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)