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The Suns would make a comeback to defeat the Pelicans in overtime, 133-126

The Suns would make a comeback to defeat the Pelicans in overtime, 133-126

Since both the New Orleans Pelicans and the Phoenix Suns have been eliminated from playoff contention, they have little to nothing left to play for.  This will be the 6th time in the last eight seasons that the Pelicans will miss the postseason, partly due to the distraction caused by rumors that Anthony Davis was going to team up with LeBron James in Los Angeles halfway through the season.

As for the Arizona ball club, this will mark the ninth straight season that the Suns will miss the playoffs.  The last time they made a postseason appearance was back in 2010 when Amar’e Stoudemire was leading the team in points per game.  They ended up losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, 2-4.  As they host the Pelicans tonight, they will hope to avoid a second straight loss.

The Phoenix Suns and the New Orleans Pelicans have battled each other a grand total of 58 times in the past as both teams have a tied matchup record at 29 wins apiece.  This meeting will mark the fourth and final time that these two teams will play each other during this season.  The last time they saw each other was on March 16 when the Suns pulled away with a 138-136 win.  Devin Booker finished that game with 40 points, 5 rebounds, 13 assists, and one block while Julius Randle had 21 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and one steal.

INACTIVES:

New Orleans Pelicans:

-Trevon Bluiett (thumb)
-Anthony Davis (back; 25.9 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 3.9 APG, 51.7 FG%, 33.1 3P%, 79.4 FT%)
-Jrue Holiday (abdominal; 21.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 7.7 APG, 47.2 FG%, 32.5 3P%, 76.8 FT%)
-Frank Jackson (concussion; 8.1 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.1 APG, 43.4 FG%, 31.4 3P%, 74.0 FT%)
-Darius Miller (thigh; 8.2 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 2.1 APG, 39.0 FG%, 36.5 3P%, 78.9 FT%)
-E’Twaun Moore (quad; 11.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, 48.1 FG%, 43.2 3P%, 76.3 FT%)
-Stanley Johnson (ankle; 6.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 38.9 FG%, 28.8 3P%, 78.1 FT%)

Phoenix Suns:

-Deandre Ayton (ankle; 16.3 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 1.8 APG, 58.5 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 74.6 FT%)
-Devin Booker (ankle; 26.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 6.8 FT%, 46.7 FG%, 32.6 3P%, 86.6 FT%)
-Richaun Holmes (ankle; 8.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 0.9 APG, 60.8 FG%, 73.1 FT%)
-Tyler Johnson (knee; 10.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, 41.3 FG%, 34.6 3P%, 74.8 FT%)
-Kelly Oubre (thumb; 15.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.2 APG, 44.5 FG%, 32.0 3P%, 77.5 FT%)
-T.J. Warren (ankle; 18.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 48.6 FG%, 42.8 3P%, 81.5 FT%)
-Jimmer Fredette (coach’s decision; 5.5 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.8 APG, 32.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-George King (0.0 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.0 APG)

GAMETIME:

The New Orleans Pelicans would have the slight upper hand in the first half as they shot sixty-seven percent from the field, holding the home team at fifty-four percent shooting.  Former Utah Jazz’ guard Ian Clark got hot for 18 points while hitting 3 three-pointers in the first period.  He also had two rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and one block while Julius Randle helped out with 12 points on fifty-five percent shooting.  Kenrich Williams saw to it that he got nine points on a perfect one-hundred percent shooting.  He also drilled a three-pointer to end the first quarter.  Solomon Hill played 12 minutes off the bench but only had three points.

As for the Phoenix Suns, Ray Spalding earned 12 points as he shot eighty-five percent from the field.  Troy Daniels also had 12 points off the bench, collecting them all from beyond the arc.  California-native Josh Jackson chalked up 10 points, which included two three-pointers.  Jamal Crawford played the most minutes off the Phoenix bench as he lit the floor up with 16 points, hitting two three-pointers in the second quarter.  He also had one rebound, 2 assists, and 2 steals but it was the Louisiana ball club that went into halftime with a 76-65 lead.

The Suns would come out of the locker room with more of a purpose as they went on a 52 to 41 run, completing forty-three percent of their shots, limiting the Pelicans to thirty-four percent.  During that run, Jackson added to his scoring total as he put up 17 more points, knocking down a three-pointer in the fourth quarter.  He also earned 7 rebounds and 2 assists while Crawford scored 10 more points off the bench.

On the other end of the court, Julius Randle earned 17 more points on fifty percent shooting.  Cheick Diallo played the most minutes off the bench as he had six points but it was the Arizona team that would complete the comeback, forcing overtime where they would eventually pull out a 133 to 126 victory behind Josh Jackson’s eight overtime points.  Josh Jackson finished the contest with a season-high 35 points, along with 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals while Julius Randle settled for 31 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 assists.

So…what’s next?

The New Orleans Pelicans will head over West to battle Buddy Hield (21.0 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 46.0 FG%, 42.9 3P%) and the Sacramento Kings (39-40) on Sunday at 9:00 p.m.  This meeting will mark the fourth and final matchup between these two teams this season.  The last time they battled each other was on March 28 when the Pelicans pulled away with a 121-118 win.  During that game, Julius Randle scored 34 points, pulled down 11 rebounds, and dished off 3 assists while Buddy Hield recorded 27 points, 2 rebounds, and one assist.

The Phoenix Suns will take on James Harden (36.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 7.5 APG, 44.1 FG%, 36.5 3P%) and the Houston Rockets (51-28) on Sunday at 7:00 p.m.  This will be the third and final time that the Suns and Rockets will battle each other during this season.  March 15 was the last time they saw each other as the Suns fell to the Texas team, 102-108.  James Harden finished that contest with 41 points, 9 rebounds, 11 assists, 6 steals, and 3 blocks while Devin Booker settled for 29 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists.

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The Trail Blazers hand the Grizzlies a huge 116 to 89 loss

The Trail Blazers hand the Grizzlies a huge 116 to 89 loss

Like most expected, the Memphis Grizzlies have been knocked down out of playoff contention for the second straight season.  Before the 2017-2018 season, the Grizzlies have made seven straight postseason appearances and one Western Conference Finals appearance.  Even though they are basically finished for the season, they will hope to avoid a second consecutive loss as they battle the Trail Blazers in Portland tonight.

As for the Portland Trail Blazers, they will make a sixth consecutive playoff appearance.  As they sit at the fourth spot in the Western Conference with a 49-28 record, they hope to capture a second straight victory tonight.

The Grizzlies and the Trail Blazers have met up a grand total of 93 times in the past as the Grizzlies grabbed 43 wins while the Trail Blazers went on to win 50 games.  This game will mark the fourth and final time that these two ball clubs will meet up this season.  The last time they saw each other was on March 5 when the Grizzlies handed the Portland team a 111-120 loss.  Mike Conley finished that contest with 40 points, four rebounds, four assists, and one steal while C.J. McCollum had 27 points, two rebounds, two assists, and one block.

INACTIVES:

Memphis Grizzlies:

-Kyle Anderson (shoulder; 8.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 54.3 FG%, 26.5 3P%, 57.8 FT%)
-Avery Bradley (knee/wrist; 9.9 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.4 APG, 40.8 FG%, 35.1 3P%, 86.0 FT%)
-Dillon Brooks (toe; 7.5 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.9 APG, 40.2 FG%, 37.5 3P%, 73.3 FT%)
-Mike Conley (ankle; 21.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 6.4 APG, 43.8 FG%, 36.4 3P%, 84.5 FT%)
-Jaren Jackson (quad; 13.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.1 APG, 50.6 FG%, 35.9 3P%, 76.6 FT%)
-C.J. Miles (foot; 6.4 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.7 APG, 36.0 FG%, 33.0 3P%, 82.8 FT%)
-Joakim Noah (knee; 7.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.1 APG, 51.6 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 71.6 FT%)
-Jonas Valanciunas (ankle; 15.6 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 1.4 APG, 55.9 FG%, 29.2 3P%, 79.5 FT%)

Portland Trail Blazers:

-C.J. McCollum (knee; 21.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, 46.3 FG%, 38.0 3P%, 83.1 FT%)
-Jusuf Nurkic (leg; 15.6 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 3.2 APG, 50.8 FG%, 10.3 3P%, 77.3 FT%)
-Meyers Leonard (coach’s decision; 5.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.2 APG, 54.1 FG%, 45.0 3P%, 83.7 FT%)

GAMETIME:

The game would be held close at the beginning as the Portland Trail Blazers shot fifty-seven percent in the first half while the Memphis Grizzlies completed fifty-three percent of their shots.  Damian Lillard would score 14 points, earning three of those points from beyond the arc in the first quarter.  He also had four rebounds, seven assists, and one steal while Enes Kanter chalked up 13 points on eighty-five percent shooting.

Former Los Angeles Clippers’ forward Al-Farouq Aminu helped out with seven points as the drilled a trey late in the first quarter.  Rodney Hood also had seven points which included a three-pointer while Maurice Harkless earned five points.  Evan Turner played fourteen minutes off the bench but only had four points.

As for the visiting team, Delon Wright scored eleven points while hitting a three-pointer in the first period.  2014-2015 NBA champion Justin Holiday had eight points which held two three-pointers in the first quarter.  Ivan Rabb also had eight points, along with four rebounds and one steal.  Chandler Parsons played the most minutes off the bench as he had 13 points while the Oregon team went into the locker room with a 62 to 59 lead.

The Trail Blazers would pick up speed as they went on a 56 to 30 run in the second half, shooting forty-six percent, holding the Grizzlies to a low twenty-three percent shooting.  During that run, Zach Collins dropped eleven points off the bench while hitting two three-pointers late in the fourth quarter.  Lillard would only score eight points but had three rebounds, three assists, and one steal while Kanter also had eight points.

Rabb scored five points for the Memphis Grizzlies but it wouldn’t matter as the Portland Trail Blazers ended up blowing them out, 116 to 89.  Enes Kanter finished the game with 21 points, along with 15 rebounds, and a season-high and a career-high-tying 3 steals.  Chandler Parsons ended up with 16 points, one rebound, one assist, two steals, and a season-high-tying one block.

So…what’s next?

The Memphis Grizzlies will travel to Texas to take on Luka Doncic (21.1 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 5.9 APG, 42.5 FG%, 32.7 3P%) and the Dallas Mavericks (31-46) on Friday at 8:30 p.m.  This will be the third of four times that these two teams meet up this season.  March 2 was the last time they saw each other as the Grizzlies blew the Mavericks out, 111-81.  During that game, Jonas Valanciunas scored 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out four assists, and committed one steal while Luka Doncic finished with 22 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.

The Portland Trail Blazers will head to Colorado to battle Nikola Jokic (20.1 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 7.3 APG, 50.8 FG%, 31.4 3P%) and the Denver Nuggets (51-26) on Friday at 10:30 p.m.  This game will mark the third of four meetings between these two ball clubs during this season.  The last time they played each other was on January 13 when the Nuggets snuck away with a 116 to 113 victory.  Nikola Jokic finished that matchup with 40 points, along with 10 rebounds, and 8 assists while Damian Lillard settled for 26 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists.

The Celtics survive against the Heat, pulling away with a 110-105 win

The Celtics survive against the Heat, pulling away with a 110-105 win

With the Tuesday win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics have clinched another playoff spot for the fifth straight time and the tenth in the past eleven years.  Last season in the playoffs, they had to go on without their star player, Kyrie Irving, and lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Cavaliers, 3-4.  The Celtics will look to avoid a second straight loss, though, as they host the Miami Heat.

The Heat, on the other hand, are still trying to stay alive in the playoff hunt as they are sitting at the eighth spot with a 38-38 record.  They will hope to make a second straight postseason appearance and a ninth in the past eleven years.  Last season, they lost in the first round to the Philadelphia 76ers, 1-4.  They will try to grab their third straight victory tonight.

The Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat have battled each other a grand total of 135 times in the past as the Heat won 56 games while the Celtics went on to grab 79 wins.  This meeting will mark the third of four times that these teams will play each other this season.  The last time they saw each other was on January 21 when the Massachusetts team handed the Heat a 99-107 loss.  During that game, Kyrie Irving scored 26 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, dished off 10 assists, committed 8 steals, and blocked one shot while Derrick Jones settled for 18 points, 9 rebounds, one steal, and one block.  Dion Waiters also had 18 points.

INACTIVES:

Miami Heat:

-Rodney McGruder (knee; 7.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.7 APG, 40.7 FG%, 35.6 3P%, 74.3 FT%)
-Josh Richardson (heel; 16.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.1 APG, 41.2 FG%, 35.7 3P%, 86.1 FT%)
-Justise Winslow (thigh; 12.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.3 APG, 43.6 FG%, 38.0 3P%, 62.9 FT%)
-Udonis Haslem (coach’s decision; 0.8 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.0 APG, 33.3 FG%, 0.0 3P%)
-Yante Maten (coach’s decision)
-Duncan Robinson (coach’s decision; 2.4 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.2 APG, 34.4 FG%, 26.9 3P%, 66.7 FT%)

Boston Celtics:

-Brad Wanamaker (coach’s decision; 3.4 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 1.4 APG, 46.3 FG%, 50.0 3P%, 90.0 FT%)
-Robert Williams (coach’s decision; 2.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.2 APG, 71.7 FG%, 64.3 FT%)
-Jaylen Brown (back; 13.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 46.3 FG%, 34.2 3P%, 66.3 FT%)
-Greg Monroe (4.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.4 APG, 46.4 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 57.4 FT%)
-R.J. Hunter
-P.J. Dozier (1.4 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 0.0 APG, 42.9 FG%, 50.0 3P%)

GAMETIME:

The Boston Celtics would have a slight upper hand in the first half as they shot forty-three percent from the field while the Miami Heat shot forty-one percent.  Kyrie Irving got hot for 15 points while knocking down four 3-pointers in the process.  He also had five rebounds, one assist, and two steals while Jayson Tatum helped out with eleven points.  The Missouri-native had two 3-pointers in the first quarter while recording four defensive rebounds and three assists.

Former Atlanta Hawks’ center Al Horford scored nine points while grabbing six boards.  Marcus Smart earned himself eight points in the 13 minutes that he played while drilling two buckets from beyond the arc.  2017 All-Star Gordon Hayward played the most minutes off the bench but was held to just six points on sixty-six percent shooting from the field.

On the other end of the court, Bam Adebayo dropped ten points while getting ahold of ten rebounds and blocking two shots.  Former Houston Rockets’ guard Goran Dragic also had ten points while Dion Waiters had seven points, including a three-pointer late in the second period.  Hassan Whiteside was kept to just three points off the bench while Kelly Olynyk helped out with a three-pointer in the second quarter.  Dwyane Wade played 12 minutes off the bench as he had nine points but it was the home team who went into halftime with a 61 to 47 advantage.

The South Beach would attempt to make a comeback as they went on a 58 to 49 run in the second half, shooting forty-eight percent from the field.  During that run, Dragic lit the floor up with 20 points while knocking down 3 three-pointers in the process.  He also had one rebound, three assists, and four steals while Olynyk added 11 more points to his scoring total.  Adebayo earned himself nine more points while shooting a perfect one-hundred percent from the field.  He also had a trey at the end of the game.

Both Horford and Irving scored ten more points each for the Boston Celtics.  Horford had five rebounds, four assists, and one steal, as well, while Kyrie Irving had three rebounds and two assists.  Tatum and Smart collected eight points each as the Celtics held on to hand the Miami Heat a 105-110 loss.  Kyrie Irving finished the game with 25 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and two steals while Goran Dragic had a season-high 30 points, along with one rebound, 5 assists, and a season-high and career-high-tying 5 steals.

So…what’s next?

The Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat will play each other again on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

The Clippers clinch a playoff spot by defeating the Timberwolves, 122-111, earning their 6th straight win

The Clippers clinch a playoff spot by defeating the Timberwolves, 122-111, earning their 6th straight win

The Los Angeles Clippers have been on a hot streak as of late, winning 11 of their last 14 games.  They will look to grab their sixth straight win as they battle the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.  They are in high hopes of staying alive in the playoff race while the Timberwolves are still struggling to get there.  The Timberwolves have recently ended a five-game losing streak by defeating the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, 112-99.

The Clippers and the Timberwolves have played each other a grand total of 114 times in the past as the Los Angeles team won 58 games while the Timberwolves defeated them 56 times.  This game will mark the third and final time that these two ball clubs will meet up this season.  February 11 was the last time they played each other as the Timberwolves pulled away with a 130-120 win.  Karl-Anthony Towns finished that game with 24 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals while Lou Williams earned himself 45 points, one rebound, 4 assists, and one steal.

INACTIVES:

Los Angeles Clippers:

-Luc Mbah a Moute (knee; 5.0 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.5 APG, 44.4 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 40.0 FT%)
-Landry Shamet (leg; 9.0 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.3 APG, 43.4 FG%, 42.0 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
-Justin Bibbs (G-League)
-Angel Delgado (G-League; 3.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 25.0 FG%, 50.0 FT%)

Minnesota Timberwolves:

-Robert Covington (ankle; 13.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 43.1 FG%, 37.8 3P%, 76.4 FT%)
-Luol Deng (Achilles; 7.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 0.8 APG, 50.0 FG%, 31.8 3P%, 71.4 FT%)
-Taj Gibson (calf; 10.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.2 APG, 56.6 FG%, 32.4 3P%, 75.7 FT%)
-Derrick Rose (elbow; 18.0 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 4.3 APG, 48.2 FG%, 37.0 3P%, 85.6 FT%)
-Jeff Teague (foot; 12.1 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 8.2 APG, 42.3 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 80.4 FT%)

GAMETIME:

The Los Angeles Clippers would set the tone in the first half as they shot fifty-eight percent from the field, holding the Minnesota Timberwolves to forty-one percent.  Danilo Gallinari chalked up 14 points as he had 3 three-pointers in the first period.  He also recorded five rebounds, two assists, and one steal while Patrick Beverley helped out with 11 points.  As for Beverley, he also drilled 3 three-pointers while dishing out four assists and blocking two shots.  Lou Williams, who is making a case for second straight Sixth Man of the Year Award and third overall, played 11 minutes off the bench but only had nine points.

As for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Andrew Wiggins put up 13 points while shooting forty-five percent from the field.  He earned three of those points from beyond the arc while grabbing one rebound and giving out three assists.  Dario Saric saw to it that he got 11 points while hitting two three-pointers.  Two-time All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns was limited to just six points, earning them all from the charity stripe, while recording 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.  Anthony Tolliver played the most minutes off the bench but was held scoreless as the visiting team went into halftime with a huge 75 to 55 advantage.

The Minnesota team would attempt to make a comeback in the second half as they sparked up a 56 to 47 run, shooting forty-five percent from the field.  During that run, Towns lit the floor up with 18 points, knocking down two three-pointers in the last quarter.  He also had eight rebounds while Wiggins contributed with nine points, hitting a trey in the fourth period, as well.  Both Josh Okogie and Tyus Jones had five points while Dario Saric added seven more points to his scoring total.  Rookie Keita Bates-Diop played the most minutes off the bench as he scored seven points.

The California team would still manage to close the game out as Montrezl Harrell threw up 12 points off the bench.  Danilo Gallinari had eleven points while Temple collected nine more points.  Lou Williams played 18 minutes off the bench, earning eleven extra points as the Los Angeles Clippers escaped with a 122-111 victory.  Danilo Gallinari finished the game with 25 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, one steal, and a season-tying-high six three-pointers.  Karl-Anthony Towns settled for 24 points, along with 13 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.

So…what’s next?

The Los Angeles Clippers will head to the Fiserv Forum to battle Giannis Antetokounmpo (27.4 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 6.0 APG, 58.2 FG%, 24.4 3P%) and the Milwaukee Bucks (55-19) on Thursday at 8:00 p.m.  This will be the second and last time that they see each other this season.  The last time they met up was on November 10 when the Clippers pulled away with a 128-126 overtime win.  During that game, Montrezl Harrell scored 26 points, pulled down 9 rebounds, dished out one assist, and blocked one shot while Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points, 18 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks.

The Minnesota Timberwolves will host Stephen Curry (27.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.2 APG, 47.1 FG%, 43.0 3P%) and the Golden State Warriors (50-23) on Friday at 8:00 p.m.  This meeting will mark the fourth and final matchup between these two teams this season.  March 19 was the last time they saw each other as the Timberwolves fell short to the Warriors, 107-117.  Stephen Curry finished that game with 36 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals while Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points, 21 rebounds, 4 assists, and one steal.

The Grizzlies avoid a third straight loss, defeating the Thunder, 115-103

The Grizzlies avoid a third straight loss, defeating the Thunder, 115-103

The Oklahoma City Thunder are hoping to grab their second straight victory as they look to stay alive in the playoff hunt.  They will hope to do that as they take on the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedExForum.  The Grizzlies, however, will not be making the playoffs this time around.  This will mark the third straight year that the Memphis team will miss the postseason.  If the Thunder are able to clinch a playoff spot, it will mark their ninth time in ten years that they do so.

The Thunder and the Grizzlies have played each other a grand total of 107 times in the past as the Thunder defeated them 71 times while the Memphis Grizzlies were held to just 36 wins.  This game tonight will mark the third and final time that these two ball clubs will see each other this season.  The last time they played each other was on March 3 when the Thunder escaped with a 99-95 victory.  Russell Westbrook finished that contest with 22 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and one block while Avery Bradley had 27 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals.

INACTIVES:

Oklahoma City Thunder:

-Andre Roberson (knee)
-Hamidou Diallo (coach’s decision; 4.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.4 APG, 45.5 FG%, 16.7 3P%, 61.0 FT%)
-Raymond Felton (coach’s decision; 4.4 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 1.6 APG, 40.5 FG%, 26.7 3P%, 92.3 FT%)
-Patrick Patterson (coach’s decision; 3.8 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 0.5 APG, 37.6 FG%, 33.8 3P%, 63.3 FT%)
-Jawun Evans (G-League; 0.9 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 1.4 APG, 23.1 FG%, 0.0 3P%)
-Donte Grantham (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%)

Memphis Grizzlies:

-Kyle Anderson (shoulder; 8.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 54.3 FG%, 26.5 3P%, 57.8 FT%)
-Avery Bradley (knee/wrist; 9.9 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.4 APG, 40.8 FG%, 35.1 3P%, 86.0 FT%)
-Dillon Brooks (toe; 7.5 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.9 APG, 40.2 FG%, 37.5 3P%, 73.3 FT%)
-Jaren Jackson (quad; 13.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.1 APG, 50.6 FG%, 35.9 3P%, 76.6 FT%)
-C.J. Miles (foot; 6.4 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.7 APG, 36.0 FG%, 33.0 3P%, 82.8 FT%)
-Joakim Noah (knee; 7.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.1 APG, 51.6 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 71.6 FT%)
-Mike Conley (thigh; 20.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 6.4 APG, 43.6 FG%, 36.6 3P%, 84.8 FT%)
-Yuta Watanabe (coach’s decision; 2.6 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.4 APG, 33.3 FG%, 20.0 3P%, 70.0 FT%)

GAMETIME:

The beginning of the game would be held close as the Oklahoma City Thunder completed thirty-four percent of their shots while the Memphis Grizzlies shot thirty-six percent from the field.  Paul George ended up scoring 14 points while knocking down two three-pointers in the second quarter.  He also had five rebounds and one assist while Terrance Ferguson helped out with seven points in the 16 minutes that he played.  The Oklahoma-native had a three-pointer late in the second period as he shot a perfect one-hundred percent from the field.

The 2016-2017 MVP Russell Westbrook was limited to just four points but he did manage to knock down a three-pointer in the first quarter.  He also had two rebounds and four assists while Steven Adams had two points, five rebounds, and two steals.  Dennis Schroder played fifteen minutes off the bench as he had ten points while shooting a perfect one-hundred percent from the field.

On the other end of the court, Bruno Caboclo chalked up eleven points while completing all four of this shots attempted.  He also had 3 three-pointers while Jonas Valanciunas earned himself nine points and eight rebounds.  Former Toronto Raptors’ point guard Delon Wright had nine points, as well, shooting fifty-seven percent from the field.  Chandler Parsons played the most minutes off the bench as he had eight points while the home team went into halftime with a 54 to 48 lead.

The Memphis ball club would close it out in the second half as they went on a 61 to 55 run, shooting fifty-three percent from the field.  During that run, Tyler Dorsey scored 14 points while drilling two three-pointers.  He also manages to record five rebounds and one assist while Justin Holiday helped out with thirteen points.  Ivan Rabb played nine minutes off the bench but was kept to just a field goal and a free-throw.

As for the visiting team, George continued to put on a scoring display as he added 16 more points to his scoring total while knocking down three shots from behind the arc.  Westbrook helped out with twelve points but it wouldn’t matter much as the Memphis Grizzlies handed the Oklahoma City Thunder a 103-115 loss.  Bruno Caboclo finished the game with a career-high 24 points, along with a career-high-tying 11 rebounds, two assists, a career-high-tying one steal, and one block.  Paul George ended up with 30 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, and one steal.

So…what’s next?

The Oklahoma City Thunder will host Bojan Bogdanovic (17.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.9 APG, 49.8 FG%, 42.3 3P%) and the Indiana Pacers (45-29) on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.  This will mark the second and final time that they will play each other this season.  March 14 was the last time they saw each other as the Pacers pulled away with a 108 to 106 victory.  Domantas Sabonis finished that game with 26 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and one block while Paul George had 36 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals.

The Memphis Grizzlies will host Stephen Curry (27.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.2 APG, 47.1 FG%, 43.0 3P%) and the Golden State Warriors (50-23) on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.  This will be the third of four matchups between these two ball clubs this season.  The last time they met up was on December 17 when the Grizzlies fell to the Warriors, 93-110.  During that game, Kevin Durant scored 23 points, pulled down 3 rebounds, gave out 5 assists, and blocked 2 shots while Omri Casspi settled for 20 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and one block.

The Detroit Pistons fall to the Golden State Warriors, 121-114

The Detroit Pistons fall to the Golden State Warriors, 121-114

The Golden State Warriors have clinched a playoff spot for the seventh straight season after defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 16.  But they have just recently lost to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night by 35 points, their largest loss margin of the season.  They will look to bounce back as they take on the Detroit Pistons at the Oracle Arena tonight.

The Pistons, on the other hand, are trying to avoid a second straight loss after losing to the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night, 112-117.  They are currently at the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

The Golden State Warriors and the Detroit Pistons have met up a grand total of 313 times in the past as the Warriors won 164 games while the Pistons went on to grab 149 victories.  This matchup will mark the second and final time that these two ball clubs will meet up this season.  The last time they saw each other was on December 1 when the Warriors fell to the Pistons, 102-111.  During that game, Blake Griffin scored 26 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, and gave out 5 assists while Kevin Durant ended up with 28 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 blocks.

INACTIVES:

Detroit Pistons:

-Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (coach’s decision; 3.2 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 0.9 APG, 32.9 FG%, 32.6 3P%, 60.0 FT%)
-Glenn Robinson III (coach’s decision; 4.1 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.4 APG, 40.8 FG%, 28.6 3P%, 82.9 FT%)
-Khyri Thomas (coach’s decision; 2.7 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 0.3 APG, 33.8 FG%, 28.6 3P%, 63.6 FT%)
-Isaiah Whitehead (G-League)
-Kalin Lucas (G-League; 2.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Jon Leuer (4.2 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 0.4 APG, 58.7 FG%, 10.0 3P%, 74.2 FT%)
-Jose Calderon (2.4 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 2.4 APG, 37.8 FG%, 25.0 3P%, 81.8 FT%)

Golden State Warriors:

-Damian Jones (pectoral; 5.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.2 APG, 71.6 FG%, 64.9 FT%)
-Marcus Derrickson (coach’s decision; 3.1 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 0.1 APG, 41.7 FG%, 35.7 3P%, 75.0 FT%)
-Damion Lee (coach’s decision; 4.2 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.2 APG, 43.2 FG%, 37.3 3P%, 80.0 FT%)
-DeMarcus Cousins (rest; 15.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 3.6 APG, 48.5 FG%, 25.4 3P%, 75.9 FT%)
-Andre Iguodala (rest; 5.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.2 APG, 49.8 FG%, 33.6 3P%, 59.4 FT%)
-Jacob Evans (0.8 PPG, 0.6 RPG, 0.6 APG, 30.3 FG%, 12.5 3P%, 0.0 FT%)

GAMETIME:

The Golden State Warriors would have complete control on the game in the first half as they shot sixty-five percent from the field, limiting the Detroit Pistons to forty-four percent.  Klay Thompson got hot for 15 points while drilling 3 three-pointers in the process.  Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry ended up recording eleven points as he also had 3 three-pointers.  Along with that, Curry was able to grab seven rebounds and dish off two assists.

Kevin Durant was kept to just nine points but he did manage to knock down a shot from beyond the arc in the middle of the second quarter.  He did shoot a perfect one-hundred percent from the field as he had three rebounds and seven assists.  Draymond Green had nine points, as well.  He was able to hit a rare three-pointer to beat the buzzer at the end of the first half.  Shaun Livingston played eight minutes off the bench but only had four points.

On the other end of the court, Blake Griffin chalked up eleven points while shooting thirty-seven percent from the field.  He had a three-pointer at the beginning of the first period while he recorded two rebounds and three assists.  Two-time rebounding champion Andre Drummond contributed with eight points, along with seven rebounds, one assist, and one steal.

Reggie Jackson was limited to just two points while Wayne Ellington was able to drill a three-pointer.  Louisiana-native Langston Galloway played the most minutes off the bench as he had seven points but it was the home team who went to the locker room with a 63 to 49 advantage.

The visiting team, however, was able to storm back as they sparked a 65 to 58 run, shooting forty-eight percent from the field in the second half.  During that run, Griffin put up 13 additional points while knocking down two more shots from behind the three-point line.  He had four rebounds and five assists while Ish Smith helped out with ten points.  Former Milwaukee Bucks’ forward Thon Maker also had ten points which included two three-pointers in the fourth quarter.

Reggie Jackson ended up adding five more points to his scoring total while hitting a three-pointer in the third quarter.  Drummond was kept to just four points in the second half while he grabbed four rebounds.  The 12th pick in the first round of the 2017 draft Luke Kennard played the most minutes off the bench as he had 16 points, including 3 three-pointers.

As for the two-time defending champions, Curry chalked up 15 more points while hitting two three-pointers.  Thompson contributed with nine points which including a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter.  Both Durant and Green were kept to just five points but it didn’t matter as the Golden State Warriors pulled out a 121-114 victory over the Detroit Pistons.  Stephen Curry finished the game with 26 points, along with a season-high-tying nine rebounds, three assists, and one steal while Blake Griffin settled for 24 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists.

So…what’s next?

The Detroit Pistons will travel to Colorado to battle Nikola Jokic (20.2 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 7.6 APG, 50.7 FG%, 32.6 3P%) and the Denver Nuggets (49-22) on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m.  This will be the second and final time that these two teams will meet up this season.  The last time that they played each other was on February 4 when the Pistons handed the Nuggets a 129-103 loss.  Andre Drummond finished that game with 27 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks while Trey Lyles settled for 20 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, one steal, and one block.

The Golden State Warriors will head to Tennessee to take on Mike Conley (20.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 6.4 APG, 43.6 FG%, 36.6 3P%) and the Memphis Grizzlies (29-44) on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.  This game will mark the third of four times that these two ball clubs will see each other this season.  December 17 was the last time that the Grizzlies and Warriors played each other as the Grizzlies fell to the Warriors, 93-110.  During that game, Kevin Durant scored 23 points, pulled down 3 rebounds, dished out 5 assists, and blocked 2 shots while Omri Casspi had 20 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and one block.

The Nets eliminate the Lakers from the playoffs as they defeat them, 111-106

The Nets eliminate the Lakers from the playoffs as they defeat them, 111-106

The Los Angeles Lakers are on the brink of playoff elimination if they happen to get defeated by the Brooklyn Nets tonight in the Staples Center.  It would also mark the first time since 2004 that LeBron James would miss the postseason.  The Lakers on currently on a four-game losing streak, trying to avoid a fifth straight loss, which would tie their longest losing streak on the season.

The Nets, however, are trying to stay alive in the playoff run as they are sitting at the seventh seed with a 37-36 record.  They are seeking their second straight victory as D’Angelo Russell hopes to beat his former team.  It’s been four straight years since the Brooklyn Nets failed to make the playoffs but their confidence is at an all-time high.

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets have met up with each other a grand total of 92 times as the Lakers won 68 games, holding the New York team to just 24 victories.  This event tonight will mark the second and final time that these two ball clubs will see each other this season.  December 18 was the last time they played each other as the Nets escaped with a 115-110 win.  During that game, D’Angelo Russell scored 22 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, dished off 13 assists, and blocked one shot while LeBron James had 36 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists, one steal, and one block.

INACTIVES:

Brooklyn Nets:

-Allen Crabbe (knee; 9.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.1 APG, 36.7 FG%, 37.8 3P%, 73.2 FT%)
-Shabazz Napier (illness; 9.4 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 38.9 FG%, 32.9 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
-Treveon Graham (coach’s decision; 5.0 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 32.9 FG%, 26.2 3P%, 77.8 FT%)
-Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (coach’s decision; 8.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.6 APG, 41.3 FG%, 19.1 3P%, 64.9 FT%)
-Dzanan Musa (G-League; 2.0 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.1 APG, 40.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 0.0 FT%)
-Theo Pinson (G-League; 4.9 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 34.9 FG%, 28.2 3P%, 86.4 FT%)
-Alan Williams (G-League; 3.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 0.8 APG, 60.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 50.0 FT%)

Los Angeles Lakers:

-Lonzo Ball (ankle; 9.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.4 APG, 40.6 FG%, 32.9 3P%, 41.7 FT%)
-Josh Hart (knee; 7.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.4 APG, 40.7 FG%, 33.6 3P%, 68.8 FT%)
-Brandon Ingram (Deep Venous Thrombosis; 18.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, 49.7 FG%, 33.0 3P%, 67.5 FT%)
-Lance Stephenson (coach’s decision; 7.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.0 APG, 43.5 FG%, 37.9 3P%, 67.7 FT%)
-Scott Machado (coach’s decision)
-Mike Muscala (ankle; 6.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.2 APG, 38.4 FG%, 32.7 3P%, 81.5 FT%)

GAMETIME:

The beginning of the game would be held close as the Brooklyn Nets shot thirty-six percent from the field while the Los Angeles Lakers completed thirty-two percent of their shots.  Former Cleveland Cavaliers’ shooting guard Joe Harris ended up scoring thirteen points while drilling three 3-pointers.  The other four points came from the charity stripe.  He also had two defensive rebounds while Jarrett Allen contributed with nine points and nine rebounds.

D’Angelo Russell would drop six points in the first half while finishing the game with 21 points against his former squad.  Rookie Rodions Kurucs was able to knock down a three-pointer early in the first quarter while DeMarre Carroll was held scoreless.  Spencer Dinwiddie played 16 minutes off the bench but only had five points.

On the other end of the court, JaVale McGee got hot for fourteen points while shooting seventy-eight percent from the field.  He also had nine rebounds and three blocks while  Kyle Kuzma recorded eleven points while hitting two three-pointers.  LeBron James only had eight points in the first half but managed to get four rebounds and six assists.  Texas-native Alex Caruso played the most minutes off the bench but only had two points while the Nets went into the locker room with a close 44-43 lead.

The Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles would continue to battle it out as the Lakers shot forty-eight percent from the field in the second half while the Nets shot forty-four percent.  Carroll would make up for his scoreless first half as he got hot for 15 points, nailing three 3-pointers in the process.  He also collected five rebounds while Russell also had 15 points.  The former Laker hit four shots from beyond the arc while dishing out eight assists and grabbing a defensive rebound.  Dinwiddie played the most minutes off the bench as he earned 14 points, hitting a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter.

As for the California ball club, McGee continued to show out as he poured 19 more points on the Nets while shooting seventy-three percent from the field.  He was able to pull down 11 more rebounds while preventing three of the Nets shots to go in.  James warmed up with 17 points while recording eight more assists and five rebounds to go along with a steal and a block.  Caruso had eight points off the bench but it wouldn’t matter as the Brooklyn Nets crept away with a 111 to 106 win over the Lakers, officially eliminating them from the playoffs.  This would be the sixth straight year that the Lakers would miss the playoffs and the first time over a decade that LeBron James would miss the postseason.

Joe Harris finished the game with twenty-six points, three rebounds, and two assists while D’Angelo had 21 points against his former team, along with two rebounds, thirteen assists, and three steals.  JaVale McGee ended up with a career-high thirty-three points and a career-high twenty rebounds.  He also had one steal and six blocks.

So…what’s next?

The Brooklyn Nets will travel to Oregon for their next stop to battle Damian Lillard (26.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.7 APG, 45.2 FG%, 37.3 3P%) and the Portland Trail Blazers (44-27) on Monday at 10:00 p.m.  This will mark the second and final time that these teams will play each other this season.  The last time they saw each other was on February 21 when the Trail Blazers handed the Nets a 113-99 loss.  Jusuf Nurkic finished the game with 27 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, and 3 blocks while Allen Crabbe settled for 17 points, 4 rebounds, one assist, and one block.

The Los Angeles Lakers will host Buddy Hield (20.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 46.1 FG%, 43.0 3P%) and the Sacramento Kings (35-36) on Sunday at 9:30 p.m.  This game will mark the fourth and final meeting between these two ball clubs this season.  The last time they saw each other was on December 30 as the Lakers slid away with a 121-114 win.  During that game, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 26 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, gave out one assist and stole the ball twice while De’Aaron Fox recorded 26 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, and one block.

The Kings come back from a first-half deficit to defeat the Grizzlies, 102-99

The Kings come back from a first-half deficit to defeat the Grizzlies, 102-99

It’s been twelve straight years that the Sacramento Kings have missed the playoffs.  The last time they were in the playoffs was in 2006 when Rick Adelman was the head coach.  The Kings ended up losing in the first round to Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs, 2-4.  Since then, they have yet to be above .500 until this season, winning 52 percent of their games.

The Kings are, however, trying to break a two-game losing streak and avoid a third straight loss at home.  They are pretty confident that they can do so as the Memphis Grizzlies will be visiting California to take them on tonight.  The Grizzlies have lost four in a row and if they fail to win tonight, they will suffer their longest losing streak of the season at five.

The Sacramento Kings and the Memphis Grizzlies have met up a grand total of 87 times in the past as the Kings won 47 games while the Grizzlies were kept to 40 victories.  This game tonight will mark the third of four meetings between these two teams this season.  November 16 was the last time they saw each other as the Grizzlies defeated the Kings, 112-104.  Jaren Jackson finished that game with 27 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks while De’Aaron Fox had 23 points, 4 rebounds, 10 assists, and 2 steals.

INACTIVES:

Memphis Grizzlies:

-Dillon Brooks (knee; 6.8 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.9 APG, 40.9 FG%, 36.8 3P%, 77.8 FT%)
-Chandler Parsons (knee; 5.7 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.7 APG, 41.2 FG%, 30.0 3P%)
-D.J. Stephens (G-League; 2.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 50.0 FG%)
-Omri Casspi (illness; 5.4 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.9 APG, 56.3 FG%, 36.0 3P%, 60.5 FT%)
-Joakim Noah (heel; 4.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.1 APG, 45.5 FG%, 64.3 FT%)
-Ivan Rabb (coach’s decision; 2.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 0.7 APG, 63.2 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 71.4 FT%)
-Yuta Watanabe (coach’s decision; 1.3 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.0 APG, 33.3 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)

Sacramento Kings:

-Marvin Bagley (knee; 12.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 0.9 APG, 53.6 FG%, 34.6 3P%, 68.3 FT%)
-Skal Labissiere (coach’s decision; 3.2 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.4 APG, 40.0 FG%, 30.0 3P%, 54.5 FT%)
-Frank Mason (coach’s decision; 5.2 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, 39.3 FG%, 19.0 3P%, 71.4 FT%)
-Ben McLemore (coach’s decision; 2.2 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 0.3 APG, 20.7 FG%, 31.6 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
-Troy Williams (G-League; 5.7 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 0.6 APG, 46.0 FG%, 34.1 3P%, 60.0 FT%)
-Harry Giles (G-League; 5.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1.2 APG, 47.6 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 52.0 FT%)
-Wenyen Gabriel (G-League)
-Zach Randolph

GAMETIME:

The Memphis Grizzlies would have complete control in the first half as they shot 54 percent from the field, keeping the Sacramento Kings at a very low 29 percent completion.  Rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. ended up scoring 12 points while recording 4 rebounds, one assist, and 2 blocks.  Jackson Jr. knocked down a trey in the first period while Mike Conley also dropped 12 points, earning all of them from beyond the arc.

New Jersey-native Kyle Anderson chipped in with 8 points on a perfect 100 percent shooting from the floor.  Marc Gasol was kept to just five points in the 18 minutes that he played but was able to hit a three-pointer late in the first quarter.  He was also able to grab 5 rebounds but ended up turning the ball over four times.  Shelvin Mack played the most minutes off the bench as he earned seven points, hitting a trey in the first period.

On the other end of the floor, Iman Shumpert, who has missed the previous three games, scored 11 of the Kings’ 40 first-half points.  He was able to knock down two three-pointers in the second quarter while De’Aaron Fox helped out with nine points on 38 percent shooting.  Fox ended up hitting a trey in the first quarter while dishing off 4 assists and committing 3 steals.

The 2016-2017 All-Rookie selection Buddy Hield contributed with six points but shot a team-low 18 percent from the floor in the first half.  He earned all six points from behind the three-point line while grabbing five rebounds.  Willie Cauley-Stein only had four points in the 19 minutes that he played but did happen to get his hands on 8 boards.  Former Minnesota Timberwolves’ forward Nemanja Bjelica played 15 minutes off the bench but was kept scoreless as the Memphis Grizzlies walked into the locker room with a commanding 53-40 advantage.

The home team would make an incredible comeback as they sparked up a huge 62 to 46 run, shooting 48 percent from the field.  During this comeback, Hield added to his scoring total as he lit the floor up with 22 points, hitting four treys in the fourth period.  Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 12 points off the bench while hitting 3 three-pointers in the process.

Shumpert quieted down in after an impressive first half, going completely scoreless in the second half.  Cauley-Stein chipped in with eight points while recording five rebounds, two assists, and one steal.  Bjelica played the most minutes off the Kings’ bench as he dropped eleven more points.

As for the visiting team, Garrett Temple tried to keep the Grizzlies in it as he dropped 15 points, shooting 83 percent from the field.  He was able to drill 3 three-pointers while Conley had eleven more points.  JaMychal Green scored four points off the bench but it wouldn’t matter as the Sacramento Kings succeed in the attempted comeback, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies, 102-99.  Buddy Hield finished the game with 28 points, 8 rebounds, one assist, and one steal while Mike Conley had 23 points, a season-high-tying 7 rebounds, 5 assists, one steal, and one block.

So…what’s next?

The Memphis Grizzlies will stay in California to take on LeBron James (28.0 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 7.0 APG, 52.0 FG%, 36.7 3P%) and the Los Angeles Lakers (18-13) on Sunday at 9:30 p.m.  This will mark the second of three times that these teams will see each other during this season.  The last time they battled each other was on December 8 when the Lakers handed the Grizzlies a blowout loss, 111-88.  During that game, Kyle Kuzma scored 20 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, dished off 6 assists, committed one steal and blocked one shot.  LeBron James also had 20 points, along with 8 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 steals while Wayne Selden finished with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and one block.

The Sacramento Kings will host Anthony Davis (28.0 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 4.7 APG, 50.4 FG%, 33.8 3P%) and the New Orleans Pelicans (15-17) on Sunday at 6:00 p.m.  This will be the second of four games that these two ball clubs will play against each other this season.  October 19 was the last time they played each other as the Pelicans escaped with a huge 149-129 victory.  Nikola Mirotic finished the game with 36 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists while Willie Cauley-Stein settled for 20 points, 7 rebounds, and one assist.

The Denver Nuggets prove they’re the best with a 95-86 win over the Toronto Raptors

The Denver Nuggets prove they’re the best with a 95-86 win over the Toronto Raptors

The best team in the Eastern Conference and the best team in the Western Conference will meet up tonight to battle it out in a must-see.  The Toronto Raptors will travel to Colorado to take on the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.  Neither team has lost more than ten games this season and have yet to lose five or more in a row.  The Raptors are coming off a 128-122 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers while the Nuggets are looking for their third straight victory.

The Toronto Raptors and the Denver Nuggets have battled each other a grand total of 45 times in the past as the Raptors won 18 games while the Nuggets went on to win 27 games.  This matchup will mark the second and final meeting between these two ball clubs this season.  The last time they played each other was on December 3 when the Nuggets pulled out with a 106 to 103 victory.  During that game, Nikola Jokic scored 23 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, dished off 15 assists, and committed 2 steals while Kawhi Leonard had 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists.

INACTIVES:

Toronto Raptors:

-Kyle Lowry (back; 14.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 10.0 APG, 43.6 FG%, 33.0 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
-Norman Powell (shoulder; 5.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.9 APG, 47.6 FG%, 40.9 3P%, 75.0 FT%)
-Pascal Siakam (back; 14.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 60.4 FG%, 36.7 3P%, 78.4 FT%)
-Jonas Valanciunas (thumb; 12.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, 57.5 FG%, 30.0 3P%, 81.9 FT%)
-Jordan Loyd (G-League; 4.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.3 APG, 100.0 FG%, 100.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Fred VanVleet (back; 9.7 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 4.5 APG, 42.5 FG%, 36.7 3P%, 76.9 FT%)

Denver Nuggets:

-Will Barton (hip/core; 16.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 57.1 FG%, 55.6 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Gary Harris (hip; 16.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.9 APG, 43.8 FG%, 32.4 3P%, 79.1 FT%)
-Paul Millsap (foot; 13.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 49.8 FG%, 40.0 3P%, 72.7 FT%)
-Michael Porter (back)
-Isaiah Thomas (hip)
-Jarred Vanderbilt (foot)
-Brandon Goodwin (coach’s decision)
-Tyler Lydon (coach’s decision; 1.8 PPG, 0.4 RPG, 0.0 APG, 75.0 FG%, 75.0 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
-Thomas Welsh (coach’s decision; 0.8 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.3 APG, 66.7 FG%, 50.0 3P%)

GAMETIME:

The Toronto Raptors would have the slight upper hand during the first half as they connected for 47 percent of their shots while the Denver Nuggets completed 35 percent.  Kawhi Leonard scored ten points in the beginning half while grabbing 6 rebounds and dishing off two assists.  Serge Ibaka also had ten points as he earned three of them from beyond the arc in the second quarter.  New York-native Danny Green chipped in with 7 points while Delon Wright had eight points.  OG Anunoby played nine minutes off the bench but was kept to just a three-pointer early in the second period.

On the other end of the floor, Nikola Jokic chalked up ten points of his own while shooting 40 percent from the field.  Jamal Murray, who is averaging 18 points a game this season, was limited to just a trey in the first quarter.  Mason Plumlee would score six points while Juancho Hernangomez was held scoreless.  Monte Morris played the most minutes off the bench but only dropped five points while the visiting team went into halftime with a 47-39 advantage.

The Colorado team would enter the second half with the mindset of completing a comeback, sparking up a 56 to 39 run.  During that run, Murray made up for his poor first-half performance, lighting the floor up with 16 points, knocking down two treys in the process.  He would finish the contest with a total of nineteen points.  Jokic also had 16 points as he collected six rebounds and gave out two assists.

Torrey Craig earned himself eight points while hitting two three-pointers in the third quarter.  Hernangomez would continue to struggle in the game as he only scored two points, all coming from the free-throw line.  Monte Morris played 22 minutes off the bench as he had seven points, including a three-pointer in the third.

As for the Canada team, Leonard stayed hot as he dropped nineteen more points, hitting a three-pointer in the third quarter.  Wright helped out with seven points but it wouldn’t matter as the Denver Nuggets come back from an eight-point deficit to win the game, 95-86.  Nikola Jokic finished the game with 26 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals while Kawhi Leonard had 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists.

So…what’s next?

The Toronto Raptors will host Victor Oladipo (20.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.0 APG, 43.4 FG%, 33.6 3P%) and the Indiana Pacers (19-10) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.  This game will mark the first of three matchups between these two teams this season.  The Raptors would win the regular-season series last season, 3-1.

The Denver Nuggets will host Harrison Barnes (17.9 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 41.7 FG%, 40.4 3P%) and the Dallas Mavericks (15-12) on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m.  This matchup will mark the first of three meetings between these ball clubs during this season.  Last season, both the Nuggets and Mavericks tied the regular-season series up at 2 apiece.

The Pistons end the Celtics’ eight-game winning streak, 113 to 104

The Pistons end the Celtics’ eight-game winning streak, 113 to 104

The Boston Celtics are currently in the midst of their longest winning streak this season, looking for their ninth straight victory.  They will hope to do that as they battle the Detroit Pistons at the Little Caesars Arena.  The Pistons, however, are facing the complete opposite situation.  They are trying to find a way to put an end to what is now a six-game skid.

The Celtics and the Pistons have played each other an inclusive total of 420 times in the past as Detroit Pistons won 156 games while the Boston team went on to win 264 matchups.  This meeting between the two teams will mark the third of four times that the Celtics and Pistons will battle each other during this season.

The last time they saw each other was on October 30 when the Celtics pulled out a 108-105 victory.  During that game, Kyrie scored 31 points, pulled down 5 rebounds, dished off 5 assists, and committed one steal while Blake Griffin finished with 24 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, and one block.

INACTIVES:

Boston Celtics:

-Jabari Bird (personal)
-Al Horford (knee; 12.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.4 APG, 49.1 FG%, 34.1 3P%, 70.0 FT%)
-Guerschon Yabusele (ankle; 1.8 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.4 APG, 32.0 FG%, 20.0 3P%, 87.5 FT%)
-Semi Ojeleye (coach’s decision; 3.7 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.1 APG, 39.7 FG%, 28.6 3P%, 63.6 FT%)
-Brad Wanamaker (coach’s decision; 3.2 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 1.4 APG, 48.1 FG%, 44.4 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
-PJ Dozier (G-League; 3.5 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 50.0 FG%, 50.0 3P%)

Detroit Pistons:

-Henry Ellenson (ankle; 6.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 40.0 FG%, 50.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Zaza Pachulia (illness; 4.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, 38.6 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 80.3 FT%)
-Glenn Robinson (ankle; 4.8 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 39.0 FG%, 30.6 3P%, 84.6 FT%)
-Ish Smith (groin; 9.2 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 3.0 APG, 41.5 FG%, 32.9 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
-Khyri Thomas (coach’s decision; 1.8 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 0.6 APG, 33.3 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
-Keenan Evans (G-League)
-Zach Lofton (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%)

GAMETIME:

With both the Pistons and the Celtics having something to prove, they played hard in the first half, shooting in the low 50-percents.  Kyrie Irving would get hot as he scored 17 of Boston’s 56 first-half points.  He nailed a three-pointer in the middle of the first period while recording 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.  Marcus Morris, who is averaging a career-high 15 points per game this season, was kept to just seven points in the 15 minutes that he played in the first half, finishing the game with a sum of nine points.

Jayson Tatum, Aron Baynes, and Marcus Smart all chipped in with six points each while Smart earned his from beyond the arc.  Gordon Hayward, who is still trying to bounce back from a nasty injury he endured in last season’s opener, played the most minutes off the bench but was kept to just two points.

On the other end of the floor, Blake Griffin put up 11 points on 36 percent shooting, including a trey in the first period.  Reggie Bullock, who missed the last five games due to an ankle injury, drilled two three-pointers and a free-throw to earn himself seven points.  Andre Drummond had 5 points in the first half but grabbed 6 rebounds and blocked one shot while recording one assist and one steal.  Langston Galloway played 15 minutes off the bench as he chalked up 10 points, helping the home team gain a 57-56 lead at halftime.

The Detroit Pistons would be about business in the second half as they went on a 56 to 48 run, shooting 46 percent from the field.  Griffin added 16 more points to his scoring total while earning four defensive rebounds and two assists.  He did, however, have five turnovers.  Andre Drummond contributed with 14 points while going up for 14 boards and preventing 3 shots from going in.  Jose Calderon, who is averaging a career-low two points a game this season, played the most minutes off the bench but was kept to just three points.

As for the Massachusetts team, Marcus Smart lit the floor up with 15 points while hitting three treys.  He also had 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals while Tatum helped out with 11 points.  Irving struggled in the last half as he was limited to just nine points on 23 percent shooting.  Hayward had four points off the bench but it wouldn’t matter much as the Pistons held on to end the Celtics’ eight-game winning streak, 113-104.  Blake Griffin finished the game with 27 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and one steal while Kyrie Irving had 26 points, a season-high-tying 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals.

So…what’s next?

The Boston Celtics will host T.J. Warren (18.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.3 APG, 52.1 FG%, 44.4 3P%) and the Phoenix Suns (5-24) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.  This matchup will mark the second and final meeting between these two ball clubs this season.  November 8 was the last time they met up as the Celtics escaped with a 116 to 109 victory.  Kyrie Irving finished that game with 39 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and one block while Devin Booker settled for 38 points, 3 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 steals.

The Detroit Pistons will host Giannis Antetokounmpo (26.6 PPG, 13.2 RPG, 6.1 APG, 58.2 FG%, 13.1 3P%) and the Milwaukee Bucks (19-9) on Monday at 7:00 p.m.  This will be the second of four games that these two teams will play against each other this season.  The last time they battled each other was on December 5 when the Pistons fell to the Bucks, 92-115.  During that game, Eric Bledsoe scored 27 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, dished off 4 assists, and committed 3 steals while Blake Griffin had 31 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and one block.