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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Publish Up: Finest within the West

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by Leo Sepkowitz | @LeoSepkowitz

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

76ers (24-39) 106, Nets (37-27) 97
Dorrell Wright obtained 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 couple of occasions within the mid-fourth quarter, however Philly held them off within the ultimate six minutes.

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

Brook Lopez had a powerful first half for the Nets however was silent within the ultimate 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 tricky glue man who will be capable of deal with difficult defensive matchups within the Playoffs, however his lack of offense this 12 months has been wild. He’s averaging 8.4 factors on simply over 40 p.c capturing from the ground within the first 12 months of a 4-year, $40 million deal. He’d be a significant drawback if Brooklyn wasn’t owned by this man. Kris Humphries performed as many minutes as your niece on a coach’s choice final evening. His $12 million annual price ticket may additionally be a problem if not for this man.

Spurs (49-15) 105, Thunder (47-17) 93
This was a giant sport. The clear-cut two greatest groups within the West got here into the evening a sport aside within the standings, with San Antonio having the leg-up on OKC. The Thunder might 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 house courtroom 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 capable of open up an 18-point lead after a 9-0 run to begin the fourth, and the Thunder by no means obtained again within the sport.

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 provides the best gamers the proper quantity of minutes each sport. I don’t know the way he does it, however they’re my choose to win all of it.

OKC obtained 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 powerful fourth. The Jazz had been led by Mo Williams (20), Al Jefferson (16 and 10) and powerful play from their second unit. Marvin Williams, Enes Kanter and Gordon Hayward every got here off the bench for at the least 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 Phoenix final evening. The workforce shot over 51 p.c from the ground, however obtained huge contributions from uncommon locations. Kosta Koufos led the workforce with 22 factors and Corey Brewer dropped 20. It’ll be robust to beat Denver if these two every rating 20+. Fortunately for the remainder of the League, it’ll most likely by no means occur once more.

Ty Lawson added 19 and Kenneth Faried narrowly missed a double-double. I can’t resolve what to make of the Nuggets. Generally I discuss myself into considering that they will 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 courtroom.

Extra usually, 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 courtroom offense. I just like the gamers themselves and hope they do properly, however I’m nonetheless not offered.

Phoenix trailed by simply six coming 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 at the least 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 seek 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 approach 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 obtained 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 is able to ship them to Denver, Portland, Los Angeles (Clippers) and Utah over the subsequent week. They lead the Pacers by just one sport within the loss column and groups like Chicago, Brooklyn and Boston by 4 or 5 losses. Issues might rapidly get dicey if Melo’s as banged up because it seems to be.

This was additionally a giant win for the Warriors. Curry led the best way 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 terrific 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 might be the sixth seed if the Playoffs began tomorrow, however, after all, it doesn’t. The Lakers, at present 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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