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Thursday, April 26th, 2012 at 8:30 am  |  42 responses

Post Up: Tick Tock

The Knicks and Sixers both win to keep Playoff positioning up in the air with one day left.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

Today is the final day of the NBA regular season. Crazy, ain’t it? It’s been a roller coaster ride this year, with 66 games crammed into a tight window—forcing us fans to consume and digest like we have the metabolism of a world-class athlete, while simultaneously stuffing our faces with appropriate gameday snacks. I, for one, am a bit bloated (metaphorically, of course). But it won’t be the same after tonight, so soak up one last slate of regular season hoops action, and let’s get ready for the Playoffs—or the Lottery, depending on your team’s disposition. First things first, there were 7 games last night. Chow down:

Magic 102, Bobcats 95

In today’s edition of “the Bobcats are so bad…” the end to the sentence is this: JJ Redick hit 6 threes and scored a career-high 31 points. It’s Charlotte’s 22nd loss in a row—four shy of the NBA’s all-time record, set last year by the Cavaliers—and assuming the Knicks take care of business tonight, the Bobcats will be forever known as the League’s worst team, winning percentage-wise at least. Orlando clinched the No. 6 seed in the East despite being without Glen Davis after he sprained his right ankle in the first quarter, setting up a first-round matchup with Indiana. Ryan Anderson played Redick’s sidekick role, notching a 24×13 double-double. DJ Augustin kept the ‘Cats competitive, at very least, with 23 points.

Wizards 96, Cavaliers 85

Don’t look now, but the Wizards have won 5 games in a row, extending the longest franchise winning streak since 2007. John Wall damn near went quad-double last night, torching the Cavs for 21 points, 13 assists, 7 rebounds and 7 steals, while Kyrie Irving was held to just 10 minutes of playing time (all in the first quarter) during which he had 5 points and 1 assist. In the third quarter alone, Wall had 12 points, 6 dimes and 4 steals—creating 24 of the team’s 28 points in the frame. Rookie Jan Vesely had a career-high 12 rebounds for Washington, which won the rebounding battle 50-42 overall. Ex-St. John’s standout and recent D-Leaguer DJ Kennedy led Cleveland with 12 points in his first-ever NBA appearance. Great for him, not so great a showing from the rest of the Cavs.

Bulls 92, Pacers 87

Even with Derrick Rose still a bit rusty (10 points, 3-11 shooting), the Bulls got past the Pacers, who rested Danny Granger and Leandro Barbosa with no Playoff positioning at stake. Carlos Boozer (16 points, 7 rebounds) and Joakim Noah (14 and 14) dominated down low, and Kyle Korver scored 20 points as the Bulls won the season series with Indiana, 2-1. For a while, it was Korver vs. Lance Stephenson—who scored a career-high 22 points on 10-15 shooting in his first NBA start. Born Ready! Unfortunately, Lance alone wasn’t enough to stop the Bulls, who were up 49-36 at halftime and led from wire to wire in this one. But I do have to give a special shout-out to Post Up super-sub Eldon, who’s made it his life’s work/personal mission to see Lance succeed (or at least contribute) in the L—and won’t hesitate to tell you about it (evidence via his Twitter feed). Enjoy this one, fam!

Knicks 99, Clippers 93

When Landry Fields threw down an alley-oop from JR Smith to push the Knicks’ lead to 90-72 with less than 8 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, it looked like this one was all over. But after a 14-1 run cut the lead to 5, Lob City later pulled to within one point with 52 seconds left on a ridiculous one-handed Blake Griffin fadeaway. That’s as close as the Clippers would get, though—they sit at No. 5 in the West right now, which means a 4-5 matchup with the Grizzlies would start in Memphis as of this moment. Griffin had a game-high 29 points and 10 rebounds and Randy Foye scored 28 as Chris Paul took the night off, but New York’s bench outscored L.A.’s 43 to 20, six Knicks scored in double figures and Smith (21 points) sparked the win down the stretch. Carmelo Anthony scored 17 points but watched from the sidelines in the fourth quarter.

Sixers 90, Bucks 85

As recently as a week ago, this looked like it would be a game with massive Playoff implications. But thanks to Milwaukee’s collapse and the Sixers’ righting of the ship, it was simply a formality. Evan Turner scored a career-high 29 points (plus 13 rebounds, 6 assists) while Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams and Thaddues Young sat this one out, and despite the Bucks making it as close as 3 with 40 seconds to go, Philadelphia came away with the win. Then again, they may not have wanted it—since the Knicks won, a Philly loss would have locked them into the 1-8 matchup with Chicago. Brandon Jennings scored a team-high 19 for an equally shorthanded Bucks team that was without Monta Ellis, Ersan Ilyasova, Drew Gooden and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Nuggets 106, Thunder 101

Ty Lawson scored 25 points and Derek Fisher missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer with roughly ten seconds to go (oddly enough, it came off a dribble handoff from Kevin Durant), as Denver escaped OKC with a win. The Nuggets are now all but locked in to the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, which would set up a first-round series with the Lakers. Rookie Kenneth Faried continues to be a beast in the middle—he picked up his 12th double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds—and he was one of 7 Denver players to score in double figures. Russell Westbrook scored 30 points, plus had 9 assists and 6 rebounds, while Durant scored 32 points—which means Kobe Bryant will need 38 points tonight against Sacramento to beat out KD for the ’12 scoring title.

Spurs 110, Suns 106

With the West in hand, the Spurs sent Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and, yes, head coach Gregg Popovich back to San Antonio to rest up as the team takes care of the final two games of the regular season. The first was last night in Phoenix, where Steve Nash may have played his final game in a Suns uniform. If the “We Want Nash!” chants that began in the fourth quarter weren’t enough to keep Nashty around, he’ll end his tenure as the team’s PG with an 8-point, 7-assist performance. There was, technically, a real game going on here (I only know because ESPN televised it), during which Patty Mills scored a game-high 27 points and the Spurs outscored the Suns 22 to 6 on fast break points.

Line of the Night: Candidates include BG’s 29-10-6, Redick’s career-best 31, a near-quad for Wall, Westbrook’s 30-6-9 and ET The Kid’s 29-13-6. Cast your ballot accordingly.

Dunk of the Night: Kevin Durant posterizes Javale McGee. WOW, KD. WOW.

Tonight: A lucky 13 games are all that stands between us and the 2012 NBA Playoffs.

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  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Only reason the Clippers even made it interesting, was because Woodson sat damn near everyone, but Tyson wasn’t having it, and asked back in. Personally, I would have kept my guys in and made it 20+ point win, and don’t let Blake get his stats in garbage time. That’s just me though. I want to crush everyone.

  • jpm34

    The scoring title is KD’s. Kobe ain’t gonna get 38 tonight. BOOK IT!

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    I’ll say this too…Mike Woodson has done more for JR Smith’s confidence in the short time he’s been the Knicks coach, than George Diva Karl did during his entire time with the Denver Nuggets. I think this is like the first coach to ever connect with JR Smith like this. Note: Woody 17-6 as Knicks head coach, and no back-to-back losses. JR with confidence and a coach that believes in him = SCARY X Factor. Leave him open, and get some Novakaine shot in you.

  • Just Sayin

    jpm34: You too? This “book it” line is getting old real quick.

  • jpm34

    The Nuggets are gonna be a TOUGH series for the Lakers.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    That’s going to be an interesting series for sure jpm34.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Kobe will go for 40 tonight without a doubt!
    Lakers will sweep the Nuggets in the first round no problem.
    Interesting to see how this summer will be for Steve Nash.

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/ Paul H

    I think the Lakers lack of depth was always going to be an issue against a team as deep as the Nuggets, but now WITHOUT Artest It’s really going to stretch them. I concur that Smith and the Knicks as a whole have been playing well Orange but i just don’t think that Woodson deserves that much credit for It. Different pieces coming together and the fact that the players (particularly Carmelo) actually playing hard are more of a factor. I mean the style of play has not really changed that much.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    The Nuggets won’t be able to cope with Bynum and Gasol in the paint.

  • Justin G.

    cosign Paul H. Anyone who thinks Woodson is the sole reason the Knicks have turned it around are plain kidding themselves. The biggest difference in the Knicks is that they are actually playing hard right now. And @JustSayin’, the “Book it” line got old about a year ago.

  • Techie

    Orlando: 1 and done.. Indy will murder them, and now that Glen Davis is out for the season, and Dwight Howard will be a NO-SHOW due to his injury.. You could also kiss van gundy’s job GOOD-BYE.

    Knicks: Woodson is a great coach, and to get them to 17-6, and the 4th best home record of 22-11, that’s great success. Woodson for Knicks coach next season!, as for playoffs. I would rather see a Knicks/BULLS matchup. They match up better with Chi than MIAMI. but whatever happens, Knicks can’t get the 6th seed.

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/ Paul H

    The “book It” line makes me want to kill myself. Might be being a little bit dramatic but I need to get the point across.

  • http://slamonline.com Eldon Khorshidi

    Aw shux Abe, now I’m blushing. Thanks for the shout-out, appreciate it. Last night Lance played more minutes (35) than he has over the past 25 games…combined (34). The best part for me was his 10-for-15 shooting, because he’s been prematurely labeled and scrutinized as an irrational confidence/low basketball IQ guy. People can knock him for his lack of assists and rebounds, but he wasn’t there to do that last night. They played him at SG, but more importantly, he’s been deferring to his teammates and trying to get everyone involved every time he’s seen extended minutes this season, and it’s gotten him nowhere. Last night he stuck to his biggest strength (putting the ball in the hoop), and did it with efficiency/precision, and had a very solid night. Not sure when/if he’ll get this opportunity again, but for one night, I couldn’t have been prouder.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    That’s what YOU want to SEE PaulH…

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    Amare stoudamire has been out for most of the time right? that’s gotta have something to do with it.
    plus they play more to melo’s iso-strengths
    Couple things

    1st. John Wall is a MONSTER in the making. still think he doesn’t have the tools to be best PG in the L one day? god I wish I’d seen that game
    2nd. #bornreadyback! it bothers me that I missed the pacers game. a bulls pacers rematch in the playoffs would be AWESOME. Indiana literally had them almost every game but just had terrible late game execution.
    3rd. Clippers gotta play better defense at some point in their lives. and although griffin is slowly getting better on the block they have to get him more PR opportunities.
    4th who told evan turner he was lebron james? WOW
    5th I’ll never forgive myself for only being able to see 20 min of steve nash’s final minutes as a sun SMH

  • http://dimemag.com Royal

    nuggets vs thunder games are always so dope.. they should be on espn more. I missed this last one but it sounded dope. I was telling a friend of mine from chapel hill (the same area that I’m from) that Ty lawson is as fast as your favorite pg and shoots better than him from 3(probably passes better than him too). I’m being a BLATANT homer here but is it fair to call him a top-8, top 10 pg in the L at this point or maybe better? what are ya’ll’s thoughts on this?

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    that last comment was me not royal BTW. but seriously? Ty-lawson is 6 or 7 on my top pg’s list.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Royal

    My name is Royal and I do support this message

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    You gotta be kidding yourself if you think the Nuggets are going to give us fits. Denver is deep but bottom line our size down low will be the difference maker. Mozgov and McGee don’t want it.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Shout out to T-Ray.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    John Wall. Why couldn’t you just straight beast all year…
    Steve Nash needs to be on a contender next year. I don’t care what so ever if he gets a ring. I just want him to be able to fight for one.
    Kobe needs 38 points tonight lol.
    Artest would be nice to have vs the Nuggets, but damn we’d miss him way more vs anyone else.
    I have seen Ty Lawson be wayyy cold on too many occasions for me to put him in a top PG list. He has the talent and speed. Just not the consistency.

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    The nuggets can’t handle LA’s superstar front court. The only way they can win will be to run constantly. which they can do. and they have a huge advantage bench wise, and in the coaching dept. however basketball is still a big man’s game. LA in 6 at most. cosign lakeshow on steve nash. and he is a little inconsistent lakeshow, but i’m just saying… 40% from 3 50% from the field w/ at least a 40 inch vert, godlike speed, and underrated strength to body up people far larger than him. In a different, more pg centric system he’d put up video game numbers

  • http://slamonline.com 1982

    -Lakeshow It’s hard to beast all year when you know it won’t help you make the playoffs. I don’t see Kobe trying for 38 the last game before the playoffs. If he gets 24 and a win, you’ll hear it from him – “I’ve been in this for a long time. Don’t doubt me. Book it.”

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Kid, for sure. I like Lawson and he is probably a top 8. I just need the Nuggs to show more faith in him. They seem hesitant to keep him in the game to long sometimes. Not sure what that means. That’s obviously a direct result of Dre Miller being his back up, but Dre isn’t a top PG any more. Lawson should make this team “his” if he wants to get respect IMO. Dope player though. Lots of upside. Just as much upside as J-Holiday, and Collison.
    82′, You have a point, but now is the best time in his career to get his ‘K-Love on’. yeah the team stinks, but put up them digits for sure. He should easily be a 20-8-5-2-1 guy IMO.
    Kobe’s getting 40 in 30 mins :) haha

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Wall needs to improve his balance on his jumpshot before any of the “best PG” in the world talk begins.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    He needs to do more than that, but yes that is step 1.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    That’s what I meant because that’s the only major weakness I see holding him back from taking that next step…well that and the fact that he plays for the Wiz. People don’t understand the kind of effect an organization and coaching staff has on the development of a young player. He needs to just follow Coach Cal’s advice and lock himself in the gym.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    He does, but with the right training staff. Grover? It would be useless for him to play gym ball all summer. He needs a shooting coach. A PG coach. Basically a coach for every facet he needs to work on. Then it’s gme over for the L. John Wall with his brain straight and body right = Dominates the L.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Artest has a video on Lakers page on nba .com. He comes off very sorry for his actions and professional. They asked him if he had called James Harden to apologize to which he replies he hasn’t because they might see them in the playoffs and wants to “stay competitive”. I respect that. I know it’s hard for allot of guys to respect him. Especially after the recent problems, but the guy in general seems to have his heart right. His brain is what changes that sometimes.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    Speaking of Artest Lakeshow did you catch gametime on NBA TV last night? I guess Artest tweeted about Shaq and his elbows and Shaq got all defensive it was priceless.

  • http://abcnews.go.com/US/seattle-arrest-questions-cops-dash-cams/story?id=15595576 Allenp

    I saw it. Shaq is so fake. He tried to punch Brad Miller when Brad Miller’s back was turned. I remember.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    Wasn’t that funny Allen. Shaq acted like it was completely different and justifying it by saying he “maned” up lol

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Slams commenting section sucks d*ick for a living.
    Slamonline is a gay prostitute.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Wow….
    F*ck you Slam…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Maybe the next time I see someone else’s name and email info in the comment box – I should just post anyway. When I switch it back to my info, it never posts. Unless I’m talking about not being able to post.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    This is actually 1982. That literally just proved my point…

  • jpm34

    Kobe gonna sit tonight. KD35 wins third straight scoring crown. Niiiice!!!!

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    I’m actually allenp, and everything comes down to race. Slamonline is racist because the text is black, why you gotta make the black ones do all the work?!

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    The Knicks are SO stupid for not losing to the Clipshow last night… Who would you rather face, a Bulls team with a semi-injured Derrick Rose or a fully healthy Miami Heat?! C’mon Knicks………

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Lol at Tarzan. If I’m ORANGE, will you guys laugh at whatever I post?

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Cot dammit the Knicks are playing the Heat. Muthaf*cka.

  • everything

    ATL has a chance of upsetting BOS. very interesting series along with the MEM LAC series.

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