NBA Monday recap: Mavericks seal playoff spot, Cavaliers clinch No.1 seed in the East
Dallas Mavericks 101-92 Utah Jazz
It’s been a rough season for the Dallas Mavericks. It began from the off-season when they were conned by DeAndre Jordan, who flipped on his verbal agreement to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Mavericks support staff had to watch out for their veteran team and give them adequate rests if and when needed. In the important month of March, Chandler Parsons was ruled out for the season with a knee issue yet the Dallas franchise kept fighting.
The Mavericks needed just one win from their last two games to seal their Playoff ticket and they got that W on the road in Utah. While sealing their spot in the post-season, they coldbloodedly made the Jazz’s chances to make the Playoffs a lot tougher.
Deron Williams led the team with a team high 23 points while Dirk Nowitzki had a double double of 22 points and 11 rebounds. For Utah, Gordon Hayward was the only one who put up some resistance with his 26 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists effort.
After a rough month of March that saw them slide down the standings, the veteran Mavericks have peaked at their right time. They seal their ticket to the playoffs after winning their seventh game of their last eight.
Everybody talks about the Spurs’ consistency and dominance since Tim Duncan came into the league, Dallas is not far behind making it to their 15th post-season in the last 16 years.
Oklahoma City Thunder 112-79 Los Angeles Lakers
In the final road game of his career, the Oklahoma City Thunder made sure Kobe Bryant knew how bad his Los Angeles Lakers’ were. Led by their superstar duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder wrapped up proceedings midway through the third quarter.
Westbrook with his 18th triple double (13 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds) for the season, tied Magic Johnson for most in a season since the NBA/ABA merger. Not just that, Westbrook registered his triple double even before the haltime buzzer.
Russell Westbrook: 1st player with a triple-double in a half (either half) since Jason Kidd, 2009-10 Mavericks— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 12, 2016
Fellow All-Star Durant scored 34 points in just 27 minutes as the Thunder defeated the Lakers for the eight consecutive time overall. Pre-game Durant and Westbrook met up with Bryant in the halls of the arena to gift a book, which had a personal note from every Thunder player in the locker room.
Cleveland Cavaliers 109-94 Atlanta Hawks
With a lead of two and a half games, it was just a matter of time before the Cavaliers clinched the first seed in the East. This has become such a huge talking point because they had their first chance to do so against the Chicago Bulls on Saturda and failed.
However, the King, LeBron James wasn’t going to let that happen twice. James poured in 34 points in just three quarters along with 6 rebounds and 6 assists to help Cleveland clinch the first seed for the third time in franchise history.
The remaining of the players of the Cavaliers’ Big 3 stepped up as well in this game. Kyrie Irving played 40 minutes to score 35 points while Kevin Love had a handy double double of 10 points and 14 rebounds. However no other player other than Matthew Dellavadova (10 points) scored in double figures. Now whether this will be a continuing pattern or just this one game where they weren’t needed will be seen come Playoff time.
Meanwhile for the Hawks this game was a disappointment, as it was wrapped before the fourth quarter began. After taking this time to Overtime last week on Friday, they provided no resistance as James and Irving put on a clinic. Al Horford put up 20 points and 12 rebounds, Kent Bazemore had 23 points, all in the first half and Jeff Teague had 21 points and 9 assists but none of it helped Atlanta even be competitive in this match-up.
Charlotte Hornets 114-100 Boston Celtics
By the looks of it the third seed in the East will be finalized only on Wednesday, the final day of the NBA 2015-16 regular season. Hawks, who were in the third seed, dropped a game with their loss to the Cavs while the Heat made up a game with their win on Sunday over the Chicago Bulls.
Now Charlotte has resurfaced in the competition by defeating the Boston Celtics last night, handings the C’s their second straight loss.
With a huge second quarter, where Charlotte outscored Boston 39-13, the Hornets sealed the win. Five players scored in double figures led by the huge contribtion of Jeremy Lin off the bench. He played the minutes of a starter (39) and filled the stat sheet with his 25 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals.
On the flip side, six players scored in double digits for the Celtics but their team shooting (38%) wasn’t helping their cause. Add to that six turnovers from their primary ball handler in Isaiah Thomas, who led the team with 17 points.
Orlando Magic 107-98 Milwaukee Bucks
Elfrid Payton (ORL): 11 pts, 11 asts, 3 rebs, 3 stls
Khris Middleton (MIL): 17 pts, 7 asts, 5 rebs, 2 stls
Washington Wizards 120-111 Brooklyn Nets
Ramon Sessions (WAS): 21 pts, 12 asts, 3 rebs, 2 stls
Shane Larkin (BKN): 20 pts, 7 asts, 6 rebs
Sacramento Kings 105-101 Phoenix Suns
Seth Curry (SAC): 20 pts, 15 asts, 3 rebs, 3 stls
Mirza Teletovic (PHO): 26 pts
Chicago Bulls 121-116 New Orleans Pelicans
Jimmy Butler (CHI): 23 pts, 11 asts, 3 rebs
Tim Frazier (NOP): 20 pts, 11 asts, 6 rebs, 3 stls
Houston Rockets 129-105 Minnesota Timberwolves
James Harden (HOU): 34 pts, 6 asts