Good evening, fellow Vinglers and welcome back to VSNA Basketball! Let it begin!
Scores: Hornets 108-101 Pacers ; Heat 112-102 76ers ; Celtics 105-104 Knicks ; Raptors 117-115 Trailblazers ; Cavaliers 108-83 Wizards ; Grizzlies 94-88 Jazz ; Bucks 116-101 Timberwolves ; Nets 121-120 Nuggets ; Hawks 106-77 Lakers ; Suns 102-84 Magic
Hassan Whiteside had 19 points and 19 rebounds, Wade scored 21 points and the Heat beat the Philadelphia 76ers 112-102 tonight for their fourth straight win. The Heat improved to 7-2 since losing Chris Bosh, in large part due to the emergence of Whiteside. The 7-footer is averaging 18.5 points and 15.5 rebounds per game over the last eight contests after a far more uneven first few months of the season. Goran Dragic added 15 points and 11 assists for the Heat. Luol Deng scored 13 points and Joe Johnson, Amar'e Stoudemire and Gerald Green had 12 points each. The Heat are 4-0 since signing Johnson after the seven-time All-Star agreed to a buyout with the Brooklyn Nets. Ish Smith had 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists and Robert Covington scored 25 points for the depleted 76ers, who were missing several key players. Philadelphia has lost 11 straight.
Isaiah Thomas had 32 points and eight assists, Avery Bradley hit a go-ahead layup with 17.7 seconds left and the Celtics extended their home winning streak to 13 games with a 105-104 win over the Knicks. Jae Crowder had 20 points and eight rebounds. The Celtics went 5-0 during their longest stretch of home games this season despite facing double-digit deficits in four straight games. Carmelo Anthony had a chance to win the game in the closing seconds but badly missed a 3-pointer off the backboard as time expired. Anthony had 30 points and seven rebounds. Arron Afflalo added 17 points and Kristaps Porzingis finished with 15 points for the Knicks, who lost their third straight.
Toronto overcame Damian Lillard's 50-point outburst behind a season-high 38 points from DeMar DeRozan, who set an NBA record with 24 consecutive free throws made in one game. That helped the Raptors win their franchise-record 12th straight home game. Lillard's 50 points were one shy of his career high, set last month in Portland's 137-105 win over the Golden State Warriors. DeRozan was 24-of-25 at the foul line, and his only miss was an intentional one with 0.9 seconds left to run out the clock. He set career highs for free throw attempts and makes and is the first player to make 24 in a game since Dwight Howard had 25 in 2013. No player in NBA history has ever gone 25-for-25 from the line. With his 50-point outing, Lillard became the first Blazer with three 40-point games in a season since Brandon Roy and the second player in franchise history to score 50 or more points twice, following on from Geoff Petrie. Lillard also became the second player in Portland history to have 50-plus points in a loss, joining Damon Stoudamire in that regard.
James moved to power forward in Cleveland's "small" starting lineup and nearly recorded a triple-double in three quarters, Kyrie Irving scored 21 points and the Cavs avenged a recent ugly loss to Washington by throttling the Wizards 108-83. Cleveland was blown out at Washington on Sunday, when James watched from the bench and the Wizards built a 30-point lead. But with James energized after not playing since Monday, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue utilized a smaller, speedier lineup that didn't include Kevin Love and the Cavs snapped Washington's four-game winning streak. James finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists before resting the entire fourth quarter. More importantly, the Cavs may have found a wrinkle that could help them play against Golden State if the teams meet in the NBA Finals again. Timofey Mozgov scored 14 points, 12 on dunks, for Cleveland, which unveiled a look which Lue plans to use more often in the coming weeks as the Cavs prepare for the playoffs. John Wall scored 17 and Markieff Morris 13 for the Wizards, who missed a chance to move into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 25 points and eight rebounds as Memphis won its third straight. Lance Stephenson had 16 points, while Conley had 12 points. Mario Chalmers finished with 11 points. Derrick Favors scored 14 points, while Rudy Gobert had 13 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks. Shelvin Mack recorded 12 points and eight assists for Utah, which lost its fifth straight, striking another blow to its playoff hopes.
That's all for tonight, folks! Let me know in the comments if you wish to be tagged in future VSNA cards! Smell ya later!