Warriors (12-2) 111, Magic (6-11) 96
The state of Florida has been good to Steph Curry over the past couple of days.
After dropping 40 points including eight threeballs against Miami on Tuesday night, he continued his long distance exhibition on Wednesday in Orlando, putting up 14 points in the first quarter including a perfect 4-4 from beyond the arc. He’s absolutely scorching right now, and one could certainly make the case that he’s the MVP of this young NBA season. The baby-faced assassin is averaging 24/7/5 and his Golden State Warriors sit atop the Pacific Division with a 12-2 record. Against the Magic, Curry would go on to finish with 28 points (6-8 on three-pointers), 8 assists and 5 rebounds in just three quarters of play. Teammates Harrison Barnes and Shaun Livingston came up big, as well; they posted 16/5 and 15/5 respectively as Golden State extended its win streak to seven games. Meanwhile, the Magic were hoping to turn things around after losing its most lopsided game of the season against Cleveland. They played fairly well offensively—Orlando boasted six players in double figures—but couldn’t get the job done on the other end of the floor. Tobias Harris had 16 and 10, Nikola Vucevic had yet another double double with 11 and 13, and Elfrid Payton scored 15 and dished 5 dimes off the bench in the loss.
Blazers (12-3) 105, Hornets (4-12) 97
LaMarcus Aldridge struggled from the field, shooting just 3-18, but the Blazers managed to scrape by the Hornets and are now 7-0 against Eastern Conference foes. Wesley Matthews picked up the slack offensively, scoring 28 points on 10-15 shooting to effectively break out of a pretty horrendous slump. Damian Lillard continued his stellar play with 22 points and 7 assists, while Robin Lopez held down the post on both ends with 15 points and 10 boards. Despite Aldridge’s inability to find the bottom of the net, he still managed to come up with 14 rebounds and help his team win its ninth consecutive game. Charlotte is heading in the opposite direction—they’ve now lost seven in a row. Al Jefferson (21/14), Kemba Walker (15/9) and Brian Roberts (24 points off the bench) were bright spots for the 4-12 Hornets.
Nets (6-8) 99, Sixers (0-15) 91
Philadelphia’s inching closer and closer to the record books. If the Sixers lose four more games, they’ll have fallen 19 times, surpassing the 2009-10 Nets with the worst start to a season, ever. This matchup was extremely close, as Brooklyn needed 10 fourth-quarter points from an unlikely source in Alan Anderson to stay in the game. Kevin Garnett (9 points, 9 rebounds) hit a jumper with 30 seconds left to extend his team’s lead to four and put the game out of reach. Joe Johnson (21 points), Brook Lopez (19 points, 7 rebounds) and Deron Williams (17 points, 10 assists) all pitched in to help the Nets escape. Tony Wroten (18 points, 10 assists) and Henry Sims (12 points, 9 rebounds) led the way for the lowly Sixers.
Cavaliers (7-7) 113, Wizards (9-5) 87
The last time these teams met, the Wizards won in convincing fashion—a 91-78 victory on national TV led by John Wall’s 28 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals. Wednesday night’s matchup was a different story altogether, with the Cavaliers leading from start to finish and getting back to .500 in the process. King James had a monster night, posting 29 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals. LeBron was aggressive from the jump and got to the cup with ease; he shot 17 total free throws including 8 in the first quarter alone. Cleveland moved the ball at a quicker pace than we’ve seen and played terrific help defense for its seventh win on the year. Kevin Love put up 21 points and 5 rebounds, Kyrie Irving added 18 points, 5 assists and 3 steals, and Dion Waiters had 15 points on 6-17 shooting to go along with 6 assists and 3 steals off the bench. Rasual Butler led the WizKids in scoring with 23 points on 9-15 shooting, and Paul pierce chipped in with 15. Wall was held to a season-low 6 points. Fellow backcourt mate Brad Beal struggled to find his jumper, finishing with just 10.
Mavericks (11-5) 109, Knicks (4-12) 102
JR Smith hit a jumper—hand in his face—with 0.9 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime, a period which the Mavericks controlled to eventually come out on top. Tyson Chandler dominated the boards, hauling in 25 of the Mavs’ 56 total rebounds. Chandler also added 17 points against his old team, while Dirk Nowitzki dropped 30 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and collected 3 steals. Jose Calderon had 21 and 10 for New York and Samuel Dalembert contributed 13 and 13, but the Knicks didn’t get enough production down the stretch.
Raptors (13-2) 126, Hawks (7-6) 115
It’s hot up in the 6, boy! T. Dot is on fire, winners of six straight—they’re the class of the East right now thanks in large part to a balanced offense. DeMar DeRozan, Lou Williams and Greivis Vasquez combined for 70 points, and seven Raptors scored in double figures as Toronto dismantled the Hawks by 11. Kyle Lowry scored 14 and handed out 13 assists and Jonas Valanciunas chipped in with 11 and 7. The Hawks got solid production out of Al Horford (23 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists), Jeff Teague (24 points, 12 assists), Kyle Korver (19 points) and Dennis Schroder (13 points, 6 assists), but they were simply unable to defend Toronto’s guards. The Raptors had their highest point total of the season and have now won 11 of their past 12. They’ll try to go for seven straight when they host the Mavs on Friday.
Clippers (9-5) 104, Pistons (3-12) 98
Chris Paul scored 23 points—14 coming in the third quarter— and delivered 7 assists as the Clippers edged the Pistons by six. Blake Griffin flirted with a triple-double, coming up with 15, 7 and 7, while Jamal Crawford shot 50 percent from the field for 25 points off the bench. DJ Augustin had 19 and 6, Andre Drummond posted 17 and 13, and Josh Smith finished with 17 and 6, but these numbers weren’t enough to eclipse the Clips. The Pistons drop to 3-12 on the year and will need something to change soon or else they’ll continue to exist at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
Rockets (12-3) 102, Kings (9-6) 89
Houston was without Dwight Howard (knee) and Patrick Beverley (hamstring), but thanks to James Harden’s 26 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds, the Rockets improved to 12-3 on the season. Isaiah Canaan (24 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and Donatas Motiejunas (21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals) were also huge for H-Town in the win. The Kings were coming off a decisive victory over New Orleans but couldn’t muster the same kind of energy they had the night before. Boogie Cousins was a downright beast, posting 29 points, 17 rebounds and 3 blocks, but the rest of his squad—apart from Omri Casspi (14 points, 7 rebounds)—failed to show up.
Bucks (9-7) 103, Timberwolves (3-10) 86
The Bucks have surprised many with their positive start to the season. Even though it came against the fledgling T-Wolves, Milwaukee’s ninth win of the season was still impressive because of the balanced attack on display. Brandon Knight, who’s having a career year, dropped 15 and snagged 3 steals. Meanwhile, Larry Sanders had 15 with 7 boards and 5 blocks, Jabari Parker posted 11 and 7, and the Greek Freak supplied 13, 8 and 4. While Andrew Wiggins (14 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) won the individual matchup, it was Jabari’s team that got the W.
Thunder (4-12) 97, Jazz (5-11) 82
Reggie Jackson has stepped up nicely in the role left behind by the injured Russell Westbrook. The young point guard scored 22 points and dished out 8 assists as OKC ended its six-game skid last night. Serge Ibaka added 20 and 8 and Jeremy Lamb had 21 to help overpower the Jazz, who were led by Gordon Hayward (24/8), Enes Kanter (16/7) and Derrick Favors (11/6). Russ and KD should return somewhat soon for the Thunder, who desperately need their two superstars back in the lineup. It’s one thing to take down the Jazz without those two, it’s a whole different animal to compete with the best teams in the West.
Spurs (10-4) 106, Pacers (6-9) 100
The Pacers were without their starting frontcourt of Roy Hibbert and David West, and as a result they lacked rim protection in a six-point loss at the hands of the defending champs. Meanwhile, the Spurs were without Coach Pop, who missed the game due to a “minor medical procedure.” Manu had an energy about him on Wednesday night, flying around the court en route to 28 points, 4 assists and 2 steals in only 26 minutes of play. Tony Parker (21/6/4), Kawhi Leonard (21/13) and Tim Duncan (17/6) all played starring roles in San Antonio’s 10th win of the season, as well. Rodney Stuckey led the Pacers in scoring with 22 points, but no one else provided much of anything besides Luis Scola. Indiana simply lacks the star power a team needs to compete with San Antonio.
Suns (10-6) 120, Nuggets (7-8) 112
This one was deadlocked at halftime, but the Suns came out of the halftime gate in a big way, surging ahead and handing the Nuggets their eighth L of the season. Phoenix was without leading scorer Isaiah Thomas, but no matter—a combined 41 from the starting backcourt of Bledsoe and Dragic, plus another 24 off the bench from Gerald Green, propelled the Suns to victory. Markieff Morris affected all facets of the game, finishing with a humongous statline of 15 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 blocks and 3 steals. Green torched the Nuggs in the fourth quarter with a series of three-balls and dunks. Despite Ty Lawson’s near triple-double (17 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds) and the combined play of Wilson Chandler (19 points, 7 rebounds) and Timofey Mozgov (18 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals), Denver couldn’t get over the hump and took the L.
Grizzlies (13-2) 99, Lakers (3-12) 93
The Grizz should’ve won by a lot more, but they got the job done, and that’s all that really matters. The League’s best frontcourt was on display as Marc Gasol and Z-Bo went for 19 points, 11 rebounds and 16 points, 9 boards respectively. Mike Conley is lowkey one of the best point guards in the L, as he consistently puts up solid numbers. Last night was no different, as the former Ohio State Buckeye dropped 19 points and 7 dimes. Kobe shot 5-15 from the field for 22 points, Jeremy Lin had 14 and 5, and Swaggy P came up with 13 off the bench in losing fashion. With the win, Memphis remains tied with Toronto for the best record in the NBA. It remains to be seen if they can keep up this kind of play and make a run at the title.