Dwyane Wade scored 32 points, LeBron James added 24 and the Miami Heat rallied from down eight midway through the fourth quarter to top the Indiana Pacers, 97-94, on Wednesday night. The victory evens the season series between the two Eastern Conference favorites after a pair of games.
Despite being without defensive anchor Roy Hibbert for much of the game due to foul trouble, the Pacers mostly kept their opponent at bay in building a six-point lead. However, with Hibbert back in the game, the team failed to hit a field goal in the final three-plus minutes as the Heat came back for the big win.
Wade and James, as usual, were fantastic for Miami. Wade scored 24-plus points for the third straight game, hitting 15-of-25 shots from the field, while James added nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals in a typically well-rounded effort. Chris Bosh also recorded 15 points and eight rebounds in the win.
Paul George led the way for Indiana with 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists, but missed his final three shot attempts as Miami executed its comeback. After missing a last-gasp three-pointer and watching the clock run out, the Pacers' star wing didn't look too thrilled:
It took two overtimes and an incredibly sloppy performance by one of the league's worst squads, but the Knicks won for the third time in five games on Wednesday.
Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani shot a combined 21-of-68 (31 percent) in this one, taking high-usage inefficiency to a level rarely seen in victory. Those guys just kept chucking it up -- Smith took 17(!) threes, made five of 'em -- and enough fell to get the win.
Nothing Smith did in this one compares to Bargnani's gaffe in the first overtime, though. When the Knicks had a chance to put this thing away in the final seconds of that initial OT period, Bargnani went all gunslinger on his teammates. You see, he's a shooter's shooter, and that means launching up ill-advised jumpers -- even when you could totally get two free throws just by standing there:
Like the millions watching from home, the Knicks' bench was, well, confused:
John Henson hit a basket in the waning seconds, forcing the second overtime. The lesson? Even when the Knicks win, it needs to be weird.
Dwight Howard, James Harden and Chandler Parsons each topped 19 points as Chicago played very un-Chicago-like defense in this one. I imagine Tom Thibodeau is having a very, very unhappy breakfast right now, watching replays of Carlos Boozer shame the entire concept of rim protection.
The Bulls simply looked bad Wednesday. Houston pounded the ball to the rim at will, holding a 66-40 advantage on points in the paint. For a team that typically likes to try and control the area around the rim, this was all pretty discouraging.
Sacramento actually led this one after three quarters, but Atlanta turned the final 12 minutes into a 39-20 rout. If you couldn't tell, the Kings weren't playing much defense. Kyle Korver nailed 8-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc, consistently making Sacramento pay for poor rotations and weak close-outs.
You could see early on that this would be one of those nights for Korver:
With Korver leading the way, Atlanta shot 58 percent from the floor. This led to assists galore for the team's point guards -- Jeff Teague and Shelvin Mack ended up with 21 dishes in their combined 48 minutes. Meanwhile, Al Horford added the gravy with 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four blocks.
Dominating the boards and hitting three-pointers is usually a good formula for success. On Wednesday, Washington followed that plan to perfection, going 12-of-20 from beyond the arc while holding a 51-31 advantage in rebounding. All things considered, it's not too surprising the Wizards nabbed their fifth road victory of the season.
After dropping 130 points Monday on the 76ers, the Nets continued their solid offensive play against Washington, but couldn't match that effort on the other end. The Wizards often simply out-worked their opponents, grabbing 19 offensive rebounds and converting those opportunities into baskets.
Seven different Wizards scored double-figures in this one, led by John Wall with 21 points. Wall, Trevor Ariza and Bradley Beal each hit three from beyond the arc. It's just hard to defend this backcourt sometimes:
The Nets got 27 points off the bench from Paul Pierce -- easily his best game in weeks -- but it wasn't enough.
After trailing by 16 in the third quarter, this stands as a pretty nice win for Charlotte. Playing on the road in the second leg of a back-to-back, fatigue could've caught up with the Bobcats in the extra period, but Kemba Walker hit a fading game-winning shot as time expired to avoid a second overtime.
After DeMar DeRozan tied the game by splitting a pair of free throws in the final seconds, Walker drilled the jumper to finish with 29 points. I imagine his teammates were especially grateful of avoiding another OT as they play four games in five days.
DeRozan led all scorers with 30 points, but needed 26 shots to get there.
Utah rookie Trey Burke put on a show Wednesday, scoring a career-high 30 points on 12-of-20 shooting in easily his best pro performance to date. Coincidentally, it came while playing one of his biggest college foes, Magic rookie and former Indiana star Victor Oladipo.
If one billed this game as Burke vs. Oladipo, a matchup of former Big Ten stars, you'd be shocked Oladipo got drafted well ahead of the Michigan product. He struggled badly Wednesday, shooting 1-of-12 from the field to finish with just three points, five rebounds and two assists.
Nearly everyone on Orlando struggled -- the team shot 33 percent -- but the team limited its turnovers and fought hard on the boards. Against a Jazz team that had little else going besides Burke, this was nearly enough to get a win, but instead the former Wolverine delivered over and over.
After trailing by 19 through one quarter, the Pistons outscored Boston through the remainder of the game, 84-64. Brandon Jennings and Andre Drummond led the way for Detroit, each filling box score with huge double-doubles in the win: 28 points and 14 assists for BJ; 14 points and 16 rebounds for 'Dray.
The Celtics couldn't sustain their red-hot start, hitting just two three-pointers after the first quarter as their lead dwindled. Late in the third quarter, Detroit finally tied the game, and its lead expanded to seven points with three minutes left in regulation. However, Jordan Crawford and Jared Sullinger eventually cut the lead to 105-104 with a minute left before Jennings' final three of the night put things away.
Sullinger played quite well in the loss, finishing with a team-leading 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists. He's scored 19-plus points while shooting better than 50 percent in three consecutive games.
At the end of the first quarter, Sullinger scored a tip-in basket on a play that BEGAN WITH 0.2 SECONDS ON THE CLOCK. I don't know how this is actually possible, but credit the big man for making a perfectly-timed tip:
Timberwolves 120, Trail Blazers 109
Damian Lillard continues to torch the league. Unfortunately, scoring 36 points on 13-of-24 shooting wasn't enough to get Portland its sixth straight victory. Faced up against one of the few rosters that can match their offensive firepower, the Trail Blazers got behind by 26 at halftime and couldn't overcome that deficit in the second half.
It's hard not to focus on Lillard at this point. The talk of the league after a pair of incredible buzzer-beaters, he's scored 72 points on 24-of-47 shooting over his past two games. More impressive, he's 15-of-26 from beyond the arc and still getting to the line. While we can pick holes in Lillard's game, his elite shooting constantly changes the complexion of close games.
Kevin Love also had a monster game for the Timberwolves on Wednesday, narrowly missing a triple-double with 29 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists. He got a ton of help from Nikola Pekovic, who added 30 points and nine rebounds in just 29 minutes of action.
Playing without Marc Gasol, Mike Conley or Tayshaun Prince, this Memphis team simply isn't the same. On Wednesday, that was particularly obvious as Dallas ran all over the Grizzlies in a lopsided win.
By halftime, the Mavericks were up by 13, a lead that ballooned to 16 in the third quarter. From there, the Grizzlies did make a bit of a run, eventually cutting the lead to four on a Mike Miller three-pointer, but Dallas rallied to stretch its lead back to 11 entering the final period.
The Grizzlies never got any closer in the fourth. Depending on the likes of Tony Allen and Jerryd Bayless to create offense, the team was woefully inefficient. The Allen-Bayless Show is not a good show:
Manu Ginobili played his best game of the season Wednesday, recording 24 points, seven assists and six rebounds to lead San Antonio to victory. Playing the upstart Suns, the Spurs' late-game execution proved the difference after the two teams were close for the first 45 minutes.
Ginobili was especially great for San Antonio, scoring 11 of the team's final 15 points down the stretch. With Tim Duncan doing the dirty work on the boards, Manu carried the offense as Tony Parker sat out with a shin injury. As we often see in San Antonio, another guy stepped up when opportunity called.
Anthony Davis returned after missing seven games with a fractured left hand, and put up 24 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, but it wasn't enough for New Orleans. The Pelicans shot just 39.8 percent from the field in the loss.