Pacers vs. Hawks (7pm ET Friday, ESPN)
The Indiana Pacers ran away from Brooklyn in the second quarter of Wednesday’s game, outscoring the Nets 36-20 on their way to a 114-100 victory. C.J. Miles came off the bench to score 27 for the Pacers, while All-Star forward Paul George added 17 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals and 1 block. The Pacers are now 26-23 and in 7th place in the East. Rookie Myles Turner has been playing quality minutes of late, averaging 16.6 points, 7 rebounds and 2.9 blocks a game over the Pacers’ last 9 games.
The Hawks put a hurt on Philly Wednesday, defeating the Sixers 124-86, as all 13 Hawks scored, 8 of them in double digits, with Tim Hardaway and Mike Scott leading the team with just 13 points apiece. Atlanta’s attack was so balanced that 12 guys had rebounds, 12 had assists, and 10 had at least one steal. The Hawks are now 29-22, 3rd-best in the East, are taking calls about the possibility of trading center Al Horford, and continue without the services of Brazilian big man Tiago Splitter, who’s got a cranky hip.
Spurs vs. Mavericks (9:30pm ET Friday, ESPN)
The mighty Spurs are 41-8, second best in the West and the league, and still possess the NBA’s best point differential, 13.3, which would be a record if they can sustain it to the end of the season. San Antonio’s most recent victory came at the expense of the New Orleans Pelicans, as LaMarcus Aldridge led all scorers with 36 to keep the Spurs undefeated at home this season, 27-0. Remember last week when Sports Talk Radio was collectively pulling out its hair screaming at Gregg Popovich because he had the gall to sit Tim Duncan in the Spurs’ game with Golden State? Well, Timmy remains unavailable, having missed San Antonio’s last 5 games and counting.
It was a tough couple of days for Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki, whom Kareem Abdul-Jabbar dismissed as a “one-trick pony” and whose new haircut has his teammates calling him “Ellen DeGeneres.” Worse than the insults was the 93-90 loss to the Heat, a game in which Dirk led all scorers with 28 points. The Mavs are now 29-24, and 6th in the West. The best anti-Dirk diss of all time, by the way, was back in the day when he was called “Irk,” cuz he had no D – Zing!