 game. The Bucks couldn’t regroup and lost their fourth straight. Spencer Hawes led the way with 15 points and a career-high 17 boards while Damien Wilkins and Jrue Holiday each scored 18. Monta Ellis scored 29 points, Larry Sanders scored 15 and Ersan Ilyasova notched a 13-point, 18-rebound double-double.
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The Celtics were dangerously close to dropping their sixth straight game but were saved in the final second by Jeff Green. Boston was down 14 in the second half but closed the game on a 21-6 run to erase the deficit. With 39 seconds to go, and the Cavs’ lead three, Paul Pierce hit a quick jumper to cut the deficit to one. With 11 seconds left, Shaun Livingston missed a jumpshot and Jordan Crawford grabbed the board. With time running out, Jeff Green drove the lane and hit the game winning layup as the clock expired. Brandon Bass scored a season-high 22 points, Green scored 21 and the Truth finished with 19 points, 10 boards, 8 dimes and 7 turnovers. Wayne Ellington scored 16 for Cleveland.
The Knicks led by as many as 30 in the first half but the resilient Grizzlies closed the lead to just four late, making the Knicks sweat this win out. Fortunately for New York, they closed the game on a 5-0 run and won their sixth straight to open up a three game homestand. J.R. Smith scored 35 points–the fourth time he scored 30 or more this season, tops in the NBA for a bench player. Melo scored 22 and grabbed 7 boards and Iman Shumpert scored 16 on 6-10 shooting. Mike Conley scored 26 and dropped 6 dimes and Jerryd Bayless scored 24 off the bench.
The Bulls ended Miami’s incredible 27-game winning streak in a physical matchup that saw Chicago in control for much of the game. The difference in this one was on the glass. Chicago outrebounded Miami 43-31 which helped them build a 13 point lead even without Joakim Noah and Rip Hamilton. Luol Deng played a monster game, finishing with 28 points, 7 boards and 5 assists. Carlos Boozer made his presence felt inside with a 21-point, 17-rebound performance that included a huge offensive rebound and put back down the stretch that sealed the win for Chicago. LeBron did his usual thing with 32 points and 7 boards but it wasn’t enough.
One night after losing in overtime to the Mavs, the Clippers got back on track with a dub over the Hornets. Los Angeles was beat in pretty much every major statistical category, but the difference was made behind the arc. The Clippers shot 13-29 from long range compared to just 4-14 by the Hornets. New Orleans cut the deficit to two early in the fourth quarter, but an Eric Bledsoe 3-pointer triggered a 14-4 Clippers run that carried them to the finish line. CP3 finished with 16 points, 9 dimes and 6 boards and Blake Griffin scored 19. Eric Gordon scored a game-high 24 points and Anthony Davis finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds.
Indiana led wire-to-wire and were up by as many as 19 to earn a road victory in Houston. The Pacers have now on five of their last six and were led by Roy Hibbert’s season-high 28 points and 13 boards in this one. Houston cut the deficit to four in the third quarter but the Pacers responded with a 12-3 run to push the lead back to double-digits and held off the Rockets the rest of the way. Born Ready scored 21 and Psycho T finished with 16 points and 8 boards. James Harden scored 22 and dropped 8 dimes in a losing effort.
OKC held a surging Wizards team to 32 percent shooting from the field and 35 points in the second half as they beat D.C. Oklahoma City pushed their lead to 17 with a big third quarter and held on the rest of the way for an easy dub. Kevin Durant scored 20 points, dished out 6 assists and grabbed 6 boards and Russ Westbrook scored 21 in 25 minutes. John Wall scored 18 points (12-15 from the stripe) and dropped 12 dimes.
Dwight Howard absolutely dominated this game inside with 25 points, 16 boards, 5 steals and 5 blocks (one of only four players in the NBA’s history to put together a 25-15proved -5-5 stat line) and led the Lakers to a win over Minnesota to snap their three-game losing streak. The Lakers nearly choked this one away and saw their 12 point lead evaporate to just three with seconds remaining and the ball in the Timberwolves’ possession. Ricky Rubio attempted a game-tying 3-pointer and what looked like a foul that would have put him on the line with a chance to tie was not called and the Lakers escaped. Kobe scored a game-high 31 points and dropped 7 dimes and Antwan Jamison scored 18 off the bench. Nikola Pekovic led the Wolves with 19 points and 16 boards.
Manu Ginobili was in a funk for much of the game, but the veteran shooting guard came through when his team needed him most. With a minute and a half left, Kawhi Leonard drove the lane and found Ginobili at the top of the key. The career Spur unloaded and nailed a shot that put the Spurs up by five with 1:26 remaining. Though it was the last points that San Antonio scored, the Spurs defense held strong to carry the Spurs to a victory. Tim Duncan led the way with 23 points, 14 boards and 5 blocks and Tony Parker finished with 18 points and 11 dimes. JaVale McGee scored 21 and grabbed 11 boards for Denver.
Utah dominated this game inside, outrebounding the Suns 46-36 and outscoring them 56-32 in the paint to cruise to a 15-point dub. The Jazz closed the game by outscoring Phoenix 28-17 in the fourth quarter and held them to just 35 percent shooting over the final 12 minutes. The Jazz are a game behind the Lakes for the eighth seed. Al Jefferson and Gordon Hayward each scored 25 and Derrick Favors grabbed 13 boards in the win. Wes Johnson scored 22 while Luis Scola scored 20 and grabbed 7 boards.
Isaiah Thomas hit seven 3-pointers and scored a game-high 31 points to lead the Kings to a surprising win over the Warriors. It was their first road victory against a team with a winning record this season. Despite being outscored 68-38 in the paint, the Kings held on down the stretch and after a Tyreke Evans pull-up jumper with 42 seconds left made it an eight point game, this one was over. David Lee scored 20 and grabbed 10 boards for Golden State.
Reggie Evans finished with 22 points and 26 rebounds and the Nets led by as many as 30 to take care of business in Portland. The loss proved costly for the Blazers, who are now fighting for their playoff lives and find themselves three and a half games behind the Lakers for the eighth seed. The Nets, on the other hand, have clinched their first playoff appearance since 2007 and are now in the hunt for home court advantage. Brook Lopez scored 28 points and Deron Williams dropped 10 dimes. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 24 points.