The Indiana Pacers asserted their status as Eastern Conference elites on Wednesday night with a 97-80 win over the Chicago Bulls. Matched up against one of the league's best teams in a marquee, nationally televised game, Frank Vogel's squad delivered with a energetic performance to pull away for the win.
Trailing by six points at halftime, the Pacers routed the Bulls in the second half, 60-37, to turn the end of the game into an arena-wide celebration. Lance Stephenson, coming alive after a cold first half, helped power the turnaround with big plays like this dunk:
The Pacers are now the NBA's final remaining unbeaten team at 5-0. It's the first time the team has won its first five games since the 1970-71 season, when the team finished 58-26 before losing in the finals of the ABA's Western Division. A year later, Indiana would win its first of back-to-back ABA titles.
Wizards 116, 76ers 102
Washington gets its first win of the season after starting out red-hot with 39 points in the first quarter. The Sixers, slowly returning to reality after their hot start, couldn't rally this time around and drop their second consecutive contest. For the Wizards, this game was about the long ball, clearly:
FIVE THREES FOR JOHN WALL. I REPEAT, FIVE THREES FOR JOHN WALL— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) November 7, 2013
Wall (24 points, nine assists) finished the game 5-of-8 from beyond the arc as the Wiz nailed 18 three-pointers. Marcin Gortat also added 19 points and 12 rebounds, good for his second straight double-double in a Washington uniform.
Spencer Hawes had another big day for Philly, finishing with 23 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, while Evan Turner added 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Point guard Michael Carter-Williams finished with 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
Thunder 107, Mavericks 93
Questions about Russell Westbrook's health continue to be answered as the Oklahoma City point guard looked fantastic in Wednesday's win. In his second game back from spring knee surgery, Westbrook scored 22 points on 10-of-20 shooting as OKC improves to 3-1 this season.
The speed, the hops, yeah ... Russ is doing just fine:
Magic 98, Clippers 90
Orlando may be an up-and-coming squad, but Nikola Vucevic appears to have already arrived. The Magic big man scored his fifth career 20-20 game on Wednesday night, leading the team's upset win over L.A. with 30 points and 21 rebounds in 38 minutes.
Despite going up against a talented Clippers frontline featuring Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, who played a combined 84 minutes, Vucevic helped keep things even on the boards while leading the game in scoring. The Magic have now won three straight with the center averaging 20 points and 13.3 rebounds per game during the stretch.
Initially described as a knee injury, the Warriors are now reportedly saying Curry suffered a bone bruise in his left foot on the play. His status going forward is uncertain, but considering he returned to the game before it went final, Curry likely won't be out for long if he's sidelined.
With Curry contributing just five points, Klay Thompson took the scoring lead with 30 points on 11-of-21 shooting. He got lots of help from David Lee -- 22 points, 15 rebounds -- and Andre Iguodala, who finished with 20 points, six assists and three steals.
Bucks 109, Cavaliers 104
Despite being without Larry Sanders, Brandon Knight and Ersan Ilyasova due to injuries, Milwaukee improved to 2-2 with a win on Wednesday night. O.J. Mayo and Gary Neal combined to hit 10-of-12 attempts from beyond the arc as the Cavaliers struggled to find answers on the perimeter.
While Cleveland's own backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters totaled 50 points in the loss, Mayo and Neal narrowly topped the duo with 51 points. Toss in a big game from Zaza Pachulia, who recorded 14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in place of Sanders, and this was a nice night for Milwaukee.
It wasn't all bad for the Cavs, either, as rookie Anthony Bennett finally hit his first career field goal:
The top overall pick from this year's draft is now 1-for-20 from the field as an NBA player.
Bobcats 92, Raptors 90
Five games into the season, Charlotte is above .500 after knocking off Toronto. After blowing a double-digit lead early on Wednesday, the Bobcats regained the lead in the second half and didn't relinquish it, never trailing during the fourth quarter despite the close result.
Gerald Henderson led Charlotte with 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting, while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist missed just one of seven shot attempts en route to 14 points. The Raptors were led by Rudy Gay's 20-point, five-rebound performance as they drop to 2-3.
Spurs 99, Suns 96
A home game against Phoenix was supposed to be an easy one for San Antonio, but the Suns continue to challenge opponents early on this season. The Spurs needed a pair of buckets from Tony Parker in the final minute, including the go-ahead score with 31 seconds left, to avoid a rare loss at AT&T Center.
Parker had another solid game for San Antonio, recording 20 points and six assists in 31 minutes. He got help from Danny Green, who nailed 8-of-11 shots en route to 19 points and five rebounds in the win. Manu Ginobili stayed quiet with nine points and three assists, but this nifty pass to Patty Mills is a nice look:
Celtics 97, Jazz 87
Boston earns its first victory of the season by holding Utah to 1-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc. The Jazz, now 0-5 on the year, continue to struggle with inconsistency, something that can be seen quite easily from the team's quarter-by-quarter point totals: 26, 8, 28, 25.
Take away that second quarter and Utah actually played pretty well, but the Celtics were up 16 points at halftime and only expanded that lead by the fourth quarter. The Jazz rallied to cut the lead to single-digits, but Brandon Bass made some key shots down the stretch to put away the game.
Gordon Hayward was the real star Wednesday night despite the loss, finishing with 28 points on 12-of-20 shooting, nine rebounds and five assists. Enes Kanter also played well with 22 points and eight rebounds, but the team shot just 35 percent outside of those two players.
Bass led Boston with 20 points and four rebounds in the win. Jordan Crawford had just nine points, but nailed this fancy floater for two of them:
Pelicans 99, Grizzlies 84
New Orleans is a hard team to grasp, but on Wednesday everyone came together in Memphis. Facing a rugged, physical team in one of the least friendly arenas in basketball, the Pelicans delivered a balanced performance to get their second win of the season.
With Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans all scoring 16-plus points, this is really the first time all three guys played well together for New Orleans. Jrue Holiday didn't quite match those performances with 11 points and three assists, but the point guard matchup is the one place where Memphis had the advantage all night long.
Mike Conley did what he could to keep the Grizzlies in the game, scoring 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting, but no other Memphis player scored more than 11 points. With the Pelicans getting their whole slew of scorers involved, the Grizz couldn't match that on the other end of the floor.