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Thursday, April 4th, 2013 at 9:00 am  |  32 responses

Post Up: Crunch Time

The playoff picture is still unfolding as the season nears its end.

by Peter Walsh

Raptors 88 (28-47), Wizards 88 (28-47)

Toronto rookie Jonas Valanciunas has been playing great to end the season and put together arguably his best game as a pro last night. The big man scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Toronto over a hot Wizards team. Valanciunas was most impressive from the stripe, where he shot 16-18, and gives the Raptors a lot to look forward to next season. A lineup of Lowry-DeRozan-Gay-Valnciunas-Amir Johnson with Terrence Ross coming off the bench could be a problem. John Wall finished with 20 points and 5 assists to lead the Wizards.

Bobcats 88 (18-57), Sixers 83 (30-44)

Charlotte trailed by 16 in the second quarter but wouldn’t go away and crawled back into the game and eventually took the lead. The two teams battled back and forth through the third and fourth quarters and Philly tied it up at 80 with 2:30 left in regulation after an Evan Turner jumper. The Bobcats responded with an alley-oop from Kemba Walker to Josh McRoberts to give them a two point lead. Jrue Holiday hit a bucket of his own to tie it up and one of two free throws from Damien Wilkins made it 83-82 in favor of Philadelphia. Gerald Henderson then hit a jumper to give the Bobcats the lead back. He followed that up by stealing the ensuing inbounds pass and driving in for an uncontested layup to give Charlotte a safe three point cushion. Walker shot 6-14 and finished with 17 points and 10 dimes while Gerald Henderson scored 24. Jrue Holiday shot a pitiful 2-24 for 5 points and Wilkins scored 20 and grabbed 9 rebounds.

Knicks 95 (48-26), Hawks 82 (42-34)

Ten games, ten straight wins for the New York Knickerbockers. Carmelo Anthony once again was the focal point of the Knick offense and finished with 40 points, one night after dropping 50 on the Heat. The game was tied up at 72 in the fourth quarter when the Knicks went on a 12-2 run that gave the Knicks an 84-74 lead. The Knicks are now in sole possession of second place in the East. J.R. Smith scored 19 off the bench and Ray Felton scored 14 points. Kyle Korver scored 25 points.

Nets 113 (43-31), Cavs 95 (22-52)

The Nets ended their eight-game road trip in blowout fashion with an easy win over the Cavs. This game was over by the end of the second quarter. In the second, Brooklyn shot 83 percent from the field to take a 30-point lead. The win guarantees the Nets their first winning road record since the teams inception. Cleveland has lost ten straight games. Deron Williams finished with 24 points and 8 dimes while MarShon Brooks got the start and scored 27 points on 12-16 shooting. Kyrie Irving scored 16 points and dropped 6 dimes.

Celtics 98 (39-36), Pistons 93 (25-51)

Despite getting abused inside, the Celtics held on for the win and are now officially in the playoffs for the sixth straight season. Boston led by as many as 18 but the Pistons closed the third quarter on an 11-0 run and eventually cut the deficit down to two. Jeff Green finally stopped the bleeding with a corner 3-pointer to give the Celtics a 96-91 lead. Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass each scored 17 points and Green scored 34 on 13-19 shooting. Greg Monroe scored 24 and grabbed 17 boards while Rodney Stuckey scored 22.

Wolves 107 (28-46), Bucks 98 (36-38)

Nikola Pekovic scored 27 points and Ricky Rubio put together a ridiculous 18-point, 12-assist, 8-steal stat line to lead the Timberwolves over the Bucks. The T-Wolves outscored the Bucks 58-38 in the paint and shot over 50 percent from the field and 60 percent from three to get the dub. Ersan Ilyasova scored 29 points and grabbed 9 boards and Monta Ellis finished with 18 points on 7-20 shooting.

Spurs 98 (56-19), Magic 84 (19-57)

San Antonio led wire-to-wire, outrebounded the Magic 53-47 and got 20 points from Danny Green to get an easy dub over the Magic. Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard all sat while Tim Duncan played just 14 minutes. The win meant San Antonio avoided their first three-game losing streak since 2011. Gary Neal scored 16 off the bench and grabbed 8 rebounds. Nicola Vucevic scored 16 points and grabbed 14 boards and Moe Harkless continued his strong play with 18 points and 9 boards.

Nuggets 113 (51-24), Jazz 96 (39-37)

Last night’s loss bumped the Jazz from the eighth seed and the Lakers now have sole possession of the final playoff spot in the West. The Nuggets opened up the third quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 64-51 lead and kept pouring it on from there. Utah missed six straight shots after the half and didn’t score until the seven minute mark of the third, allowing Denver to bump their lead to 15. The Nuggets cruised from there, pushing their lead to 21 and handing Utah an bad loss. Danilo Gallinari scored 21 points, Kenneth Faried scored 19 and rookie Evan Fournier scored 18 on 7-9 shooting. Ty Lawson sat again with a plantar fasciitis tear. Gordon Hayward scored 18 points.

Rockets 112 (42-33), Kings 102 (27-48)

James Harden made his return after missing two games due to a sore foot and scored 21 points while dishing out 9 assists and grabbing 7 boards to pace the Rockets. The Kings threatened late in the game, cutting the deficit to five with just over two minutes remaining. But, Jeremy Lin had nailed a dagger 3-pointer that put Houston up eight and put momentum back in Houston’s favor. Lin finished with 15 points and 10 dimes and Chandler Parsons scored 29 on 12-18 shooting.

Grizzlies 94 (51-24), Blazers 76 (33-42)

Memphis led wire-to-wire to give them the win and the most road victories in franchise history. Mike Conley scored 20, Zach Randolph scored 17 points and had 8 assists to pace the Grizz, who are now tied with Denver for third place in the West. Portland is ending the season on a down note, scoring just 30 points in the second half en route to their sixth straight loss. J.J. Hickson scored 17 and grabbed 9 boards while Dame Lillard had 17 points and 6 dimes.

Clippers 126 (50-26), Suns 101 (23-52)

DeAndre Jordan scored a team-high 20 points and grabbed 12 boards to lead the Clippers to thier franchise-best 50th win of the season. Lob City led wire-to-wire and were up by as many as 28 in a dominating win against the hapless Suns. CP3 scored 15 points and dropped 12 dimes and Caron Butler finished with 15. Wesley Johnson scored 20 for the Suns.

Warriors 98 (43-32), Hornets 88 (26-49)

With last night’s win, the Warriors hold a one game lead over the Rockets for sixth place in the West. The Warriors trailed 28-19 after one but Steph Curry hit four straight shots to open the second quarter as Golden State went on a 28-10 run and never looked back. Curry finished with 20 points and 9 assists while David Lee scored 23 points and grabbed 16 boards. Eric Gordon led the Hornets with 21 points.

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  • spit hot fiyah

    really nice to see that from shumpert considering we were talking about his health a couple of days ago

  • Max

    He def looked good on that play!

  • Max

    18-12 and 8 steals goddang Rubio.
    Melo’s 90 in 2 days aint to shabby either.

  • LLC#12

    Rubio is a legitimate threat to break the NBA steals record of 11 one day. He picked up 8 last night, and his athleticism can only improve, couple that with his length and timing, and put him against a bad team, he could easily eclipse 11.

  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford

    Seriously. Was that a ghost or was that Rondo shooting during warm ups last night? His tolerance for pain is incredible.

  • Perry the PlatyPteranodon

    Rubios defence is severely underrated.
    Melos offence is strangely overlooked.
    Never would have guessed Denver would be ahead of the Clippers.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    old Iman Shumpert would have probably thrown that down a lot more smoothly tho.

  • Max

    How is the man who’s claimed to be the best pure scorer in the NBA, overlooked offensively?

  • Max

    He’s probably gonna keep thinking about not going all out the rest of the season.
    And isn’t it young Iman Shumpert?

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    3 double-doubles for Houston last night: Terrence Jones 14 and 12, Lin 15 and 10, and Asik with 19 and 10. Parsons went for 29 points and Harden had a near trip-dub with 21 9 and 7.

    … didn’t even have to use my AK.

  • Perry the PlatyPteranodon

    Because it’s hardly ever mentioned, until he has a really big game. People often mention that he’s the best pure scorer, but it’s not really discussed, unlike the way in which Durant is frequently discussed, or Kobe and LeBron. You would think the best scorer would get a bit more shine, but he only ever gets talked about when he puts up really high scoring games.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lol yes, it’s young iman shumpert. you got what i meant tho, he’s still young. So saying that would have been just as confusing.

  • Max

    This is like the first time this season Terrence Jones gets any minutes and he delivers this.

  • The Fury

    8 TO’s is understandable, but 8 steals?!?! I think Rubio has multiple games 5+ steals/game this season. If he played the whole reg season next year he may have average at least 3.5/game.

  • LakeShow

    Wait… Did Holiday reallllllly shoot 24 shots and only make 2????

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    YUP

  • nhm

    that’s because melo’s teams den and nyk was/are not really considered serious contenders

  • Peter Walsh

    Either him or Monta Ellis will probably break it

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    this is a great comment Teddy. It deserves more appreciation.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    you realize Melo is closer to being overrated offensively then anything else right?

    .

    he’s a streaky scorer. And can make it look underrated because his streaks last over the course of entire weeks. But he’s still shooting 44%, he’s still shooting 22 shots to get 28 points, while grabbing a measly 6.4 rebounds while turning the ball over more often then he gets assists.

    .
    Melo is overrated. Not underrated.

  • Perry the PlatyPteranodon

    I never mentioned that he’s underrated, though I can see how it seems like I did, my bad on that bit.

    Actually, I always felt that Melo was an overrated player. I was merely pointing out that, as a high profile player almost his entire career, and now playing in New York, you would think his game would be discussed more.

    As for his actual playing, I was actually unaware as to how streaky, and inefficient his game is, since I live in Canada and don’t get access to all the games (partly due to my student schedule). So, the whole notion that he’s the best pure scorer is a myth? Or is there validity to that statement, based on his skill set?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    oh i see. being in Canada you are not subjected to our national media (unless you have a twitter). So i see why you think Melo isn’t discussed more. Just trust that he is discussed too much. For example, prior to every time I hear Al Horford’s name, I hear Melo’s 100 times.

  • Perry the PlatyPteranodon

    Haha, I guess that explains part of it, though I never see it mentioned much here on Slam either. It could probably open up interesting discussions on how we base offensive ability, such as skill vs efficiency, or volume shooters vs offensive facilitating. Just asking, is that discussed often in the basketball circles in the states, or is it the same ol’ hyperbole that finds it way up north of the border?

  • Caboose

    Something crazy…Dwight has missed more free throws this season than Nash has in his entire career.
    Dwight 2012-13: 314-646 (missed 332)
    Nash 1996-2013: 3038-3360 (missed 322)

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it’s discussed by the people like me who pay entirely too much attention to something they have no affect on. But in terms of the general public that stuff is typically ignored.
    .
    Once we get into the advanced stats and all the deeper analytics, typical “fans” (whatever you want to call them) tune out. So in order to get more page views and the like, national media outlets focus on what people want to read. “this guy is better than this guy because he plays in THIS big city and scores THIS many points, and they WON” — kind of like that.

  • Perry the PlatyPteranodon

    Gotta love hyperbole, eh?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    LOL, not much of a choice

  • Lucentum

    Rubio is incredible. 12 assists (on the Timberwolves!), 8 steals (!), and 5/6 from three -which for him is outstanding.
    Also remarkable, his shooting % has been growing exponentially each month since he returned.

  • KipSmithers

    Go TJ!

  • LakeShow

    omg lol… (laughing/crying)

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    thanks holmes. In the words of the great warrior poet Ice Cube: T’Was a good day.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    He has done this every year since 2008.

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