Post Up: Staying Alive

The Thunder, Pelicans, Heat & Nets still have a chance to make the 2015 NBA Playoffs.
by April 14, 2015
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Rockets 100 (55-26), Hornets 90 (33-48)

In the Rockets’ visit to Buzz City last night, Harden wasted no time getting started. He scored 13 of his game-high 29 points in the first quarter. Add 6 rebounds and 6 assists, and Harden yet again had the stat line in this game despite only shooting 7-20 from the field (he went 14-16 from the stripe). Six other Houston guys posted up double-figs to help lift the Rockets over the hometown Hornets, including Josh Smith (16 points and 11 rebounds) and Terrence Jones (10 points and 11 boards). Despite the loss for Charlotte, Brian Roberts had a career night with 23 points (16 of which he dropped in the second quarter). Charlotte’s been out of the running for the postseason, but the West remains neck-and-neck. The Rockets are currently tied with the hot San Antonio Spurs for top of the Southwest Division.

Cavaliers 100 (52-29), Pistons 97 (31-50)

We talked about Harden not wasting any time to start pouring on the points…well, Cleveland was on a whole other level in their opening quarter against the Detroit Pistons yesterday evening. The Cavs were up 27-7 in the first quarter and finished the period 36-14. They were up by as many as 26 during the contest, and the Pistons never held a lead greater than a single point. JR Smith scored the game-high 28 points, and LeBron James finished with a triple-double of 21 points, 10 boards, and 11 assists.

That one pass deserves another look, since you know, James gave it none whatsoever:

Bucks 107 (41-40), Sixers 97 (18-63)

Michael Carter-Williams played to impress last night as the Milwaukee Bucks visited the his former Philadelphia 76ers team. MCW finished with a game-high 30 points (14 in the first) to go with 5 rebounds and 5 assists…and the win. Teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo added 12 points and 7 boards, including this slam:

The Bucks forced 29 Philly turnovers and scored nearly 20 points more in the paint than their opponents.

Knicks 112 (17-64), Hawks 108 (60-21)

Even when they win, the Knicks lose. New York decided to win their first back-to-back games since late February when they surprisingly earned a victory in Atlanta last night. Langston Galloway finished with a career-high 26 points, Tim Hardaway Jr added 23, and Jason Smith contributed 20 in the rare win. The Knicks led by as many as 17 in the first half, but the Hawks came within a single point in the final quarter. So they made it a game, even though many Knicks fans hoped their team would keep on losing to increase their chances at the No. 1 pick in the Draft.

Bulls 113 (49-32), Nets 86 (37-44)

Brooklyn suffered a #3rdQofDoom last night on their home floor at the hands of the Chicago Bulls. A 7-point Bulls’ lead at halftime stretched into a 22-point lead by the start of the fourth quarter after Chicago outscored Brooklyn 30-15 in the third. Nikola Mirotic led his team with 26, Pau Gasol added his 53rd double-double of the season with 22 points and 11 boards, and the Bulls secured home-court advantage for the Playoffs. The Nets fell into the ninth seed in the East, but are still in the running for that coveted eighth spot.

Heat 100 (36-45), Magic 93 (25-56)

The Miami Heat dominated in the first half of last night’s game against the state-sharing Orlando Magic, and managed to get a victory despite being outscored by 11 in the final period. Good thing too, because now their Playoffs hopes are still alive (thanks to Brooklyn’s loss too, btdubs). Hassan Whiteside finished with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 blocks, Dwyane Wade added 22, and Luol Deng dropped 14 points and 10 boards to secure the win for South Beach. Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 30, and Tobias Harris added 26 in the loss. Even though Miami’s chances at that eighth seed are slim, some hope remains until that little circle appears next to ‘em (if it does) in the standings. Before tipping off their final game on Wednesday, the Heat’ll be rooting for Washington to beat Indy tonight to inch a little closer to that No. 8.

Pelicans 100 (4-37), Timberwolves 88 (16-65)

Playoffs hopes remain alive for Anthony Davis and his Pelicans with New Orleans’ win last night in Minnesota. Davis finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 blocks, and Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans added 22 points apiece in the victory over the League’s worst Timberwolves. Zach LaVine scored 24 in the loss, and Andrew Wiggins did this:

The Pels and the Thunder are tied for the eighth seed in the West with a 44-37 record. They play host to the defending Champion Spurs (currently on an 11-game winning streak) Wednesday, while the Thunder will visit these same Timberwolves.

Thunder 101 (44-37), Trail Blazers 90 (51-30)

The Oklahoma City Thunder are in the same boat as the Pelicans—tied for No. 8 in the West, in possession of a super athlete who is nothing short of amazing to watch, and counting on a win + opponent’s loss come Wednesday. Only difference is…the Thunder will be visiting the League’s worst Timberwolves and the Pelicans will host the defending Champion San Antonio Spurs. But that’s news for Wednesday night. Last night was all Russell Westbrook, who finished with 36 points, 11 boards, and 7 assists for a win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Enes Kanter contributed a 27-point, 13-board double-double. Both Nic Batum and CJ McCollum left the game early with injuries for the already shorthanded Blazers.

Jazz 109 (38-42), Mavericks 92 (49-32)

The Utah Jazz ended their home schedule for the season with a nice win in front of their fans. Many of both teams’ starters remained on the bench as the season winds down, but the Jazz fans still got to see some thrilling plays, like Bryce Cotton’s one-handed jam for 2 of his game-high 21 points:

After a tie at halftime, the Jazz held the the Mavericks to just 12 points in the third quarter, while scoring 30 themselves. That lead remained, and Rudy Gobert (20 points, 17 boards) and his Jazz ended their last game at home for the year with a victory.

Kings 102 (28-53), Lakers 92 (21-60)

A game between two teams that are out of the Playoffs stayed pretty close last night. The Kings and Lakers’ game featured 23 lead changes and 15 ties in Sactown. But Omri Casspi and his game-high 26 points put the hometown Kings on top. Five more Kings contributed double-figures in the win over the visiting Lakers who were led by Jordan Clarkson’s 23 points. Despite scoring just 7, Vander Blue’s jersey was the one making rounds on Twitter during the game:

Warriors 111 (66-15), Grizzlies 107 (54-27)

Klay Thompson at it again…26 second quarter points, 23 of which came consecutively over a 7-minute span. I mean…

The man shot 15-20 (8-10 from 3-point land) in under 30 minutes of play to finish with 42 points on the night.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Warriors led by as many as 31 points. You’d think the game was over…but not quite. Memphis went off for 41 points and held the Dubs to 18 to come within 4. The Warriors managed to hold on for their 60th win of the season though, which is also their 17th consecutive victory at home.

Clippers 110 (55-26), Nuggets 103 (30-51)

The win last night in Los Angeles was the Clippers’ sixth in a row. It put them in a three-way tie with the Spurs’ and Rockets’ records. Blake Griffin led the Clips with 22 points to go with his 9 rebounds and 8 assists. DeAndre Jordan finished with 20 points, 21 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Here are a couple of those 20 points:

The game remained close throughout, but the Clips had the edge at the end, despite Wilson Chandler’s game-high 32 for the Denver Nuggets.