Post Up: KD Returns to OKC

by February 12, 2017
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Clippers 107 (33-21), Hornets 102 (24-30)

The Hornets’ swoon continues, as Steve Clifford’s squad has now dropped nine of their last 10. Nicolas Batum led all scorers with 25 points and Frank Kaminsky added 20, but Jamal Crawford and Blake Griffin (22 and 20 points, respectively) spurred the Clippers to a come-from-behind victory. L.A. received a highlight for the ages in this one, as Blake Griffin threw a monstrous jam over the recently acquired Miles Plumlee.

Bucks 116 (23-30), Pacers 100 (29-25)

The Bucks were without the recovering Khris Middleton (second night of a back-to-back set), using just a nine-man rotation against Indiana. Giannis Antetokounmpo came just two rebounds short of a triple-double, Malcolm Brogdon and Greg Monroe scored 17 each off the bench, and Thon Maker scored 12 points in his audition for a starting role. Let’s be real, though: this foul line dunk from the Greek Freak is the main takeaway from this game:

76ers 117 (20-34), Heat 109 (24-31)

Of course the 76ers would be the team to slow Miami’s momentum. Robert Covington, Nerlens Noel, and Dario Saric tallied 19 points apiece to snap the Heat’s 13-game winning streak; the third longest total in franchise history. Goran Dragic scored 30 and James Johnson added 26 in the disappointing loss. Following their improbable streak, the Heat are now just 1.5 games behind an eighth-seed; should Pat Riley and Miami’s front office go for it at the trade deadline?

Cavaliers 125 (37-16), Nuggets 109 (24-30)

The Joker kept on rolling (27 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks for Nikola Jokic) but Cleveland earned the W behind 27-point showings from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Kyle Korver and Channing Frye combined for 22 points off the bench, while Derrick Williams contributed seven points in his home debut with the Cavs. The Nuggets continue to miss Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari‘s presence in the lineup.

Warriors 130 (46-8), Thunder 114 (31-24)

The Thunder never cut their second half deficit to more than 12, but Kevin Durant‘s return to OKC made this one captivating TV. Durant, who had run-ins with Russell Westbrook and Andre Roberson, scored 34 points on 12-of-21 shooting, and was flanked by 26-point showings from Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.

Westbrook posted a 47-point performance (albeit with 11 turnovers), and Victor Oladipo added 20, but Billy Donovan’s squad now sits at .500 over their last 10 games. After his emotional return to OKC was over, Durant shared his thoughts on the experience.

Mavericks 112 (22-32), Magic 80 (20-36)

The Magic have found a new rock bottom, getting trounced by Wesley Matthews (20 points, six dimes) and the Mavericks in their fourth straight loss. Bismack Biyombo scored a team-high 15 points for Orlando, while Mario Hezonja played a season-high 35 minutes in Aaron Gordon‘s absence.

Rockets 133 (40-17), Suns 102 (17-38)

This result is to be expected when Houston plays one of the league’s worst defenses. James Harden went off for 40 points, including an 8-of-15 rate from downtown, and Patrick Beverley added 19 in the Rockets’ fourth straight W. Things got out of hand quickly for Phoenix; look where Harden pulled up on this one:

Celtics 112 (35-19), Jazz 104 (34-21)

Recently dubbed “easily the best point guard in the Eastern Conference” by Paul Pierce, Isaiah Thomas went off for 29 points with five assists, helping Boston improve to 9-1 over their last 10 games. Gordon Hayward led all scorers with 31 points and George Hill added 22, but the Jazz were unable to overcome a 58-44 first half deficit.