Kevin Durant continued his torrid scoring pace on Tuesday night in Portland, finishing with 36 points and 10 rebounds to help lift the Thunder to a 98-95 win over the Trail Blazers. It was Oklahoma City's 14th win in its last 16 games, as the Thunder continue to put some separation between themselves and the rest of the stout Western Conferences contenders.
Durant's scoring binge will continue to draw headlines, but the play of the Thunder's bench might be Oklahoma City's most exciting development. In Portland, Jeremy Lamb was the star of the second unit. The 21-year-old had 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting to give OKC the supplemental scoring it needs without Russell Westbrook. Reggie Jackson, Westbrook's replacement in the starting lineup, had 17 points, six rebounds and five assists in the win.
The Blazers continued their uneven play as of late. Portland is now 5-5 in its last 10 games. All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge did not have his best night, finishing 5-of-22 from the field for 12 points and 12 rebounds. Nicolas Batum had 18 points and Robin Lopez had 17 points and 14 rebounds in the loss for the Blazers.
The rest of the scores finished up as follows:
Charlotte Bobcats 114, Dallas Mavericks 89
The Bobcats dismantled the Mavericks in Charlotte behind an outstanding performance from big man Al Jefferson, who finished with 30 points on 14-of-23 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots. Charlotte shot 55 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc in the rout. Dirk Nowitzki suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter, but returned to finish 16 points and four rebounds. Monta Ellis also finished with 16 as the Bobcats snapped the Mavs' five-game win streak.
And Bismack Biyombo did this:
Cleveland Cavaliers 109, Sacramento Kings 99
The Cavaliers won their third straight game on Tuesday night behind a big effort from an unlikely source. Rookie Anthony Bennett, the maligned No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, had one of the best games of his career, finishing with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Bennett was 3-for-3 from three-point range. Dion Waiters also scored 20 off the bench, and added eight assists. Luol Deng led the way for Cleveland with 22 points.
DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and 10 rebounds to power the Kings. He didn't get much help. The Kings were out-rebounded 45-36 and out-assisted 30-18 on the night. Isaiah Thomas had 16 points in the loss.
Chicago Bulls 100, Atlanta Hawks, 85
Joakim Noah notched his fourth career triple-double as the Bulls rolled past the Hawks at the United Center in their return from a six-game road trip. Noah was spectacular in pacing the Bulls' offense with eight assists in the first half, and he kept abusing Atlanta on both ends of the court throughout the game.
Noah finished with 19 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists on the night to lead the Bulls. Taj Gibson was Chicago's top scorer, finishing with 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists on the night. Jimmy Butler (12 points, 13 rebounds) and Mike Dunleavy Jr. (15 points, six rebounds) also helped spark the victory.
The Grizzlies led by 13 points at half, but had to force a missed three-pointer by John Wall as time expired to hang on for the victory. Memphis dominated both the glass and the paint on the night, led by 18 points and seven rebounds from center Marc Gasol.
The Grizzlies have been climbing up the Western Conference standings since Gasol returned from injury, but still sit two games out of the eighth and final playoff spot. Memphis had won six straight with Gasol before dropping three of their last four heading into Tuesday night. The good news is that the Grizzlies were still able to get enough offense to be effective even without injured point guard Mike Conley Jr. Nick Calathes scored 18 and Courtney Lee scored 13 to pace Memphis from the backcourt.
Bradley Beal's big night was overshadowed by the loss. The second-year shooting guard scored a career-high 37 points on 5-of-7 shooting from three-point range. Wall struggled horribly all night, finishing with five points and five assists in 33 minutes. The loss drops the Wizards below .500 again.
You know it's a good night for the Grizzlies when James Johnson is doing this:
Miami Heat 103, Phoenix Suns 97
The final seconds finished with plenty of intrigue as LeBron James picked up his scoring in the absence of Dwyane Wade and finished with 37 points and nine assists to lead the Heat past the surprising Suns. He also threw down a nasty windmill dunk:
A technical foul on James in the final minute gave the Suns life, but wasn't enough to overcome the late deficit.
Phoenix was in position to pull off its biggest upset win of the year, but couldn't take care of the ball down the stretch while committing 16 turnovers overall.
After upsetting the Miami Heat on Saturday, the Utah Jazz earned another win on Tuesday. Alec Burks came off the bench to lead the Jazz with 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Gordon Hayward had 15 points, while Jeremy Evans finished with 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
The Lakers were led by another huge game from Chris Kamen, who had 25 points, 14 rebounds and four assists. Wesley Johnson had 15 points and six rebounds in the loss for LA. The Lakers shot just 38.8 percent from the field.