Post Up: Nearly A Career Night

James Harden finished two points shy of his career-high in Houston's win on Monday.
by December 23, 2014

Hornets 110 (9-19), Nuggets 82 (12-16)

In their home win over the Denver Nuggets last night, the Charlotte Hornets built up their biggest lead of the season. Behind the stellar performances from Kemba Walker (18 points and 9 assists) and Al Jefferson (22 points and 7 rebounds), Buzz City was able to put together a 30-point advantage by the time the third quarter rolled around.

They never trailed Ty Lawson’s (18 points and 4 assists) squad once. A below-average Eastern Conference team isn’t one that you usually see manhandling a Western Conference team, but in the case of last night’s match-up in the Time Warner Cable Arena, Cody Zeller and the Hornets gave it their all to extend their winning streak to three.

Bulls 129 (18-9), Raptors 120 (22-7)

Another streak was spoiled this week, as the Chicago Bulls gave the Toronto Raptors a loss. After missing two games, Derrick Rose returned and led Chi-town with 29 points. Fifteen of those points came in the final period, a quarter in which the Bulls scored a franchise-record 49 points. Not too shabby, D-Rose. The 2011 MVP got help from six other Bulls in double-figures, including Mr. Jimmy Butler who recorded 27 points and 11 rebounds. For the Raptors, Kyle Lowry scored a game-high 34 points, with 18 coming in the fourth.

Rockets 110 (20-7), Trail Blazers 95 (22-7)

When you score 19 points in the first quarter and nail 31 by halftime, you know you’re having an amazing offensive night. Ay James Harden, I’m nodding at you.

Harden finished with a season-high and near career-high 44 points in the Rockets’ pounding of the Trail Blazers, putting an end to Portland’s five-game winning streak.

Corey Brewer scored 12 in his Rockets debut, and Dwight Howard added 16 points and 13 rebounds. Jason Terry hit his 2,000th career 3-pointer, which makes him third all time in the NBA. Good going, Rockets. Ya’ll had a heck of a night.

The story was different for the Blazers, clearly. They played without main man LaMarcus Aldridge who sat out due to an illness. The rest of the squad simply couldn’t make up for the missed offense, especially with an on-fire Harden as the opponent.

Jazz 97 (9-20), Grizzlies 91 (21-7)

In a stunning turn of events, the Utah Jazz beat the Memphis Grizzlies on the road last night. Or maybe, it’s not so stunning. The Grizz played without Zach Randolph and Tony Allen and lost the previous two games. So was this game just following the recent trend? Whatever the case, the Jazz celebrated last night. Rudy Gobert recorded a career-high 16 rebounds to go along with four of five Utah starters’ double-figure performances. But Gobert did have a low point on the night, and that—to absolutely everyone else’s pleasure—was this vintage Vince Carter dunk:

Slightly bummed VC didn’t “crank it up” after that poster, but…it’s fine.

The Jazz scored the final 8 points of the first half and went on a nifty 13-5 run in the fourth quarter to put the home team away behind Alec Burks’ season-high 23 points.

Hawks 105 (20-7), Mavericks 102 (20-9)

So the Hawks are on a four-game winning streak, they won 13 of their last 14, and they’re one game behind Toronto for the top seed in the East. Ahem, this deserves an #ATLshawty.

In the win last night, Dennis Schröder put up a career high 22 points to lead all players. All four of the other Hawks’ starters also scored in double-figures to take care of the Mavs on the road. Atlanta actually led by 24 in the third quarter, but the Mavs won the fourth 39-23, with plays like this:

The late effort wasn’t enough, as the Hawks were the team that walked away with the W.

Spurs 125 (18-11), Clippers 118 (19-9)

A lot was happening for the Spurs last night. 1) Tony Parker not only returned after missing the last five games, but he scored a game-high 26 points. 2) Tim Duncan had a double-double on the night—21 points and 12 rebounds—which raised him above Reggie Miller for No. 17 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. (Congrats, Timmy!) 3) This. This beautiful shot chart. 

4) This. This beautiful pass.

5) They won the game and snapped a four-game losing streak.

And just to keep with (what I think is sort of becoming) a tradition of posting a funny Vine week to week, here you go:

Warriors 128 (23-3), Kings 108 (12-16)

The lead the Warriors built off a 19-2 run in the last four minutes of the first quarter never went away. The run gave the home team a 16-point advantage heading into the second quarter. It extended to a 25-point lead and eventually ended up getting the Dubs a 20-point win. Klay Thompson led all scorers with 25 points, Stephen Curry added 12 points and 11 boards, and Festus Ezeli had a career-high 15 points for the Warriors. Golden State’s bench (welcome back, David Lee!) played superb as well, contributing 62 points. DeMarcus Cousins finished with 22 points in the Kings’ sixth loss in seven games.