About Last Night is your daily round-up of last night’s NBA action.
With just 12 days left now until the first round of the Playoffs get underway, 12 of the 16 playoff berths have now been filled courtesy of Portland joining the party for the first time since 2011.
The Knicks were the big losers on the night as, coupled with their meek loss to the Heat, the Hawks stomped the Pacers to send them clear in the race for the final playoff slot in the Eastern Conference.
New York Knicks 91, Miami Heat 102
The Heat never looked troubled, as they’ve appeared for the last two weeks. This game was never about them, this game was all about the Knicks desperately trying to claw back their wretched loss to the Cavaliers.
Carmelo Anthony is playing through an injured shoulder and it showed. A line of 14 points on 4-17 shooting despite playing 44 minutes is reason one as to why the Knicks are going to be sitting at home next month.
The Heat rested Dwyane Wade again and LeBron James continued his routine of leading the team to another victory, this time posting 38 points on 13-22 shooting.
The Knicks are now two games back on the Hawks for eighth and realistically need to win at least three of their final four games with Atlanta winning no more than two of their last six.
Los Angeles Lakers 97, Los Angeles Clippers 120
This wasn’t at all surprising. The Lakers have been historically awful and lost by 48 to the Clippers earlier this season. Remember when Lakers fans used to be able to laugh at their co-tenants for their ineptitude? How the times change.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul combined for 46 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists while missing just nine of their combined 24 shots.
It’s tough to look at the Lakers right now and say any particular player acquitted themselves favourably. They now must win out to avoid the worst season in franchise history.
Dallas Mavericks 93, Sacramento Kings 91
Dallas ripped off it’s fifth straight road win, winning the third game of a four-game trip.
Monta Ellis showed off how quickly he has settled into life in Dallas, working the pick-and-roll and finding open team-mates on his way to 28 points. Ellis scored eight of the Mavs last nine points before DeMarcus Cousins missed a contested baseline fade-away as time expired.
The win creates some separation for the Mavericks in the tight race for the final two playoff slots in the Western Conference. Dallas (47-31) now leads Phoenix (46-31) by half a game for 7th and is 1.5 games ahead of Memphis (45-32) in ninth.
Atlanta Hawks 107, Indiana Pacers 88
Where do we start? Indiana has now dropped six of it’s last eight. They found themselves down 17-3 halfway through the first quarter of this game. They trailed the Hawks 33-11 at the end of the first quarter.
Roy Hibbert played just nine minutes and none in the second half, finishing 0-5 from the field. Paul George, again trying to do far too much, needed 17 shots to score 18 points.
Atlanta’s win means they realistically need to do more than split their final six games of the season to make the playoffs.
Denver Nuggets 125, Houston Rockets 130 (Overtime)
Houston continued to roll along just fine without Dwight Howard, this time letting the plucky Nuggets stick around into overtime before closing this game out.
With Howard still dealing with an ankle injury, it fell to Omer Asik to pick up the slack. The Turkish big man finished with 23 rebounds to go with his 18 points. James Harden led all scorers with 32 points.
In such a high scoring game, Denver’s lack of a star meant the scoring burden was spread evenly. Six players scored in double-digits, Evan Fournier’s 26 points, including 6-10 from behind the arc, leading the way.
Memphis Grizzlies 92, San Antonio Spurs 112
This always figured to be a key meeting for last year’s Western Conference finalists. San Antonio’s handsome win all but locks up the top overall seed and guarantees homecourt advantage against any Eastern Conference team in the Finals.
Memphis’ defeat leaves them on the outside looking in on the last playoff slots out West. They still have both Phoenix and Dallas to play, so this probably won’t be decided until the final night.
Kawhi Leonard set his career-high for scoring, finishing with 26 points on 12-13 shooting.
Utah Jazz 102, Golden State Warriors 130
The Warriors distracted everyone from the news regarding re-assigned and sacked coaches with this decimation of the hapless Jazz. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 46 points and the Warriors connected on 17 of their 30 attempts from behind the arc.
Trey Burke and Alec Burks scored 48 combined for the Jazz, the latter converting 14 of his 16 free-throw attempts.
Oklahoma City Thunder 115, Phoenix Suns 122
These two teams need to meet in the playoffs. A second consecutive barn-burner between these two had huge playoff implications for both teams.
Kevin Durant surpassed Michael Jordan’s run of 40 games with 25 points scored. Oscar Robertson is second all-time with 46 games.
As mentioned, Phoenix is now in sole possession of the eighth seed and owns the tiebreaker over the Grizzlies. The Thunder on the other hand are now tied in the win column with the Clippers, who are coming on strong in an attempt to avoid Golden State in the first round.
New Orleans Pelicans 94, Portland Trail Blazers 100
We finished the night in Portland with the Blazers punching their ticket to the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Nic Batum scored 41 points and hauled down 30 rebounds between them, keying the victory over the Pelicans, who had just one player shoot over 50 percent from the field and nobody score more than Anthony Morrow’s 17.