Mavericks 109, Clippers 102 (OT)
Just a few weeks ago, the Dallas Mavericks were left for dead. But after a thrilling 109-102 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, the Mavs (35-36) find themselves just one game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Dirk Nowitzki put on a vintage Dirk performance with 33 points, including the first eight for Dallas in overtime to help seal the deal. The game reached the extra frame thanks to a string of clutch plays by O.J. Mayo, who had struggled for most of the night. First, a Mayo and-1 tied the game at 93-93 with just over a minute to play. Moments later, Mayo tied the game again with a layup with 0.6 seconds left. Blake Griffin made a wild shot off a home-run pass at the buzzer, but it was waved off due to an offensive foul, sending the game to overtime.
Chris Paul played through a banged up knee and led the Clippers (48-23) with 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting. Paul nailed several huge shots in the clutch, including an acrobatic layup right before Mayo's heroics. But Paul's teammates failed to give him enough support, with Griffin and Caron Butler the next highest scoring Clippers at 14 points apiece. Despite Paul's scorching hot shooting night, Los Angeles shot 44.7 percent from the field. And while Paul was mostly great, he did commit seven of the Clippers' 17 turnovers.
Knicks 100, Celtics 85
The New York Knicks continue to roll, winning their fifth straight game with a relatively easy 100-85 victory over a Boston Celtics team that was playing its second game in a row without Kevin Garnett and Courtney Lee.
J.R. Smith led the way with 32 points on 13-of-24 shooting off the bench. Smith's 32 points nearly doubled the production of the Celtics' (36-34) bench, which managed only 19 points on the night. Carmelo Anthony added 29 points, although it did take him a whopping 30 shots to get there.
After a competitive first quarter, the Knicks (43-26) took control of the game in the second behind 11 points from Smith. A four-point lead turned into a 14-point lead, and that lead would never get lower than seven the rest of the game. Smith essentially ended all hope with a dagger three-point bomb at the end of the third quarter.
Jeff Green had 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the loss. Boston actually shot a better percentage than New York, but turnovers and poor rebounding allowed the Knicks to take 21 more shots.
With the win, New York moved to No. 2 in the Eastern Conference standings, percentage points ahead of the Indiana Pacers.
Timberwoves 105, Pistons 82
J.J. Barea had 21 points to lead the Wolves off the bench. Minnesota (25-44) shot 53.2 percent from the field and made 14-of-26 three-pointers, with much of the damage coming during a third quarter that saw them outscore Detroit, 38-16, to turn a close game into a rout.