Paul George struggled all night for the Pacers, but why would that stop them now? Instead, George Hill and David West powered the way in a 118-113 overtime win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
Hill scored a career-high 37 points for the Pacers, including three on this game-tying basket in the final seconds of regulation:
That shot forced overtime after Nicolas Batum missed a possible game-winner on the other end. Once there, Hill continued his hot shooting, while West played his physical game en route to 30 points and 10 rebounds. The Pacers big man shot 13-of-16 from the field, making up for George's inefficient 5-of-23 shooting effort.
If there's one thing you can expect from the Wizards this season, it's a dumbfounding ability to play up or down to their competition. Coming off an impressive three-game stretch that saw wins over OKC and Portland plus a double-OT loss to San Antonio, it figures that Washington would come up with a stinker against the flailing Cavs.
John Wall came up with 32 points and 10 assists in this one, but Bradley Beal was abysmal on both sides of the ball. Really, the Wizards' defense as a whole was a disaster, allowing a struggling Cleveland team to shoot 52 percent from the field and 29-of-33 from the free throw line.
Dion Waiters led Cleveland with 24 points, while Kyrie Irving added 23 points and 12 assists. This game was initially supposed to be on ESPN, but the network bumped it in favor of the Blazers-Pacers game. I think we can all agree that was ultimately for the best.
TOBIAS HARRIS GAME-WINNING DUNK ALERT:
Kevin Durant finished with 29 points, 12 assists and five rebounds. Serge Ibaka had 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting and five blocks. None of this mattered once Harris slammed home his 17th and 18th points of the night. Arron Afflalo added 16 points in the win for Orlando.
Things didn't look good for L.A. early on Friday, but the tune changed over the course of the night. Just take a peek at Philadelphia's quarter-by-quarter point totals:
That's an offense going in the wrong direction. In the fourth quarter, the Sixers had six turnovers and three shots blocked. At one point, the team went six minutes, took 10 shots and grabbed six offensive rebounds, but managed to go scoreless the entire time.
The Lakers, meanwhile, had six different players score at least 14 points. Steve Nash, on his 40th birthday, led the way with 19 points and five assists, including this sweet classic dish:
DeMarcus Cousins and Jared Sullinger had quite the duel in this game, each finishing with an identical 31 points and 16 rebounds. Boogie didn't get much help, though, as Sacramento shot 36 percent overall and noticeably missed the offense of Rudy Gay.
For Sullinger, the 31 points marks a career high, topping a 26-point effort against the Trail Blazers back in mid-November. He's had a number of impressive rebounding performances, though, including a 20-20 during a Jan. 15 win over Toronto.
Without Gay, who's battling illness, the Kings turned to big minutes from Travis Outlaw and Derrick Williams. It went about as you'd expect, with the two combining for 16 points on 4-of-18 shooting in 75 minutes.
We've all pretty much agreed about the failed experiment in Detroit, but things looked pretty good on Friday night. With coach Mo Cheeks riding his starters hard, they ended up filling the box score as Brooklyn struggled to handle the Pistons' size.
For those who were optimistic about the Pistons entering the season, this is likely what they envisioned. Andre Drummond was dominant in the paint, going for 16 points and 22 rebounds, while Brandon Jennings narrowly missed a triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Josh Smith went for 23 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four blocks.
The final results were lopsided. The Pistons shot 51 percent, the Nets just 36 percent. Detroit had a 57-40 advantage on the boards. If it weren't for the usual sloppiness on offense, which resulted in 22 turnovers, this would've been a near-perfect effort by the Pistons.
If only these didn't come once every few weeks!
This was a sloppy game, with 23 turnovers apiece, but Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points to get the win against his former team. The Knicks had four reserves score in double-digits, led by Amare Stoudemire's 17-point, eight-rebound effort.
New York actually trailed early in this one, but soon Madison Square Garden was bumping. After the Nuggets took a 33-24 lead midway through the second quarter, the Knicks would roll through the remainder of the game, 93-57.
Also, if the Knicks are going to be not-terrible going forward, they'll badly need Tyson Chandler to play well. It definitely helps when Kenneth Faried is running away from you while you have the ball:
Utah got behind early and tried to shoot its way back into things. Instead, the Jazz shot just a mediocre 12-of-35 from three-point range in favor of attacking the rim, playing right into the hands of an undersized Mavericks team that can't protect the basket.
If there's one thing Dallas can't do, it's stop teams from scoring, but Utah kept shooting jumpers to the joy of its opponents. That prevented the Jazz from drawing fouls and trips to the charity stripe, and the team ended up shooting just 7-of-14 from the free throw line on Friday.
Pelicans 98, Timberwolves 91
Minnesota can't afford many more losses like this one. The Timberwolves played three strong quarters before letting New Orleans romp through the fourth quarter, 37-20, to put away the game. Finishing close contests remains a constant issue for the Timberwolves this year.
Anthony Davis was great for New Orleans, finishing with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Eric Gordon added 20 points. Kevin Love often looked dinged up, but still managed to put up 26 points and 19 rebounds in a losing effort.
Minnesota's now five games out of a playoff spot. That's not good.
Blake Griffin scored 36 points on just 18 shots to lead the Clippers over Toronto at Staples Center. Jamal Crawford added 21 points for Los Angeles, which snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 21-4 at home this season.
Toronto employed hack-a-DeAndre Jordan in the second half. The center made 10-of-22 from the charity stripe and finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds.