The Washington Wizards, led by All-Star Game snub Bradley Beal, beat the New York Knicks (impressive right?) 122-115. The 24-40 Wizards are now in the ninth seed of the Eastern Conference standings but are five and a half games back from a playoff spot, as the top eight playoff teams are all but set in the conference.
In the 22nd time over the past 23 games, Beal surpassed the 25-point mark, as he scored 39 points. Since the All-Star break, Beal is averaging 36.5 points and 5.6 assists per game, while shooting 46 percent from the field and 45 percent from three. He has clearly been motivated by not being selected to the All-Star Game, where he was averaging 29.1 points per game before then.
The biggest surprise of the night came when the Brooklyn Nets upset the surging Los Angeles Lakers, after the Lakers had multiple opportunities to win the game in the final possession.
Spencer Dinwiddie led the Nets in scoring with 23 points, while Caris LeVert scored 22 points. LeBron James, who’s at the rim layup rolled out with seconds left, scored 29 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished nine assists. He could’ve registered his 10th assist of the night when he drove the lane and kicked a pass to Anthony Davis, who attempted the game winning three. The shot was off, and the Nets won 104-102.
The Nets are 30-35 and fighting with the Orlando Magic for control of the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. The Lakers are still five and a half games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for the first seed in the Western Conference.
In a 117-111 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, James Harden scored 37 points for the struggling Houston Rockets. Since their “microball” approach, the Rockets have been routinely outrebounded by double digits every game. The team has been able to overcome those obstacles and stay in games, but ultimately losing despite great performances from Harden and Russell Westbrook every night.
After trailing most of this game, the Rockets got desperate and amped up the level of play. Loose balls were turning into possessions for the Rockets and the team started to make shots. They pulled away down the stretch despite 28 points from newly acquired guard D’Angelo Russell.
The Rockets are fighting with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the fifth seed.