Cleaning up last night’s action in the Association…
SIXERS 96, Magic 87
PTS: Elfrid Payton – 21 | REBS: Robert Covington – 11 | ASTS: Ish Smith – 11
Top DOG of the Night: Ish Smith (13 points, 11 dimes)
Quick Recap: A late three by Isaiah Canaan (15 points off the bench) pushed the Sixers to their 6th victory. Ish Smith, an evil sorcerer hell-bent on ruining Philly’s draft prospects, was magical once again – he sliced and diced his way to a double-double.
Takeaway: Awful, awful loss for the Magic, who now sit a full game behind the Celtics for 8th in the East.
Heat 87, WIZARDS 106
PTS: John Wall/Bradley Beal – 18 | REBS: Marcin Gortat – 12 | ASTS: Wall – 10
Top DOG of the Night: John Wall (18 points, 10 dimes)
Quick Recap: On the second night of a back to back, the Heat just couldn’t defend or take care of the ball (20 TOs). John Wall & Bradley Beal (18 pts each) led six Wizards in double figures.
Takeaway: Miami continues to slide – losers of three straight. To make matters worse, Hassan Whiteside left the game with a sprained ankle.
Washington remains hot and cold but the re-emergence of Beal and Nene (16 points) is a good indicator of future success.
CAVS 91, Nets 78
PTS: LeBron James/Kevin Love – 17 | REBS: Love – 18 | ASTS: Donald Sloan – 9
Top DOG of the Night: Kevin Love (17 points, 18 boards)
Quick Recap: On the heels of an embarrassing loss to Golden State, LeBron James and the Cavs got back on track by methodically cutting the Nets. Kevin Love was engaged all night, tallying 17 points and 18 boards in the W.
Takeaway: Featuring Love after a rough go (3 points, 6 boards) v. GSW was important for Coach David Blatt. And facing a struggling squad like Brooklyn, you know, might have played a part.
Though the immediate future looks bleak, the Nets are desperately searching for a bright spot in the midst of another lost season.
Jazz 111, KNICKS 118
PTS: Carmelo Anthony – 30 | REBS: Robin Lopez – 12 | ASTS: Anthony – 9
Top DOG of the Night: Carmelo Anthony (30 points, 9 assists, 7 boards)
Quick Recap: Carmelo & Gordon Hayward were going AT IT, alternating huge shots down the stretch. But it was an unlikely play by Derrick Williams that sealed the deal for NY in OT!
Takeaway: The Knicks have won 6 straight in the Garden and are back at .500.
Hayward and Rodney Hood (29 points, 6 rebounds, 5 dimes, clutch 3 late in the 4th) are quickly transforming into the league’s most underrated wing combo.
Celtics 109, RAPTORS 115
PTS: DeMar DeRozan – 34 | REBS: Jonas Valanciunas – 12 | ASTS: Isaiah Thomas – 9
Top DOG of the Night: DeMar DeRozan (34 points, 6 dimes)
Quick Recap: Is DeMar an All-Star in 2016? Well, leading his squad to a tough victory, over a divisional opponent, with 34 points (18 in the 3rd) definitely helps his case.
Takeaway: Aside from DeRozan, aggressive versions of Valanciunas (19 & 12) and Terrence Ross (14 points) made the difference.
Boston looks to rebound v. the Bulls on Friday. And speaking of Chicago…
WARRIORS 125, Bulls 94
PTS: Derrick Rose – 29 | REBS: Andrew Bogut – 12 | ASTS: Stephen Curry – 11
Top DOG of the Night: Stephen Curry (25 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds)
Quick Recap: After dismantling the Cavs on Monday, the Dubs put in an equally-as-impressive performance in Chicago, trouncing the Bulls by 31. Derrick Rose scored a game-high 29 but it wasn’t enough to overcome GSW’s 53% shooting & 38 DIMES.
Takeaway: In a pseudo-statement game, Steph and the Dubs obliterated another Eastern Conference foe.
Without Joakim Noah, the Bulls have a LOT of work to do. They simply got blitzed by a better opponent but generally look a step behind on both sides.
PISTONS 123, Rockets 114
PTS: James Harden – 33 | REBS: Harden – 17 | ASTS: Harden – 14
Bittersweet Top DOG of the Night: James Harden (33 points, 17 boards, 14 assists)
Quick Recap: Andre Drummond took 36 FTs, missing an NBA-record 23 of them. Despite that, Detroit spoiled a MONSTER triple-double from Harden (33, 17 & 14 – 1st player to post such numbers since Wilt Chamberlain in 1968) and withstood Houston’s hacking and slashing.
Takeaway: All 5 Piston starters reached double digits, including a redemption game from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (22 points, ejected in a loss to CHI on Monday).
Though the Rox had no trouble scoring the ball, the defense took a major hit after Dwight Howard left the game with an ankle injury.
Hornets 95, THUNDER 109
PTS: Kevin Durant – 26 | REBS: Steven Adams – 10 | ASTS: Russell Westbrook – 15
Top DOG of the Night: Russell Westbrook (16 points, 15 assists, 8 rebounds)
Quick Recap: Russ nearly missed a trip-dub (16, 15, & 8) while stomping all over Charlotte. With 10 assists in the first half, Westbrook was a downhill runner who found gaps…and, uh, dished the rock to shooters.
Takeaway: Durant remains scorching-hot (29th straight game of 20+ points), Westbrook’s power level is multiplying and Enes Kanter & KYLE SINGLER are trending upwards.
Charlotte got a lot of assistance off the bench (57 points) but didn’t come close to containing Westbrook and Durant when the starters got a crack at it (OKC outscored Charlotte by 19 points combined in the 1st & 3rd quarters).
Wolves 94, MAVS 106
PTS: Chandler Parsons – 30 | REBS: Karl-Anthony Towns – 17 | ASTS: Ricky Rubio – 11
Top DOG of the Night: Chandler Parsons (30 points, 8 rebounds)
Quick Recap: Another day, another late lead lost by the Wolves. Dallas rode a season-high 30 points from Parsons for a tight W in OT without Dirk Nowitzki (Charlie V. stepped in and produced 14 points).
Takeaway: It was the latest in a string of gutsy wins for Dallas, who is now the unofficial sleeper in the West.
Much like last night, Towns (27 points, 17 rebounds, 6 blocks) and Andrew Wiggins (23 points, 7 rebounds) beasted but the young pups struggled to close it out.
KINGS 112, Lakers 93
PTS: DeMarcus Cousins – 36 | REBS: Cousins – 16 | ASTS: Rajon Rondo – 17
Top DOG of the Night: DeMarcus Cousins (36 points, 16 rebounds)
Quick Recap: DeMarcus Cousins had a classic “Boogie Night” (def: destructive game where Boogie dominates down low, feeds teammates, swacks a 3, and takes a charge (or two) en route to a Kings victory) and easily dispatched LA. Willie Cauley-Stein (12 points & 10 boards) looked comfortable playing alongside Cousins and altered his fair share of shots at the rim.
Takeaway: At 18-23, THE KINGS HAVE NOW MOVED TO 8TH IN THE WEST. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
Besides a Jordan Clarkson jam, LA didn’t put up much of a fight.
*KOBE WATCH* – 15 points, on 4/13 shooting (5th consecutive game played)
HAWKS 104, Blazers 98
PTS: CJ McCollum – 28 | REBS: Meyers Leonard – 10 | ASTS: Jeff Teague – 6
Top DOG of the Night: Paul Millsap (23 points, 9 rebounds)
Quick Recap: Late hoops from Al Horford & Millsap sealed the deal for ATL, who vaulted ahead of Chicago for the number 3 spot in the East.
Takeaway: ATL was steady all night (3 wins in a row), boosted by the continued stellar performance of Kent Bazemore (23 points, 5 boards, 5 dimes).
Seems like McCollum and Damian Lillard take turns leading the charge. The Blazers need a more consistent source of points to stay in the playoff race.