LeBron James passed Karl Malone on the career scoring list, leaving only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar left to conquer. James needed 19 points to pass Malone and finished with double that as he now sits at 36,930 points. That’s less than 1,500 points left to take the top spot. Alongside James, Russell Westbrook had a good night with 22 points, ten rebounds, and eight assists. This coming after he nailed a clutch three to steal the victory over the Toronto Raptors the night before. But unfortunately for James, it seems that every time he breaks a record, the Lakers leave the game on the losing end. Something they cannot afford considering where they are in the standings. With this loss, the Lakers now only sit half a game ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans, who are 10th in the Western Conference.
Kristaps Porzingis and the Washington Wizards rallied from a 16-point deficit to take down the Los Angeles Lakers, 127-119. This comeback was forged in the fourth quarter where the Wizards outscored the Lakers 34-20. That was capped off by a Porzingis three to go up by seven points with less than a minute left in the game. Porzingis led the team with 27 points along with three rebounds and five assists in 25 minutes. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also had a strong night with 18 points and ten rebounds. Rounding things out, with Kyle Kuzma out with knee soreness, the bench really stepped up in the scoring department. Deni Avdija, Tomas Satoransky, and Daniel Gafford combined for 50 of the team’s 54 bench points. This win snapped a seven-game losing streak as Washington now prepares to take on the Houston Rockets.
Despite a chippy start that led to Patrick Beverley getting ejected, the Minnesota Timberwolves were able to persevere and dominate the Milwaukee Bucks, 138-119. Karl-Anthony Towns entered this game listed as a game time decision and in the end played 31 minutes, leading the team with 25 points, 11 rebounds and five assists with four threes. Anthony Edwards also chipped in with 25 points, three steals and he knocked down five threes. The T-Wolves also got a lot of help from their bench in this one who scored 54 of the team’s points including Taurean Prince and Naz Reid who each had 14 points. Minnesota has been the hottest team in the West over the last two weeks as they are 9-1 in their last ten games. With this win, they sit only a half back of the Denver Nuggets for the 6th seed.
Milwaukee entered this game without Giannis Antetokounmpo and his presence on the floor was missed by the Bucks. Milwaukee finished the game with seven players scoring in double figures but not a single one reached at least 20 points. Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton, and Pat Connaughton each finished with 15 points apiece. The turning point stat of the game was points off turnovers. The Bucks forced 11 turnovers and only scored four points. The T-Wolves forced 14 turnovers and scored 21 points. That’s the ball game. Despite the loss, Milwaukee remains a top 3 seed in the East, but they are now only a game ahead of the Boston Celtics.
Miles Bridges led the charge with 23 points as the Charlotte Hornets picked up their fourth straight victory with the win over the Dallas Mavericks, 129-108. Alongside Bridges, P.J. Washington had a big night with a season-high 21 points while going 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. The Hornets finished the night with seven players scoring in double figures. This included the veteran duo of Montrezl Harrell and Isaiah Thomas who combined for 24 points off the bench. Charlotte now sits only a game behind the Brooklyn Nets for the 8th spot as they prepare for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Dallas played this game without their spark plug in Spencer Dinwiddie who missed this game for rest purposes, forcing Luka Doncic into takeover mode. Doncic finished the game with 37 points and uncharacteristically knocked down 8-of-12 threes as he led all scorers. Unfortunately, he did not get much help from his teammates though. The next highest scorer for the Mavericks was Frank Ntilikina who gave them 12 points, six rebounds and four assists in 23 minutes off the bench. This loss makes it two in row since that big victory over the Brooklyn Nets. The Mavericks sit in 5th place in the West, only a game ahead of the Denver Nuggets
All Star point guard Darius Garland finished with 24 points and 12 assists to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 113-109 victory over the Detroit Pistons. Evan Mobley also recorded an NBA rookie-best 20th double-double as he scored 12 points along with 11 rebounds. Kevin Love chipped in with a double-double of his own with 14 points and ten rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench. With this win, the Cavaliers have their 41st win making this the first time they will have a winning record in four years. Cleveland sits firmly in the 6th spot in the East, but they are a half game back of the Chicago Bulls for the 5th spot.
Following a 51-point outburst against the Orlando Magic, Saddiq Bey cooled off against the Cavs as he finished with 20 points and six rebounds. But Jerami Grant stepped up in a big way by dropping a 40-piece while knocking down seven threes. Rounding things out, Cade Cunningham had a solid night as he finished with 15 points, six rebounds and ten assists. Detroit has now lost five of their last six as they look to get back in the winning column as they take on the Portland Trail Blazers.