by Ryne Nelson / @slaman10
The Nuggets notched No. 19 at Pepsi, but they lost the Rooster in the process. Lil Nate sunk a game-winner in BK. And oh yeah, Derek Fisher can still treat San Antonio at 38 years old.
Sparked by an unlikely barrage of Derek Fisher threes, OKC opened up an early lead in the late first and early second quarter, and led by as much as 20 by halftime. Tony Parker was virtually non-existent for San Antonio, scoring only 2 points on 1-6 shooting. Despite great performances from Tim Duncan (24 and 11) and Kawhi Leonard (24, 14 and 6), the Spurs couldn’t match OKC’s final 11-2 run, losing 100-88.
Not for nothing, San Antonio was gassesd on this one, arriving in OKC at the end of a six-game stretch that included matchups against five of the L’s best teams. The Thunder were completely healthy and rested, coming off four days of rest. The win puts the Thunder within a half game of the Spurs for the top seed in the West.
Chicago pulled into a tie for fifth in the East, as they managed to claw back and win a game against a team they might see in the first round of the Playoffs. The Bulls did it without Derrick Rose (who’s “close,” everyone!!), Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Rip Hamilton and Marco Belinelli. Plus, starting PG Kirk Hinrich fouled out with 3:38 remaining.
Nate Robinson, who likened the Bulls’ roster changes this season to “old school tag-team wrestling” swaps, stepped up in a big way, sinking the go-ahead bucket with 22 seconds left. Carlos Boozer was dominant in the win, notching 29 points and 18 boards. Jimmy Butler was real again with 16 and 10.
Deron Williams had 30 and 10 assists for Brooklyn, who ran three consecutive (unsuccessful) isolation plays in the final minute. Brook Lopez (28 and 5) sputtered in the clutch, missing a baseline jumper just inside the arc that would have tied the game.
The Nuggets won their 19th in a row at home, but it was a bittersweet win after early reports that Danilo Gallinari suffered a torn ACL. Gallo’s left knee buckled inward as he drove past Dirk Nowitzki to the cup for a layup in the second quarter. It’s a huge blow for the Nuggets who are now without their top two scorers, with Ty Lawson possibly done for the year.
Andre Iguodala, despite making just 3-13 attempts, scored the game-winning basket with 2.8 seconds remaining. Corey Brewer, who stepped up for the injured Gallinari, drained a game-high 23 points and blocked a potential game-winning three by Anthony Morrow at the buzzer. Dirk finished with 13 points and went scoreless in the final stanza. Denver is now one win shy of tying its franchise record 20-game home winning streak, set in ’84-85.