Pacers (31-40) 103, Wizards (40-32) 101
John Wall scored 17 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter — including a game-tying 3-pointer with 11 seconds left — but it was the visiting point guard who got the last laugh.
After Wall’s shot, George Hill blew past Martell Webster and Nene for the game-winning layup with 2.7 seconds remaining. It should’ve been Wall defending Hill on the final play of regulation, but Washington’s All-Star PG had 5 fouls and didn’t want to risk a potential absence in overtime. Hill has been on a tear as of late; he posted 29 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds last night, and he’s averaged 22 points over his last seven games. CJ Miles added 16 points, and Solomon Hill put up 13 and 6 in the win.
Bradley Beal left the game in the first half with a sprained right ankle. He wouldn’t return. To go along with his 34, Wall also finished with 6 assists and 2 steals. Marcin Gortat had 16 points, 7 boards and 2 blocks in the loss.
Clippers (47-25) 111, Knicks (14-58) 80
DeAndre Jordan (14 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks) shot a perfect 7-7 from the field, and the Clips easily dismantled the lowly Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.
OK, in reality, “shot” isn’t the right word for what Jordan did last night. It was mostly a dunk-a-thon for the talented big man, as evidenced by the video below. And, unsurprisingly, it was Chris Paul (11 points, 16 dimes, 4 steals) who found Jordan for many of those dazzling aerial assaults. Just what do you think you’re doing, Jason Smith?!
Despite what anyone had to say about the father-son dynamic when he first arrived to Los Angeles, Austin Rivers has been a nice fit off the bench for the Clippers. Rivers went off for 21 points on 9-10 shooting in 19 minutes, providing the kind of offense the team lacks when Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jamal Crawford is sidelined due to injury.
Cleanthony Early was the only bright spot for New York. The ex-Wichita State standout (how far will the Shockers go in the tournament?) dropped 18 points off the bench.
Bulls (44-29) 116, Raptors (42-30) 103
Jimmy Butler is starting to come into his own again after missing 11 games with a sprained left elbow. In his second game back, the All-Star shooting guard dropped 23 points and dished 5 dimes as the Bulls knocked off Toronto at Air Canada Centre.
The Bulls scored a whopping 39 points in the fourth quarter. Pau Gasol (18 points, 2 blocks), Aaron Brooks (16 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) and Tony Snell (17 points) were instrumental in the victory. Despite the loss, T. Dot clinched a playoff spot because of losses by Charlotte and Boston. Greivis Vasquez scored 22 points, DeMar DeRozan finished with 20, and Lou Williams went for 18. The Raps had no trouble scoring; they simply couldn’t defend Chicago whatsoever in the final period.
Cavaliers (47-26) 111, Grizzlies (50-22) 89
No doubt about it: the Cavs have been dominant recently.
The Big Three combined for 66 points, and Cleveland flexed its muscles on one of the West’s top squads. The Cavs ran away with the game in the third quarter, hitting 14 of 19 shots in the period. The Grizzlies’ usually stout defense didn’t show up Wednesday night, which gave the best player in the world ample room to do his thing. LeBron casually dropped 20, 8 and 5 including the monster two-handed jam seen below. Kevin Love’s 22 and 10 and Kyrie’s 24 rounded out the quality win.
Rockets (48-23) 95, Pelicans (37-34) 93
Wednesday night’s matchup between the Rockets and Pelicans was hyped as Dwight Howard’s return to the floor after missing 26 games. But the game’s real story turned out to be a familiar one: James Harden’s sensational play.
The Beard dropped 25 points and handed out 10 assists en route to a come-from-behind win over NOLA. Trevor Ariza had 22 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals and Donatas Motiejunas added 21 points, 8 boards and 2 steals. The Rockets fought back from 17 down to get the W over Anthony Davis and company. AD had a monster statline, per usual, with 24 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks, but he didn’t get enough help from the rest of his team down the stretch. Tyreke Evans did his part with 28 points, 7 assists and 2 steals. New Orleans had a chance to tie it up at the very end. Eric Gordon was intentionally fouled with 3.3 seconds left. He made the first and missed the second on purpose, but a game-tying putback wasn’t in the cards.
Dwight Howard shot 2-3 from the field for 4 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in his 16 minutes of playing time.
Trail Blazers (45-25) 92, Jazz (31-40) 89
Damian Lillard dazzled with 23 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds, and the Blazers narrowly escaped an upset. Lillard’s near-triple double, LaMarcus Aldridge’s 19 and 9 and Dorell Wright’s 15 and 5 propelled the Blazers to victory and ended a five-game losing streak.
The Blazers were down by double digits late, but Lillard kept attacking the basket to bring his team back into it and eventually get the W. Derrick Favors had 26 points and 13 boards, and Trey Burke finished with 22.
Lillard got up midway through the fourth quarter:
Nets (30-40) 91, Hornets (30-40) 88
Brook Lopez went crazy for 34 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals as the Nets squeaked by the Hornets. Brooklyn’s big man also deflected the inbounds pass that could have led to the game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation. Lopez has scored at least 26 in his past three games — he’s really been carrying BK as of late.
Deron Williams flirted with a triple double; he put up 10 points, 14 assists and 7 rebounds. Al Jefferson and Gerald Henderson each scored 23 points as the Hornets lost their 40th game of the season, matching the Nets’ number of losses.
Hawks (54-17) 95, Magic (22-51) 83
We all knew the Hawks’ losing ways would soon come to an end.
Orlando led for most of the game, but Atlanta crept back into it by moving the ball and finding the open man — the Hawks’ recipe for success all season long. Paul Millsap had 25 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks, Jeff Teague dropped 16 points and 9 dimes and ATL ended its three-game losing skid. Nikola Vucevic AKA the double-double machine had 16 points and 12 rebounds. Elfrid Payton almost triple doubled once again, finishing with 19 points, 9 boards and 7 assists.
Heat (33-38) 93, Celtics (31-40) 86
Miami was without Dwyane Wade, Hassan Whiteside and Chris Andersen on Wednesday night, so Goran Dragic decided to take matters into his own hands.
The newly acquired PG poured in 22 points, found teammates for 7 assists and pulled down 5 boards as the Heat beat Boston. Luol Deng contributed with 15 points and Udonis Haslem had a 12/12 double-double despite suffering from injuries to both ankles. The latter toughed it out because the Heat were already missing three key cogs. Jae Crowder led the way for the Celtics with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas returned to the court after missing eight games, but he only scored 4 points in 20 minutes. It’ll take some time for the potential Sixth Man of the Year to regain his rhythm.
Lakers (19-51) 101, Timberwolves (16-55) 99
Rookie Jordan Clarkson has been a pleasant surprise in the Lakers’ lost season. The young’n posted 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals as LA edged the T-Wolves in overtime. Clarkson also had six turnovers, but he sank two free throws with 0.3 seconds in OT to lift his team to victory. The clutch trip to the charity stripe came after Gorgui Dieng tied things up with a jumper.
Jeremy Lin balanced out the backcourt with 19 points and 5 dimes. Andrew Wiggins had a terrific game with 27 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. His rise to superstardom will be fun to watch. Zach LaVine had 18 points, 6 boards, 5 dimes. Chase Budinger had 22 points, 6 rebounds and one nasty throwdown:
Sixers (18-54) 99, Nuggets (27-45) 85
Nerlens Noel is a player. The former Kentucky Wildcat had 14 points, 15 rebounds, 4 blocks and 4 steals — a ridiculous statline — as the Sixers won against a fellow depressing NBA team in the Nuggets (Struggets?).
Robert Covington posted 25 points, 6 boards and 2 steals. Wilson Chandler had 16/11 and Ty Lawson had 19/6 as Denver dropped its 45th game of the year.
Lawson did Isaiah Canaan dirty:
Spurs (45-26) 130, Thunder (41-31) 91
The Spurs were 27-43 from the field in the first half, jumping out to an impressive start that never wavered. Tony Parker was a maestro; dude was just tremendous, putting up 21 points (10-14 shooting), 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and no turnovers. Ol’ reliable Tim Duncan put up 16 and 6.
Russell Westbrook had an “off night” with 16 points, 7 assists and 2 steals (weird calling that an off night, but compared to what he’s been doing, it’s true…). Enes Kanter has been solid for OKC since joining the team. He had 16 points and 10 boards in the loss. OKC is now 18-12 with Westbrook and without Kevin Durant on the floor.
Kings (26-45) 108, Suns (38-34) 99
Boogie had himself another huge game with 24 points, 11 boards and 2 steals and Sac-town took care of Phoenix. Seven Kings — including all 5 starters — reached double figures in the upset.
Brandon Knight missed the game with a sprained left ankle. Markieff Morris (24 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals) led the way for PHX. Eric Bledsoe and Marcus Morris each dropped 19 for the Suns. They’ll try to bounce back when they host Portland on Friday.