It’s a slow night in the NBA, made a little bit slower by the fact the league has rightfully cancelled Indiana’s game in Boston Tuesday night in the wake of the tragedy at the end of the Boston Marathon.
But that game wouldn’t impact the standings — the Pacers are locked in as the three seed in the East, the Celtics are locked in as the seven seed (and will face the Knicks in a fun first round matchup).
But the other two games will have some impact. Here’s the deal:
• Raptors at Hawks (8 p.m. ET): The Hawks are currently the five seed in the East and need to win this game to maintain that spot. Lose and they fall into a tie with the Bulls — and Chicago has the tiebreaker having won the season series so the Hawks become the six seed. Atlanta needs to beat Toronto Tuesday and the Knicks Wednesday to hold on to that five seed (or they need the Bulls to lose to the Wizards on Wednesday).
The five seed team will face the Nets in the first round, the six seed team gets the Pacers.
• Trail Blazers at Clippers (10:30 ET): The Clippers still have a shot at the three seed but they need to win this game, then they need to beat the Kings on Wednesday and they would need Denver to lose on Wednesday at home to the Suns. Bottom line, it’s a long shot but the Nuggets could get the three.
The more likely concern is home court in the first round if the Clippers face the Grizzlies in a rematch of a first round series from last year. If the Clippers win their remaining two games they get home court. If they lose Tuesday to Portland (or to Sacramento Wednesday) then the Grizzlies can secure home court by beating the Jazz on Wednesday.
(And yes, the Clippers can be the four seed and still be the road team in the first round. NBA rules state that because the Clippers won the Pacific Division they can fall no lower than the four seed, but that if the fifth seed team has a better record the five seed gets home court. To answer your next question, I have no idea why. The league should just take the team with the eight best records in order, everybody in the West plays the same schedule anyway. But those are the rules, live with them.)
Back in January, the Los Angeles Lakers waived Andrew Bogut. He had a very limited role on a Los Angeles team that was not making the playoffs, serving as a backup big man against teams who use a traditional center. That’s not much of a role anymore. He’s a center who can pass, shoot from the midrange a little, and knows where to be defensively, but the game has evolved as Bogut’s skills have faded. Bogut tried to latch on with a contender for the playoffs, but could not find a team to take him.
So he is going home.
Bogut is signing to play for the Sydney Kings in Australia’s NBL.
Bogut was the first No. 1 draft pick from Australia when he was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2005. He made the All-Rookie team that season, was All-NBA in 2010, but may be best known for his role as a crucial part of the defense of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors in 2015 (and his injury during the 2016 Finals is an underrated reason Cleveland was able to pull off a miracle comeback).
At age 33 Bogut may not have a spot in the NBA, but in the NBL he both will thrive for a few more years but also be a huge draw and get the welcome home from fans that he deserves.
Yes, guys get away with traveling in the NBA. James Harden on the step back (sometimes, not always), or guys sliding left/right to avoid a closeout at the arc and not bothering to dribble while they do it.
Lance Stephenson got called for traveling Sunday in the Pacers’ loss to the Cavaliers. In a game where Stephenson got under the skin of LeBron James and drew a technical (and tied him up for a jump ball at one point), this was the best Lance highlight of the game. Because if you’re going to travel, you should go all in.
Never change Lance. Never change.
Matthew Dellavedova is a hustler. Everybody knows that. Well, unless you want to argue he’s more about grit. It’s really your call.
But against the Boston Celtics on Sunday, Dellavedova came through with whatever you want to call it — hustle, grit, moxie, gumption.
As the first quarter wound down and the Celtics tried to inbound the ball, Dellavedova spied his opponents rolling the basketball in order to save time on the clock.
That allowed the Australian native to fly in and do this:
That’s a steal, a scoop, and a score all within 1.2 seconds.
Milwaukee won Game 4 and evened the series with the Celtics, 2-2.
Sunday night’s game between the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers was raucous. Bankers Life Fieldhouse was rocking, and despite Indiana’s best effort to put back seemingly every offensive board it encountered, LeBron James‘ 32 points was just too much to overcome.
Facing the possibility of going down 3-1 in the first round, the Cavaliers pulled out the win, 104-100, and sent the series back to Ohio for Game 5.
The game came down to the final period following a surge by the Pacers to end the third quarter. The teams were tied several times midway through the fourth, but a tip shot by Thaddeus Young wth 6:13 left gave the Pacers the lead as fans in Indiana went wild.
Cleveland then came roaring back. At the three-minute mark, James drove to the basket and scored. Thirty seconds later, Kyle Korver hit a big-time 3-pointer to put the Cavaliers up by four points, a mark the Pacers couldn’t recover from.
LeBron scored again with 1:52 left, and despite some weird late-game antics — featuring none other than Lance Stephenson — the Cavaliers were able to remain resolute down the stretch.
James finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists. Kyle Korver added 18 points on 4-of-9 shooting from deep, and Kevin Love had five points with 11 boards.
Victor Oladipo struggled for Indiana, scoring 17 points but shooting just 25 percent from the floor. Seven Pacers finished in double-digits, with Young notching an impressive double-double of 12 points and 16 rebounds.
Game 5 will be played in Cleveland on Wednesday, April 25.