The NBA playoffs are quickly approaching. Everyone knows that is when the REAL basketball begins. While Chicago appears to have the one seed all but locked up in the East, the Thunder are holding on to first place by only one game over the San Antonio Spurs in the West. Can the Thunder roll (see what I did there?) through the rest of the regular season and hold onto that one seed? Or will Popovich actually play his “maturing” guys and attempt to take first back for themselves? We will know soon enough friends, soon enough.
Meanwhile, there were a handful of games on Sunday. A few of them were actually semi-meaningful. I’ll start with the Miami Heat vs. the New York Knicks. Miami won 93-85 on the strength of the big three. LeBron had 29 points, 10 boards & 3 assists. Wade was right behind him, putting up 28, 9 & 4. Bosh had 16 points and 14 rebounds (12 defensive).
Carmelo Anthony single-handedly tried to bring the Knicks a much need victory Sunday afternoon. He put up a very impressive 42 points with 9 rebounds and 5 assists. J.R. Smith came off the bench and dropped 16, but he was the only other Knick besides Melo in double figures. The Knicks shot just 9-30 from beyond the arc and got little to no help from the rest of their starters or their bench.
While the Heat shot only 4-17 from three, they played much better all around as a unit. LeBron and Wade were their usual selves, hitting jumpers and driving the lane, all while playing mediocre defense. They should be worried about their defensive presence come playoff time. It’s a very different brand of ball that is played in May.
Carmelo Anthony looked like the best player on the court for 3 and a half quarters. However, he appeared tired towards the end of the game. He quit playing as aggressively and his jumper started to come up a bit short. New York is currently in the eight spot in the East. Half a game back from Philly and two games up on Milwaukee.
The only other somewhat decent game was the afternoon slot on ABC. Dallas vs. the Los Angeles Lakers. Another game Kobe Bryant did not play in due to injury. However, the announcers joked that he was sitting in “Zen Master” Phil Jackson’s chair and was very much dressed like a future NBA coach. Perplexing Laker center Andrew Bynum led his team to a victory with 23 points and 16 rebounds. He attempted zero 3-pointers. Ramon Sessions had a very nice game with 22 points and 5 assists as the starting point guard. Gasol put up 20 points, including two 3-pointers, both of which came when the Lakers needed it most. World Peace hit a turn around to seal the deal. The Lakers went on to win in overtime 112-108. Nowitzki had 24 points with 14 boards.
Results for the other Sunday games are as follows:
Orlando beat the Cavs 100-84 without Dwight Howard. He will most likely be out the rest of the regular season and playoffs due to a back injury. Orlando currently holds the sixth spot in the East, tied with fifth seed Atlanta and half a game back on the number four Celtics.
The aforementioned Celtics defeated the Bobcats 94-82 without Pierce and Garnett. Rondo put up 20 and 6 with 16 assists. Rondo now has 22 straight games with 10 or more assists. Yeah. 22 straight. The Nuggets beat the Rockets 101-86. The Raptors won against the Hawks 102-86. DeRozan scored 23 points for the Raps in that win. Chicago beat the Pistons 100-94 in overtime. Derrick Rose scored 24 points in the win and the Bulls hold on tightly to the top overall seed in the East. The Kings beat the Blazers 104-103. Marcus Thornton had a game winning shot with 3.5 seconds left to seal the victory. And last but not least, the Hornets got their 18th win, against Memphis, defeating the Grizz 88-75.
Less than ten games away from the playoffs. Take a deep breath, grab a tasty beverage and settle in to your couch. Basketball is about to begin.