Showing some signs of life, the Brooklyn Nets delivered an impressive 102-98 home win to end the Golden State Warriors' 10-game winning streak on Wednesday night. Powered at the end by some uncharacteristically strong defense, Brooklyn has now won four straight since dropping to a season-worst 11 games below .500.
The maddeningly inconsistent Joe Johnson came with his good side against the Warriors, putting up 27 points on 8-of-17 shooting to lead the Nets. Andray Blatche added 17 points and five rebounds off the bench, while Shaun Livingston and Kevin Garnett each recorded 13 points and four steals.
Brooklyn's starters combined for just four assists in 152 minutes of action, but they aggressively attacked the rim and forced the Warriors' high-tempo offense into numerous turnovers.
Stephen Curry led all scorers with a 34-point, seven-assist, five-rebound, three-steal outing, but he shot just 2-of-10 from three-point range and turned the ball over seven times. David Lee added 20 points for Golden State, but also committed five turnovers himself.
The Hawks somehow got this upset victory despite middling performances from Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague. On most nights, those guys will need to be Atlanta's best players with Al Horford sidelined, but a group of role players led by Kyle Korver, Pero Antic and DeMarre Carroll upended the Pacers on Wednesday night.
Early on, you could tell this would just be one of those rare bad nights for Indiana:
The Pacers recovered a little bit in the second half to keep things relatively interesting, but Paul George couldn't lead the comeback despite finishing with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Korver led the Hawks with just 17 points, but Teague, Carroll, Antic and second-year forward Mike Scott all scored in double-figures as well.
Dallas is better than people expected, but the Spurs are still a juggernaut at home even after some recent hiccups. Tony Parker led San Antonio with 25 points and seven assists on Wednesday, powering a dominant two-way effort that included a 55-32 rebounding advantage for the home team.
After jumping out to an early lead, this one was rarely in doubt for the Spurs. Tim Duncan had 16 points and 13 rebounds to continue his ageless greatness, Boris Diaw dished six assists and Marco Belinelli added 17 points off the bench.
However, considering the lopsided score, the best part of this game was probably Vince Carter, Unstoppable Old Man:
Carter had 14 points off the bench for Dallas. He's scored 13-plus in 10 of his past 13 games.
Toronto reached .500 on Wednesday night with a 21-point victory over the struggling Pistons. All five starters scored in double-figures for the Raptors in the win, led by point guard Kyle Lowry's 21-point, nine-assist, five-rebound effort. Most impressively, Lowry needed just nine shots to get his team-leading point total.
For the Pistons, this game was a disaster in many ways. The team shot below 40 percent from the field, committed 15 turnovers, lost the battle on the boards and, arguably most importantly, shot a miserable 19-of-35 from the charity stripe. Detroit's big men -- Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, Josh Smith -- missed 11 free throws combined.
That opened up the door for Toronto to make things a blowout, and the Raptors happily obliged with a 64-37 second half. DeMar DeRozan shot just 3-of-15 from the field, but individually topped Detroit's free throw shooting effort by going 13-of-16 there en route to 19 points. Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson also had double-doubles in the win.
Eventually, back-up point guard Greivis Vasquez started getting a little cocky out there:
Then again, this was Vasquez's first three-pointer in a week.
James Harden scored 38 points in this one, which means he's now scored 37-plus points in three straight games. Only Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony have managed that feat in the past five years, so it's been quite the mini-hot streak for the Rockets' star guard, one full of stuff like this:
Dwight Howard had a weird performance against his former team, recording 20 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and three assists, but struggling badly with his shot. The center shot just 5-of-14 from the field and 10-of-24 from the free throw line as Mike D'Antoni aggressively implemented the Hack-a-Dwight strategy later in the game.
Nick Young, Pau Gasol and Jodie Meeks each broke 20 points for L.A., but the team's 99 points were the result of a fast pace as much as anything. Point guard Kendall Marshall struggled badly, scoring five points on 2-of-13 shooting while recording eight assists to six turnovers.
Swaggy P had 25 points and six rebounds for the Lakers, but his most memorable moment of the night came on a miss:
New Orleans rallied from a 23-point deficit to trail by just seven points with three minutes remaining, but couldn't complete the comeback as the Wizards get a step closer to .500. It appeared Washington was on its way to a rare blowout before characteristically losing urgency in the waning moments as the opponent charged.
Trevor Ariza broke from his recent slump to put up 21 points and 10 rebounds for Washington, while John Wall had another strong game with 20 points and six assists. Off the bench, Nene finished with 11 points and Jan Vesely scored a season-high 12 points.
Anthony Davis led the way for New Orleans with 21 points and seven rebounds, but the team's defense struggled badly in the early going. Players like Al-Farouq Aminu and Tyreke Evans did little for the Pelicans on Wednesday -- those two combined for seven points in 47 minutes.
Suns 104, Timberwolves 103
Gerald Green hit a big jumper with three seconds remaining and Kevin Martin missed a possible game-winning layup as the Suns got a huge road win Wednesday night. It's just the latest close loss for Minnesota in what's becoming a defining aspect of a frustrating season.
Here's Green's game-winner:
Green had a solid game for Phoenix with 14 points, but point guard Goran Dragic really led the way with 26 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Without injured guard Eric Bledsoe, Dragic played 41 minutes to help complete a late rally to get the victory. Channing Frye also hit five three-pointers and scored 22 points for the Suns.
Trail Blazers 110, Magic 94
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 36 points and Nicolas Batum recorded a triple-double as Portland pounded the Magic on Wednesday night. The Trail Blazers used a 39-19 fourth quarter to put the game away and improve to 27-9 this season.
LMA was fantastic for Portland, shooting 16-of-25 from the field, while Batum lit up the box score with 14 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds. Damian Lillard had an off-game, going for 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting, but it came with good timing.
Blake Griffin had 29 points and eight assists to lead the Clippers to a 111-105 win over the Celtics at Staples Center in Los Angeles, giving Doc Rivers a victory over his old team. Jamal Crawford added 26 as Clippers starters scored 99 of the team's 111 points.
DeAndre Jordan grabbed 13 rebounds for the Clippers and shot 5-for-6 from the field for 11 points, including this alley-oop gem:
Griffin, not to be outdone, chimed in with his own highlight.