by Adam Figman | @afigman
The Bulls destroyed the Hawks, reclaiming their spot atop the East and reinforcing why many think they could breeze through the first (and the second?) round of the Playoffs. Derrick Rose put up an even 30 points and 10 dimes, while Luol Deng (whose importance really can’t be understated at this point) dropped 27. Jeff Teague led ATL with 20.
Another blowout. The Blazers knocked down the Wizards, sending them packing behind a great night from Gerald Wallace (28 points) and 22 points apiece from both Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge. Somehow, Washington still hasn’t won a second game on the road, so perhaps we should’ve celebrated the first one a little more when that went down. The Blazers currently hold the sixth spot in the West, just one game behind Denver and one ahead of New Orleans.
Three overtimes, 276 points and 63 total minutes. And after all that, the Lakers managed to hold off the Suns and pull off the exhausting victory. After a series of close almost-finishes and high-pressure moments, Ron Artest (!) scored 4 clutch points in the final two minutes of the third overtime—two after a big steal, and two via a fallaway J—and a Kobe Bryant jumper put the Suns away for good with 14 seconds remaining. Kobe ended up with a ridiculous 42-12-9 stat line, while Steve Nash went for 19 points and 20 dimes for the Suns. Channing Frye (32 points, 14 boards) was vital as well, draining a number of threes (he had five total) that kept Phoenix in it during the end of regulation and first two OT sessions. Most importantly, this contest produced some glorious post-game quotes, including Lamar Odom’s “I’m tired. I’m ready to go home. And I’m in the mood for pancakes,” and Phil Jackson’s “I was hoping to get outta here by 11. It’s a little past my bed time.” Understandable. The Lakers “host” the Clippers on Friday; the Suns, unfortunately, have to get back to Arizona to host the Raptors tonight. That won’t be fun.