by Adam Figman | @afigman
First he hit the game-tying shot with only five or so seconds remaining in regulation, then Kevin Durant (34 points, 16 boards) hit a few clutch Js in OT, leading the Thunder over the Sixers in a close one. Russell Westbrook (27 points, 12 dimes) made some big plays as well, and OKC displayed the flair and bigplayability that they’ll need to compete with the more veteran Western squads come May.
Another tight one. Tied at 94, a Devin Harris (23 points) up-and-under didn’t go down, but Al Jefferson‘s (34 points) tip-in did, falling through the hoop just as the clock struck double zeros. Game, set, match. DeMar DeRozan led the Raps with 17 in the loss. He also did this.
The Bulls defeated the Bobcats pretty easily, but the big news outta this one was none too good for Chi-Town fans. Carlos Boozer limped off the court in the middle of the contest, and word is we’ll hear at some point today (perhaps before you even read this) just how bad it is. Hopefully it’s none too serious, because this is/was about to be the first legitimate stretch of games in which the entire Bulls squad played together as a unit, with nobody sidelined. Stay tuned.
Neither of these groups are fighting for a Playoff position, but there’s still some valuable experience to be gained in these late-regular season games. (Optimism!) Down two with the clock winding down, Reggie Williams failed to convert a drive through the paint, and the Nets grabbed the board and the victory against the Warriors. Brook Lopez scored 26 and grabbed 10, while his squad as a whole earned their first three-game winning streak of the season. And all of this without Deron Williams, who was m.i.a. because his wife gave birth to a son yesterday. Congrats go out to DWill and his fam; I’m sure that kid’s already a better hooper than I’ll ever be.
Speaking of surprising winning streaks (that’s what we were talking about, no?), the Clips tallied their fourth W in a row, upsetting the Celts on their home floor last night. Mo Williams dropped 28, and the Clippers stayed a short arm’s length away from the C’s during the final minutes, holding on for the victory. Ray Allen scored 23 for Boston, who’ll attempt to rebound tomorrow night in Philly.
Down 92-85 with around a minute remaining, the Bees turned the jets on, storming back into the game and taking the lead with 8.4 seconds to go after Jarrett Jack converted three consecutive free throws. The Mavs had chance at the win, but Dirk Nowitzki’s rainbow of a jumper rimmed off, and the Hornets’ crazy last-minute comeback was deemed successful. And it was all without Chris Paul, who’s still out after that headbanger of a fall he took a few days back. Dallas is back home tonight, and chances are they’ll be pretty pissed, so it should be a tough one for the visiting Knicks.
See what I did there? The Knicks were in Memphis last night, and after looking like they had the game at hand, the Grizzlies came roaring back in the fourth, only to be shunned away after that Carmelo Anthony guy sunk a mid-range jumper with 0.5 seconds remaining on the clock, for the win. Melo dropped 31 in total, while Amar’e Stoudemire added 26, and NYK squeaked away with a close victory.
He almost didn’t play, but Kevin Love overcame a banged-up knee and still earned his 52nd consecutive double-double (16 points, 21 rebounds), passing Moses Malone’s all-time record and officially securing it for himself. Props! And the Twolves won! By a lot, too, as they blasted the Pacers in Minneapolis. Indiana’s now just a single game ahead of Charlotte for that coveted eighth spot in the East.
The Bobcats may be just a game back of Indiana, but the Bucks are only an extra half-game back, and are looking like the darkhorse to sneak in and snatch Playoff positioning in the EC. They won at home last night, running over the Cavs behind strong efforts from Brandon Jennings (18 points) and Earl Boykins (18 points).
The Spurs shot 64.3 percent from the field, which I think means they’re extremely likely to win, but I think I need to talk to someone who attended last week’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference to confirm that. Either way, San Antonio took down Detroit at home, led by Tony Parker (23 points, 7 dimes) and Tim Duncan (15 points, 12 boards). The victory means Coach Pop’s guys clinched a spot in the Playoffs, so no reason to stay up all night worrying anymore, Spurs fans. Get some sleep.
Performing what Gilbert Arenas referred to after the game as “wonderman basketball” (“He’s out there, but he’s not out there,” Arenas said), Jameer Nelson dominated the final quarter, dropping 12 of his 26 in the period and helping the Magic overcome the Kings in Sacto. Dwight Howard went for 16 and 15, while DeMarcus Cousins led Sacramento with 29.
Last Call: Oh, right, that’s why they traded for Carmelo.