The race for fourth in the West heats up

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As it currently stands, the #4 team in the West is 42-24 and the #8 team in the West is 41-28. In other words, it’s going to be a close race for home-court advantage in the first round. To try and pick who has the best chance of playing on their home floor at the beginning of the playoffs, true obsessives are needed, and most of them have been busy filling out brackets. Fortunately for NBA fans, people like the Daily Thunder’s Royce Young still exist.

Royce has broken down the remaining schedules of the five teams still looking for that #4 spot in the West, and it should absolutely be read. In Royce’s opinion, the Utah Jazz have the easiest remaining schedule, while the San Antonio Spurs have the toughest road ahead of them:
“No question in my mind, the Spurs have the toughest remaining schedule. They play the most games yet, plus have 11 of their final 18 on the road with a stunning 14 of them coming against .500 clubs. There’s a real chance for San Antonio to slip to eighth here. And the icing on the cake is that the game left against OKC is at the Ford Center.”
If you want to see the breakdown for all five teams currently jostling for playoff position in the West, hop on over to Daily Thunder and check out the full piece. 

Larry Nance Jr. throws alley-oop to himself, throws alley-oop to himself (video)

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LOS ANGELES — Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. immediately motioned for the replay to be shown of this dunk. It was necessary to properly appreciate it.

Best dunk of the night.

Donovan Mitchell won the dunk contest, though.

Larry Nance Jr. plays tribute to father — rock-the-cradle dunk in Suns uniform

Associated Press
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Back in 1984, high-flying Larry Nance Sr. won the first NBA All-Star Dunk Contest with this set of dunks — most famously a rock-the-cradle move.

Larry Nance Jr. came into the 2018 Dunk Contest and went nostalgic — all the way back to the Suns’ throwback uniform and the same dunk.

That and a good second dunk got him into the Dunk Contest finals. In that round, Nance Sr. threw an alley-oop to his son for the windmill.

Donovan Mitchell throws alley-oop to himself – off second backboard (video)

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LOS ANGELES – Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell set a high standard with the first slam of the 2018 dunk contest.

Very creative. Very well-executed.

Looks like all that preparation paid off.

Devin Booker’s 3-point-contest victory bright spot for Suns (video)

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Los Angeles – Devin Booker‘s Suns have the NBA’s worst record (18-41).

“I think everyone is fed up with the losing, from the top to the bottom of the organization,” Booker said this afternoon. “So, for us, it’s what’s next?”

A 3-point contest victory.

Overcoming Phoenix’s poor record to draw an invite to All-Star Saturday Night, Booker won the 3-point contest with a whopping 29 points in the final round.

That score left little margin for 2016 champion Klay Thompson, who capped the event with a 25-point round that was otherwise the night’s high. Clippers forward Tobias Harris, in his new home arena, finished third.

Booker was all smiles after the rare victory.

“Season not going how we planned, but I know a lot of the city was ready for this All-Star Weekend, having somebody participate,” Booker said. “So, I’m glad I could win it.

Where he and the Suns go from here is still questionable, but he has a plan.

“I’m going to win the dunk contest next year,” Booker said. “No, I’m just kidding.”

Full results

First round

Klay Thompson 19

Devin Booker 19

Tobias Harris 18

Wayne Ellington 17

Bradley Beal 15

Eric Gordon 12

Kyle Lowry 11

Paul George 9

Second round

Devin Booker 29

Klay Thompson 25

Tobias Harris 17