Tuesday was about the Cleveland Cavaliers getting a big night from LeBron James in a win over the Denver Nuggets, Carmelo Anthony stopping the losing for the New York Knicks, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook winning the shootout with the Milwaukee Bucks, Marc Gasol coming up big for the Memphis Grizzlies in overtime and the Atlanta Hawks putting on an offensive show in Houston.
Detroit Pistons (17-15) 96 New York Knicks (15-18) 108: Carmelo Anthony takes charge with 24 points to show this is still his team in an impressive win over the Pistons, getting help from Derrick Williams who added 18 off the bench. Most importantly, it stopped a four game losing streak. Kristaps Porzingis scored 10 points in just 19 minutes for the Knicks, while they were able to stop Andre Drummond from getting a double double, stopped at “just” nine rebounds, as the Knicks shot an incredible 54.4% from the field and 50% from beyond the rc.
Atlanta Hawks (21-13) 121 Houston Rockets (16-17) 115: The Rockets keep getting grounded when they’re trying to make sounds of a serious contender in the West. Al Horford rumbled to 30 points and 14 rebounds in a nice showdown with Dwight Howard, who had a 30-point double double himself. Paul Millsap had two huge blocks in the finish and five altogether to finish with 22 points and 13 rebounds, Kent Bazemore scored 26 and Jeff Teague had 22 with 8 assists, overcoming a dark night for Kyle Korver, shooting 0-for-11 from the field. James Harden scored 26 points but was two assists and three turnovers short of a quadruple double, as the Rockets starting lineup got torched again and again, especially when Harden was taking breathers.
Miami Heat (18-13) 90 Memphis Grizzlies (18-16) 99: The Grizzlies took a mediocre game and turned it on its head in overtime, outscoring the Heat 16-7, going back to the Marc Gasol – Zach Randolph tandem in the lineup. Gasol scored 23 points and was big on both ends of the floor to seal the win, adding 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks. Randolph scored 17 points and both Jeff Green and Mike Conley added 16 each. The Heat got 22 points from Chris Bosh and 19 from Dwyane Wade, but Hassan Whiteside, who fouled out, finished with just 5 points, otherwise impressing on the boards and in blocking shots, as usual.
Milwaukee Bucks (12-21) 123 Oklahoma City Thunder (22-10) 131: A tougher than expected finish for the Thunder, who got 53 combined points from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, although Durant was awful in his shooting (6-of-18 from the field). Enes Kanter scored 23 points and Cameron Payne might be the new finding for Billy Donovan to hang on to as he looks for some help off the bench, as the rookie point guard scored 16 points in 16 minutes. Khris Middleton scored 36 points for the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 27, but things continue to look bad for the Bucks, who took 100 shots in the game.
Cleveland Cavaliers (21-9) 93 Denver Nuggets (12-20) 87: The Cavaliers finish 2015 with a 2-2 Western road trip, as LeBron James was tired of two weak performances, deciding to rectify things by scoring 34 points, outscoring the rest of the starting lineup, which had Matthew Dellavedova in instead of Kyrie Irving. Iman Shumpert had his best offensive game since coming back from injury with 16 points, as the worn out Cavaliers are glad their four games in five nights stretch is over, not letting 29 points from Will Barton come in between them having a rather pleasing end to a year that was missing just one thing, as they hope to add it in 2016.
Eastern Conference Standings
|12||New York Knicks||14||18||.438||7.0||32|
Western Conference Standings
|1||Golden State Warriors||28||1||.966||–||29|
|2||San Antonio Spurs||26||6||.813||3.5||32|
|3||Oklahoma City Thunder||21||10||.677||8.0||31|
|4||Los Angeles Clippers||18||13||.581||11.0||31|
|10||Portland Trail Blazers||13||20||.394||17.0||33|
|14||New Orleans Pelicans||10||20||.333||18.5||30|
|15||Los Angeles Lakers||5||26||.161||24.0||31|