Gold Rush: The Denver Nuggets dominated the paint in the win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, outscoring the Western Conference Champions 72 to 50. It was an unusual night for the Thunder as the third best 3 point shooting team in the NBA go 4 of 25 (16 percent) from beyond the arc. Kevin Durant led the way with 34 points (10 of 23), 7 rebounds and 5 assists. His partner, Russell Westbrook had 25 points on 10 of 21 shooting and 6 dimes in the loss. For Denver, it was Ty Lawson that comes up big again, going off for 25 points on 8 of 13 shooting. The first half of his season might not have been pretty, but he is blooming at the right time for the Nuggets. On his 37th birthday, Andre Miller did not break a knee, he instead came off the bench for 20 points (6 of 11), 7 boards and 9 assists. Fun fact, Denver, including this win, have now won season series with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, and Los Angeles Clippers. Of course this doesn’t mean anything in the playoffs, but you never know. They might just be primed for a deep run if they can get home court before the end of the regular season.
Retina Damage: In this display of how not to play basketball, well, at least fun basketball, the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic began the game with a combined 26 field goal percentage and held each other to 19 and 12 points respectively in the first quarter. From then on things would get worst, mostly for the Magic, as they finish with a point total of 73 points on 32 percent shooting and had only two players in double figures. Indiana out-rebounded Orlando by 21 for the 22 point win. Paul George had a game-high 19 points (7 of 14) and 5 boards.
California Love: The Sacramento Kings outscored the Los Angeles Clippers 38 to 18 in the final quarter to comeback for the win at home. Marcus Thornton came off the bench for 25 points on 7 of 14 shooting. DeMarcus Cousins chipped in for 17 points (6 of 10) and 11 rebounds. With this loss, the Clippers drop from the 3rd in the West to fifth, giving way to the Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets in the battle for home court advantage. Blake Griffin had 26 points (11 of 14) and 5 boards.
Fear the Deer: Back court duo of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings have picked up their play since the signing of J.J. Redick and the results don’t lie. Ever since they acquired the former Duke product, the Milwaukee Bucks have only lost 5 games of their last 13, while they were 26-27 prior to the signing. Monta Ellis did a little bit of everything last night, going for 21 points (8 of 18), 9 boards, 8 dimes, 3 steals, and 3 blocks. Brandon Jennings added 24 points on 20 shots and 7 assists in the win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Despite hitting 13 threes at 50 percent, the Blazers just could get any contribution from other players not named LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews. Matthews led all scorers with 28 points on 10 of 20 shooting (7 of 11 from three). LaMarcus Aldridge (21 points 15 boards) joins David Lee and LeBron James as one of the three players with five straight 20 point, 10 rebound games this year.