Post Up: Pierce, KG Return
Pierce and Garnett return to the Garden as Melo lights it up again.
by Jay Wallis | @JayWallis11
Heat 113 (32-12), Spurs 101 (33-11)
Six Heat players scored in double-digits as they took complete control of this Finals rematch before the fourth quarter began. Chris Bosh (24 points, 5 rebounds, 9-10 from the field) could not miss the entire game, as has been the case of late. Bosh has shot at least 60 percent from the field in four of his last five games. Michael Beasley (12 points, 4 rebounds) and Norris Cole (11 points, 5 rebounds) provided good minutes off the bench. LeBron James (18 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) finished with a solid line. Tim Duncan (23 points) led the way for the Spurs but had 17 of his 23 points in the first half. San Antonio struggled to get boards, as the Heat outrebounded them 37-28. For the season, San Antonio’s opponents average 44.5 percent shooting per game. Miami shot 58.1 percent Sunday afternoon. Dwyane Wade (8 points, 5 assists) returned from his injury and came off for the first time in 483 games. Mario Chalmers (16 points, 7 assists) did a good job of controlling the flow of the offense. Without Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter and Danny Green, the Spurs were simply outmatched.
Knicks 110 (17-27), Lakers 103 (16-29)
Carmelo Anthony (35 points, 5 assists) might not have had 62 points, but he certainly lit up the Lakers defenders. This was a matchup between two teams that don’t play much defense and the Knicks proved to have more options offensively. Raymond Felton (20 points, 5 assists, 8-10 from the field) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (18 points, 25 minutes) played well as Tyson Chandler (13 points, 14 rebounds) put together a solid double-double. The Knicks had a 16-5 advantage on the offensive glass. New York went on an 11-6 run to close out this game as Melo had six of these 11 points. Manny Harris (18 points, 19 minutes) easily had his best game as a Laker, consistently getting into the lane. The Lakers have now lost four games in a row and are half a game away from having the worst record in the West. The Knicks, however, are only a game out of the eighth spot in the East.
Pelicans 100 (17-25), Magic 92 (12-32)
Glen Davis (9 points, 7 rebounds) might share the same last name as Anthony Davis (22 points, career-high 19 rebounds, 7 blocks), but the Unibrow absolutely posterized Big Baby late in this game. Arron Afflalo (25 points, 9-14 from the field) had his shot going all night and helped his team get within three points twice in the fourth quarter. However, they couldn’t make enough shots down the stretch. Led by Davis, Al-Farouq Aminu (7 points, 9 rebounds) and Tyreke Evans (23 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds), the Pelicans outrebounded the Magic 48-32. Victor Oladipo (18 points, 5 steals) continued to be a force on the defensive end as Brian Roberts (15 points) is holding his own while filling in for Jrue Holiday.
Suns 99 (24-18), Cavaliers 90 (16-27)
The Cavaliers led by 18 points at halftime. Then Goran Dragic (15 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds) and the Suns used a dominating third quarter to win the third game in their last four. Phoenix outscored Cleveland 25-6 in the third quarter, forcing them to shoot 2-22 from the field. These six points is the Cavaliers’ season low for points in a quarter. The Suns followed up this dominating 3rd quarter by scoring 11 straight points early in the fourth quarter, six of these coming from Markieff Morris (27 points, 15 rebounds). Morris put together one of his most dominating performances of his career. Kyrie Irving (24 points, 9 assists, 2 steals) did all he could to keep his team in this game, but looked just as bad as the rest of his teammates in the third quarter. P.J. Tucker (13 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals) put together a solid all-around showing, getting his fourth double-double of the season.
Nets 85 (), Celtics 79 ()
Paul Pierce (6 points, 2-10 from the field) and Kevin Garnett (6 points, 3 steals) received a warm welcome as they returned to Boston. However, Andray Blatche (game-high 17 points, 2 blocks, 2 steals) was the best player on the night, as both teams gave TD Garden some sloppy performances. Both teams shot below 40 percent from the field and below 30 percent on 3-pointers. The Celtics only managed 53 points through the first three quarters and then allowed the Nets to score the first six points of the fourth quarter. Brandon Bass (17 points, 8 rebounds) looked good for the Celtics while Rajon Rondo (13 points, 8 assists, 8 rebounds, 6 turnovers) is getting closer to looking like his old self. However, the Celtics couldn’t make up for Jeff Green’s (8 points, 2 rebounds, 2-13 from the field) poor performance. The Nets have now won 10 of their last 11 games and are closing in on getting back to .500.
Mavs 116 (26-20), Pistons 106 (17-27)
When this Pistons team plays bad defense, they really play bad defense. Scoring at least 28 points in every quarter of this game, Dirk Nowitzki (28 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists) and the Mavs got back on track after losing their last two games. With Monta Ellis (11 points, 8 turnovers) struggling to take care of the ball, Devin Harris (14 points, 7 assists, 1 turnover 24 minutes) provided a veteran, collected presence off the bench. Harris had three straight possessions with an assist in the 4th quarter, which allowed the Mavs to sustain their double-digit lead. He has now had back-to-back 14 point games, looking comfortable in his new role with Dallas. Brandon Jennings (26 points, 7 assists) held his own in the losing effort, reaching 26 points for the third consecutive game. As has often been the case this season, though, Detroit just couldn’t get good performances from their entire frontcourt. Josh Smith (25 points, 8 rebounds) and Greg Monroe (20 points, 9 rebounds) both played well while Andre Drummond (4 points, 6 rebounds) didn’t have much of an impact on the night. Unless all three of these guy are at the top of their game, this team really struggles. The Mavs finished the game shooting 58.1 percent from the field, while the Pistons only shot 47.3 percent. The Pistons have now lost four straight games and might be slowly regretting all the money they shelled out this past summer.
Blazers 88 (33-12), Warriors 103 (27-18)
Stephen Curry (38 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals) put up another monster performance while David Lee (17 points, 12 rebounds) remained a constant double-double. This team might have arrived on the national scene due to their offense last year, but their defense has been just as important to their success this season. The Warriors locked down defensively in the 2nd half, holding the Blazers to only 32 points in the final two quarters. Andre Iguodala (12 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists) and his versatility played a factor, as Nicolas Batum (5 points, 3 assists, 1-4 from the field) was shut down the entire game. Wesley Matthews (21 points, 5 rebounds) and Damian Lillard (16 points, 4 assists) led the Blazers in scoring but shot 10-30 for the game. LaMarcus Aldridge (10 points, 11 rebounds, 2-14 from the field) played a very uncharacteristic game, having a season-low in field goals made. As a team, the Blazers shot a horrendous 33.7 percent from the field and had 15 turnovers, compared to the Warriors’ 9 turnovers. After Lee hit a layup with 7:47 left in the 4th quarter, the Warriors led by 22 points and put this one out of reach for good.
Nuggets 125 (22-21), Kings 117 (15-28)
Even without DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, the Kings put up a good fight against Ty Lawson (27 points, 6 assists) and the Nuggets. Six players from each team scored in double figures, as both teams’ starting point guard—Lawson and Isaiah Thomas (22 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds)—pushed the ball and made this a very uptempo matchup. Each team shot 42-81 (51.9 percent) from the field, but the Nuggets made six more 3-pointers, giving them the edge. Wilson Chandler (2o points, 5 assists), who has back-to-back 20-point performances, was a major reason for this, knocking down a game-high three 3-pointers. Kenneth Faried (15 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists) had a solid double-double while Ben McLemore (18 points) looked good off the bench, making some big shots in the 3rd quarter. However, it was during this quarter that the Nuggets went on an 8-0 run to break a 65-65 tie and never looked back. The Nuggets will now go on a four-game home stand, starting with the Bobcats (19-27) on Wednesday.