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! Toronto @ NY Knicks

KNICKS FALL FURTHER BEHIND MIAMI; SAN ANTONIO LEAVE IT LATE & BOSTON EDGE LOW-SCORING THRILLER

Toronto (21-32) continued their winning streak with a 92-88 success over the NY Knicks (32-18). Heading into the game, Rudy Gay and Carmelo Anthony were the form players for their respective sides but had a poor shooting night with Gay 4-21 for 11 points and ‘Melo’ 5-24 for 12. Instead the Raptors were led by Alan Anderson‘s 26 points from the bench while J.R Smith top scored for the Knicks with a game-high 28 points. New York jumped out to an early lead and had an 18-14 advantage despite a late three from Anderson before the gap reached double-digits following a trio of triples from Steve Novak. Anderson got the Raptors back on track with two more of his own and the deficit had been halved by half-time at 42-37. Yet another three from Anderson late on in the third gave Toronto a lead they would relinquish. The visitors began to pull away in the fourth but a trey from Anthony made it a one possession game only for Toronto to seal the win from the free throw line despite two late triples from Smith.

STAT: Anderson made 6/8 from 3-point range for a career best night from beyond the arc while DeMar DeRozan made 10/10 from the FT line.

San Antonio (42-12) snatched a 96-95 victory in Cleveland in the dying seconds as Kawhi Leonard fired in a 3-pointer to deny the Cavaliers (16-37). Tony Parker top scored with 24 points as the French international returned alongside fellow All-Star Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobilli. Cleveland opened up an 8-2 lead which became 22-21 at the end of the first before extending that advantage at the half to 54-46. The visiting Spurs tied the game with the first eight points when play resumed and took the lead at 62-60. The hosts responded and regained the lead before seeing a five point advantage wiped out in the closing stages. Dion Waiters went to 20 points with a late basket to make it 95-93 with ten seconds remaining before Leonard‘s winner.

Boston (28-24) defeated Chicago (30-22) 71-69 in a game where both teams shot a sub-standard 36% from the field. Brandon Bass top scored for the Celtics while Kevin Garnett added a 12-11 double-double and Joakim Noah had 16 rebounds for the visiting Bulls. Chicago outscored their opponents 13-8 in the third period to establish a six point advantage heading into the fourth. Bass started a 10-0 run for the Celtics, in the fourth, with consecutive baskets as the momentum swung in favour of the hosts. Monta Ellis had a 27 point haul to lead the Milwaukee Bucks (26-25) to a 94-92 win against the Philadelphia 76ers (22-29). Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson combined for 41 points in another close-fought game as the Utah Jazz (30-24) earned a 97-93 win on the road in Minnesota against the Timberwolves (19-31).

A blistering opening quarter powered the LA Clippers (38-17) to a 106-96 victory at home to the Houston Rockets (29-26). Blake Griffin had a double-double of 20 points and 11 boards and Chris Paul had 10 points and 11 assists against a Rockets side without James Harden. The hosts raced out of the blocks to open up an incredible 46-28 lead after the opening 12 minutes with Caron Butler scoring 17 of his 19 points in that period. The lead peaked at 23 points in the second as Jamal Crawford added eight points early on before Chauncey Billups fired in two 3-pointers. Houston salvaged some pride in the second half as they managed to outscore the Clippers 47-37 to cut the losing margin to ten points.

STAT: LA Clippers‘ 46 points in the first quarter was one short of their best total in a quarter (47).

Washington (15-36) saw their four game win-streak end in Detroit as the Pistons (21-33) won 96-85. Jose Calderon had a season-high 24 points including 6/9 3-pointers while Will Bynum added a 20 point haul to halt the Wizards‘ charge. Josh Smith inspired a dominant Atlanta Hawks (29-22) win with a 30 point haul in the 108-76 thrashing at Orlando Magic (15-37). Indiana (32-21) matched NY Knicks‘ win tally for the season with a 101-77 victory at home to the Charlotte Bobcats (12-40). Paul George recorded a triple-double with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists as the Pacers produced a strong finish to collect a comfortable finish.

STAT: It was the first time this season that George had double-figures in assists as he recorded a triple-double.

Brooklyn Nets (31-22) used a profitable third quarter to carry them to a 119-108 win against the Denver Nuggets (33-21). Despite the defeat, Ty Lawson had 26 points on 5-5 shooting from 3-point range with Joe Johnson and C.J Watson combining for 51 points in the Nets‘ victory. New Orleans (19-34) eased to a 99-63 triumph against the Portland Trail Blazers (25-28) with Anthony Davis posting a 21-11 double-double for the Hornets. In the final game, Dallas Mavericks (23-29) enjoyed a 123-100 win over the Sacramento Kings (19-35) as Vince Carter became the 26th all-time leading scorer in the NBA; passing Larry Bird with a 26 point haul.

STAT: Denver made 12/17 3-pointers (70.6%) while Brooklyn made 16/27 (59.7%)

Check-out Kawhi Leonard‘s game-winner in Cleveland for the Spurs: (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! San Antonio @ Detroit

SPURS & PACERS SEE THEIR STREAKS ENDS, MIAMI CRUSH CLIPPERS WHILE THE LAKERS ARE THE COMEBACK KINGS OF THE NIGHT

San Antonio (32-19) saw their ELEVEN match win streak end in Detroit (19-32) last night as the Pistons recorded a 119-108 victory. Tony Parker had 31 points and eight assists for the Spurs but it was Greg Monroe’s huge double-double of 26 points and 16 rebounds that helped get the victory for the hosts. Gregg Popovich opted not to play Manu Ginobilli once again while Tim Duncan remains sidelined and the Spurs found themselves trailing 65-52 at the half. The visitors launched a fightback in the final quarter to close within seven points but Brandon Knight had five points in quick succession to keep San Antonio at bay and seal the win.

Miami Heat (33-14) and the LA Lakers (24-27) recorded contrasting triumphs ahead of their anticipated clash on Sunday. Despite the return of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers (35-17) were comfortably beaten by the Heat 111-89. Lebron James had a game-high 30 points on 9-11 shooting from the field while Dwayne Wade added 20 in the absence of Chris Bosh and Ray Allen. The Lakers found themselves 20 points down before outscoring the Charlotte Bobcats (11-38) 31-15 in the final quarter to bounce back from their defeat to Boston. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 20 points, a total matched by Byron Mullens and Gerald Henderson, who both posted double-doubles for the hosts.

STATS: Lebron James posted his fourth consecutive 30+ points game for the first time this season while all of Kobe Bryant’s points came in the second half.

Oklahoma City Thunder (38-12) and the New York Knicks (32-16) kept up the pressure on San Antonio and Miami with victories tonight as they remain second in their respected conferences. Thunder powered in 72 POINTS in the second half on their way to a 127-96 win against Phoenix (17-34) with five players in double-figures including Kevin Durant, who led the way with 21 points. Carmelo Anthony’s 36 point haul helped the Knicks to a 100-94 victory in Minnesota (18-29) despite a third quarter wobble for their 13th road win of the season (Eastern conference high)

STAT: Jason Kidd provided his 12,000th assist during the game while the Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio dished out 11 dimes (third consecutive game w/ double figures in assists).

A 20-11 double-double from Marc Gasol helped the Memphis Grizzlies (31-18) to a 99-93 success against the Golden State Warriors (30-20) despite a 32 point haul from Steph Curry. The 24 year-old matched his season-high total he recorded earlier in the season against Sacramento, where he was on the losing team on that occasion too. Memphis remain fifth in the Western conference despite the recent trade of Rudy Gay to Toronto.

Gay showed Memphis what they’re missing with a clutch jumper in overtime to give the Raptors (18-32) a 100-98 win against Indiana (31-20). A frantic finish ensued in regulation time with Amir Johnson scoring twice in the final six seconds to tie the game at 90. David West had a game-high 30 points for the Pacers, who saw their FIFTEEN game win streak at home come to an end.

New Orleans (17-33) picked up a win on the road against Atlanta (27-22), winning 111-100 as they made it back-to-back victories. The Washington Wizards (14-35) made it three in a row with an 89-74 home win against the Brooklyn Nets (29-21) with Nene producing a 20 point, 11 rebound double-double. James Harden fired in 35 points and dished out 11 assists to give Houston (28-24) a 118-103 win against Portland (24-25), who were once again led by All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge (31p-6a).

Kyrie Irving (24-6-8) led the Cavaliers (16-34) in points, rebounds and assists to help Cleveland to a 119-108 victory over Orlando (14-36), who suffered a 12th straight defeat. The final game saw Chicago return to winning ways after a 93-89 success in Salt Lake City over Utah Jazz (28-23). Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 19 points while Luol Deng (15p-10r) and Jaokim Noah (12p-11r) adding double-doubles to counter Al Jefferson’s season-high 32 points and 13 rebounds.

Check-out Rudy Gay as he gets the game-winner in Indiana:

Game Night! Houston @ Miami

The featured match in tonight’s NBA action pitted the Houston Rockets against the high-flying Miami Heat.

Lebron James and Dwayne Wade fired Miami Heat (32-14) to a 114-108 victory at home to the Houston Rockets (27-24) with a combined 63 points. The dynamic duo also featured in the play of the game as Wade (31 points) found his team-mate with a full court alley-oop assist to James, who had 32 points. James Harden led all scorers with a 36 point haul with 17 of those coming in the final quarter as the Rockets fell short. Two important defensive plays from Miami kept their opponents at bay with Udonis Haslem drawing a charge before Wade produced a late block on a Harden three.

Miami‘s Eastern conference rivals, NY Knicks (31-16) fell to a defeat against the Washington Wizards (13-35), who picked up their second straight win. John Wall top scored for the hosts with 21 points including a top play after following up a rejection on Carmelo Anthony with the lay-up at the other end; spinning past Jason Kidd. Oklahoma improved to a 37-12 record in the West after a 119-98 win at home to the Golden State Warriors. Kevin Durant top scored with 25 points while Russell Westbrook added a further 22, a number which matches Thunder‘s victories at home this season.

LA Clippers ended their run of defeats with a 86-76 win on the road against Orlando despite the continued absence of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Eric Bledsoe came up good with a season-high 27 points to improve their mark to 35-16. Kevin Garnett put growing trade rumours behind him with a dominant performance helping the Celtics to a 99-95 win against the Toronto Raptors (17-32). KG had 27 points and 10 rebounds as Boston (25-23) improved to 5-0 in the absence of Rajon Rondo while Toronto fell to a second consecutive defeat despite a double-double (25p,12r) from Rudy Gay.

San Antonio (39-11) stretched their winning streak to ELEVEN games after a 104-94 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves (18-28). Tony Parker had 31 points including 9/9 from the FT line whilst dishing out eight assists. Gregg Popovich opted not to use Manu Ginobilli and Danny Green stepped up to the mark with a career-high 28 points on 8/12 shooting from downtown. Ricky Rubio dished out double-figures in assists (11) for the second game running while Nikola Pekovic top scored for the T’Wolves with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Indiana‘s winning streak stretched to five games with a win in Philadelphia against the 76ers (21-27). Roy Hibbert helped the Pacers (31-19) to an 88-69 success with 18 points as well as 14 rebounds as his side match the Knicks‘ win tally for the season. Dallas (21-28) picked up an important win in their play-off push; beating Portland (25-24) 105-99 with a 28 point haul from O.J Mayo leading the Mavericks to victory despite yet another double-double from LaMarcus Aldridge.

Brooklyn (29-20) bounced back from their defeat against the Lakers with a 93-90 victory at the Detroit Pistons. Brook Lopez again top scored for the Nets with 17 points as they inflicted a third straight defeat on their opponents. New Orleans got the win against Phoenix in a battle of the basement sides in the Western conference. The recently named Pelicans enjoyed a 93-84 success to move to a game behind the Suns and Sacramento Kings, who have a 17-33 W/L record.Other results included Utah‘s 100-86 victory against Milwaukee; Atlanta beating Memphis 103-92 and Cleveland easing past Charlotte 122-95 as Kyrie Iriving had 22 points.

Check out NBA’s video of Ricky Rubio’s dime through the legs of DeJuan Blair: