College basketball attempted to steal the show with Selection Sunday, but the NBA stepped up with results that were critical to the 2014 playoffs. A perennial contender became the first team to reach 50 wins on the season, a young player continued to solidify his status as a rising star and a Hall of Famer turned back the hands of time.
Here’s everything that you need to know about last night’s action.
1. Manu Ginobili scored 21 points to lead seven San Antonio Spurs players in scoring during a 122-104 victory over the Utah Jazz. It was a huge win for San Antonio, which secured its 10th consecutive victory—something that it’s done an NBA-best 16 times sine Gregg Popovich became head coach in 1996-97.
Most significantly, the Spurs became the first team to reach 50 wins in 2013-14.
2. The Spurs have won 50 games in 15 straight seasons. The next-best team has done it in one consecutive season. Does that count as a streak?
3. Ray Allen scored a season-high 25 points to lead the Miami Heat past the red-hot Houston Rockets 113-104. It was the second consecutive game in which Allen set a new season-high, but the true story was his 14-point eruption in the fourth quarter.
That scoring output was much-needed, as the victory snapped Miami’s longest home winning streak since March of 2011. It was two whole games.
4. Anthony Davis set a career-high in scoring for the second consecutive night as the New Orleans Pelicans took down the Boston Celtics 121-120. Davis finished with 40 points, 21 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a steal to counter 14 assists from Rajon Rondo.
Davis is the first player to record at least 40 points and 20 rebounds in the same game since Dwight Howard on January 12, 2012.
5. Kevin Durant scored 30 points, but the Oklahoma City Thunder fell apart as the Dallas Mavericks came to Chesapeake Energy Arena and won 109-86. Shawn Marion led the charge with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting, while Vince Carter scored 18 off of the bench.
Durant has scored at least 25 points in 31 consecutive games, which is the longest streak since Michael Jordan did it in 40 straight in 1986-87.
6. Gerald Green scored 28 points to lead the Phoenix Suns past the Toronto Raptors by a score of 121-113. It was a surprising win for Phoenix, which allowed the Raptors’ starting lineup to score a collective 102 points.
At 16-15, the Suns have doubled their road win total from 2012-13. Talk about dramatic improvements.
7. Stephen Curry erupted for 37 points and Klay Thompson scored 27 to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 113-112 road victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard put up 26 points and Nicolas Batum tallied 23 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block, but Portland still fell.
At 21-15 away from home, Golden State has secured its first winning road record since 2007-08.
8. Blake Griffin ripped off 21 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists to lead the Los Angeles Clippers past the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-80. Chris Paul added 16 points, 15 assists and two steals, while DeAndre Jordan recorded 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Clippers have won an NBA-best 11 consecutive games and sit just one game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
9. The Charlotte Bobcats continued to position themselves for a postseason run with a 101-92 road victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Kemba Walker stepped up with 21 points and eight assists, and Al Jefferson scored 20 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor.
At 14-20 on the road, Charlotte has its most wins away from home in franchise history.
10. Kevin Martin scored a game-high 31 points to help the Minnesota Timberwolves take down the Sacramento Kings 104-102. Derrick Williams torched his former team for 26 points and 11 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Sacramento from suffering another loss.
At 33-32, Minnesota matches its highest win total since 2005-06.
- The last time the Spurs failed to win 50 games, they went 37-13 and won the NBA championship in a lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.
- Blake Griffin has scored at least 20 points in 26 straight games, which further extends his franchise record.