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Ian Shankster
Ian Shankster
10 posts
Cam W.
Cam W.
5 posts
Pacers Fan
Pacers Fan
2 posts
Micky Deming
Micky Deming
2 posts
Frank Jenkins
Frank Jenkins
1 posts

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Hornets Fan

Pelicans lose for the seventh consecutive time to Pacers, 96-84 posted by Hornets Fan

Late in the third quarter on Tuesday night, Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday saw the lane open quickly with Anthony Davis standing just a few feet away.

But instead of seizing upon the advantage, it turned out to be another dismally executed play that kept Coach Monty Williams flustered for most of the game. Holiday tossed an errant pass that never got to Davis and resulted in a turnover.

With a chance to build momentum from Sunday's big road win against Oklahoma City, the Pelicans had another uneven performance and lost 96-84 to the Pacers at Bankers Fieldhouse.

It was their seventh consecutive loss to the Pacers; fifth straight on the road. The Pelicans (14-14) came in holding the eight-seed in the Western Conference after having won six of their past nine. The Pelicans also dropped their fourth consecutive road game against an Eastern Conference opponent. 

The Pelicans struggled throughout the game to execute offensively. They had too many empty possessions where the ball didn't move enough and they settled for jump shots.

Pelicans scored only 14 points in the second quarter, but the Pacers led by only a  44-40 margin at halftime. It stayed close because the Pacers didn’t have a player score more than nine points in the first half.

But the Pacers took control of the game in the third quarter after extended their lead to as much as 12.

During a stretch in the second quarter, Holiday missed four consecutive jumpers. Backup forward Ryan Anderson also forced too many shots, missing six of his first seven before fouling out in the fourth quarter with four points.

Continue reading "Pelicans lose for the seventh consecutive ..."

Nets Fan

Blueprint for Brooklyn Nets to Rebuild Via NBA Trade Market posted by Nets Fan

10-21 start, a disappointing 44-win finish and a second-round playoff loss bookended a discouraging season by management's standards. Now it seems as if general manager Billy King is looking to reconstruct his roster.

So, what does a team that pays a bigger luxury tax than any other do when its season starts to implode? It begins to prioritize the money just a little bit more. And there's nothing wrong with that.

You can't blame an owner who wants to spend when he wins but doesn't when he loses. Actually, there are advantages to keeping salary lower on unsuccessful teams, considering that getting below the luxury tax for a season helps you avoid paying a repeater tax in future years.

The Nets are in a unique situation: Most of the time, if an older team is underperforming and wants to deal away some of its bigger contracts, it'll look for young talent around which it can build.

The NBA's current climate promotes a sort of break-it-down-and-start-over environment for expensive teams that can't seem to find success. Except there is one problem which is specific to the Nets: The team doesn't have any valuable draft picks at any point in the near future.

We're talking nothing. Zilch.

Brooklyn could go five straight years—after sending its first-rounder to the Celtics this past summer—without selecting with its own first-round pick. 

Brooklyn may be four under .500 right now, but the schedule is in one of its lighter periods, starting with Sunday's home game against the Detroit Pistons, which the Nets won 110-105. Tuesday, the Nets host the

Continue reading "Blueprint for Brooklyn Nets to Rebuild ..."

Pacers Fan

Monroe, Drummond lead Pistons over Pacers, 119-109 posted by Pacers Fan

Greg Monroe had 19 points and 15 rebounds, Andre Drummond scored 20 points and the Pistons ended a four-game skid with a 119-109 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.

"What speaks to my coaching, better than anything, is we spent three days working on almost nothing but defense, give up 109 points, and our offense was fantastic," Stan Van Gundy said with a smile. "That tells you how good my teaching was, right there."

Brandon Jennings scored 14 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 15 for the Pistons.

Roy Hibbert paced Indiana with 19 points, but foul trouble sent him to the bench in the third quarter, and the Pistons took advantage. They outscored the Pacers 36-29 in the period to take an 11-point lead into the fourth.

Hibbert fouled out at 5:53 of the fourth quarter, putting a damper on Indiana's comeback bid. Solomon Hill and C.J. Watson both added 14 points in the losing effort.

"I was a little tentative, and that ultimately bit me," Hibbert said. "I could have done a better job."

The usually stalwart Indiana defense, which ranks No. 1 in the NBA in opponents' points per game (96.1), allowed the Pistons to shoot 54.7 percent from the field on the night, well above their season average of 41.3 percent (30th in the league).

Indiana shot 50.6 percent, but never could get the lead after Detroit tied it at 15 with 5:54 to go in the first quarter.

"They're a good team," Hibbert said of the Pistons. "They have a lot of pieces that have been there for a while. I didn't think it would take them long to get the chemistry going again."

Continue reading "Monroe, Drummond lead Pistons over Pacers, 119-109"

Bobcats Fan

Lance Stephenson Trade Rumors: posted by Bobcats Fan

The Charlotte Hornets may be feeling buyer's remorse as it looks into the possibility of trading Lance Stephenson less than a season after signing him. ESPN's Marc Stein reported Stephenson would not be welcomed back to the Pacers which complicates the Hornet’s game plan in trying to move Stephenson.

He wore out the Pacers when he was with them and now seemingly has already worn out the Hornets and with no takers in sight, the Hornets are most likely stuck with Stephenson like it or not.

Yet all hope is not lost for Charlotte who still might be able to unload Stephenson back to the Pacers but it would cost them a first round attachment, something Charlotte is not willing to do.

If the Hornets move Stephenson, they'll be selling low on the 24-year-old. Through 23 games with his new team, the polarizing guard is averaging just 10.4 points per game, shooting 38.9 percent from the field and and 8-of-48 from three-point range. 

Still, a backcourt of Stephenson, Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist simply doesn't provide enough shooting for the Hornets, who are 6-17 after entering the season with lofty expectations. 

With Walker seen as the team's future point guard and Kidd-Gilchrist still on a friendly rookie contract, moving Stephenson makes the most sense. Moreover, as Stein noted, a non-guaranteed third year on his new contract makes him a more enticing target for potential suitors. 

Stephenson is an immense talent capable of making a positive impact on both sides of the ball, but there have also been concerns about him as a teammate. 

Continue reading "Lance Stephenson Trade Rumors:"


Pacers Fan

Indiana Pacers Preseason Report 2014 posted by Pacers Fan

The 2013-2014 season looked very promising for the Indiana Pacers, but they failed in the playoffs. The initial half of the season was quite explosive with 33 wins and only 7 losses, with great contributions from Lance Stephenson and Paul George. Apart from these two great players, the Pacers also have an excellent defense, and the team was in the lead position for lowest percentage of opponent field goal. However, the Pacers may not have an excellent offense, and their offense usually starts slowly during the game. 

Frank Vogel, who is a good coach, came under the scanner, as the team failed to advance in the playoffs. For season 2014-2015, the question remains whether any changes are going to make things better for the Pacers. Judging by the performance of each player in the last season, Paul George seems to be on top. He played great offense, and also came very near to the title of Defensive Player of the Year. If he keeps playing the same game, and does not let the last season cloud his judgment, George will continue to be the top player.

Lance Stephenson, on the other hand has some unique moves, and his antics seems to grab headlines during playoffs. Sometimes he might seem deranged but ensuring the victory of his team is his primary focus. Larry Bird seems to be convinced about keeping him, and he has re-signed Stephenson for the team.

Another strong force of Indiana Pacers is David West, who backed the team and gave his best when things started going south for the Pacers. He was very willful during the playoffs and could have been the only reason, the pacers managed to play the last playoff game. The team definitely needs his leadership and confidence. If the Indiana Pacers manage to keep these three players, and they play as expected, there are good chances for the team to reach the finals.

Continue reading "Indiana Pacers Preseason Report 2014"


Frank Jenkins

Fired up for a fun NBA season! posted by Frank Jenkins

Hey gang!

I am excited as the new NBA season approaches. The preseason started last night and that means that we are less than four weeks away from the start of the season. I've got my Gamecenter online so that I can watch games with my computer. I'll spend time on this blog talking about what games I've watched and other exciting news and notes from the NBA. 

I have several teams that I love, but my top two teams are the Magic and the Pacers. I used to live in the Orlando area for several years and now live closest to the Pacers. If I get to any of the Pacer games live, then I'll also post pictures from those.

Let's get ready for a fun year. Over the next couple weeks, I'll give you my insights as to who might win the trophy in June.

Frank

Continue reading "Fired up for a fun NBA season!"


Micky Deming

The Need for Relevance posted by Micky Deming

As a Pacer fan, the obvious highlight of my season was the ESPN 30 for 30 story on Reggie Miller vs the New York Knicks. I loved every second of the documentary. I thought it was put together very well, and the best part was all of the memories it brought back.

On the other hand it was bitter-sweet in some ways. The Pacers have been awful for the last few years, but I have still enjoyed the NBA and told myself, "It's OK that the Pacers aren't competitive because it is still great to watch all of these high profile teams go at it in the Playoffs." 

 But that was wrong. There is something incredible about living and dying with every point in an NBA Playoff series. And Pacer fans got to experience that excitement consistently from the mid 90's to the early 00's. Honestly, I took it for granted. And seeing those old games again, I remembered how much I hated the Knicks and how much I cared about how those games turned out. It reminded me that the Pacers used to matter. And I want that again so badly. I want our games to be meaningful; relevant. I want to sit at work all day and be thinking about what is going to happen in the game tonight.

Which brings us to the lottery. The Pacers have never been a serious contender for the top pick in the lottery. In fact, the last two years they finished 9th in the East, just out of the playoffs, and a long way from the top talent in the draft. To me, it seems silly to act like a top pick in the draft is the only way the team can get good, but a glance at the top of the league shows that you have to score big with a superstar or you will never be good.

Continue reading "The Need for Relevance"


Colin Linneweber

Ron Artest is an alcoholic lunatic posted by Colin Linneweber

Psychotic Los Angeles Lakers small forward Ron Artest claimed this week that he boozed a French cognac during games when he played for the Chicago Bulls from 1999-2002.

 

“I used to drink Hennessy at halftime,” Artest, 30, said in an interview with the Sporting News. “I kept it in my locker. I’d just walk to the liquor store and get it.”

 

Artest, who was born and raised in the Queensbridge projects in Queens, New York, played college basketball at St. John’s University and he was selected by the Bulls with the 16th overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft.

 

“When I was a 19-year-old father, whew. I was a single pimp! I was wild,” said the unbalanced hoopster who infamously once attended a practice with the Indiana Pacers donning only a bath robe. “A lot of marijuana and alcohol. I still party and have fun, but not like I used to. I used to drink every night and party every night.”

 

Artest, the 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year and four-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection, also revealed to the famed athletic periodical that he doesn’t regret as a Pacer inciting the violent brawl in Detroit that halted a contest against the Pistons.

 

The vicious melee “wasn’t my fault…I don’t see anything I could have done differently.”

 

Artest is simply crazier than a shithouse rat.

 

The ghetto ballplayer from Gotham needlessly mugged Pistons center Ben Wallace in the waning minutes of a Pacers blowout victory in November 2004.

Continue reading "Ron Artest is an alcoholic lunatic"


Andy Charles

Jackson just can’t get his way posted by Andy Charles

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Jackson just can’t seemingly learn how to behave – it doesn’t matter where he plays or what he does, he’s always in the headlines for the wrong reasons either on or off the court.

After a relatively quiet start to his career in San Antonio and Atlanta, ever since he arrived with the dysfunctional Indiana Pacers at the start of the 2004-5 season it has been a long downhill run for the swingman.

Within a couple of months of his Pacer debut, he was handed a 30-game ban for his role in the Palace of Auburn Hills brawl and the season after he was charged with criminal recklessness for firing his gun during an altercation outside a strip club in Indianapolis.

Although things were better for him after a trade to Golden State in early 2007, he was ejected twice during their NBA playoff series win over Dallas, but he did go on to become an important cog in Don Nelson’s team until his demand for a trade this summer.

His latest indiscretion came last week when he had a very public falling out with coach Nelson on the bench at an exhibition game with the Los Angeles Lakers and was suspended for two further games, albeit pre-season warm-ups.

Sadly for the Warriors, Jackson is their best option at the swing position and they are keen to get him back on court, but is a disgruntled player going to be much help to their younger stars in the making, players who have a big future in front of them like Stephen Curry, Anthony Randolph and Anthony Morrow.

But they cannot afford to buy Jackson out given that his contract calls for him to be paid $7.6m this season before an extension kicks in at the start of next season that will earn him $27.8m more over three years.

Continue reading "Jackson just can’t get his way"


Ian Shankster

NBA Playoff Predictions posted by Ian Shankster

At this point in the summer I am going to break down who I think is going to land in the playoffs after the nine.ten. This is based on what has happened so far around the league.

Western Conference Playoffs:

1. Los Angeles Lakers

2. San Antonio Spurs

3. Portland Trailblazers

4. Dallas Mavericks

5. Denver Nuggets

6. Utah Jazz

7. Phoenix Suns

8. New Orleans Hornets 

Easter Conference Playoffs:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

2. Boston Celtics

3. Miami Heat

4. Orlando Magic

5. Chicago Bulls

6. Atlanta Hawks

7. Toronto Raptors

8. Indiana Pacers 

The turnover from last year is small with the Suns replacing the Rockets in the Western Conference and the Raptors and Pacers replacing the Sixers and Pistons in the Eastern Conference. There is however, some movement in the standings, except at the top. 

Continue reading "NBA Playoff Predictions"

Indiana Pacers News

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NBA Playoff Picture Update: Pelicans overtake Thunder out West, Heat stay alive in East (Ball

With just more than one week remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. The NBA Playoff Picture Update keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] The Pell-I-can't! When Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced he wouldn't be resting anybody for Tuesday's matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans — a game that the Warriors didn't need after having clinched home-court advantage , but that the Pelicans needed desperately in their pursuit of the West's No. 8 seed — I wondered whether the Pelicans might wind up on the business end of the same sort of brutal, race-changing beat the Dubs handed the Phoenix Suns. This time, though, the bounce went the other way: After draining a tough 3-pointer with Quincy Pondexter draped all over him to tie the game at 100, Stephen Curry had a crack at another game-tying 3-ball to once again knot the contest at 103. As he pulled up, Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham elevated to contest; Curry jumped into him, but didn't get a foul call. As he came down, Curry released the ball, allowing it to bounce next to him before retrieving it with just more than two seconds remaining and launching a 3. It rolled around the inside of the rim before bouncing out, giving the Pelicans a huge 103-100 win that moved them past the Oklahoma City Thunder into eighth place. It was a fitting conclusion to a wild game that featured 11 ties, 16 lead changes and an array of dramatic moments in the closing minutes. There was Anthony Davis' huge and-one finish through contact out of the pick-and-roll to give the Pelicans a four-point lead with 1:21 remaining: ... followed by Curry's stepback bomb over Pondexter: ... followed by Tyreke Evans getting a benefit-of-the-doubt foul call against Andre Iguodala after dribbling the ball off his own leg and falling down, which led to a trip to the line for what would become the game-winning free throw: ... followed by Curry getting a great look at an 8-foot runner that would have given the Warriors the lead with 10 ticks left: ... followed by the potential game-tying miss. Which, by the way, was a pretty fortunate outcome for the officials, who would have had to explain to Monty Williams and a legion of angry Pelicans fans why Curry was allowed to attempt the shot in the first place. Curry's touch seemed to represent either A) a violation of the rule against a shooter being the first person to touch the ball if his shot fails to hit the backboard, the rim or another player, or B) a violation of the rule against a ball-handler being the first player to touch the ball after dropping the ball while in the air. Either way, as FanSided's Jared Wade noted , something illegal happened on that play. Luckily, it didn't wind up mattering. Davis missed eight of his 10 shots in the first half, thanks in part to the interior defense of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green. In the second half, though, he played like a superstar desperate to make his postseason debut. The 22-year-old marvel scored 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting after intermission, teaming up with center Omer Asik for score the first 10 points of the third quarter and chopping Golden State's halftime lead down to two just three minutes into the second half. Nearly the entire rest of the game was played within a two-possession margin — a hard-fought, nip-and-tuck finish that was anything but the "scrimmage" that the Warriors allegedly believed they were in for — with Davis' shot-making and shot-deterring tilting both the game and the race for the eighth seed in New Orleans' favor. The All-Star power forward finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes to lead the way. Pondexter added 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from beyond the arc, along with tight perimeter defense. Evans chipped in 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals for the Pelicans, who now sit a half-game up on the Thunder ... who didn't have such a great night. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Second verse, same as the first: Just two weeks removed from taking a 39-point beating at the hands of the Spurs, Scott Brooks' squad once again fell victim to a San Antonio pasting on Wednesday. The Spurs walloped the Thunder, 113-88 , to run their winning streak to eight and improve to 18-3 over their last 21 games. This game was over nearly as soon as it got started, as the Spurs clamped down to hold the Thunder to a season-low 10 points in the first quarter on 4-for-21 shooting, with San Antonio scoring nine points off six Oklahoma City turnovers to take a 19-point lead after 12 minutes. Your emblematic early-game possession: Kawhi Leonard continuing his larcenous ways by victimizing Kyle Singler to create a runout dunk. Leonard maintained his brilliant recent form, scoring 23 points in the first half alone to stake San Antonio to a 22-point halftime lead. Oklahoma City never even really flirted with a run to get back into things; as a result, Leonard didn't play after the 7:40 mark of the third. He finished with 26 points — matching his regular-season career-high, which he's now hit four times this season, and in two straight games — to go with three steals, two rebounds and two assists in just 24 minutes. Five other Spurs scored in double figures, led by 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks from Tim Duncan. The future Hall of Famer also added three assists, including this honey of an alley-oop feed to Leonard: San Antonio led by as many as 34 points against a Thunder team that, frankly, looks absolutely spent after fighting so hard to maintain playoff positioning without injured stars Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. With Russell Westbrook continuing to seem somewhat the worse for wear (17 points on 7-for-16 shooting with six steals, two assists and four turnovers) after spending February and March playing the role of Superman, Oklahoma City just looked completely outclassed by the in-form Spurs, leading coach Gregg Popovich to express some postgame sympathy for the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com : "No matter how you slice it, it is just not a fair fight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Nobody is going to give back the win. We are going to take the win and I thought we played well, but you just still feel badly when you see Kevin in that chair out there and the other guys are hurt. It is just not a fair fight." [...] "You've got to feel badly for these guys," Popovich said. "You feel sorry for them, but you're proud of them at the same time because they play the right way and they do everything they can to win. They don't cry. They just go play." That, unfortunately, hasn't been enough of late. Oklahoma City's now lost four straight and six of seven to fall to ninth place in the West, a half-game behind the Pelicans. And with New Orleans holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Thunder thanks to a bonkers game-winning 3 by Davis two months ago, Oklahoma City no longer controls its own destiny, no matter what Westbrook and Dion Waiters seem to think. If the Thunder don't finish one game up on New Orleans, they'll be watching the playoffs for the first time 2009. All's not lost just yet. The Thunder finish the season with matchups against the playing-out-the-string Sacramento Kings, the not-quite-world-beating (but recently reinvigorated ) Indiana Pacers, a Portland Trail Blazers squad likely already resigned to opening the playoffs on the road and a Minnesota Timberwolves team with little incentive to win again this season. The Pelicans, on the other hand, still have three games left against Western playoff squads, including a last-day-of-the-season date with these Spurs. The door's still open. But for the Thunder to walk through it and into the playoffs, they'll have to start playing like they belong there. “Nobody going to come through the door and save us,” said Waiters after the game, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman . At this stage, though, it's not clear whether the Thunder can save themselves. Survive and ... well, just survive: Goran Dragic scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, pairing slithery drives to the cup with deadeye shooting to push the Miami Heat to a 105-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The win lifts Miami back into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics and a half-game ahead of the Pacers. The loss drops 11th-place Charlotte a full two games back of Boston with just five games left on its schedule. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NBA Playoff Picture Update: Pelicans overtake Thunder out West, Heat stay alive in East (Ball

With just more than one week remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. The NBA Playoff Picture Update keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] The Pell-I-can't! When Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced he wouldn't be resting anybody for Tuesday's matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans — a game that the Warriors didn't need after having clinched home-court advantage , but that the Pelicans needed desperately in their pursuit of the West's No. 8 seed — I wondered whether the Pelicans might wind up on the business end of the same sort of brutal, race-changing beat the Dubs handed the Phoenix Suns. This time, though, the bounce went the other way: After draining a tough 3-pointer with Quincy Pondexter draped all over him to tie the game at 100, Stephen Curry had a crack at another game-tying 3-ball to once again knot the contest at 103. As he pulled up, Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham elevated to contest; Curry jumped into him, but didn't get a foul call. As he came down, Curry released the ball, allowing it to bounce next to him before retrieving it with just more than two seconds remaining and launching a 3. It rolled around the inside of the rim before bouncing out, giving the Pelicans a huge 103-100 win that moved them past the Oklahoma City Thunder into eighth place. It was a fitting conclusion to a wild game that featured 11 ties, 16 lead changes and an array of dramatic moments in the closing minutes. There was Anthony Davis' huge and-one finish through contact out of the pick-and-roll to give the Pelicans a four-point lead with 1:21 remaining: ... followed by Curry's stepback bomb over Pondexter: ... followed by Tyreke Evans getting a benefit-of-the-doubt foul call against Andre Iguodala after dribbling the ball off his own leg and falling down, which led to a trip to the line for what would become the game-winning free throw: ... followed by Curry getting a great look at an 8-foot runner that would have given the Warriors the lead with 10 ticks left: ... followed by the potential game-tying miss. Which, by the way, was a pretty fortunate outcome for the officials, who would have had to explain to Monty Williams and a legion of angry Pelicans fans why Curry was allowed to attempt the shot in the first place. Curry's touch seemed to represent either A) a violation of the rule against a shooter being the first person to touch the ball if his shot fails to hit the backboard, the rim or another player, or B) a violation of the rule against a ball-handler being the first player to touch the ball after dropping the ball while in the air. Either way, as FanSided's Jared Wade noted , something illegal happened on that play. Luckily, it didn't wind up mattering. Davis missed eight of his 10 shots in the first half, thanks in part tothe interior defense of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green. In the second half, though, he played like a superstar desperate to make his postseason debut. The 22-year-old marvel scored 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting after intermission, teaming up with center Omer Asik for score the first 10 points of the third quarter and chopping Golden State's halftime lead down to two just three minutes into the second half. Nearly the entire rest of the game was played within a two-possession margin — a hard-fought, nip-and-tuck finish that was anything but the "scrimmage" that the Warriors allegedly believed they were in for — with Davis' shot-making and shot-deterring tilting both the game and the race for the eighth seed in New Orleans' favor. The All-Star power forward finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes to lead the way. Pondexter added 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from beyond the arc, along with tight perimeter defense. Evans chipped in 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals for the Pelicans, who now sit a half-game up on the Thunder ... who didn't have such a great night. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Second verse, same as the first: Just two weeks removed from taking a 39-point beating at the hands of the Spurs, Scott Brooks' squad once again fell victim to a San Antonio pasting on Wednesday. The Spurs walloped the Thunder, 113-88 , to run their winning streak to eight and improve to 18-3 over their last 21 games. This game was over nearly as soon as it got started, as the Spurs clamped down to hold the Thunder to a season-low 10 points in the first quarter on 4-for-21 shooting, with San Antonio scoring nine points off six Oklahoma City turnovers to take a 19-point lead after 12 minutes. Your emblematic early-game possession: Kawhi Leonard continuing his larcenous ways by victimizing Kyle Singler to create a runout dunk. Leonard maintained his brilliant recent form, scoring 23 points in the first half alone to stake San Antonio to a 22-point halftime lead. Oklahoma City never even really flirted with a run to get back into things; as a result, Leonard didn't play after the 7:40 mark of the third. He finished with 26 points — matching his regular-season career-high, which he's now hit four times this season, and in two straight games — to go with three steals, two rebounds and two assists in just 24 minutes. Five other Spurs scored in double figures, led by 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks from Tim Duncan. The future Hall of Famer also added three assists, including this honey of an alley-oop feed to Leonard: San Antonio led by as many as 34 points against a Thunder team that, frankly, looks absolutely spent after fighting so hard to maintain playoff positioning without injured stars Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. With Russell Westbrook continuing to seem somewhat the worse for wear (17 points on 7-for-16 shooting with six steals, two assists and four turnovers) after spending February and March playing the role of Superman, Oklahoma City just looked completely outclassed by the in-form Spurs, leading coach Gregg Popovich to express some postgame sympathy for the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com : "No matter how you slice it, it is just not a fair fight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Nobody is going to give back the win. We are going to take the win and I thought we played well, but you just still feel badly when you see Kevin in that chair out there and the other guys are hurt. It is just not a fair fight." [...] "You've got to feel badly for these guys," Popovich said. "You feel sorry for them, but you're proud of them at the same time because they play the right way and they do everything they can to win. They don't cry. They just go play." That, unfortunately, hasn't been enough of late. Oklahoma City's now lost four straight and six of seven to fall to ninth place in the West, a half-game behind the Pelicans. And with New Orleans holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Thunder thanks to a bonkers game-winning 3 by Davis two months ago, Oklahoma City no longer controls its own destiny, no matter what Westbrook and Dion Waiters seem to think. If the Thunder don't finish one game up on New Orleans, they'll be watching the playoffs for the first time 2009. All's not lost just yet. The Thunder finish the season with matchups against the playing-out-the-string Sacramento Kings, the not-quite-world-beating (but recently reinvigorated ) Indiana Pacers, a Portland Trail Blazers squad likely already resigned to opening the playoffs on the road and a Minnesota Timberwolves team with little incentive to win again this season. The Pelicans, on the other hand, still have three games left against Western playoff squads, including a last-day-of-the-season date with these Spurs. The door's still open. But for the Thunder to walk through it and into the playoffs, they'll have to start playing like they belong there. “Nobody going to come through the door and save us,” said Waiters after the game, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman . At this stage, though, it's not clear whether the Thunder can save themselves. Survive and ... well, just survive: Goran Dragic scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, pairing slithery drives to the cup with deadeye shooting to push the Miami Heat to a 105-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The win lifts Miami back into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics and a half-game ahead of the Pacers. The loss drops 11th-place Charlotte a full two games back of Boston with just five games left on its schedule. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NBA Playoff Picture Update: Pelicans overtake Thunder out West, Heat stay alive in East (Ball

With just more than one week remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. The NBA Playoff Picture Update keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] The Pell-I-can't! When Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced he wouldn't be resting anybody for Tuesday's matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans — a game that the Warriors didn't need after having clinched home-court advantage , but that the Pelicans needed desperately in their pursuit of the West's No. 8 seed — I wondered whether the Pelicans might wind up on the business end of the same sort of brutal, race-changing beat the Dubs handed the Phoenix Suns. This time, though, the bounce went the other way: After draining a tough 3-pointer with Quincy Pondexter draped all over him to tie the game at 100, Stephen Curry had a crack at another game-tying 3-ball to once again knot the contest at 103. As he pulled up, Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham elevated to contest; Curry jumped into him, but didn't get a foul call. As he came down, Curry released the ball, allowing it to bounce next to him before retrieving it with just more than two seconds remaining and launching a 3. It rolled around the inside of the rim before bouncing out, giving the Pelicans a huge 103-100 win that moved them past the Oklahoma City Thunder into eighth place. It was a fitting conclusion to a wild game that featured 11 ties, 16 lead changes and an array of dramatic moments in the closing minutes. There was Anthony Davis' huge and-one finish through contact out of the pick-and-roll to give the Pelicans a four-point lead with 1:21 remaining: ... followed by Curry's stepback bomb over Pondexter: ... followed by Tyreke Evans getting a benefit-of-the-doubt foul call against Andre Iguodala after dribbling the ball off his own leg and falling down, which led to a trip to the line for what would become the game-winning free throw: ... followed by Curry getting a great look at an 8-foot runner that would have given the Warriors the lead with 10 ticks left: ... followed by the potential game-tying miss. Which, by the way, was a pretty fortunate outcome for the officials, who would have had to explain to Monty Williams and a legion of angry Pelicans fans why Curry was allowed to attempt the shot in the first place. Curry's touch seemed to represent either A) a violation of the rule against a shooter being the first person to touch the ball if his shot fails to hit the backboard, the rim or another player, or B) a violation of the rule against a ball-handler being the first player to touch the ball after dropping the ball while in the air. Either way, as FanSided's Jared Wade noted , something illegal happened on that play. Luckily, it didn't wind up mattering. Davis missed eight of his 10 shots in the firsthalf, thanks in part to the interior defense of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green. In the second half, though, he played like a superstar desperate to make his postseason debut. The 22-year-old marvel scored 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting after intermission, teaming up with center Omer Asik for score the first 10 points of the third quarter and chopping Golden State's halftime lead down to two just three minutes into the second half. Nearly the entire rest of the game was played within a two-possession margin — a hard-fought, nip-and-tuck finish that was anything but the "scrimmage" that the Warriors allegedly believed they were in for — with Davis' shot-making and shot-deterring tilting both the game and the race for the eighth seed in New Orleans' favor. The All-Star power forward finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes to lead the way. Pondexter added 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from beyond the arc, along with tight perimeter defense. Evans chipped in 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals for the Pelicans, who now sit a half-game up on the Thunder ... who didn't have such a great night. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Second verse, same as the first: Just two weeks removed from taking a 39-point beating at the hands of the Spurs, Scott Brooks' squad once again fell victim to a San Antonio pasting on Wednesday. The Spurs walloped the Thunder, 113-88 , to run their winning streak to eight and improve to 18-3 over their last 21 games. This game was over nearly as soon as it got started, as the Spurs clamped down to hold the Thunder to a season-low 10 points in the first quarter on 4-for-21 shooting, with San Antonio scoring nine points off six Oklahoma City turnovers to take a 19-point lead after 12 minutes. Your emblematic early-game possession: Kawhi Leonard continuing his larcenous ways by victimizing Kyle Singler to create a runout dunk. Leonard maintained his brilliant recent form, scoring 23 points in the first half alone to stake San Antonio to a 22-point halftime lead. Oklahoma City never even really flirted with a run to get back into things; as a result, Leonard didn't play after the 7:40 mark of the third. He finished with 26 points — matching his regular-season career-high, which he's now hit four times this season, and in two straight games — to go with three steals, two rebounds and two assists in just 24 minutes. Five other Spurs scored in double figures, led by 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks from Tim Duncan. The future Hall of Famer also added three assists, including this honey of an alley-oop feed to Leonard: San Antonio led by as many as 34 points against a Thunder team that, frankly, looks absolutely spent after fighting so hard to maintain playoff positioning without injured stars Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. With Russell Westbrook continuing to seem somewhat the worse for wear (17 points on 7-for-16 shooting with six steals, two assists and four turnovers) after spending February and March playing the role of Superman, Oklahoma City just looked completely outclassed by the in-form Spurs, leading coach Gregg Popovich to express some postgame sympathy for the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com : "No matter how you slice it, it is just not a fair fight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Nobody is going to give back the win. We are going to take the win and I thought we played well, but you just still feel badly when you see Kevin in that chair out there and the other guys are hurt. It is just not a fair fight." [...] "You've got to feel badly for these guys," Popovich said. "You feel sorry for them, but you're proud of them at the same time because they play the right way and they do everything they can to win. They don't cry. They just go play." That, unfortunately, hasn't been enough of late. Oklahoma City's now lost four straight and six of seven to fall to ninth place in the West, a half-game behind the Pelicans. And with New Orleans holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Thunder thanks to a bonkers game-winning 3 by Davis two months ago, Oklahoma City no longer controls its own destiny, no matter what Westbrook and Dion Waiters seem to think. If the Thunder don't finish one game up on New Orleans, they'll be watching the playoffs for the first time 2009. All's not lost just yet. The Thunder finish the season with matchups against the playing-out-the-string Sacramento Kings, the not-quite-world-beating (but recently reinvigorated ) Indiana Pacers, a Portland Trail Blazers squad likely already resigned to opening the playoffs on the road and a Minnesota Timberwolves team with little incentive to win again this season. The Pelicans, on the other hand, still have three games left against Western playoff squads, including a last-day-of-the-season date with these Spurs. The door's still open. But for the Thunder to walk through it and into the playoffs, they'll have to start playing like they belong there. “Nobody going to come through the door and save us,” said Waiters after the game, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman . At this stage, though, it's not clear whether the Thunder can save themselves. Survive and ... well, just survive: Goran Dragic scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, pairing slithery drives to the cup with deadeye shooting to push the Miami Heat to a 105-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The win lifts Miami back into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics and a half-game ahead of the Pacers. The loss drops 11th-place Charlotte a full two games back of Boston with just five games left on its schedule. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NBA Playoff Picture Update: Pelicans overtake Thunder out West, Heat stay alive in East (Ball

With just more than one week remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. The NBA Playoff Picture Update keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] The Pell-I-can't! When Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced he wouldn't be resting anybody for Tuesday's matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans — a game that the Warriors didn't need after having clinched home-court advantage , but that the Pelicans needed desperately in their pursuit of the West's No. 8 seed — I wondered whether the Pelicans might wind up on the business end of the same sort of brutal, race-changing beat the Dubs handed the Phoenix Suns. This time, though, the bounce went the other way: After draining a tough 3-pointer with Quincy Pondexter draped all over him to tie the game at 100, Stephen Curry had a crack at another game-tying 3-ball to once again knot the contest at 103. As he pulled up, Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham elevated to contest; Curry jumped into him, but didn't get a foul call. As he came down, Curry released the ball, allowing it to bounce next to him before retrieving it with just more than two seconds remaining and launching a 3. It rolled around the inside of the rim before bouncing out, giving the Pelicans a huge 103-100 win that moved them past the Oklahoma City Thunder into eighth place. It was a fitting conclusion to a wild game that featured 11 ties, 16 lead changes and an array of dramatic moments in the closing minutes. There was Anthony Davis' huge and-one finish through contact out of the pick-and-roll to give the Pelicans a four-point lead with 1:21 remaining: ... followed by Curry's stepback bomb over Pondexter: ... followed by Tyreke Evans getting a benefit-of-the-doubt foul call against Andre Iguodala after dribbling the ball off his own leg and falling down, which led to a trip to the line for what would become the game-winning free throw: ... followed by Curry getting a great look at an 8-foot runner that would have given the Warriors the lead with 10 ticks left: ... followed by the potential game-tying miss. Which, by the way, was a pretty fortunate outcome for the officials, who would have had to explain to Monty Williams and a legion of angry Pelicans fans why Curry was allowed to attempt the shot in the first place. Curry's touch seemed to represent either A) a violation of the rule against a shooter being the first person to touch the ball if his shot fails to hit the backboard, the rim or another player, or B) a violation of the rule against a ball-handler being the first player to touch the ball after dropping the ball while in the air. Either way, as FanSided's Jared Wade noted , something illegal happened on that play. Luckily, it didn't wind up mattering. Davis missed eight of his 10 shots in the first half, thanks in part to the interior defense of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green. In the second half, though, he played like a superstar desperate to make his postseason debut. The 22-year-old marvel scored 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting after intermission, teaming up with center Omer Asik for score the first 10 points of the third quarter and chopping Golden State's halftime lead down to two just three minutes into the second half. Nearly the entire rest of the game was played within a two-possession margin — a hard-fought, nip-and-tuck finish that was anything but the "scrimmage" that the Warriors allegedly believed they were in for — with Davis' shot-making and shot-deterring tilting both the game and the race for the eighth seed in New Orleans' favor. The All-Star power forward finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes to lead the way. Pondexter added 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from beyond the arc, along with tight perimeter defense. Evans chipped in 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals for the Pelicans, who now sit a half-game up on the Thunder ... who didn't have such a great night. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Second verse, same as the first: Just two weeks removed from taking a 39-point beating at the hands of the Spurs, Scott Brooks' squad once again fell victim to a San Antonio pasting on Wednesday. The Spurs walloped the Thunder, 113-88 , to run their winning streak to eight and improve to 18-3 over their last 21 games. This game was over nearly as soon as it got started, as the Spurs clamped down to hold the Thunder to a season-low 10 points in the first quarter on 4-for-21 shooting, with San Antonio scoring nine points off six Oklahoma City turnovers to take a 19-point lead after 12 minutes. Your emblematic early-game possession: Kawhi Leonard continuing his larcenous ways by victimizing Kyle Singler to create a runout dunk. Leonard maintained his brilliant recent form, scoring 23 points in the first half alone to stake San Antonio to a 22-point halftime lead. Oklahoma City never even really flirted with a run to get back into things; as a result, Leonard didn't play after the 7:40 mark of the third. He finished with 26 points — matching his regular-season career-high, which he's now hit four times this season, and in two straight games — to go with three steals, two rebounds and two assists in just 24 minutes. Five other Spurs scored in double figures, led by 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks from Tim Duncan. The future Hall of Famer also added three assists, including this honey of an alley-oop feed to Leonard: San Antonio led by as many as 34 points against a Thunder team that, frankly, looks absolutely spent after fighting so hard to maintain playoff positioning without injured stars Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. With Russell Westbrook continuing to seem somewhat the worse for wear (17 points on 7-for-16 shooting with six steals, two assists and four turnovers) after spending February and March playing the role of Superman, Oklahoma City just looked completely outclassed by the in-form Spurs, leading coach Gregg Popovich to express some postgame sympathy for the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com : "No matter how you slice it, it is just not a fair fight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Nobody is going to give back the win. We are going to take the win and I thought we played well, but you just still feel badly when you see Kevin in that chair out there and the other guys are hurt. It is just not a fair fight." [...] "You've got to feel badly for these guys," Popovich said. "You feel sorry for them, but you're proud of them at the same time because they play the right way and they do everything they can to win. They don't cry. They just go play." That, unfortunately, hasn't been enough of late. Oklahoma City's now lost four straight and six of seven to fall to ninth place inthe West, a half-game behind the Pelicans. And with New Orleans holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Thunder thanks to a bonkers game-winning 3 by Davis two months ago, Oklahoma City no longer controls its own destiny, no matter what Westbrook and Dion Waiters seem to think. If the Thunder don't finish one game up on New Orleans, they'll be watching the playoffs for the first time 2009. All's not lost just yet. The Thunder finish the season with matchups against the playing-out-the-string Sacramento Kings, the not-quite-world-beating (but recently reinvigorated ) Indiana Pacers, a Portland Trail Blazers squad likely already resigned to opening the playoffs on the road and a Minnesota Timberwolves team with little incentive to win again this season. The Pelicans, on the other hand, still have three games left against Western playoff squads, including a last-day-of-the-season date with these Spurs. The door's still open. But for the Thunder to walk through it and into the playoffs, they'll have to start playing like they belong there. “Nobody going to come through the door and save us,” said Waiters after the game, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman . At this stage, though, it's not clear whether the Thunder can save themselves. Survive and ... well, just survive: Goran Dragic scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, pairing slithery drives to the cup with deadeye shooting to push the Miami Heat to a 105-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The win lifts Miami back into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics and a half-game ahead of the Pacers. The loss drops 11th-place Charlotte a full two games back of Boston with just five games left on its schedule. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NBA Playoff Picture Update: Pelicans overtake Thunder out West, Heat stay alive in East (Ball

With just more than one week remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. The NBA Playoff Picture Update keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] The Pell-I-can't! When Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced he wouldn't be resting anybody for Tuesday's matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans — a game that the Warriors didn't need after having clinched home-court advantage , but that the Pelicans needed desperately in their pursuit of the West's No. 8 seed — I wondered whether the Pelicans might wind up on the business end of the same sort of brutal, race-changing beat the Dubs handed the Phoenix Suns. This time, though, the bounce went the other way: After draining a tough 3-pointer with Quincy Pondexter draped all over him to tie the game at 100, Stephen Curry had a crack at another game-tying 3-ball to once again knot the contest at 103. As he pulled up, Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham elevated to contest; Curry jumped into him, but didn't get a foul call. As he came down, Curry released the ball, allowing it to bounce next to him before retrieving it with just more than two seconds remaining and launching a 3. It rolled around the inside of the rim before bouncing out, giving the Pelicans a huge 103-100 win that moved them past the Oklahoma City Thunder into eighth place. It was a fitting conclusion to a wild game that featured 11 ties, 16 lead changes and an array of dramatic moments in the closing minutes. There was Anthony Davis' huge and-one finish through contact out of the pick-and-roll to give the Pelicans a four-point lead with 1:21 remaining: ... followed by Curry's stepback bomb over Pondexter: ... followed by Tyreke Evans getting a benefit-of-the-doubt foul call against Andre Iguodala after dribbling the ball off his own leg and falling down, which led to a trip to the line for what would become the game-winning free throw: ... followed by Curry getting a great look at an 8-foot runner that would have given the Warriors the lead with 10 ticks left: ... followed by the potential game-tying miss. Which, by the way, was a pretty fortunate outcome for the officials, who would have had to explain to Monty Williams and a legion of angry Pelicans fans why Curry was allowed to attempt the shot in the first place. Curry's touch seemed to represent either A) a violation of the rule against a shooter being the first person to touch the ball if his shot fails to hit the backboard, the rim or another player, or B) a violation of the rule against a ball-handler being the first player to touch the ball after dropping the ball while in the air. Either way, as FanSided's Jared Wade noted , something illegal happened on that play. Luckily, it didn't wind up mattering. Davis missed eight of his 10 shots in the first half, thanks in part to the interior defense of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green. In the second half, though, he played like a superstar desperate to make his postseason debut. The 22-year-old marvel scored 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting after intermission, teaming up with center Omer Asik for score the first 10 points of the third quarter and chopping Golden State's halftime lead down to two just three minutes into the second half. Nearly the entire rest of the game was played within a two-possession margin — a hard-fought, nip-and-tuck finish that was anything but the "scrimmage" that the Warriors allegedly believed they were in for — with Davis' shot-making and shot-deterring tilting both the game and the race for the eighth seed in New Orleans' favor. The All-Star power forward finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes to lead the way. Pondexter added 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from beyond the arc, along with tight perimeter defense. Evans chipped in 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals for the Pelicans, who now sit a half-game up on the Thunder ... who didn't have such a great night. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Second verse, same as the first: Just two weeks removed from taking a 39-point beating at the hands of the Spurs, Scott Brooks' squad once again fell victim to a San Antonio pasting on Wednesday. The Spurs walloped the Thunder, 113-88 , to run their winning streak to eight and improve to 18-3 over their last 21 games. This game was over nearly as soon as it got started, as the Spurs clamped down to hold the Thunder to a season-low 10 points in the first quarter on 4-for-21 shooting, with San Antonio scoring nine points off six Oklahoma City turnovers to take a 19-point lead after 12 minutes. Your emblematic early-game possession: Kawhi Leonard continuing his larcenous ways by victimizing Kyle Singler to create a runout dunk. Leonard maintained his brilliant recent form, scoring 23 points in the first half alone to stake San Antonio to a 22-point halftime lead. Oklahoma City never even really flirted with a run to get back into things; as a result, Leonard didn't play after the 7:40 mark of the third. He finished with 26 points — matching his regular-season career-high, which he's now hit four times this season, and in two straight games — to go with three steals, two rebounds and two assists in just 24 minutes. Five other Spurs scored in double figures, led by 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks from Tim Duncan. The future Hall of Famer also added three assists, including this honey of an alley-oop feed to Leonard: San Antonio led by as many as 34 points against a Thunder team that, frankly, looks absolutely spent after fighting so hard to maintain playoff positioning without injured stars Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. With Russell Westbrook continuing to seem somewhat the worse for wear (17 points on 7-for-16 shooting with six steals, two assists and four turnovers) after spending February and March playing the role of Superman, Oklahoma City just looked completely outclassed by the in-form Spurs, leading coach Gregg Popovich to express some postgame sympathy for the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com : "No matter how you slice it, it is just not a fair fight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Nobody is going to give back the win. We are going to take the win and I thought we played well, but you just still feel badly when you see Kevin in that chair out there and the other guys are hurt. It is just not a fair fight." [...] "You've got to feel badly for these guys," Popovich said. "You feel sorry for them, but you're proud of them at the same time because they play the right way and they do everything they can to win. They don't cry. They just go play." That, unfortunately, hasn't been enough of late. Oklahoma City's now lost four straight and six of seven to fall to ninth place in the West, a half-game behind the Pelicans. And with New Orleans holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Thunder thanks to a bonkers game-winning 3 by Davis two months ago, Oklahoma City no longer controls its own destiny, no matter what Westbrook and Dion Waiters seem to think. If the Thunder don't finish one game up on New Orleans, they'll be watching the playoffs for the first time 2009. All's not lost just yet. The Thunder finish the season with matchups against the playing-out-the-string Sacramento Kings, the not-quite-world-beating (but recently reinvigorated ) Indiana Pacers, a Portland Trail Blazers squad likely already resigned to opening the playoffs on the road and a Minnesota Timberwolves team with little incentive to win again this season. The Pelicans, on the other hand, still have three games left against Western playoff squads, including a last-day-of-the-season date with these Spurs. The door's still open. But for the Thunder to walk through it and into the playoffs, they'll have to start playing like they belong there. “Nobody goingto come through the door and save us,” said Waiters after the game, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman . At this stage, though, it's not clear whether the Thunder can save themselves. Survive and ... well, just survive: Goran Dragic scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, pairing slithery drives to the cup with deadeye shooting to push the Miami Heat to a 105-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The win lifts Miami back into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics and a half-game ahead of the Pacers. The loss drops 11th-place Charlotte a full two games back of Boston with just five games left on its schedule. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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