Tuesday NBA grades: Chris Paul looks playoff ready

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Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while thinking you may not eat cod for a while…

source:  Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers raced out to a 13-0 lead against the Nuggets and never looked back and CP3 was at the front of that with 13 points of his own in the first quarter. Doc Rivers said after the game he had thought about resting his stars for this one but they told him they wanted to play, that they wanted to chase the No. 2 seed (the Clippers are still alive for that, if they beat the Blazers Wednesday and the Thunder loses to the Pistons, which is not likely, the Clips get the No. 2 slot). Can’t blame Rivers for resting CP3 in the fourth, Paul still had 21 points and 10 assists, looking ready for the playoffs.

source:  New York Knicks timing. Really? Now? The Knicks are 2-0 since being eliminated from the playoffs and played some of the most relaxed, free flowing, exciting basketball of their season Tuesday night in beating the Nets in Brooklyn. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 16 points off the bench. The Knicks defense forced 19 Nets turnovers, which got them out and running for highlight plays. The offense showed balance with Amar’e Stoudemire, J.R. Smith and Shannon Brown each scoring 14 points. Really? Now?

source:  J.J. Redick, Los Angeles Clippers.This was his best game by far since returning from injury. This is the J.J. Redick the Clippers need in the playoffs. He was effortlessly gliding into the open spots on the arc and knocking down shots when he got the ball (4-of-6 from three). His defensive effort was there. This was a very good sign, because it is most likely the Clippers face Golden State in the first round and Redick will face off against Klay Thompson. The Clippers need this Redick in that series.

When Lance Stephenson gets a traveling call, he earns it (VIDEO)

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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 steals pass, hits wild scoop shot at buzzer (VIDEO)

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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.

Cavaliers tie series with Pacers in Indiana, 2-2

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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.

Wizards beat Raptors in Game 4, tie series at 2-2 heading to Toronto

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The Toronto Raptors were far and away the best team in the Eastern Conference this season. The Washington Wizards were … well, very Wizard-y.

So considering their regular seasons, the fact that Washington was able to tie the first round series between the two teams at 2 games apiece on Sunday is pretty astonishing.

Bradley Beal had 31 points and five rebounds for the Wizards while teammate John Wall added 27 points to go along with a whopping 14 assists. Washington shot an impressive 41 percent from 3-point range as four of five starters finished in double-digit scoring.

Despite Beal’s performance, it was Wall who saved the day for the Wizards. Beal was disqualified after fouling out with around five minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Beal didn’t agree with the call, and could be seen throwing a towel near the Washington bench.

For his part, Wall either scored or assisted on 10 of the Wizards’ final 14 points of the game. That helped stave off the likes of DeMar DeRozan, who led all scorers with 35 points.

The series heads back to Toronto for Game 5, which will be played on Wednesday, April 25.