GSW @ ORL: Warriors stars David Lee (24 PTS, 15 REB) and Stephen Curry (25 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST) got their numbers but had very little help. Klay Thompson missed ten of 13 shots and only Jarrett Jack (12 PTS, 7 REB, 6 AST) did anything off the bench. Credit a strong team effort for the Magic putting an end to Golden State’s impressive road winning streak. Nikola Vucevic (12 PTS, 17 REB) was excellent, rookie Andrew Nicholson (15 PTS, 9 REB, 4 BLK) is becoming fantasy-relevant and four other players scored in double figures.
MIN @ NOH: Another hand injury for Kevin Love, whose right thumb is now sore, but he did finish despite shooting terribly (4-of-18) for the second straight game and managed 14 PTS and 9 rebounds. Nikola Pekovic stepped up with a career-high 31 and Andrei Kirilenko (21 PTS, 11 REB) is on a roll. The starting backcourt of Luke Ridnour (15 PTS, 10 AST, 4 STL) and Alexey Shved (13 PTS, 8 AST) played well together, though Ricky Rubio (knee) will soon be back to reduce their minutes. For the Hornets, rookie Austin Rivers had a career-high 27, Greivis Vasquez (15 PTS, 17 AST) was outstanding and Ryan Anderson (20 PTS, 7 REB) did what he could. They weren’t quite good enough.
DET @ BRK: Brook Lopez (9 PTS, 4 REB, 3 BLK) was limited to 24 minutes in his return from a foot injury) so Andray Blatche (16) remained prominent off the bench as the Nets needed two overtimes to edge the stubborn Pistons. Joe Johnson (28 PTS, 5 AST, 4 REB) and Gerald Wallace (25 PTS, 10 REB, 2 STL, 2 BLK) were outstanding. For the visitors, Brandon Knight (22) was the top scorer, Greg Monroe (17 PTS, 8 REB) played a strong 43 minutes and Rodney Stuckey (19 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST) has really embraced his role as sixth man.
MIL @ CLE: The Cavaliers committed 27 turnovers, six by Kyrie Irving (26 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST) to hand this one to the Bucks. C.J. Miles (17) got another start at SG, but was no match for Monta Ellis, who scored 33 points. Anderson Varejao (8 PTS, 18 REB) played his usual strong game. Larry Sanders (10 PTS, 10 REB, 3 BLK) was solid in the middle for Milwaukee and Brandon Jennings (16 PTS, 8 AST, 3 STL) certainly held his own in the PG battle.
BOS @ HOU: Naturally, in the one game I was sure would be high-scoring, the Rockets played their best D of the season. Paul Pierce (18) was the high scorer for Boston; Rajon Rondo (15 PTS, 13 AST) committed 7 turnovers and Kevin Garnett (14) was very quiet. James Harden (21 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST, 3 STL) led the winners, with backup C Greg Smith enjoying another huge night (20 PTS, 6 REB, 3 BLK) off the bench. He’d scored a total of nine points in four games since his previous explosion. Chandler Parsons (15 PTS, 9 REB, 8 AST, 2 STL) was superb.
SAC @ OKC: Superstars Kevin Durant (31 PTS, 5 REB, 4 STL) and Russell Westbrook (13 PTS, 13 AST) played more than I expected as the Kings never folded. Isaiah Thomas played the final 15:42 and somehow scored 26 points. DeMarcus Cousins (10 PTS, 7 REB) was never a factor but Tyreke Evans (21 PTS, 4 REB, 3 STL) looked good in his return to the starting five. The Thunder are simply too deep and too talented; Serge Ibaka (18 PTS, 11 REB) and Kevin Martin (18) were effective all night.