The NBA Roundup: March 31, 2013

Dallas, Utah, and the Lakers all won today to keep things complicated in the race for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Also, Houston blasted the Clippers even without leading scorer James Harden, while Steph Curry’s shooting explosion propelled the Warriors past the Blazers.

Day’s Best:
-       Must be some curry that Steph Curry ate… haha yeah so… All right, just focus on this instead – 14-of-22 from the field including 7-of-12 from BEYOND THE ARC to finish with 39 points. For someone who’s been walking wounded for most of the season, Curry’s recent performances haven’t been too shabby.
-       Dirk Nowitzki burying a textbook three, which he thought flew flat off his release, that buried the Bulls and kept the Mavericks’ Playoff hopes alive.
-       Russell Westbrook landing a triple-double to lead OKC to its 54th regular season win. This victory gives the Thunder a mathematical shot of still snaring the West’s top seed, but time is running out fast.

Steph Curry unloaded 39 on the hapless Blazers.
(image by Rocky Widner/Getty Images)

Day’s Worst:
-       OJ Mayo’s stats in 42 minutes of play – 4 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 12 misses out of 13 attempts from the field. Good thing Dirk won it in the end.
-       I love the Rockets, so I SHOULD love Jeremy Lin, but anytime an NBA point guard registers a 1-2 assist-to-turnover ratio, then love can easily turn to hate. 3 assists and 6 turnovers?! C’mon Linsanity, give us some sanity.
-       This is what happens when an NBA team doesn’t have a bona fide star and go-to guy – players like Beno Udrih and Tobias Harris take more than their fair share of shots and miss a ton. Against ATL? Udrih and Harris combined for 13-41 FG shooting. Good for 32%. Nice. Orlando must have a different idea of magic.

Final Score: Dallas 100, Chicago 98
Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Dirk Nowitzki scored his team's final eight points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left that vaulted the Dallas Mavericks to a 100-98 win over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday at American Airlines Center. Nowitzki shot a scorching 14-of-17 from the field, including 5-of-6 from 3- point range en route to a season-high 35 points. Vince Carter assisted on Nowitzki's go-ahead bucket and finished with 17 points off the bench for the Mavericks, who closed the contest on a 15-1 surge. Brandan Wright donated a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds to help Dallas earn its fourth win in five tries to remain within striking distance of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Final Score: Atlanta 97, Orlando 88
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Ivan Johnson scored 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds off the bench to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 97-88 win over the Orlando Magic on Saturday. Josh Smith also had 21 points to go with nine boards and Devin Harris added 17 points and six assists for the Hawks, winners in 10 straight against the Magic. Forward Al Horford missed his second straight game because of an illness. Beno Udrih scored a team-high 20 points and Maurice Harkless added 17 for Orlando, which fell to 8-28 on the road this season. Center Nikola Vucevic, who had missed the past five games because of a concussion, turned in 17 points and 15 rebounds in the setback.

Final Score: Houston 98, LA Clippers 81
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Omer Asik had a double-double and the Houston Rockets locked down defensively in the second half to earn a 98-81 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday at Toyota Center. Asik tallied 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin and Francisco Garcia each chipped in with 15 points to help fill the offensive void left by James Harden, who sat with a sore foot. Carlos Delfino added 11 points as the Rockets snapped a five-game skid against the Clippers. For the second straight night, Los Angeles was denied a franchise-best 50th win. Chris Paul had a team-high 19 points, Jamal Crawford followed with 15 and Blake Griffin scored 12 in the defeat.

Final Score: Memphis 99, Minnesota 86
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Marc Gasol scored 21 points to go with eight rebounds and six assists to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 99-86 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. Mike Conley scored 19 points and Zach Randolph added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Grizzlies, who have won two straight. Ricky Rubio finished one assist shy of a triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists and Derrick Williams added 19 points for the Timberwolves, who were without center Nikola Pekovic because of a sprained left ankle.

Final Score: Philadelphia 100, Charlotte 92
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Jrue Holiday scored 11 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, lifting the Philadelphia 76ers to a 100-92 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday. Holiday also dished out nine assists for the Sixers, who have won three in a row and sit 5 1/2 games behind the Bucks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Evan Turner added 22 points and seven rebounds for Philadelphia, which has won six straight against Charlotte. Spencer Hawes had 19 points, Thaddeus Young tallied 15 points and 10 boards and Damien Wilkins donated 15 points. Former Sixers superstar Allen Iverson was in the house, as the organization honored him with a commemorative bobblehead doll giveaway. Michael Kidd- Gilchrist ended with 21 points and nine boards for the Bobcats, who have lost 10 straight on the road to fall to 6-31 away from home this season. Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker had 19 and 16 points, respectively.

Final Score: Oklahoma City 109, Milwaukee 99
Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Russell Westbrook posted his sixth career triple-double with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied in the fourth quarter to take a 109-99 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Kevin Durant added 30 points, eight boards and five assists to help the Thunder bounce back from a Friday loss to Minnesota. Serge Ibaka chipped in with 16 points and recorded eight of Oklahoma City's 12 blocks. The Bucks, losers in five of their last six, were led by Ersan Ilyasova's 29 points and 14 rebounds. Milwaukee, though, shot just 37.8 percent for the contest, with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis combining to shoot 6-for-30.

Final Score: Utah 116, Brooklyn 107
Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Randy Foye had 26 points in the Utah Jazz's 116-107 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Al Jefferson and Mo Williams added 20 points apiece for the Jazz, who have won four in a row on the heels of a 2-9 stretch. Utah is tied with the Los Angeles Lakers, who beat the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, for the West's eighth and final playoff spot. Brook Lopez tallied 27 points and seven rebounds, while Deron Williams totaled 21 points and 11 assists for Brooklyn, which has dropped three of its last five contests.

Final Score: Indiana 112, Phoenix 104
Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Paul George scored 25 points and the Indiana Pacers held off the Phoenix Suns, 112-104, on Saturday. Roy Hibbert added 20 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers, who have won four in a row and lead the Bulls by 6 1/2 games for first place in the Central Division. Lance Stephenson had 16 points, George Hill donated 15 points and David West recorded 14 points and seven boards for the Pacers, who sit second in the Eastern Conference. Goran Dragic ended with 21 points and nine assists for the Suns, who have dropped six straight. Markieff Morris and Jermaine O'Neal finished with 18 and 13 points, respectively.

Final Score: LA Lakers 103, Sacramento 98
Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant's 19 points moved him into fourth all-time in scoring and his free throws down the stretch allowed the Lakers to pull out a 103-98 decision over the Sacramento Kings. Bryant finished just short of a triple-double while fighting through a bone spur in his foot, with his 14 assists and nine boards helping Los Angeles stay tied for the eighth playoff spot with the Jazz, who also won on Saturday. Bryant's jumper in the second quarter moved him past Wilt Chamberlain on the all-time scoring list. Dwight Howard tallied 24 points and 15 rebounds and Pau Gasol finished with 12 points and 10 assists in the victory. Tyreke Evans finished with 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Kings, who had won four of their last six coming in. DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 11 boards in the setback.

Kobe Bryant passed Wilt Chamberlain on the all-time scoring
leaders list as the Lakers narrowly beat the Kings.
(image by Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Final Score: Golden State 125, Portland 98
Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Stephen Curry poured in a game-high 39 points on 14-of-22 shooting to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 125-98 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday. Curry also went 7-for-12 from 3-point range and dished out six assists. Carl Landry added a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds, and David Lee dropped in 13 points to go with eight boards for the Warriors, who hold a one-game lead over the Houston Rockets for sixth place in the Western Conference. Rookie Meyers Leonard had his best game as a pro for the Blazers, pouring in a career-high 22 points to go with 10 rebounds. Wesley Matthews added 18 points and J.J. Hickson scored 15 points to go with 10 boards in the setback.

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