LeBron James put on a show with a season-high 56 points as the Los Angeles Lakers took down the Golden State Warriors, 124-116. James did so on impressive shooting splits and became only the fourth player at age 37+ to score 50+ points in a game. The only other players in this group are Jamal Crawford, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan.
Alongside James, four other players scored in double-figures including Russell Westbrook, who finished with 20 points. Carmelo Anthony also had a strong performance off the bench with 14 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes.
This win snapped a four-game losing streak, but they still are only 3-7 in their last ten games. At 27-35 they sit in ninth place in the West, but they are only half a game ahead of the Pelicans.
In spite of missing reigning Western Conference Player of the Month Luka Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks escaped with the win over the Sacramento Kings, 114-113. Spencer Dinwiddie made a strong impression as he led the team with 36 points and seven assists. But even with Dinwiddie’s monster performance, it was Dorian Finney-Smith who saved the day. Finney-Smith finished the game with 17 points with five threes, but no three was more important than the one he knocked down with three seconds left in the game to steal the lead and the victory.
Dallas also got solid performances from Jalen Brunson and Josh Green. Brunson was second on the team with 23 points and six assists. Green was really effective off the bench as he finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds in 28 minutes.
With this win, the Mavericks’ win streak now extends to four straight wins, all coming over California based teams.
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Rough end to the night for De’Aaron Fox who put the Sacramento Kings on his back with a game-high 44 points. What made the 44 points so impressive is that he did while only taking four threes and six free throws. So, he was basically getting everything he wanted around the basket and in the midrange area.
Alongside for the ride was Domantas Sabonis, who finished the game with 15 points, ten rebounds and six assists on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. He was 1-of-5 from the free throw and the result of the game showed that those misses were costly.
With this loss, the Kings are 2-6 in their last eight games as their chances at making the Play-In Tournament continue to get slimmer by the day.
Terry Rozier dropped 31 points to lead the Charlotte Hornets to the win over the San Antonio Spurs, 123-117. For the Hornets this was an offensive clinic as they finished with seven players scoring in double figures. LaMelo Ball was second on the team in scoring with 24 points along with eight rebounds and seven assists. Cody Martin, Kelly Oubre, and Montrezl Harrell also made a lot of noise off the bench as they combined for 39 points.
With this win, Charlotte finally got their first back-to-back victories since late January.
In the loss, Keldon Johnson had a big performance with 33 points and eight rebounds. First-time All-Star Dejounte Murray flirted with a triple-double as he finished with a stat line of 25 points, nine rebounds and ten assists. Rookie guard Josh Primo was also serviceable off the bench with ten points and six rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench. A sneaky guy to keep an eye on is second year guard Devin Vassell. He has been playing well as of late and finished this game with 14 points and four rebounds.
This was San Antonio’s fourth straight loss as they now sit three games back of the 10th seed in the West.
In the battle of the top two teams in the East, the Miami Heat came out with the victory as they beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 99-82. Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro each scored 21 points apiece to lead the team. The Heat also got another big performance from Gabe Vincent, who scored 16 points while knocking down four threes. Even Caleb Martin got in on the action with 14 points in 21 minutes off the bench. Another quick thing that should be noted is that they won this game by 15 in spite of Bam Adebayo struggling as he only had six points and shot 3-of-10 from the floor.
With this win, Miami is 8-2 in their last ten games with wins against two of the top four teams in the conference. They also now remain two games up on the Sixers as they maintain the top spot in the East.
This loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Sixers. But the bright side for Philly fans is that they lost this game without James Harden who was out to nurse his left hamstring. Which means we still haven’t seen this team at full strength against top notch competition. Nonetheless, Joel Embiid led the way with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Embiid shot horrible from the field going 4-of-15 but what helped him stay effective is that he attempted and made all 14 of his free throws. Tyrese Maxey also scored 17 points and Tobias Harris added 16 points and eight rebounds. No other player scored double figures.
Philly still sits in second place, but they are up one game on Milwaukee and Chicago (who they play next).
Karl Anthony-Towns finished with 36 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to 135-121 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Minnesota six players scored in double figures including Jaylen Nowell who scored 22 points in 24 minutes off the bench. D’Angelo Russell also had a solid night finishing with 14 points and 15 assists.
Despite missing Anthony Edwards with a left patella injury, the T-Wolves now are on a four-game winning streak.
At this point, the Portland Trail Blazers are missing more guys to injury than they have guys available to play. But that hasn’t stopped Anfernee Simons from getting his. Simons led the team with 38 points in 40 minutes while knocking down 9-of-17 threes.
Alongside Simons, Portland’s bench did a lot of the heavy lifting on offense. Brandon Williams scored 21 points in 26 minutes. Trendon Watford dropped a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Then there’s Ben McLemore, who added 13 points with most of his scoring coming from the free throw line (7-of-7 from the line).
The Trail Blazers’ losing streak has now extended to four-straight, but they have a chance for vengeance in a rematch against Minnesota on Monday.
Coming off of a tough loss to the Boston Celtics, Ja Morant and the Grizzlies bounced back in a big way as they blew out the Orlando Magic, 124-96. Morant led the team with 25 points along with four rebounds and seven assists. Desmond Bane added 24 points and six rebounds. Even the bench got involved as Brandon Clarke and Tyus Jones combined for 25 points. This game was pretty much over in the second quarter when the Grizzlies outscored the Magic 37 to 16.
From there, Memphis was on cruise control. With this win, the Grizzlies are now only a game behind the Golden State Warriors for the second seed in the West.
There usually aren’t too many positives to highlight in a blowout, but Orlando did get a few solid performances. Cole Anthony led the team with 19 points and knocked down 4-of-6 threes. Franz and Moritz Wagner combined for 32 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists. You could tell that Markelle Fultz is still trying to readjust to being back on the floor. He finished the game with six points and three assists on a rough 2-of-8 shooting from the floor in 19 minutes off the bench.
Unfortunately, things don’t get any better either for the Magic as they have a stretch of five-straight games against teams in the playoffs or that currently qualify for the Play-In tournament.
The struggles for the Golden State Warriors continued as their losing streak was extended to four-straight losses. In the loss, Stephen Curry led the team with 30 points in 35 minutes while Jordan Poole added 23 points off the bench. Klay Thompson still seems to be struggling with readjusting to live action. He only scored seven points in 31 minutes on the floor while shooting 3-of-13 from the floor and only hit one three-pointer. It is evident that the Warriors’ just don’t function as properly without Draymond Green who is still out with a back injury.
With this loss, Golden State is just barely hanging on to the second seed in the West by a thread as the Grizzlies are tied with them for the spot.