The Houston Rockets headed into the Staples Center as the hottest team in the NBA, but Kevin McHale's squad had no answer for a well balanced attack from the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. Five L.A. scorers reached double-figures as the Clippers edged the Rockets 101-93. It was the third straight win for Los Angeles.
Blake Griffin didn't have his most effecient game of the season, but the star forward still wound up with 25 points and 16 rebounds on 11-of-25 shooting from the field. Darren Collison provided a necessary spark off the bench and hit some huge shots in the fourth quarter to finish with 10 points and five assists. Chris Paul was effective too, posting 14 points and nine assists in 39 minutes.
The Rockets had won 10 of their last 11 games, but defense did them in in the second half. Dwight Howard led Houston with 23 points and 11 rebounds on 9-of-12 shooting. James Harden added 19 points and Jordan Hamilton had 16 points in the loss.
Wins have continued to elude Boston despite Rajon Rondo's return, but the team delivered a strong performance at home Wednesday against Atlanta. Jerryd Bayless was actually the star for Boston, going off for 29 points on 12-of-21 shooting, but Rondo's 22-point, 11-assist outing was vintage for the former All-Star.
Among his many dishes was this delicious set-up to Jeff Green in the first half:
Green finished with 17 for Boston, which improves to 20-39 this season.
Orlando entered riding a 15-game road losing streak -- tied for the longest in franchise history -- but easily handled a 76ers team that's been unimaginably bad this month. Philadelphia just can't beat anyone these days, and that includes fellow lottery clubs, even at home.
Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 21 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. He was one of three Orlando players to record a double-double, along with guards Victor Oladipo (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Jameer Nelson (16 points, 12 assists).
Thaddeus Young led Philadelphia with 17 points, while Eric Maynor added 13 off the bench. The 76ers recorded just eight turnovers, an uncharacteristically low number for such a fast-paced team, but shot just 37 percent from the field.
The Lakers shot 15-of-28 from three-point range on Wednesday night, making this a pretty remarkable win for Memphis. It's almost impossible to beat teams when they're nailing shots like that from behind the arc, but the Grizzlies won the battle on the boards and found enough offense of their own.
Much of the victory can be attributed to the Grizzlies' dominance in the post. While the Lakers owned things on the perimeter, Memphis held a 56-34 advantage on points in the paint, led by Marc Gasol's 14-point, 12-rebound, five-assist performance.
The Lakers had five players hit at least two three-pointers, led by Wesley Johnson and Jordan Farmar, who hit four apiece. Jodie Meeks led all scorers with 19 points, while Pau Gasol added 17 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
New Orleans lost another one Wednesday, but more importantly, Anthony Davis left the game with a sprained shoulder. It's unclear how severe the injury is or whether it will require him to miss any time, but it's not a great development as the Pelicans try to finish the season with some positive momentum:
As for the game itself, New Orleans had a handle on things early before the Mavericks ran away with the win. The Pelicans led by seven after the first quarter, but trailed by halftime and never got the lead back.
Monta Ellis led all scorers with 23 points in addition to recording seven assists, four rebounds and four steals. Dirk Nowitzki finished with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 27 minutes. Eric Gordon was New Orleans' top scorer with 19.
Davis played just 13 minutes in the loss, recording six points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
Cleveland rallying with a 42-point fourth quarter to beat one of the best teams in the league, on the road no less? Sure, what the heck. The Cavaliers have clearly stopped trying to make any sense to the rest of us.
Kyrie Irving was at his most electric in the win, going for 31 points, nine assists, five rebounds, four steals and one absurdly dirty crossover:
For OKC, the usual suspects all played well, with Kevin Durant (28 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists) narrowly missing a triple-double. Turnovers were an issue, though, and the Cavaliers capitalized on opportunities with 11 three-pointers and a near-perfect 23-of-24 effort from the free throw line.
It's just the sixth road loss of the season for Oklahoma City, which is now 23-6 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
If you want to talk about "balanced offense," San Antonio put on a clinic Wednesday night. Eight different players, including four reserves, scored double-digits for the Spurs, led by Marco Belinelli's 20 points (on eight shots) in 27 minutes.
The Pistons found some offensive rhythm of their own, shooting 50 percent from the field, but Brandon Jennings was limited to just 13 minutes by a sore toe and the team's lack of depth was glaring. Six different players played 30-plus minutes for Detroit, the other six playing a combined 30.
Manu Ginobili also had a strong night for San Antonio, finishing with 16 points, nine assists and three steals. He did have a brief shoe malfunction, though:
Andre Drummond led Detroit with 16 points and 17 rebounds. It's almost ho hum for the big man at this point.
This is what the Bulls do: welcome really good teams into the United Center, only to beat them down with a brand of basketball that seemingly only Tom Thibodeau can preach. Facing one of the game's better offenses, the Chicago defense clamped down and delivered a classic performance Wednesday.
Not a single Warriors starter broke double-digits Wednesday, with Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala each being held to five points. Jordan Crawford led Golden State with 16 points off the bench, while David Lee and Harrison Barnes added 11 apiece.
The second quarter proved to be game-defining for the Bulls in this one, as the 35-point outburst gave the team enough cushion to hold on through the second half. The Warriors couldn't really muster a comeback, and eventually turned the game over to backups once it became clear a rally wouldn't coalesce.
Joakim Noah continues to fill his unusual role in Chicago's schemes. The All-Star center had just eight points in the win, but added 17 rebounds and seven assists as he played catalyst on both ends of the floor. Taj Gibson came off the bench to lead the Bulls with 21.
Showing some signs of life lately, this may be Utah's most impressive win to date. The Jazz are now 17-17 since hitting starting the season a brutal 15 games below .500, and have essentially followed through on preseason expectations as an up-and-coming team still in progress.
Gordon Hayward led the way for Utah on Wednesday with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Falling just short of a triple-double, he was the primary playmaker for an offense that finished the night shooting 57 percent from the field and 50 percent from three.
All things told, Phoenix simply didn't have answers defensively in this one. Maybe the team lost some energy after missing shots early -- the Suns finished the game shooting 39 percent overall -- but the Jazz were racking up points with guys like Jeremy Evans and Diante Garrett. It's not a great look.
Gerald Green was really the only silver lining for Phoenix. He scored 17 points in 32 minutes, and slammed home arguably the highlight of the game:
Trail Blazers 124, Nets 80
Portland held a comfortable lead for the entire game, but the Blazers' fourth quarter performance against Brooklyn made this an embarrassing result for Jason Kidd's team. The Trail Blazers out-scored Brooklyn 42-21 in the final period to complete the season sweep of the Nets Wednesday night. Brooklyn shot just 39.5 percent from the field and an even worse 4-of-22 from three-point range. The Blazers aren't the kind of team you want to get behind, but Brooklyn ended up trailing by 24 points at halftime.
That huge deficit would ultimately prove insurmountable for the Nets, who have continued to play strong basketball in 2014. This was a weak outing, arguably led by Mason Plumlee's 10 points in 13 minutes, but it breaks a recent trend and comes against one of the better teams in the league.
Portland didn't have LaMarcus Aldridge in this one, as the team went small and started Dorell Wright instead. He didn't do much, but Nicolas Batum had 19 points, six rebounds and six assists. Mo Williams came off the bench and added 21 points, six rebounds and seven assists.