Monday was a big night for a pair of former University of Kentucky basketball players. Both John Wall and Darius Miller posted career-highs for points in wins against highly touted opponents.
Wizards 107, Grizzlies 94: Wall finished Washington's last game on the bench after getting two technical fouls.
He stuck around for the finish of his best NBA performance Monday, scoring 17 of his career-high 47 points in the fourth quarter as the undermanned Wizards beat Memphis.
"I was just in a zone. I made my first couple of shots and I knew I was in a great rhythm. Ten points in the first quarter, I knew I had it going," Wall said after posting the third-highest point total in the NBA this season.
Wall, who added eight assists and seven rebounds, shot 13-for-22 from the field and made a career-high 19 free throws on 24 attempts.
"That was an incredible performance for him. We jumped on it and he carried us. It felt to me that it was all under control. All within our offense. All within what we were doing," Wizards Coach Randy Wittman said.
The Wizards (26-44) are 21-16 since Wall returned from a left knee injury.
"When somebody has it going like that, there's really nothing you can do. You just put a hand up and hope that he misses," Memphis' Mike Conley said. "He had one of those nights where he was feeling it. We threw everything we had at him and he made the plays."
It was Washington's sixth straight home win, while Memphis (47-23), which had won three of four overall, dropped its fourth straight road game.
"Tonight we had to battle from behind; we had our moments when we tied the game," Memphis Coach Lionel Hollins said. "We just couldn't sustain anything because John had such a good shooting night. He hit shots inside and out, and Emeka Okafor dominated the paint for the most part."
It was a much different ending than Saturday's loss, when Wall was ejected in the third quarter against Golden State.
"I feel like I really let the team down," Wall said. "I already had one technical and you've got to be smarter than that. We still had a chance to win that game. Right now, we're just trying to salvage the games we can win and finish the season strong, so I knew tonight I had to step up big."
Hornets 110, Nuggets 86: Ryan Anderson scored 23 points, Brian Roberts doubled his career high with 18 assists and short-handed New Orleans beat Denver, ending the Nuggets' 15-game win streak. New Orleans, playing without its starting backcourt of Eric Gordon and Greivis Vasquez, won its third in a row and was in control all the way.
Miller started in Gordon's place and scored 16 points, including going 4-for-5 from three-point range. The former Mason County and University of Kentucky star also had three rebounds.
“I think we really shared the ball tonight," Miller said. "We just tried to out play them and play hard. We came out and hit them first today and that was the difference.”
Most of Miller's baskets came off of passes from Roberts.
"It doesn't happen if he (Roberts) doesn't work hard," Hornets Coach Monty Williams said. "He works his tail off."
Williams was pleased that the usual reserves stepped up when given bigger roles.
"We always talk about competing every single night, because you never know what can happen," he said. "Guys stepped up and had career nights."
Anthony Davis, in foul trouble early, added 14 points, six rebounds and two assists for the Hornets.