What did you miss around the NBA while trying to figure out what to do with nearly one million quarters? We’ve got you covered, here are the key notes from a Tuesday in the Association.
1) Damian Lillard’s 41, Gerald Henderson‘s block lift Blazers past Wizards in overtime. This was the game of the night because both teams need the win — Portland entered the night just three games from falling out of the playoffs in the West, Washington was two back of Chicago for the last playoff spot in the East. For both these teams, the playoffs have essentially started.
Damian Lillard was carving up the Washington defense from the opening tip, scoring 13 points in the first quarter. But that may not have been the biggest event in the first — Washington’s Alan Anderson was ejected after getting tangled up and in a little shoving match with Gerald Henderson where Anderson got his elbows up in Henderson’s face. Personally, I’m not sure that was ejection worthy, but Anderson got sent to the showers, and that was a blow to Washington which was already without the injured Bradley Beal.
Washington, led by John Wall and Marcin Gortat, went on a 29-4 run spanning halftime to take a 13-point lead. Portland battled back and much of the second half was close, but the Wizards thought they had this up 104-102 with 16 seconds left. But C.J. McCollum tied it, and when Gortat had a shot at winning the game in regulation there was Gerald Henderson.
In the overtime it was too much Lillard as he hit threes and circus shots on his way to nine points to cap off his 41 for the game. With the win Portland and a Utah loss Portland is now four games clear of the nine-seed Jazz — Portland is going to be a playoff team. Washington is now 2.5 back of the playoffs and just can’t string together wins like they need.
2) The Lakers have won two in a row, played better since unleashing D’Angelo Russell. So, if you play the young guys and let them learn on the job they get better, and your team picks up a few more wins. Who knew? Well, not Byron Scott who kept D'Angelo Russell bottled up most of the season as a development method (and to reign in his ego, something that really bothers Scott, which is a funny coincidence considering the Lakers are celebrating Kobe Bryant and he had quite an ego entering the league). Russell had 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting, while Jordan Clarkson hit the dagger three late. Clarkson also had the second best highlight of the night, breaking Evan Fournier‘s ankles.
The Lakers have won two in a row but, in what is good news for Lakers fans hoping the team keeps its pick, they still have the second worst record in the league (14-51) and are still four games worse than Phoenix, with the third worst. The Lakers only keep their pick this season if it is top three, otherwise Philadelphia gets it.
3) Aaron Gordon was throwing it down like the dunk contest was still going on. This was the highlight of the night — Orlando’s Gordon is throwing it down like the dunk contest is still taking place. (By the way, he has started to play better of late, there is real promise with him at the four/five.)