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NBA Game Recaps for March 23, 2017
98
Phoenix Suns  at  Brooklyn Nets
Final  – March 23, 2017
126

Nets Blast Suns, 126-98

By Juan Carlos Blanco

The Brooklyn Nets defeated the Phoenix Suns, 126-98, at Barclays Center on Thursday evening. The Nets (15-56) came into Thursday on what could, by their standards, be considered a hot streak. They'd tallied five victories in 12 games in March but they were chasing a particularly significant win against the Suns (22-50). Brooklyn had not prevailed in consecutive games in nearly a calendar year, improbable as that sounds. Early on, it appeared the dubious streak would endure, as the Nets fell by a 32-22 margin after one quarter. However, they roared back in the second by outscoring Phoenix by a 30-18 margin and then took it up a couple of notches in the second half. The Nets outscored their visitors, 74-48, over the third and fourth quarters for one of their biggest victories of the season. A whopping eight players hit double digits in the scoring column, and Brooklyn played a stellar defensive game overall, limiting the Suns to a 36.6 percent success rate from the field and 28.8 percent figure from three-point range while also causing 19 turnovers. Phoenix was led by Devin Booker, who managed 28 points, two rebounds and three steals. Marquese Chriss continued his recent stretch of excellent play with 23 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and one block. Alex Len followed with an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double that also included one assist, two steals and two blocks. Tyler Ulis chipped in with a 10-point, 12-assist double-double that also featured a pair of steals. Leandro Barbosa paced the second unit with 11 points, six boards, one assist and one steal. Brook Lopez led the way for the Nets with 19 points, six rebounds and one block. K.J. McDaniels followed with a bench-leading 16 points, which he supplemented with eight rebounds, one assist, two steals and one block. Trevor Booker managed 14 points, eight boards and one assist. Jeremy Lin tallied 13 points, five assists and three rebounds. Archie Goodwin and Quincy Acy contributed matching 12-point efforts as reserves. Isaiah Whitehead compiled 11 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block over 28 minutes. Justin Hamilton supplied 10 points and one rebound. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson mustered a modest five points but hauled in 16 boards, dished out two assists, recorded two steals and posted one block. The Suns next head to Boston to take on the Celtics on Friday night, while the Nets head to Washington to take on the Wizards on Friday evening as well.

Posted on March 23, 2017 at 10:17 PM ET      Updated on March 23, 2017 at 10:18 PM ET

By Juan Carlos Blanco

The Nets outscored their visitors, 74-48 in the second half. Eight players posted double-digit scoring, and Brooklyn limited the Suns to a 36.6 percent success rate from the field and 28.8 percent figure from three-point range while causing 19 turnovers. The Nets bench scored a collective 81 points. Brook Lopez's 19 points led the Nets. K.J. McDaniels followed with a bench-leading 16 points and Trevor Booker managed 14. Jeremy Lin tallied 13 points, while Archie Goodwin and Quincy Acy contributed matching 12-point efforts. Isaiah Whitehead compiled 11 points. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson mustered a modest five points but hauled in 16 boards. Devin Booker's 28 points led the Suns. Marquese Chriss posted a 23-point, 11-rebound double-double. Alex Len followed with an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double. Tyler Ulis tallied 10 points and 12 assists. Leandro Barbosa's 11 points led the bench.

Posted on March 23, 2017 at 10:49 PM ET

101
Toronto Raptors  at  Miami Heat
Final  – March 23, 2017
84

Raptors Pull Away From Heat 101-84

By Nick Brazzoni  

The Toronto Raptors defeated the Miami Heat 101-84 Thursday at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat (35-37) got off to a strong start on both sides of the ball, as they opened up a 10-point lead in the first quarter. From that point, however, it was all Raptors (43-29). Over the course of the next three quarters, Toronto outscored Miami by 27 points thanks in large part to the tremendous play of All-Star DeMar DeRozan, who scored a game-high 40 points on 14-of-25 shooting from the field. DeRozan was the only starter to score in double figures for the Raptors, but the team's bench managed to come up with an important 36 points, led by 14 points from Norman Powell and 13 from Delon Wright. As for the Heat, six different players managed to score in double figures, but they failed to get a standout performance to counter that of DeRozan's in some way. Hassan Whiteside ended up leading the way with a team-high 16 points and 14 rebounds, but no other Miami player scored more than 13 points. The poor offensive play was contagious across the board, as the team shot just 39 percent from the field and 26 percent from behind the arc in Thursday's contest. It was a crucial loss for the Heat, as they now hold just a one-game advantage over both the Bulls and Pistons for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Posted on March 23, 2017 at 10:30 PM ET

By Nick Brazzoni  

While DeMar DeRozan is easily having the best offensive season of his eight-year NBA career, Thursday's performance marked the first time this season where the All-Star shooting guard had back-to-back games with at least 40 points. DeRozan followed up 42 points on 17-of-38 shooting from the field in Tuesday's comeback victory against the Bulls with 40 points on an even more efficient 14-of-25 shooting from the field in Thursday's blowout victory over the Heat. And while it may have been the first time DeRozan had back-to-back 40-point games this season, 40-point games have not necessarily been a rarity for him, with Thursday's performance serving as his sixth such performance of the year. This comes after a 2015-16 campaign where DeRozan didn't have a single 40-point performance throughout the season, with his season-high being 38 points.

Posted on March 23, 2017 at 10:38 PM ET

90
Memphis Grizzlies  at  San Antonio Spurs
Final  – March 23, 2017
97

Spurs Take Down Grizzlies, 97-90

By Oscar Heanue

The host San Antonio Spurs beat the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday, 97-90. The Spurs (55-16) look poised for a second straight 60-win season as they continue to roll as the season draws to a close. San Antonio remains two games back from first place in the Western Conference, but still has plenty of time to overtake Golden State for the league's top record. On Thursday, All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge found his groove and helped lead the Spurs offense past the tough grit-and-grind Grizzlies. Aldridge led the team with 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Superstar Kawhi Leonard had a bit of an off night despite still pouring in 19 points. Leonard shot under 50 percent from the field and went a sub-par 4-of-7 from the free-throw line. Memphis (40-32) has now dropped two straight after a four-game win streak earlier in the month. The Grizzlies have fallen to seventh place in the Western Conference, allowing themselves to be eclipsed by the Thunder for sixth. Memphis struggled against the Spurs' top-ranked defense, shooting just 43 percent from the field on the night. Only two Grizzlies scored in double digits, with only Mike Conley eclipsing 20 points. Conley scored 22, while All-Star center Marc Gasol added 13 points and 10 rebounds. San Antonio will host the Knicks on Saturday, while the Grizzlies visit Golden State on Sunday.

Posted on March 23, 2017 at 11:18 PM ET

By Oscar Heanue

The San Antonio Spurs continued to be one of the league's most dominant teams on Thursday, as they played lockdown defense en route to a win over the Memphis Grizzlies. All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge led the charge on the offensive end, shooting 10-of-16 from the field and 1-of-2 from three-point range for a team-high 23 points. Superstar forward Kawhi Leonard added an additional 19 points but was less efficient, including an odd 4-of-7 at the free-throw line. As a team, the Spurs shot a very respectable 48 percent from the field and hit eight three-pointers. For the Grizzlies, only two players scored in double digits and the team shot only 43 percent. The Grizz saw a team-high 22 points from point guard Mike Conley, who added six assists. All-Star center Marc Gasol, meanwhile, had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Posted on March 23, 2017 at 11:25 PM ET

95
Los Angeles Clippers  at  Dallas Mavericks
Final  – March 23, 2017
97

Mavericks Defeat Clippers, 97-95

By Joel Bartilotta

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Los Angeles Clippers, 97-95, at American Airlines Center on Thursday. Dallas have now beat Los Angeles twice this season in three games, as they clearly match up well with this Clipper team. It was tightly contested though, as there were 10 ties and 11 lead changes, with neither team leading by more than 12 points. The assist-to-turnover ratio was decisive, as Dallas recorded 26 assists to nine turnovers, while Los Angeles committed 17 turnovers to just 18 assists. The Clippers (43-30) had a tough task here against a desperate Mavs team and they fell just short in this tight battle. Blake Griffin led the way for Los Angeles, as he tallied 21 points, five rebounds and two assists. DeAndre Jordan recorded a double-double, totaling 14 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks. Chris Paul finished with 15 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals. On deck for the Clippers is a home matchup against the Utah Jazz on Saturday. The Mavericks (31-40) are trying to keep their playoffs hope alive and this win can only help that pursuit. Seth Curry scored a game-high 23 points to lead Dallas, as he also added three rebounds and four assists to his tally. Harrison Barnes was the hero, as he scored 21 points in addition to hitting the go-ahead jumper with one minute left, following that up with a crucial steal. Dirk Nowitzki accrued 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Nerlens Noel got the start and collected eight points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. On deck for the Mavericks is a home matchup versus the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.

Posted on March 23, 2017 at 11:40 PM ET      Updated on March 23, 2017 at 11:42 PM ET

By Joel Bartilotta

These are two teams still in the playoff hunt and it was evident through this tightly contested battle. In fact, there were 10 ties and 11 lead changes, with neither team leading by more than 12 points. The assist-to-turnover ratio was key, with Dallas recording 26 assists to nine turnovers, while Los Angeles committed 17 turnovers to just 18 assists. Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 21 points, five rebounds and two assists. Chris Paul accumulated 15 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals. DeAndre Jordan totaled 14 points and 18 rebounds. Seth Curry led the way for the Mavericks, as he tallied 23 points, three rebounds and four assists. Harrison Barnes totaled 21 points, two rebounds and two steals. Dirk Nowitzki amassed 14 points, four rebounds and four assists. Nerlens Noel got a rare start and accrued eight points, 12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

Posted on March 23, 2017 at 11:47 PM ET

95
New York Knicks  at  Portland Trail Blazers
Final  – March 23, 2017
110

Trail Blazers Defeat Injured Knicks Squad 110-95

By Jason Rubin  

The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the New York Knicks 110-95 at Moda Center on Thursday. The Trail Blazers (33-38) had no trouble handling the injured Knicks (27-45) roster that saw both starters Carmelo Anthony (knee) and Derrick Rose (foot) sidelined. Without two of their go-to players, Kristaps Porzingis drew most of the touches on offense, while Willy Hernangomez, Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Ron Baker drew starts. Portland scored 67 points in the first half and were able to go to cruise control for the second half, as the defensively inefficient Knicks had no answer for the backcourt scoring the Blazers brought in the contest. Damian Lillard led all scorers with 30 points, to go with five assists and four rebounds on 9-of-17 shooting, while C.J. McCollum added 20 points in the win. Evan Turner and Allen Crabbe saw 24 minutes and 34 minutes, respectively, while combining for 21 points off the bench. Porzingis led all Knicks scorers with 18 points on 21 shots, while adding nine rebounds, one assist, one steal and three blocks. Hernangomez went 5-of-10 from the field, scored 10 points and added eight rebounds. The Knicks shot just 22.7 percent from behind the arc and 40.9 percent from the field. Both teams play on Saturday, as the Blazers host the Minnesota Timberwolves, while the Knicks visit the San Antonio Spurs.

Posted on March 24, 2017 at 12:47 AM ET

By Jason Rubin  

The Portland Trail Blazers relied on their high scoring backcourt to carry them through a rather easy matchup with the Knicks, and went on to score 67 first half points as a unit and cruise through the remaining two period. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum combined for 50 points, with each player taking 17 shots. Lillard led all scorers with 30 points, to go with five assists and four rebounds on 9-of-17 shooting, while C.J. McCollum added 20 points in the win. As for the bench, Evan Turner saw 24 minutes of action, while Allen Crabbe had a heavier workload and logged 34 minutes of play. The two combined for 21 points on 13 shots. Porzingis led all Knicks scorers with 18 points on 21 shots, while adding nine rebounds, one assist, one steal and three blocks. Hernangomez went 5-of-10 from the field, scored 10 points and added eight rebounds.

Posted on March 24, 2017 at 12:49 AM ET