Under the radar for the first half of the season, the Indiana Pacers are creating a buzz after their second consecutive overwhelming victory. David West led six teammates in double figures with 18 points; George Hill added 15, and the Pacers pummeled the visiting Detroit Pistons 114-82 on Friday night.
Coupled with a 125-91 beat down of the New York Knicks on Wednesday, the Pacers have crushed their last two opponents by an average of 33 points to move into second place in the Eastern Conference.
“I’m very, very happy how we’ve come out post-All-Star break, in particular to start games with incredible energy and determination,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “The result is a couple of good wins.”
Rookie Orlando Johnson netted all 14 of his career-high points in the opening half, while Paul George added 12 as the Pacers rolled to their eighth win in the last 10 games. With Johnson leading the way, the Pacers led by 17 after the opening quarter and 60-36 at halftime. It ballooned to 43 at one point in the third quarter, before Vogel pulled his starters for the final 12 minutes.
Will Bynum scored 17 points for Detroit, which has dropped six consecutive visits to Indiana since January 2008.
LA Lakers 111, Portland Trail Blazers 107: Kobe Bryant erupted for 40 points, including four free throws in the final 12 seconds, Dwight Howard added 19 with 16 rebounds, and the Lakers escaped the visiting Trail Blazers. J.J. Hickson and Frenchman Nicolas Batum scored 22 points apiece in Portland’s seventh straight setback.
Golden State Warriors 107, San Antonio Spurs 101 ?(OT?): Jarrett Jack had six of his 30 points in overtime and 10 assists, David Lee added 25 points and a career-high 22 boards, and the Warriors snapped a 16-game slide since January 2008 against the visiting Spurs. Danny Green scored 20 and Tim Duncan had 19 with 13 rebounds for the NBA-best Spurs ?(44-13?), who had won five straight and 16 of 17 overall.
Toronto Raptors 100, New York Knicks 98: Rudy Gay scored a season-high 32 points, and the Raptors won for the sixth time in the last seven games while sending the visiting Knicks to their season-high fourth straight loss. Carmelo Anthony netted 32 points for the Knicks, who still lead the Atlantic Division despite the slump.
Washington Wizards 119, Denver Nuggets 113: Emeka Okafor had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Bradley Beal also scored 17 with a career-high 12 boards, and the Wizards sent the Nuggets to their fourth straight road defeat. Ty Lawson topped Denver with 27 points and 12 assists.
Houston Rockets 106, Brooklyn Nets 96: James Harden and Argentine Carlos Delfino scored 22 points apiece, and the visiting Rockets beat the Nets for the 13th consecutive time, dating back to March 2003. Brook Lopez scored 27 points for the Nets, who, without injured starting guard Joe Johnson, had their four-game winning streak snapped.
Memphis Grizzlies 88, Orlando Magic 82: Spaniard Marc Gasol collected 19 points and 13 rebounds, Zach Randolph had 16 points with 14 boards, as the Grizzlies won their sixth in a row, while sending the visiting Magic to its 16th loss in the last 17 games.
Oklahoma City Thunder 127, Minnesota Timberwolves 111: Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 37 points, Kevin Durant added 27 and the Thunder stopped a three-game slide by beating the visiting T-Wolves, who got 17 from Russian Alexey Shved.
Atlanta Hawks 122, Sacramento Kings 108: Al Horford scored 24 points, Jeff Teague added 20 with 12 assists, and the Hawks beat the visiting Kings for the 10th straight time since February 2008. Isaiah Thomas led the Kings with 30 points, while Demarcus Cousins had 26 and 13 boards.
Dallas Mavericks 104, New Orleans Hornets 100: German wunderkind Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points, Vince Carter added 22, including the go-ahead triple with 6.5 seconds left, sending the Mavericks to their third straight win while handing the visiting Hornets their fourth consecutive loss, despite 23 from Eric Gordon.
Chicago Bulls 105, Charlotte Bobcats 75: Taj Gibson led eight teammates in double figures with 17 points, and the visiting Bulls blasted the Bobcats, who received a game-high 27 from Kemba Walker.
Boston Celtics 113, Phoenix Suns 88: Kevin Garnett was given the night off but his replacement, Jeff Green, poured in 31 points and the visiting Celtics stopped a modest-two game slide after crushing the Suns.
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