NBA schedule and results: Warriors win 15 straight, Clippers look to rebound
The Warriors have won 15 straight games after downing the Mavericks on Saturday afternoon. The Clippers had their nine-game streak snapped Friday night and will try to bounce back against the Bucks.
Kobe Bryant needed 31 points entering Friday night’s contest against the San Antonio Spurs to pass Michael Jordan for third on the all-time scoring list. The entire game was a countdown. Bryant had nine points after one quarter, but fell off pace after that. He had 11 points at the end of the first half, and 19 through three quarters. At the end of four quarters, he had 22 points, eight points shy of Jordan’s 32,292 mark. Then, thanks to a meltdown by his Los Angeles Lakers in the final two minutes of regulation, Bryant got five extra minutes.
He still didn’t pass Jordan.
But Nick Young did get to play the hero, hitting a three-point field goal from deep with 7.4 seconds left in overtime to help the Lakers shock the Spurs, 112-110.
Young had a season-high 29 points off the bench on 9-for-14 shooting. That included 6-for-9 from beyond the arc, the biggest single shot being the contested look he had late in the shot clock that won the game.
It almost wasn’t necessary. The Lakers led by nine with 1:59 to play in the fourth quarter. But the Spurs scored the final nine points of regulation and could have won if Tim Duncan had made a turnaround jumper as time expired.
Duncan, meanwhile, did move up on the all-time points list, passing Jerry West to up to 18th with 25,197 career points — five more than West. He’ll have to score 82 more to tie Reggie Miller’s points at 17th place on the list. Duncan had 19 points and 18 rebounds in the game, but the Spurs couldn’t take advantage of the vintage night from their veteran big man. They’re now 16-7 on the season. The Lakers are 7-16.
Bryant ended the night with 22 points, and still needs nine to pass Jordan. He was surprisingly unselfish on a night he had a chance to make history, dishing out nine assists. He struggled from the floor, shooting 7-for-22 from the field, but his passing was a big part why Los Angeles winning the game.
The Lakers stepped up just two days after Bryant called them soft — especially Nick Young, who said the trash talk inspired him to play well. The charismatic player was thrilled that he made the game-winning shot.
“It’s just being me at the end of the day,” Young said on the Lakers’ post-game show. That was good enough Friday night.
3 other things we learned
The Pelicans didn’t have Anthony Davis, but they still beat the Cavs. Normally, the New Orleans Pelicans look like the Philadelphia 76ers when Anthony Davis isn’t on the court. So when he left Friday night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first quarter with a chest contusion, the Pelicans’ prospects looked bleak. Then Tyreke Evans went off, Ryan Anderson caught fire and the Pelicans beat the Cavaliers, 119-114. LeBron James tried to keep Cleveland in the game — he had 41 points with five rebounds and five assists — but it wasn’t enough. Cleveland has now lost two in a row after ripping off eight straight wins.
It was a good night for the Eastern Conference. The Portland Trail Blazers were undefeated against the East this season. Then Derrick Rose had one of his best games of the season to help the Chicago Bulls beat the Blazers, 115-106. Rose had 31 points and five assists to keep pace with Damian Lillard’s 35 points and six assists.
The Wizards picked up a big win against the Clippers. Bradley Beal put up 29 points and John Wall had 10 points and 11 assists. The win snapped the Clippers’ nine-game winning streak. The Bulls and Wizards are two of the East’s best teams, and wins over two top teams in the West were exactly what the purportedly lesser conference needed.
The return of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant is having as big an impact, as expected. It’s not news, but Oklahoma City is a good basketball team. Especially when healthy. The Thunder are now 6-1 since Westbrook’s return, and 5-1 since Kevin Durant came back to the court. And while the schedule has been favorable, the Thunder keep winning emphatically. Westbrook had 34 points, six rebounds and six assists and Durant had 16 points on eight shots, five assists and four rebounds as the Thunder easily defeated the Timberwolves, 111-92. The Western Conference playoff picture is getting more and more interesting.
Play of the night
5 fun things
— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 13, 2014