By: Holly MacKenzie

Eastern Conference

1. Boston 61-15
2. Detroit 55-21
3. Orlando 48-29
4. Cleveland 42-35
5. Washington 40-37
6. Philadelphia 39-38
7. Toronto 38-39
8. Atlanta 36-41
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9. Indiana 33-44
10. New Jersey 32-45
Western Conference

1. New Orleans 54-22
2. San Antonio 53-24
3. LA Lakers 53-24
4. Utah 51-26
5. Houston 52-25
6. Phoenix 51-26
7. Dallas 48-29
8. Denver 46-31
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9. Golden State 46-31
10. Portland 38-39

With the playoff race getting down to the wire there were lots of great games on the schedule this weekend. There was the doubleheader on ABC and yet the match up of the night was… Denver and Seattle! Sometimes thats just how the NBA works. While the Nuggets hung 168 points on Seattle in their last meeting, last night Durant and Green put on a show, 37 for KD, 35 for Green as they took the Nuggets into double-overtime, dropping them 151-147.

Uh oh. Al had better step it up big time or he may have just lost the ROY hype.

I know, it’s only one game, but what a game it was by Mr. Durant. 37 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals. The Green going off for 35 and 10. It was a great game and the three by KD to force the second overtime was big. Huge. He was having the time of his life out there and it was fun to watch. Even if Denver did go and make their remaining games that much more vital.

As much as I did not want Dallas in the playoffs, they seem to be the only team really wanting to be there. Damn Denver and Golden State need to figure their stuff out, and fast. Jax is so important to the Warriors and he has lost his game somewhere along the way. The Mavericks were solid under pressure yesterday against the Suns and Dirk was fantastic down the stretch.

Speaking of Jax, while he has had a rough week on the court, he had a decent week off of it, being awarded the NBA’s community assist award for the month of March. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I’ve said all along that while he may be crazy, it’s the good kind of crazy.

I still can’t believe the Nuggets lost against Sacramento and wasted Melo’s 47 points. Almost feels as bad as the Lakers choking against Memphis last week, with Kobe’s 53.

Anyone else feel like the Lakers and Suns are going to meet up in the first round?

Seriously, it’s time for Bron to get his back right.

New York defeating Orlando last night is just wrong at this juncture of the season, even if the Magic do have the third spot locked up.

On the NCAA side of things, games aside, my thoughts are with Rodrick Stewart and that devastating knee injury. That one ripped my soul up a little bit and the media really needs to stop showing the replay again and again. Stay strong, Rodrick.

“I feel like my team is the MVP. We are having an outstanding year.”

Chris Paul

Love it. You know my feelings on this guy. I’m bringing the CP3 love strong today but it is all deserved. In front of the big audience, in a huge game for the Warriors, he delivers, dropping in a triple-double and adding 5 steals as well.

The clip of him mic’d up and pleading with Byron to keep him in the game was golden. He lives to play.

Over the weekend, I was going through old files and documents saved away on a flash drive and I came across this little breakdown written during the summer 2004. It was from the FIBA Under-21 tournament. Keep in mind, Jose Juan Barea had just dropped in triple-doubles before this performance against Paul. I may have been a little over-confident in my JJB love, but hindsight can be a funny thing.

GOLD MEDAL GAME: JOSE JUAN BAREA VS. CHRIS PAUL

Paul- 8 pts, 2 steals, 8 assists, 3 rebounds, 4 turnovers… in 38 minutes

Barea- 27 pts, 2 steals, 6 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 turnovers… in 35 minutes..

I think its safe to say Barea can hold his own against Paul. Defensively, gave very good coverage although he definitely gambles too much on defense.. also needs to learn not to jack a three right after he makes one. Still, very, very good player in this tournament. two triple-doubles and then this performance. He will make the nba. somehow, someway.

Paul is going to be a solid pg. Looks a bit hesitant offensively. Looking for others, at the expense of himself. Great court vision, found people open before they realized it. Can see the play develop before it happens. Will be excellent if he can become a consistent scoring threat while playing with guys who understand the game and how to get open.

Funny stuff. Somehow the memory of my 18 year-old self watching an 18-year old Chris Paul got lost in the mix. I remembered Villanueva though, what is with that?

Notice that Boston has quietly gone 19-3 in their last 22 games?

New Orleans 108 Golden State 96

In a Sunday showdown on national TV, all eyes were on Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets as they faced a Golden State squad fighting for their playoff lives. Paul helped his squad show up and take care of business as they dropped the Warriors 108-96 behind his triple-double. With the two teams sloppy to start out, the Hornets had trouble keeping up with the Golden State tempo and trailed 31-22 at the end of the first quarter after a number of turnovers on their part. By the second quarter they managed to find their footing and put in a 37-point quarter holding the Warriors to only 20 points as they took a 59-91 lead into the break. After Golden State had cut the lead and tied the game at 90 early in the fourth quarter they ran out of steam, as Paul knocked down a three to start New Orleans off on an 18-6 run to finish the game. Paul finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists and 5 steals. Peja Stojakovic and David West scored 25 points apiece and Tyson Chandler added 11 points and 12 rebounds. Monta Ellis had 35 points for the Warriors while Baron Davis had 17 points and 8 assists, Andris Biedrins had 17 points and 15 rebounds and Al Harrington added 16 points.

Dallas 105 Phoenix 98

After watching the Nuggets blow a home game against Sacramento and the Warriors fail to get the W against New Orleans, Dallas wanted to go out and take care if their own business against the Suns to extend their hold on the seventh spot in the Western Conference. After sleepwalking through the first three quarters and watching as Amare Stoudemire and the Suns had their way with them, Dirk and the Mavs blew out the Suns in the fourth, outscoring them 27-9 in the final period to come back from a 14-point deficit and steal the win. In the fourth, the Mavericks put together a 16-0 run as the Suns went scoreless for almost eight minutes, missing 12 straight shots. In the final quarter Nowitzki’s star shone bright as he had 12 points in the period and came up big every time they needed him down the stretch, his biggest play a basket coming with 32 seconds on the clock as he was falling down. That basket put the Mavericks up 102-96 and after some missed free throws from Amare, the game went to Dallas. Nowitzki finished with 32 points and 12 rebounds, Josh Howard scored 24 points, and grabbed 9 boards, Brandon Bass had 19 points and Jason Terry added 12 points. Stoudemire finished with 31 points for the Suns, as Steve Nash had 14 points and 10 assists. Boris Diaw had 15 off of the bench and Shaquille O’Neal added the 13-point 13-rebound double-double.

Orlando 101 Cleveland 86

With off nights from both Dwight Howard and LeBron James, the difference between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers is that the Magic are not a one-man show. When Howard was struggling and managed only four points in the game, Orlando’s shooters stepped in and took care of business, helping take down the Cavs 101-86. The game was in Cleveland’s favor in the first half, with the Cavaliers holding a 55-47 lead at the break, but Orlando came out strong in the second and did not let up. After cutting the lead to 72-69 at the start of the fourth, the Magic went off offensively, outscoring Cleveland 32-14 in the final quarter as LeBron’s back tightened and he was unable to help his team to the victory. With the game tied at 75 the Magic went on a 10-0 run to create some separation from the Cavs and they led by 13 points with three minutes remaining as they went on to the W. Hedo Turkoglu led the Magic with 23 points, Rashard Lewis had 21 and Jameer Nelson added 16 points. Delonte West scored 19 for the Cavs as LeBron was held to 17 points and 9 assists. Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 18 points and 9 boards and Devin Brown added 15 in the loss.

LA Lakers 112 Dallas 108

Friday night the Dallas Mavericks were in LA to try and avenge a loss from their previous meeting with the Lakers while also maintaining their footing in the tight playoff race in the Western Conference. While they were happy to have Dirk Nowitzki back for his second consecutive game, they had to face a Laker squad who had Pau Gasol also playing in his second contest since an ankle injury. Thanks to a huge night from Lamar Odom, the Lakers came out on top, 112-108, shaking off a 10-point halftime deficit to grab the lead in the final minutes of the fourth. With the Lakers outscoring the Mavericks by three in the third, they still trailed by seven going into the fourth. Thanks to Lamar Odom’s aggressiveness in the final quarter, the Lakers outscored the Mavs 32-21 in the fourth and they took their first lead of the game with 1:21 remaining, 103-102, then went on to close the game on a 9-2 run, to walk off of the floor victorious Odom finished with a season-high 31 points to go with 10 rebounds while Kobe Bryant had 25 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists and Pau Gasol also scored 25 points to go with 7 assists. Nowitzki had 27 points for the Mavericks as Jason Terry scored 25 points and Josh Howard added 23. Erick Dampier had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Dallas.

>Seattle 151 Denver 147 2OT

With the Nuggets coming into their match up with the Sonics sitting in the eighth place in the West and having won three games this season against Seattle by an average of 27 points, including dropping 168 points on them only a few weeks ago, they figured they would be able to play their running game and get the victory. The problem with this was, they did not count on rookies Kevin Durant and Jeff Green being able to turn the tables on them, running their game plan to perfection. The result was a devastating loss in double-overtime to the Sonics. After leading 36-31 at the end of the first quarter, the Nuggets gave up 39 points to the Sonics while scoring only 28 themselves in the second period, giving Seattle a six-point lead at the half. The Nuggets did not lead again until the 9:26 mark of the fourth quarter, taking a two-point lead 105-103. The lead would shift between the two teams the rest of the way with Kevin Durant hitting a three to send the game into overtime. In the first extra session, again Durant came up big, knocking down a thirty-footer to force the second overtime. The Sonics went on an 11-6 run to open the second overtime and the Nuggets did not recover. Four free throws by Durant in the final 15 seconds sealed the win for Seattle. Durant finished with a career-high 37 points to go with 8 rebounds and 9 assists. Green finished with 35 points and 10 rebounds, Nick Collison and Luke Ridnour each scored 19 points, with Collison adding in 13 rebounds. Earl Watson had 16 points and 11 assists. Carmelo Anthony had 38 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets as Allen Iverson had 26 points and 13 assists, Kenyon Martin scored 22 points, Linas Kleiza had 17 points off of the bench and Marcus Camby had 12 points and 13 rebounds.