Besides a tight win by Washington and Milwaukee and a surprising victory by Utah, Toronto, Houston and Sacramento also provided electrifying games that kept supporters at the edge of their seats throughout.
Chicago Bulls 99-101 Washington Wizards
Banking on a huge second half highlighted by a 32-16 third quarter, the Wizards edged the undermanned Bulls to extend their winning streak to three. John Wall was pivotal in Washington’s fightback as he scored 26 points and 14 assists, including the team’s last four points.
Chicago, on the other hand, failed to keep up with Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade out.
Atlanta Hawks 117-97 Brooklyn Nets
Atlanta started hot, and they maintained their lead throughout to pile more misery on the NBA-worst Brooklyn. A balanced attack – headed by Dennis Schroder – and a rock-solid defence that registered 11 steals and 12 blocks did the damage on the Nets who struggled mightily on getting easy shots and open looks.
Boston Celtics 106-114 Toronto Raptors
A 13-4 run sparked by a Kyle Lowry three in the last three minutes of play propelled the Raptors over the spirited Celtics. DeMar DeRozan also came up big for Toronto as he scored 41 and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Isaiah Thomas was the only bright spot for Boston with his 27 points.
Charlotte Hornets 114-121 Houston Rockets
Another 40-point triple-double from MVP frontrunner James Harden powered the Rockets’ demolition of the Hornets. The game was not that close as the scores suggest with Houston leading by as much as 17 entering the final period, though they relaxed a little bit by the fourth which allowed Kemba Walker and Charlotte to cut the deficit.
Milwaukee Bucks 109-107 San Antonio Spurs
Despite missing the services of star Giannis Antetokounmpo who played for just nine minutes before sitting out, the Bucks managed to beat the Spurs at the AT&T Center for the first time since 2008. Michael Beasley was sensational for Milwaukee as he filled the void left by the Greek Freak, scoring 28 points on 61.1 percent shooting.
Rookie Malcolm Brogdon also impressed with 17 points, which include the three-pointer that gave them the lead for good.
Cleveland Cavaliers 92-100 Utah Jazz
The hot-handed Utah used a strong second quarter to trounce Cleveland who just made 31 out of their 85 field goal attempts. Gordon Hayward set the tone for the team as he recorded 28 points on 83.3 percent shooting to lead five other Jazz who scored in double figures.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, meanwhile, weren’t able to back LeBron James as they both shoot below 30 percent on more than ten attempts.
Miami Heat 95-107 Golden State Warriors
It was a commendable effort from the Heat who only had nine healthy players available for the game. However, Hassan Whiteside’s 28 points and 20 rebounds were not enough for Erik Spoelstra to snap their skid, especially with Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry firing on all cylinders for the Warriors in the absence of sharpshooter Klay Thompson.
Detroit Pistons 94-100 Sacramento Kings
DeMarcus Cousins’ monster game proved to be too much for Detroit as they fell to Sacramento despite leading by as much as 18 points in the match. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Jackson did their best to keep the Pistons within striking distance, but Cousins – who led the Kings in points, rebounds and assists with a 24-13-6 stat line – was just an unstoppable beast.
Portland Trail Blazers 108-87 Los Angeles Lakers
This meeting wasn’t much of a fight come the second half with the Lakers scoring just 30 points in the final 24 minutes – a number far from their 57-point first half. Luol Deng was the highest scorer for Los Angeles with 14, while Portland had C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard combining for 45.
It also didn’t help the Lakers that they were outrebounded, 50-38.
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