CHA @ HOU: The Rockets led wire-to-wire, James Harden had a triple-double (21 PTS, 11 REB, 11 AST) and my man Patrick Patterson (24 PTS on 10-12 shooting) got his mojo back. Chandler Parsons (24 PTS, 10 REB, 4 AST) and Omer Asik (19 PTS, 15 REB) double-doubled, as coach McHale rode his starters heavily. For Charlotte, Kemba Walker (24) and Ramon Sessions (15) led the way, but Michael Kidd-Gilchrist took a knee to the head and went to hospital with a concussion. Jeffrey Taylor (15 PTS in 28 minutes) will gain fantasy value while MKG is out.
ORL @ MIL: Healthier and at home, the Bucks had five players in double figures, led by Monta Ellis (21 PTS, 11 AST, 4 REB) and Brandon Jennings (20 PTS, 5 AST). Both centers had nice numbers; Nikola Vucevic (20 PTS, 12 REB, 6 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK) led Orlando, while Larry Sanders (17 PTS, 13 REB, 6 BLK) seems fully recovered from his recent illness. Rookie Maurice Harkless (19 PTS, 14 REB, 4 STL) had by far the best game of his pro career. E’Twaun Moore (7 PTS, 7 REB, 6 AST) started at PG for Jameer Nelson (forearm) but missed 11 shots.
WAS @ SAS: Bad luck for Tim Duncan, whose return from a sore knee lasted just 13:34 before he was hurt in a pileup. He has until Wednesday to recover from knee and ankle sprains that we hope are minor. Tony Parker (19 PTS, 12 AST, 4 REB) was efficient as usual; eleven other Spurs shared in the scoring while Manu Ginobili rested a tender hamstring. John Wall (21 PTS, 9 AST, 5 REB) led the Wizards, who were destroyed 51-26 in the first half but never gave up. Bradley Beal (wrist) missed his third game and they need his offense.
NOH @ MIN: The result was predictable, as the Hornets were exhausted. No player on either team got 30 minutes; the Timberwolves had a 62-40 edge in bench scoring. Dante Cunningham (18 PTS on 9-9 shooting) was the unlikely high scorer as Minnesota hit 58.4% of their shots, including several uncontested garbage-time layups.
UTA @ POR: Determination earned the Blazers a split of this home-and-home. Wesley Matthews (ankle) sat out, but Nicolas Batum just missed a triple-double (12 PTS, 10 REB, 9 AST) despite a painful shooting wrist. Damian Lillard (23 PTS, 8 AST) and LaMarcus Aldridge (18 PTS, 11 REB, 2 BLK) were solid, and J.J. Hickson (21 PTS, 11 REB) was particularly strong in crunch time. Randy Foye (23) led Utah, with Paul Millsap (18 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST) contributing, but Al Jefferson (12 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST) has had better nights.
PHO @ GSW: The Warriors are much better with Stephen Curry (29 PTS, 8 AST) and Klay Thompson (17 PTS, 7 REB, 7 AST) continues to play well. David Lee (16 PTS, 12 REB, 7 AST) really enjoys having Andrew Bogut (11 PTS, 7 REB, 3 BLK) on the floor, and Harrison Barnes (21 PTS, 8 REB) was outstanding. Phoenix actually led by four at halftime before weakening; although the good Michael Beasley showed up (24 PTS, 5 REB), Goran Dragic (13 PTS, 7 AST) was no match for Curry and Marcin Gortat (4 PTS, 9 REB) got outworked.