In NBA action, it was the tale of two NBA superstars returning from injury with monster performances and leading their teams to close victories. A fractured right cheekbone and mask were unable to prevent Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook from his fourth consecutive triple-double, and leading the Thunder to an overtime win over the Philadelphia 76ers, and Anthony Davis returning from a shoulder injury with a brillant performance in keeping the New Orleans Pelicans in the playoff hunt, a victory over the Detroit Pistons.
The Cleveland Cavaliers creeped closer to second place in the Eastern Conference standings with an impressive road win over Toronto Raptors. The defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs made short work of the struggling Sacramento Kings, while the Golden State Warriors won at home over the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Memphis Grizzlies grinded out a close road win over the Houston Rockets. In Miami, strong play from superstar Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside in crunch time helped the Heat overcome the Los Angeles Lakers. Whiteside would be a glass eater with a career-high 25 rebounds with 18 points.
In Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook was once again not to be denied, with a fourth consecutive triple-double (49 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists), leading the Thunder to an overtime 123-118 win over the Sixers. Westbrook put up incredible numbers despite playing with a protective mask to protect a right cheek fracture. Westbrook, named Western Conference player of the month earlier Wednesday, is the first player since Michael Jordan to have four consecutive triple-doubles as well as the first since Jordan to have back-to-back scoring games of at least 40 points. Westbrook is averaging 33.7 points, 10.6 rebounds and 11.2 assists since the All-Star break. Isaiah Canaan led the 76ers with career highs of 31 points and eight 3-pointers, and Jason Richardson added 29 points for the 76ers.
In New Orleans, Anthony Davis put up numbers of 39 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks in his return from a right shoulder sprain, and the New Orleans Pelicans won for the sixth time in seven games, 88-85 over the Detroit Pistons. Davis would also become the franchise career blocked shots leader, surpassing David West. Jodie Meeks led Detroit with 20 points, which lost its fourth straight game.
In the Air Canada Center, LeBron James scored 14 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and added a season-high 14 assists to lead the Cavaliers to a 120-112 win. The win moves Cleveland into a virtual tie with the Raptors and Chicago Bulls for second place in the Eastern Conference standings. Kyrie Irving added 26 points and Kevin Love had a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds. Jonas Valanciunas, who committed a flagrant 1 foul on James in the third quarter on a LeBron dunk attempt, led Toronto with 26 points and 11 rebounds, with Demar DeRozan adding 25 points.
In Houston, a Marc Gasol jumper with 0.1 seconds left gave the Memphis Grizzlies a 102-100 victory over the Rockets. Gasol led the Grizzlies with 21 points. Terrence Jones had 21 points and James Harden scored 18 in his return after a one-game suspension for kicking LeBron James on Sunday.