Another 40-point game for MVP candidate James Harden against another triple-double from Russell Westbrook, also another win for the Rockets. The Warriors found out just how much pushback the Spurs have ready for whoever plans on taking their title. The Spurs ran through the Warriors on Sunday night ending Golden State’s 12-game winning streak and kept San Antonio on the chase for homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Last night: Rockets 115, Thunder 112; Spurs 107, Warriors 92; Clippers 106, Lakers 78
Houston has three division games remaining, which likely will determine who is the number two seed in the west. But first they had to take care of a road game in Oklahoma City. After they clamped down on the Thunder in the first quarter on their way to an 18-0 run, it appeared they had the game in hand. But the Thunder had other ideas as they buried 11 3-pointers in the second half, including a barrage late that tied helped tie the game at 100. Harden then scored 8 straight points in 70 seconds.
(Video from @clutchfans)
Houston made 7-of-8 free throws in the final 30 seconds and it was enough to hold off the Thunder. Ironically, the Rockets 19 missed free throws in the game (31-of-50), were their most of the season. Also, the Thunder hit 14 3-pointers for the game, the most the Rockets have allowed all season. Houston now faces a pair of games against the Spurs.
The Spurs train is picking up steam as they steam-rolled the Warriors, never trailing in their blowout win. Steph Curry sat out his 18th fourth quarter, but this time it was because the Warriors were so soundly beaten. The Spurs have won seven in a row, 10 of 11 and 17 of their last 20. Kawhi Leonard is once again at the top of his game, just as he was in last year’s post season. He had 26 points, five rebounds, and three assists and seven steals. And he did all that in less than 25 minutes. Danny Green was the only Spurs players to log more than 25 minutes.
Nothing needs to be said about the Lakers-Clippers battle. The Clippers are very good and the Lakers are very bad and it showed in the Clippers lopsided blowout. The Clippers led this game by as much as 43 points and have just four games remaining. Three of those four are at home, but the really good news is their next game is a rematch with the Lakers on Tuesday.
Tonight: Blazers at Nets
Not much going on, because the NBA essentially cedes the national attention to the NCAA championship game between Duke and Wisconsin. The Nets have played well, having won six of their last seven games and are on the verge of clinching a playoff spot in the east. Brook Lopez is the second leading scorer in the east since March 18th with 24.2 points per game (DeMar DeRozan 24.3). Also, the Blazers will be short-handed, playing without LaMarcus Aldridge (thumb), Nicolas Batum (back), Dorell Wright (hand) and Chris Kaman (back). Wesley Matthews (achilles) has already been lost for the season.
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 – Chris Paul went between the legs – Carlos Boozer’s legs.
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