Despite all the injuries and tumult around the team, the Nuggets continue to find a way to hang in there against most squads in the league. On Monday night, they did so spectacularly. Randy Foye nailed a 30-footer at the buzzer to give Denver a 116-115 win at home.
Kenneth Faried dropped a career-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, Ty Lawson put up 27 points and the Nuggets managed to shoot 48 percent from the floor. But it was the rebounding advantage that put Denver over the top. They out-rebounded the Clippers (52-37) in the game on a night where Blake Griffin went for 36 points and 11 rebounds.
The Wizards did it! With an impressive 100-90 win over Portland, one of the best teams in the West, Washington is now a game above .500 for the first time in the young careers of John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Wall went for 22 points, Trevor Ariza went for 20 and Kevin Seraphin notched 19 off the bench in the win. The Wizards turned the ball over just six times to the Trail Blazers' 16 giveaways. Portland shot the ball better and out-rebounded Washington, but a turnover discrepancy like that will kill you.
The Pacers are good and the Magic are not, and that was evident in Indianapolis on Monday. Indy held Orlando to 39-percent shooting and won the rebounding battle 52-38, as the best team in the East absolutely railed the conference's second worst, 98-79.
For a team that's apparently just 'coasting', a 34-13 record — the fourth best in the league — must be pretty nice. The Heat held on to beat the Pistons, 102-96, behind 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists from Dwyane Wade and 24, 11 dimes and eight boards from LeBron James. It was only the second time this season Wade has eclipsed the 30-point plateau.
They survived despite 20 turnovers — the Pistons had 21 of their own — but Miami held Detroit to 41 percent shooting in the game. Josh Smith struggled in particular, shooting 5-for-20 from the floor for just 12 points. He added six boards, six assists and six turnovers. Not a good night for Detroit's big offseason acquisition.
Oklahoma City got back on track in a couple of ways in its 86-77 victory over Memphis: a new win streak was started, and a new 30-plus-points streak began for Kevin Durant.
The NBA's leading scorer went for 31 points and Serge Ibaka pitched in 21 and 12 rebounds of his own for the conference-leading Thunder, who are now 39-11 and two games ahead of the Spurs with the tiebreaker in hand. On the other side of the ball, OKC's defense slowed the Grizzlies to 39 percent shooting, including 2-for-16 from three.
Oh man. The Knicks have had plenty of lows this season, but a loss to the nine-win Bucks might just take the cake. Milwaukee welcomed New York to town with a 101-98 win, making life even more miserable for Carmelo Anthony, Mike Woodson and friends.
Anthony hit a three with 19 seconds left to tie the game, 98-98, but Brandon Knight hit the eventual game-winning three-pointer with 1.4 seconds remaining as the Bucks sent the Knicks packing with a brutal kick to their ego. Knight went for 25 points and seven assists, and Khris Middleton dropped 19 points and five three-pointers to help pace Milwaukee.
The Nets needed this one. After winning 11 of their first 12 to start 2014, Brooklyn went on a three-game slide heading into action on Monday, but a 108-102 win over a scrappy Sixers team has righted the ship for the time being.
Philadelphia made this one a little interesting, though, outscoring Brooklyn 33-24 in the fourth quarter, but the Nets held on for the win and maintained their grip on the seventh seed in the East. Paul Pierce went for 25 points, Deron Williams for 21 and Mirza Teletovic 20 in the victory.
Michael Carter-Williams had 21 in the loss, but his Rookie of the Year campaign is still in full-effect.
Spurs 102, Pelicans 95
The Spurs got Tiago Splitter back on Saturday and Danny Green returned on Monday, and suddenly this team is looking more like its old self. Tony Parker had 32 points and nine assists, and Tim Duncan went for 21, seven boards and six blocks as San Antonio came back in the fourth quarter to win, 102-95, in New Orleans.
The Pelicans were outscored 38-19 in the final frame, giving up a 14-point lead to start the final 12 minutes. In fact, the entire New Orleans team only outscored Parker and Duncan 41-37 in the second half. Anthony Davis notched 17 points, 16 boards and four blocks, Eric Gordon dropped in 19 and Anthony Morrow had 20 off the bench.
A sign of a good team is how well it responds against lesser squads on the road, and the Raptors bounced back from a tough loss in Portland with a convincing 94-79 win in Utah on Monday.
All-Star swingman DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, Jonas Valanciunas put in 18 and nine rebounds in the win, and Toronto held Utah to just 41-percent shooting and only three shots from deep. Alec Burks and Marvin Williams combined for 43 of Jazz's 79 points.
Well, that was ugly. The Kings killed the Bulls, 99-70, in Sacramento on Monday night, and Joakim Noah got pretty mad along the way.
The Chicago center appeared to be yelling 'FORK DOO' while gesturing violently at officials, and that'll get you tossed every time. It's easy to get frustrated when you play as poorly as the Bulls did in this one.
DeMarcus Cousins went for 25 points and 16 boards in his return to action, and Isaiah Thomas pitched in a tidy 19 on just nine shots. But the Kings held the Bulls to 27 percent shooting and absolutely crushed them on the boards, 53-30. Chicago scored only 12 points in the first quarter, and it was over not long after that.
The Mavericks continue to keep their head above water, but the Cavs just keep sinking. Dirk Nowitzki went for 23 points and eight rebounds, and Monta Ellis dropped in 22 and seven assists in Dallas' 124-107 blowout of Cleveland.
Dallas shot 55 percent from the field, including 12-of-26 from downtown, and the Mavs out-rebounded the Cavs 45-31 in a dominating performance. Cleveland shot a decent 46 percent itself, but it couldn't get a stop to save its life.