With a few games left for each team in the NBA regular season a slew of teams are hard-pressed to get the win for a better chance at a postseason slot. The big winners today are the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both squads gained ground on the Atlanta Hawks (31-41) for the eighth and final postseason slot in the weak Eastern Conference.
The unfortunate losers are the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns—both squads are still in a heated race for the available slots in the tough Western Conference and Sunday’s losses could be very crucial in the final playoff picture.
Indiana Pacers 76, Cleveland Cavaliers 90 The Cavs upset the #1 team in the East Indiana,90-76 behind the efforts of Dion Waiters (19 points) and Luol Deng (15 points). A total of six players ended up with double-figure scoring for Cleveland, which is now just two and a half games back the final playoff seat in the East.
New York Knicks 89, Golden State Warriors 84 Carmelo Anthony and Knicks pulled off a huge 89-84 road victory over Stephen Curry and the Warriors. Curry (32 points) out-dueled Anthony (19 points) but other Knickerbockers stepped up. J.R. Smith topscored for N.Y. with 21 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 15 markers off the bench. Starting big men David Lee and Andrew Bogut were both out of commission for Golden State.
Utah Jazz 96, Oklahoma City Thunder 116 The Thunder limited the Jazz to just 9 points in the opening quarter and never looked back for the 116-96 blowout at home. Kevin Durant had 31 points, 4 rebounds and 9 assists in 29 minutes. As a team, OKC hit 11-of-18 from downtown.
In other Sunday games, the Brooklyn Nets embarrassed the Minnesota Timberwolves, 114-99; the Chicago Bulls handled the Boston Celtics, 107-102; the Toronto Raptors nipped the Orlando Magic, 98-93; the Portland Trail Blazers took care of the Memphis Grizzlies, 105-98; and the Los Angeles Lakers surprised the Phoenix Suns, 115-99.