Bulls (12-7) 102, Hornets (4-15) 95
Coming off a double-overtime loss to the Mavericks, the Bulls were looking to rebound against a lowly Hornets squad. That’s exactly what they did, as Chicago’s frontcourt of Pau Gasol (19 points, 15 rebounds) and Joakim Noah (14 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists) dominated inside. Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler each added 15 points and 5 dimes while Nikola Mirotic chipped in with 11 points and 12 boards. Kirk Hinrich, who committed an all too costly end-of-game foul on Monta Ellis in Tuesday night’s loss to Dallas, redeemed himself with pivotal three-pointers down the stretch.
Charlotte did have its moments. Cody Zeller (12 points, 8 rebounds) threw down a ridiculous facial on Pau Gasol that has Slamadamonth written all over it. Later in the game, Kemba Walker (23 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) hit Mirotic with one of the quickest crossovers I’ve ever seen, effectively rearranging Mirotic’s ankles and sinking the subsequent three-pointer. Born Ready had a nice game, too—he dropped 20, 8 and 4 on 9-18 shooting. Al Jefferson scored below his average but was still productive with 13 to go along with 7 boards.
Wizards (12-5) 111, Lakers (5-14) 95
Kobe went full Mamba mode in the first quarter of this one, scoring 15 of his 20 first half points in the opening period. But Washington decided to place Paul Pierce on Bryant in the second half, which proved to be a valuable plan as Bryant missed all seven of his field-goal attempts in the second half. John Wall was a blur with the ball, per usual, driving and kicking and running the break with ease en route to 17 points and 15 assists. His buddy Brad Beal shot the ball tremendously, finishing with 27 and 7. Marcin Gortat continued to run the pick and roll beautifully alongside Wall, as the Polish Hammer posted 21 and 11. Pierce (14 points, 5 rebounds) and Rasual Butler (14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals) provided much-needed production from the small forward position. The Truth injured his big toe in the third quarter and is now listed day-to-day.
Kobe eventually went on to score 29 on 8-22 shooting. The story for Los Angeles was no different than any other loss this season; Bryant shot the ball—a lot—and for the most part got no help from teammates. Jeremy Lin put up another donut scoring-wise on 0-10 from the field. Nick Young dropped 21 points including five threes, but no one besides Swaggy P could figure it out offensively as the Lakers dropped their 14th game of the season.
Celtics (5-11) 109, Pistons (3-16) 102
Jeff Green dropped 32 points and 5 rebounds as the Celtics handed Detroit its 10th loss in a row. The Pistons fought back from an 11-point fourth quarter deficit to send the game to overtime but couldn’t finish the job despite a monster night from Andre Drummond, which consisted of 27 points, 14 boards, 5 blocks and 4 steals. Jared Sullinger put up 14 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals, while Kelly Olynyk was solid with 20 points, 7 boards and 2 steals of his own. Brandon Jennings went 0-11 from the field, scoring just a single point yet dishing out 12 assists. Josh Smith went for 12 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
Nets (8-9) 95, Spurs (13-5) 93
Danny Green (20 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals) hit six three-pointers including the game-tying longball with 2.4 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime. But the Nets regained control in overtime to beat the defending champions and earn their eighth win of the season. Mirza Teletovic led the way for BK with 26 points and 15 rebounds, but the play of Brook Lopez, Deron Williams and Bokan Bogdanovic were also crucial in the rare victory over San Antonio. The Spurs came out of the gate looking sloppy and out of sync against the Nets, who were without Kevin Garnett (by the way, have we seen the last of Duncan vs KG?). Tony Parker played limited minutes coming off an injury and struggled to find his shot. Kawhi Leonard shot just 4-16 from the field, managing 12 points and 13 boards. Manu Ginobili had 15 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists but missed a potential game-winning three in overtime.
Hawks (11-6) 112, Heat (9-9) 102
Atlanta shot 54 percent from the field against the Heat to come up with its sixth win in seven games. Jeff Teague is having a career year and had another stellar outing last night; the sixth-year point guard finished with 27 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in 34 minutes. Paul Millsap (14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists), Kyle Korver (18 points, 6 rebounds) and Dennis Schroder (16 points off the bench) all contributed mightily for the surging Hawks. The Heat are headed in the opposite direction, now losers of six of eight at home and 9-9 on the year. Erik Spoelstra inserted Josh McRoberts into the starting lineup in an attempt to shake things up a bit, but to no avail. A combined 74 points from Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers weren’t enough to dismantle Teague, Millsap and company.
Rockets (14-4) 105, Grizzlies (15-3) 96
In one of the night’s juicier matchups between two legitimate Western Conference contenders, James Harden (21 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) got the best of Memphis’ stingy defense to propel Howard-less Houston to victory. Trevor Ariza came up big with 16 points, 7 assists and 3 steals, Jason Terry had himself a throwback game with 16 points, 6 assists and 4 steals, and rookie Tarik Black had a double-double in his hometown. Mike Conley was the high scorer for the Grizz with 15, as Z-Bo and Marc Gasol were invisible on offense, combining for just 16 on the night.
Mavericks (15-5) 107, Bucks (10-10) 105
The 7-footer was given the night off against Milwaukee, but it was no issue for Dallas as Monta Ellis came up clutch for the second night in a row. After scoring 5 points in 4 seconds to send Tuesday night’s battle with Chicago to overtime—an eventual W for the Mavs—Ellis came up with more magic against the Bucks, hitting a game-winning, spin-move, fallaway jumper at the buzzer. That bucket was the icing on the cake for Monta’s 23-point, 7-assist, 3-steal performance, but his teammates got it done, as well. Tyson Chandler is quietly having one of his best years ever and kept up his play with 18 points and 20 rebounds; Chandler Parsons added 14 points and 8 boards. Brandon Knight has been the Bucks’ MVP and posted another terrific statline with 25 points, 6 boards and 5 assists. Meanwhile, Khris Middleton had 21 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals off the bench.
Sixers (1-17) 85, Timberwolves (4-13) 77
Rejoice, Philly. Your team is still really, really, really freaking awful, but at least you won’t go down in the record books. Michael Carter-Williams bordered on a triple double with 20 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals as the Sixers finally broke out of their 17-game slump, depression, abomination—whatever you wanna call it. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and KJ McDaniels each pitched in with 12 points and 9 rebounds and Robert Covington added 19.
For Minnesota, it’s a tough L to swallow. Gorgui Dieng put up big numbers with 15 points and 16 boards and Mo Williams posted 14 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds, but the time was simply right for Philly to get a win. The Sixers will host OKC on Friday—anyone smell a two-game win streak? Um, yeah, I’ll go ahead and say with certainty that it won’t happen now that KD and Russ are both back…
Raptors (15-4) 123, Jazz (5-14) 104
DeMar DeRozan’s injury is concerning for the Raptors to say the least, but after a small sample size of games without their star player, it looks as if Toronto might be able to weather the storm the rest of the season thanks to its well-rounded, high-powered offense. One thing is clear: Kyle Lowry is going to be shooting a lot more than normal. Last night, he went 13-22 from the field for a season-high 39 points, while Greivis Vasquez stepped up for 18/5/4 and Lou Williams provided 17 off the bench. Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter were forces in the paint, with 19/6/5 and 19/9 respectively for Utah in the loss. Trey Burke dropped 15 points and 5 dimes.
Clippers (13-5) 114, Magic (7-14) 86
This one was a blowout from start to finish—the Clips obliterated the injury ridden Magic thanks to Lob City’s trusty duo of Chris Paul (19 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds) and Blake Griffin (21 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists). Blake and CP3 sat out the entire fourth quarter, which tells you about as much as you need to know. JJ Redick, DeAndre Jordan and Matt Barnes all played significant roles in L.A.’s 13th win of the season, while Tobias Harris (16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals) was Orlando’s only real factor.