Friday night was chock full of mediocre NBA action. 24 teams were in action, most of them pitting good teams against bad, or even bad against bad. There were two games worth taking a look at, though: Miami vs. Indiana and Chicago vs. Brooklyn.
Pacers take an early lead and never let go in defeating Heat
Led by David West’s 30 points, Indiana used a 13-0 run midway through the first half to to turn a 23-20 deficit into a 33-23 lead, one they would not relinquish for the rest of the game en route to a 102-89 victory over the visiting Miami Heat.
LeBron James had 28 points but just six rebounds and two assists in the loss.
As has been the case often in the Heat’s losses to the East’s elite, their undersized frontline was, well, dominated. Indiana’s fours and fives (West, Roy Hibbert, Tyler Hansbrough, Ian Mahinmi) combined for 52 points and 19 rebounds. Miami’s big men (Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Rashard Lewis, Chris Anderson) contributed 26 points and eight rebounds. The kinds of performances have come far too often for Miami, who are now a combined 0-5 against the Knicks, Pacers, and Bulls this season.
With the win, Indiana is now tied for fourth in the East with Brooklyn and just a half game behind Chicago for the Central division lead. The Pacers host the Bulls Monday night.
Brooklyn sweats out a victory against injury-depleted Chicago
The Nets used a balanced attack to conquer a Bulls team playing without four starters, coming from behind in the fourth quarter to win 93-89. Brook Lopez had 20 points in 29 minutes and the Nets bench combined for 35 points in the victory.
Already playing without Derrick Rose all season, Chicago faced Brooklyn without starters Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, and Kirk Hinrich, all unavailable due to injury. As a result, Taj Gibson and Luol Deng each played 48 minutes, with Nate Robinson and Jimmy Butler also playing 41 and 40 respectively.
In the fourth quarter, fatigue proved to be the difference. The Bulls entered the fourth leading by four. That’s when the Nets turned to their bench, which scored 25 of the team’s 30 fourth quarter points, including 11 from Andray Blatche and nine from MarShon Brooks. In the end, Brooklyn’s fresh legs were too much for the Bulls.
All statistics via ESPN