Hornets (6-15) 96, Celtics (7-13) 87
Rajon Rondo had a triple double of 12 points, 10 dimes and 10 rebounds but the Celtics shot just 21.7% from three-point land en route to their second straight loss and 13th on the season. Al Jefferson turned up in the fourth, scoring 11 of his 23 points in the final period for the Hornets, who are now winners of two straight after dropping 10 in a row. The 11th-year big man (seems like just yesterday that he came out of high school, right?!) couldn’t be stopped—dude was gettin’ buckets inside and out and also finished with a cool 14 boards on the night. Kemba Walker added 18 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds and Born Ready chipped in with 13, 4 and 4 to ruin Rondo’s monster game. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist saw 18 minutes of action and pitched in with 9 points and 6 rebounds for Charlotte after missing 12 games with a foot injury. Tyler Zeller (13 points, 8 rebounds) outplayed younger brother Cody (9 points, 2 rebounds) but the latter’s team came out with the W. Jeff Green and Marcus Thornton each dropped 16 and 4 in Boston’s nine-point loss.
Clippers (16-5) 103, Pacers (7-15) 96
All five Los Angeles starters scored in double figures and the Clips staved off a huge comeback to keep it rolling with their 16th win on the year. L.A. shot an uncharacteristic 7-24 (29.2%) from long range, but that doesn’t matter as much when you’re getting so much production in other areas. Chris Paul continues to post ridiculous statlines; this time, he put up 17 points, 15 dimes, 8 rebounds and 3 steals like it was nothin’. Two guys on the finishing end of many of those 15 assists were Blake Griffin (17 points, 10 boards, 5 assists) and DeAndre Jordan (12 points, 19 rebounds, 3 blocks). Sharpshootaz JJ Redick and Jamal Crawford chipped in with 16 and 18 points respectively.
The Pacers fought all the way back from a 15-point first half deficit, gave up yet another big run, fell behind by 20 and then scratched and clawed their way to within two, ultimately falling for good and picking up their sixth straight L. Indiana’s starters were awful; it was the bench play of Luis Scola (12 points, 14 rebounds), Lavoy Allen (14 points, 13 rebounds) and CJ Miles (30 points on 11-22 shooting) that kept the Pacers in it for as long as possible.
Wizards (15-6) 91, Magic (9-15) 89
It feels like as NBA fans, we spend so much time talking about lists and rankings, which are cool ‘n’ all but let’s be real: they’re, for the most part, pointless—especially when only a quarter of the season has been played. Instead of discussing whether John Wall is above or below the likes of Kyle Lowry and Kyrie Irving (Jimmy’s better than both, FWIW) let us instead sit back for a sec and appreciate that the guy’s playing exceptional b-ball at the moment. Against the Magic on the road last night, he had another terrific game with 21 points, 11 assists and 6 rebounds. But it wasn’t just JWall who shared the ball for the Wiz—the entire team was unselfish as eight players had at least one dime on the night. The biggest assist came with 0.8 seconds remaining as Andre Miller lobbed the rock from out of bounds for a Bradley Beal alley-oop lay-in to beat the buzzer and win by two. The game-winner came right after a Victor Oladipo (17 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals) missed jumper on the other end. If it weren’t for Wall’s late-game scoring, the Wiz would not have even sniffed a win. Meanwhile, Tobias Harris had 15 points and 6 rebounds and Elfrid Payton provided 12, 6 and 4 off the bench for the losing side.
Hawks (15-6) 95, Sixers (2-19) 79
The Hawks flew by the lowly Sixers to capture their eighth straight victory thanks in large part to Paul Millsap’s 17 points and 8 rebounds, DeMarre Carroll’s 14 points, 11 boards and 3 steals and Kyle Korver’s 17 points including 5-7 from long distance. It wasn’t the prettiest win, but the ATLiens capitalized on 18 Philadelphia turnovers and remain tied with Washington for first place in the Southeast Division. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had 12 points and 5 steals and Michael Carter-Williams flirted with a triple double with 8 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists in the Sixers’ 19th loss of the season (yikes).
Bulls (13-8) 105, Nets (8-12) 80
Derrick Rose dropped 23 points on 8-15 shooting in 24 minutes against a short-handed Brooklyn squad and the Bulls cruised to a 25-point win at home. Chicago was already clearly the better team going into this one, so it didn’t help matters for the Nets that they were without Mirza Teletovic (hip), Joe Johnson (flu), Brook Lopez (back) and Andrei Kirilenko (traded to Sixers) in the lineup. Pau Gasol posted 16 points and 16 boards, Taj Gibson contributed 11 points, 10 rebounds and 6 blocks and Mike Dunleavy scored 14 including 4 three-balls. Jimmy Butler continued to show why he’s all of a sudden one of the league’s best shooting guards, coming up big with 18 points and 5 rebounds. D-Will led the way for the Nets with 17 points, 5 assists and 2 steals while Kevin Garnett contributed with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a foot injury.
Timberwolves (5-16) 90, Blazers (17-5) 82
Who expected this outcome? Andrew Wiggins (23 points, 10 boards, 4 assists, 2 steals in 44 minutes) and the T-Wolves out-rebounded the Blazers 56-38 to pull out the shocking upset on Wednesday night. Corey Brewer added 19/8/5 and Thad Young provided 13/5 but it was the scoring of young Wiggins down the stretch that sealed the deal for Minnesota. Portland pulled to within four points with only a few minutes left in the fourth quarter, but the Canadian rookie dropped five quick points to stretch the lead back to nine. Damian Lillard had a game with 23/7/5 but the rest of his team—LaMarcus Aldridge in particular, who went just 3-14 from the field—struggled to find the cup. Wes Matthews was the only other Blazer to do any real damage offensively, finishing with 18 points on the night.
Mavericks (17-7) 112, Pelicans (10-11) 107
Anthony Davis is a machine. The Brow scored 31 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and swatted two blocks in a five-point loss to the Mavericks. The story for New Orleans thus far has been about Anthony Davis’ crazy stats and the rest of the team’s ineffectiveness, but the Pelicans looked better as a whole, at least on offense, for one night. Jrue Holiday had 30 points, 10 assists and 3 steals and Ryan Anderson posted 13 and 5. The Pels didn’t, however, play well enough to beat a Dallas team led by Monta Ellis (26 points, 5 assists) and Dirk Nowitzki (20 points, 6 rebounds). A night after he scored just two points, Ellis redeemed himself with the 26-point outburst including 13 in the game’s final four minutes and a half minutes. Anderson’s three-pointer with six seconds left to tie the game was off and the Mavs improved to 17-7. Chandler Parson and Devin Harris had nice games, scoring 20 apiece in winning fashion.
Spurs (16-6) 109, Knicks (4-20) 95
San Antonio was without Tony Parker (hamstring), Manu Ginobili (rest), Tim Duncan (rest) and Kawhi Leonard (hand) but it didn’t matter as the defending champs still balled out and notched a W against the Knicks. Marco Belinelli picked up the slack for the short-handed Spurs, scoring a season-high 22 points off the bench. Danny Green was the next highest with 13 of his own as seven players scored in double figures for SAS. Tim Hardaway Jr. continued to shoot well for New York and finished with 23 points on 9-18 from the field. The Knicks sorely missed Carmelo’s scoring ability, as the superstar was out with a knee injury.
Warriors (19-2) 105, Rockets (16-5) 93
It’s fun to be Golden State right now. Though the NBA might have banned their post-game “CoCo” festivities, the Warriors haven’t missed a beat on the court as Steph Curry (20 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds), Klay Thompson (21 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) and company remain untouchable. With the win over Houston, Steve Kerr became the first rookie head coach to win 19 of his first 21 games. He’s been the man since taking over for Mark Jackson, and with role players like Harrison Barnes (20 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals), Draymond Green (11 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals) and Marreese Speights (15 points, 8 rebounds), it’s easy to see why. Not only is GSW’s offense insanely good, they also boast the NBA’s best team defense. The Dubs went on an 11-0 run to close out the game, which had been close throughout. The Rockets are a very good team in their own right, but relied too heavily on James Harden last night. The Beard did a little of everything with 34 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Donatas Motiejuanas provided and Trevor Ariza each provided 18 points and 6 rebounds but Houston’s bench combined for just 5 points.
Nuggets (10-12) 102, Heat (10-12) 82
Kenneth Faried returned to the Nuggets’ lineup after missing two games with a back injury and played solid in his return with 13 points and 8 rebounds. Arron Afflalo had 16 and 4 and Wilson Chandler chipped in with 17 and 8 as Denver broke free in the third quarter and never looked back in a win against Miami. The Heat beat Phoenix on Tuesday night and clearly felt the effects of the back-to-back. Dwyane Wade scored only 10 points and Chris Bosh put up 14 but didn’t do anything else in the stats department.