A Saturday night that furthers clears up things about the upcoming NBA playoffs. Like the San Antonio Spurs hitting the garbage time mode button and resting everyone. Or the Chicago Bulls getting destroyed again and probably kissing the postseason goodbye, while the Cleveland Cavaliers bounced back, as expected, with an easy win against the New York Knicks.
Indiana Pacers 110 Brooklyn Nets 120: The Nets are flourishing with zero pressure, ruining seeding thoughts for teams one day at a time. Brook Lopez scored 23 points, Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 and Sergey Karasev finished with 22 points as the Pacers remain in something of a worry about clinching a playoff spot, despite 27 points from Paul George and a shocking 18 from Ian Mahinmi.
Chicago Bulls 89 Orlando Magic 111: The Bulls keep crashing, and probably won’t make the playoffs now from the looks of their form and passion on the court. The Magic get to 30 wins this season behind 18 points by Dewayne Dedmon and 15 more from Elfrid Payton, who also had 10 assists. Taj Gibson with 16 points led the Bulls, who got nothing from Derrick Rose and Nikola Mirotic.
Toronto Raptors 115 New Orleans Pelicans 91: A comfortable win for the Raptors to keep them just behind the Cleveland Cavaliers. DeMar DeRozan with 23 points and Patrick Patterson with 16 off the bench led the way, not minding Kyle Lowry having a rough shooting night. Alonzo Gee led the beaten up Pelicans with 18 points.
Atlanta Hawks 112 Detroit Pistons 95: The Hawks give a little bit of hope to the Bulls and Wizards with a big win against a team that doesn’t know what to do when the pace goes up. Eight players scored in double figures, led by Paul Millsap with 23 points, as the Hawks had 34 assists and just 4 turnovers. The Pistons shot just 38.6% from the field.
Cleveland Cavaliers 107 New York Knicks 93: One of those get angry games by the Cavaliers leaving the Knicks no chance. Kevin Love scored 28 points and LeBron James helped out with 27, holding the Knicks to just 41.8% from the field and not letting anyone but Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony get too involved on offense.
Utah Jazz 93 Minnesota Timberwolves 84: A win that puts the Jazz back in the top 8, turning it up in the fourth quarter with 33 points after just 35 points at halftime. Derrick Favors led the way with 19, Gordon Hayward helped out with 18. Ricky Rubio led the Timberwolves with 23 points and 4 steals.
San Antonio Spurs 92 Oklahoma City Thunder 111: The Spurs have started their garbage time mode of the season, giving up on chasing down the Warriors at #1, as Kawhi, Aldridge, Parker and Duncan didn’t play. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 31 points, Russell Westbrook helped with 29 and Enes Kanter added 20 off the bench.
Charlotte Hornets 115 Milwaukee Bucks 91: The Hornets bounce back in a brilliant way from their loss in Detroit, taking a big lead in the first quarter and riding it to the end. Nicolas Batum scored 25 points and Marvin Williams added 21. John Henson led the Bucks with 19 off the bench.
Boston Celtics 102 Phoenix Suns 99: In a game of explosive backcourts, Isaiah Thomas sizzled with 28 points, joined by Evan Turner and Avery Bradley for 60 points combined. Devin Booker led the Suns with 21 points.
Philadelphia 76ers 105 Portland Trail Blazers 108: The Sixers are stuck on nine wins, while the Blazers move closer to clinching a playoff spot. C.J. McCollum had no problem covering for the bad night Damian Lillard was having, scoring 25 points. Al-Farouq Aminu helped with a rare 20-point night for him.
Eastern Conference Standings
|13||New York Knicks||30||44||.405||22.5||74|
Western Conference Standings
|1||Golden State Warriors||65||7||.903||–||72|
|2||San Antonio Spurs||61||12||.836||4.5||73|
|3||Oklahoma City Thunder||51||22||.699||14.5||73|
|4||Los Angeles Clippers||44||27||.620||20.5||71|
|6||Portland Trail Blazers||38||36||.514||28.0||74|
|12||New Orleans Pelicans||26||46||.361||39.0||72|
|15||Los Angeles Lakers||15||57||.208||50.0||72|