Cleveland 102, Washington 90
Studs: LeBron James was up to his old tricks for the Cavaliers, tallying 27 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals; and Shaquille O'Neal had his best game with Cleveland, shooting 7-for-9 on his way to 21 points. Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler each shot 7-for-18 and scored 22 points apiece for Washington.
Duds: Washington's bench shot just 6-for-20 and Brandon Haywood fouled out after just 27 minutes for the Wizards. Anthony Parker struggled for Cleveland, posting a 2-for-12 effort.
Game Notes: Washington led by 14 at the end of the first quarter and by 18 in the second, before Cleveland ratcheted up their defensive effort, forcing Washington to settle almost exclusively for jump shots… Haywood, JaVale McGee, and Andray Blatche were called for a combined 12 first half fouls, leading Haywood to claim that the refs "took away [the Wizards'] aggressiveness."
Denver 111, Indiana 93
Studs: Carmelo Anthony had a game-high 25 points for Denver, who also got 24 points from Chauncey Billups, 15 from Aaron Afflalo, and 16 points and 13 rebounds from Nene. Dahntay Jones led the Pacers with 20 points off the bench.
Duds: Tory Murphy missed his first 4 shots before leaving the game in the second quarter due to injury. Danny Granger scored 18 points, but shot just 6-for-16 from the field.
Game Notes: While Anthony, Billups, Afflalo, and Nene combined for 80 Denver points, the rest of the roster only tallied 31… Murphy left after 16 minutes with a bruised lower back and is officially listed as day-to-day… The Pacers have shot below 25% in the first quarter in back-to-back games.
Boston 105, Philadelphia 74
Studs: Paul Pierce had a game-high 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting, and Rasheed Wallace made six 3s in adding 20 off the Celtics' bench. Andre Iguodala led the 76ers with 17 points.
Duds: Philadelphia shot just 1-for-16 from 3-point range, including a combined 0-for-10 from the starters. Both teams struggled from the free throw line, highlighted by a 1-for-4 showing from Kevin Garnett, who also made just 1-of-7 field goal attempts.
Game Notes: Philadelphia had just 36 first-half points, matching the total posted by Boston's reserves in the fourth quarter… The Celtics had more than a 20% advantage from the field, shooting 56.9%, compared to 36.3% for the 76ers…
Detroit 85, Orlando 80
Studs: The Pistons played a majority of the second half with a small lineup, with Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum, and Ben Gordon on the floor together, and it resulted in the biggest upset of the night. All three guards hit the 20-point plateau, led by Gordon with 23. Vince Carter led the Magic with 15 points, and J.J Redick started for the second straight game, adding 14.
Duds: There's only one place to start here- Dwight Howard posted only 8 points and 5 rebounds before fouling out after just 17 minutes. Ryan Anderson was terrible, as well, connecting on just 2-or-14 shot attempts and just 1-of-11 3-point field goals. Rookie Jonas Jerebko got his first NBA start, but went scoreless, missing all 5 of his field goals.
Game Notes: The Pistons recorded an NBA season-low 8 assists as a team on their 27 made field goals… Howard re-aggravated a shoulder injury sustained on Sunday in Toronto… Orlando's first made free throw came with 5 minutes left in the third quarter, as they were outscored 31-12 from the charity stripe.
Phoenix 104, Miami 96
Studs: Steve Nash made 10 of his last 11 shots and led the Suns with 30 points and 8 assists, and made 4-of-5 3-point attempts, as Phoenix won the battle of the unbeatens in South Beach. Amare Stoudemire chipped in with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Louis Amundson added 10 off the Suns' bench. Dwyane Wade did what he could for the Heat, posting 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. Quentin Richardson (18 points and 10 rebounds) and Udonis Haslem (10 points and 13 rebounds) each posted a double-double in the losing effort.
Duds: This was a team effort for the Heat, who shot 40% as a team, as no one shot particularly well or poorly against Phoenix. The defense, however, was porous at best, allowing the Suns to shoot 50.6% from the field. Grant Hill was just 2-for-11 from the field, and Stoudemire made just 4-of-9 free throw attempts.
Game Notes: Phoenix switched to a zone defense for the first time this season, and it created some serious problems for the Heat. Miami shot just 35% in the second half, and only 23% in the final stanza, a quarter in which Phoenix outscored Miami 29-15 to overcome a 6-point deficit.
Chicago 87, Milwaukee 81
Studs: Luol Deng exploded for 24 points and 20 rebounds, and Chicago got double digit performances from two reserves (Brad Miller and Jannero Pargo with 13 and 10, respectively) in their come-from-behind win against Milwaukee. The Bucks were led by 25 points from rookie Brandon Jennings, who is now averaging an even 22 points per game on the season, and double-doubles from Andrew Bogut (16 points and 13 rebounds) and Hakim Warrick (11 points and 10 rebounds).
Duds: Warrick and Carlos Delfino shot just 33.3% from the field, and the Bucks' bench combined to score just 10 points on 5-for-19 shooting. John Salmons struggled again for the Bulls, posting a 3-for-15 shooting performance.
Game Notes: The Bulls came from 18 points down to win. After Joakim Noah missed 2 free throws, Ersan Ilyasova missed a game winning 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining… Chicago shot just 27% from the floor in the first half and committed 12 turnovers in the first 24 minutes… Bucks' guard Michael Redd missed the game with a strained left knee that will keep him out for 2 weeks, and Bulls' forward missed the game with flu-like symptoms.
LA Lakers 101, Oklahoma City 98 (OT)
Studs: Kobe Bryant scored 31 points and Andrew Bynum added 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Lakers escaped from Oklahoma City with a win. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 28 points, and Jeff Green added 18 on 6-for-12 shooting, to go along with 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
Duds: Each Lakers' starter had at least 4 turnovers, with Bryant posted a season-high 7 giveaways. Durant matched Kobe with 7 turnovers, and teammate Russell Westbrook tallied 6, as the teams combined for 46.
Game Notes: The Lakers' reserves contributed just 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists in the overtime win… Bryant had an up-and-down performance while fighting off flu-like symptoms that some believe may be swine flu-related… Kevin Durant airballed a pair of shots that could have put OKC ahead- a three-pointer with 2.7 seconds left in regulation, and a 17-footer with 30 seconds left in overtime… Sources have reported that Lakers' forward-center Pau Gasol may have a torn right hamstring, but the team will neither confirm nor deny the reports.
Dallas 96, Utah 85
Studs: Dirk Nowitzki posted what has to be considered the game of the season so far in the NBA, with 40 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 5 blocks, and no turnovers. Jason Kidd added 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists as the Mavericks came from behind for a huge win. Deron Williams had 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists; and Mehmet Okur had 14 points and 14 boards for the Jazz.
Duds: Okur shot just 4-for-15 for the Jazz, who got only 18 points from their reserves, including just 5 from Paul Milsap, who committed 4 turnovers in 22 minutes. Jason Terry and Shawn Marion combined to shoot 9-for-28 for Dallas.
Game Notes: Dallas scored just 35 points in the first half and only 52 in the first three quarters, before exploding for 44 fourth quarter points to turn a 15-point deficit into an 11-point win… Nowitzki scored a team-record 29 points in the fourth quarter, which left him just 2 short of the fourth quarter record of 31 and 4 short of the NBA record for any quarter, which is 33 points.
Atlanta 97, Portland 91
Studs: Jamal Crawford came off the Hawks' bench to score a game-high 27 points on 8-for-16 shooting, and Joe Johnson added 19 points and 8 rebounds as the Hawks overcame a 12-point first half deficit to beat Portland. LaMarcus Aldridge paced the Blazers with 20 points and 14 rebounds, and Brandon Roy and Travis Outlaw added 19 points apiece.
Duds: Portland's point guards, Steve Blake and Andre Miller, combined to shoot just 3-for-6 from the field, and Greg Oden logged just 16 minutes due to foul trouble.
Game Notes: Atlanta outscored Portland by 14 points in transition (18-4) and 16 points in the paint (50-34) in dropping the Blazers to 2-3… Portland is 1-2 at home this season after posting a mark of 34-7 at the Rose Garden last season.