Detroit Pistons 112-99 Washington Wizards
A long wait finally comes to an end for the Pistons as they finally secured their spot in the Eastern Conference Playoff for the first time since 2009. With this win over the Washington Wizards, the Detroit Pistons booked their Playoff spot while officially eliminating the Wizards at the same time. Reggie Jackson was the star of the show as he led the crew with his 34 points and 9 assists.
With two games remaining, a disappointing season is all but over for the Wizards. After almost making the Eastern Conference Finals last season to missing the playoffs is something the organisation would not have envisioned. WithIth the number of injuries this team has been battling and only to be eliminated from the plaoff race only a week before the end is a testament to the grit and will of the team.
Meanwhile for Detroit, this year has been one of the best in recent past that the motor city has witnessed. A young team with a young core led by a smart head coach whose vision for the team has taken it to its first winning season since 2007-08. Even in the worst case scenario that the Pistons don’t play as per their level in the playoffs, this team has a long way to go and certainly has a bright future.
Denver Nuggets 102-98 San Antonio Spurs
On the second night of a back to back, the San Antonio Spurs rested all starters (except Tim Duncan) and Manu Ginobili. Against a second string Spurs team, which can still be very competitive, the Dever Nuggets’ starting trio of Emmanuel Mudiay, Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic led their team to a win. Mudiay had 20 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists while Jokic helped himself to 8 points, 15 rebounds and 4 assists. Josip Nurkic meanwhile continued to impress with a team-high 21 points to go with 9 rebounds.
Neither had anything to play for, however, the Nuggets did bag a special honor after the win:
For the Spurs, Duncan had a team-high 21 points with 7 rebounds while fellow veteran Andre Miller had an all round game of 8 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in 27 minutes on the court. Through 79-80 odd games, San Antonio and the Golden State Warriors were the only teams in the NBA history that had a chance to go an entire season without losing back to back games. That record can only be achieved by Golden State, as the Spurs lose a back to back game for the first time this season after a loss to the Warriors at the Oracle Arena on Thursday.
Los Angeles Clippers 102-99 Utah Jazz (OT)
For the second time this season, Los Angeles Clippers’ Head Coach rested all the starters and fielded and an all second unit starting line-up. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Redick and Austin Rivers were all rested. However, the bench didn’t disappoint.
Previously Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford had almost led the depleted Clippers to a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, however, this time, the latter made sure of the result. Crawford knocked down the game winner in overtime over the Jazz to make Utah’s hopes of securing a playoff spot even slimmer.
Back-up center Cole Aldrich stepped up putting up 21 points whilst grabbing 18 rebounds. Along with the game winner, Crawford had 30 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists to show on the box score. Other than the motivation that the bench got from winning against the regular line-up of the Jazz, this game had no importance to the Clippers as they have already booked the fourth seed for themselves.
Meanwhile for Utah, the loss is costly but not as many might believe. The recent slips by the Houston Rockets allowed Jazz to drop a game and still hold a one-game lead for the eighth and final Playoff spot in the West. With games remaining against the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers, the Jazz should be able to seal the eighth spot without making it too close for comfort for themselves. In fact, if they can win against the Dallas Mavericks on April 12th, they can finish up as the seventh seed heading into the post-season.
Dallas Mavericks 103-93 Memphis Grizzlies
The veteran Dallas Mavericks continue their late season Playoff push with a win over the depleted Memphis Grizzlies. Back-up point guard Raymond Felton answered his call, contributing 11 points and dishing out 14 assists as he led his team to their sixth straight win. The game had huge playoff implications.
The win helps Dallas strengthen their hold on the seventh seed and move them closer towards sixth. Meanwhile for the Grizzlies, their downward spiral continues. They have now lost seven of their last eight and have two remaining games against the league-leading Golden State Warriors. Memphis has slipped from fifth to sixth and holds a slim margin of one game over the Mavericks in seventh.
Toronto Raptors 111-98 Indiana Pacers
Norman Powell (TOR): 27 pts, 6 rebs, 4 asts
Corey Joseph (TOR): 18 pts, 9 asts
New York Knicks 109-102 Philadelphia 76ers
Robert Covington (PHI): 30 pts, 11 rebs
Robin Lopez (NYK): 24 pts, 15 rebs
New Orleans Pelicans 110-102 Los Angeles Lakers
Alex Ajinca (NOP): 28 pts, 15 rebs, 2 blks
D’Angelo Russell (LAL): 32 pts, 2 rebs, 2 asts
Boston Celtics 124-109 Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL): 27 pts, 7 rebs, 7 asts
Tyler Zeller (BOS): 26 pts, 4 blks
Charlotte Hornets 113-99 Brooklyn Nets
Nicolas Batum (CHA): 14 pts, 6 rebs, 6 asts
Thomas Robinson (BKN): 16 pts, 17 rebs
Orlando Magic 112-109 Miami Heat
Elfird Payton (ORL): 16 pts, 10 asts
Evan Fournier (ORL): 28 pts, 7 rebs, 7 asts