Good evening, fellow Vinglers! After a PC-crash induced hiatus, VSNA is back on. Let's get right to it without further delay!
The scores: Heat 129-111 Bulls ; Trailblazers 104-85 Knicks ; Mavericks 121-108 Magic ; Hornets 126-92 Suns ; Lakers 107-101 Nets ; Warriors 109-105 Hawks
The Heat shot 67.5 percent, set a season high for points and beat the Chicago Bulls 129-111 on Tuesday night. Hassan Whiteside scored a career-high 26 points and had 14 rebounds, and Joe Johnson had 24 points in his Miami home debut. Miami's 52-for-77 shooting was the best since Utah shot exactly that on Feb. 27, 2010, and no team has done better from the field since the Los Angeles Clippers connected on 69.3 percent of their shots on March 13, 1998. It was the worst field-goal percentage defense night for Chicago since the stat started being charted by STATS in the 1983-84 season, and after the Bulls got within 108-102 with about 5 minutes left they got outscored 21-9 the rest of the way -- taking a loss that knocked them out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference. Derrick Rose returned from a three-game absence because of injury and scored 17 points for Chicago, which lost for the 17th time in 25 games. Gasol had 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and Taj Gibson added 13 points for Chicago -- but left in the third quarter with a right hamstring injury, grabbing at it and wincing in pain.
Damian Lillard scored 30 points, C.J. McCollum had 21 of his 25 in the second half and Portland beat the New York Knicks 104-85 tonight for its sixth straight road victory. Lillard reached the 30-point mark for the eighth time in nine games and had 14, nearly half of them, in the final 4:25 of the first half. The Blazers won for the 18th time in their last 22 games.
Wesley Matthews had all of his team-leading 21 points by the end of the third quarter tonight, and his Dallas Mavericks teammates took it from there. The result was a 121-108 victory over the Orlando Magic -- Dallas' third in a row and fourth in the first five games of a six-game homestand. The Mavericks made a season-high 56 percent of their field goal attempts (43 for 77). In those four wins, the Mavericks have averaged 125 points. Zaza Pachulia had his 24th double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Kemba Walker had 26 points and nine assists, and the Hornets routed the Phoenix Suns 126-92 tonight. Al Jefferson added 19 points and seven rebounds for Charlotte, which has won nine of 12. Nicolas Batum and reserve Jeremy Lamb scored 15 points apiece. The Hornets (31-28) improved to 20-9 at home, the third-best record in the Eastern Conference behind Cleveland and Toronto. With nine of the next 11 games at home, they have a good opportunity to improve on their current No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference race. The Suns (15-45) had five players score in double figures in their 16th consecutive road loss. Alex Len had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Mirza Teletovic scored 17 points.
D'Angelo Russell scored 39 points and hit two of his eight 3-pointers in the final minute, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 107-101 victory over the Brooklyn Nets tonight. While Kobe Bryant sat out with a sore right shoulder, the Lakers snapped their eight-game losing streak with a spectacular game from the 20-year-old Russell, who scored 16 points in the fourth quarter and went 14 for 21 from the field. Brook Lopez had 23 points before fouling out with 2:43 left for the Nets, who fell to 2/3 on their nine-game trip with back-to-back losses at Staples Center.
Klay Thompson scored 26 points and Draymond Green stuffed the stat sheet as the Warriors topped Atlanta in OT without Steph Curry. They certainly have some tough games up ahead, but I seriously doubt they'll lose more than 5 more games. Barring injury, this is one scary Warriors squad. Golden State (54-5) can tie the Bulls' 44-game unbeaten mark at home from March 30, 1995, to April 4, 1996, when the Warriors host Oklahoma City on Thursday. They are also chasing the `95-96 Chicago team's record 72-win season.
That is all for tonight! Let me know if you want to be tagged in future VSNA cards. See ya tomorrow!