Detroit Pistons 110, Phoenix Suns 108
Josh Smith scored a game-high 25 points, including the game winning layup with just over a second left to lift the Pistons past the Eric Bledsoe-less Suns.
It's been a strange year for Smith, whom the Pistons signed for big money in the offseason, but it's nice to see him have a night like this, one in which he, ultimately, won the game for Detroit. He also collected 11 rebounds, dished out five assists and shot 11-of-16 from the field.
Toronto Raptors 96, Brooklyn Nets 80
Brooklyn had won five straight games before the Raptors snapped that streak Saturday night. DeMar DeRozan led the way with 26 points and seven rebounds. Patrick Patterson contributed 14 points and 12 boards off the bench and, somehow, registered a +40 plus/minus rating.
Pierce led the Nets with 15 points, Alan Anderson chipped in 13 and Joe Johnson added 11 more, but no one else managed to score double-digits.
Houston Rockets 114, Washington Wizards 107
The Rockets led by 25 points in the third quarter, but the Wizards cut that lead to five with just over five minutes remaining. Eight straight points from James Harden fended the Wizards off, however, and Houston never looked back. John Wall and Trevor Ariza each scored 23 and Kevin Seraphin came off the bench to add 18 more.
Also: James Harden is a one man wrecking crew in transition.
New York Knicks 102, Philadelphia 76ers 92
Don't look now, but the Knicks have won four straight games and five of their last six, with their only loss coming at Houston. J.R. Smith was unleashed after having not played the last two games and responded with 14 points and six assists off the bench. Carmelo Anthony flirted with a triple-double and the Sixers never had enough fire power to really make a push.
Chicago Bulls 103, Charlotte Bobcats 97
We're always told to never count out a Tom Thibodeau-coached team. While it sounds like a useless cliche, it's kind of true. Old Thibs and the Bulls have won five straight games and six of their last seven and have made a serious push to the middle of the Eastern Conference. On Saturday, Chicago was led by a surprising 20 points and 12 assists from D.J. Augustin, who has turned out to be a pretty useful player.
Oklahoma City Thunder 101, Milwaukee Bucks 85
In all, the Thunder played pretty poorly outside of the third quarter, but it didn't really matter against the woeful Bucks. Kevin Durant has been magnificent in Russell Westbrook's absence. On Saturday, he nearly recorded a triple-double, netting 33 points, collecting 10 rebounds and dishing out seven assists. Serge Ibaka chipped in with 17 points and 17 boards of his own.
Dallas Mavericks 110, New Orleans Pelicans 107
Dirk Nowitzki poured in a vintage performance, scoring 40 points on 20 shots, becoming the oldest player ever, at 35-years-old, to score 40 points in a game. Monta Ellis added 26 as a late 9-0 run propelled the Mavericks past the Pelicans. Anthony Davis was fantastic, leading New Orleans with 28 points and 14 rebounds.
Denver Nuggets 120, Orlando Magic 94
The Nuggets had their way with the Magic, who were without Arron Afflalo and Nikola Vucevic, the team's leading scorer and rebounder respectively. Seven Nuggets players scored over 13 points and the game was never in question. Denver was out and running from the starting gate and the undermanned Orlando squad just couldn't keep up.
Portland Trail Blazers 112, Boston Celtics 104
Seven Blazers scored in double-figures and the team shot 10-of-21 from behind the arc en route to a relatively easy win against the Celtics. Portland was 2-4 in its last six games before rattling off wins against the Magic and the Celtics. Sometimes all it takes is a couple of easy wins to get back on track and that's what the high-powered Blazers are hoping for.
I'd have to say that this is the most competitive 8 game losing streak in recent memory.— CelticsBlog (@celticsblog) January 12, 2014
That's a very optimistic way at looking at it.