On a rather short NBA night what stood out was the Houston Rockets making a nice comeback behind James Harden and Josh Smith to beat the Dallas Mavericks, the Toronto Raptors crushing the Los Angeles Clippers and another hot Western team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, getting stunned by the Brooklyn Nets. The Boston Celtics beating the Philadelphia 76ers? That’s not news.
Dallas Mavericks 104 Houston Rockets 115: The return of Josh Smith could turn this season around for the Rockets who keep fumbling around the .500. He scored 16 points off the bench to back up James Harden with the triple double (23 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists) as even Ty Lawson with 10 points off the bench had a good game, everyone making up for Dwight Howard being out. Trevor Ariza led the scoring with 29 points, Chandler Parsons led the Mavericks with 31.
Los Angeles Clippers 94 Toronto Raptors 112: The Raptors win their 8th in a row to maybe put some pressure on the Cavaliers who have their own set of problems on top of the East. The Clippers bench completely collapsed while Kyle Lowry and the subs took over the game, as Terrence Ross led the second unit with 18 points. Lowry finished with 21, Jonas Valanciunas had 20 in 25 minutes and DeMar DeRozan scored 18 too. Chris Paul led the Clippers with 23 points.
Boston Celtics 112 Philadelphia 76ers 92: An easy win for the Celtics, making it five out of their last seven. Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas each scored 20 points to lead the way, Avery Bradley added 19 and Marcus Smart scored 16 off the bench in a very good day for the backcourt. Robert Covington, mentioned in a lot of trade talk recently, led the 76ers with 25 points.
Oklahoma City Thunder 106 Brooklyn Nets 116: A weird loss for the Thunder after 7 consecutive wins, mostly because of an abysmal effort on defense, allowing Brook Lopez to score with ease (31 points) while four more players finished in double figures, including Bojan Bogdanovic scoring 18 points. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to score 59 points but the Thunder didn’t play smartly or with the kind of focus and energy needed in games when not everything is going your way.
Eastern Conference Standings
|10||New York Knicks||22||24||.478||10.0||46|
Western Conference Standings
|1||Golden State Warriors||40||4||.909||–||44|
|2||San Antonio Spurs||38||6||.864||2.0||44|
|3||Oklahoma City Thunder||33||12||.733||7.5||45|
|4||Los Angeles Clippers||28||15||.651||11.5||43|
|10||Portland Trail Blazers||20||26||.435||21.0||46|
|12||New Orleans Pelicans||16||27||.372||23.5||43|
|15||Los Angeles Lakers||9||37||.196||32.0||46|