Post Up: Playoff Pistons

Detroit clinched a playoff berth, Kobe's final trip to NOLA, and more from Friday's NBA slate.
by April 09, 2016

Wizards 99 (38-41), Pistons 112 (43-37)

The Pistons secured their first playoff berth in seven years thanks to a 39-point outburst from Reggie Jackson and 17 from Tobias Harris. Despite the momentous victory, Andre Drummond scored just eight points with six boards, and was benched for much of the fourth quarter.

“I gave him a chance, but he missed the first two, and I had a better option on the bench,” said Van Gundy, who dragged Drummond into the postgame celebration. “He’s really frustrated with the whole thing, having to come out of the game. This is a kid who is an All-Star, and he can’t help his team because of one thing he does poorly.”

Meanwhile, Friday’s loss officially eliminated Washington from playoff contention, capping a disappointing season for the Wizards.

Lakers 102 (16-63), Pelicans 110 (30-49)

The focus was on Kobe Bryant in the Black Mamba’s final night playing in New Orleans. The Pelicans honored Bryant with a pre-game video package, celebrating his finest moments against the Hornets and Pelicans.

It would be Alexis Ajinca, however, who would steal the show at the Smoothie King Center, tallying 28 points with 15 boards for Alvin Gentry’s Pelicans. D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson would spearhead L.A.’s offense with a combined 58 points in the loss.

Nets 99 (21-58), Hornets 113 (46-33)

Kemba Walker scored 22 and Troy Daniels added 17 in the fourth game of Charlotte’s season sweep of Brooklyn. There are still playoff implications through the remainder of Charlotte’s season; the Hornets are knotted up with Miami for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, and can finish as high as third place.

Heat 109 (46-33), Magic 112 (34-45)

A rim-rocking dunk from Nikola Vucevic with 20 seconds left in regulation would secure victory for Orlando, handing Miami defeat despite a double-double (16 boards, 13 points) from Hassan Whiteside. The tightly-contested game featured 23 lead changes and 11 ties, in addition to this incredible sequence from Elfrid Payton.

Knicks 109 (32-48), 76ers 102 (10-69)

Coaching issues notwithstanding, the Knicks managed a much-needed win over Philadelphia thanks to a combined 44 points from Robin Lopez and Carmelo Anthony. The 76ers received a career-high 30 point effort from Robert Covington, but just eight combined points from all bench players. Philadelphia may be without a GM, but at least they can take solace in this huge alley-oop from Nerlens Noel:

Bucks 109 (32-47), Celtics 124 (47-32)

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 27 points weren’t enough to propel Milwaukee to victory over the red-hot Celtics, as Boston has now won four straight in their quest for the third-seed in the Eastern Conference. Tyler Zeller came off the bench to score 26, Isaiah Thomas added 20, and Marcus Smart notched a long-distance dime with this Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half.

Pacers 98 (42-37), Raptors 111 (53-26)

Norman Powell scored a career-high 27 points, Delon Wright tallied 19, and Cory Joseph added 18 as Toronto’s reserve squad prevented Indiana from securing a playoff berth. The Pacers don’t appear to be in any real danger of missing the playoffs; Chicago remains three games behind Indiana in the cellar of the Eastern Conference, and the Pacers are set to face sub-.500 competition through the regular season (Nets, Knicks, Bucks).

Grizzlies 93 (42-37), Mavericks 103 (41-38)

Dirk Nowitzki and Justin Anderson combined for 40 points as Dallas further cemented their claim for the seventh-seed of the Western Conference. Despite the victory, coach Rick Carlisle and the Mavs will await J.J. Barea’s test results (departed game in first quarter) with bated breath.

Spurs 98 (65-14), Nuggets 102 (33-47)

Coach Gregg Popovich rolled out the B-squad to end all B-squads, resting Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Boris Diaw, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Danny Green. Despite this, the lowly Nuggets were given a run for their money, as Denver required 20-plus point efforts from Jusuf Nurkic and Emmanuel Mudiay to secure a tight victory. JaKarr Sampson, who was waived by Philadelphia in February to make room for journeyman Joel Anthony, is starting to look like a nice pick-up. The 23-year-old dropped 16 points, four boards, and two steals on San Antonio.

Clippers 102 (51-28), Jazz 99 (39-40)

A clutch Cole Aldrich swat sent Friday’s game to overtime, where Jamal Crawford (30 points), Paul Pierce (4-of-5 from downtown), and Jeff Green (18 points) put Utah away. The Jazz now hold a slim one-game lead over Houston at the bottom of the Western Conference.

Crawford’s game-winner: