Thunder 116, Lakers 101
Oklahoma City drained the life out of Staples Center in the first half on Friday night and then sent fans home early as they cruised past the Los Angeles Lakers and handed the home team their sixth consecutive loss in the process. The Thunder took control of the game midway through the second quarter as they closed out the first half on a 24-11 run.
Kevin Durant led the second quarter ambush by scoring 16 of his 42 points, while Kevin Martin came off the bench to add 10 points in the quarter. Oklahoma City (28-8) pushed the lead to 27 points in the second half with the easy win, locking the Thunder up with the Los Angeles Clippers for the best record in the NBA. As usual, Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 28 points in the loss.
Bulls 108, Knicks 101
The Chicago Bulls welcomed Carmelo Anthony back from his one-game suspension with their trademark stifling defense and then held on to beat the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Joakim Noah led the spirited defensive effort with a couple of steals and four blocks, as the Bulls held the Knicks to 36 first-half points. The game began to heat up in the second half along with Anthony, who scored 19 of his 39 points in a desperate late run by the Knicks. Trailing by 22 points at the start of the fourth quarter, New York rallied to within five points with 11 second remaining, but time ran out on the effort. Marco Belinelli made five of six free throws down the stretch to close out the win.
Chicago's win continued to bunch up the Eastern Conference standings, which now has five teams within three games of first place Miami.
Brooklyn locked up its fifth consecutive win by locking down Phoenix in the second half, holding their guests to just 26 points in the second half. Joe Johnson led Brooklyn with 19 points while MarShon Brooks added 17 points off the bench for the surging Nets. Jared Dudley scored 18 points for the Suns.
Point guard Jose Calderon score 10 points in the first quarter to jump start Toronto's win over Charlotte. The Raptors took a 29-16 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. Calderon finished with 15 points while Alan Anderson added 16 points off the bench. Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Atlanta rallied in the fourth quarter, outscoring Utah, 35-19, to end a four-game losing streak and beat the Jazz. Devin Harris scored 24 points for the Hawks with Josh Smith adding 15 points and 10 rebounds. Utah lost despite a strong effort from their front court with Al Jefferson scoring 23 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Paul Millsap also added 20 points and 13 rebounds in the loss.
Boston won their fifth consecutive game by taking down the Rockets at TD Garden. Paul Pierce paced the C's with 23 points while rookie Jared Sullinger added a boost of the bench with 14 points and 11 rebounds. James Harden scored 24 points for Houston, but also had six turnovers
A pair of three-pointers by Stephen Jackson and then Tony Parker in the final five seconds of the fourth quarter sent the Spurs and Grizzlies into overtime. Memphis held San Antonio to three points and picked up the win. Rudy Gay scored 23 points for the Grizz while Zach Randolph added 18 points and 10 rebounds. Parker finished the night with 30 points for the Spurs.
New Orleans won their fourth consecutive game and continued rolling since the return of Eric Gordon to the lineup. Gordon scored 16 points to complement Greivis Vasquez, who finished with 18 points and 13 assists. Luke Ridnour scored 20 points in the loss for Minnesota.
Detroit posted just their fourth road win of the season in Milwaukee as center Greg Monroe came up big with 26 points and 11 rebounds. The Pistons put the game away in the third quarter by outscoring the Bucks, 33-11, a rally that erased a halftime deficit.
Denver held down Cleveland in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback and secure their fourth consecutive win. Danilo Gallinari continued his strong play of late with 23 points for the Nuggets. The Cavs wasted another strong effort from Kyrie Irving, who finished the game with 28 points, seven assists and five steals.
Golden State held off a furious rally by Portland and a spectacular effort from rookie Damian Lillard (37 points) to beat the Blazers. Stephen Curry scored 22 points and dished out 12 assists to help combat the impact of Lillard. David Lee also added 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors.
Check out our team blog recaps at SBNation.com/NBA-Scores.