Game Night! ft. Orlando @ Miami

NOT QUITE SWEET 16 FOR MIAMI BUT THEY GET THE WIN; LAKERS FIGHT BACK ON KOBE’S 42 WHILE THE KNICKS & SPURS SURVIVE WITHOUT LOSS OF KEY PLAYERS

Miami Heat (45-14) needed a late LeBron James basket to keep their win streak alive after scraping to a 97-96 victory at home to the Orlando Magic (17-45). James top scored with 26 points as a seemingly comfortable victory for Erik Spoelstra‘s side almost turned disastrous after a lax opening to the fourth quarter. Nikola Vucevic led the visitors with an incredible 25 points  and 21 rebounds in his second 20-20 game of the season (both against Miami) while Jameer Nelson added 14 assists to a 16 point haul.

Norris Cole nailed consecutive triples at the start of the second as Miami soon opened up a 55-40 advantage at half-time in complete control. The lead peaked at 19 points at the start of the third but Orlando rallied and hauled themselves to within three points heading into the fourth. Magic took the lead and held a 96-93 advantage with around 90 seconds remaining before Chris Bosh (17pts/10rbs) nailed a pair of free throws and Dwyane Wade (20pts) had a block to leave the game in the hands of the reigning MVP, who duly stepped up with the game winning drive to the hoop.

LA Lakers (31-31) battled back from 25 points down to defeat the New Orleans Hornets (21-41) 108-102 after a 42 point haul from Kobe Bryant. The visitors finished with a 20-0 run to bounce back from their defeat to the OKC Thunder the previous night despite finding themselves trailing 63-38 at one stage in the first half. Dwight Howard impressed with 20 points combined with 15 rebounds while Jodie Meeks stepped up off of the bench with 19 points. Meanwhile their rivals, the LA Clippers (44-19) enjoyed a 117-101 win at home to the Milwaukee Bucks (30-29) after Blake Griffin powered his way to a triple-double of 23 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high 11 assists.

STAT: Kobe tied his season-high points haul with his 5th 40+ performance of the campaign.

San Antonio (48-14) overturned a first half deficit to defeat the Chicago Bulls (34-27) 101-83 as the Spurs made it two wins out of two in the absence of Tony Parker.  Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 18 points, a feat that was matched by Tim Duncan who added 10 rebounds and five blocked shots to his stat-line. Marco Belinelli led the Bulls with a game-high 21 points while Joakim Noah pulled down 13 rebounds. Chicago led by as many as 14 in the first half but the visitors were unable to keep up with the hosts in the second and San Antonio steadily began to pull away with Tiago Splitter, Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills all contributing points in double figures.

New York (37-21) survived a third quarter blip to see off the Detroit Pistons (23-40) 87-77 as they coped without the missing Carmelo Anthony. Amar’e Stoudemire and JR Smith combined for 42 points off the bench while Ray Felton had a game-high 26 points. The hosts had led by ten points by the end of the third quarter with Jose Calderon the orchestrator before finishing with SIXTEEN assists. In another all-Eastern clash, Boston (23-27) used a strong fourth quarter to overcome the Indiana Pacers (38-23) 83-81 on the road. Kevin Garnett had an 18-10 double-double for the visitors whilst providing the game winning assist in the dying seconds for Jeff Green to clinch the victory.

Memphis (40-19) became the fifth team in the West to record 40 wins on the season after a hard-fought 91-85 success against the Portland Trail Blazers (28-32). Marc Gasol had a game-high 23 points along with 12 rebounds to lead the Grizzlies to their NINTH win in their last ten, in the absence of All-Star Zach RandolphDallas (27-33) kept their alive their previously fading play-off hopes with a 112-108 home win over the Houston Rockets (33-29) who will now be looking over their shoulder at the chasing pack. The Mavericks jumped out to an early advantage and survived a late surge from the Rockets, who were fueled by James Harden‘s 28 points and 9 assists.

STAT: League rookie, Damian Lillard scored 20+ points in a game for the 30th time this season.

Cleveland (21-40) were another team to fight back from a significant deficit as they defeated the Utah Jazz (32-29) 104-101 after Kyrie Irving led the way with 20 points and 10 assists. Toronto Raptors (24-38) enjoyed a comfortable 98-71 win against the Phoenix Suns (21-40) while the Brooklyn Nets (35-26) recovered from a slow start to impose a defensive stranglehold on the Charlotte Bobcats (13-48) to come away with a 98-78 win. Joe Johnson led the way with 22 points as the Nets outscored their opponents 56-25 in the second half.

STAT: It was only Irving‘s third double-double of the season for the Cavs.

Golden State (35-27) used a strong third quarter display as a platform for their 87-83 win against the Sacramento Kings (21-42) as Klay Thompson nailed a crucial 3-pointer late on to finish with 20 points.  Atlanta (34-26) survived a fourth quarter resistance from the Philadelphia 76ers (23-37) to win 107-96 after 27 points and 11 assists from Jeff Teague. Minnesota Timberwolves (21-37) were led by Derrick Williams (16pts/8rbs) and Ricky Rubio (15pts/11as/7rbs/6st) as they held on to an 87-82 home win against the Washington Wizards (19-40), who were led by John Wall‘s 19 points.

Check-out the amazing play of the day as Jamal Crawford provides the fancy alley-oop for Blake Griffin to jam home: (NBA)

Game Night ft. Miami @ NY Knicks

HEAT COMEBACK TIES FRANCHISE WIN STREAK; CLIPPERS FALL TO OKC & LAKERS EDGE PAST THE HAWKS

Miami Heat (43-14) equalled their franchise record of 14 straight wins after defeating the Knicks (35-21) 99-93 in New York after overturning a 16-point deficit. LeBron James continued to enhance his MVP credentials with 29 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists while Dwyane Wade had 20pts/8rbs/8as to help cancel out the 32 point haul from Carmelo Anthony. ‘Melo’ had 17 after the first although the Knicks trailed narrowly before streaking clear in the second with Jason Kidd nailing four triples to help the hosts into a 59-45 lead. Miami battled back in the third before tying the game following consecutive triples from LeBron in the final quarter. Wade put the visiting Heat ahead with four minutes to go and they held on to their advantage to deny the Knicks a third win over Miami this season.

In the second game of the SkySports double header, Oklahoma (43-16) survived a late fightback from the LA Clippers (43-19) to record a 108-104 victory.  Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 64 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists for the visitors while All-Star MVP Chris Paul had 26 points and 8 assists for the Clippers, who battled back from 19 points down after a foray of 3-pointers gave them the lead with 90 seconds to go before falling short.

San Antonio (47-14) reacted well to the loss of Tony Parker for around four weeks with a comprehensive 114-75 drubbing against the Detroit Pistons (23-39). LA Lakers (30-30) finally reached the .500 mark of a close fought 99-98 win at home to the Atlanta Hawks (33-25). Kobe Bryant top scored with a 34 point haul and scored a lay-up with nine seconds left to seal the win after the visiting Hawks  had battled back from 16 points down to lead in the final minute. Indiana Pacers (38-22) maintained second spot in the Eastern standings with a 97-92 home win against Chicago (34-26) as David West’s 31 points helped to down the Bulls.

STAR Performance: Tim Duncan had 16 points, 11 rebounds, provided six assists and blocked five shots.

Houston Rockets (33-28) recorded a convincing 136-103 win over the Dallas Mavericks (26-33) after a dominant third quarter powered them to success. Chandler Parsons had a career-high 32 points on 12-13 FG shooting including 6-7 three’s while James Harden and Jeremy Lin both added 21 points with 16 assists between them. Washington Wizards (19-39) enjoyed a 90-87 win at home to the 76ers (23-35) to inflict an eighth defeat in nine on Philadelphia.

Sacramento Kings (21-40) cruised to a 119-83 victory at home to the Charlotte Bobcats (13-46) after outscoring their opponents 43-19 in the third quarter. John Salmons led six Kings‘ scorers in double-figures with a 22 point haul as Sacramento look to lift themselves off of bottom spot in the Eastern standings. Memphis (39-19) have now won nine of their last ten after defeating Orlando (16-44) 108-82 with Tayshaun Prince leading an array of scorers with 14 points in the absence of Zach Randolph.

STAT: Marc Gasol dished out 11 assists for the first time in his career during the Grizzlies‘ win.

Check-out Kobe‘s high-flying dunk on his way to a 34 point haul against the Hawks.

Game Night! Golden State @ New York

CURRY HOTTER THAN EVER IN NY BUT KNICKS GET THE WIN WHILE THE MEMPHIS STREAK GROWS & TORONTO LOSE GROUND ON PLAY-OFFS

Stephen Curry had an amazing night in New York with a career-high 54 points on 11-13 3PT shooting but the Golden State Warriors (33-25) fell to a 109-105 loss against the Knicks (34-20). Away from the crazy performance from Curry, the hosts were led by Carmelo Anthony, who had 35 points and EIGHT assists while JR Smith added 26 points and Tyson Chandler grabbed a career-high 28 boards to go with 16 points.

The home side made the brighter start as Anthony had nine points in the opening quarter to give the Knicks a 27-18 advantage. Curry made four 3-pointers in a 15-5 run to fire the Warriors into the lead on his way to 23 points in the quarter as it became 58-55 at half-time. The two teams traded the lead throughout the third before Smith nailed a couple of cruical triples and the Knicks led 84-81 heading into the final quarter. Curry netted yet another three before a driving lay-up high off the glass took him past his previous career-high mark of 42 points. The 24 year-old put Golden State back ahead with two more three’s which saw him set the mark for the most points in an NBA game this season. ‘Melo’ responded with a score from downtown of his own before making a turnaround jumper in the final minute to seal the win and make it consecutive victories for the Knicks after a baron run.

STAT: Steph Curry becomes the first player in NBA history to score 50+ points with 10 or more 3-point shots made.

San Antonio Spurs (45-14) fell to a surprise defeat in overtime as the Phoenix Suns (20-39) came away with a 105-101 victory on the road. Jermaine O’Neal rolled back the years with a 22p/13r double-double while Tony Parker matched the game-high effort for the hosts.  After an even start, the home side began to take control and led by as many as ELEVEN points in the third quarter whilst still enjoying a 77-67 cushion heading into the fourth on a Kawhi Leonard trey. Phoenix rallied in the fourth and despite being down 99-95 with 11 seconds on the clock they managed to force overtime as Wes Johnson made the buzzer-beating three. In the extra period, the Suns edged the hosts 5-1 in a tight battle with Marcin Gortat and O’Neal making crucial baskets.

Memphis Grizzlies (38-18) made it EIGHT straight victories with a 90-84 success over the Dallas Mavericks (25-32) after Zach Randolph (22p/10r) and Marc Gasol (21p/12r) combined for 43 points and 22 rebounds. While his former side continued their winning streak, Rudy Gay’s Toronto Raptors (23-35) were beaten by a Kyrie Irving-less Cleveland Cavaliers (20-38) by 103-92. DeMar DeRozan had 34 points for the visitors who remain outside of the play-off frame while Dion Waiters stepped up with 26 points in the absence of the Cavs’ All-Star.

Oklahoma City Thunder (42-15) stormed to a 119-74 home win over the New Orleans Hornets (20-39) for their third straight to close in on the beaten Spurs. Russell Westbrook was a perfect 12/12 from the FT line on his way to a game-high 29 points while the visiting Hornets had one player, in Ryan Anderson, in double figures with 14 points. Ty Lawson produced a 30 point haul to inspire a 111-109 win for the Denver Nuggets (37-22) on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers (26-31). Andre Iguodala equalled his season-high mark of 29 points whilst taking his average number of assists to 10 in his last three games while Portland were led by improving rookie, Damian Lillard‘s 26 point effort. Al Horford produced a monster 34pts/15rbs double-double to carry the Atlanta Hawks (33-23) to a 102-91 win over the Utah Jazz (31-27) for their fourth straight success.

STAT: Kevin Durant added his third triple-double of the season and his career with 18 points, 11 rebounds and ten assists.

Sacramento Kings (20-39) powered their way past Orlando Magic (16-42) 125-101 after their heartbreak in Miami last night. John Salmons led the Kings with 21 points on 4-5 shooting from long range while Orlando were led by a career-high 23 points from Tobias Harris as they were unable to make it back-to-back wins. Monta Ellis hit the winner at the buzzer to steer the Milwaukee Bucks (28-28) to a 110-107 win on the road in Houston. James Harden led the Rockets (31-28) to a seemingly comfortable victory with 22 points after the home side had led by as many as SEVENTEEN while Omer Asik grabbed a career-high 22 boards to complement a 16 point haul.

Detroit Pistons (23-37) began their run of games on the road with a win after edging past the Washington Wizards (18-38) 96-95. The home side rallied late on as Trevor Ariza compiled a late 8-0 run before missing the chance to win the game in the dying seconds as his 22 point efforts were not enough to deny the Pistons. Brandon Knight had a career-high night with 32 points while Jose Calderon was dime short of a career-high himself after dishing out 18 assists.

Check-out Steph Curry in action on a career-high night at MSG: (NBA)

Game Night! ft. Milwaukee @ Brooklyn

JOHNSON COMES UP CLUTCH TWICE FOR THE NETS; SAN ANTONIO ROLL ON WHILE BOSTON FALL IN  DENVER

Joe Johnson forced overtime with a 3-pointer in the dying seconds then hit the game winner in the extra period to fire the Brooklyn Nets (32-22) to a 113-111 win over the Milwaukee Bucks (26-26). Johnson tallied 24 points, five rebounds and five assists with Brook Lopez and Deron Williams adding a further 19 each while Brandon Jennings produced a game-high 34 points for the visitors. The Nets looked in command during the first half and opened up a 61-51 advantage after two quarters before Milwaukee battled back in the third to take the lead after outscoring their opponents 30-19 during that period. The Bucks enjoyed their highest lead of the night at 92-87 before a tight finish ensued. Brooklyn edged ahead by a single point with 20 seconds on the clock only for Larry Sanders to wipe out the lead with a tip shot and Jennings then added two points from the line to make it 105-102. With the clock expiring Johnson fired in a three with 1.3 seconds to go to send the game beyond regulation. Keith Bogans tied the game at 111 with a triple for the Nets before Johnson sealed the game with a mid-range jumper with a second remaining.

San Antonio Spurs (43-12) made it four consecutive wins on the road with a 108-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings (19-36) inspired by a stellar display from Tony Parker. The French international finished with 30 points and also provided 11 assists for his team-mates with Danny Green (21) and Kawhi Leonard (15) the main beneficiaries while Tim Duncan narrowly missed out on a double-double with nine points and 14 boards. The Spurs raced out to a double digit lead early on after a Manu Ginobilli three made it 23-15 which became 28-19 after twelve. The next two quarters were shared in terms of scoring despite the visitors’ lead peaking at 14 points the gap remained at nine heading into the fourth. The Kings reduced their arrears to five points only for the Spurs to respond with a 7-0 burst to seemingly seal the game. However, Marcus Thornton netted EIGHT unanswered points in quick succession to make it a three-point game with less than a minute to play. San Antonio managed to hold on after Ginobilli added a free throw to follow a lay-up from Parker.

Toronto Raptors (22-26) continued their push for the play-offs with their FIFTH straight win after defeating the Washington Wizards (15-37) 96-88 in the capital. The first quarter was the main difference between the sides as the visitors opened up a 27-19 advantage with the next three played out evenly. Rudy Gay has been influential for the Raptors since his move from Memphis and top scored with 24 points, along with DeMar DeRozan, and dished out eight assists while the game-high honours went to Bradley Beal after his 25 point haul. Charlotte Bobcats (13-40) eased to a 105-92 win on the road against the Orlando Magic (15-38) in a game which pitted the two worst records in the Eastern conference.

Boston Celtics (28-25) were left to rue a poor third quarter as they were defeated 97-90 by the Denver Nuggets (34-21). Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari combined for 52 points while BBVA Rising Stars MVP Kenneth Faried dominated the glass with 16 rebounds.  Memphis (34-18) made it four wins in a row to remain fourth in the Western standings after a 105-91 victory against the Detroit Pistons (21-34). Chicago’s All-Stars combined to give the Bulls (31-22) a 96-87 win in New Orleans (19-35). Luol Deng top scored with 20 points while Joakim Noah had an impressive stat-line of 15 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

STAT: It was the 11th time this season that Joakim Noah has collected 15+ rebounds in a single game.

Utah Jazz (31-24) enjoyed a 115-101 triumph over the Golden State Warriors (30-23) despite a 29 point haul from Stephen Curry and in the final game Portland (25-29) fell to a 102-98 defeat at home to the Phoenix Suns (18-36). Goran Dragic had a career-high 18 assists as well as 16 points to inflict a sixth straight loss on the Trail Blazers, who were led by the trio of J.J Hickman, Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge who combined for 72 POINTS.

Check-out the heroics of Joe Johnson in Brooklyn with two clutch shots against the Bucks: (NBA)

Game Night! San Antonio @ Chicago

BACK-TO-BACK ROAD WINS FOR SPURS; BOSTON LOSE TO CHARLOTTE & CLIPPERS FINDING THEIR FORM AGAIN

San Antonio (41-12) made it back-to-back road wins with a 103-89 victory against the Chicago Bulls (30-21) to move two games clear of Oklahoma. Kawhi Leonard had a career-high 26 points as the Spurs were without Tony Parker, Manu Ginobilli and Tim Duncan but still managed to get the win.  Nate Robinson led the Bulls with 20 points and 7 assists with the home side out-rebounding their opponents 49-26 with 15 coming from Joakim Noah. Chicago enjoyed an early seven point lead but the Spurs came to life in the second quarter to establish a double-digit lead before powering to victory.

STAT: Chicago made just 2/12 from 3-point range while the visitors shot 50% as they made 8/16.

Boston‘s seven game win streak came to an end as they suffered a 94-91 defeat at home to the Charlotte Bobcats (12-39). Ramon Sessions nailed a late jumper to seal the victory with Byron Mullens producing a huge double-double of 25 points and 18 rebounds. Jeff Green led the Celtics (27-24) with 18 points off the bench while KG added a 16-13 double-double. The win is just Charlotte‘s 12th of the season having come close to beating the Lakers last week. Atlanta (28-22) remain ahead of Boston in the Eastern standings after a 105-101 victory on the road in Dallas. Josh Smith led the way for the Hawks with 26 points and 13 rebounds while Dirk Nowitzki had 24 for the Mavericks (22-29).

LA Clippers (37-17) shot an impressive 58% from the field as ‘Lob City’ turned in an impressive performance in Philadelphia. Chris Paul top scored with 20 points whilst dishing out 11 assists with Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford two beneficiaries as they both recorded 20 point games. Nick Young led the 76ers (22-28) with his second-best points tally of the season with 29. Minnesota (19-30) ended their losing streak of eight games with a 100-92 win on the road against Cleveland (16-36). Ricky Rubio reached double-figures in points for the third consecutive game for the first time this season whilst providing ten dimes.

STAT: This was CP3‘s first double-double since Jan.19th v Washington due to being out in recent weeks because of injury.

Indiana (31-21) suffered another overtime heart-break on their home court with Brooklyn (30-22) taking the win on this occasion; 89-94. Brook Lopez had 25 points for the Nets in the absence of Deron Williams while Reggie Evans pulled down an incredible 22 rebounds. Ryan Anderson led the Hornets (18-34) to a 105-86 win in Detroit (20-33) with his third 30+ point game of the season. New Orleans outscored the Pistons in every quarter on their way to a dominant win. The final game saw Washington (15-35) record their fourth straight win, beating Milwaukee (25-25) 102-90 with rookie Bradley Beal producing his NBA best points tally of 28 off the bench.

Watch Blake Griffin’s incredible left-handed slam amongst others as the Clippers turn it up in Philadelphia (NBA):