Kings (27-53) 111, Clippers (56-24) 117
Some NBA contenders might not get up for a Saturday afternoon game against the bottom-dweller Sacramento Kings, but the Clippers did just that. Lob City was running and gunning from the moment the ball tipped off and the Clips scored 25 fast break points en route to their franchise record-tying 56th win of the season.
Doc Rivers’ five starters combined for 90 points as the Clippers looked like they were in true playoff form. DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul each flirted with triple-doubles, posting 21 points, 9 rebounds and 7 blocks and 17 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds respectively. Meanwhile, Blake Griffin continued his MVP-caliber season, going for 27 points and 9 assists while dunking all over Sac-Town:
Things got a little testy in the fourth quarter and Ben McLemore ultimately was tossed for shoving J.J. Redick:
It’s been a tough year for the Kings.
Bucks (15-65) 91, Wizards (42-38) 104
With their victory Saturday, the Wiz clinched their first winning season since 2008, meanwhile the Bucks clinched the worst record in the league and therefore the best odds at drawing the No. 1 overall pick in this May’s lottery. Bradley Beal led all scorers with 26 points, but he needed 22 shots to do so. Washington one this game by simply taking care of the ball. The Wizards only yielded 9 turnovers while the Bucks coughed the ball up 20 times, resulting in 16 more shot attempts for the Wiz. It’s going to be fun seeing John Wall in the playoffs, guys.
Sixers (17-63) 105, Bobcats (41-39) 111
Michael Carter-Williams continued his scorching April and campaign for Rookie of the year, but his great performance came in yet another Sixers loss. MCW finished with 23 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists on 7-11 shooting.
While the rook was balling for Philly, the Sixers’ big men had no answer for Al Jefferson. Big Al posted his 40th double-double of the season scoring 29, adding 12 rebounds and adding two blocks. With the way Roy Hibbert has fallen off as of late, Jefferson deserves an All-NBA 3rd Team nod. He really does.
Heat (54-26) 85, Hawks (37-43) 98
Atlanta clinched the 8 seed in the Eastern Conference by beating the Heat by 13 and spoiling Dwayne Wade’s return from a 9-game absence. With the Hawks officially in the postseason, the Knicks are on the outside looking in and Carmelo Anthony will miss the playoffs for the first time in his 11-year career.
Wade scored 24 points in his return and looked pretty comfortable on the court. He showed off his post game that’s worked so well over the past few years and got out in transition to finish above the rim on a few occasions as well. One night after destroying the Pacers, LeBron went for the quietest 27-8-5 of the season. But after Wade’s three-point play made it just a 6-point game with 8:56 remaining, Atlanta rallied off a 9-2 run over the next four minutes to take a 14-point lead and never look back.
Unfortunately for Miami, the loss gave up its lead over Indy for the 1-seed in the East and the two teams now have identical records.
Celtics (25-55) 111, Cavaliers (32-49) 99
Boston shot a blistering 40 percent from three-point land to beat Cleveland on the night the Cavs’ playoff chances officially ended with Atlanta’s win. Kelly Olynyk scored 25 points and added 12 rebounds and Avery Bradley dropped 25 as well. But it was Phil Pressey who stole the show, dishing 13 dimes to go along with 9 points and this vicious put-back jam:
Pelicans (32-48) 104, Rockets (53-27) 111
With Anthony Davis done for the season, the Rockets took advantage and score 50 points in the paint on Saturday including this no-look oop from James Harden to Terrence Jones:
Harden had 33 points and 13 assists on the game and Patrick Beverly scored 20 points on 4 three-pointers as Houston snapped it’s two-game losing streak. New Orleans started Luke Babbitt, Darius Miller, Alexis Ajinca Anthony Morrow and Austin Rivers. The three guys Monty Williams brought off the bench? 10-day contract signee James Southerland, Al-Farouq Aminu and Jeff Withey. Yea, the Pels are in tank mode to try and get the best odds they can at keeping their top-five protected pick they owe Philly.
Suns (47-33) 98, Mavericks (49-32) 101
Monta Ellis, Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks rallied to knock off the Phoenix Suns and clinch one of the remaining two playoff spots in the Western Conference on Saturday. Ellis finished with 37 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists and Dirk had 23 points and 8 rebounds.
Phoenix took a 13-point lead on a P.J. Tucker bucket with 5:58 remaining in the third quarter, but the Mavs used a 19-9 run to close the quarter and take a 3-point lead heading into the final stanza. Dallas ended up taking an 8-point lead in the fourth thanks to Ellis’ 12 points in the quarter.
The Suns got Markieff Morris a look for three at the buzzer, but the twin hesitated and ultimately had to get off a tough leaner over Brandon Wright. His prayer was way off and Dallas celebrated it’s 13th trip to the playoffs in 14 years. Phoenix wasted a 29-point performance from Eric Bledsoe and 21 points from Channing Frye on a 5-6 shooting from deep. The Suns are now a half-game back from the Grizzlies for the last playoff spot in the West with the two teams squaring off Monday night in the desert.
Jazz (24-56) 94, Nuggets (36-44) 101
Even with Kenneth Faried posting a monster 24 points and 21 rebounds, the Nuggets still needed some clutch plays down the stretch to top the Jazz. With Denver nursing a 77-76 lead and 6:00 remaining in the game, Evan Fournier corralled a loose ball and finished an insane circus shot:
Fournier scored 12 of his 23 points in the game’s final six minutes to help Denver hold off the Utah in the Pepsi Center. Randy Foye also added 26 points and 6 assists on 9-9 shooting from the line.