Five NBA games on a Thursday night and plenty of action: Gary Harris beating the buzzer and the Oklahoma City Thunder, Bradley Beal having a huge fourth quarter to carry the Wall-less Wizards past the Toronto Raptors and Blake Griffin made his debut in Detroit, leading them to victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Memphis Grizzlies 102 Detroit Pistons 104: The Blake Griffin debut could have gone smoother, but it ended in a win in front a packed arena in Detroit, which doesn’t always happen. Griffin led five other players in double figures with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists, looking rather in-tune with his new teammates. Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 19 points and 14 boards.
Toronto Raptors 119 Washington Wizards 122: In the best game of the night and what could be a terrific playoff showdown, it was Bradley Beal who stole the show, scoring 27 points in the fourth quarter (29 overall), in a way warming up his handle for the three-point contest. Eight Wizards players overall scored in double figures to make up for the absence of John Wall, including a 16-10 double double by Otto Porter Jr. Kyle Lowry scored 29 points, DeMar DeRozan had 23.
Milwaukee Bucks 89 Minnesota Timberwolves 108: An easy stroll for the Timberwolves, allowing them plenty of garbage time in the second half. Jimmy Butler was hot (8-for-15 from the field, 10-for-11 from the line) with 28 points, Karl-Anthony Towns helped out with 24, and that was enough to put away the struggling Bucks. Khris Middleton led the team with 21 points.
Houston Rockets 102 San Antonio Spurs 91: Not a good game for Chris Paul, and still the Rockets felt out of reach for the Spurs from the get go. James Harden put up 28 points and 11 assists, including five shots knocked down from beyond the arc. The Spurs aren’t in the best of places right now. They’ll get over it, but as long as Kawhi Leonard is out of the picture, it’s hard to see them making any sort of impact in the postseason.
Oklahoma City Thunder 124 Denver Nuggets 127: The Nuggets have lost a few games recently with shots that didn’t drop at the buzzer. This time, Gary Harris knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Thunder, with Jamal Murray having a big, 33-point performance, leading Nikola Jokic (29, 13 boards, 14 dimes) and Harris’ 25. Paul George finished with a day-high 43 points and Russell Westbrook had 20 points along with 21 assists, but the defense just wasn’t there – not all game long, and especially not at the end.
Eastern Conference Standings
|10||New York Knicks||23||29||.442||14.0||52|
Western Conference Standings
|1||Golden State Warriors||40||11||.784||–||51|
|3||San Antonio Spurs||34||20||.630||7.5||54|
|5||Oklahoma City Thunder||30||22||.577||10.5||52|
|6||Portland Trail Blazers||29||22||.569||11.0||51|
|7||New Orleans Pelicans||27||23||.540||12.5||50|
|9||Los Angeles Clippers||25||25||.500||14.5||50|
|11||Los Angeles Lakers||19||31||.380||20.5||50|