Game Night! ft. Portland @ LA Lakers

KOBE DROPS 40 ON THE TRAILBLAZERS; SAN ANTONIO PERISH IN OT WHILE THE KNICKS SUFFER 4TH DEFEAT ON THE BOUNCE

Kobe Bryant’s 40 point haul inspired a 111-107 success for the LA Lakers (27-29) as they hosted play-off rivals Portland (25-30), who suffered a seventh straight defeat. Dwight Howard contributed 19 points and 16 rebounds for the hosts while Nicolas Batum and J.J Hickson both had 22 point games for the Trail Blazers. In third, the visitors led 71-64 for the highest lead of the match as the Lakers‘ advantage never stretched beyond five points. Portland‘s last lead came at 103-102 with four minutes left although the teams were tied at 105 two minutes later. Steve Nash nailed a fadeaway jumper before Bryant sealed the win with 4/4 from the line in the final 13 seconds as Damon Lillard missed from long range. Bryant is adamant the Lakers will make the play-offs but they currently sit in NINTH in the standings.

STAT: This was the first time that Kobe Bryant had 40+ points in a single game this season and the Lakers won (5th occasion).

San Antonio (44-13) saw their winning streak come to an end as Golden State Warriors (32-23) prevailed 107-101 in overtime. The teams were evenly matched throughout and the visitors needed a late basket from Manu Ginobilli to force the extra period at 93. A triple from Spurs’ Danny Green (20p) cut the deficit to a single point in the final minute but the Warriors held on from the free throw line as Jarrett Jack took his tally to a season-high 30 points off the bench.

Oklahoma (40-15) bounced back from their defeat to Houston as they eased to a 127-111 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves (20-32) as Russell Westbrook posted a season-high 37 points. Thunder broke clear in the third quarter and became the second team to reach 40 wins for the season with conference rivals San Antonio being the first. Alexey Shved top scored with 19 points while Ricky Rubio (13p/5r/9a/5st) had a prominent night.

STAT: The Timberwolves had SEVEN players in double-figues while Westbrook and Kevin Durant (27p) combined for 64pts and 16 assists.

Toronto (23-33) inflcted a FOURTH straight defeat on the New York Knicks (32-20) with a 92-88 success on their home floor. Rudy Gay had nine points in the final four minutes on his way to 32 points, a total matched by Carmelo Anthony who sees his side slip to third in the Eastern conference. Indiana (34-21) took advantage of another Knicks loss by cruising past the Detroit Pistons (22-35) 114-88. The Pacers have now won 8 of their last 10 games and shot an impressive 71% from long range with all five starters plus Orlando Johnson in double figures.

Chicago Bulls (32-23) eased to a comfortable 105-75 win over the Charlotte Bobcats (13-42) as they attempt to lift themselves into the top four of the Eastern standings. Taj Gibson top scored with 17 points while Carlos Boozer had a 10p/10r double-double and Joakim Noah provided EIGHT assists to compliment a 13 point haul. Meanwhile, Washington (16-37) were forced to withstand a late fightback from the Denver Nuggets (34-22) to get the win. Ty Lawson had 27 points and 12 assists for the visitors who fell short attempting to overturn a SIXTEEN point deficit heading into the fourth as the Wizards were victorious 119-113.

STAT: Emeka Okafor (17p/13r), Bradley Beal (17p/12r) and John Wall (14p/10a) all had double-doubles for the Wizards as they halted the run of the Nuggets.

Boston Celtics (29-26) stormed away in the final quarter to collect a 113-88 win in Phoenix over the Suns (18-38). Jeff Green had a game-high 31 points for the Celtics in the absence of the rested Kevin Garnett while the hosts were led by a 19p/10a double-double from Goran Dragic. The Houston Rockets (31-26) continue to occup 8th spot in the Western conference following a 96-86 win against the Brooklyn Nets (33-23). The visitors outscored their opponents in every quarter and were led by 22 points each from Carlos Delfinho and James Harden.

Memphis (36-18) recored their sixth consecutive victory with an 88-82 win over Orlando Magic (15-40) with Marc Gasol (19p/13r) and Zach Randolph (16p/14r) contributing double-doubles for the Grizzlies. Dirk Nowitzki added 25 points to help Dallas (25-29) to a 104-100 win on the road against the New Orleans Hornets (19-37) while Atlanta (30-23) powered their way to a 122-108 victory over the Sacramento Kings (19-37).

CHECK-OUT Russell Westbrook in action for OKC as he goes to a season-high 37 points (NBA):

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Mini-Profile: Joakim Noah

Chicago's 2013 All-Star Joakim Noah

Chicago’s 2013 All-Star Joakim Noah

Next up in the Mini-Profile series is Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah who recently played in the NBA All-Star Game. 

Twitter: @JoakimNoah

Bio:

Age- 27 (25/02/85)

Position- Centre

Height- 6’11″

Nationality- French/American

Previous Teams- Chicago Bulls (2007-present)

Season Highs:

Points- 30 (v Detroit 07/12/12)

Rebounds- 23 (v Detroit 07/12/12)

Assists- 10 (v Boston 18/12/12 & v Washington 26/01/13)

Blocks- 6 (v LA Lakers 21/01/13)

20+ Points- 5 (Most recent v Philadelphia 21/12/12)

10+ Rebounds- 34 (Most recent v New Orleans 19/02/13)

Double-Doubles- 26 (Most notable  30pts, 23rbs v Detroit 07/12/12)

Triple-Doubles- 1 (v Boston 18/12/12)

Career Highs:

Points- 30 (v Detroit 07/12/12)

Points Per Game Average- 11.8 (Chicago Bulls 2012-13*)

Rebounds- 23 (v Detroit 07/12/12)

Assists- 10 (on three occasions)

Blocks- 8 (v Minnesota 25/01/09)

Honours:

NBA All-Star 2013

NBA All-Defensive Second Team 2011

9th Pick in 2007 NBA Draft

2011 EuroBasket Silver Medallist (France)

Did You Know:

Joakim Noah has never scored a 3-pointer in the NBA.

* as of 20th February after Bulls’ win over New Orleans

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):

Game Night! Lakers @ Boston

CELTICS CRUSH THE LAKERS IN THE GARDEN

Boston Celtics recorded an emphatic 116-95 victory against their main rivals LA Lakers. Paul Pierce top scored for the home side with 24 points whilst grabbing seven boards and providing six assists. Jeff Green added a further 19 points while Jason Terry and Kevin Garnett had 15 each. KG made NBA history by passing 25, 000 points and stands alone with his unique milestone (25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists and 1,500 steals). The Celtics (26-23) have now won six matches in a row and all of those victories have come since Rajon Rondo was ruled out for the season. LA welcomed back Dwight Howard (injury) and Metta World Peace (suspension) and they were led by a 27 point haul from Kobe Bryant. The Celtics had a dominant third quarter to break away and finished the game shooting 52% from the field while the Lakers only managed 41%.

In the other game in the NBA, Denver (32-18) secured a convincing 128-96 win at home to the Chicago Bulls. Will Chandler was on fire for the Nuggets; top scoring with 24 points on 8-9 FG shooting while Kenneth Faried’s 9-10 shooting from the field helped him to 21 points with Denver making an impressive 58% of their shots on the night. Marco Belinelli was absent for the Bulls (29-20) although Joakim Noah did return.

This is the moment when KG went to 25,000 points in the NBA.