LeBron bests Curry, Griffin outdoes Aldridge in pair of California games


Photo by C. Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Photo by C. Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron’s game-winner, Blake’s 36 points take their respective teams into All-Star weekend with confidence

By Joe Manganiello

In one of the best finishes of the season, LeBron James stared down 2012 Olympic teammate Andre Iguodala on the left wing and nailed a three-pointer, leaving virtually no time left on the clock, sealing an impressive 111-110 victory for Miami over Golden State.

James had the quintessential “LeBron leads all scorers and finishes a single assist or rebound away from a triple-double game – he finished with 36 points, thirteen rebounds and nine assists. Without Dwyane Wade, Miami needed a strong showing from James, as well as a plus-shooting night from the Heat’s ensemble – Miami shot about 54 percent from the field, and made ten three-pointers on 45.5 percent shooting.

Golden State struggled in the first half, down by double-digits for a large portion of the game. But a 36-point third quarter got Oracle Arena involved, and Steph Curry scored nineteen of his 29 points in the second half. The Warriors were without much rim protection, missing Andrew Bogut and Jermaine O’Neal, and Miami’s four-time MVP routinely got to the basket.

In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin continues to churn out big-time performances, finishing with 36 points and ten rebounds in a 122-117 victory against the Portland Trailblazers. He has scored 25 points or more in twelve of his last thirteen games, which includes six double-doubles, as the Clippers head into All-Star weekend with the third-most wins in the Western Conference (37).

Chris Paul has resumed his role as floor general and Assist King, as he dished out twelve assists to go with his 20 points and three steals. Jamal Crawford continues to thrive while J. J. Redick’s injury-ridden season keeps him off the floor, as the 33-year-old crafty two-guard scored 25 points.

Portland was paced by its usual suspects: LaMarcus Aldridge scored 25 points; Damian Lillard put up 21 points and five assists; and their startling lineup scored 86 of their 117 points.

Joe Manganiello (@JoeMags_hoops) is a staff writer for pickinsplinters.com. He was published in the 2013-14 USA Today Sports College Basketball Preview. Peace, love, recycle and ball.

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