John Wall did not want to let this one go. The Wizards had been in total control against Portland Monday night at home, up 25, but in the fourth quarter that got down to a one-possession game. Wall — who finished with 21 points — was pushing the Wizards and trying to make plays on offense to hold off the charging Blazers.
And that includes doing a little crowd surfing to chase a loose ball.
This had the potential for some nasty injuries, but both Wall and the spectators were fine.
And it worked, the Wizards held on for their fourth straight win. They seem to have a little groove back. That will be tested on a four-game West Coast road swing, but the Wizards can be a tough out in the playoffs if they keep playing like this.
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Five Things We Learned in NBA Monday: Dwyane Wade owns a hot tub time machine
1) Dwyane Wade jumped owns a hot tub time machine, traveled back to 2006. People haven’t given full credit to Dwyane Wade for his best season in years. One where the Heat needed him to step up in the absence of LeBron James, and he has. He fully deserved that All-Star Game invite. And even in that context Monday night was a crazy, throwback game. Wade had 16 points in the second quarter on 6-of-7 shooting and it pushed the Heat up by a dozen at the break as Miami just rolled Cleveland. Wade finished with 32 points on 13-for-18 shooting, the Heat moved the ball, defended, and out hustled the Cavs all game. Call it the second night of a back-to-back and just one of those games for the Cavs, but the Heat needed this to make a push for the playoffs.
2) Dallas has now beaten the Clippers and Thunder in consecutive games. Have we mentioned before the Western Conference playoffs are going to be a bloodbath. Like a Mel Gibson movie level of blood. A week ago Dallas looked like the weakest link in the Western Conference eight, they were struggling on offense, and some wondered if the Pelicans could catch them. Now in the span of a few days they have knocked off the Clippers handily, then ground out a win over a hot Thunder team 119-115. Chandler Parsons was the big catalyst — he attacked, he created shots, and he ended up with 31 points on 18 shots for the night. He was 7-of-9 at the rim and 3-of-5 from three — notice no midrange shots, just good choices. They need more nights like this out of him.
3) Kyle Lowry drops triple-double, Raptors get much-needed win over Pacers. The Raptors had just won 2 of their last 12 games, but they had a plan for the stout defense of the Pacers: Run. Push the tempo. Kyle Lowry did that and with it had his best game in recent memory with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. He just seemed to do everything. Lou Williams added 24 points, DeMar DeRozan 22, and you got a win. Well, that and this was the best defense the Raptors have played in recent memory. The question now is can the Raptors build on this Wednesday against Minnesota and going forward? They still have a lot to get right before the playoffs.
4) Washington may have its groove back. Washington has now won four in a row, and that includes wins over Memphis and Portland — and the Trail Blazers didn’t rest everybody. Sure, Washington had a 25-point lead that dwindled down to one possession late, and Portland was on the second night of a back-to-back. Don’t spoil this for them. Washington has always been a team that could be dangerous come the playoffs because they can defend, and John Wall can put pressure on a defense with his speed. Both of those things happened Monday night. The Wizards covered the arc better (and Portland just missed some shots), and Wall finished with 21 points. The Wizards now head out of a four-game West Coast swing, but they do so with momentum. You know things are going your way when Nene is making this play.
5) Robin Lopez’s war on all mascots continues. This now is joining some of the all-time great feuds. Alexander Hamilton vs. Aaron Burr. Hatfields vs. McCoys. Stalin vs. Trotsky. Montagues vs. Capulets. Robin Lopez vs. NBA mascots.
Kevin Love, Jets’ receiver Eric Decker hit trick shots (VIDEO)
Hey, this is the only way Kevin Love can get some time on the court lately (he is being rested Monday night as well after having Sunday off).
This is Love and New York Jets’ wide receiver Eric Decker trading trick shots. Yes, this is clearly staged (by Buffalo’s Fleece Jeans), and the misses heavily edited, but it’s till reasonably entertaining.
JaVale McGee wants to come back to the NBA on his terms. And he’s in no rush to do it.
McGee is looking for a deal for this season only (or a player option for next season) while the interested teams want a team option for next season so they can have the ability to retain him at a fair price. McGee is getting his full salary this season and next ($23 million total) from Philadephia after the Sixers bought him out. (He was acquired in a trade deadline deal.)
The Mavericks have lost interest in free-agent center JaVale McGee and aren’t seeking any more roster additions, a source told Yahoo Sports.
Reportedly the Rockets, Heat, Celtics and Raptors still all have some level of interest.
He could help those teams. McGee, for all his numerous flaws, is an athletic big man who can be solid to brilliant in a limited role. He can block shots, run the floor and get a team some points and boards. He would be the kind of reserve big man who would be a good bench boost to just about any playoff team, especially on a minimum deal.
The fact that he is still out there speaks to a combination of his demands and chemistry concerns on the parts of teams around the league.
Still, expect him to sign somewhere in the coming weeks.
PBT Extra: Top NBA prospects to keep eye on in NCAA Tournament
For a lot of NBA fans — even fans of the Knicks and Lakers who should have been paying attention since November — March and the NCAA Tournament is when we actually see and form opinions about potential pro prospects. NBA Scouts and GMs have already watched a lot of games of players, their opinions are formed and seeking confirmation, but many fans are just getting started.
So who should you watch? Jenna Corrado and I discuss that in the latest PBT Extra. Of course, you should watch Kentucky because everyone on their roster may well be on an NBA roster in a few years, led by Karl Towns. And of course we have to discuss the post moves of Jahlil Okafor.
But when we talk guys under the radar it’s off to Arkansas and Providence we go.