Yesterday the NBA had it’s second-to-last showcase Sunday featuring 9 games across the Nation. The NBA playoffs continue to take shape although some teams in playoff position appear to be fading. In fact the Grizzlies, Mavs, Knicks, Hawks, and Rockets all lost yesterday. There were teams that gained in the standings, as you’ll see below in our playoff race updates. Below the updates, you can find 5 good additions for tonight and 4 lists of 5 recapping Sunday’s action.
Eastern Conference Playoff Race Update: The Magic beat the lowly Cavs to clinch a playoff berth. They’re hoping that their missing big man can return at that point, and with the win they were able to catch the Atlanta Hawks as the two teams are tied for the 5th-seed. The Hawks looked awful losing to the Raptors in Atlanta yesterday. The Celtics, Bulls, and Heat were the top-4 teams in action who all won their games to maintain their positions.
Wester Conference Playoff Race Update: The Nuggets won the first part of a home-and-home that concludes tonight which could move them clear of the 8th spot and put them in the cluster of teams at 5-7. Houston, which has now lost it’s last 3, is just 1 game ahead of the Suns and 1 1/2 ahead of the Jazz in the race for the final playoff spot in the West. The Lakers win over the Mavs moved them 1 1/2 ahead of the Clippers in the 3-4 spots, while the Mavs slip to 1 1/2 behind Memphis (who also lost) and just 1/2 game ahead of the Nuggets. It’s going to continue to be a dogfight to the end for playoff seeding in the Western Conference, and many of the teams play each other which should make for a great week-and-a-half sprint to the finish in the NBA.
5 to Add for Monday, April 16
1. Anthony Randolph-Min: (17.9% ownership in ESPN Leagues)-Randolph has stepped in and filled up his boxscore with points, blocks, and boards. The Wolves visit Indiana tonight, and I don’t see them winning, but I do think that Randolph will continue to contribute in Kevin Love’s absence and Derrick Williams continued ineffectiveness.
2. Shannon Brown-Phx: (16.7%) Don’t be fooled by his down game in San Antonio, all the Suns starters rested after Phoenix fell way behind early. Tonight Brown returns home as the Suns face Portland and should contribute in threes, points, and boards.
3. Kenneth Faried-Den: (34.4%) The former Morehead State Eagle had his 3rd double-double in just 4 games with 10 points and 11 rebounds last night against the Rockets who he faces again tonight in Houston. He’s averaging 12.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 blocks in his last 5 games and should be in for some good minutes again in tonight’s playoff-significant showdown.
4. George Hill-Ind: (21%) Hill continud his late season surge with 2 threes, 3 assists, and 13 points Saturday in Milwuakee. As long as Darren Collison is sidelined and Hill gets starters minutes he’s worth a look for points, threes, and assists and will be facing off with J.J. Barea in tonight’s game in Indianapolis as the Pacers host the Wolves.
5. Daniel Orton-Orl: (0.0%) Orton played 29 minutes after Glen Davis left injured. Davis’s status for tonight is unknown but should be clearer by game time. Whether he plays or not, I think Orton could see more time after his 11 points, 5 steals, 3 blocks, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist last night. Earl Clark should receive a bump in playing time if Davis is sidelined as well. Orton’s a complete flier, but if you have a need for peripherals, He’s out there for the taking.
5 who Shone in Sunday’s boxscore
1. Carmelo Anthony-NY: Melo tore up Miami, but the Knicks still fell to the Heat. Anthony finished with 42 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal in this possible playoff preview. J.R. Smith (16) was the only other Knick in double-figures and the rest of the starting lineup contributed just 19 points. Melo will continue to put up big numbers since noone else on his team seems ready to help carry the load.
2. Joakim Noah-Chi: Noah had a dominant night down low with 17 rebounds (13 offensive), 2 blocks, 3 assists, and a steal to go with his 20 points on 8-15 shooting from the field.
3. Dwyane Wade-Mia: Wade joined Carmelo in putting on a show in Madison Square Garden. D-Wade’s team won thanks in large part to his 28 points on 10-18 shooting with 9 boards, 4 assists and a blocked shot.
4. Jameer Nelson-Orl: Nelson had 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists while hitting 2 threes and turning the ball over just 3 times. The Magic beat the Cavs and clinched the playoffs. Nelson and the guards will need to continue to pick up the slack for the thin front line.
5. Josh Smith-Atl: While all the Hawks looked listless, it was Smith who did all he could in his 33 minutes to keep Atlanta in the game. He had 26 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks, the the Hawks other starters scored 1, 2, 2, and 7. Even Joe Johnson’s 7 came on a miserable 2-12 shooting from the field.
5 who dominated the paint
1. Andrew Bynum-LAL: Bynum had 23 points and 16 rebounds in the Lakers OT win over Dallas as they continued their regular season success without Kobe Bryant.
2. Dirk Nowitzki-Dal: Dirk and the Mavs fell just short against the Kobe-less Lakers as Nowitzki shot just 9-28 while hitting 3 threes and contributing 24 points, 14 rebounds, an assist, and a block.
3. Chris Bosh-Mia: Bosh had a big night on the boards pulling in 14 rebounds to go with his 16 points and adding a steal, block, and an assist in his 35 minutes in the Heat win.
4. Carl Landry-NO: Carl Landry had 16 points, 11 rebounds, and a steal in his 26 minutes of action last night against the Grizz. He and Eric Gordon led New Orleans to a nice home victory against a potential playoff team.
5. Pau Gasol-LAL: Gasol had 20 points and hit 2 key threes in OT to boost LA past Dallas. He finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal.
5 who Boosted their scoring
1. Rodney Stuckey-Det: Stuckey scored 32 on 8-19 from the field, 3-5 from three, and 13-18 from the line. He added 4 rebounds, an assists, and 3 steals but couldn’t quite get Detroit the win against the visiting Bulls.
2. Wesley Matthews-Por: Matthews buried 8 three pointers as part of his 10-16 shooting from the field as he scored 31 points to go with his 3 rebounds, 3 assists, steal, and blocked shot. Matthews and the Blazers looked to have the game won after a step-back 3, but Marcus Thornton hit the game-winner to push the Kings past Portland.
3. LeBron James-Mia: James had another ho-hum stellar night. He poured in a team-high 29 points while adding 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. The only downsides were his three-point shooting (1-6) and his 6 turnovers.
4. Derrick Rose-Chi: Rose recovered from his 2 point game with 24 to lead the Bulls past the Pistons in OT. He added 9 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, and 4 rebounds while playing 41 minutes.
5. Rudy Gay-Mem: Gay had 24 points, 4 rebounsd, a steal, and a block in a losing effort for Memphis against the Hornets last night.
5 Who Contributed in Categories
1. Rajon Rondo-Bos: Rondo played without the “Big 3″ but led the new 3 (Rondo, Avery Bradley, and Brandon Bass) and the Celtics past the Bobcats. He still had 16 assists keeping his run of 22 games in a row with double-digit assists rolling. He also added 20 points and 6 rebounds along with 1 steal in his 43 minutes of court-time.
2. Andre Miller-Den: Miller had 11 assists in just 22 minutes while adding 7 rebounds, a steal, a block and 6 points as he led the second unit for the Nuggets in their big win over the Rockets.
3. Greg Stiemsma-Bos: The Stiemah got the start in place of the absent KG for Boston and contributed in peripherals with 6 blocks and 4 steals as well as adding 5 rebounds, an assist, and 8 points in 28 minutes.
4. Jason Terry-Dal: Terry hit 5 of 6 three-pointers and added 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and a steal to his 21 points in Dallas’s loss to the Lakers.
5. Jason Richardson-Orl: Richardson knocked down 4 threes on his way to 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and a block in Orlando’s win at Cleveland.