A 13th straight win for the Atlanta Hawks means they are now considered favourites for the Eastern Conference title while Golden State continued their ominous march towards the number one seed in the West, writes Stephen Loftus.
A 20 point outburst from Mike Scott off the Atlanta bench helped them secure a 93-82 victory over the Detroit Pistons while Atlanta are now one game short of tying their franchise record win streak. The NBA’s best defence held Detroit to just 12 points in the opening quarter and although Greg Monroe posted 16 points and 20 rebounds for the Pistons, they were unable to claw back the deficit. The Hawks improved to 34-8 and have to be in the conversation as the best team in the East.
The Chicago Bulls’ inconsistent play was exposed again as they were brushed aside by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, 108-94. James led the team with 26 points as the Bulls lost their third game in a row and sixth of eight. Cleveland finally seems to be rounding into shape nicely after the additions of Timofey Mozgov and JR Smith. Cleveland still sit behind Toronto in the Eastern Conference after the Raptors rebounded from a string of poor games with a 92-89 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
The NBA’s best offense lit up the Oracle Arena as the Golden State Warriors handed Denver a 43 point loss, 122-79. Klay Thompson and Steph Curry combined for 42 points in the biggest win for any team this season. The Warriors conquered Houston on Saturday but the Rockets rebounded with a 110-98 win over the Indiana Pacers as James Harden continued to set the pace in the MVP race with a comfortable 45 point game.
Surprisingly the New York Knicks won a game, their sixth of the season, ending a 16 game losing streak in a 99-92 home win over Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans. In a blowout that everyone saw coming, Washington crushed the helpless Philadelphia 76ers 111-76. Philadelphia sit with an 8-33 record and face the worst team in the NBA, the Knicks, in a matchup that will not be high on anyone league pass list on Wednesday.
The Portland Trail Blazers beat Sacramento 98-94 but lost star forward LaMarcus Aldridge to injury. Damian Lillard picked up the offensive load in Aldridge’s absence, adding 22 points and six in the final 80 seconds of the game. An incredible last two minutes from Dirk Nowitzki helped the Dallas Mavericks overcome the Memphis Grizzlies, 103-95. The German had the last eight points for the Mavericks who came back to win after giving up a nine point first quarter lead. The Doc Rivers reunion game saw the Clippers outlast the Boston Celtics 102-93 despite Los Angeles blowing a 20 point lead in the second half.
In a thoroughly forgettable game, The Charlotte Hornets continued their revival with an easy 105-80 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, a game which saw the return of Al Jefferson to the Hornets lineup.
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