MIA @ ATL: It may have been the final game in a Hawks uniform for Josh Smith (10 PTS, 9 REB, 9 AST) but he was no match for LeBron James (24 PTS, 11 AST, 6 REB, 4 STL) as the Heat won with a gigantic fourth-quarter rally. Al Horford (27 PTS, 9 REB, 2 BLK) dominated Chris Bosh (6 PTS, 6 REB, 2-for-10) but Miami got 20 from Dwyane Wade and the bench was excellent. Shane Battier (17) hit five triples and Ray Allen (15) added two as they erased a 10-point deficit to win by 13.
PHI @ MIN: As expected, the return of Andrei Kirilenko (15 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 3 BLK) provided a spark and Nikola Pekovic (27 PTS, 18 REB, 2 BLK) did the rest. OK, Ricky Rubio (11 PTS, 6 REB, 6 AST, 3 STL) and Derrick Williams (17 PTS, 8 REB) helped a little. The Sixers never gave up; Jrue Holiday (16 PTS, 5 AST, 3 REB, 5 STL) and Evan Turner (17 PTS, 6 REB) kept it close, but without Thaddeus Young (hamstring) they are offensively challenged.
NOH @ CLE: Another game we got exactly right — Eric Gordon (rest) was a DNP-CD and Kyrie Irving (35 PTS, 7 AST, 5 REB, 2 STL) strutted his All-Star stuff. Tristan Thompson (9 PTS, 13 REB) and Dion Waiters (16 PTS, 3 AST) also contributed, though Thompson’s 2-for-8 from the floor and 5-12 from the line were disappointing. For the Hornets, Brian Roberts (17 PTS) closed with a flurry — ten points in the final 1:46 — that was too little, too late.
ORL @ DAL: It was a solid effort by Orlando but they were no match in the first or fourth quarters. Shawn Marion (17 PTS, 8 REB) led a balanced Dallas attack and the bench scored a whopping 54 points, topped by Elton Brand (17 PTS, 5 REB, 2 BLK) and Vince Carter (14 PTS, 8 AST, 3 REB). The other Mavs starters didn’t have brilliant fantasy lines; Darren Collison (9 PTS, 9 AST) and Dirk Nowitzki (12 PTS, 9 REB, 4 AST) missed 16 shots between them. Arron Afflalo (21 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST) and rookie Maurice Harkless (a career-high 20, with 8 rebounds) played very well for the Magic, while Nikola Vucevic (16 PTS, 13 REB) had yet another double-double.
PHO @ GSW: That was more like it for Golden State, as Klay Thompson (28 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST) was absolutely brilliant and David Lee (19 PTS, 11 REB, 5 AST) double-doubled. Even when Stephen Curry (20 PTS, 11 AST) plays 40+ minutes, Jarrett Jack (21 PTS, 4 AST) is one of the league’s best sixth men. Goran Dragic (20 PTS, 10 AST, 4 REB, 5 STL) had another fine night for the Suns, and despite a serious family medical issue, Jermaine O’Neal (17 PTS, 12 REB, 2 BLK) is playing his best ball in about three years.
BOS @ LAL: Seven Lakers scored in double figures, as they honored the memory of late owner Jerry Buss with a fine performance. Kobe Bryant (16 PTS, 7 AST, 4 REB) was content to facilitate, Dwight Howard (24 PTS, 12 REB) was a beast and Earl Clark (14 PTS) grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds. The Celtics trailed throughout, despite big games from Paul Pierce (26 PTS, 5 AST, 4 REB) and Courtney Lee (20 PTS, 4 REB). Kevin Garnett (12 PTS, 4 REB) was ineffective against Howard and played just 24 minutes.
February 21 Game Previews
MIA @ CHI: The TNT doubleheader kicks off with a good one. The Heat might have been a little sluggish early last night, but they poured it on late. They will be severely tested by the Bulls, who looked good in New Orleans on Tuesday. In particular, Joakim Noah was a force in that win and Miami has nobody who can stop him in the paint. Otherwise, I think this will be a tight defensive battle that’s decided in crunch time.
SAS @ LAC: The nightcap is where the action is for fantasy hoopsters. Chris Paul against Tony Parker? Sign me up. High-flying Blake Griffin vs. the Big Fundamental Tim Duncan is another fantastic matchup. The two deepest rosters in the league, the probability of a fast pace and plenty of talented finishers make this the game to focus on in daily leagues. For all my DraftStreet picks, read on.