Don’t look now, but the Anthony Davis might just get his team to the playoffs after all. The Pelicans won at Sacramento, while the Thunder lost at Memphis. The two teams are now tied in the loss column, so with the Pelicans having already won the season series 3-1 over the Thunder to claim the tiebreaker, the Thunder no longer control their own playoff destiny.
Last night: Grizzlies 100, Thunder 92; Spurs 123, Nuggets 93; Blazers 107, Lakers 77; Pelicans 101, Kings 95
The Grizzlies schedule has lightened up and they have started winning again. While they once again share the same record with Houston, they currently no longer hold the tiebreaker advantage since the Rockets division record 7-6 (.538) is percentage points better than the Grizzlies (8-7, .533). Memphis took care of the Thunder, thanks to another poor shooting night from Russell Westbrook. Westbrook scored only 18 points, making just five of his 20 shots. Over his last five games, he’s shooting just 33 percent, which is compounded by the fact that as he’s trying to carry the team on his back, he’s taking an incredible number of shots. The Thunder have lost four of those five games.
Westbrook’s last 5 games
16 pts, 5-16 FG, 0-3 3ptFG
37 pts, 12-29 FG, 3-9 3ptFG
33 pts, 10-29 FG, 1-7 3ptFG
31 pts, 10-32 FG, 2-11 3ptFG
18 pts, 5-20 FG, 0-3 3ptFG
Last 5 games: 27 ppg, 33% FG, 18% 3pt FG
On another note, he also dropped back behind James Harden for the scoring lead. Harden remained at 27.507 points per game, while Westbrook dipped to 27.459 ppg. The Thunder is still hoping to get Serge Ibaka soon, but now saying he’ll be ready for the playoffs might be a moot point.
New Orleans pulled to within one half game of the Thunder with their 101-95 win at Sacramento, thus they have now been added to the playoff remaining schedule chart below. Kings center DeMarcus Cousins posted his second consecutive 20-20-10 game with 24 points, 20 rebounds and a career high 13 assists. Problem was none of his boards came on the offensive glass and the Pelicans still dominated the game from a rebounding standpoint (50-38) and 16 of their boards were offensive rebounds which led to a considerable 16-5 advantage in second chance points. The Pelicans go from Sacramento to Portland for the back-half of a back-to-back for both teams.
The Blazers had a cake walk in their blowout win against the Lakers. They had already clinched the northwest division title earlier in the night by virtue of the Thunder’s loss and with it they are guaranteed a top 4 seed. But the best development for the Blazers was the career high 27 point game from reserve guard C.J. McCollum. He made 10-of-16 shots and had zero turnovers in 27 minutes. With the loss of Wesley Matthews (achilles) for the season and the uncertain status of small forward Dorell Wright (broken finger), they need someone on the wing to deliver in the postseason and it could just be McCollum.
Tonight: Wizards at Grizzlies; Warriors at Mavericks; Clippers at Nuggets; Pelicans at Blazers
The Grizzlies host a Wizards team that is just 2-12 in their last 14 road games. When the teams met in Washington three weeks ago, the Wizards crushed the Grizzlies, 107-87. The fact that Memphis played without Marc Gasol (rest), Zach Randolph (rest), Tony Allen (rest) and Mike Conley (ankle) may have had something to do with that.
The Mavericks will try to avoid a four-game season sweep by the Warriors, who have beaten the Mavericks by an average of 12 points per game in their three wins so far. Chandler Parsons (knee) status is unknown as it he left their loss against the Rockets early, missing the final 16 minutes.
The Nuggets played last night in San Antonio, kind of. They allowed the Spurs 45 points in the first quarter and lost by 30. Hard to imagine them putting up an incredible fight against the Clippers tonight, but they are at home and they did beat the Clippers, 109-106, earlier this year in Denver.
The Pelicans will be aiming for a season-best five game winning streak, but have not won in Portland in their last seven tries. Their last win came back on Nov. 26, 2010.
Here’s the look at the standings and the remaining schedule. Click the graphic to enlarge.
Click here for tiebreaking procedures
NBA Vine of the Night – Hibbert’s reaction to Maxiell coming up short on the slam.
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