It had been such a good month for the Nets. Brooklyn was up one and had possession, but Deron Williams threw the ball away down the sideline as Toronto forward Patrick Patterson stole the inbounds pass. He hit a jumper just seconds later, and a Paul Pierce three-point attempt bounced off the rim as time expired to give the Raptors a 104-103 win on the road.
Patterson's jumper gave him 15 for the evening to complement Kyle Lowry's 31 points, seven assists and five steals, as well as Jonas Valanciunas' 20 points and 13 boards. As for the Nets, Williams had only nine points but dished out 11 assists, though it was his third turnover of the night that killed Brooklyn at home.
Just stop it, Kevin Durant. It's not an exaggeration to say it's become more surprising when the NBA's leading scorer misses a shot these days. The Hawks gave the Thunder all they could handle on Monday night, but a Durant jumper with one second remaining sealed the game for Oklahoma City, keeping West's leaders two games ahead of San Antonio at the end of the night.
Durant dropped 41 on a game Atlanta squad and has now scored 30-plus points in 11 straight games, the longest such streak since Tracy McGrady's in 2003. And once again, he carried the Thunder. Reggie Jackson had 18 points and Jeremy Lamb had 12 off the bench as the only other players to score in double digits for OKC. But the Thunder shot 52 percent from the floor and hit 13 of 25 three-point attempts.
Paul Millsap led the way for Atlanta, who had seven players hit double figures and shot nearly 49 percent in the game, including 48 percent from downtown.
These two teams were supposed to be the worst in their respective conferences, but only one still finds itself in the running for that level of recognition. It didn't change on Monday night. The consistently surprising Phoenix Suns ran away with a 124-113 win over the the Philadelphia 76ers, holding onto the seventh seed out West.
Gerald Green continued his resurgent season with 30 points, and Goran Dragic once again picked up the slack for the still-injured Eric Bledsoe. Dragic finished with 24 points, seven assists and three steals. Phoenix shot 53.8 percent from the floor, including 45 percent from three, and they nabbed 11 steals and blocked 12 shots in the process.
The Timberwolves keep chasing their way to an above-.500 record, and Kevin Love keeps giving them chance after chance to do so. The Minnesota superstar went for 31 points and eight rebounds to once again carry the load in his team's 95-86 win over the Bulls.
Nikola Pekovic had to leave the game with soreness in his right Achilles tendon, but the T'Wolves were able to survive without him. Ronny Turiaf picked up the slack with 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, and Chase Budinger went for 12 off the bench.
All five Chicago starters scored in double figures and logged massive minutes, but the Bulls got only 11 points from their bench.
This is an easy recap: the Clippers are very good; the Bucks are just awful. Los Angeles took a a 64-41 lead into halftime, and it was never close after that in the Clips' 114-86 win.
Jamal Crawford went for 25 points off the bench, Blake Griffin dropped 20 and DeAndre Jordan recorded eight points and 18 rebounds in the win as the Clippers continue to roll without Chris Paul in the lineup. Ersan Ilyasova led the way for the Bucks with 16 points.
But we've got to point this out, because any time Griffin misses a dunk, we're obligated to inform you:
It's been a roller-coaster for the Kings ever since the arrival of Rudy Gay, but they were unable to beat the lowly Jazz in Salt Lake City on Monday night without him. Utah had six players score in double figures and turned the ball over only eight times as it secured the 106-99 win.
Derrick Favors had 17 points and 12 rebounds in just 28 minutes and Marvin Williams went for 16 and 11 in the victory, and the Jazz stifled the Kings in the process. Sacramento struggled from the perimeter in this one, hitting only five of its 22 attempts from deep. Utah wasn't much better, but they did just enough to secure the win.