Around the Rim: Heat lose in more ways that one
Nuggets 117 Heat 104: Well, the Miami Heat are human again this season. Lebron James had 35 points but Dwayne Wade badly rolled his right ankle in the fourth quarter and his team couldn’t keep up after that. It was all energy for the Nuggets who put up 31 points in the quarter to literally run away with the win.
Ty Lawson was back, scoring 24 points while Nene had 17 points and 12 rebounds. The Nuggets have owned the Heat in their building, having won their 10th straight in Denver. Wade is hopefully to play on Tuesday against the Spurs which happens to be his birthday but after seeing how awkwardly he landed on his ankle it seems doubtful. The injuries are piling up for him as he has already dealt with a foot injury and a strained calf this season. And without a healthy Wade, the Heat are struggling.
Bulls 88 Celtics 79: This game pointed out what is becoming very obvious: the Celtics are just old. Sooner or later, it happens to everyone but it’s happening to the stars on this team at the same time. Kevin Garnett slowed down over the past few years but now Paul Pierce seems to have hit the wall, averaging just shy of 14 points and shooting only 36.6% on the season. The Celtics are dragging already at 4-6 and a frantic schedule is the last thing this team needed.
Meanwhile, the youthful Bulls controlled the pace and led by as much as 20 points. Derrick Rode returned to the lineup after missing one game with a bad toe to score 25 while Luol Deng – who is having a fantastic season – put on 21 points and 16 rebounds..
Lakers 97 Cavaliers 92: Yep, Kobe did it again. He went over 40 for the third game in a row, this game putting up 42 in the victory. And he says his bad wrist is starting to feel better. The last time he went on a tear like this was back in March of 2007 when he topped 40 or more in five straight games.
LA had a big lead but nearly blew it down the stretch, scoring just 15 points in the fourth quarter where Kobe got cold. Pau Gasol had 19 points and 10 rebounds for a banged up Lakers team that was missing Steve Blake (torn cartilage in rib cage that will sideline him for 3-4 weeks), Metta World Peace (back spasms) while Josh McRoberts played just a few minutes for the first time in over a week as he deals with a bad toe.
Spurs 99 Trail Blazers 83: While Portland and Denver have show to be tough places to play this season, the team with the best home court advantage this season is the Spurs. They’re now 8-0 at home and are once again playing lock down defense while has Gregg Popovich off the soapbox.
Tony Parker came up big late, scoring 12 of his 20 in the fourth quarter. But the story of the Spurs right now is the interesting rotation with no one playing more that 35 minutes and the team getting contributions from guys like Kawhi Leonard, Daniel Green, James Anderson and Gary Neal.
LaMarcus Aldridge has 29 points but the Blazers struggled shooting after the first quarter. Plus, they lost Marcus Camby with a sprained ankle that will keep him out for at least their next game.
76ers 120 Wizards 89: The Sixers got out of the gate quickly, scoring 33 in the first quarter and led by 14 at the half. Then they really cranked it up and led by as much in 34 in the third quarter in a crushing victory. Jodie Meeks had a career-high 26 points on 10-of-11 shooting and six others on Philly scored in double-digits.
Timberwolves 87 Hornets 80: Kevin Love was on his way to a bad shooting night for the third straight game but got it together in the second half as he torched the Hornets for 34 points and 15 rebounds. Ricky Rubio got his first career start and was putting on a passing clinic, racking up nine assists. But his biggest play was connecting on a couple of late free throws to break a tie under two minutes to go. Emeka Okefor had 16 points and 14 boards while Eric Gordon missed yet another game with a sore knee.
Nets 110 Suns 103: Deron Williams has been sulking and visibly upset for most of the season. But he didn’t show any of that here as he schooled the Suns with 35 points and 14 assists. Both Steve Nash and Grant Hill sat this one out with injuries. Marcin Gortat led Phoenix with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Rockets 103 Kings 89: It looks like Samuel Dalembert has worked his way into game shape as he had 21 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks in a dominating performance for the veteran. Kyle Lowry had 25 points as the Rockets took control of this game in the second half. Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 27 while DeMarcus Cousins had an awful night with just 4 points and 4 rebounds.
Mavericks 102 Bucks 76: This was never in doubt as the Mavericks coasted to their fourth straight win. Dirk Nowitzki became the 23 player in NBA history to score 23,000 points while he and the rest of the Dallas starters didn’t even play in the fourth quarter with the game in control. Jason Terry had 17 off the bench. Brandon Jennings led the Bucks with 19.
Pacers 95 Raptors 90: This was looking bad for the Pacers, down 16 in the first half and Danny Granger getting tossed for arguing with the officials. But the team chipped away at the lead and pulled it out with a strong fourth quarter. George Hill came off the bench for 22 points and the team hit 32-of-38 free throws. DeMar DeRozan had 23 for the Raptors who were without Andrea Bargnani with a strained left calf.
Pistons 98 Bobcats 81: The Pistons win! Detroit snapped its six-game losing streak and got their first road win on the season behind a career-high 22 points from Jonas Jerebko. The Pistons controlled the glass with the smallest guy on the court Brandon Knight pulling down 10 rebounds to go with 13 points. Byron Mullens had another good performance for the Bobcats with 18 points.