New Orleans 94, Denver 81: Can you handle the Kaman-Okafor frontline? Sounds like a diverse, deadly political tandem. Carl Landry scored 21 points off the bench – including a thunderous facial on Nene – and the Hornets are 3-6. Eric Gordon’s still out (knee). The third former Clipper playing for the Hornets, Mr. Aminu, thwarted a Nene dunk attempt.
Toronto 97, Minnesota 87: Remember, a loss for the Wolves (3-6) is a win for the Hornets. Ricky Rubio only shot 2-of-9, but did have 10 points and six assists. Minnesota’s 33 percent shooting could be attributed to no Michael Beasley (foot), but Kevin Love (13 points, 14 rebounds) only shot 3-for-16. Andrea Bargnani scored 31 for the Raptors, and Amir Johnson shook off the flu to tally 19-11. Watch Anthony Randolph dunk here and struggle with the landing, Chris Bosh-style.
Chicago 92, Detroit 68: Boozer scored 23, Rose scored 22, and the Pistons, perhaps the worst team in the East, dropped to 2-7. Poor Lawrence Frank. The bottom of the East is really, really terrible – Washington, New Jersey, Detroit and Charlotte are abysmal and each will struggle to win 15 games. Milwaukee is 2-6, but they’ve battled injuries and should turn it around.
New York 91, Charlotte 87: The Knicks (5-4) got payback for an awful loss last week on the strength of 25-12 from Amare and 20-13 from Tyson Chandler. Yes, pounding it inside more makes sense than letting Melo (6-of-18; he’s shooting 44 percent from the field and 37 percent from three this season) jack up contested shots. The Knicks shot 30-of-40 from the line; the Bobcats only made 34 baskets.
Philadelphia 96, Toronto 86: Quietly, the 76ers are 6-2, winners of five in a row. Just like last year, the keys are balance – nine players played between 17 and 39 minutes – and depth – six players in double figures, led by Iguodala’s 20. The 76ers will be a curious postseason test case – can a team without a superstar do damage in the playoffs? (Denver will be a similar test case in the West.) For Indiana, Danny Granger sat out with food poisoning.