NBA schedule and results: Warriors host surging Thunder
It’s tough to beat Warriors vs. Thunder in terms of entertainment value. All eyes will be on the Bay Area for the marquee matchup on the schedule Thursday night.
But the NBA is “Where Amazing Happens,” so naturally this would-be laugher turned into the Game of the Year to date.
In a marathon triple-overtime affair, the Grizzlies won at the AT&T Center for the first time since the 2011 postseason by pulling out a 117-116 victory. The game finally came to an end when Manu Ginobili got all backboard on a potential game-winning three in the final seconds, which was a rather anticlimactic finish to a game that featured twists and turns at nearly every possible moment.
Things started to get loony almost immediately after Memphis went up by 23. San Antonio closed the first half on a 24-8 run, turning that 23-point deficit into a seven-point deficit at the break. However, that momentum didn’t carry over to the second half, as the Grizzlies went back up by 17 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter.
Again, the Spurs could have rolled over. Instead, San Antonio unleashed a three-point barrage to get back in the game. The Spurs shot 9-of-16 from long range in the third and fourth quarters combined, with Danny Green making five of those bombs. One of Green’s five threes looked like it was going to be a game-winner just moments after a crazy sequence led to Mike Conley tying the game, but early-season MVP candidate Marc Gasol didn’t want to stop playing:
Both teams traded blows in the first overtime, and Gasol sent the game to a second overtime with a bucket off a Zach Randolph miss. The second overtime also went back and forth, and after Courtney Lee hit a three in the final seconds to put the Grizzlies up two, this epic contest officially reached THIS GAME territory because of Tim Duncan:
It was some semblance of revenge for Duncan, who had struggled from the free throw line all game long and had just missed two consecutive bunnies at the rim.
Unfortunately for Duncan, the revenge wouldn’t last long. Randolph took over in the third overtime, outscoring the Spurs by himself, 6-5. And when the final buzzer sounded after Ginobili’s bad miss, Duncan’s 5-of-15 mark from the free throw line loomed large.
The standout performances were numerous in this one. Randolph had 21 points and 21 rebounds in 48 minutes. Gasol scored a team-high 26 points in 46 minutes. Vince Carter scored a season-high 18 points. Lee played a game-high 53 minutes, and this was all on the second night of a back-to-back after ending the Warriors‘ 16-game winning streak.
For the Spurs, Green finished with a team-high 25 points in 52 minutes. Duncan played 48 minutes and Ginobili played 41, and those two are sure to enjoy a nice rest before San Antonio’s next game against Portland on Friday.
The 21-4 Grizzlies could probably use a lengthy rest as well considering the outcomes of their last four games:
Won in regulation. Won in OT. Won in double OT. Won in triple OT. THIS WEEK. #gng
— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) December 18, 2014
3 other things we learned
The Hawks look legit: Just over a month ago, the Hawks visited Quicken Loans Arena and got throttled by the Cavaliers, 127-94. A different Hawks team returned to Cleveland on Wednesday night, and Atlanta returned the favor with a 127-98 beat down after falling behind by 12 points in the first half. The victory was made all the more impressive because Jeff Teague was sidelined with a strained left hamstring. Dennis Schroder got the start in Teague’s place, and the second-year guard notched his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. Not to be outdone, Shelvin Mack did his best Kyle Korver impression by knocking down all six of his three-point attempts and scoring a career-high 24 points. Since that first debacle at The Q, Atlanta has gone 13-3 overall and 5-1 on the road. The Hawks’ 18-7 record has them third in the Eastern Conference, and they’re looking more and more like a contender given good health.
Dwyane Wade still has some “Flash” in him: When Wade was in his prime, he truly was a marvel to watch. The guy single-handedly won an NBA Finals in just his third season, and he was one of the most dominant scorers in the league for a good seven years running. Injuries have taken a toll on the 32-year-old the past few years, but “Flash” still shows flashes of that former greatness. Take Wednesday night for example, when Wade put up 42 points on 12-of-19 shooting against Utah. In an ode to some of those epic Finals performances, the shooting guard went 16-of-21 from the line. The 42-point effort was Wade’s first 40-point game in over three years, but it was all for naught, as the Heat lost by 18 points. There’s not much to be happy about in South Beach right now, but seeing Wade turn back the clock is a silver lining.
James Harden cannot be stopped: Harden nearly matched Wade, scoring 41 points on 11-of-21 shooting in a 115-111 victory in Denver. Like Wade, Harden did much of his damage at the free throw line, going 18-of-21 at the charity stripe. The bearded wonder scored a season-high 23 points in the first half, and after struggling for much of the fourth quarter, he hit a huge three in the final minute of regulation and scored eight points in overtime. Not to mention he racked up 10 assists on the night. All this comes after a triple-double in his last game, which was preceded by a 44-point effort. The NBA’s leading scorer has done it all this season during the Rockets‘ 19-5 start, which is why he’s near the top of the MVP conversation.
Play of the Night
Both buzzer beaters in the Grizzlies-Spurs game were awesome, but you’ve seen those already. Arron Afflalo’s buzzer-beater to force overtime was just as impressive if not more considering the Nuggets had to go the length of the floor to tie the game. And although Harden has improved on defense this year, we can needle him for falling asleep on this play and letting Afflalo get a clean look.
7 fun things
Hawks 127, Cavaliers 98 (Peachtree Hoops recap | Fear The Sword recap)
Suns 111, Hornets 106 (Bright Side Of The Sun recap | At The Hive recap)
Celtics 109, Magic 92 (CelticsBlog recap | Orlando Pinstriped Post recap)
Mavericks 117, Pistons 106 (Mavs Moneyball recap | Detroit Bad Boys recap)
Jazz 105, Heat 87 (SLC Dunk recap | Hot Hot Hoops recap)
Raptors 105, Nets 89 (Raptors HQ recap | NetsDaily recap)
Grizzlies 117, Spurs 116 [3OT] (Grizzly Bear Blues recap | Pounding The Rock recap)
Trail Blazers 104, Bucks 97 (Blazer’s Edge recap | Brew Hoop recap)
Clippers 102, Pacers 100 (Clips Nation recap | Indy Cornrows recap)
Rockets 115, Nuggets 111 [OT] (The Dream Shake recap | Denver Stiffs recap)