NBA Scores And More: Blake Griffin, Clippers Wreck Miami Heat's Road Streak

Blake Griffin rampaged through the Heat as the Clippers earned a signature home win. In other action, Kobe Bryant took control to lead the Lakers to victory over the Warriors, the Knicks lost their defense in luggage claim and the Mavericks lost again.

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Heat Vs. Clippers: Blake Griffin, L.A. Ends Miami's Road Win Streak In A Shocker

Blake Griffin had his 24th consecutive double-double with 24 points and 14 rebounds as the L.A. Clippers shocked the Miami Heat (and the world) with a 111-105 win. The Heat had won 13 straight road games coming in, within striking distance of the NBA record of 16 straight road wins. But Griffin ended all that with his familiar rampaging style.

Of particular note, in terms of rampaging style, Griffin got into a heated argument with former Big 12 rival Mario Chalmers during crunch time, with Griffin earning a technical. On the next Clippers' possession, Griffin defended his honor and the honor of all of Los Angeles.

Griffin had help from running mate Eric Gordon (26 points on 8-15 shooting) and alley-oop distributor Baron Davis (20 points, nine assists). The Heat simply couldn't resist anything in the paint; we aren't used to seeing Miami's defense be sliced the way L.A., a mediocre offensive unit, managed to do it.

LeBron James scored 27 points, but needed 24 shots to get there. Dwyane Wade had 31 and Chris Bosh (who got to the line for 14 free throws) had 26. The rest of the Heat team shot 8-25 and contributed just 21 points.

The Heat face Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night, and that was expected to be the team's great road test as they reached for the road record. Alas, the completely overmatched Clippers prevented all that, and the Heat have moved back behind the Boston Celtics at the top of the Eastern Conference.

Clips Nation writes that this game announced the arrival of the new Clippers. For Heat analysis, check out Peninsula Is Mightier.


Knicks Vs. Jazz: Defense Takes The Night Off In Utah

The Utah Jazz denied the New York Knicks another road victory, beating the 'Bockers at their own game with a high-powered 131-125 win. The Jazz scored at least 30 points in each quarter, hit a stunning 58 percent from the field, and had seven players in double figures.

The Knicks' offense, of course, aced away too, with Amar'e Stoudemire posting 22 points on 5-11 shooting despite being limited to just 27 minutes due to foul trouble. His partners came up big too, with Shawne Williams offering 25 off the bench and each of Raymond Felton and Bill Walker presenting 23 points. But New York's defense was atrocious (per usual), and the foul-heavy affair came down in Utah's favor. The Jazz are, after all, familiar with foul-heavy affairs, and have been since Jerry Sloan took over back during the Cold War.

Both teams hit at least 10 three-pointers and 30 free throws. The only Utah player who shot more than one field goal attempt and shot under 50 percent from the floor was Deron Williams, who augmented his 5-13 night by shooting 13-15 from the line for 24 points. He also added 12 assists and seven rebounds. Newly American Andrei Kirilenko had his sharing hat too, as the forward had seven assists.

Posting And Toasting talks about the rampant foul trouble and describes New York's defense as "hare vomit." For Jazz analysis, head to SLC Dunk.


Magic Vs. Hornets: Dwight Howard's Technical Weighs Heavy In Orlando Overtime Loss

Chris Paul and Emeka Okafor helped lead the New Orleans Hornets past Dwight Howard's Orlando Magic 92-89 in overtime on Wednesday night; in particular, Paul, Okafor and Howard were involved in a single play that helped affect the game. Unfortunately, a referee was also involved.

Howard was called for a technical foul with two minutes, 20 seconds left in the game. "Dwight Howard should really not be barking at the officials in the closing minutes of a game," you say. But he was not barking. "Dwight Howard should really keep his elbows and fists to himself in the closing minutes of a game," you implore. But he was not swinging. John Hollinger explains:

After a missed shot ended with his arm tucked under Emeka Okafor's, Howard began to run upcourt and swung his arm to shake free of Okafor. It was a relatively innocuous play, but he was slapped with a tech by referee Steve Javie ... who was standing roughly 50 feet away at the time, while two officials much closer to the action declined to call anything.

"Steve said he swiped him across the belly," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Those guys had been tangled up all night. It was an interesting call, let's just say that."

There's currently no video evidence of the call; Howard has received reprieve from the league a few times already this season, and we could very well see another rescission on this technical foul. Of course, that doesn't help the fact that it cost the Magic a valuable point as Paul sunk the free throw.

As Orlando Pinstriped Post notes, Howard's teammates missed 50 shots; as such, the two critical free throws Dwight missed in overtime shouldn't take center stage in postgame evaluation. The Magic's nine-game winning streak was snapped with the loss, as Orlando missed a great opportunity to make up a game on the Chicago Bulls (who also lost).

At The Hive gives respect to Marcus Thornton, who scored 22 points in a game he wouldn't even have played in if not for Marco Belinelli's early ankle injury.


Bulls Vs. Bobcats: Charlotte Stay Hot As D.J. Augustin Outplays Derrick Rose

The Charlotte Bobcats just might have something magical going on under Paul Silas, as the team knocked off the excellent Chicago Bulls 96-91 at the Time Warner Arena on Wednesday night. The Bobcats are now 6-2 since Silas took over, with the losses a one-point defeat to the Golden State Warriors on New Year's Eve and a tight loss two weeks ago to the Miami Heat. Charlotte has now won four straight.

D.J. Augustin continued his wonderful play with 22 points and 12 assists, and Gerald Wallace returned for a protracted injury break to contribute 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Tyrus Thomas added 17 points and 13 rebounds off the bench against his former team.

About that former team: Chicago's shot defense was as good as usual, but the Bulls couldn't generate enough turnovers to make an imprint. As the Bulls' own offense struggled a bit, Charlotte was able to keep an edge late. Derrick Rose shot just 5-17 and committed four turnovers. Carlos Boozer (23 points, 14 rebounds) and Luol Deng (22 points on 8-12 shooting) were excellent, but the Bulls' bench was completely ineffectively.

The Bobcats have a big weekend test with games against the Celtics and Hornets.


Mavericks Vs. Pacers: Without Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Continues To Struggle

The Dallas Mavericks, still missing Dirk Nowitzki, have fallen again to an inferior foe. The Indiana Pacers busted out a 102-89 victory over the shackled Mavs, as Brandon Rush broke through with 20 points and rookie Paul George contributed 16 points in 18 minutes off the bench.

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle went with a different tact in this game, moving super sub Jason Terry back to the bench, DeShawn Stevenson from small forward back to two-guard, Shawn Marion from power forward to small forward and Alexis Ajinca from the end of the bench into the starting line-up alongside Tyson Chandler. Unfortunately, the lack of offense in that starting five (which also includes shot-phobic Jason Kidd) screamed out; it was particularly noticeable in the third quarter, where the Mavericks scored just 17 points.

Terry was actually no savior when he entered to provide the instant offense; he had 18 points, sure, but needed 20 shots to get there. None of Dallas' starters scored more than 13. Indiana is looking for the right piece to fit into the starting power forward slot. Tyler Hansbrough gets low marks for his first audition (six points on 2-6 shooting, three rebounds in 17 minutes), but he'll get plenty of chances.


Lakers Vs. Warriors: Kobe Bryant Commandeers L.A. To Tight Win

Kobe Bryant commandeered the L.A. Lakers to a 115-110 win over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, as the former MVP scored 39 points, 17 of which came in the contested fourth quarter. The Lakers trailed by six points to start the fourth quarter, and Phil Jackson had Kobe on the bench while Warriors coach Keith Smart kept his star, Monta Ellis, in the game for all 48. By the time Kobe entered the game with 6 minutes, 37 seconds left, the Lakers had taken a one-point lead.

Bryant would take five of the Lakers' final eight field goal attempts, and seven of the team's final 13 free throws to close it out. Luckily for L.A., he made most of them and Ellis, who had 38 on the night, didn't get the ball much in those final five minutes and change, hitting two of three shots.

Dorell Wright, who like Ellis played all 48, scored 27. Stephen Curry was a bit more modest, finishing with 15 points and 10 assists. The Lakers got big contributions from all their starters but Derek Fisher, with Pau Gasol handing out 24 points and 11 rebounds, Andrew Bynum offering up 11 points and 14 rebounds and honorary sixth starter Lamar Odom going with 20 points and nine rebounds. Ron Artest led the Lakers with seven assists.

In other action:

Hawks 104, Raptors 101: Mike Bibby is still dealing daggers in the year 2011; the aging point guard nailed a three-pointer with nine seconds left to finish the game for Atlanta. The more important play came a couple seconds earlier, as Amir Johnson was called for an illegal screen with the Raptors leading by two.

That's just a brutal call to make, but ... the call was made. Andrea Bargnani and Leandro Barbosa each scored 26; Joe Johnson scored 26 too, and Jamal Crawford had 36 points in 34 minutes off the bench.

Celtics 119, Kings 95: The Kings actually stuck around during the first half, a minor victory. Francisco Garcia had no shot stopping Paul Pierce, Shaquille O'Neal pushed DeMarcus Cousins out of the lane, leaving the 20-year-old rookie to take too many jumpers and the Celtics rolled in the third and beyond. It's worth noting that Cousins was a 1-year-old when Shaq's NBA career began. Also, Rajon Rondo loves to pull off these 12-foot lay-ups. They are his favorite shot.

Grizzlies 107, Pistons 99: Detroit is still not very good, and while the Grizzlies are more erratic than any team with a set rotation ought to be, Memphis got the job done here. Greg Monroe had 14 points and 11 rebounds, but Zach Randolph had 34 points and 17 rebounds. Rudy Gay added 26 on 10-13 shooting.

Spurs 91, Bucks 84: San Antonio's embattled defense came through in this game; it might, however, say more about the state of Milwaukee's offense. The Bucks have the second worst scoring attack in the league, and the Spurs did not let them score efficiently. Just 39.5 percent shooting for Milwaukee. The Spurs took 23 from Manu Ginobili and never looked back.

Thunder 118, Rockets 112: Houston remained shorthanded, missing Kevin Martin and Brad Miller. But the Rockets couldn't replicate their win over Boston as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook took care of business. Durant had 30, and Westbrook added 23 points and 13 assists. Potential All-Star Luis Scola had 31 points and 11 rebounds for the defeated.

Suns 118, Nets 109 (OT): Phoenix came back from a 15-point deficit in the fourth to earn the home win over the struggling Nets. Steve Nash had 23 points and 16 assists, and he attacked and attacked in overtime, making a whopping eight free throws in the extra frame. Those makes helped Nash pass Mark Price to become the greatest free throw shooter in the history of Western Civilization. During the comeback, the Suns went with four guards (Nash, Goran Dragic, Vince Carter, Jared Dudley) and Channing Frye, who desperately wishes he were a guard. Maybe they ought to just do that full-time.

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