Spurs, accompanied by Warriors, enter an exclusive club
The Spurs throttled the Magic, 107-92, to earn their 40th victory in 48 games this season. Coupled with the Warriors, who with a 44-4 record, had the night off, this marked only the fourth season in NBA history in which two different teams amassed 40 wins before they suffered 10 losses. It previously happened in the 1980-81 season with the Celtics (40-9) and 76ers (40-8), the 2008-09 season with the Celtics and Lakers (both 40-9), and last season with the Hawks (40-8) and Warriors (40-9).
Jeff Green scored 24 points off the bench to lead the Grizzlies to a 110-95 win at New Orleans – the fourth straight game in which Green has come off the bench to lead the Grizzlies in scoring. Not incidentally, Memphis has won all four of those games; previously, Green scored 30 points in an overtime win over Orlando, 21 points in a win over Milwaukee, and 29 points in a triumph over Sacramento.
Get a load of this one: Green became the first NBA player in more than 21 years to come off the bench in four consecutive games, to finish each of those games as the game’s leading scorer (outright or tied), and to see his team win each of them. The last player to put together four consecutive games like that was Dan Majerle with the Suns in January of 1995.
Jeff Teague poured in a season-high 32 points as the Hawks thumped the Mavericks, 112-97. Teague’s game marked only the third this season in which a Hawks played accumulated at least 30 points; Al Horford provided the two other games of that sort (33 and 30 points). It was the fourth time in Teague’s career that he has scored 30-or-more points, and the Hawks have won each of those games.
Teague and Sacramento’s Rudy Gay, who scored 32 points later in the evening, shared high-scoring honors across Monday’s nine NBA games. It marked the first time in his 486-game career that Teague had been the league’s high scorer for a day, either outright or tied.
Rookie Nikola Jokic won’t turn 21 years of age until February 19, but he celebrated the arrival of his birth month by achieving season-highs of 27 points and 14 rebounds to highlight the Nuggets’ 112-93 victory over the visiting Raptors. Jokic became only the second rookie in the Nuggets’ NBA history to produce a 25-point, 10-rebound game before his 21st birthday. Carmelo Anthony had a pair of games like that (26 and 14, and 36 and 11) 12 years ago, at the age of 19.
Russell Westbrook‘s seventh triple-double of the season, and his second in his last two games, led the Thunder to a 114-98 victory over the visiting Wizards. It was Westbrook’s second triple-double against Washington this season – and in each of those games, he achieved it before the end of the third quarter. Westbrook has three before-the-end-of-the-third-quarter triple-doubles this season; no other NBA player has more than one.
Jazz still perfect in overtime vs. Bulls
Gordon Hayward scored the last three points in regulation time to tie the score, then scored six points in overtime to lead the Jazz to a 105-96 victory over the visiting Bulls. And as the game went into the extra period, perceptive Utah fans knew that that the Jazz had the Bulls exactly where they wanted them. This was the fifth regular-season game between the teams that required an overtime period, and the Jazz has won all five of those games, going back to a Feb. 3, 1992 triple-overtime victory over the Jordan-and-Pippen squad. And the only playoff overtime game between the teams also resulted in a Utah victory – in the opening game of the 1998 Finals.
+ Pistons beat the odds
Math quiz: Which team wins? Team A shoots 48.8 percent from the floor; Team B, 42.9 percent. On three-point attempts, Team A makes 43.8 percent; Team B, 33.3 percent. And from the line, Team A hits 86.7 percent; Team B, 68.8 percent. Oh, by the way, Team A is playing at home.
Yes, it’s a trick question. On Monday night, the Pistons overcame all of those disadvantages to secure a 105-100 decision in Brooklyn. In so doing, Detroit became the 17th visiting team this season to play a game in which it was out-shot from the floor by at least 5 percent, from three-point range by at least 10 percent, and from the line by at least 15 percent. But the Pistons were the first of those 17 teams to go home a winner.
+ Cavs get balanced scoring; LeBron counts by sixes
“The Cavaliers took a 111-106 overtime decision over the Pacers in Indianapolis, in a game in which, for only the second time this season, each Cleveland starter produced at least 14 points. (The other such occasion came on January 4, in a 122-100 win over the Raptors.)
LeBron James finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists – only the second time that he has reached each of those levels since he returned to Cleveland at the beginning of last season. And the other time he did it, nine nights earlier, the Cavaliers lost the game, at home, to the Bulls.
+ Gay and Acy make up for absence of Cousins
In the absence of DeMarcus Cousins, their leading scorer and rebounder, the Kings outrebounded the Bucks, 53 to 37, and Rudy Gay scored a game-high 32 points to key a 111-104 victory. Quincy Acy, who played 17 minutes, 27 seconds, collected seven offensive rebounds. No NBA player this season has corralled that many offensive rebounds in a game in which he spent so little time on the court.