LA Lakers 106, Minnesota 101: There’s already panic in LA, but if the Lakers lost back-to-back games to the Bucks and Wolves, it would have been DEFCON 2. Kobe scored 35 points and collected 14 rebounds. Ricky Rubio had another nightmare from the field (2-for-13) but he did have eight assists and zero turnovers. Kevin Love went for 33-14 and if he keeps up this pace, he might finish in the top five in points (4th) and rebounds (2nd).
LA Clippers 109, Denver 105: Chauncey Billups returned to Denver and scored a season-high 32 points, including six three-pointers (or, as many as the Nuggets made as a team). Denver, which played without Birdman and Ty Lawson, had a 6-game win streak snappedand fell to 14-6, which is still good for 2nd best record in the West. The Clippers (11-6) have played fewer games than anyone else in the league to this point, but the game at Denver started LA’s toughest stretch so far this season – five games in seven nights. They’re in Oklahoma City tonight.
Boston 87, Cleveland 88: Brutal way to end a 4-game winning streak – giving up the final 12 points of the game and losing. At home. Kyrie Irving’s whirling dervish layup in traffic was the game-winner. Irving finished with 23 points and at the 1/3 mark in the season, he’s your ROY. Ricky Rubio’s been terrific, but Irving’s been off-the-charts good. For what it’s worth, Rajon Rondo did not play (wrist). Cleveland: 8-11. Boston 9-10.
Dallas 101, San Antonio 100, OT: The Spurs rallied behind their bench in the 2nd half, then Jason Terry (34 points) saved the Mavs’ with this clutch shot to tie it up. Then, Danny Green appeared to win it for San Antonio! But it was waved off by the refs. Then, Dallas survived in overtime. Some game. Dirk scored 10 points and took 13 rebounds in his first game back from resting his knee.
Indiana 106, Orlando 85: The Magic are falling apart and the guess here is that using the Super Bowl as a smokescreen, trade talks quietly ramp up this week. Dwight Howard (4-for-15 on FTs) is pissed and the hot start is a distant memory. It was a grueling week for Orlando, which lost four of five. The four losses came by a combined 86 points (8, 21, 26, 31).
Atlanta 94, New Orleans 72: The Hawks are 15-6. Yes, the same Hawks that lost
JordanJamal Crawford in the offseason and Al Horford earlier this season. Sounds like last year, right? A decent showing in the playoffs by Jeff Teague has carried over to this year and he’s playing very well (24 points in the win). For New Orleans, Chris Kaman sat out for the second game in a row due to an “organizational decision.” The Celtics may be interested.