Post Up: Like Mike
Mike Conley leads the Grizzlies over the Spurs.
Behind 24 points from Greg Monroe, 19 points and 9 dimes from Jose Calderon and a strong contribution from the bench, the Pistons took care of business against the Raptors in T.Dot. Both teams had trouble stopping each other (each team shot 50+ percent from the field, respectively) and the game went back and forth until the final quarter. The Pistons final built some breathing room and after Jonas Jerebko threw down a put-back slam with 33 seconds left, the Detroit lead was safe at seven. Rudy Gay scored a game-high 34 points, grabbed 6 boards and dropped 5 dimes.
With last night’s win over the Cavs, the Hawks now sit just one game behind the Nets for the fourth seed in the East–which if they win, will guarantee them home court advantage. The Hawks had control of this one throughout as the only lead that Cleveland had was 5-4 early in the first quarter. Josh Smith finished with 18 points, 14 boards and 8 dimes while Devin Harris scored a season-high 25 points to pace Atlanta. Al Horford scored 16 points and grabbed 6 boards in his first game after sitting the previous two with a stomach illness. The Cavs have now lost ninth-straight and this may be the curtain call for head coach Byron Scott.
Two career-highs in this one, and I’m not sure which one is more eye-opening: Larry Sanders with 24 points (to go along with 13 boards) or Monta Ellis with 14 assists (to go along with 19 points and 6 steals). The Bucks are inching towards the seven-seed and now sit just one and a half games behind the sliding Celtics. Milwaukee led by as many as 33 and dominated inside, outscoring the Bobcats 52-32 and outrebounding them 45-32. Brandon Jennings scored 19 on 6-15 shooting and J.J. Redick scored 20 off the bench. Kemba Walker scored a game-high 27 points on 8-11 shooting.
For the second night in a row, the Spurs lost on a last second shot against a team that they have a chance of seeing in the playoffs. The Grizzlies cut the deficit to two late in the fourth, but Tony Parker hit a jumper with 2:15 left to make it an 88-84 game in favor of San Antonio. Unfortunately for the Spurs, this would be the last field goal they hit as they only managed two Parker free throws over the last two minutes. With seven seconds remaining, and the game tied at 90, Parker missed the go-ahead shot, giving the Grizzlies a chance. Mike Conley, who had just hit the game-tying 3-pointer 30 seconds prior, got his chance to shine and came through with the game-winning layup with .6 seconds remaining to give the Grizzlies a big win. It was the second game-winning shot of his career. Conley scored a team-high 23 points on 11-17 shooting and Jerryd Bayless chipped in with 17 off the bench. Tony Parker scored 25 points for the Spurs.
James Harden sat with a sore right foot but it made no difference as the Rockets went on to defeat the Magic. With Harden out, Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin picked up the slack. Asik finished with 22 points and 18 boards while Lin netted 19 and 11 dimes. Houston led this one from wire-to-wire and led by as many as 25 to hand Orlando their 43rd loss in 50 games. Rookie Moe Harkless scored a career-high 28 points for the Magic.
With Paul Pierce and KG both watching from the sideline, the Celtics got abused inside by Nikola Pekovic. Pek dropped a season-high 29 points and led the Wolves to a 62-38 scoring advantage in the paint. The Timberwolves separated themselves with a 17-6 run that extended from the end of the second quarter and into the third. The run gave Minny a double-digit lead the Celtics never got closer than six. Ricky Rubio dropped 9 dimes and Dante Cunningham scored 19 off the bench.
The Jazz have won five straight games for the first time this season and are playing well at the right time as they try and hold off the Lakers and Mavs for the eighth spot in the West. Al Jefferson led the way with a 24-point, 10-rebound double-double and Mo Williams scored 20 points and dished out 9 assists. Behind Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap, the Jazz outscored Portland 52-28 in the paint. Utah led wire-to-wire and were up by as many as 19. Wes Matthews scored 23 points for Portland. The Blazers have lost five straight.
The Pacers led by as many as 24, squandered the lead in the final minutes, and finally held on for the their fifth straight win. With eight minutes left, the Clippers cut the deficit to eight points thanks to an Eric Bledsoe jumper. Los Angeles continued to chip away at the lead and cut it to four with 3:38 left after a Jamal Crawford 3-pointer. After two more free throws from Chris Paul and a dunk by Blake Griffin, the Clippers had all momentum and trailed by just two points with just over a minute to go. But, David West hit a huge fadeaway jumper, the Pacers hit all eight of their free throw attempts in the final 32 seconds and Lamar Odom’s last second desperation 3-pointer rimmed out and Indiana held on. Roy Hibbert led the way with 26 points and 10 boards and Paul Gorge finished with 23 points, 10 dimes, 6 boards and 4 steals. Jamal Crawford scored 25 off the bench and Blake Griffin scored 17.