Game Night! ft. NY Knicks @ OKC Thunder

Melo continues hot streak for Knicks while the Lakers faulter in play-off charge

Carmelo Anthony took his points total to 177 in his last four games with another 36 in New York’s 12th straight victory after beating OKC (56-21) 125-120. The Knicks 50-26) had a productive second quarter to inspire a 50th win this season with JR Smith netting some huge shots late on. Russell Westbrook had an impressive all-round performance for the Thunder with 37-11-8 although Oklahoma missed out on the chance to return to the top of the Western standings.

Knicks‘ centre Tyson Chandler (15pts) was delighted with the win:

“This was huge for us, it’s very hard to come into this building and get a win, I’m really proud of the way we kept fighting”

Serge Ibaka came out firing in the first quarter and had 9 points, 3 rebounds and 4 blocks after the opening 12 minutes as OKC opened up a slender 31-30 advantage. Chris Copeland came off the bench to score 11 points alongside Anthony in a dominant second quarter for the Knicks as they took control to lead 65-56 at the interval. OKC battled back and closed to within a point before Melo struck two triples late in the quarter and New York led 96-89 after three.

The hosts compiled a 13-4 burst in the final quarter capped by a Durant jumper as the Thunder took the lead at 105-104. Jason Kidd responded with his fourth 3-pointer of the game before soon after Westbrook took his tally to 30 points as OKC went up by one with 4:00 left. However, the visitors kept their streak alive with an 11-2 spell over the next three and a half minutes with Smith adding five points in quick succession before Melo sealed the win.

Anthony has now taken over as the leading scorer in the league with an average of 28.4 points per game

The Lakers (40-37) dropped outside of the play-off places after a 109-95 defeat against their LA rivals. CP3 (24pts/12as) and Blake Griffin (24pts/12rbs) both recorded double-doubles as the Clippers (51-26)completed a 4-0 sweep over the Lakers and won the Pacific Division title for the first time. Kobe Bryant did his best to lead his side to victory with 25 points and 10 assists while Dwight Howard matched his points haul in the absence of Steve Nash and Ron Artest.

Utah Jazz (41-37) capitalised on the Lakers’ defeat with a 97-90 win on the road against fellow play-off hopefuls, Golden State (44-33). Mo Williams led the way with 25 points while Steph Curry had 22 points for the Warriors as they missed out on a victory which would have secured their post-season spot. One team, in the West, already in the play-offs are Memphis and the Grizzlies (52-25) ground out a tough 89-87 on the road against Sacramento (27-50) after Marc Gasol (15p-10r) produced a late block to secure the win.

Dallas (38-39) kept alive their fading play-off hopes with a 97-91 victory against Portland (33-44), who launched a late fightback before falling short. The Mavericks were led by Chris Kaman’s double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds while Will Barton had a 22p-13r double-double for the Trail Blazers, who are already out of post-season contention following EIGHT straight defeats. Anthony Davis led the New Orleans Hornets (27-50) to a 95-92 win in Phoenix (23-54) with a 20 point haul.

Detroit (26-52) snapped an 18-game losing streak against the Chicago Bulls (42-34) with a 99-85 victory despite Carlos Boozer‘s 21p-10r double-double. The Bulls‘ defeat handed the Central Division title to the Indiana Pacers. Cleveland (24-52) used a strong final quarter to defeat Orlando Magic (19-59) 91-85 while the return of Paul Pierce inspired a 107-96 win for Boston (40-37) over the Washington Wizards (29-48).

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Game Night! ft. Chicago @ LA Lakers

LAKERS INTO 8TH SPOT; HEAT STREAK AT 18 AND THUNDER CLOSE IN ON SPURS

The Los Angeles Lakers (33-31) moved into the play-off positions courtesy of a 90-81 home win against the Chicago Bulls (35-28) to take their current win streak to three games. Kobe Bryant didn’t replicate the 40+ point performances in his last two outings but still led his side with 19 points and 9 assists while Dwight Howard had a big impact with 21 rebounds complementing 16 points. Chicago have now won just four of their last TEN and face pressure from Atlanta and Boston below them in the Eastern standings as they compete for home advantage. Joakim Noah led the Bulls in this defeat with an 18p/17r double-double although Nate Robinson took the scoring honours with an extra point.

OKC Thunder (47-16) moved to within a game of Western conference leaders, San Antonio, after recording their 5th win in a row after beating the Boston Celtics (34-28) 91-79 in the first game of the NBA double-header on Sky Sports in the UK. Kevin Durant top scored with 23 points as Oklahoma broke clear in the fourth to tie the series at 1-1 with the Celtics, who were led by Paul Pierce’s 20 points.

Miami Heat (47-14) took their franchise-record win streak to 18 games after comfortably defeating conference rivals Indiana Pacers (39-24) 105-90. Chalmers was ‘Super Mario’ for the night with a game-high 26 points with Chris Bosh (24p) and Dwyane Wade (23p/6st) adding valuable support while LeBron James chipped in with 13 points, six rebounds and SEVEN assists on a ‘quiet night’.

LA Clippers (45-20) powered past Detroit (23-42) in a 129-97 victory to reclaim third spot in the Western conference. The home side shot an impressive 62% from the field as Blake Griffin led the way with 22 points and Chris Paul had 20 points and dished out 14 assists. Jose Calderon top scored for the Pistons with an 18 point haul as the visitors fell to a fifth straight loss. Meanwhile Dallas (29-33) handed out a 100-77 beating on the Minnesota Timberwolves (21-39) on the road with Vince Carter leading the Mavericks with 22 points.

Milwaukee Bucks (32-29) maintained 8th spot in the East with a narrow 115-113 win on the road against the Sacramento Kings (22-43). The visitors survived a fourth quarter comeback from the Kings and Monta Ellis (29p) and Brandon Jennings sealed the win from the line. New Orleans (22-43) enjoyed a tense 98-96 win over the Portland Trail Blazers (29-33) with Ryan Andersen securing the victory late on with a three point play.

Despite the absences of Rudy Gay and Andrea Bargnani, the Toronto Raptors (25-39) came through against the Cleveland Cavaliers (21-42) 100-96 although they are 8.5 games behind the play-off spots. Amir Johnson was the star with 17 points and 16 rebounds while the Cavs were left worrying over the injury suffered by Kyrie Irving as he left the game in the third. Orlando Magic (18-46) inflcited a fifth straight loss on the Philadelphia 76ers (23-39) as Jameer Nelson starred with 24 points and 10 assists in the 99-91 home win.

Check-out this top dunk from DeAndre Jordan for the Clippers: (NBA)

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! 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):