The Post Up: Lakers Clinch #1 in the West

By: Holly MacKenzie

It’s finally here. The last day of the regular season is upon us. I am happy, sad, excited, every emotion you could think of all rolled into one. In fact, I definitely was up later than usual last night writing away and as a result, hit the snooze button a whole lot this morning. Oops.

The big story from last night is that the Lakers clinched first in the West. I’m thrilled about this, obviously. After the Kings had won against the Hornets and had taken San Antonio to the final possession, I was a little worried about the game, but there was no need as the Lakers turned it into a 30-point blowout before the fourth quarter hit.

Did anyone catch the New Orleans/LA Clippers game? David West had 20 of 26 points for New Orleans. He was hitting everything. He came back down to Earth though and the Hornets won. Julian Wright also had a crazy dunk in that game.

Great, great, great video from Odenized of Sheed’s dialogue with a ref. My favorite part is…. Well, there are too many, the whole thing is fantastic. Check it out! Classic.

With the win over the Timberwolves, the Pistons clinched the second best record in the NBA. They looked great in the game and their bench is going to be the advantage in every match up they face. Stuckey, Maxiell and Aflalo have been fantastic for them this season.

Did we talk about the Cavs/Wizards yesterday? I cannot tell you how excited I am for that match up. DeShawn is crazy and I love it. Gil is great and I’m so happy he willed them to that win over Philly this past weekend. Shut up the haters and prove he is here to win.

Well, I guess that is it. Tomorrow will be the last day of the normal Post Up, recapping up the final games of the season. Now, we’ll get to a couple of the games that kind of mattered last night, since there were a ton that didn’t. Oh, the end of the season, it must suck for those not playoff bound (I’m thinking of you, Golden State Warriors. Dammit, you belong!).

LA Lakers 124 Sacramento 101

In the final game of the season for the Lakers, they knew that in order to clinch first in the Western Conference all they would need to do was find a way to win against the Kings. After watching the Kings take down New Orleans and then almost overtake San Antonio, they knew it might not be as easy as they had previously thought. At the half, the Lakers led 62-48, over the Kings who were without Ron Artest, Kevin Martin and Brad Miller. In the third, the Lakers blew the game wide open, outscoring Sacramento 39-24 and holding on to a 101-72 advantage at the start of the fourth quarter. LA rested it’s starters for the final period and gave the bench extended minutes, still the Kings could not keep up. Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 22 points, Kobe Bryant scored 20 points and Lamar Odom had 15 points and 12 rebounds. Quincy Douby led the Kings with 32 points while Beno Udrih had 22 points and Francisco Garcia scored 15.

Detroit 115 Minnesota 103

With a game in Cleveland scheduled for tonight, the Pistons faced the Timberwolves last night and they took care of business thanks to their star bench. The bench contributed for 55 points in the game last night and were a large part of the 115-103 victory over Minnesota. While the game was close in the first quarter and the Pistons led by only one, they extended their lead to 52-43 at the half and continued to build it up in the third, going up by as many as 16 points in the quarter. After the lead had been built, the bench came in and finished the game off for the starters as the Timberwolves were unable to cut the deficit. Detroit was led by Jarvis Hayes and his 20 points off of the bench while Richard Hamilton scored 18 points and Chauncey Billups scored 17 points. Al Jefferson had 30 points and 9 rebounds for the Wolves as Rashad McCants scored 19 off of the bench as Marko Jaric and Randy Foye each added 13 points.

New Orleans 114 LA Clippers 92

With the Hornets trying to wrap up their regular season on a high note they needed a win against the Clippers and then another one tonight against Dallas. Their victory over the Clippers last night ensured that they won their division and it was a celebration in New Orleans, after the game. While the Hornets still have a lot of work to do, they reveled in the joy of their accomplishments this season as their fans showed them the love. Although they had won against the Clippers, the two teams were tied at 26 at the end of the first quarter. David West had scored 20 of those 26 points for the Hornets and it appeared that he was going to have a big night. The Clippers found a way to keep him and the rest of the New Orleans squad contained as they took a two-point lead into the break. This changed in the second half as the Hornets used a 26-6 run in the third quarter on their way to outscoring LA, 34-17 in the period to change the game. New Orleans led 83-68 at the start of the fourth and went ahead by as many as 30 points in the quarter as the Clippers folded. West finished with 32 points for the Hornets, Chris Paul scored 22 points and dished 12 assists, Julian Wright had 14 points off of the bench and Tyson Chandler had an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double. Al Thornton led the Clippers with 26 points, Corey Maggette had 13 points and Nick Fazekas and Smush Parker each added 10 points in the loss.