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)

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Game Night! ft. Toronto @ Golden State

WARRIORS LATE SURGE HELPS THEM PAST THE RAPTORS & MIAMI SET FRANCHISE WIN STREAK RECORD

An incredible final quarter effort took the Golden State Warriors (34-27) to a 125-118 win against the Toronto Raptors (23-38) to further dent their opponent’s play-off hopes. David Lee (29pts/11rbs/5as), Stephen Curry (26pts/12as) and Klay Thompson (22pts) combined for 77 POINTS as the Warriors look to cement their play-off position. The home side had opened up a double digit lead during the first half but a third quarter blip allowed Toronto back in and the visitors outscored their opponents 36-21 to take a 90-83 advantage into the final quarter. Thompson contributed eight points in a 10-2 start to the fourth as the Warriors regained the lead. The Raptors tied the game on three occasions but a 9-0 spell from the home side proved decisive and Golden State maintained their advantage to record a 125-118 victory after a 42-28 quarter.

STAT: It was the 40th time this season that All-Star David Lee posted double figures in points and rebounds in a game.

Miami Heat (44-14) set a new franchise record after claiming their 15th straight win after defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves (20-37) 97-81 on the road. Dwyane Wade top scored with 32 points whilst providing 10 assists with LeBron James adding a 20p-10r double-double. Ricky Rubio was at the heart of several plays for the hosts, finishing with 14pts/8as/6st while Derrick Williams had 25 points and 10 rebounds in their sixth consecutive loss. Despite losing Carmelo Anthony to injury before half-time, the NY Knicks (36-21) battled back from a TWENTY-TWO point deficit to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers (20-40) 102-97. Amar’e Stoudemire matched his season high with 22 points while the game-high honours went to Marreese Speights with 23 having had 21 points at the half on 10-10 FG shooting.

STAT: It was the first time this season that Wade dished out 10 assists in a game.

Orlando Magic (17-44) picked up a 105-102 win in New Orleans (21-40) despite a 17p-15r double-double from Anthony Davis while the Portland Trail Blazers (28-31) powered their way to a 122-105 victory against the Charlotte Bobcats (13-47) in search for the play-offs. Denver (39-22) took their win streak to five games after easing past Atlanta (33-26) 122-104 while Milwaukee (30-28) needed overtime to beat the Utah Jazz (32-28) 109-108 with Monta Ellis scoring 34 points and Larry Sanders collecting 16 boards and six swats during the win.

Check-out Monta Ellis going ‘360’ to the hoop: (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! ft. Oklahoma @ Denver

OKC CRASH IN DENVER THRILLER; MIAMI MAKE IT 13 STRAIGHT NEW YORK, INDIANA, SAN ANTONIO & THE CLIPPERS ALL PICK UP WINS

Ty Lawson nailed the game-winner with 0.2 seconds left to give the Denver Nuggets (38-22) a deserved 105-103 win at home to the Oklahoma City Thunder (42-16). Wilson Chandler came off the bench to match his career-high points tally of 35 after making 6-7 from 3PT range but the game-high honour went to Russell Westbrook, who netted 12/17 free throws (the same amount Denver made as a team) on his way to 38 points.

The visitors made the better start but Denver closed the opening quarter with the last five points to only trail by 3 at 29-26. The Nuggets then took the lead with an 11-0 start to the second and although the lead had risen to as many as twelve during the quarter, they still enjoyed a commanding 56-47 advantage at half-time. Denver narrowly edged the third to take a 85-75 lead into the final quarter where OKC started their fightback. A 16-4 spell hauled the Thunder back as they tied the game at 91 to set up a tense finale. The visitors went up by 3 but they were tied again with under a minute left. Kevin Durant answered Chandlers’ lay-up to level at 103 before Lawson stepped up and drained the winner before the buzzer.

Miami Heat (42-14) took their win streak to THIRTEEN games after denying Memphis (38-19) a NINTH straight victory with a 98-91 success. LeBron James had a slow start before finishing with 18 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists while Dwyane Wade led the way with 22 points for the hosts. After snapping a four game losing streak, the NY Knicks (35-20) have now won their last three after beating the Washington Wizards (18-39) 96-88 on the road. Carmelo Anthony had a game-high 30 points for the visitors while the hosts were led by Bradley Beal’s career-high effort of 29 points. Indiana (37-22) remain in third despite having recorded more wins but they kept up the pressure with a 93-81 win in Toronto (23-36) to tie the season series with the Raptors at 2-2.

STAT: LeBron James has reached double figures in scoring for 475 consecutive games.

San Antonio Spurs (46-14) powered their way past the Sacramento Kings (20-40) with a 130-102 blow-out. The home side had no fewer than EIGHT players in double-figures with DeJuan Blair leading the way with 16 although the win was marred by the ankle injury sustained by Tony Parker. The LA Clippers (43-18) moved past OKC in the win column with a fourth straight victory, beating the Cavaliers (20-39) 105-89 in Cleveland. Jamal Crawford led the rout with 24 points while Blake Griffin (16pts/11rbs) and Chris Paul (11pts/15as) added double-doubles.

STAT: Manu Ginobilli dished out a career-high 15 assists for the Spurs including a through-the-legs dime to Blair.

Boston Celtics (31-27) recorded a 94-86 win over the Golden State Warriors (33-26) after restricitng Stephen Curry to just 25 points. The home side raced out of the blocks and were carried to victory by a 26 point haul from Paul Pierce to help Boston close on Chicago (33-25) in the race for the play-offs. Houston (32-28)needed a strong fourth quarter performance to overcome the Orlando Magic (16-43) 118-110 with James Harden contributing 24pts/7rbs/8as to inspire the Rockets‘ victory.

STAT: Steph Curry has now scored 107 points in his last three games with 21 made 3-pointers.

“I think he’s the best shooter in the league.” Boston head-coach Doc Rivers on Steph Curry.

Utah Jazz (32-27) eased to an emphatic 98-68 triumph against the Charlotte Bobcats (13-45) after a career-high night from Enes Kanter (23pts/22rbs) Phoenix Suns (21-39) were led by Goran Dragic’s 19 points on their way to a 92-87 home win against the Atlanta Hawks (33-24) while New Orleans Hornets (21-39) also enjoyed a home win after beating Detroit (23-38) 100-95. Dallas Mavericks (26-32) picked up an impressive 98-90 road win in Brooklyn (34-25) despite a 24 point performance from Deron Williams.

CHECK-OUT KD‘s incredible reverse lay-up against Denver (NBA):

Game Night! ft. Sacramento @ Miami

LEBRON AND WADE HAVE SEASON-HIGHS TO PROPEL MIAMI TO WIN IN DOUBLE OT; INDIANA MAKE IT FIVE STRAIGHT WHILE THE BULLS FALL BACK

Miami Heat (41-14) needed two periods of overtime to record their TWELFTH straight victory after beating the Sacramento Kings (19-39) 141-129 in a thriller.  LeBron James posted his first 40 point game of the season and dished out a career-high 16 assists with Dwayne Wade a grateful recipient on his way to a season-high 39 point haul while Ray Allen chipped in with 21 points on 5-10 shooting from beyond the arc. For the Kings, Marcus Thornton had a season-high 38 points off the bench with 8-12 from long range and DeMarcus Cousins added a 24p/15r double-double but couldn’t prevent a SIXTH consecutive defeat.

Miami trailed at the half and at the end of the third but a bright spell in the fourth gave them a 105-96 advantage with four minutes on the clock. Thornton made a trio of triples and a lay-in from Cousins with 8.5 seconds left was enough to take the game beyond regulation at 112. Thornton drained another shortly followed by a three from Isaiah Thomas to make it a one point game before LeBron split his free throw attempts and the game was extended further at 124. The reigning MVP took over in the double-overtime with 11 points to take him to 40 as the Heat outscored Sacramento 17-5 in the second period.

STAT:

Chicago (32-25) have now lost SEVEN of their last ten as they fell to a 101-98 defeat at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers (19-38). Carlos Boozer (27p) and Luol Deng (26p) led the hosts with a combined 53 points but a 25 point haul from Dion Waiters in the absence of Kyrie Irving carried the Cavs to the win. Meanwhile, the LA Clippers (41-18) powered past the Charlotte Bobcats (13-44) 106-84 as Blake Griffin led the way with a 24p while Chris Paul provided 13 assists.

STAT: It was the 24th time this season CP3 has dished out 10+ dimes in a game.

Indiana Pacers (36-21) maintained second spot in the Eastern conference with their FIFTH win in a row after seeing off the Golden State Warriors (33-24) 108-97 despite a 38 point haul from Stephen Curry. A strong third quarter (31-20) set the platform for the victory and the home side were led by 28 points from David West while Paul George and George Hill combining for a further 44. Brooklyn Nets (34-24) moved past New York Knicks in the win column with a 101-97 on the road in New Orleans despite some late resistance from the Hornets (20-38). Deron Williams had a big night with 33 points and EIGHT assists while Grievis Vasquez led the hosts in points, rebounds and assists with a 20-8-7 performance.

STAT: Deron Williams matched his season-high points tally he also recorded against OKC in early December.

Dirk Nowitzki had a huge 21p/20r double-double in vain for the Dallas Mavericks (25-31) as the Milwaukee Bucks (27-28) picked up the 95-90 win on the road. Monta Ellis had a game-high 22 points to keep the Bucks in the final play-off position ahead of the Toronto Raptors. Minnesota (20-34) had a strong second-half comeback to take their game with Phoenix into overtime but fell short as the Suns (19-39) came out with an 84-83 victory. Orlando Magic (16-41) recorded a surprise 98-84 win on the road in Philadelphia as the 76ers (22-33) suffered a sixth straight defeat.

STAT: Larry Sanders scored 10+ points for the sixth straight game for the first time this season whilst continuing to lead the league in blocks with an average of 3.16 a game.

The King amongst Kings: check-out LeBron’s season-high night against Sacramento: (NBA)