NBA

About Final Evening: Ultimate stretch to the postseason heating up

The 2019 NBA Playoffs will get underway in precisely 4 weeks from Saturday’s regular-season motion. With that in thoughts, and on an evening the place 9 groups presently within the playoff discipline hit the court docket, let’s look at three issues: How every squad within the playoff chase fared, what affect was made to the standings, and what lies forward for these crop of postseason hopefuls.

 

Boston Celtics

The Celtics continued their push for house court docket within the first spherical after holding off a late surge from the Hawks, selecting up a 129-120 victory. All-Star level guard Kyrie Irving led the group in factors (30), rebounds (11) and assists (9) as Boston received its fifth recreation within the final six outings.

Brad Stevens’ group is presently one recreation behind the persevering Pacers for fourth within the East, with each squads dealing with off two extra instances earlier than the season ends. These contests, which might presumably decide who attains house court docket, are crucial because the season sequence is presently cut up 1-1.

Largest recreation this week: @ Philadelphia (Wednesday, Eight ET, ESPN)

Boston trails the 76ers by a half recreation and can look to make an announcement and go for the season sweep.

Subsequent 5 video games: Denver, @ Philadelphia, @ Charlotte, San Antonio, @ Cleveland

 

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers shot Zero-for-Eight from deep within the second half, which crippled their probabilities of upsetting the Nuggets on the highway in a 102-100 defeat.

Indiana, fifth within the Jap Convention, is one recreation forward of the Celtics and a half recreation behind the 76ers for third place. Their schedule this week might decide their final standing come April as they’re presently on a four-game West highway journey, with the Blazers, Clippers and Warriors upcoming.

Largest recreation this week: @ Portland (Monday, 10:30 ET, ESPN)

It’s essential the Pacers steal a recreation throughout this four-game highway journey towards the West. Right here’s their greatest alternative.

Subsequent 5 video games: @ Portland, @ LA Clippers, @ Golden State, Denver, @ Oklahoma Metropolis

 

Portland Path Blazers

Portland misplaced in a doable playoff preview towards the Spurs, falling 108-103. The group’s largest concern, nonetheless, is the well being of their beginning capturing guard CJ McCollum. Halfway by way of the third quarter, McCollum was helped off the court docket after struggling a left knee damage. Additional particulars ought to be offered on Sunday as he’s slated for an MRI.

The Blazers are fourth within the Western Convention, a recreation behind the third-place Rockets and a half recreation forward of the Thunder. Portland opens up its last homestand of the season on Monday, a consequential four-game stretch because the group fights for positioning.

Largest recreation this week: Indiana (Monday, 10:30 ET, ESPN)

It’s a tricky check for Terry Stotts’ crew whether or not McCollum performs or not, and it’s towards a group that has nonetheless thrived regardless of shedding their beginning guard to damage.

Subsequent 5 video games: Indiana, Dallas, Detroit, Brooklyn, @ Chicago

 

San Antonio Spurs

LaMarcus Aldridge struggled towards his former group, however the Spurs did simply sufficient to place away the Blazers 108-103. Seven gamers reached double figures and San Antonio earned its eighth consecutive victory.

The Spurs have boasted the No. 1 ranked protection within the NBA throughout their successful streak. They’re sixth within the Western Convention and simply 2.5 video games again of the West’s third seed, a end not out of the query contemplating the best way they’re enjoying. It’s a tricky upcoming week forward, nonetheless, however they enter it with confidence after knocking off the Thunder, Nuggets, Bucks and Blazers throughout their latest roll.

Largest recreation this week: Golden State (Monday, Eight ET, ESPN)

Subsequent 5 video games: Golden State, Miami, @ Houston, @ Boston, @ Charlotte

 

Golden State Warriors

Golden State has made an announcement over the previous eight days by silencing three different elite groups within the Western Convention: Denver was no match, Houston’s comeback bid fell brief and Oklahoma Metropolis felt the wrath of the Splash Bros but once more. The Warriors cruised to a 110-88 win over the Thunder behind 33 factors from Stephen Curry and 23 from Klay Thompson.

Durant, who missed his second recreation with an ankle damage, is predicted again for Monday’s contest towards the Spurs when the Warriors can have one other alternative to humble a Western Convention challenger. Golden State stays one recreation forward of the Nuggets for the West’s No. 1 seed.

Largest recreation this week: @ San Antonio (Monday, Eight ET, ESPN)

Subsequent 5 video games: @ San Antonio, @ Minnesota, Indiana, Dallas, Detroit

Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder

The Thunder have misplaced 9 of their final 14 video games, with their newest setback coming by the hands of Golden State after falling 110-88 on their house flooring.

If the season ended as we speak, Oklahoma Metropolis wouldn’t have home-court benefit. To make issues worse, among the many eight groups presently within the West playoff image, the Thunder have the hardest schedule remaining.

Largest recreation this week: Toronto (Wednesday, 9:30 ET, ESPN)

Subsequent 5 video games: Miami, Toronto, @ Toronto, @ Memphis, Indiana

 

Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn dropped to Zero-2 to start its seven-game highway journey, shedding in Utah 114-98.

It is a brutal stretch for the Nets, who’re searching for their first playoff look for the reason that 2013-14 season. The up-and-coming squad does not play one other house recreation till March 30, once they start a three-game homestand towards the Bucks, Celtics and Raptors. How welcoming.

Largest recreation this week: @ L.A. Lakers (Friday, 10:30 ET, League Move)

Subsequent 5 video games: @ LA Clippers, @ Sacramento, @ L.A. Lakers, @ Portland, @ Philadelphia

 

Utah Jazz

Rudy Gobert overcame an sickness and dropped 23 factors and 17 rebounds in a win over the Nets.

The Jazz are presently in seventh place within the West, which might setup a showdown with the Nuggets. However benefiting from the league’s best remaining schedule ought to permit them to make a bounce.

Largest recreation this week: New York 

Subsequent 5 video games: @ Washington, @ New York, @ Atlanta, @ Chicago, Phoenix

 

Denver Nuggets

Nikola Jokic’s ejection did not price the Nuggets as they had been capable of hold on towards Indiana.

The Nuggets additionally stay one recreation behind the two-time defending champs for the highest seed out West. They will have an opportunity to separate the season sequence with Golden State on April 2 in Oakland. As for this week, the Nuggets are about to start a four-game highway journey, they usually’ll want “Large Honey.”

Largest recreation this week: @ Boston (Monday, 7:30 ET, League Move)

Subsequent 5 video games: @ Boston, @ Washington, @ New York, @ Indiana, Detroit

 

What in regards to the Washington Wizards?

First, let’s simply marvel at what we’re witnessing from Bradley Beal. The Wizards All-Star capturing guard was scorching sizzling towards the Grizzlies and logged a 40-point efficiency for the second evening in a row. His masterpiece on Saturday included a career-high 9 Three-pointers, seven assists, 5 rebounds and two steals in a Wizards’ 135-128 triumph.

Beal is averaging 31.2 factors on 50/40/85 capturing splits for the reason that All-Star break — a monster stretch that has fortified his All-NBA case — however the Wizards are 6-6 throughout that span and want to choose up the tempo for any shot on the playoffs. Washington remains to be on the perimeter, transferring inside three video games of eighth-place Miami after Saturday’s win.

Largest recreation this week: Miami (Saturday, 7 ET, League Move)

Subsequent 5 video games: Utah, @ Chicago, Denver, Miami, @ Los Angeles

 

What in regards to the … by no means thoughts

Switching gears to groups headed in the direction of the lottery. The Pelicans misplaced in time beyond regulation to the Suns after a weird sequence that was simply another excuse New Orleans is slated to overlook the playoffs.

The Anthony Davis drama has actually impacted their season, but it surely was shades of one other energy ahead that finally price them Saturday’s recreation: Chris Webber.

New Orleans referred to as a timeout it didn’t have with 1.1 seconds left in time beyond regulation, organising a Devin Booker technical free throw that sealed a 138-136 Suns’ victory.

 

Odd ending in New Orleans.

Let’s rewind a bit: The Pelicans had a 136-133 lead plus possession of the ball with 7.7 seconds remaining within the recreation. From there, they turned the ball over with a five-second violation; opted to not foul on the following Suns possession regardless of being up three and the clock winding down; watched Josh Jackson hit a game-tying Three; then proceeded to name a non-existent timeout to attract a technical.

It was a horrible option to lose, however in spite of everything, it’s March Insanity (sorry C-Webb).


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