Bandwagon players of the day: LeBron James (29 pts, 10 rebs, 3 assts and 2 stls.) and Dwyane Wade (28 pts, 9 rebs and 4 assts.).
THE FACTS: Miami’s Big Three combined for 73 points as the Heat won their third straight over the Knicks this season, 93-85, at Madison Square Garden.
Carmelo Anthony scored 42 points on 14-for-27 shooting in a losing effort for the Knicks, who dropped into eighth place, half a game behind the Philadelphia 76ers, in the Eastern Conference standings.
LeBron James led the Heat with 29 points and 10 rebounds, Dwyane Wade added 28 points and Chris Bosh posted 16 points and 14 boards.
QUOTABLE: “I don’t think it means anything for the postseason. What it means is something about us and how we’ve been playing on the road as of late. We want to do a better job of it and the only way out is to get up, show up and collectively do better.”
— Heat coach Erik Spoelstra
QUOTABLE II: "You wanna win every game, especially on the road. We know we haven’t played to our capabilities on the road."
THE STAT: The Heat were 3-8 in their last 11 road games before this win. The Knicks were 9-0 at home under Mike Woodson before this loss.
TURNING POINT: After the Knicks led 79-75 on a J.R. Smith dunk, Miami used an 18-3 run to go ahead 93-82. Joel Anthony, Wade and James scored six unanswered points during the spurt.
QUOTABLE III: “We’ll be fine. We’ll bounce back. We’ll rebound from this and learn from it and hopefully be better.”
WHO’S HOT: Anthony continues to play like a new man under Woodson. He entered averaging 28.2 points in his last five games and has now scored 40 or more in two of his last five, including a season-best 43 in a home win over the Chicago Bulls.
WHO’S NOT: The Knicks Bench. Other than Smith (16 points), the bench of Steve Novak, Jared Jeffries and Mike Bibby managed just eight points.
QUOTABLE IV: “I feel good about our team. We played hard tonight.”
NOTABLE: Tyson Chandler injured his knee in the third quarter and exited the game, but returned in the fourth to finish with nine points and five rebounds. He was also whistled for a Flagrant Foul 1 against James. “He’s gonna be ok. He banged knees. He’ll get treatment [Monday] but he’ll be fine,” Woodson said.
QUOTABLE V: “I think I’ll be OK. It’s just a bad collision.”
INSIDE THE ARENA: Jay-Z, Beyonce, Jon Stewart, Justin Tuck and Hakeem Nix all sat courtside.
QUOTABLE VI: “It’s tough to stop him, but it’s even better to watch him.”
— Smith on Anthony.
Bandwagon players of the day: Kevin Durant (43 pts and 7rebs.) and Russell Westbrook (35 pts, 8 assts and 2 stls.).
THE FACTS: No Love for the Wolves and a big night for Kevin Durant led to a victory on Saturday night for the Oklahoma City Thunder, as they defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 115-110. Kevin Love missed the game after suffering a mild concussion on Wednesday in Denver and Durant scored 43 points for the Thunder.
Despite the differences in their records, each of the contests between these teams this year has been very close and hard-fought, and tonight was no exception. On December 26, the Thunder held off Minnesota for a 104-100 win and on March 26, Oklahoma City outlasted the Wolves in a 149-140, double-overtime thriller. In the double-overtime game, Minnesota had no answer for the Durant/Russell Westbrook combo as they combined for 85 points. Tonight it was a similar story as Durant and Westbrook together scored 78.
While J.J. Barea led Minnesota with 24 points and 10 assists, it was Minnesota’s bench that kept them in this game, as they out-scored the Thunders’ bench 54-18. Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph led Minnesota’s bench with 26 and 22 respectively. Randolph has filled in admirably in Love’s absence, averaging 22.0 ppg on 18-for-28 shooting (.643) in the last two games.
QUOTABLE: “Every game (against Minnesota) is close. It’s an overtime game or a last-two minute game. They play with a lot of confidence against us. Give them credit. They shot the ball well.”
— Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks
THE STAT: Despite being 26th in the league in field goal percentage, Minnesota outshot Oklahoma City, the No. 2 team in the league, 50 percent to 44 percent. Where Oklahoma City made the difference was in rebounding, outrebounding Minnesota 61-48, and free throw percentage, making 28-of-32 free throws.
TURNING POINT: After Minnesota closed the score to 99-97 with 5:40 to play, Oklahoma City went on a 10-2 run, keyed by eight points from Durant and a pair by Westbrook. Minnesota tried to make it interesting, but the Thunder hit their free throws down the stretch to seal the victory
QUOTABLE II: “You’ve got to give our guys a lot of credit. We played with a lot of energy tonight. That’s a great team with two great players, and we competed the whole time.”
— Minnesota coach Rick Adelman
NOTABLE: With the loss tonight, Minnesota’s losing streak now stands at nine, a season high. And they have lost 12 straight to Oklahoma City.
Gerald Green as he shows off his incredible hops by taking flight and throwind down the Deron Williams alley-oop for the big slam, earning him play of the day honors!
Bandwagon player of the day: Andrew Bynum.
Stats: 30 pts, 8 rebs, 3 assts and 3 blks.
THE FACTS: Playing their fourth consecutive game without the NBA’s leading scorer, Kobe Bryant, who is sidelined with a bruised shin, the Lakers didn’t skip a beat Friday night. They took advantage of 30 points from Andrew Bynum and a season-high 24 points and 10 rebounds off the bench from Matt Barnes in the 103-97 victory at Staples Center.
THE STAT: The Lakers were not only without Bryant, but coach Mike Brown left shortly before tip off due to a family emergency. They improved to 3-1 without their leading scorer in the lineup.
QUOTE: “Mike has instituted a system, a system he knows can be executed with him there, or without him there. He has a staff that believes in everything that he does. Now, we’ve added a fifth assistant with Kobe.”
— Lakers assistant coach John Kuester
TURNING POINT: The Lakers led by 12 points with 9:25 remaining after Pau Gasol sank a 20-footer, but the Nuggets answered with a 15-4 run to pull within a point, 91-90, with 3:36 remaining. After getting a stop on the defensive end, Barnes hit a 3-pointer with 2:42 left and the Nuggets missed their next six field-goal attempts and a free throw following a technical foul on Barnes. That allowed the Lakers to stretch their lead back to nine with under a minute remaining.
HOT: Bynum came into this season with just one 30-point game in his career, but he posted No. 6 this season after shooting 11-for-19 from the field and 8-for-11 from the free-throw line. When he keeps his temper under control and avoids costly technical fouls, he’s proven to be the best offensive center in the game. Barnes, by the way, was even hotter, shooting 9-for-11 from the field, including 4-for-4 on 3-pointers for his best game in a Lakers uniform.
Pretty soft looking crossover, but it sends Pargo flying across the floor anyways. YIKES!!!!!!!
Bandwagon player of the day: Tim Duncan.
Stats: 28 pts, 12 rebs and 2 blks.
THE FACTS: One night after a drubbing at the hands of the Lakers, the Spurs righted their ship by defeating another team headed to the playoffs. Behind Tim Duncan's 28 points (tying a season high) and 12 rebounds, San Antonio defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 107-97 on Thursday at AT&T Center.
The Spurs (41-16), who lost by double digits to Los Angeles Wednesday night, got 20 points off 11-of-11 free-throw shooting from Manu Ginobili. San Antonio, outrebounded 60-33 last night by L.A., finished the night tied 41-41 in rebounding with Memphis.
Memphis (34-24) got 19 points from Rudy Gay, 15 from Marreese Speights and double-doubles from Marc Gasol (14, 10) and Zach Randolph (10, 11).
QUOTABLE: “This was a very important one after the disappointment yesterday (against the Lakers). It was a tough hit. We needed to come back and play hard and feel good about ourselves against a good opponent. We didn’t play that sharply, but we played hard. That was important..”
THE STAT: The Spurs took an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter and counted on defense the rest of the way to finish this one off. The Grizzlies were held to 29-percent shooting (7-of-24), which included Gay shooting 2-of-9, Mike Conley 0-of-3 and just one shot — a poorly chosen 3-pointer with a full shot clock — from Randolph.
TURNING POINT: Memphis brought the ball up the floor with 2 1/2 minutes to go and trailing by four, but their possession ended rather quickly when O.J. Mayo was called for setting an illegal pick out of bounds. A possession later Gasol missed a free thrown before he fouled Duncan on the other end. Duncan was able to make the shot and also sank the free throw to give San Antonio a six-point lead and enough momentum to close out the game in the final minute.
QUOTABLE II: “I guess you can count it was a moral victory. We played them tough. Obviously we wanted to win this game. But it’s over and it’s our last time playing. Hopefully we’ll play them in the playoffs.”
HOT: Ginobili’s 11-of-11 from the free-throw line marks the second time in his last three games that he had a notable night at the foul line. He was 14-of-15 from the line in a victory last week at home over Utah.
HOT II: Even though Duncan had only two rebounds Wednesday while the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum grabbed 30, he did shoot the ball well in that contest and it carried over tonight. He was 10-of-15, and that goes along with the last four games that he has played for a combined 38-of-48.
NOT: Gay scored 19 points, but he needed 22 shots to do it. He finished 7-of-22, and that broke a nice streak where he was 28-of-45 over his three previous games.
FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Duncan has a double-double in three of the last five games he’s played. He’s got 51 points (17 per game) and 45 rebounds (15 per game) in those games.
GOOD MOVE: Patty Mills has been playing respectably as a backup point guard the past week in addition to Gary Neal trying his hand at the job for an extended period this season. But Popovich let Ginobili handle those duties tonight exclusively, and he had four assists and no turnovers (starting point guard Tony Parker had nine assists and seven turnovers).
BAD MOVE: Trailing by six with 45 seconds to go, Memphis tried to chip away at the lead with a two. But when Mayo missed a contested layup, the ball was tapped out to Randolph. Almost immediately, with a full shot clock, Zebo put up a 3-pointer that missed and went into Ginobili’s hands. He was fouled immediately and sank both free throws to give S.A. an eight-point lead.
ROOKIE WATCH: Kawhi Leonard played 18 minutes for the Spurs and scored six points and had five rebounds. Jeremy Pargo played less than two minutes for the Grizzlies and left with nothing on his stat line but zeros.
NOTABLE: The Spurs might not have been able to defeat the eighth-seeded Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs last season, but they swept the season series this season 4-0. … The Grizzlies converted nine of their first 10 scoring opportunities off turnovers, but they finished the game on a 1-of-7 streak in that category.
UP NEXT: For the Grizzlies, Saturday vs. Utah, Sunday @ New Orleans, Tuesday @ Minnesota. For the Spurs, Saturday vs. Phoenix, Monday @ Golden State, Tuesday at Lakers.