Line of the Night: 2.23.14

Jason Collins made NBA history last night, as the first opening gay player to log minutes in an NBA game.  The Nets beat the Lakers.

Jason Collins made NBA history last night, as the first opening gay player to log minutes in an NBA game. The Nets beat the Lakers.

The Thunder and the Clippers squared off in a potential preview of the Western conference finals.  It was a statement game, and Kevin Durant used it as a platform to showcase his desire to win, posting his 9th 40+ point game of the season.  It was the Clippers who came away with the win, though they needed All-Star caliber performances from each member of their starting line-up to overcome Durant’s MVP performance.  Jamal Crawford scored a team-high 36 points, Blake Griffin has a solid all-around game, Matt Barnes had perhaps his best game of the season, scoring 24 points on 8/14 shooting, and DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul both posted double-doubles.  Joakim Noah led his team in points, rebounds and blocks as the Bulls tried to take advantage of the absence of LeBron James, who was out due to a broken or fracture (?) nose, but the Heat managed to overcome the absence of last season MVP and earn a victory to successfully defend their home court.  Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza both provided the Wizards with double-doubles as they brought the team back up to .500 with a win over the Cavaliers.  In a duel between two of the top young point guards, John Wall came out ahead of Kyrie Irving, posting more points, more assists and he got the win.

Deron Williams scored a team high 30 points and led all players with 6 steals as the Nets beat the Lakers.

Deron Williams scored a team high 30 points and led all players with 6 steals as the Nets beat the Lakers.

Tobias Harris posted a game-high 28 points for the Orlando Magic, but the Raptors’ Kyle Lowry (yes, he is still a member of the Raptors), matched that total and the Raptors came away with the win.  Things in Denver don’t seem to be going to well as the Nuggets lost to the Kings: 109-95.  It marks the 7th loss in 8 games for the Nuggets, who allowed two Sacramento starters to break the 30 point benchmark: Rudy Gay with 32 points and Isaiah Thomas with a game-high 33 points.  Randy Foye led the way for the Nuggets with a team-high 27 points.  Goran Dragic lead the Suns with a career-high 35 points, but it was not enough to beat the Rockets.  The Brooklyn Nets visited the Los Angeles Lakers and Jason Collins became the first openly gay player in the NBA to log minutes in a game.  Deron Williams scored a game-high 30 points while grabbing an evening-high 6 steals en route to the win for the Nets, and Pau Gasol posted a 20/10 game for the Lakers.  And finally, the Minnesota Timberwolves had a chance to pull back up to .500 in a statement game against the Portland Trailblazers, but despite another 30/10 game from Kevin Love, the Timberwolves lost.  Nicolus Batum posted a 20/10 game for the Trailblazers and Damian Lillard posted a game-high 32 points.

Jordan Crawford posted a team-high 36 points to help the Clippers top the Thunder.

Jordan Crawford posted a team-high 36 points to help the Clippers top the Thunder.

My pick for Line of the Night goes to Kevin Durant.  There were a number of 30-point games, among them Deron Williams’s 30 point night that also saw him record 6 steals, as well as Rudy Gay’s game, which saw him record 3 steals and a block.  Joakim Noah also had the best night on the glass with 15 rebounds, but in each case Durant outscores others by a significant amount, and/or has superior all-around numbers.  Neither Williams or Dragic, for example, manage to break double-digits in any other category.  Williams’s 6 steals certainly makes a case for him, but my pick for Line of the Night goes to Kevin Durant.

Go here to see how the readers at ProSportsDaily voted, and cast your own ballot.  And be sure to follow me on Twitter @JasonJHorn. 

 Top Performances:

Kevin Durant earned Line of the Night with an evening-high 42 points.

Kevin Durant earned Line of the Night with an evening-high 42 points.

Kyle Lowry: 28 points (7/13), 6 assists, 4 rebounds

Chris Paul: 18 points (5/12), 12 assists, 8 rebounds

Chris Bosh: 28 points (10/23), 10 rebounds, 1 block

Gorgan Dragic: 35 points (14/20), 3 steals, 3 assists

Kevin Love: 31 points (11/21), 10 rebounds, 1 steal

Damian Lillard: 32 points (11/17), 5 assists, 2 rebounds

Tobias Harris: 28 points (10/15), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals

Joakim Noah: 20 points (7/11), 15 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists

Deron Williams: 30 points (9/16), 7 assists, 6 steals, 5 rebounds

DeAndre Jordan: 18 points (6/6), 12 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block

Jamal Crawford: 36 points (13/20), 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal

Kevin Durant: 42 points (15/30), 10 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals

Isaiah Thomas: 33 points (12/16), 6 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals

Rudy Gay:  32 points (12/23), 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1 block

Nicolus Batum: 22 points (9/15), 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, 1 steal

Dwyane Wade: 23 points (10/22), 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1 block

DeMarcus Cousins: 27 points (8/16), 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks, 1 steal

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