A day of surprises around the NBA, the biggest of them being the Brooklyn Nets, led by a rampant Sean Kilpatrick, beating the Los Angeles Clippers 127-122. The San Antonio Spurs looked completely flat at home against the Orlando Magic, while the Cleveland Cavaliers failed to show up as they were swept aside by the Milwaukee Bucks, led by a fantastic Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Detroit Pistons 112 Charlotte Hornets 89: Kemba Walker was the only one who showed up, while Nicolas Batum and Frank Kaminsky III combined to have a brick-fest kind of performance. Tobias Harris finished with 24 points to lead the Pistons, who remain one game below .500. Marcus Morris and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each added 18 points.
Los Angeles Clippers 122 Brooklyn Nets 127: A weird game, and not just because the Nets actually ended their losing streak against one of the best teams in the NBA, but because of how it developed, ending with Doc Rivers getting tossed out of the game for a double technical. Brook Lopez was terrific with 27 points, but the big surprise was Sean Kilpatrick, who didn’t shoot that well (14-for-34 from the field) but finished with 38 points and 14 rebounds to stop the Nets losing streak at 7.
Cleveland Cavaliers 101 Milwaukee Bucks 118: The Cavaliers will have games like this. Despite everyone focusing on J.R. Smith talking to Jason Terry on one of the plays while the Bucks were scoring behind his back, it was much more than just his lack of effort. On the other side, Giannis Antetokounmpo had a huge performance with 34 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals, showing exactly why this franchise is hanging so many hopes on his shoulders.
Los Angeles Lakers 88 New Orleans Pelicans 105: The Pelicans are looking more and more like a team that still has something to play for this season, led by 41 points from Anthony Davis, getting assistance in the form of 22 points by Jrue Holiday. The Lakers shot just 5-for-30 from beyond the arc and in their system, they can’t win like that. Julius Randle was their highest scorer with 12 points.
Orlando Magic 95 San Antonio Spurs 83: Probably the worst performance we’ve seen this season from the Spurs, shooting just 36.8% from the field and not getting much beyond the 21 points from Kawhi Leonard. The Magic’s size made a difference, as Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and even Nikola Vucevic made it difficult to score again, while Ibaka also carried the offense with 18 points.
Houston Rockets 101 Utah Jazz 120: One of those games that makes you think of the Jazz as more than just a fringe playoff team in the West. James Harden scored 26 points but shot 8-for-23 from the field, unable to get into his rhythm thanks to the Jazz fantastic defense. Gordon Hayward was difficult to handle, scoring 31 points, while Rudy Gobert finished with a 16 points, 14 rebounds double double, looking as dominant as ever.
Eastern Conference Standings
|10||New York Knicks||8||9||.471||5.5||17|
Western Conference Standings
|1||Golden State Warriors||16||2||.889||–||18|
|2||San Antonio Spurs||14||4||.778||2.0||18|
|3||Los Angeles Clippers||14||5||.737||2.5||19|
|6||Oklahoma City Thunder||11||8||.579||5.5||19|
|8||Portland Trail Blazers||9||10||.474||7.5||19|
|9||Los Angeles Lakers||9||10||.474||7.5||19|
|12||New Orleans Pelicans||7||12||.368||9.5||19|