We understand if you missed Tuesday’s NBA action because you were filling out your Oscars ballot and got stuck on the sound mixing category. Here’s what you need to know from a Tuesday around the Association.
1) Damian Lillard scores more than 30 for fifth straight game; Portland wins its sixth straight. From the day the All-Star Game reserves were announced and Damian Lillard wasn’t among them, he has been a man possessed. He has averaged 28.4 points a game with a true shooting percentage of 60 percent. It’s been more intense the last five games when Lillard has broken the 30-point barrier — the first NBA player to have five straight 30+ scoring games this season.
The Blazers needed all of it to come back against the Nets on Tuesday night, blowing a 19-point lead then having Lillard and C.J. McCollum each top off their 34-point nights with key threes down the stretch. The Blazers, a team most pundits (myself included) picked to be the worst team in the West this season is starting to look like a playoff lock.
2) Utah beats Houston in overtime; Jazz pass Rockets for final playoff spot in the West. If the NBA playoffs started today, the Utah Jazz would be the eight seed and the Houston Rockets would be on the outside looking in. Utah acquired Shelvin Mack via trade from Atlanta at the deadline and started him next to Gordon Hayward — the former Butler Bulldogs teammates (under Brad Stevens) rekindled some of their college magic. Hayward led the Jazz with 28 points on just seven shot attempts. Putting Mack in the starting lineup means Trey Burke can go back to a sixth-man role where his aggressive offense is a better fit, he did a good job attacking. Jason Terry tried, he hit a corner three to send the game into overtime, but could not hit the three at the end of OT to force five more minutes. James Harden was attacking for the Rockets and had 42 points, but he and Dwight Howard are still not on the same page.
3) John Wall has a triple-double, Wizards climbing back into the playoff race. Washington has been a disappointment this season, but they have won three of four, Markieff Morris is fitting in as they hoped, and suddenly the Wizards are hot and just three games back of Chicago out of the Final playoff spot in the East (with stumbling Detroit right ahead of them). Tuesday’s Wizards win was fueled by John Wall (as their offense almost always is) as he put up 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists in the win.
If the Wizards are serious about a playoff push, they need to find a way to beat Chicago Wednesday. It will be tough — on the road, the second night of a back-to-back — but that’s the position they put themselves in.