Line of the Night: 3.9.14

Kevin Durant posted a triple-double against the Lakers.

Kevin Durant posted a triple-double against the Lakers.

After suffering through some embarrassing losses and letting opposing teams run up the score board as if it were the All-Star game, the Lakers made a statement against the Oklahoma City Thunder, beating a team that was in a three-way tie for first in the league.  The win was especially impressive given that Kevin Durant posted a triple-double and Serge Ibaka had one of his best games of the season, posting a 20/15 game.  Pau Gasol responded with a respectable 20/10 game, but it was Jodie Meeks who led the charge with an evening-high, and career-high 42 points.  The Lakers weren’t the only team to knock out a top-seeded roster, and the Mavericks handed the Pacers their 4th straight loss of the season.  The Pacers’ starters gave a strong performance, with three starters breaking the 20-point mark, but the bench only scored a combined 4 points (in part due to a lack of shots and minutes).  The Mavericks capitalized on the meager performance with a balanced team effort. 

Kyle Lowry posted a triple-double in a win over the Timberwolves.

Kyle Lowry posted a triple-double in a win over the Timberwolves.

Kyle Lowry, not to be entirely outdone by Durant, also posted a triple-double as the Raptors beat the Timberwolves, who continue their seesaw battle to stay above .500 and get into playoff position.  Kevin Love was flirting with a triple-double of his own, coming up a single assist shy of the benchmark.   Corey Brewer grabbed an evening-high 6 steals in the loss.  The Portland Trailblazers visited the Houston Rockets and were within a free-throw of winning the game, but ultimately lost in overtime despite the fact that all three members of their starting front court reached double-digits in rebounds.  James Harden matched Brewer’s evening-high in steals and was one point shy of Meeks’s evening-high of 42, leading the Rockets to the win.  DeMarcus Couins had a ‘triple-double’ of sorts, posting 28 points, and grabbing 10 defensive rebounds and 10 offensive rebounds, but the Kings were unable to capitalize on Cousins’s stellar play as the Nets beat the Kings in Brooklyn.  It might have been the Marcus Thorton trade that did the Kings in, as Thorton posted 26 points off then bench on his former team. 

DeMarcus Cousins posted his 4th 20/20 game, and made it a rebounder's triple double.

DeMarcus Cousins posted his 4th 20/20 game, and made it a rebounder’s triple double.

All three members of the Pistons starting frontcourt posted double-doubles, with Andre Drummond posting his own rebounder’s triple-double: 18 points, 12 defensive rebounds and 10 offensive rebounds.  Like Cousins’s performance, it was in vain as the Celtics beat the Pistons: 118-111.  Rajon Rondo led all playmakers with 18 assists.  The Denver Nuggets visited the Big Easy and managed to force an overtime period, but were unable to come away with a win.  First-time All-Star Anthony Davis led the charge for the Pelicans with a career-high 32 points and 17 rebounds.  He also posted an evening-high 6 blocks!  LeBron James was back in the sleeveless jerseys, but it didn’t seem to help his shooting touch as he went 8/23 against the Bulls defence, though I sure the cold air tightened up his muscles and interfered with the normal fluidity present in his movements.  Dwyane Wade scored a team-high 25 points, but Joakim Noah, who was 3 assists shy of a triple-double, posted a 20/10 game that was enough to defeat the Bulls.  James was so impressed with the effort from the Bulls that he may end up signing with them this summer.  And finally, the Golden State Warriors managed to keep the Gerald Green and Goran Dragic from posting career highs (which is more than I can say for some defenses lately), and held on to beat the Suns with a balanced team effort.    

James Harden posted 41 points and 6 steals to help lead the Rockets to a win against the Trailblazers.

James Harden posted 41 points and 6 steals to help lead the Rockets to a win against the Trailblazers.

With lines like these, any number of guys could be a legit Line of the Night winner, and on most other nights, 8 of these of these guys would have blown everybody else out of the water.  Tonight, though, simply scoring 40 points was not enough.  Meeks and Harden were both amazing, but neither is my pick.  Meeks is out because his all-around numbers were meager, and Harden is out for the simple reason that his FG% weighs him down a little too much. Durant and Lowry were amazing, but when so many guys play at such a high level, something like a meager or only average night from the field can hurt you.  Drummond was a beast on the glass, out rebounding everybody, which is especially impressive since two guys on his own team reached double-digits in rebounds.  Rondo’s assists were stellar, but his FG% and point total was not.  That leaves two guys: Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.  Davis had a solid FG% at .500 and 6 blocks.  Cousins, though, shot an amazing 13/19 from the field.  I give a slight edge to Davis based on his blocks, but this was a tight one.  That said, Davis firmly comes away with Line of the Night honours. 

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

Top Performances:

Anthony Davis getting one of his six blocks.

Anthony Davis getting one of his six blocks.

Jodie Meeks: 42 points (11/18), 4 steals, 2 rebounds

Kevin Durant: 27 points (8/19), 12 assists, 10 rebounds

Andre Drummond: 18 points (8/13), 22 rebounds, 1 steal

Josh Smith: 28 points (12/24), 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal

Kyle Lowry: 20 points (5/13), 12 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals

Rajon Rondo: 11 points (5/15), 18 assists, 3 steals, 2 rebounds

Kevin Love: 26 points (9/22), 11 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 steals, 1 block

Serge Ibaka: 21 points (9/18), 15 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 1 assist

Greg Monroe: 22 points (8/15), 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block

James Harden: 41 points (12/28), 10 rebounds, 6 steals, 6 assists, 1 block

Anthony Davis: 32 points (10/20), 17 rebounds, 6 blocks, 3 assists, 1 steal

DeMarcus Cousins: 28 points (13/19) 20 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block

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