Kevin Durant returned last night, and it didn't go as well as his buddy Russell Westbrook’s emphatic foray back into action last Friday night. Granted, the competition was much tougher: Westbrook slaughtered the lowly, 'Melo-less Knicks, while the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled into the Smoothie King Center to take on New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday night. And last year’s MVP, Durant, got a rude awakening from the man who’s leading the race this year, Anthony Davis.
Durant had 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting in the matchup, but it wasn’t enough. Davis overwhelmed OKC with 24 points, 10 rebounds, six steals, four assists and four blocks as the Pellies took the win, 112-104. The Thunder’s tough sled back to playoff positioning is underway, and it’s clear that it won’t be easy.
Nothing came easy for the Chicago Bulls or Dallas Mavericks at the United Center last night, either. Though the Mavericks pulled out a win, it took two overtimes and a lot of Monta Ellis heroism (38 points) to get it done. They also had to survive this sensational shot from an otherwise spotty Derrick Rose, which beat the buzzer to send the contest into its second extra session:
Dallas got a bit bailed out in the 132-129 victory, as Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich made perhaps the season’s stupidest foul at the end of regulation to gift Ellis three free-throws that brought them back into the game. Dirk Nowitzki called it "one of the dumber fouls."
Over in Oakland, though, Steph Curry was making clutch shooting count for wins again. The Golden State Warriors continued to roll, winning their tenth straight, 98-97 over the upstart Orlando Magic. And they couldn’t have done it without one big shot from their star:
— John Wilmes