BULLS (18-18) 106, CAVALIERS (26-8) 94
Without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, 31 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and one steal was not enough from LeBron James to grab a victory over an improving Chicago outfit who now sit at .500. With JR Smith injured as well, it was down to Channing Frye (15 points) and sophomore guard Jordan McRae (21 points) to support King James – no other Cavalier made double-digits.
For Chicago, six different players made their way into double-digits as Rajon Rondo was forced to sit once again. Jimmy Butler dropped 20 points on the NBA champions and he had six rebounds and eight assists as well. Dwyane Wade had 10 points, while Taj Gibson (18 points), Doug McDermott (17 points), Nikola Mirotic (16 points) and Michael Carter-Williams (13 points) all helped complete a memorable night for the Windy City franchise.
THUNDER (21-15) 112, HORNETS (20-16) 123
Russell Westbrook finished two assists short of a triple-double as the Thunder fell to defeat on the road in Charlotte. The point guard had 33 points and 15 rebounds and Steven Adams also registered a double-double with 18 points and 12 boards. Enes Kanter had an impressive 22 points from the pine.
However, Nicolas Batum led the Michael Jordan-owned Hornets with 28 points on the night at the Spectrum Center. Kemba Walker backed him up with 20 points and nine dimes, while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double.
HAWKS (19-16) 111, MAGIC (16-21) 92
The Atlanta Hawks continue to roll nicely and picked up their fourth win in a row in Orlando last night. Six players all got into double-digits for Hotlanta, led by young point guard Dennis Schroder, who produced 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Dwight Howard also had a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double to help matters.
For the Magic, Aaron Gordon dropped 15 points and collected 10 boards to show his developing worth once again. Elfrid Payton also put up 15 points, but Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo only registered 11 points between them. The Magic dropped around 20 percent less of their three-pointers than their rivals, and that's where the game was decided.
BUCKS (18-16) 105, KNICKS (16-19) 104
The Greek Freak did it again as Giannis Antetokounmpo nailed a step-back jumper in the dying seconds to give the Bucks an important win over their Eastern Conference playoff rivals. Antetokounmpo finished with a team-high 27 points and cleaned the glass to the tune of 13 boards while Jabari Parker backed him up with 15 points and big man Greg Monroe had 18 with nine rebounds.
New York continue to desperately miss Kristaps Porzingis, and even 30 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and two steals from Carmelo Anthony could not drive them to victory at Madison Square Garden. Derrick Rose also had 15 points and Joakim Noah added 16 rebounds to the cause, but the Knicks succumbed to Antetokounmpo clutch effort.
GRIZZLIES (22-16) 106, CLIPPERS (24-14) 115
After suffering a severe dip in form following the absences of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, the Clippers have now picked up two straight victories with CP3 on the verge of returning to the fold. Austin Rivers' 28 points and Jamal Crawford's 22 did the job for the Clippers at the Staples Center, as well as a monstrous 18-point, 20-rebound double-double from DeAndre Jordan.
The Grizzlies, missing Chandler Parsons and JaMychal Green, struggled to compete with Jordan in the paint. Marc Gasol did drop a team-high 23 points, but could only collect four boards. Mike Conley led the way for Memphis again with 17 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists, but he could not contend with the electric duo of Rivers and Crawford down the stretch.
TRAIL BLAZERS (15-22) 117, WARRIORS (31-5) 125
After a sloppy start, the Golden State Warriors recovered to extend the best record in the NBA to 31 wins and advance past last year's playoff rivals Portland. Stephen Curry had 35 points on the night and he was supported by 30 from Kevin Durant, who also had a big three blocks to his name.
C.J McCollum matched Curry's 35, but without his backcourt partner and franchise player, Damian Lillard, Portland didn't have quite enough to get the job done at the Oracle Arena. Mason Plumlee, however, did add a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double and Allen Crabbe – Lillard's replacement – put up 18 points.
HEAT (11-26) 107, KINGS (15-20) 102
Without Hassan Whiteside or Justise Winslow, the Miami Heat pulled out a big road victory at the Golden 1 Center, something that is becoming a recurring habit for Sacramento. It was a night for the Miami bench as Tyler Johnson led the second string with 23 points with two others joining him on double-digits. Goran Dragic was the only man in the starting five to do the same, and he contributed 19 points.