A lot of pretty important things happened on Monday night across the NBA, so here’s everything broken down for you as simply as possible.
— Klay Thompson led the dominant Warriors.
It wasn’t quite 37 points in a single quarter, but Thompson put on a show against Memphis on his home floor. This time it was 37 for Klay in the first half alone, thanks to remarkable 14-for-17 shooting from the field, including 7-of-8 from deep.
Thompson outscored the Grizz in the second quarter by himself, thanks predominantly to a ridiculous span in which he netted 23 consecutive points in less than seven minutes. There are no typos in that sentence. The Warriors — who’ve had the first seed seemingly locked up forever — looked like the much hungrier team, despite the fact that the Grizzlies were the team that’s still battling for playoff position.
Finally, in the fourth quarter, Memphis decided to make a game of it against the Golden State scrubs, after being down more than 30 earlier in the game. In the end, the Warriors still got it done. Oh, and Thompson wound up with only 42 points in his 30 minutes. No big deal.
— The Pelicans and Thunder battle for the eight seed comes down to Wednesday.
Both teams came away with crucial victories on Monday, which kept their respective seasons alive. The Pelicans topped the Wolves, while the Thunder beat the Blazers for the first time this season, and when they needed it most. Russell Westbrook had his 16th technical foul of the season rescinded, allowing him to play in the game, something that proved very necessary for OKC.
It was the stars that led the charge for both teams, as you may imagine. Westbrook went for 36 points to go along with 11 rebounds, seven assists and two thefts in the Thunder victory. But Anthony Davis kept his squad in control of the eight seed for the time being, posting a wild line himself: 24 points, 11 boards, six rejections, five helpers and a pair of steals.
OKC will face off with the Wolves on Wednesday, while NOLA will battle the Spurs. Clearly, the Pelicans have the tougher opponent, but who knows if Pop will elect to rest any/all of his stars in the finale for San Antonio. The math is pretty simple for New Orleans — win and they’re in. The only way the Thunder can get in is by winning and getting a loss from the Pelicans.
— The Celtics clinched a playoff spot — one more open spot in the east remains.
The Celtics, who entered the day with a 98 percent chance to make the postseason already, managed to clinch their spot on a night they were idle, thanks to the Bulls shellacking of the Nets. It’s a heck of an accomplishment for Brad Stevens and the C’s after the wild ride of a season they’ve been through. They traded their two “stars,” and added key pieces like Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, and now they’re headed to the playoffs because of their continued effort and growth. The Celts have finished off the season with a record of 23-12 with two games remaining.
In all likelihood the Cavs will be the team that Boston sees in the first-round. The only way the Celtics can drop to eighth, and play the Hawks, would be if the C’s lose their final two games and the Pacers win their final two games. However, one of three more teams still need to sneak into the playoff picture in the east. The Pacers have the inside track since they currently sit in that spot, and have two games remaining, but the Nets and Heat still have outside shots if everything goes their way.
When the Celtics overhauled their team and began a rebuild, nobody thought we would be seeing a LeBron vs. Boston playoff series just a couple of years later. But it’s sure looking like that’s what we’re going to get.
So there you have it. Monday was a busy night in the NBA, and I didn’t even mention that LeBron posted his second triple-double of the season against the Pistons. We had bigger fish to fry. Sounds like we can expect the same out of Wednesday.
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