Knicks 125, Thunder 120
Conventional wisdom said the New York Knicks' 11-game winning streak would end on Sunday afternoon in Oklahoma City. But the Knicks extended their run with a thrilling 125-120 victory over the Thunder behind 36 points and 12 rebounds from Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony got plenty of help from his teammates, with five other Knicks (50-26) scoring in double figures. J.R. Smith had 22 points to lead those other five, and it was his two shots at the end of the shot clock in the final minutes that proved to be daggers in the hearts of the Thunder (56-21). Smith first buried a long two to put New York up four with 1:30 left, and then after a Russell Westbrook miss, the Knicks' guard nailed a long three off a nice hustle play by Raymond Felton.
The Knicks made a killing from behind the three-point line all night long, hitting 15-of-34 from distance. Ten of those makes came courtesy of the bench, with Jason Kidd nailing 4-of-6. Burying all those threes was key, as Oklahoma City shot a scorching 57.7 percent overall and made nine three-pointers of its own.
Westbrook had 37 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the loss. Kevin Durant had 27 points and seven assists, but he did not score a single point the last 6:56 of the game. Kevin Martin added 15 points off the bench.
Clippers 109, Lakers 95
The Staples Center will finally have a Los Angeles Clippers banner in its rafters. The Clippers clinched their first Pacific Division title in franchise history with a 109-95 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, the team that has long held the spotlight in the city.
Chris Paul had 24 points and 12 assists, while Blake Griffin also had a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds. The Clippers (51-26) shot 50.0 percent from the field and also dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Lakers, 50-36. The Clippers snagged 16 offensive rebounds, which led to 24 second-chance points.
After a somewhat slow start, the Clippers ended the first quarter on a 12-4 run to grab a five-point lead. The Lakers (40-37) got to within one in the second quarter, but they would never hold a lead the rest of the game. The Clippers led by double-digits for most of the second half and cruised to victory.
Kobe Bryant had 25 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, but he shot just 6-of-19. And although Dwight Howard had 25 points as well, he managed to grab just four rebounds. Pau Gasol had 12 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. With the loss and the Utah Jazz's victory later in the night, the Lakers sit a half game out of the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
Jazz 97, Warriors 90
The Utah Jazz reclaimed sole possession of the No. 8 seed in the West thanks to their impressive 97-90 road victory over the Golden State Warriors. Mo Williams had 25 points, including a dagger three late to help seal the victory for the Jazz (41-37). Al Jefferson added 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Stephen Curry had 22 points and David Lee added 21 points and 13 rebounds in the loss for the Warriors (44-33). Golden State had an opportunity to tie the game in the final minute, but Jarrett Jack missed a three before Williams' three iced it.
Mavericks 96, Trail Blazers 91
The Dallas Mavericks nearly saw a 26-point lead disappear, but wound up holding on to beat the Portland Trail Blazers, 96-91. Chris Kaman had a season-high 26 points to lead the Mavs (38-39), who did not have Dirk Nowitzki for the fourth quarter due to a foot injury. The good news for Dallas is that the injury is not considered serious.
Will Barton had 22 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in the defeat. Twelve of those points came in a fourth quarter that saw the Blazers (33-44) trim their large deficit to just three before falling just short. Portland had the ball down three with 12.5 seconds to go, but Damian Lillard's missed layup sealed the deal. The loss was the Blazers' eighth straight, and to add injury to insult, they lost Wesley Matthews to a sprained ankle.
Grizzlies 89, Kings 87
Mike Conley played hero on offense and Marc Gasol did so on defense as the Memphis Grizzlies sneaked out an 89-87 victory over the Sacramento Kings. Conley's jumper with 30 seconds left put the Grizzlies (52-25) up one, and Gasol blocked shots by both DeMarcus Cousins and Marcus Thornton to preserve the lead. Conley finished with 25 points.
Cousins had 22 points and nine rebounds in the loss. The Kings (27-50) had a chance to win despite shooting just 35.8 percent overall and 7-of-25 from three-point range.
Celtics 107, Wizards 96
Brandon Bass scored 20 points to lead the Boston Celtics to a 107-96 victory over the Washington Wizards. The Celtics' offense was rolling all night, as it shot 55.8 percent from the field and racked up 26 assists. Boston (40-37) led by four at the half and used a big third quarter to blow the game open.
John Wall continued his strong play, scoring 16 points and handing out 10 assists. The Wizards (29-48) did make 10 three-pointers on the night, but they shot just 44.3 percent from the field overall.
Pistons 99, Bulls 85
After 18 straight losses to the Chicago Bulls, the Detroit Pistons finally got off the schneid with a 99-85 victory. Brandon Knight had 20 points and Jonas Jerebko had 17 points off the bench to lead the Pistons (26-52). Detroit shot 53.4 percent overall and 9-of-18 from three.
The Bulls (42-34) were once again very short-handed, playing without Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Richard Hamilton and Taj Gibson. Joakim Noah and Marco Belinelli returned to the lineup from injuries, but both played limited minutes. Carlos Boozer led Chicago with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Cavaliers 91, Magic 85
The Cleveland Cavaliers shot just 36.0 percent, but they still managed to pull out an ugly 91-85 victory over the Orlando Magic. Alonzo Gee had 19 points and seven rebounds to lead the Cavs (24-52). Kyrie Irving had nine points and 10 assists, but he shot just 3-of-15 from the field.
The Magic (19-59) did not shoot much better, making just 37.8 percent of their shots and going 1-of-13 from three-point range. Tobias Harris had 26 points and Nikola Vucevic had 21, but no other Magic players reached double figures. The loss was Orlando's fifth straight.
Hornets 95, Suns 92
Anthony Davis had 20 points as the New Orleans won on the road for the first time in nearly two months, hanging on to beat the Phoenix Suns, 95-92. Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson both added 17 points apiece for the Hornets (27-50), who did not shoot very well but made a killing on the glass and at the line.
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