Monday night was another night, another win for the completely dominant Miami Heat, plus, elsewhere, there was a surprise end to the Denver Nuggets' success, a huge night for a former No. 1 pick, and some games with machinations for the bottom of the Western Conference playoff ladder. Let's take a full look at last night's NBA action.
Heat 108, Magic 94
This one was tied at 68. I swear. I was watching the game, and there was a point when each team had 68 points on the scoreboard.
Then, the Miami Heat (56-14) did their Flying Death Machine thing, the score was 88-70 in the blink of an eye, and the Heat had won their 27th game in a row. That's just six short of snapping the 1971-72 Lakers' 33-game win streak, the longest in the history of American pro sports, and nine games more than the Magic (18-53) have won all season.
LeBron James continued his ridiculous play with 24 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds -- guys, he's having fun, and also throwing down dunks that scare me and dunks that scare Beno Udrih -- and the team went 15-for-28 from beyond the arc, with Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Norris Cole, and Rashard Lewis each drilling at least three. (Oh, and Dwyane Wade was out, but it didn't matter.) Jameer Nelson had 27 points and 12 assists, but it wasn't enough.
Warriors 109, Lakers 103
Stephen Curry was a game-time decision with his oft-injured ankle, but didn't look the part Monday night with 25 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds. The Warriors (41-31) were clearly the better team, going up 23 points at the half, but the Lakers -- spurred by Kobe Bryant's 36 points -- tried to make this one modestly competitive. Los Angeles (36-35) got the lead under 10 with about three minutes to go, but wouldn't really threaten Golden State for the lead.
David Lee was his typical self with 23 points and 12 boards, while Klay Thompson canned six threes to finish with 22 points. Steve Nash can't be blamed for not trying, as he nearly matched Curry's line with 21 points, an uncharacteristically high nine rebounds, and seven assists, but Lakers not named Bryant or Nash shot just 16-for-45 from the floor -- 35.5 percent.
Pacers 100, Hawks 94
The Pacers were without Danny Granger and David West, as has been the case of late, but were also without George Hill and Lance Stephenson -- and yet the team led by 15 points at the half able to go up by as much as 27 on the seemingly hapless Hawks. But Atlanta (39-32) fought back, outscoring Indiana 31-15 in the final period to make this one competitive. A last-ditch 9-0 run was answered by a Gerald Green three in the game's last minute, and Indiana's b-squad got the win. Green led the Pacers (44-27) with 19, 17 of which were in the second half, while Josh Smith led all scorers with 20. The Pacers' offense was even less pretty than usual Monday without ballhandlers in Hill and Stephenson, as it had 20 turnovers against just 18 assists.
Wizards 107, Grizzlies 94
If you've ever forgotten the potential John Wall displayed when the Wizards took him first overall in the 2010 NBA Draft, it's all been on display over the past few weeks. Wall had 47 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds in a win over a Western Conference contender Monday night, coming up big as Washington (26-44) powered past Memphis, outscoring the Grizzlies 31-20 in the final period of play. His performance led a Wizards squad without Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, A.J. Price, Nene, and Martell Webster to a road win over the Grizzlies (47-23), and that's crazy enough as is. A team that was 0-12 to start the year has been several above .500 since Wall's return, and although it will miss the playoffs, it should be there next year.
Hornets, 110, Nuggets, 86
IT'S ROBSANITY, PEOPLE!
The Nuggets came in with a 15-game win streak, menacing pace and oodles of buckets around the basket, and reasonable expectations of being able to leave with a 16th-straight win -- no Miami Heat, but, not too shabby. They left with a firm knowledge of who Brian Roberts is, as New Orleans' backup point guard recorded 18 assists to go along with just three turnovers in only his second career start. Roberts, a 28-year-old out of the University of Dayton, is playing his first NBA season after playing in Israel and Germany. He'd never recorded 10 assists in a game in the NBA -- or, for that matter, in college at Dayton -- before Monday's breakout performance. But he was put in the starting lineup with Greivis Vasquez and Eric Gordon out, and New Orleans (25-46) immediately responded, going up 59-38 by the halftime break. Darius Miller also put a shock into the Nuggets (49-23), drilling four of five threes despite averaging just 2.3 points a game.
Jazz 107, Sixers 91
The Jazz badly, badly needed a win after losing four straight. They got one against a 76ers team that just wasn't up to the task, allowing them to remain just a game back of the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. Utah (35-36) jumped out to a 10-0 lead, and was up 58-42 at the break, and it maintained the 16-point margin to the game's end without any major bumps. Randy Foye and Gordon Hayward were the stars for Utah, drilling 6-of-9 from deep, while Philadelphia (27-43) shot just 38.6 percent from the field and turned the ball over on six straight possessions at one point.