By Sunday you’ve calmed down and realize that everybody in your office’s bracket is screwed, and you still have a chance at getting your money back. But while you focused on the college game — where the referees buy flops at an alarming rate — the NBA kept rolling. Here’s what you need to know from a Sunday around the Association.
1) Pelicans shut down Anthony Davis for the season, then go out and beat Clippers anyway. I can give you 24 million reasons Anthony Davis didn’t want the Pelicans to shut him down for the season — if his injuries cost him a spot on the All-NBA team, that’s how much money he loses when his rookie contract extension kicks in next summer and he doesn’t qualify for the “Derrick Rose rule.” Plus these surgeries — one to his knee to clean things up, one to his shoulder for a torn labrum — put in doubt his ability to play for Team USA this summer in the Rio Olympics. The Pelicans have shut him down for the season. Which is best for him long term.
Just after doing that, the Pelicans turned around and beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-105 Sunday. Jrue Holliday had 22 points, and Omer Asik had his best game of the season with 15 points and 14 rebounds, plus he played great defense on DeAndre Jordan all game. For the Clippers, a team Doc Rivers would like to fancy as contenders, they have now lost their last two games to a Memphis team with Zach Randolph and basically nobody else, and now the Pelicans without Davis. That’s not a good sign.
2) Dirk Nowitzki defies father time, drops 40 on Blazers. Dirk Nowitzki put himself in some rarefied company on Sunday: Only four players had scored 40 points in a game at age 37 or older — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, and now Nowitzki. The big German scored 40 points Sunday in Portland, doing so on 26 shots. Nowitzki was killing it from the midrange, where he was 10-of-16 for the night. He also had three threes, as well as some buckets at the rim. This game was a huge win for a Dallas team trying to make the playoffs: Dallas and Houston are tied in the seven and eight spots, with Portland just half a game ahead and Utah just one game behind in the nine seed.
3) DeMarcus Cousins with 20-20 game as Kings beat Knicks. Robin Lopez is one of the handful of guys with size to battle DeMarcus Cousins in the paint. Didn’t matter. Cousins put up numbers in Madison Square Garden with 24 points and 20 rebounds in the Kings’ 88-80 win. Despite everything else going on with the Kings, Cousins continues to put up points and just be a beast in the paint. Robin Lopez did his own damage with 23 points and 20 rebounds.
4) Kings’ Darren Collison a with a ridiculous buzzer beater. If you’re looking for the shot of the night, Sacramento’s Darren Collison has you covered with his leaping three-pointer to beat the clock.
5) Watch Bucks’ Jabari Parker get up and throw it down past Rudy Gobert. And your dunk of the day Sunday goes to Jabari Parker, who just explodes and throws it down as he slashes down the lane. Technically you could argue he dunked over Rudy Gobert, but the Utah center doesn’t have time to react and is just a spectator on the play. He dunked past Gobert, not on him. Still, an impressive throwdown.