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Friday, June 7, 2024

Publish Up: Finest within the West

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by Leo Sepkowitz | @LeoSepkowitz

Pete Walsh is taking the evening off to make amends for Ladies, so I’m subbing in for the Monday Publish Up. Final evening, the Spurs function gamers ignited a win towards the Thunder and the Warriors dominated the Knicks. No nail-biters, however some attention-grabbing tales anyway. Let’s get to it.

76ers (24-39) 106, Nets (37-27) 97
Dorrell Wright received scorching within the second quarter final evening, serving to the Sixers management a seven-point halftime lead. The 2 groups performed even within the third quarter as Deron Williams heated up for Brooklyn. The Nets had been inside 5 a number of instances within the mid-fourth quarter, however Philly held them off within the closing six minutes.

Wright completed with 15 off the bench for Philadelphia. Spencer Hawes blew up for twenty-four factors to go together with 10 boards, 7 dimes and a couple of blocks. Jrue Vacation and Thaddeus Younger additionally double-doubled for Philly. The workforce as a complete shot over 53 % from deep.

Brook Lopez had a robust first half for the Nets however was silent within the closing two quarters. He completed with 19 factors. Deron scored 27 with 13 dimes, and Joe Johnson added 20. Gerald Wallace continued his statistically embarrassing season with 4 factors, 1 rebound and 1 help.

I like him as a troublesome glue man who will be capable to deal with difficult defensive matchups within the Playoffs, however his lack of offense this yr has been wild. He’s averaging 8.4 factors on simply over 40 % taking pictures from the ground within the first yr of a 4-year, $40 million deal. He’d be a serious drawback if Brooklyn wasn’t owned by this man. Kris Humphries performed as many minutes as your niece on a coach’s resolution final evening. His $12 million annual price ticket may also be a difficulty if not for this man.

Spurs (49-15) 105, Thunder (47-17) 93
This was a giant recreation. The clear-cut two greatest groups within the West got here into the evening a recreation aside within the standings, with San Antonio having the leg-up on OKC. The Thunder may have evened issues up, however as a substitute fell two video games behind. I believe we’ll see these two groups within the Western Convention Finals, and the Spurs would possibly get residence court docket benefit due to Monday’s win.

The Thunder led by 10 after the primary quarter, however had been outscored 35-18 within the second and trailed going into the break. Tiago Splitter, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Inexperienced and Gary Neal had been the sparks for San Antonio’s run.

The Spurs, who had been once more with out Tony Parker, had been in a position to open up an 18-point lead after a 9-0 run to begin the fourth, and the Thunder by no means received again within the recreation.

Splitter led the Spurs in scoring and rebounding with 21 and 10. Leonard added 17 and Inexperienced scored 16. The Spurs can depend on totally different guys on any evening, and it looks as if Coach Pop offers the suitable gamers the right quantity of minutes each recreation. I don’t understand how he does it, however they’re my choose to win all of it.

OKC received 26 from Kevin Durant, 25 from Russell Westbrook and a double-double from Serge Ibaka, however solely 9 from Kevin Martin and the workforce dedicated 19 turnovers.

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Jazz (33-31) 103, Pistons (23-43) 90
Utah pulled away within the second quarter and sealed the sport with a robust fourth. The Jazz had been led by Mo Williams (20), Al Jefferson (16 and 10) and robust play from their second unit. Marvin Williams, Enes Kanter and Gordon Hayward every got here off the bench for no less than 13.

Detroit had six guys in double-figures, however no one scored greater than 15. Regardless of Greg Monroe’s 13 boards, they misplaced by 17 on the glass. That’s an unpleasant, ugly stat.

Nuggets (43-22) 108, Suns (22-42) 93
Denver’s offense rolled proper by means of Phoenix final evening. The workforce shot over 51 % from the ground, however received massive contributions from uncommon locations. Kosta Koufos led the workforce with 22 factors and Corey Brewer dropped 20. It’ll be powerful to beat Denver if these two every rating 20+. Fortunately for the remainder of the League, it’ll in all probability by no means occur once more.

Ty Lawson added 19 and Kenneth Faried narrowly missed a double-double. I can’t determine what to make of the Nuggets. Generally I discuss myself into considering that they’ll create a sneaky nightmare Playoff matchup for a veteran workforce that may’t catch their breath in Denver whereas Lawson & Co. endlessly run up and down the court docket.

Extra typically, I’m of the opinion that they’ve an excessive amount of depth and never sufficient star energy. Danilo Gallinari is surprisingly unreliable, Andre Iguodala’s offense disappears in a flash and it’s not clear that Lawson can run an actual half court docket offense. I just like the gamers themselves and hope they do effectively, however I’m nonetheless not offered.

Phoenix trailed by simply six getting into the fourth earlier than letting Denver draw back. Wes Johnson led the workforce with 18. In his final 7 video games, he’s scored 14, 8, 15, 5, 19, 5 and 18 factors. That’s comical inconsistency, however no less than he’s exhibiting some indicators of life after flopping miserably over his first 2+ years within the League. He’s actually on a workforce that may afford to provide him minutes whereas he tries to search out his stride. Newcomers Marcus Morris (16) and Hamed Haddadi (13 and eight ) had been productive within the loss.

Warriors (36-29) 92, Knicks (38-23) 63
The final time the Knicks and Warriors confronted off, Stephen Curry hit 11-of-13 threes on his solution to 54 factors in a Warriors loss. If he did that once more final evening, he would have wanted his teammates to mix for simply 10 factors to get a win.

New York merely received blown out in Golden State, combining for 21 factors between the second and fourth quarters. The dinged up Carmelo Anthony shot 4/15. Tyson Chandler tried simply 2 photographs. Iman Shumpert made solely 3/9 makes an attempt with no assists or rebounds. JR Smith shot 3/11 earlier than getting ejected. Jason Kidd was 0/3. Steve Novak was 0/6. Ouch.

It’s a nightmare begin to the Knicks’ west coast street journey, which can ship them to Denver, Portland, Los Angeles (Clippers) and Utah over the subsequent week. They lead the Pacers by just one recreation within the loss column and groups like Chicago, Brooklyn and Boston by 4 or 5 losses. Issues may shortly get dicey if Melo’s as banged up because it appears to be like.

This was additionally a giant win for the Warriors. Curry led the way in which with 26, David Lee went for 21 and 10 and Klay Thompson dropped 23. Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli totaled 21 boards. That’s a fantastic system for a Golden State win.

After a scorching first half of the season, Mark Jackson’s membership has began to slide just a little. They’d be the sixth seed if the Playoffs began tomorrow, however, in fact, it doesn’t. The Lakers, presently the ninth seed, path Golden State by simply two losses. I believe the Jazz will fall out of the postseason and the Rockets, Warriors and Lakers will spherical out the underside of the Convention.

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