Dwight Howard faced off against the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time since rolling out to Houston to join the Rockets and felt the sting of a game-winner, the Miami Heat clamped down defensively on the Los Angeles Clippers and the Denver Nuggets found their way to the win column for the first time this season.
Here's a recap of an exciting night of NBA action.
Miami Heat 102, Los Angeles Clippers 97
Dwyane Wade scored 11 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter and the Miami Heat held on to a narrow 102-97 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. Wade has been dealing with knee issues for years and is already sitting out games to rest, but he was looking alright during this little number:
Miami's defense held the Clippers to 41 second-half points and rattled Chris Paul. Paul made just two of his seven second-half field goals, finishing the game with nine points, nine assists and five turnovers.
LeBron James finished the game with 18 points and six assists, but said he was dealing with lower back spasms through the game:
LeBron says he felt great to start the game, but his lower back locked up after a dive.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) November 8, 2013
Denver Nuggets 109, Atlanta Hawks 107
The Denver Nuggets squeaked out a 109-107 victory over the Atlanta Hawks and won their first game after starting the season 0-3. This was also Brian Shaw's first victory in the NBA as a head coach.
The Hawks had the ball down two with seven seconds left in the fourth quarter, Paul Millsap missed a 14-foot jumper, but Al Horford came up with the offensive rebound with 2.2 seconds left. Horford put up a quick shot and missed not only the shot, but a wide open Kyle Korver at the top of the arc:
Well, Korver coulda ended it... he was WIIIIIIDE OPEN, but Horford was in a scrambled hurry to shoot pic.twitter.com/FKSeKIKBpQ— Curtis Harris (@ProHoopsHistory) November 8, 2013
Millsap scored a game-high 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Ty Lawson led the Nuggets with 23 points and eight assists. Atlanta's defense struggled covering the three-point line, allowing Denver to make 14 of their 25 shots from beyond the arc.
Los Angeles Lakers 99, Houston Rockets 98
This game didn't have Kobe Bryant and it was based in Houston, away from where all the drama happened last season, but it delivered anyway.
Here's a run down:
1. The Lakers shot 78 percent from deep through the first half and hung 64 points on Houston
2. Surprise! The Lakers are the Lakers and they crashed back to earth through the second half, eventually giving up a 19-point lead with under four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Kudos to James Harden and his game-high 35 points and 14-of-16 free-throw shooting.
3. The Lakers went with the classic "Hack-a-Dwight" strategy and he went 5-of-16 from the line. He couldn't escape the Lakers' "lockdown" intentional foul defense. It played out like a game of two-hand touch:
Alas, perhaps they weren't trying to foul him at all?
What if they're not trying to foul Dwight but they just want to tickle him?— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) November 8, 2013
The Lakers wound up down two with possession of the ball and 3.4 seconds left on the clock. What will the Lakers do without Kobe Bryant to take the last shot? Run a play for Steve Blake, of course: