by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
With ten days left in the regular season, a few teams are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack while others are struggling to hold on to a lower seed. Seven games went down, a few important and, well Cavs-Wizards. Catch up on all of ’em below…
In a back and forth game that saw the Warriors climb back from a 19-point deficit to tie the game, the Clippers were eventually able to pull away from Golden State in the fourth quarter to win the game. The injury riddled Warriors fought hard but after a 7-0 fourth quarter run that pushed the Clips lead to 98-87, Golden State never got back within six. L.A. was lucky to get the win after shooting a horrid 14-30 from the stripe and allowing a season-high 15 three-pointers. Fortunately for them, the Warriors didn’t seem to keen on stopping their opponent as the Clips shot 54 percent fromt he field. Chris Paul had a monster game with 28 points, 13 assists and 4 boards while Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan combined for 38 points and 15 boards. Nate Robinson (28 points), Brandon Rush (22), Klay Thompson (24) and Dorrell Wright (23) each lit it up, but the team couldn’t get it done on the defensive end.
After getting called up from the D-League earlier in the day, Luke Harangody made the best of his opportunity by leading the Cavs to a win with a double-double of 16 points and 10 boards. The Wizards, who have now lost 12 out of 15, couldn’t mount a comeback after the Cavs took the lead early in the fourth quarter. Along with Harangody, five other Cleveland players scored in double figures including Tristan Thompson and Anthony Parker who scored 14 and 15 respectively. For the Wiz, John Wall had 19 points and 9 dimes while backcourt mate Jordan Crawford netted 18.
After the Nets played the Celtics even in the first half, Boston came out in the second half and dominated Jersey en route to a 12-point win. During the third, the Celtics jumped out to a 9-0 run then kept their foot on the pedal to eventually push the lead to 12 heading into the fourth. The C’s also took control on the defensive end as they only allowed 34 points in the second half and held the Nets under 40 percent from the field for the game. Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass were a force up front as each big man notched a double-double; KG finished with 21 points and 12 boards and Bass had 18 points and 11 boards. Paul Pierce finished with 17, Avery Bradley scored 18 and Rajon Rondo had 15 assists–his 21st straight game with 10+ dimes. Gerald Green led the Nets with 15 points and Deron Williams had 14 assits.
Al Jefferson (20 points) was absolutely killing the Grizzlies frontcourt through the first three quarters of last night’s game. During the fourth, the Griz made it their mission to keep the ball out of Jefferson’s hands and the move paid off. After allowing the Jazz to shoot 53 percent from the field and giving up 16 Al Jefferson points through the first three quarters, the Griz changed their defense and limited Big Al to four points in the fourth. With Jefferson struggling, the Jazz fell apart and only shot 7-21 from the field through the end of the game, allowing Memphis to steal a victory. The Grizzlies were led by Rudy Gay who scored 26 points and grabbed 12 boards while O.J. Mayo scored 20 off the bench in the win. For the Jazz, Devin Harris scored 20 points and dished out 6 assists and Gordon Hayward finished with 17. The Jazz further hurt their chances of catching the Nuggets for the eighth seed after they lost their second game in as many nights.
The Thunder and Timberwolves had one of the better regular season series and last night Kevin Durant put the exclamation point on the the games with a 43-point, 7-rebound performance. After Minnesota cut the lead to two in the fourth quarter, Durant led a 10-2 run with eight points and put the game out of reach as the Thunder won their 44th game of the season. Russell Westbrook was no slouch himself as the young point guard scored 35 points and dropped 8 dimes in the victory. For the T’Wolves, J.J. Barea scored a double-double with 24 points and 10 dimes, Mike Beasley scored 26 off the bench, and Anthony Randolph had a double-double with 22 points and 11 boards.
Seven Indiana players scored in double figures as the Pacers severely hurt the Bucks playoff chances with a six-point victory. The Bucks pulled within one with seven minutes remaining, but after George Hill hit a clutch three-pointer, Milwaukee lost all momentum and were never able to pull back within three. With the loss, Milwaukee fell two and a half games behind Philadelphia for the final playoff spot in the East. The two teams will meet on April 25 in Philly for what could potentially be the most important game of the season for both teams. Roy Hibbert scored 23 points and grabbed 24 points and Danny Granger added 21 points as the Pacers further solidified their three seed in the East.
After the Spurs built a 22-point lead, the Suns starters watched the next three quarters from the sidelines as San Antonio cruised to an easy victory at home. With the win, the Spurs clinched the Southwest Division championship and are now gunning for the number one seed out West. Tim Duncan led the way with a double-double of 19 points and 11 boards and Kawhi Leonard chipped in with 14.
Stat Line of the Night: Kevin Durant with 43 points and 7 boards and Russ Westbrook with 35 points and 8 dimes in a victory over Minnesota.
Play of the Night: The KD dunk was cool, but shouts to the fan who had his night made by the OKC superstar.
Dunk of the Night: Gerald Green’s bounce is absurd.
Tonight: A Knicks-Heat matinee kicks off a great day of hoops. Abe is back tomorrow to give you the scoop on all the day’s action.