Post Up: Comeback Trail

Cavaliers 97 (41-16), Raptors 99 (39-18)

The Kyle Lowry show was in full swing tonight, as the two-time All-Star dropped a career-high 43 points while draining the game-winner just for good measure.

Following the close loss, Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference shrunk to two games over Toronto. When asked of the game’s significance, Kevin Love of the Cavs appeared to have taken exception to remarks from Toronto head coach Dwane Casey.

“Anybody who says it wasn’t is lying to you,” he said when asked if it was a big game, particularly with the playoff tiebreaker on the line. “We knew coming in it was going to be a hostile environment away from home. They’re a very good team and had won nine in a row before tonight, so we knew they were going to be tough to beat, and it was no different.”

Hornets 96 (30-27), Pacers 95 (31-27)

Not to be outdone by Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker of the Hornets provided some late-game heroics of his own, sinking a layup toward the end of regulation to end Indiana’s night.

The Pacers weren’t without stellar performances of their own. Paul George dropped 32 points on Charlotte, including this remarkable trey to end the first half:

Wizards 103 (27-20), 76ers 94 (8-50)

The beat goes on for the league-worst 76ers. Jahlil Okafor scored 21, and Nik Stauskas added 15, but John Wall (23 points, 11 dimes) and the Wizards were too much for Philadelphia. Markieff Morris — whose tumultuous run with the Phoenix Suns ended at the trade deadline — appears to be getting along famously with his new teammates in Washington.

Magic 95 (25-32), Knicks 108 (25-35)

For a team that endured a woeful seven-game losing streak earlier in the month, the Knicks certainly appeared to be in top form against Orlando at home tonight. Arron Afflalo contributed a double-double, Kristaps Porzingis added 18, and ‘Melo posterized former Knick Jason Smith.

Bulls 88 (30-27), Hawks 103 (32-27)

One silver lining for the struggling Bulls has been the emergence of Doug McDermott. McDermott, who averaged a modest three points per game in his rookie season last year, has now scored in the double-digits in each of his last four contests. The Hawks would come away with the W, however, thanks to strong nights from Kent Bazemore (17 points), Al Horford (18 points), and Jeff Teague (19 points).

It may have only been a two-minute cameo, but one former Bull made an impression for Atlanta…

Nuggets 116 (23-36), Mavericks 122 (31-28)

Losses don’t come in much more brutal fashion than tonight’s defeat for the Nuggets. After gradually chipping away at a 12-point deficit throughout the second half, the Mavericks would tie things up toward the end of regulation on this mental lapse from Nugget defenders:

Chandler Parsons’ 27 points and a surprising double-double from David Lee off the bench would ensure a victory for Rick Carlisle’s Mavs in overtime.

Clippers 117 (38-20), Kings 107 (24-33)

On nights like tonight, teams can only hope to contain Chris Paul. Dropping a remarkable line of 40 points, 13 dimes, eight boards, and two steals, CP3 feasted on Darren Collison (starting in place of the injured Rajon Rondo). Seth Curry rep’d the family name well with 19 points, and Rudy Gay combined with DeMarcus Cousins for 49 points, but frustration appeared to boil over for the outgunned Kings.

Grizzlies 112 (34-23), Lakers 95 (11-49)

Recent acquisition P.J. Hairston — known largely as a defensive specialist — went off for five treys in a drubbing of the Lakers. Joining the three-point party was Vince Carter, who enjoyed a 5-of-7 clip from downtown in the victory.

There weren’t many positives to take away from this loss in Laker-land. With a sore right shoulder sidelining Kobe Bryant, L.A. dropped their eighth-straight at home to a less-than-enthusiastic crowd at the Staples Center. Team GM Mitch Kupchak was caught looking despondent in this candid shot.