Three NBA teams have been on win streaks of late to put their playoff hopes in a good place to begin February. At the top of that list is Blake Griffin's new team, the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons took care of the Portland Trail Blazers in quick, dominant fashion on Monday night, 111-91, for their fourth straight win. Andre Drummond had 17 points and 17 rebounds, while Griffin finished with 21 points, nine rebounds, and six assists for Detroit, who made half of their shots overall and from three-point range. They were in a distributing mood with 36 assists on 44 field goals, as they pulled their record back to .500 and into a tie with the Philadelphia 76ers for the final playoff spot in the East. Elsewhere in the conference, the Washington Wizards seems to have upped their game since losing John Wall to injury. They got the best of the Indiana Pacers, 111-102, on Monday for their season-best fifth straight win. Bradley Beal had 21 points, while Kelly Oubre Jr. had 15 for the Wizards, who shot 54 percent on the night. They remain unbeaten since the Wall injury, and won their fourth straight against the Pacers. Indiana was without Victor Oladipo due to an illness, as they fell to 0-6 without their leading scorer in the lineup. And the Utah Jazz's offense has exploded as of late, and kept rolling on Monday in a 133-109 rout of the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans. Rodney Hood scored 30 points in his second game back from a lower leg bruise, as the Jazz improved their win streak to six in a row. Ricky Rubio contributed 20 points and 11 assists and Rudy Gobert had 19 points and 10 rebounds in Utah's highest-scoring game of the season. They finished the night at 58 percent shooting from the floor and earned their 25th win of the season. The Pelicans have now dropped four of five since losing DeMarcus Cousins to injury.
Oklahoma Comes Up Short at Buzzer
Monday's Big 12 matchup was not as sexy on paper as expected due to recent upsets on both sides, but West Virginia and Oklahoma still put on a good show. Trae Young's 32 points was not enough as the 17th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners fell to the 19th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers, 75-73. Lamont West scored 17 points to lead West Virginia, while the defense held the Sooners to 24 points below their average on their home floor. The win gives the Mountaineers a season-series sweep of their conference rivals, and pulls them within a half game of Kansas and Texas Tech for the top spot in the Big 12 Conference. Esa Ahmad and Sagaba Konate each chipped in 14 points, while Jevon Carter finished with 10 points, eight assists, and six steals in the win. The Sooners did have a chance to tie in the final seconds, but Rahsard Odomes missed a shot at the buzzer to end their hopes, as they dropped to 6-5 in conference play. West Virginia returns home on Saturday afternoon to host the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Sooners hit the road to visit Iowa State that same day.
McDavid's Four-Goal Effort Powers Oilers at Home
The Edmonton Oilers had much higher hopes heading in to the season than where they stand right now, but Monday night they looked like that team many expected them to be. Connor McDavid recorded his first-career four-goal game as the Oilers blew past the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning, 6-2, on their home ice. McDavid became the third player with four goals in a game this season and now sits with 21 goals and 41 assists, including 11 power-play points. Leon Draisaitl and Iiro Pakarinen also scored for Edmonton, who is 5-1-1 in their past seven games. McDavid's first-period power-play goal snapped the Oilers' 0-for-17 slide with the man-advantage, which lasted the previous eight games. Alex Killorn and Yannie Gourde each scored for Tampa Bay, who dropped to 5-3 on their eight-game road trip. They will return home on Thursday night to play host to the Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers hit the road to battle the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night.