Post Up: Close Strong

by February 15, 2018
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Trail Blazers 123 (31-26), Warriors 117 (44-13)

Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard put on a show on Wednesday. Durant went for 50 points, but Lillard’s 44, combined with 29 from CJ McCollum, gave the Blazers a thrilling win. With the loss, Houston now surpasses Golden State by half a game for the best record in the NBA headed into the All-Star Break. The Blazers enter the break having won three out of four.

Pistons 104 (28-29), Hawks 98 (18-41)

A 30-point third-quarter lead almost wasn’t enough for the Pistons to hold off the Hawks. Almost. Atlanta outscored Detroit 59-35 to close the game and put a scare into the Pistons, who made just enough free throws in the final seconds to survive. Blake Griffin barely missed a triple-double with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists, while Ish Smith led Detroit with 22 points and nine assists. Andrew White III had 15 for Atlanta.

Hornets 104 (24-33), Magic 102 (18-39)

Dwight Howard went for 22 and 13 as the Hornets snapped their four-game losing streak with a close win in Orlando. A Kemba Walker three with 1:11 remaining put Charlotte up for good and began a game-deciding 8-2 run. Mario Hezonja had 21 to lead Orlando on 10-20 shooting.

76ers 104 (30-25), Heat 102 (30-28)

The Sixers trailed by 23 at halftime and were without Joel Embiid, but a triple-double from Ben Simmons (18 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) was enough to power a comeback. Philly finished the third quarter on a 29-13 run and Marco Belinelli began the fourth with three consecutive triples. James Johnson had 22 to lead the Heat and Dwyane Wade missed what would have been a game-winning three at the buzzer.

Pacers 108 (33-25), Nets 103 (19-40)

The Pacers outscored the Nets by 11 in the fourth quarter to earn their third-straight win. Victor Oladipo had 25 points to lead the way and Corey Joseph added 15 of his own to go with 11 assists. Allen Crabbe‘s 24 points, including five threes, were not enough to help a Brooklyn team that has now lost seven in a row.

Wizards 118 (33-24), Knicks 113 (23-36)

The Knicks’ struggles continued, as they blew a 27-point lead to drop their eighth-straight game. They’re also 0-4 since Kristaps Porzingis’s injury. Bradley Beal had 36 points to lead the Wizards, who outscored the Knicks 39-15 in the third quarter to begin their comeback. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 37 points for the Knicks, 32 coming in the first half.

Clippers 129 (30-26), Celtics 119 (40-19)

The Clippers used a late 10-0 run to pull ahead of the Celtics and escape Boston with a 10-point win. DeAndre Jordan had 30 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Clippers, who had seven players score in double figures. Kyrie Irving had 33 points and eight assists for the Celtics, who have now lost four out of five.

Raptors 122 (41-16), Bulls 98 (20-37)

Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka each scored 20 as the Raptors rolled to their seventh win in a row. The victory also completed a season sweep of the Bulls. 12 different Chicago players scored, led by 18 from Bobby Portis.

Rockets 100 (44-13), Kings 91 (18-39)

The Rockets have now won 10 straight and 17 out of 19, this time dispatching of the Kings behind 28-nine-and-nine from James Harden. Houston shot just 39 percent but forced 17 Sacramento turnovers and went 20-22 from the line. Bogdan Bogdanovic had 20 on 8-15 shooting for the Kings.

Thunder 121 (33-26), Grizzlies 114 (18-38)

Russell Westbrook notched his 17th triple-double of the season, and did so in dominant fashion with 23 points, 15 assists, and 13 rebounds. That was just enough to hold off the Grizzlies, who cut a 22-point deficit down to one in the final minute. Carmelo Anthony (19 points) then hit a three to put the game away. Andrew Harrison scored 28 points and was a perfect 5-5 from three.

Pelicans 139 (31-26), Lakers 117 (23-33)

Isaiah Thomas and Rajon Rondo scuffled while Anthony Davis (42 points, 15-18 shooting) dominated in a 22-point Pelicans win. Thomas and Rondo’s off-the-court disagreements seemed to boil over in the first quarter, leading to both of them getting ejected:

Kyle Kuzma had 23 points and Brandon Ingram had 21 to lead the Lakers.

Jazz 107 (30-28), Suns 97 (18-41)

The hottest team in the league won its 11th straight game, this time behind 24 points from Donovan Mitchell and a career-high 19 from Royce O’Neale. Devin Booker had 28 points in his return from a hip injury, Elfrid Payton had a triple-double (13 points, 12 assists, 11 rebounds), and Josh Jackson had 22 points for the Suns. Phoenix has now lost seven in a row.