Posts by Bowser

What to watch for in the first round of the NBA playoffs


It’s that wonderful time of the year. The weather is getting warmer, the nights are getting longer and the April showers are on their way out. Spring is in full bloom and there’s no better indicator of great spring weather than the NBA playoffs. Basketball fans are finally starting the apex of the season. Contrary to most playoffs in American professional sports, the journey to the next Larry O’Brien trophy is a marathon, not a sprint. Yes, the individual games will feel like a sprint but the Finals don’t officially begin until June 5th. And looking at it now, it seems like an eternity until we have a new king of the basketball universe. There’s lots of basketball to be played and it all starts tomorrow (12:30 ET) with the Nets in Toronto.

Fitting actually. The Nets-Raptors series is really the only first round match up that is a complete toss-up. It’s almost certain that this is going to be a 6 or maybe even 7-game series because neither team seems to have a distinct advantage. If gambling were legal (ahem) and I were to bet on one team making this a quick series, it would be Toronto. The Raptors have been the more consistent team and aren’t dealing with as many injuries. Of course, the Nets have the advantage on paper but can their expensive roster actually make some noise in the eastern conference this postseason? Some think so but it’s not because the Nets have a glaring advantage over any other team, it’s because the eastern conference has been such a disaster this season. It’s been so bad that I don’t see any other series in the first round, aside from the one I just mentioned, going more than 5 games. The Pacers are playing some really bad basketball but would you trust the Hawks, a sub-.500 team, to win more than one playoff game? Same goes for the Bobcats, who have never won a playoff game (ouch) and have not beaten the Heat since LeBron joined them (double ouch) three seasons ago. One would think that the Bulls-Wizard (4 v 5) match up would be the most evenly matched but then you look at the way they played at their peaks this season. John Wall could make a leap for Washington but c’mon, look at the defensive and coaching advantage that Chicago has. Do I need to go any further? Let’s just go ahead and head out west.

Now THIS is the side of the bracket that will produce some of the best basketball that we’re going to see. This isn’t the boldest of predictions but i’ll make it either way: there will be no sweeps in the western conference playoffs this season. Even my Mavericks, who are the most likely to get swept out of all the teams, have enough talent and coaching to win at least one game this postseason. They’re in a Texas-sized battle with San Antonio but it’s a lop-sided one. I’m a big Dallas-homer (duh) but there’s nothing that indicates this won’t be a quick series. The Spurs swept the regular season series and it’s going to take a massive effort from Dirk and co to make this a long series. I don’t see it but i’m hoping that the Mavs fight until the very end and give their I-35 rival a nice fight to kick things off. Moving on up the freeway, we’re in OKC where the Grizzlies are in town for a nice battle. The Thunder have had their problems with Memphis, starting from the glorious 2011 7-game series. Last year the Grizzlies gave a depleted Thunder team an early exit but this is a different team and certainly a different Kevin Durant. Memphis will play their usual “grit” style and make things tough for the Durant but I don’t see any sort of upset here. Look for Durant to continue his MVP-level play and lead his team to a nice first round series win in 6 games.

Let’s head out west to Los Angeles and talk about a playoff series that doesn’t include the Lakers. The Clippers against the Warriors is definitely the first round series that i’m looking forward to the most. Besides anything the Mavs are involved with, of course. As we know, these two teams don’t like each other and would like nothing more than to give their opponent an early exit. But enough about that because all I care is what happens on the court. The Clippers are and have the been the superior team all season but don’t sleep on the Warriors. Golden State plays some of the most exciting basketball in the league and what do you know, so do the Clippers. Blake Griffin or Stephen Curry could both be the best player on the court and have monster games. Splash brothers heat-check anyone? Lob city anyone? Clippers will probably win this in 6 games but i’m hoping this series goes the distance. Back to Texas as the Blazers are in Houston to start their postseason journey. Neither the Rockets nor the Blazers play great defense so expect lots of points. I’m actually curious to watch James Harden and Damian Lillard go head-to-head to see who can play the worst back-court defense in a playoff series. Portland might get the early jump but I expect Houston to take the series in 6 or 7 games and move on.

To recap, I like sweeps for Miami and Indiana, five-game victories for the Spurs and Bulls, six-game victories for the Clippers and Thunder, and seven-game battles for the Raptors and Rockets.

Who doesn’t love shots from half court and beyond?


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The final day of the NBA regular season is here

DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul

What will be remembered most about this season? Depends on what your personal tastes are when it comes to professional basketball. If you prefer off-the-court issues, then look no further than franchises like the Knicks and Lakers. I know one can also include the Pacers and Nets in the discussion but because their team will be participating in the postseason, i’d like to omit them. Chicago was a prime candidate to be a “behind the scenes” disaster after Derrick Rose’s injury and the trade of Luol Deng but like coach Thibodeau and team leader Joakim Noah, the Bulls fought the entire year to put together an impressive season. It’s that kind of play that makes fans love professional sports. Ignoring everything that surrounds them and proving themselves on the court. Who else portrays that more than the Bulls? Well, i’d like the nominate the Spurs. As a Mavs fan, I despise them but completely respect them. The irony is that most of the media spends more time talking about how no one talks about the Spurs rather than actually talking about the Spurs. San Antonio bounced back from a heart-breaking Finals to put together yet another impressive regular season. One that included the quietest 19-game winning streak in the history of the league. Which team surprised the most in the west? Portland was not supposed to be this good and with their unconventional roster, neither were the Mavericks. But that honor clearly goes to the Suns. Thought to be in the race for the #1 pick in the draft, the Suns put together a team that almost won 50 games and almost made the playoffs in the ridiculously difficult western conference. Let’s also give it up to the Raptors, who never seem to jump off the page simply because they are a basketball team in Toronto. The 3rd seed in the east during a season where they were supposed to be a lower seed to the likes of Chicago, Brooklyn or New York, only to get bounced in the first round. Now, with Drake’s consent of course, could the Raptors make some noise in these eastern conference playoffs? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Those were some of the team headlines but what story line was the leader throughout the season? No, not Phil Jackson joining the Knicks or anything having to do wit the Lakers. Let’s sick to franchises that are going to matter after tonight’s final day of the regular season. The season-long battle between LeBron James and Kevin Durant for the season’s best player and winner of the 2013-14 MVP trophy. I’ll be first to admit that I was in the camp of “as long as LeBron is in his prime, the award goes to him” before the season started. But as great as LeBron has been all season, there’s no doubt that Kevin Durant deserves the trophy for most valuable player in the league this season. The list goes on for, #35 of the Thunder, when discussing whether he deserves it or not. The incredible shooting goes without saying because once again, Durant will be the league’s champion for scoring. As we all know, that’s the not the trophy he cares about the most at this point in his career. After all he already has three of those. Now it’s time for “KD” to move up to the next echelon of players in history. That means an MVP trophy and if this season continues in the same direction, it means finally getting that first NBA championship. How does LeBron feel about all of this Durant talk? James seems to think Durant is also deserving of the trophy. Does watching Durant get the personal hardware light a first under LeBron during the postseason? It’s surprising that a player with a 27.1-6.4-6.9 stat line needs any help for when “the real season” begins. If this season has shown us anything is that KD and LeBron have brought out the best in each other for the entire season and we can only go up from here because now, the stakes are even bigger.

As usual on the final day of the season, every team in the NBA is in action. There are too many scenarios to list here, but I found a nice link on that summarizes them nice and neat. I will be hoping for a Mavericks victory as they try to secure the 7th seed and win 50 games. I’ll be predicting the first round of the eastern conference tomorrow and the west on Friday before things get going on Saturday.

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Last night’s excellent games and what’s in store for the final weekend in the NBA


It’s pretty crazy to think that we’re less than a week from the final day in the NBA season. Lots of teams were eliminated from the postseason long ago and various teams have secured their spot, but there’s still a lot to figure out. That’s what makes the final week so interesting. The Spurs haven’t clinched the top seed in the conference (lose tie breakers to OKC) but last night’s strong victory over the Mavericks was an important step in that direction with only a few regular season games on their schedule. Chances are San Antonio will be the top seed by the end of the season but it won’t be a cake walk as they face two teams (Suns and Rockets) who are trying to clinch and/or keep their momentum going before they get the terrible Lakers in their final game. My Mavericks, on the other hand, are still trying to clinch their spot as they fight with the Suns and Grizzlies for the final two spots in the conference. And what do you know, those are the Mavs’ two remaining opponents this season. It’s such a shame that one of those three teams won’t be participating in the playoffs because all three teams are deserving. The Warriors had a chance to pretty much secure their spot in the playoffs last night but fell short to the Nuggets in a thriller. I’d like to give a bit shout out to Timofey Mozgov (23 pts, 29 reb; pic above), who had the performance of his career so far as he led Denver to victory. Understandably, most people are still going crazy over Andre Iguodala’s mind-blowing crossover. Quincy Miller seems to be taking his embarrassment pretty well but I would advise him to stay off social media for a good while.

What else in the NBA will get social media going this weekend? Well, tons of action once again tonight. 26 teams in action but i’m looking at three specific games. Hey Moe, can your Knicks snag that last playoff spot in the eastern conference from the Hawks? Tonight will be a good test for a Knicks team that is desperate to salvage whatever they can from a disappointing season. While the Hawks go into Brooklyn tonight, the Knicks are in Toronto, against the a Raptors team that is currently in 3rd place. Should be a nice test for New York to prove that they belong. The Pacers are in Miami tonight, only 1/2 a game separating them, to square off for the top spot in the conference. People around the league are doubting this game will live up to the expectations, primarily because neither team has been jumping off the page lately. But maybe it’s for that very same season that both teams will play more free and with a little less pressure. The best game will feature the Suns in San Antonio tonight. Will the Spurs clinch? Can Phoenix continue to surprise? There’s no doubt that i’ll be watching this game very closely. Saturday’s action isn’t too crazy overall but it does feature the Suns in Dallas. This will be the biggest game of the season for both teams as it will strongly influence whether or not they make the playoffs and what seed they’re going to be. If you have NBA TV, tune into that game. Sunday’s ABC showcase features a nice battle between Indiana and OKC, two teams that could very well meet in the Finals. Lots of action and lots left to decide as we head into the final season.

If, for whatever reason, you haven’t seen Iguodala’s crossover, here it is. I almost enjoyed the Warriors’ bench reaction more than the move itself.

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Thunder and Mavs get big wins; key NBA games for tonight

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder

For the past three weeks or so, anytime two teams in the top 9 of the western conference square-off, it’s much watch television for all basketball fans. That’s just the kind of season we’re having in the west. I know the eastern conference looks like it will be bit more competitive (especially as of late) this postseason but the west will be a bloodbath every single round. I’m getting a little ahead of myself, as usual, but at least we got a little preview of what we could see in a couple of week during last night’s games. Both the Thunder and Mavericks got big wins over the Spurs and Clippers (respectively), two of the best teams in the conference as of late. What does that tell us? Well, for one, no team is invincible in the conference. At least for one night. I still wouldn’t bet against the Spurs but at least we can see that they won’t completely roll over every other team. Especially the Thunder, because after last night’s win over their I-35 rival, they have swept the season series 4-0. Are the Thunder just a match-up nightmare for San Antonio? A little bit but don’t forget that the Spurs were playing their 5th game in just over a week’s time. It was still an impressive by OKC, who used their superior length and speed to counter the Spurs’ ball-movement. Conference finals preview?

Once again, not getting ahead of myself. Especially if the Clippers or Mavs, who squared off last night, have anything to say about not being included in the conference finals discussion. Now, my Mavericks are a bit of a long-shot to make it that far into the playoffs but they would at the very least give any opponent in the west a well-fought series. But that’s the western conference in general and that’s why it’s so great. The Clippers have been playing excellent basketball for over a month now, led by Blake Griffin, who posted his first triple-double of the season. Dallas was able to survive Griffin’s performance but it wasn’t easy, as the Mavericks continue to fight with the Warriors, Grizzlies and Suns for those final three spots in the conference. The Mavs, with their barrage of shooters, have one of the best offenses in the league but it’s going to have to be their defense that makes sure they have a position in the postseason. Right now it’s spotty but if they can fix their late-game mistakes, Dallas can do some real damage. The Clippers on the other hand are pretty much locked into the #3 seed, barring anything crazy happening in the final stretch of the season. Right now they’re set to face the Warriors, and man oh man, would that be a juicy first-round match up. At lot left to happen before we get to that point so let’s see what games will affect both conferences as we begin the final week and a half of the season.

Lots and lots of games tonight. In fact, the only teams that aren’t in action tonight are the Spurs and Clippers. But don’t worry because we’re still going to get some great games tonight, some of which have big implications. As stated previously, any game involving two western conference playoffs contenders is a great watch. Especially 6 through 9 because at any time, those teams can switch in a variety of ways. The biggest games among the western teams tonight are the Thunder in Houston and the Suns in Portland, both games should be great. The east isn’t as intense but there’s still a lot to learn from various teams and some shuffling that will happen among the non-Pacer and non-Heat teams. The Raptors are fighting to stay in the 3rd position and what do you know, they’re going up against Indiana tonight. The Pacers need to get back into the form and getting a win over the team one spot beneath them is the right direction. You can also tune into Boston-Philly for tanking reasons. But let’s focus on the Wizards, in New York tonight to take on Moe’s Knicks, who are all of a sudden in the 8th spot in the eastern conference. Washington is trying to move up a spot in the standings while New York is trying to fight off the Hawks and Cavaliers for the final spot in the postseason. Should be a good game and a good Friday of basketball to get the weekend started.

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Trying to figure out the Pacers decline and about last night in the NBA


At the beginning of the season, the Pacers looked to have a specific goal in mind: have the best record in the eastern conference so that when it comes time to play Miami in the playoffs, home court belongs to Indiana. I like the plan from the start. Try to have as much advantage over the Heat as possible when the inevitable rematch happened. As the season went on, things seemed to favor Indiana. Miami was facing some injury problems and fatigue seems to have brought their championship-level defense down a notch. But after a stellar first half the season, Indiana seems to have hit a rut that has no ending in sight. The Pacers appeared to have slowed down a bit just after the all-star break but the initial diagnosis was just a small slump. Then March came around and after turning things around (post 4 game losing streak), Indiana has lost 6 of their last 8 and have relinquished the top spot in the conference. Has Indiana essentially given the conference to Miami? Remember, the Heat haven’t been playing their best basketball as of late but still manage to have a better record than the Pacers heading into the homestretch. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s analyze the Indiana problem a bit. They were blown out by the scorching-hot Spurs last game but the two previous losses came against the Cavs and Wizards, two teams that they could very well see in the postseason. Where has the offense been for Indiana? I know defense is their staple but failing to break the 80-point barrier in three straight games is something college level teams struggle with, not an NBA team. Chemistry is clearly an issue as my multiple sources (still, just Twitter) have confirmed that the problem is most likely internally. And when a team is imploding from the inside out, it always hits rock bottom before they see any real daylight. Maybe this is rock bottom for Indiana. A home game against a bad Pistons team should be just what the Pacers need. Only four games until a big showdown in Miami that looks like it will decide the top seed in the conference.

Crucial action last night in the NBA. Unfortunately for Mavericks fans, like myself, around the country, it was not a good night of basketball. The Warriors were in Dallas to square off against the Mavericks in a massive game that had lots of implications in the lower half of the western conference playoff picture. Only a game and a half separated these two teams and within that margin, four different spots in the conference were affected. Stephen Curry’s go-ahead shot with .1 seconds left was heartbreaking for Dallas, but exhilarating for Golden State fans, as their team inches towards securing a playoff spot. I’m not going to sit here and complain about Jermaine O’neal and his obvious goal-tend just before that play. The referees were a bit spotty throughout the game and it was only a matter of time before a crucial call didn’t go in favor of the Mavericks. It’s just a shame that such a good game was influenced by such a crucial call. Honestly, it’s just a shame that one of the top 9 teams in the western conference is going to be out the playoffs. One team that won’t be missing out will be Brooklyn, clinching a playoff spot last night after an impressive win over the Rockets. It was nice present for their home fans after the franchise suffered such an abysmal start. Could Brooklyn make some real noise in an eastern conference where no team looks entirely impressive? I’m a bit skeptical but a big win over their crosstown rival Knicks would sway me a bit. Out in the west, the Blazers had a nice win over the Lakers. Portland seems to have turned their late-season slump around as of late. Winners of four straight, led by Aldrige and Lillard, as they head down the homestretch. If those two have it going on full cylinders as the season ends, i’d be careful if I were on the other side of it. Don’t forget how crucial their home court can be in the playoffs.

There are thirteen total games tonight so expect some fireworks.

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In defense of Johnny Manziel


Every once in a while, the NFL gets a player entering the draft who causes more discussion than is necessary. This year there’s no doubt that Johnny Manziel “aka Johnny Football” from Texas a&m is that man this year. First of all, having the name of the sport in your nickname is absurd in itself. It adds even more unwarranted pressure to an already full slate like the one Manziel is facing. But it’s pressure that “Mr Football” has put upon himself with a side of pressure that has been completely manufactured by the media. Johnny Manziel was a football star, playing for a school in the most football-heavy state in the country while playing in the most important conference in college football. Let’s add to the fact that he’s the first ever freshman to win the Heisman trophy, the most prestigious award a player can receive in NCAA football. Add all that up and mix it with a personality like the one Manziel carries around with himself. What did the rest of the sports world expect to happen? Just imagine if every mistake one made at 19 and 20 years old (on and off the field) was magnified and your entire persona was based on those two years. That’s what Johnny Manziel is looking at right now. Like most scrutinized athletes in the past, doubters are just waiting to pounce on Manziel’s next mistake and in contrast, “super fans” are waiting for moments of brilliance so that they can say to “I told you so!” to those same doubters. It’s the tug-of-war that we’ve seen for decades now.

Right now it’s the “super fans” who have the upper hand after Manziel had an impressive NFL pro day yesterday. His workout style was a bit unorthodox, running his drills with full pads and a helmet on, but still effective. That’s something most players don’t usually do but then again, when has Johnny Football followed in other player’s footsteps in those kinds of things. I know EPSN’s comment section isn’t the mecca of sports knowledge and analysis, but check out the flurry of comments at the bottom of this article yesterday. Nothing controversial was written in the article but the reading the comments, one would assume that the writer was either calling Manziel the biggest bust of all time or the greatest quarterback to ever walk the field. And because ESPN can’t avoid being themselves, they threw in two comments about Manziel on Twitter by LeBron James and Michael Vick, two of the most talked about athletes from the past decade or so. What’s my sports opinion on Johnny Football’s pro day? He was impressive in just about everything that he did. He had to be because he had a large crowd watching him, a crowd that included a former president (H.W. Bush) to go along with various officials and at least 30 team representatives. With all this pressure and attention on one player, the biggest question is, of course, will Johnny Manziel live up to the hype when it comes to the next level?

Ultimately it’s impossible to say. Remember how impressive Jamarcus Russell was in his pro day? Or how unimpressive Tom Brady was before the draft? I admit, those are two of the biggest extremes that we’ve seen in the history of the league but either one is quite possible for Manziel. The general consensus is that “Mr Football” isn’t the best quarterback in the draft (I like Bridgewater personally) but despite being either being the 3rd or 4th best QB, he could very well be taken with the 1st overall pick in the NFL draft next month. It’s silly for a team not to take Jadaveon Clowney first overall but imagine if it’s Manziel to the Texans, a local hero that can completely change the fortunes of a franchise. But then Manziel does nothing and he eventually turns into this generation’s Ryan Leaf. Now imagine if he drops (also very likely) in the draft board. People start doubting whether he’ll be taken and then ends up falling to a team like the Cardinals. Or even the Browns, who have had the absolute worst luck when it comes to QBs. Imagine him changing THAT team’s fortunes. It’s a lot of speculation that seems irrelevant to talk about at this point. Here’s one thing that I know: wherever Johnny Manziel goes and whatever he does, at the very least, he’s going to be entertaining and will continue to be must-watch TV for all sports fans. So let’s calm down with all the accusations and opinions on him. All you can ask at this point is for Manziel to put in the work and (appear) to stay focused in the months before the draft happens. And right now, that’s what he seems to be doing so. I’m rooting for you Johnny Football.

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A quick look at the NBA standings before the home stretch


Contrary to most sports fan’s knowledge, professional basketball is still going on. Most of the country is still looking at their busted brackets (thanks Duke, Syracuse, Kansas and Wichita St) and wondering what they were thinking when they made those picks. I’m also feeling their pain with my bracket right now but, the NBA is still going on. In fact, we’re almost at the homestretch with just over 3 weeks left. The eastern conference is still all about the Pacers and Heat but right now, it seems like Indiana is pretty determined to take the top seed in the conference. While Miami and Indiana will be the top two seeds, neither team has looked particularly convincing as of late. This month has not been kind to the Pacers, losing four straight at one point and just above .500 for the whole month of March. South Beach rival Miami Heat is also feeling the March woes, 6-7 in this month with a tough back-to-back (Blazers and Pacers) coming up. The only difference between Miami and Indiana is that the Heat have been facing some tougher competition. But that’s also because the rest of the eastern conference has been playing better as a whole. The New York teams seem to have finally woken up as both the Nets and Knicks have won 8 of their last 10. Can the Knicks actually make the postseason? A couple of weeks ago it seemed impossible but after a recent 8-game win streak (broken last night) the Knicks find themselves only 3 games out of 8th place. Let’s not forget about the Bulls and Raptors, both are playing solid basketball and have a good shot to finish the season 10 games above .500 or better. Seemed a bit inconceivable that a non-Heat or non-Pacer team in the east would do so, but we’re seeing it happen. What we’re also seeing happen is that a Heat-Pacers conference finals match-up won’t come as easily for either team.

What about the other side of the country? As incredible as it might sound, the Phoenix Suns are 12 games above .500 but are on the outside of the western conference playoffs looking in. Don’t get too down on yourselves Suns fans, they’re only half a game behind my Mavericks for the final spot. Dallas is also percentage points behind the Grizzlies for the 7th spot. I’d also include the Warriors, only a couple of games ahead in the 6th spot. It’s going to be a crazy race to the finish. Let me just paint the picture for you: with the exception of the Suns, who don’t play the Warriors again, every team at the bottom of the conference still has one more game against the opponent they’re fighting position for. Add that to the fact that the Grizzlies, Mavs and Suns all play each other in the final WEEK of the season. Does the NBA just know these things before they happen? The middle pack of the conference has taken a bit more shape. The Clippers have risen to a higher level, the Rockets have pretty much stayed the same and the Blazers have slipped a bit. Blake Griffin continues to play very well and impress as the Clippers look to make it into a top spot in the west. It probably won’t happen but the better LA team has turned the west into a three-horse race. Thunder fans suffered a slight scare when Russell Westbrook left the court during a game this weekend, apparently suffering an injury to his knee that he recently had surgery on. Reports quickly confirmed that nothing serious happened, so OKC and basketball fans in general can breather a sigh of relief. Who wants the see the playoffs without Russell Westbrook? Maybe the Spurs, who just continue to win despite whatever news story is headlining the NBA. Does anybody love being under the radar more than San Antonio? They’ll be clinching their division (who cares) and the conference (crucial) in the next couple of weeks but most of the country will continue to talk about the Knicks and Lakers.

Best dunks from last week. Because who doesn’t love dunking?

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Reviewing a busy Sunday in the NBA

Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Kris Humphries, Kelly Olynyk

What a busy weekend in the NBA. Particularly yesterday because Sundays usually only feature a couple of games on national broadcast and two or three more local games. That wasn’t the case yesterday as the NBA took advantage of a holiday weekend and had a total of nine games going on. Not only were the games impressive but they provided tons and tons of material for highlight reels. We’ll get to my favorite plays of the night but first lets take some time to analyze the games and the performances that defined yesterday’s victories. First, which team was the most impressive yesterday? There are plenty of candidates, one of which has to include my own Dallas Mavericks, who handily took care of the Thunder in OKC. But because Russell Westbrook didn’t participate, they can’t take the top spot. How about the defending champions? Using a furious 4th quarter rally to take down the Rockets at home? Well, I felt like the Rockets screwed that game up more than the Heat rallied. Houston made some bad plays late in the game and it was inevitable for a good team like Miami to capitalize on the mistakes. What about the Clippers or Spurs? Both teams took care of business and are looking every bit like contenders as we head into the home stretch of the season. Despite those things, neither team gets the nod because they were up against the Cavs and Jazz (respectively), two of the worst teams in the league. So how about the Warriors? Winning on the road against the Blazers behind some excellent play by the “splash brothers” and co. Yes, Golden State was the most impressive team yesterday. Remember, the Warriors had lost a couple of games in a row before yesterday and questions started to arise about whether or not this team was going to be make any noise in the postseason. Not only are they really exciting to watch, they’re also going to a be tough first round match up.

Now that we have the teams out of the way, let’s focus more on individual player performance. Naturally, the most impressive stat sheet of the night goes to the young Anthony Davis (41 pts, 21 reb) as he led the Pelicans to an overtime victory over the Celtics. Davis, who has been legally able to drink alcohol for only four days, continues to shell out impressive performances in his very young career. What’s his ceiling right now? It’s hard to say because predicting anyone’s career is impossible but personally, I can see him being an MVP caliber player with multiple first team NBA selections. Davis is getting most of the headlines but if they haven’t already, people need to start paying attention to Blake Griffin. No, i’m not talking about his highlight dunk reel plays. Griffin has completely stepped his game up during the second half of the season. Last night Blake was two assists shy of a triple double as he continues to lead the Clippers in overall play. It’s kind of a bummer that Durant and LeBron are other-worldly because if not for them, Griffin would definitely be a lock for one of the forward spots in the first team All-NBA. Quick shout out to Jeff Green (39 pts) because he gave his best effort for Boston and tried to offset Anthony Davis’ huge night. Let’s not forget Steph Curry because even though it was a combo “splash bros” performance, Curry’s 37 points were the bigger chunk. 

It was tough picking a favorite play from yesterday’s games. The fan in me wants to say this dunk from Brandad Wright but it doesn’t compare to some of the others. I’m going with Steph Curry’s nasty crossover and finish because I’ve watched it the most times. But it’s also hard to argue with Patrick Beverly’s ferocious dunk over Bosh AND Birdman. Here’s the Top 10:

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