Spurs turn up defensive heat, blow out the Hawks on road
ATLANTA – The most dominant defensive half by an NBA team this season earned only a dismissive shrug from San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich.
Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points, and the Spurs allowed only 25 first-half points in beating Atlanta 103-78 Saturday.
The Spurs led 47-25 at halftime. The Hawks' total — 13 points in the first quarter, 12 in the second — was the lowest for any NBA team in any half this season, according to STATS. The previous low was Houston's 26 second-half points on Nov. 1 at Miami.
"We had a good night, they had a poor night," Popovich said. "That's all it is."
Paul Millsap led Atlanta with 22 points, including 17 in the third quarter. No other Hawks player scored in double figures.
"It was tough," Millsap said. "I felt like we overthought everything on offense. … We got caught into their game and nothing good happened with that."
•NO CONTEST: James Harden scored 30 points, and the host Rockets got an easy 126-97 win over the struggling Lakers. A three-pointer by Nick Young with about seven minutes left got the Lakers within 11, but a 13-2 run by Houston pushed the lead to 115-93 and the Rockets cruised.
•STREAK OVER: Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick each scored 21 points, and the Clippers ended a seven-game, two-state road losing streak against the Nets with a 105-100 victory. Chris Paul had 15 points and 14 assists for the Clippers, who hadn't beaten the Nets on the road since Dec. 11, 2007, when the Nets played in East Rutherford, N.J. The Clippers never beat them during the Nets' brief stay in Newark and had been 0-3 in Brooklyn.
•SURGING CELTICS: Avery Bradley scored 23 points, Isaiah Thomas added 21 points and 13 assists, and the Celtics stopped the host Hornets' four-game winning streak with a 98-93 victory. Jae Crowder added 16 points and seven rebounds for the Celtics, who have won seven of their past 10 games
•BALANCED PISTONS: Reggie Jackson had 21 points and nine assists to lead a balanced attack as the host Pistons routed the Pacers 118-96. Ersan Ilyasova added 20 points, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finished with 18 points and a career-high eight assists. Six Pistons scored in double figures.
•BULLS BOUNCE BACK: Pau Gasol had 18 points, and Aaron Brooks scored 15 of his 17 in the fourth quarter as the Bulls beat the Pelicans 98-94 in Chicago. Jimmy Butler added 15 points for the Bulls, who trailed for most of the game.
•THREE PARADE: The Wizards were 14-for-29 (48.3 percent) from beyond the arc — Otto Porter Jr. Was 4-for-8 with a career-high 28 points — en route to their 114-111 victory over the Mavericks in Dallas.
•'MELO, QUITE RIGHT: Carmelo Anthony's 37 points tied a season high and helped the Knicks rally from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat the host Trail Blazers 112-110.
•BEAL OUT: Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal will be sidelined at least the next two weeks because of a right leg injury.