There are only 3 days remaining before the curtains come down on the NBA 2014-15 regular season. If you think the final few Playoff spots are all that is up for grabs, then you have another thing coming. With 2 games remaining, the Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets are seperated by just half a game, yes you heard me right – just half a game. Any of these four teams could end the season anywhere between the second and sixth seed.
So keeping that in mind, here’s a report of all the big games that took place on Saturday night in the NBA:
Toronto Raptors vs Miami Heat [Toronto won 107-104]
Despite being in the 10th spot, the Miami Heat were still in contention for the final two spots in the East only if they win all their remaining games and seventh seeded Boston Celtics or eight seeded Brooklyn Nets lose one or more. The dream of making the Playoffs took a huge dent as the Heat came up short against the visiting Toronto Raptors.
Toronto had their own agenda to take care of, that is to secure home court at least for the first round of the Playoffs. With the win over the Heat in Miami, they not only ensured that, but also defeated the Heat in Miami for the first time since Nov 19th 2008. Their current tally of 48 wins and 22 road wins are both franchise records.
The back court of Miami in Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade came up big combining for 52 points and 10 assists, but Lou Williams off the Raptors bench was just too hot to handle. Although DeMar Derozan contributed 24 points, Williams knocked 29 on 9-18 shooting overall and 4 of 7 from distance. Hassan Whiteside, the Heat center had a huge game of 16 points and 18 rebounds but it was Toronto’s night.
With the loss, Miami are more or less out of contention for the post-season unless a miracle comes by. On the other hand, the Raptors can celebrate having home court and need to continue fighting to lock up the third seed.
Los Angeles Clippers vs Memphis Grizzlies [Los Angeles won 94-86]
This game was crucial as the two teams were part of a four team bunch that could finish in any seed from second to sixth and this was the last meeting of the season between any of those four teams. The Clippers won this crucial bout at home on the back of their Big 3 of Chris Paul (15 points, 14 assists), DeAndre Jordan (16 points, 16 rebounds) and Blake Griffin (18 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists).
Despite missing key players in Tony Allen and Mike Conley, Grizzlies made a game of it till the third quarter. In the fourth, Los Angeles took over and in the end won quite comfortably. For Memphis, Randoplh was huge with 21 poitns and 13 rebounds, butcouldn’t carry his team to victory. For some reason, whether it was injury or rest is not known yet, All-Star Marc Gasol played just 9 minutes and sat out the rest of the game.
With this win, the Clippers jump to thrid seed and are tied with the Grizzlies and Spurs by wins but the Grizzlies remain ahead thanks to being the current leader of the Southwest Division and having won the season series with the defending champions. This tight race gets even tighter with just 2 games reamining for either team.
In other news:
Chicago Bulls vs Philadelphia 76ers [Chicago won 114-107]
Derrick Rose shined with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists and Pau Gasol (24 points,13 rebounds) became the oldest player to finish at the top of the league for doubles doubles, as the duo carried the Bulls past the 76ers to remain in contention for the third seed.
New York Knicks vs Orlando Magic [New York won 80-79]
Two non-Playoff teams going at it combined for the lowerst scoring quarterin NBA history. The Knicks and Magic combined for just 15 points in the second quarter of the game. New York came away with the win off a late Tim Hardaway Jr. three pointer.
Utah Jazz vs Portland Traiblazers [Utah won 111-105]
With their division title, the Portland Traiblazers have locked up the fourth seed and playing the Utah Jazz took the opportunity of giving their reserves some quality playing time however the experiment backfired as Trevor Booker with a career high 36 points led the Jazz to a win.
Golden State Warriors vs Minnesota Timberwovles [Golden State won 110-101]
The records continue to tumble for the league’s best team the Golden State Warriors as they set a new franchise record for home wins with 37. Stephen Curry with 34 points, 7 assists and Draymmond Green with 13 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists led the Warriors past the worst in the West the Minnesota Timberwovles.
DeAndre Jordan alley oop leads the top 10 plays of Saturday: