Breakthrough: The Memphis Grizzlies, without their giant cuddly Marc Gasol bear in the middle, witnessed the first player in this season to drop 40+ points on them since Westbrook in the 2011 playoffs. And that player was none other than John Wall, who answered every single critic with a career high 47 points on 13 of 22 shooting, 7 rebounds and 8 assists to power the injury riddled Wizards (missing 6 of their players) to their sixth straight win. Emeka Okafor contirbuted to the effort with 21 points (9 of 15) and 9 boards of his own, to take full advantage of the porous Grizzlies’s defense. Mike Conley scored a team-high 23 points on 7 of 14 shooting, and dished out 7 assists for Memphis.
Sting: The Denver Nuggets were just one win short of the most consecutive wins in franchise history (including ABA) and without Ty Lawson again last night, they would fail to complete the feat in the loss to the New Orleans Hornets. Down 21 at half, Denver could not get anything going offensively, shooting 38 percent from the field to comeback from the largest halftime deficit of the season. Danilo Gallinari had 24 points on 5 of 12 shooting (4 of 6 from three). The Hornets got a surprise contribution from 27 year old rookie, Brian Roberts, who stepped in place of the injured Greivis Vazquez (ankle) to deliver a career high 18 assists to go with his 13 points. Ryan Anderson added 23 points on 22 shots off the bench.
Flame Trails: While one streak falls, the other would cease to falter, as the Miami Heat captures their 27th straight win in the 14 point victory over the Orlando Magic. This wasn’t much of contest, aside from the 28 points both teams put up in the 1st quarter, the Heat outscored the Magic in every period for the rest of the game. LeBron James had another near triple double, going off for 24 points on 9 of 16 shooting, 9 boards and 11 dimes in the absence of Dwyane Wade. Jameer Nelson of the Magic exploded for a game-high 27 points (9 of 20) and 12 assists in the losing effort. Orlando have now lost 7 straight games.
Gear Shift: On Stephen Curry’s bum ankle, the Golden State Warriors held off a late Los Angeles Lakers charge in the W. The Lakers dug themselves into a hole early, allowing a 23 point lead to the Warriors at the half. Against the broken perimeter defense of the Lakers, the back court of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson had the time of their life, going for 25 points (9 of 24), 7 boards and 9 assists; and 22 points (8 of 18) respectively. David Lee chipped in with an additional 23 points (9 of 15) and 12 rebounds. But as the Lakers do nowadays, they would make a late push in the second half, scoring 63 points to only lose by a slightly more respectable 6 points. Kobe Bryant had 36 points (11 of 27) and 8 boards, while his fellow draft mate, Steve Nash went for 21 points on 19 shots, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.
A Few Notes: The shorthanded Indiana Pacers fought off the undermanned Atlanta Hawks in the win at home on Monday night. The Pacers had a 24 point lead in the opening minutes of the 4th quarter, but would draw a blank in the next 11 minutes, getting outscored 31 to 15, which was still not enough from the Hawks to overcome the deficit that they have put themselves in earlier. Josh Smith led all scorers with 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting, 4 assists and 4 steals.
The Utah Jazz held the Philadelphia 76ers to 39 percent shooting from the field in the win to finally snap their 4 game losing streak. The Jazz haven’t had much success since the trade deadline going 4-12 including this win, which puts them only one game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the 8th spot. I guess no one wants to go to the playoffs.