UTA @ HOU: The final margin was just seven points, but the Rockets never trailed and a fourth-quarter flurry by the visitors wasn’t nearly enough. James Harden (29 PTS, 3 AST, 2 REB, 2 STL) made 17 of 18 free throws, while Jeremy Lin (24 PTS, 6 AST) made some key buckets. Gordon Hayward (27 PTS, 8 REB) scored 14 in the final frame and Al Jefferson (18 PTS, 11 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL) played a strong 43 minutes, to no avail. Houston can breathe a little easier in seventh place, while the Jazz have fallen to ninth and have two more tough games in Texas this week.
MIL @ ATL: Against a tired opponent with injury concerns, the Hawks took care of business. Al Horford (26 PTS, 15 REB, 2 STL, 2 BLK) and Jeff Teague (27 PTS, 11 AST) were outstanding, and Josh Smith (12 PTS, 16 REB, 6 AST) was good enough. For Milwaukee, Ersan Ilyasova (back) missed another game and Monta Ellis (5 PTS on 2-14 shooting) was clearly bothered by the wrist he hurt the night before. Brandon Jennings (21 PTS, 5 AST) and Larry Sanders (19 PTS, 14 REB, 4 BLK) got no help at all from the other three starters; J.J. Redick (18 PTS, 6 AST) was solid again off the bench.
BRK @ DAL: After roaring out to a ten-point lead, the Mavericks had no answer for Dallas native Deron Williams (31 PTS, 6 AST, 3 REB) and as we suggested yesterday, they simply can’t stop Brook Lopez (38 PTS, 11 REB, 2 BLK) with a revolving door of underachieving big men. Dirk Nowitzki (16 PTS, 6 REB) has been heroic as his team tried valiantly to make a playoff push, but they have run out of miracles and have a difficult slate of opponents the rest of the way.
BOS @ NOH: Sometimes being right is no fun. Kevin Garnett (20 PTS, 6 REB, 3 STL) returned after missing two games and Paul Pierce (28 PTS, 5 AST, 2 REB, 2 BLK) had another big night but the rest of the Celtics couldn’t get up for this contest the way they did at home vs. Miami on national TV, and the Hornets took advantage. Ryan Anderson (21 PTS, 5 REB) and Eric Gordon (18 PTS, 3 AST, 2 REB) did the scoring, Greivis Vasquez (13 PTS, 7 REB, 6 AST) outplayed the Boston guards and despite the flu, Anthony Davis (9 PTS, 8 REB, 2 BLK) won it with a last-second tip-in.
GSW @ SAS: For the 30th straight time in 16 years, the Warriors lost in San Antonio. Tim Duncan (25 PTS, 13 REB, 6 AST, 4 BLK) made sure of that. Manu Ginobili (16 PTS, 7 AST, 3 REB) and Tiago Splitter (17 PTS, 7 REB, 4 AST) also played well, and Tony Parker (ankle) could be back as soon as Friday, well ahead of schedule. Stephen Curry 24 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL) hit four 3-pointers in defeat, but despite a double-double, David Lee (10 PTS, 12 REB, 2 STL) was no match for the Big Fundamental.
WAS @ PHO: You could say that was rock-bottom for the Suns, allowing a 5-26 road team missing its center to beat them easily. John Wall (19 PTS, 8 AST) led the Wizards, with Kevin Seraphin (16 PTS, 5 REB, 2 BLK) filling in capably for Emeka Okafor (illness) and Nene (17 PTS, 8 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL) also contributing. Goran Dragic (18 PTS, 11 AST, 3 REB, 3 STL) and Wes Johnson (18 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST) had no help at all, as Phoenix shot less than 34% for the night. Luis Scola (11 PTS, 5 REB) came off the bench early, as Markieff Morris was scoreless in 10:33 and benched thereafter.