SPURS STAY TOP OF THE WEST; KNICKS MAULED ON MELO’S RETURN & THE SIXERS END LOSING RUN
San Antonio (49-15) remained in top spot in the Western conference after a strong second quarter spell lifted them to a 105-93 over Oklahoma City Thunder (47-17). Tiago Splitter had 21 points on 9-11 from the field whilst grabbing 10 boards with Kawhi Leonard (17p) and Danny Green (16p) adding valuable contributions. Kevin Durant had a game-high 26 points for the Thunder while Russell Westbrook had 25 despite putting up 14 extra shots.
A 16-2 run had put the visitors in control early on as they led 32-22 at the end of the first. The advantage peaked at 13 points and Gregg Popovich soon called a time-out with his side down 40-29 and the game changed. The Spurs compiled a 20-4 run to take the lead with Green nailing two triples and Leonard adding nine points including a spectacular play to give the home side a 53-46 advantage at the break.
Westbrook had 11 second half points which helped bring OKC within a single point on the back of a 9-1 run but the Spurs regained the control and didn’t let their opponents get close again for the rest of the game. Manu Ginobili finished the third with five points as the Western leaders took an 83-74 advantage into the final period. The game was effectively sealed at the start of the fourth as the Spurs went 9-0 in the first three minutes. Green netted another triple late on to finish 4-4 from 3-PT range.
Golden State (36-29) inflicted a painful 92-63 loss on the New York Knicks (38-23) after another strong showing from Steph Curry. The Warriors guard had 26 points in the victory while Klay Thompson added 23 as the duo went 10-17 from downtown with David Lee adding 21 points, ten rebounds and EIGHT assists. Carmelo Anthony added 14 points and 10 rebounds on his return but the Knicks were restricted to just 27% shooting from the field. Utah Jazz (33-31) eased to a 103-90 win over the Detroit Pistons (23-43) despite a third quarter scare as they moved back level with the Lakers in 8th spot in the West.
Denver (43-22) claimed their NINTH straight win after beating the Phoenix Suns (22-42) 108-93 on the road with Kosta Koufos leading the way with a 22-10 double-double. The game was evenly poised before the Nuggets stormed clear in the final quarter. Philadelphia 76ers (24-39) ended their losing streak with a 106-97 home win against the Brooklyn Nets (37-27) as Spencer Hawes (24p/10r) and Jrue Holiday (15p/11a) starred with double-doubles.
The night was a momentous one for Deron Williams as he completed an NBA milestone:
— Buzzer Beater (@Buzzer_BeaterUK) March 12, 2013
Here’s the top play of the day featuring Kawhi Leonard (NBA):