Post Up: Thunder Cats
Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker dominate the fourth vs the Pistons.
by Daniel Friedman / @DFried615
Sixers 121 (8-19), Nets 120 (9-17) OT
Evan Turner led the way for the Philadelphia 76ers and brought home the victory in this late-game thriller. With the fourth quarter winding down, Deron Williams had a shot to win the game for the Nets at the buzzer, but it clanked out to the left. This game would need an overtime period to be decided.
In the overtime, Brooklyn again had a chance to stick around with a late game shot from downtown, and with 16.9 seconds left, Paul Pierce knocked it in from downtown to give the Nets a 120-119 lead. Unfortunately for Brooklyn, 16.9 seconds was too long to leave on the clock. With just under six seconds to go, Turner curled around the top of the key for the hand off and drove to the basket to drop in the game-winning layup, leaving no time left on the clock for the Nets to counter.
When it was all said and done, Philadelphia took the victory and Turner led the game with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Thaddeus Young dropped 25, and Tony Wroten came up big off the bench for the Sixers with 19 points in 24 minutes.
Alan Anderson led the Nets with 26 points and 46 minutes, while Pierce totaled 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Brook Lopez put up 22 points on 9-19 shooting from the field. Kevin Garnett and Joe Johnson did not suit up for the Nets in a matchup that Brooklyn could have used them in. Johnson cited personal reasons and Garnett took the game off to rest up.
Hawks 118 (15-12), Jazz 85 (7-22)
The Atlanta Hawks moved the ball well and never seemed to lose control of the tempo in a 118-85 beat down of the Utah Jazz Friday night. Lou Williams was the high-point man in this matchup that favored the Hawks with 25 points, but it was a total team effort.
The Hawks tallied 32 assists and gave up only 10 turnovers in the high-scoring win. Al Horford, who has been playing consistently well for the Hawks, put up 23 points on 11-15 shooting. Every player on the Hawks scored at least a bucket and four players were in double figures. Paul Millsap scored 14 points, snatched 10 rebounds and dished out three assists.
Enes Kanter and Alec Burks were the bright spots for the Jazz who could only muster up 85 total points. Trey Burke and Derrick Favors are still developing, and obviously so, as the two combined for a mere eight points.
Cavaliers 114 (10-15), Bucks 111 (5-21) OT
Coming into the game with a winning record at home, the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by a flu-ridden Kyrie Irving, were able to improve to 8-4 at Quickens Loans Arena in an overtime thriller on Friday night.
Despite nearly vomiting on the sidelines in the fourth quarter while sitting on the bench, Irving led the charge for the Cavaliers with a game-high 39-point performance. Including four free throws in the final seconds of the game to seal the deal. Cleveland shot a paltry 39 percent from the field, but Irving’s antics were enough for them to take home the win in extra time.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Cavaliers stayed close throughout the game, tied 47-47 at halftime, and then, after one of Irving’s lone misses, Tristan Thompson tipped it in to tie the game once again and force OT.
Jarrett Jack scored 17 points for the Cavs, and Andrew Bynum put up 8 points, and 3 blocks in merely 24 minutes. Cleveland had a great game from the charity stripe, knocking down 92 percent of their shots.
Bobcats 116 (13-14), Pistons 106 (13-15)
Kemba Walker had the hot hand on this night, hitting 12-17 from the floor, 50 percent from downtown and a perfect 9-9 from the free-throw line, leading the Charlotte Bobcats with 34 points in a 116-106 win over the Pistons on the road.
Though Walker was the highest scoring player of the night, Al Jefferson altered the game with his 15-point performance in the fourth quarter for the Bobcats. After trailing for most of the game, and found themselves down heading into the final period, but Jefferson began to find his rhythm and buoy the Bobcats down the stretch.
Jefferson ended the game with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Gerald Henderson added 22 points, and Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon chipped in a combined 20 from off the bench.
Brandon Jennings put up 26 points in the losing effort, with Josh Smith adding 18 points and six rebounds. Andre Drummond also tallied 14 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Heat 122 (20-6), Kings 103 (7-18)
This season has been a learning experience of sorts for the Sacramento Kings, and this loss to the Miami Heat was no different, especially for Kings rookie standout Ben McLemore, who was introduced to LeBron James’ midsection after the reigning MVP slammed down a thunderous dunk on the Kings guard.
Sacramento has had trouble with the Heat historically, losing the last nine meetings between the two teams. On this night, the Kings kept the game close at first, going down by only three with just under a minute to go in the first half. But the Miami Heat were clicking, hitting over 61 percent from the field en route to their highest point total of the season (122).
Chris Bosh had the high mark for the Heat, putting up a team-high 25 points and eight rebounds. James totaled 18 points, six rebounds and eight assists. Dwyane Wade added 20 and Ray Allen scored 18 off the bench in the win.
For the Kings, DeMarcus Cousins led the way with 27 point and 8 rebounds. Ben McLemore scored 20 points and got dunked on, while Rudy Gay dropped 17 in the losing effort. The King should be somewhat happy about their effort despite the loss as they shot 58 percent from the field, they just failed to create fast break opportunities and find a rhythm enough to stop a rolling Heat squad.
Pacers 114 (21-5), Rockets 81 (17-10)
After taking a beating on the court and in the court of public opinion over the last week because of their first two back-to-back losses of the season, the Indiana Pacers came up with a resounding victory over the Houston Rockets at home, and at one point were leading the Rockets by as much as 46 points.
It was just one of those nights for Houston as Dwight Howard was one of the only players able to get going offensively. Leading the team, Howard put up 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. But the other star on the team, James Harden, wasn’t able to get anything to hit. After shooting just 3-14 from the field, Harden only scored 12 points while snatching three steals.
On the other hand, the Pacers were clicking in a game that must have felt sweet after a tough week of losses. Indiana’s defense was tight and their offense was relentless, putting up a season-high 12 shots from downtown and posting their second best field goal percentage all season (53.1). Six players were in double figures in scoring and the team totaled 11 steals and seven blocks.
Suns 103 (15-10), Nuggets 99 (14-11)
The Phoenix Suns rallied back from being down 21-points to overcome the Denver Nuggets in a late-game showdown that saw the Suns come through when it mattered most, in crunch time.
At the 9-minute mark of the final period, it seemed as if the Nuggets had put together a worthy enough body of work that they’d get out of this one alive in the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver. After all, they’d have six players put up double figures in scoring and won the battle down low, outrebounding the Suns by nine. JJ Hickson alone would grab 14 boards.
But it wasn’t enough as the Suns rallied back to tie it up at 88 apiece with 8:25 left in the game. Then, it was all Phoenix from there, as Gerald Green and Markieff Morris would combine for 44 points and 14 rebounds. Green and Morris also sparked the momentum that would seal the win for the Suns. Goran Dragic added 17 points and six assists, and Marcus Morris put up 14 in 26 minutes.
Lakers 104 (13-14), Timberwolves 91 (13-13)
After letting up a 35-point first quarter to a Los Angeles Lakers team that did not feature former scoring champion Kobe Bryant, the Minnesota Timberwolves found themselves trying to get back in the game all night long.
Pau Gasol was a major factor in the Lakers holding off the Timberwolves to end a three-game losing streak at home in the Staples Center. Gasol led the team with 21 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, including a pivotal four-point play in the third quarter in which Gasol was fouled by Corey Brewer while shooting a three pointer. The Lakers also played efficiently, shooting above 53 percent from the field.
Xavier Henry scored 21 points to match Gasol and Nick Young was the high-scoring man for the Lakers with 25 points, shooting 4-6 from downtown. Wesley Johnson added six points and five assists, including a nice one-handed jam in transition.
For the Timberwolves, Kevin Love was the best player on the court scoring a team-high 25 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. But Love was held scoreless in the fourth quarter and only Nikola Pekovic scored in double digits for Minnesota, who have lost 5-10 on the road this season.