What happened Saturday while you were dying Easter eggs…
Raptors 128 Sixers 123: Antoine Wright can be a difference maker if put in the position. He hauled in a hayuuuuge offensive rebound which sealed the game for Toronto. Say what you want about Andrea Bargnani, and Raptor fans will, but if they’re going to play defense the way they do, Bargs hitting 3 of 6 from the arc is a big deal.
Elton Brand had no rebounds for the first time in his career. Wow.
Hawks 91 Pistons 85: Joe Johnson was out, and the Pistons made a respectable fourth quarter run, but Detroit’s offense is just too miserable to outwork a Hawks team at home, short-handed or not.
Ben Gordon is a complete disaster. There’s no other way to put it. 0 of 7 from the field, and I can’t even tell you many of them were close but rimmed out. That has to be the worst offseason acquisition in the league.
Nets 115 Hornets 87: Well, then.
This, THIS was what the Nets were supposed to look like. Terrence Williams had a breakout game, with 14 points and 14 assists, and Chris Douglas Roberts got on track to get some buckets, while Brook Lopez and Devin Harris took it easy.
The Hornets? That whole “we’re gonna keep trying to build momentum for next year” thing was a lie. Big fat lie.
Heat 97 Wolves 84: Miami’s got it going, at just the right time. Not coincidentally, Dwyane Wade is at his hottest of all season.
Wade scored 82 points in 27 hours, dropping 39. And it was the whole bag of tricks. Drawing fouls, leaners, the pull-up, the transition buckets, the big shebang.
The Wolves? They are officially the worst team in the league in point differential. But hey, they’ve got more wins! That should help! In…. nothing. Nothing at all.
Bulls 96 Bobcats 88: While everyone else is getting banged up, the Bulls are healthy. And hungry. And ready to rock.
Noah was big in this game, getting back to his hot rebounding. But Kirk Hinrich? Dang.
If Hinrich shoots 9-12 from the field? Bulls are going to win most nights. They just are. Because it means he can do what he does best (play defense) and do what he doesn’t do well (play offense) well. And that’s tough to stop.
The Cats just didn’t have enough. Stephen Jackson is banged up, Raymond Felton wasn’t plugged in, and the team didn’t have a big enough lift. They are not securely in the playoffs yet.
Bucks 107 Suns 98: You know about the injury. No need to rehash that. But even after Bogut went down, the Bucks continued to work on the defensive end. And against a team without a real dominant post presence, they could skate with this one.
It’s a testament that the Bucks went out and finished this after what happened to Bogut, and it says something that if you commit to defense and swallow up the perimeter penetration, Phoenix still turns back into a pumpkin.
Thunder 121 Mavs 116: Yeah, I don’t get it either. The Mavs shot well. And if the Thunder don’t play terrific defense, they usually struggle. The Mavs shot 53% from the field. And were never really in this.
Dallas’ defense was worse, even with a lower opponents’ field goal possession, but it’s still a weird outcome. Dallas kept Kevin Durant at least frustrated if not shut down, forcing a low field goal percentage. But man, OKC just always has guys to come out of the woodwork. Last night it was James Harden. Versatile, quirky, interesting OKC.
Officially in the playoffs.
If Dallas plays a team without a legit center when they have two and get worked? That’s a real bad sign.
Nuggets 98 Clippers 90: Uh, the Nuggets are better than the Clippers. If you think there’s something I can tell you about this game, then…
Clips had the lead, and then Denver started to work. Clips were working it inside, then started settling, because that’s what Denver’s defense does. Makes you quit.
Johan Petro had 14 points, continuing the theme of “Denver can make a good big out of damn near anyone.”
Blazers 98 Kings 87: I keep waiting for the clock to run out on Portland. And it doesn’t. Never does. This team fights tooth and nail at every turn, and when it has to, comes up with plays. We’ll have to see if they can do it in the playoffs, but the fact that they’re here is something in and of itself.
The Kings are well screwed whenever Tyreke Evans has a bad night. And he had a bad night. And a bad night for him means he still gets 5 rebounds and six assists.