The Houston Rockets had a built-in excuse against the Spurs on Tuesday night, if they wanted to use it. But even with star guard James Harden out with a left thumb injury, the Rockets used a dominant edge on the glass and 47 free throw attempts to defeat the San Antonio, 97-90, at the Toyota Center.
Dwight Howard was in top form, finishing with a game-high 23 points and 16 rebounds. Howard shot 25 free throws, making 13 of them. As a team, Houston only shot 55.3 percent from the charity stripe, but the shear volume of attempts was enough to give Houston a significant advantage.
Houston out-rebounded San Antonio 55-39 on the evening.
Anthony Davis and Anthony Bennett each did something positive. For Davis, the second-year player put together a masterful performance on both ends of the floor, finishing with 30 points, eight blocks, seven rebounds and three assists. In the process, Davis became the first player in franchise history to record five straight games of four blocks or more.
While there's no denying Davis' star in his second season, it was nice to see Anthony Bennett, the struggling No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, have his best game as a pro. Bennett cracked double-digits in scoring for the first time in his career, finishing with 15 points and eight rebounds in the loss.
Here are some highlights from Davis' banner night:
New York Knicks 114, Boston Celtics 88
Carmelo Anthony has been on a tear of late, and even when he cooled down he still had a game-high 24 points and added nine rebounds and four assists to lead the Knicks past the C's at Madison Square Garden.
New York had five players score in double figures, and New York got a hearty 63 points from its bench. Led by Jeff Green's 14 points, Boston shot 39 percent from the field and committed 17 turnovers.
Melo was an efficient Melo this time around after hoisting up 30-plus shots in his last two games. Here's what a clean 8-for-15 looked like on Tuesday:
The Grizzlies improved to 6-1 since the return of star center Marc Gasol, notching an upset victory on the road against the Blazers. Gasol was brilliant in his own way once again, finishing with 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. His teammates weren't bad, either.
Portland got down early and never recovered, struggling immensely with their outside shot. The Blazers ended the night just 4-of-24 from three-point range and shot just 34.5 percent from the field. LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 27 points and 16 rebounds. Damian Lillard finished with 16 points in the loss.
The Warriors and Wizards did not engage in the type of late night shoot-out fans are used to seeing at Oracle Arena, but the result at the end was no less dramatic. Trevor Ariza hit two big shots late and Steph Curry missed a game-tying three-pointer to push the Wizards back to .500 on the season, at 22-22.
Each team shot just 38 percent from the field, but Washington made enough plays late to win. Bradley Beal had 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the win. Nene added 16 points and John Wall had 15 points in the win.
Steph Curry led the Warriors with 23 points, but shot just 8-of-23 from the field. Klay Thompson chipped in 13 points in the loss.
Indiana Pacers 104, Los Angeles Lakers 92
The Pacers remained the only team in the NBA with single-digit losses, as Indiana dropped the Los Angeles Lakers behind balanced scoring from the starting lineup. Lance Stephenson finished with 15 points, 14 rebounds and six assists to lead the way for the Pacers in the one. Paul George added 14 points on just 4-of-21 shooting, while David West had 19 points and eight rebounds.
The Pacers creamed the Lakers on the glass, finishing with a 63-50 edge in rebounding.