Post Up: Batum Wins It

by Leo Sepkowitz | @LeoSepkowitz

There were a bunch of wild games last night. The Nets, Celtics and Grizzlies gave up big leads on the road, while the Blazers and Cavaliers needed to play 57 minutes and 59.8 seconds to decide their game.

Heat (12-3) 102, Nets (11-5) 89
A Brooklyn W would have given them the best record in the East, but the Nets couldn’t hold on in Miami. They led by eight points after the first quarter and had a 15-point lead in the second quarter, but it was cut down to nine at the break. Miami shot out of the gate in the third quarter, outscoring Brooklyn, 32-19. The Heat led by four entering the fourth quarter, when the Nets offense disappeared.

They scored just three points in the first six-plus minutes of the quarter, and totaled just 11 points in the final 12 minutes. Overall, Miami beat Brooklyn, 52-30, in the second half.

Dwyane Wade was excellent, scoring 34 points and 14-of-20 shooting while handing out 7 assists. LeBron James posted 21 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists.

Andray Blatche was great for the Nets, scoring 20 points on 12 shots while grabbing 8 boards. He was filling in for Brook Lopez, who is likely to miss at least one more game. Deron Williams double-doubled, but connected on just 3-of-11 shots. Jerry Stackhouse continued his incredible renaissance season, scoring 11 points with 3 rebounds in 24 minutes.

Thunder (14-4) 100, Hornets (4-11) 79
OKC had this one down from the get-go. They led by nine points after one and 10 at halftime, but erupted in the third quarter. They scored 30 points in the third, compared to just 13 from the Hornets. The Thunder shot over 50 percent from the field, versus just 37 percent for New Orleans.

Unsurprisingly, Kevin Durant (20 & 8), Russell Westbrook (18, 10 dimes, 5 boards) and Kevin Martin (19) were Oklahoma City’s leading scorers. Nick Collison and Kendrick Perkins also combined to score 22 points on 11-of-14 shooting.

The Hornets got another big effort from Ryan Anderson, who dropped 21 points, including 3 threes, with 10 boards. Robin Lopez added 12.

Rockets (7-8) 124, Jazz (9-8) 116
Lots of points in Houston on Saturday. The Rockets trailed by a point going into the fourth quarter, but exploded with 39 in the final period. The game was tied at 109 with 4:03 remaining, when Patrick Patterson knocked down a go-ahead triple. Houston never looked back.

Seven Rockets were in double-figures. Patterson led the team with 20. Chandler Parsons (19), Jeremy Lin (19 & 8), James Harden (18 & 7), Omer Asik (14 & 12), Greg Smith (13) and Carlos Delfino (13) also had nice games. As a whole, Houston hit 46-of-83 shots, good for a 55.4 percent clip.

The Jazz had a full box score as well. Each of Al Jefferson, Randy Foye and Gordon Hayward dropped at least 20. Paul Millsap double-doubled. Mo Williams scored 16 and handed out 7 assists. Scoring 116 on the road and losing is a tough one to swallow for the Jazz, who are now 3-9 away from home this season.

Bulls (8-7) 93, 76ers (10-7) 88
If everyone was healthy, this could have been a great game. Unfortunately, both Andrew Bynum and Derrick Rose will likely play no more than a handful—if any—games this season, and so Saturday night’s matchup was one between a pair of mid-level teams.

The game went down to the wire, with the Bulls leading by two with 14 seconds left. An intentional foul sent Rip Hamilton to the line, where he hit the first free throw and missed the second. Rip got his own rebound, though, and hit a pair from the stripe, sealing the game.

Hamilton hit 6-of-12 shots on his way to 15 points. Luol Deng was the game’s high-scorer with 25. Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah combined for 24 points and 25 rebounds.

For Philly, Thaddeus Young posted 22 points and 7 boards. Jrue Holiday was strong again, scoring 23 points while dishing out 7 assists. The 6ers managed to stay close despite being out-rebounded by 13 and scoring 10 fewer points off of turnovers.

Trail Blazers (7-10) 118, Cavaliers (4-13) 117
Yet another close game. Cleveland held a four-point lead at the end of three quarters, and a 91-89 advantage with under a minute remaining. A LaMarcus Aldridge bucket tied the game, and neither team managed to score again in regulation, sending the game into overtime.

The Cavs led by one in OT when a Wesley Matthews triple gave Portland a two-point lead with 1:22 to play. An Aldridge dunk broke a tie with 25 seconds left, and put Portland up two again. But Alonzo Gee tied the game with six seconds left, and a Damian Lillard three-point try was off the mark at the buzzer, spelling double overtime in Cleveland.

With 52 seconds to play in 2OT, Tyler Zeller knocked down a jumper to put Cleveland up, 116-115. With under ten seconds left, Aldridge missed a jumper and JJ Hickson was blocked by Zeller on a put-back try, forcing Portland to foul with just two seconds remaining. Gee split a pair of free throws, expanding Cleveland’s lead to two. But that’s when Nicolas Batum decided to play hero and drained a game winning three at the buzzer. For those of you keeping track at home, the Cavs blew late leads in three consecutive potentially game-ending quarters.

Bucks (8-7) 91, Celtics (9-8) 88
The Celtics jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the first quarter before letting this game slip away. They regained the lead with 1:44 left on a Paul Pierce three, but the Bucks took a 90-88 lead after a Larry Sanders bucket and Brandon Jennings three.

Jason Terry missed a three that would have given Boston the lead with 12 seconds left, and then missed another to tie at the buzzer.

Sanders, fresh of a triple-double on Friday, was great with 18 points, 16 rebounds and 5 blocks. He played 33 minutes off the bench, and should climb into the starting lineup before long. Jennings scored just 13, but hit what turned out to the game-winner.

For Boston, Jeff Green scored 18 points off the bench on just 11 shots. He aslo grabbed 6 rebounds and hit 2 threes. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett combined for 36 points.

Spurs (14-4) 99, Grizzlies (12-3) 95
Memphis held a 13-point fourth quater lead before the Spurs came storming back. The Grizz led by three with under a minute remaining, when Manu Ginobili sank a three to knot the game. Memphis missed their final two shots, pushing the game to OT.

The Spurs opened up overtime hot, and hit their free throws late to ice the game.

Tim Duncan looked like his old self, as he scored 27. He also grabbed 15 rebounds. Tony Parker was the game’s high scorer with 30.

Memphis got 18 and 12 from Mike Conley, 17 and 15 from Zach Randolph and 15 and 10 from Rudy Gay, but couldn’t hold the lead down the stretch.

Mavericks (8-9) 92, Pistons (5-13) 77
Detroit actually led by six points going into halftime, but Dallas took the game over in the third quarter. They went up by double-digits and didn’t let Detroit back into the game.

OJ Mayo paced the team with 27 points. Elton Brand showed signs of life by coming off the bench for 17 points and 12 rebounds. Dallas hit 11 of their 25 three-point attempts, versus just 5/21 from Detroit.

Detroit got 20 points from Brandon Knight and a combined 27 rebounds from Greg Monroe and Jason Maxiell, but turnovers continue to hurt them. They have potential but need to hold onto the ball if they want to really improve. They turned the ball over 16 times last night.

Clippers (10-6) 116, Kings (4-12) 81
The Kings are so frustrating. They have loads of young talent, but just can’t find a way to consistently play efficient ball. Last night, with Tyreke Evans out, they shot just 38 percent from the floor and committed 17 turnovers. They also only totaled just 2 steals and 3 blocks—pathetic numbers on the defensive end.

Marcus Thornton knocked down 6 threes on his way to 20 points, while Jason Thompson added 16 points and 12 boards in the blowout. They were the only two productive Kings. DeMarcus Cousins shot 3-of-9 from the field and grabbed 6 rebounds in just 18 minutes.

The Clippers saw seven players score at least 11 points. Jamaal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe led the way with a combined 31 points, 10 assists and 5 steals off the bench. Chris Paul scored 14 points while tallying 5 boards and 5 assists.

Warriors (10-6) 103, Pacers (8-9) 92
This final score is pretty close, but the Warriors had control the entire second half. They took a 10-pont lead into the fourth quarter and Indiana never really cut it down.

Stephen Curry (11 assists) and Klay Thompson (7 boards) combined for 42 points for Golden State. David Lee double-doubled with 13 and 12. The Warriors are having a great season so far, and there’s no reason to think their success can’t continue. If Curry stays on the floor and Harrison Barnes finds his groove, they should hang around all year.

For Indy, David West, coming off a big game on Friday, led the team with 23 points and 8 rebounds. George Hill added 19. Paul George had his second consecutive miserable game, shooting 0-for-7.