LA Clippers 107, New Orleans 98: The Paper Clips rallied furiously in the 4th quarter, outscoring the Hornets 33-14 – including a few tremendous highlights – en route to the win. Chris Paul scored 33 points, but this assist – and one below – were his highlights. The lowlight? An embarrassingly bad flop by Reggie Evans.
Oh, and I nearly forgot – Eric Gordon’s return to LA (4-of-13, 17 points) included this jam:
Can’t wait to watch the Clippers in the playoffs. Lots more CP3 (13 assists, eight steals) to Bledsoe, please.
New York 113, Atlanta 112: Fun game, although it wouldn’t have mattered if the Knicks lost. Still not sure why anyone wants them to open with the Heat. Chandler didn’t play, so the defense was laughable. Amare scored 22 points and collected 12 rebounds; Melo scored a game-high 39 and talked plenty of trash with dunk-misser Jeff Teague. Marvin Williams scored 29 for the Hawks, and I’ve never seen him play better.
LA Lakers 114, Oklahoma City 106, 2 OT: We’ve already covered the Metta World Peace elbow and Kobe’s late-game heroics, but one other thing is noteworthy: Andrew Bynum took a seat in the third quarter and never returned. He wasn’t hurt. Jordan Hill filled in admirably. You can look at it two ways – Hill helps the Lakers’ depth or Bynum and Mike Brown’s relationship is further frayed.
Denver 101, Orlando 74: It’d be nice if the league subbed the Magic out of the playoffs and replaced them with the Bucks. Orlando has no shot in the first round and might lose every game by double figures. Also, JaVale McGee dunked. Often.
Golden State 93, Minnesota 88: Brutal win for the Warriors, who snapped an 8-game losing streak, and probably cost themselves a lottery pick in the process. But because Kevin Love didn’t play for the Wolves, the gutted, rookie-filled Warriors couldn’t lose (not even after trailing by 21 in the first half!). Second round pick Charles Jenkins, who looks like a keeper, scored 24 points and handed out nine assists. JJ Barea was pissed at his teammates for their indifferent attitude: “We just got a lot of guys that don’t care. When a basketball team got a bunch of players that don’t care, it’s tough to win games. It’s going to happen until we get players in that care: care about winning, care about the team, care about the fans.”
Sacramento 114, Charlotte 88: That’s 20 losses in a row for a team that could go down as the worst in NBA history. Can the Bobcats win in Washington or Orlando? If not, the Bobcats will be associated with historical NBA futility.
Miami 97, Houston 88: The collapse is complete. The Rockets have been eliminated from the playoffs. So, is Kevin McHale gone? Or will the first-year coach survive by playing up the “I didn’t have Kevin Martin!” angle? LeBron (32 points) took over in the 4th, when the Heat outscored the Rockets 31-19. Bosh, Chalmers and Wade sat out.