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NBA Game Recaps for February 22, 2018
96
Brooklyn Nets  at  Charlotte Hornets
Final  – February 22, 2018
111

Hornets Dispose of Nets, 111-96

By Juan Carlos Blanco

The Charlotte Hornets defeated the Brooklyn Nets, 111-96, at Spectrum Center on Thursday evening. As their record implies, the Hornets (25-33) have struggled with consistency throughout the season. However, with only 25 contests remaining coming into Thursday and Charlotte sitting 5.5 games behind the Heat for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, they knew their margin for error was considerably dwindling. A matchup against the struggling Nets (19-41) seemed like a good way to start their postseason push, but Brooklyn came ready to play after the long All-Star break layoff. The visitors nearly matched their hosts basket for basket in the first half, trailing only by a two-point margin at intermission. They continued scrapping in the third quarter, entering the final 12 minutes trailing by a manageable 80-74 deficit. However, a 12-4 run by the Hornets between the 7:01 and 2:35 marks of the fourth period helped them gain the separation necessary to notch the double-digit home win. Kemba Walker, who led all scorers with 31 points, notched 14 of them during that crucial final quarter to lead the way. Dante Cunningham was the surprise leader for the Nets, posting 22 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and one block. D'Angelo Russell drew the start and tallied 19 points, five assists, four rebounds and one block. Spencer Dinwiddie provided 12 points, nine assists, four rebounds and one block. Joe Harris matched Dinwiddie's scoring total off the bench and added two rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block. Allen Crabbe managed 11 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals. Jarrett Allen supplied nine points, seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal. DeMarre Carroll mustered six points, five boards, two assists and one block. Walker complemented his aforementioned scoring total with seven assists and two steals. Dwight Howard dominated down low as usual, totaling 15 points, 24 rebounds, one assist and one block. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist registered 13 points, five boards, one assist and one block. Marvin Williams went for 11 points, two rebounds, two assists and one block. Nicolas Batum delivered 10 points, seven assists, five rebounds, one steal and one block. Jeremy Lamb led the bench with nine points, four boards and four assists. The Nets are off again until next Monday evening, when they'll take on the Chicago Bulls at home. The Hornets are right back in action again on Friday night when they face off with the Washington Wizards in the Nation's Capital.

Posted on February 22, 2018 at 9:37 PM ET      Updated on February 22, 2018 at 9:53 PM ET

By Juan Carlos Blanco

The Nets were ready to play following their extended All-Star break layoff, nearly matching their hosts basket for basket in the first half and trailing by only two points at intermission. They ultimately entered the final 12 minutes with a manageable 80-74 deficit, but a 12-4 run by the Hornets between the 7:01 and 2:35 marks of the fourth period helped them gain separation and notch the double-digit home win. Kemba Walker, who led all scorers with 31 points, notched 14 of them during that crucial final quarter. Charlotte enjoyed a particularly sizable advantage down low, winning the rebounding battle by a 54-41 margin. Dante Cunningham's 22 points and 12 rebounds, which he supplemented with four assists and one block, paced the Nets. D'Angelo Russell tallied 19 points, five assists and four rebounds among his contributions. Spencer Dinwiddie's line included 12 points, nine assists and four rebounds. Joe Harris matched Dinwiddie's scoring total off the bench, while Allen Crabbe's pitched in 11 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals. Jarrett Allen's final line included nine points, seven rebounds and two assists. Walker complemented his aforementioned scoring total with seven assists and two steals. Dwight Howard posted a 15-point, 24-rebound double-double. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's final line partly consisted of 13 points and five boards. Marvin Williams went for 11 points, while Nicolas Batum delivered 10 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Jeremy Lamb's nine points led the bench.

Posted on February 22, 2018 at 9:52 PM ET

120
New York Knicks  at  Orlando Magic
Final  – February 22, 2018
113

Knicks End Losing Streak, Defeat Struggling Magic Team

By Juan Pablo Aravena  

The New York Knicks defeated the Orlando Magic, 120-113, at Amway Center on Thursday evening. The Knicks (24-36) had to come from behind in this game against the Magic (18-40), but they managed to secure the win to snap their losing streak at eight. Orlando got off to a good start and they won the first quarter 41-31, and they held a six-point advantage heading into the second half. However, New York didn't give up and they turned things around in the second half. After winning the third quarter 30-21, they sealed the deal with a strong fourth-quarter performance (27-23). As a result, the Knicks are back in the winning column while the Magic have now dropped their last four contests. Trey Burke was the best player for the Knicks in this game, as he came off the bench to deliver a strong 26-point, six-assist, five-rebound performance in only 29 minutes of action. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 23 points and six assists, and Enes Kanter registered a strong double-double of 12 points and 12 boards. Courtney Lee had 10 points, and Kyle O'Quinn registered 14 points with eight rebounds off the bench. Evan Fournier led the way for Orlando, as he finished with 25 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Nikola Vucevic added 19 points with six rebounds, and D.J. Augustin contributed with 13 points and four assists. Jonathon Simmons had 12 points, five assists and four rebounds. Meanwhile, Mario Hezonja contributed with 15 points coming off the bench.

Posted on February 22, 2018 at 9:35 PM ET

By Juan Pablo Aravena  

Trey Burke was the best player for the Knicks in this game, as he came off the bench to deliver a strong 26-point, six-assist, five-rebound performance in only 29 minutes of action. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 23 points and six assists, and Enes Kanter registered a strong double-double of 12 points and 12 boards. Courtney Lee had 10 points, and Kyle O'Quinn registered 14 points with eight rebounds off the bench. Evan Fournier led the way for Orlando, as he finished with 25 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Nikola Vucevic added 19 points with six rebounds, and D.J. Augustin contributed with 13 points and four assists. Jonathon Simmons had 12 points, five assists and four rebounds. Meanwhile, Mario Hezonja contributed with 15 points coming off the bench. Shelvin Mack added eight points off the bench.

Posted on February 22, 2018 at 9:36 PM ET

116
Philadelphia 76ers  at  Chicago Bulls
Final  – February 22, 2018
115

Sixers Narrowly Beat Bulls, 116-115

By Joel Bartilotta

The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the host Chicago Bulls, 116-115, at United Center on Thursday. The fact that neither of these teams ever led by more than eight points after the first quarter shows just how competitive this matchuo was. In fact, there were 10 ties and five lead changes in the second half alone, as Philly were able to prevail thanks to two late free-throws by Ben Simmons that turned a one-point deficit into a one-point victory, finishing the game on a 6-0 run. The shooting disparity was key, with Chicago shooting 45 percent from the field while Philadelphia connected on over 51 percent of their shots. The Sixers ability to get to the free-throw line was also critical, with Philly hitting 21-of-35 and Chicago connecting on just 9-of-15. The Sixers (31-25) got a career-high 32 points out of Ben Simmons, as he also provided seven rebounds and 11 assists. Joel Embiid was equally as valuable, totaling 30 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, three steals and four blocks. Those two combined to go 24-of-35 from the field as well. Dario Saric finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and two assists while J.J, Redick dropped 14 points. The Bulls (20-38) got a career-high performance as well, as Bobby Portis led the team with 38 points, eight rebounds and two assists off the bench. David Nwaba got a rare start and accrued 21 points, nine rebounds and two assists. Zach LaVine led the starters with 23 points, three rebounds and four assists. Both teams return to action on Saturday, with Philly playing host to the Orlando Magic and Chicago traveling to face the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Posted on February 22, 2018 at 10:59 PM ET      Updated on February 23, 2018 at 12:06 AM ET

By Joel Bartilotta

A lead change in the final seconds is usually an indicator of a great game and that was just the case here. In fact, Ben Simmons hit two free-throws with six seconds left to give the Sixers a one-point lead and eventually, the win. Shooting was key, with Philly connecting on over 51 percent of their shots while holding Chicago to 45 percent from the field. Getting to the free-throw line was also key, with Philly hitting 21-of-35 and Chicago connecting on just 9-of-15. Ben Simmons not only hit the game-winning free-throws, he dropped a career-high 32 points to add to his seven rebounds and 11 assists. Joel Embiid was just as good, providing 30 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, three steals and four blocks. Bobby Portis also recorded a career-high in scoring, leading the bench with 38 points, eight rebounds and two assists. Zach LaVine led the starters with 23 points, three rebounds and four assists. David Nwaba started and tallied 21 points, nine rebounds and two assists.

Posted on February 22, 2018 at 11:12 PM ET

110
Washington Wizards  at  Cleveland Cavaliers
Final  – February 22, 2018
103

Wizards Defeat Cavaliers, 110-103

By Joel Bartilotta

The Washington Wizards defeated the host Cleveland Cavaliers, 110-103, at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday. Despite the fact that Cleveland had won five of their previous six games over Washington, the Wizards were able to prevail here despite not having John Wall (knee). This matchup was close throughout though, as there were 10 ties and 14 lead changes in total, with neither team ever leading by more than 12 points. Three-point shooting was a key statistic, with Washington connecting on 12-of-30 and Cleveland hitting just 8-of-35. Free-throw shooting also killed the Cavaliers, as they went just 11-of-19 from the charity stripe while the Wizards went a perfect 10-of-10. Washington ended up winning the rebounding, assisting, steals, blocks and turnover differentials as well. The Wizards (34-24) were led by Bradley Beal, as he tallied 18 points, two rebounds, nine assists and two blocks. Tomas Satoransky amassed 17 points, four rebounds, eight assists and two steals. Otto Porter finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Markieff Morris accrued nine points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Kely Oubre Jr. led the bench with 17 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. The Cavaliers (34-23) were carried by LeBron James, as he collected 32 points, nine rebounds and eight assists on 13-of-18 from the field. Tristan Thompson totaled 12 points, nine rebounds and two assists. The only other Cavalier in double figures was J.R. Smith, who scored 15 points but failed to provide much else. Both teams play again on Friday, with Cleveland traveling to play the Memphis Grizzlies and Washington playing host to the Charlotte Hornets.

Posted on February 22, 2018 at 10:40 PM ET      Updated on February 22, 2018 at 10:42 PM ET

By Joel Bartilotta

The fact that there were 10 ties and 14 lead changes in this game shows just how close it was, as neither team ever led by more than 12 points, Three-point shooting was key for the Wizards, as they connected on 12-of-30 while Cleveland hit just 8-of-35. Free-throw shooting was also critical, with the Wizards going a perfect 10-of-10 and the Cavaliers hitting just 10-of-19. Bradley Beal led the way for Washington, as he accrued 18 points, two rebounds, nine assists and two blocks. Tomas Satoransky totaled 17 points, four rebounds, eight assists and two steals. Otto Porter amassed 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals while Kelly Oubre Jr. led the bench with 17 points and five rebounds. LeBron James was the player of the game despite the loss, as he collected 32 points, nine rebounds and eight assists on 13-of-18 from the field. Tristan Thompson accumulated 12 points, nine rebounds and two assists.

Posted on February 22, 2018 at 10:49 PM ET

110
Oklahoma City Thunder  at  Sacramento Kings
Final  – February 22, 2018
107

Westbrook Sinks Game-Winner For OKC

By Dan Bruno  

The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the host Sacramento Kings, 110-107, at Golden 1 Center on Thursday evening. The Thunder got out to a blistering hot start, as they jumped out to a 12-3 lead within the first three minutes, and went on to pour in 44 points in the first quarter, while holding the Kings to 21. However, the Kings answered back in the second quarter with a 22-7 run, which cut the deficit to eight points, as they trailed 51-43 with six minutes left in the half. The Kings held on to trail by seven at halftime, down 67-60. The Kings carried the momentum into the third quarter, where they outscored the Thunder 30-18, to take a 90-85 lead into the final frame. The teams battled through the fourth down to the last minute, where Russell Westbrook came up with a buzzer beating, game-winning three-pointer to devastate the home crowd and seal the win for OKC. Westbrook tallied a triple-double with 17 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists. Paul George finished with a team-high 26 points, along with eight rebounds and eight assists, while Carmelo Anthony finished with 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting. Steven Adams had a solid outing with 18 points and 11 rebounds. The Thunder shot 45 percent from the field, including 14-of-36 from long range. Meanwhile, Zach Randolph had a huge night for Sacramento with 29 points on 12-of-23 shooting, and 12 rebounds. Garret Temple and Vince Carter chipped in 13 points each, while Buddy Hield added 19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, off the bench. The Kings shot 46 percent from the field, including 12-of-27 from long range. The Kings (18-40) will look to bounce back as they play host to the Lakers on Saturday. The Thunder (34-26) take on the Warriors in Golden State on Saturday.

Posted on February 23, 2018 at 12:51 AM ET      Updated on February 23, 2018 at 12:58 AM ET

By Dan Bruno  

Westbrook tallied a triple-double with 17 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists, along with two steals and one block. Paul George finished with a team-high 26 points on 7-of-17 shooting, along with eight rebounds, eight assists and one steal. Carmelo Anthony added 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting, three rebounds and one assist. Steven Adams totaled 18 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Meanwhile, Zach Randolph led the way for Sacramento with 29 points on 12-of-23 shooting, 12 rebounds and two assists. Garret Temple chipped in 13 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals, while Vince Carter added 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and one block. Buddy Hield finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and one steal, off the bench, while Skal Labissiere chipped in 10 points, three rebounds and two blocks.

Posted on February 23, 2018 at 12:56 AM ET

127
Los Angeles Clippers  at  Golden State Warriors
Final  – February 22, 2018
134

Warriors Take Down Clippers, 134-127, Behind Curry's 44

By Oscar Heanue

The Golden State Warriors took down the visiting Los Angeles Clippers, 134-127, behind Steph Curry's 44 points at Oracle Arena on Thursday. In the first game back from the All-Star Break, the Warriors (45-14) showcased their top-ranked offense. It was an offense-heavy game from both teams, as LA (30-27) nearly caught up with Golden State's 70-point first half thanks to 69 points of their own in the second. Ultimately, though, it was two-time MVP Steph Curry's night to shine. Curry hit eight three-pointers en route to a game-high 44 points. He shot 14-of-19 from the field. As a team, the Warriors shot a brilliant 62.2 percent from the field. Five players scored in double figures. All-Star forward Kevin Durant followed up his recent 50-point game with 21 points on Friday. He added eight assists. The team also knocked down over 54 percent of its three-point attempts, making 13 as a team on the night. LA, meanwhile, showcased its own offensive acumen. Despite the loss, the team had seven double-digit scorers, including all five starters. Forward Tobias Harris, who was recently acquired in the trade that sent Blake Griffin to Detroit, scored a team-high 22 points. Offensive powerhouse Lou Williams came off the bench and delivered another strong outing, scoring 21 points. The Clippers will visit Phoenix on Friday, while Golden State will host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

Posted on February 23, 2018 at 1:30 AM ET

By Oscar Heanue

Offense was not hard to come by for either team in Thursday's Clippers-Warriors matchup. The two teams combined to score 258 points, with Golden State earning the win on the backs of 62.2 percent team shooting and 13 made three-pointers. All-Star point guard Steph Curry scored a team-high 44 points, shooting a blistering 14-of-19 from the field and 8-of-11 from three-point range. Kevin Durant added 21 points and eight assists, while Klay Thompson had 19 points. For the Clippers, the team shot 50 percent and had seven double-digit scorers. Tobias Harris was the high scorer with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Sixth man Lou Williams added 21 points off the bench along with a team-high 11 assists. LA also held an edge on the glass, with eight offensive rebounds to Golden State's three.

Posted on February 23, 2018 at 1:34 AM ET