Point Guard Wars: This game between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers were close for the most part, until Chris Paul decided to go into God mode in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 of his total 29 points (and 11 assists) in the final two minutes to carry his team over the Nets. His fellow 2005 draft mate, Deron Williams, who was picked ahead of Chris Paul, had 18 points (6 of 16) and 9 assists. Brook Lopez added another 18 points on 9 of 14 shooting. If you were wondering where Blake Griffin was, he was kept inside Reggie Evan’s beard the entire time. Reggie completely removed any substantial impact that Blake was capable of, holding him to only 11 points on 11 shots and 7 boards.
Carnivorous Bears: The Marc Gasol-less Memphis Grizzlies had a 21 point lead on the Boston Celtics, early in the 4th quarter. But then weird things happened and the Celtics second unit erupted for a 21-4 run to cut the the deficit to 4. Unfortunately, for them, that was as close as would get as they drop their 4th straight, all without Kevin Garnett. Boston are now only 1.5 games ahead of Milwaukee and is clinging on to the 7th seed for dear life. Paul Pierce had a team-high 26 points (10 of 17) and 6 rebounds. Meanwhile, Jerryd Bayless of the Grizzlies came off the bench for 30 points on 11 of 20 shooting in the win.
Defense: When the Indiana Pacers play against the Chicago Bulls, things usually get really ugly and last night was not an exception. Both teams shot under 43 percent from the field, with the team shooting the best percentage coming out on top. Luol Deng had 20 points (7 of 14) and 7 rebounds in the Bulls’ win. Carlos Boozer added 18 points on 8 of 15 shooting and 10 boards. Indiana got little to no help from their bench, shooting a horrendous 39 percent as the team, with Paul George in the lead with 23 points (9 of 20) and 11 rebounds.
A Few Notes: In the absence of Ty Lawon (heel), the Denver Nuggets were still able to extend their winning streak to 15 in the near escape from the Sacramento Kings. Kenneth Faried led the way with 17 points (7 of 12) and 9 rebounds. His teammates were no slouches either, with everyone scoring at least two points for Denver. King’s DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points (10 of 16) and 15 boards in the losing effort.
Fantasy Shoutouts: Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Bobcats had a game-high 25 points (10 of 20) and 4 steals, in the one point loss to the Detroit Pistons. It was Charlie Villanueva who hits the game winning lay up with 15 seconds remaining. The Bobcats had two opportunities down the stretch to win it, but Kemba Walker’s jumper would fall short and Josh McRobert’s put back attempt on an offensive rebound would get blocked by Rodney Stuckey.
Carmelo Anthony went off for 28 points on 9 of 19 shooting and 8 boards in the second of the back to back games against the Toronto Raptors. J.R. Smith came off the bench for 25 points (9 of 16) and 5 rebounds in the 26 point victory over the league’s only team in Canada.
Stephen Curry found his shooting stroke again in this win over the Washington Wizards. He had 35 points on 13 of 18 shooting (6 of 10 from three) and 8 dimes. But like everything else in life, all good things would eventually come to an end, as the point guard rolls his ankle in the fourth quarter and never returned. However, it did help the Warriors, that John Wall would later get ejected in the same quarter after going nutzo on Klay Thompson with threats and stuff.