Maybe the wildest night of the NBA season and with the floodgates opening on some incredible offensive performances. Here’s what the six current western conference playoff teams that played on Wednesday night scored : 103, 115, 135, 131, 126, and 122. With it all, no team relinquished their spot in the standings, although the door is still open for the Pelicans to sneak into the eighth spot over the Thunder.
Last night: Spurs 103, Magic 91; Rockets 115, Kings 111; Mavericks 135, Thunder 131; Clippers 126, Blazers 122
The night started innocently enough with the Spurs claiming their expected comfortable win over the Magic. In typical Spurs fashion, all 12 players saw time, with no player getting even 31 minutes of playing time. The have won eight of their last nine games.
Then the fun really started in Houston and Oklahoma City. The Rockets bolted out of the gate against the Clippers, hitting nine 3-pointers in the game’s first 15 minutes building a 19-point lead. But they got extremely sloppy and George Karl’s Kings took advantage, pushing the ball up court and catching the Rockets napping most of the rest of the night. Sacramento had 72 points in the paint and got a very rare 20 point, 20 rebound, 10 assist triple-double from DeMarcus Cousins. He finished with 24 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists and also six blocks. He’s now one of only three active players to post a 20 point-20 rebound-10 assist triple-double joining Kevin Garnett and David Lee. But luckily for the Rockets, James Harden was on fire. He opened the game with a 16-point first quarter and also had four assists. He had a hand in 25 of the Rockets 35 points. He exploded again in the third quarter for 17 points as the Rockets once again pushed their lead out to double-figures again. Harden finished off the Kings in the fourth quarter, making all three of his shots and his 3-of-5 at the free throw line gave him a new career high 51 points for the game. He became the first Rockets player to ever have two 50 point games in a single season. He tied his career high with eight 3-pointers made (8-9) and set a new personal best with 16 field goals (16-25).
Terrence Jones also returned to the lineup after missing six games with a partially collapsed lung. He set a new career high with seven blocked shots.
(thx to @Rockets_Insider)
The Rockets set a new season high with 13 blocked shots. The Rockets played without Dwight Howard, who will not play in back-to-back games for the remainder of the season a he continues his return from his right knee injury. Without him, the Rockets allowed 72 points in the paint to the Kings – the exact same number the Mavericks scored in their win against the Thunder Wednesday night. Houston plays at Dallas on Thursday night.
Dallas got a big fourth quarter performance from Chandler Parsons to snag the 135-131 win which all but ensures they will not fall lower than their current spot in the standings at seven. Dallas scored the first ten points of the fourth quarter to open up a ten-point lead, but the lead was just three before Parsons took over. He scored the next six points, before he found Tyson Chandler for a dunk. He then scored the next five Mavericks points and finally put the game away by hitting a jumper with 16 seconds left to put the Mavs up by three. He made all six of his fourth quarter shots and scored 22 points in he game. Monta Ellis also returned to score 26 points, after missing one game with a calf injury.
Russell Westbrook delivered another triple-double with 31 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, but was just 10-of-32 from the field. Teammate Anthony Morrow had 32 points and Enes Kanter had 30 points and 17 rebounds. It’s rare to lose in regulation with three players scoring 30 points or more as ESPN Dallas’ Tim MacMahon points out.
Couple the Thunder loss with the Pelicans win over the Lakers and now the Pelicans (40-34) are just 1.5 games behind the Thunder (42-33) for the eight seed. And the Pelicans hold the tiebreaker edge by virtue of winning their head-to-head matchup three games to one.
As wild as those two games sounded, the tilt at the Moda Center in Portland between the Blazers and Clippers may have topped them both. The Clippers were coming off a tough loss against Golden State the night before in Los Angeles as they quickly fell down by double figures, trailed by as many as 19 points in first half and were still down by 11 when the game took a huge turn.
With just 25 seconds left in the third quarter, Chris Paul came up with a loose ball, stripping it from the Blazers Chris Kaman. As Paul steadied himself, Kaman shoved him hard out of bounds.
After a bunch of pushing and shoving and a hilarious Glen Davis flop, Kaman was hit with a flagrant-1, so Paul shot a pair of free throws and the Clippers maintained possession.
Over the next nine minutes, the Clippers took the game over with a 33-11 run and were able to hang on despite a furious Blazers run in the final minute.
Also, after initially wondering what had frustrated Kaman to the point he gave Paul that shove, some suggested to was Paul that got him first with a groin shot.
Paul finished the game with 41 points, 17 assists and just one turnover. The only players in the last 25 years to post a 41-point, 17-assist game were Kevin Johnson and Tim Hardaway.
Following the game, the Blazers announced that forward Dorell Wright broke a finger on his left (non-shooting) hand during the game. His status was not determined yet.
Tonight: Rockets at Mavericks; Suns at Warriors
Houston has won two of three games against Dallas this season, but will have Howard available for the first time against the Mavericks. A Houston win would slide the Rockets back atop the Southwest division and into the two seed, while getting closer to cementing the Mavericks into the seventh seed. Which obviously would then potentially pit these teams against one another in the postseason for the first time since 2005. In that first round series, Houston won the first two games in Dallas, before losing four of the next five, ultimately dropping game seven in Dallas by 40 points.
The Warriors have a five and a half game lead with eight games to play for home court advantage throughout the playoffs, so they may begin to ease off the gas a bit.
Here’s the look at the standings and the remaining schedule. Click the graphic to enlarge.
Click here for tiebreaking procedures
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