The Detroit Pistons fired Maurice Cheeks on Sunday after only 50 games as head coach. On Monday, they beat the San Antonio Spurs for their third consecutive win, 109-100, their first streak of at least three victories in more than two months.
Brandon Jennings went for 21 points, all five starters scored in double figures and Rodney Stuckey dropped in 20 off the bench as the Pistons thoroughly handled the Spurs. Detroit racked up 18 offensive rebounds, 15 second-chance points and 52 points in the paint against shorthanded San Antonio.
And not just short, but too short for Josh Smith in general ...
Rockets 107, Timberwolves 89
The approaching NBA All-Star weekend has a tendency to cause some teams to relax and even mail things in a bit, but the Houston Rockets are surging at the moment. On Monday, they went into Minnesota and blew the Timberwolves out, 107-89, to push their winning streak to six games and their record to 35-17 on the season.
All five Houston starters scored in double figures and Chandler Parsons led the way with 20 points as the Rockets held Minnesota to 35 percent shooting for the game. They also outscored the Wolves by 15 points from beyond the three-point line.
While some teams are surging heading towards the All-Star break, the 76ers appear to be ready for a vacation, as they dropped their seventh game in a row and their second straight by at least 40 points. On the other side, the Warriors picked up their fourth win in the past six games.
Marreese Speights led the way for the Warriors off the bench picking up 32 points, hitting on seven of his eight free throws. Five other Warriors scored in double digits while the 76ers had just three players score more than 10 points. Michael Carter-Williams led the 76ers with 24 points and four assists.
Even Boston is beating Milwaukee by double-digits these days. Jeff Green continued his recent hot stretch on Monday night as the Celtics dropped the lowly Bucks, 102-86, behind the forward's 29 points. Green is averaging 25 points per contest over his last four games, which is pretty good timing as his name swirls around trade-deadline discussion.
Boston won without Rajon Rondo, who was resting in this one, and the Celtics' defense held the Bucks to just 43 percent shooting, forced 19 turnovers and won the rebounding battle by seven boards. Brandon Knight went for 22 for Milwaukee, who only had three players score more than eight points.
Raptors 108, Pelicans 101
DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Patterson combined for 44 points, Kyle Lowry contributed 19 and 12 assists and the Toronto Raptors took care of the injury-ravaged New Orleans Pelicans, 108-101, on Monday night. The Raptors hit ten threes and committed just 11 turnovers as they improved their record to 27-24 in what has become a tight playoff race in the Eastern Conference.
The Pacers didn't appear to be thrilled after their tight loss to the Orlando Magic on Sunday night, and they took it out on the Nuggets. Indiana went on the road and dominated Denver, 119-80, behind 25 points from David West, and this was never close.
Indy shot 57 percent to Denver's 31 percent and outrebounded the Nuggets 56-37 in a completely one-sided affair. All five Pacers starters scored in double-figures and Luis Scola chipped in 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench. This Lance Stephenson sequence — before and after he got the ball — was a good reflection of the night.