Rocket Fuel: Down 20 points early in the third quarter, the Houston Rocket fought back from a 15 turnover first half to take down the Minnesota Timberwolves on a 69 to 43 run in the second half. The run, powered by James Harden’s 37 points on 8 of 16 shooting (5 of 10 from three), 7 rebounds and 8 assists, had more than just one energy source. His back court partner, Jeremy Lin erupted for an additional 24 points (8 of 15), 8 dimes and 4 steals to complete the comeback. Minnesota still without Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, Andrei Kirilenko, had to rely on Derrick Williams’s 19 points (7 of 14), which as you could tell from the result, was not nearly enough.
Mamba-less Pack: Fueled by the courage displayed by Kobe Bryant in his 12 minutes of scoreless and meaningless play in the first quarter on a severely sprained ankle, the Lakers would rally to defeat the Indiana Pacers on the road. Dwight Howard had 20 points (7 of 17), 12 rebounds and a surprising even amount of contribution across the board from his teammates, who went off for 13 of 26 from the beyond the arc. Indiana was less fortunate, getting absolutely no help from anyone on offense besides George Hill and Paul George, who had 27 points (11 of 19) and 20 points on 20 shots respectively.
Wild Fire: The Miami Heat won again, which means they have now won 21 games in a row, making this the third longest winning streak in NBA history. LeBron James finished with 28 points on 12 of 24 shooting, 10 rebounds and 7 dimes. Chris Bosh went off for another 28 points (12 of 16) and 7 boards in the victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, who never really stood a chance, despite getting a 26 point (10 of 20) and 17 rebound effort from Ersan Ilyasova.
Tropical Storm: After leading by as much as 27 points in the game, the Oklahoma City Thunder would allow the Orlando Magic to crawl back within 4 points in the final 5 minutes. But that would be as close as the Magic would get as the Thunder would hold off the impending attack for their 7th straight win at home. Kevin Durant had 26 points on 8 of 15 shooting and 9 rebounds, including a few jumpers in the 4th quarter that put this game out of reach. Russell Westbrook added 23 points on 19 shots, 6 rebounds and 6 dimes. For Orlando, it was Jameer Nelson that carried the bulk of the offense, going for 26 points (10 of 22) and 7 assists.
Fantasy Shoutout: John Wall went off for 29 points on 12 of 15 shooting and 9 assists to lead his Washington Wizards to victory against the New Orleans Hornets.
Rudy Gay had 28 points (11 of 16) to tear up the visiting Charlotte Bobcats by 14 points in the Raptors’ win. The Cats did not have the greatest night shooting the ball, hitting only 33 percent of their shots compared to the Raps’ 49 from the field.
A Few Notes: Following their 42 point loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night, it was the Chicago Bulls, that did the stomping of their opponents on Friday, as they defeat the Golden State Warriors by 18 points. Luol Deng led the way with 26 points (9 of 16) and 6 boards. Carlos Boozer chipped in with 21 points (9 of 17), 9 rebounds and 5 assists. The Bulls held Stephen Curry to only 2 of 13 from the field and 0 of 5 from the three to snap the point guard’s 53 game streak with at least a three pointer made in each.
In the battle between the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies for the third seed in the West, it was youth and speed that came out on top. With this win, Denver extends their winning streak at home to 15 and 11 overall. This game also marks their 48th straight time in this season, where they have outscored their opponents in the paint, including the 50 to 36 point advantage they had on the Grizzlies. For the most part, this game was close, until Denver went on a scoring tear in the 4th, going off for 29 points, which works out to be exactly 15 points more than their opponents. Kosta Koufas, who has been great through out the entire winning streak, had 18 points (7 of 9) and a career-high 16 rebounds, while Zach Randolph of the Grizzlies went for 18 points (6 of 14) and 18 boards in the losing effort.