Line of the Night: 1.29.14

Kyle Lowry posted another 30/10 game and wasn't to far from making that a triple-double.

Kyle Lowry posted another 30/10 game and wasn’t to far from making that a triple-double.

The main event last night was a rematch of the 2012 NBA finals as the Thunder visited the Heat, and for the first time since 2005, it’s not quite clear that LeBron James is the best small forward in the league.  MVP candidate Kevin Durant went head-to-head with reigning MVP LeBron James and led his team to a win over the defending champions.  James scored a game-high 34 points, a single point more than Durant, but Durant posted more assists, rebounds and steals.  Kyle Lowry’s trade stock continues to rise as he led the division-leading Raptors to a win over the Orlando Magic, posting a game-high 33 points and flirting with a triple-double as he added 11 assists and 7 rebounds.  Lowry, and his very attractive expiring contract, have been the subject of trade rumours since the start of the season, and given his recent numbers, it seems that his stock is on the rise.  The Raptors may simply be giving him more time with the ball to beef up his stock, but if his recent play is evidence of a developing games, the Raptors may want to keep the talented point guard whom they gave up a first-round draft pick for.  Amir Johnson posted a 20/10 game in the win, and Jonas Valanciunas hauled in a game-high 15 rebounds. 

Form MVP Dirk Nowitzki has been reminding fans that he's still capable of MVP level play, posting stellar numbers.

Form MVP Dirk Nowitzki has been reminding fans that he’s still capable of MVP level play, posting stellar numbers.

Long-time rivals Boston and Philadelphia met up in Boston.  The 76ers earned a win by the narrowest of margins.  Despite the loss, Jared Sullinger posted game-highs in rebounds and points.  The Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks ran up the scored bored, but it was the Suns that came out on top behind a game-high 30 point from Goran Dragic, which he managed on a meager 13 field-goal attempts.  After two stellar games, Anthony Davis was put on ice with a dislocated finger, and the Timberwolves took full advantage, finally putting themselves over .500 with a successful defense of their home court.  Kevin Love posted another 30/10 game in the win.  The Rockets didn’t have far to travel as the visited the Dallas Mavericks and managed to earn a road victory by a single basket.  Dirk Nowitzki was the only Dallas starter to reach double figures, but he managed to score an evening-high 38 points while managing to put up an impressive night on the boards with 17 rebounds. 

Former teammates Al Jefferson and Kevin Love both led their respective teams to wins with 30/10 games.

Former teammates Al Jefferson and Kevin Love both led their respective teams to wins with 30/10 games.

The Bobcats did a favor for the Timberwolves, defeating the Denver Nuggets and giving the T-Wolves sole possession of third place in the North-West division.  Al Jefferson continues to demonstrate why the Bobcats were so eager to sign him in the offseason as he posted another 30/10 game, scoring a game-high 35 points.  Tim Duncan put up All-Star numbers, and the Spurs were facing a depleted Bulls teams, but it was not enough to help the slumping Spurs defeat their guests as the Bulls managed to top the Spurs by 10 points on the road.  Joakim Noah was 2 assists shy of a triple-double.  Rudy Gay returned to the line-up for the Kings, but the Memphis Grizzlies continued their winning ways with a win over the Kings, taking full advantage of the absence of center DeMarcus Cousins.  Mike Conley posted a game-high 27 points.  The Clippers continue to find ways to win without Chris Paul as Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan put together All-Star numbers to help the Clippers earn a win over the Wizards.  Griffin posted a game-high 29 points, and DeAndre Jordan pulled down an evening-high 17 boards to match Nowitzki and Sullinger.  The Pistons and the Hawks were scheduled for a game, but it was postponed.

LeBron James and Kevin Durant, the best basketball players on the planet, went head-to-head last night.  Durant and the Thunder came out on top.

LeBron James and Kevin Durant, the best basketball players on the planet, went head-to-head last night. Durant and the Thunder came out on top.

My pick for Line of the Night goes to Dirk Nowitzki.  The Durant/James match-up was the main event of the evening, and both guys showed up, but Dirk led all players in rebounds and points, so it’s kind of hard to argue against him.  That said, there were several exceptional games, not the least of which was posted by Kyle Lowry who has been playing like an All-Star the last couple of weeks.  When a guy posts a 30/10 game, he can usually count on being in contention for Line of the Night, but Kevin Love and Al Jefferson both posted 30/10 games on a night when four players managed to accomplish the bench mark that no player has been able to maintain for an entire season since Karl Malone did it over 20 years ago. 

To see how the reader at ProSportsDaily voted, go here, and cast your own vote.  And be sure to follow me on Twitter @JasonJHorn. 

Top Performances:

Blake Griffin and proven to be a valuable leader during the absence of Chris Paul.

Blake Griffin and proven to be a valuable leader during the absence of Chris Paul.

John Wall: 19 points (7/12), 11 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals

DeAndre Jordan: 14 points (4/5), 17 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal

Blake Griffin: 29 points (12/20), 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block

Mike Conley: 27 points (8/13), 10 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals

Al Jefferson: 35 points (13/24), 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks

Randy Foye: 33 points (12/21), 7 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals

Dirk Nowitzki: 38 points (13/21), 17 rebounds, 3 assists

Kevin Love: 30 points (11/26), 14 rebounds, 5 assists,

Goran Dragic: 30 points (9/13), 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal

Jared Sullinger: 23 points (9/25), 17 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal

Kyle Lowry: 33 points (11/20), 11 assists, 7 rebounds

Amir Johnson: 22 points (10/20), 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals

LeBron James: 34 points (12/20), 3 rebounds, 3 assists

Kevin Durant: 33 points (12/23), 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals

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