Fantasy Spin: Nuggets Outrun Lakers; Pierce Leads Celtics to OT Win

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Sometimes the Nuggets remind you of a 4×100 relay team at a track meet. They sprinted to 35 points in the first quarter and the Lakers had no answer. Denver finished with 33 points on the fast break, the Lakers three; L.A. was also outscored 78-50 in the paint because they allowed a lot of dunks and layups. Danilo Gallinari (thigh bruise) was a late scratch, so Wilson Chandler (23 PTS, 4 REB) got to start, and Ty Lawson (22 PTS, 8 AST) stayed on the throttle. Despite their defense-first orientation, both Andre Iguodala (14 PTS, 12 AST, 4 REB) and Kenneth Faried (12 PTS, 10 REB, 3 STL, 2 BLK) double-doubled. Kobe Bryant (29 PTS, 9 AST, 6 REB) and Dwight Howard (15 PTS, 14 REB, 4 BLK) led the Lakers, as both teams shot better than 55%.

Other February 25 Game Recaps

BOS @ UTA: Never underestimate the Celtics. Five games in six nights, all on the road out West, and they saved the best for last. Paul Pierce was heroic all night (26 PTS, 8 AST, 7 REB) and brilliant in overtime. Avery Bradley had a season-high 18 points (plus 5 REB, 4 AST and 2 STL) and four other Boston players hit double figures. Gordon Hayward (26 PTS, 3 AST, 2 REB) had the hot hand for Utah, hitting four 3-pointers in 36:26 off the bench. Al Jefferson (15 PTS, 11 REB) and Paul Millsap (16 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST) weren’t bad, they just couldn’t match the determination of Kevin Garnett (13 PTS, 10 REB) and his teammates.

WAS @ TOR: So much for the MVP campaign of Rudy Gay. He did have 6 REB, 4 AST and 4 STL, but shot 1-for-11 and finished with seven points, by far his worst game for Toronto. DeMar DeRozan (25 PTS, 4 REB) and Kyle Lowry (18 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK) were the only Raptors to do much of anything, as the team shot 37%. For Washington, Bradley Beal (20 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST) stayed hot and Emeka Okafor (8 PTS, 13 REB) stayed strong. This was an ugly display — 40-32 at halftime — and an inexcusably poor effort for a home team that had been sneaking into the playoff picture. Maybe the Raps should have been practicing instead of dancing.

ATL @ DET: That was a slightly better game for the Pistons, though they were no match for Al Horford — 23 PTS, 22 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK — and never seriously threatened. Without Will Bynum (1-game suspension) and Brandon Knight (knee) it was a big night for Rodney Stuckey (22 PTS, 5 REB) and Greg Monroe (15 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST) was OK, but the Hawks are in a groove. Josh Smith (23 PTS, 7 REB, 4 AST) and Jeff Teague (20 PTS, 12 AST, 2 REB, 2 STL) are must-starts every night, and coach Larry Drew mixes and matches at the other positions. Out of nowhere for Detroit, Jonas Jerebko scored 21 points in 24 minutes off the bench, but 16 came in the fourth, when the game was decided.

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