The NBA Roundup: April 8, 2013

The Utah Jazz did their part by beating the GS Warriors, but they can send flowers to Chris Paul and the Clippers for dismantling the Lakers, too. In other news, the Knicks fried a big fish in Oklahoma City, Boston finally won one, and the Bulls got spanked by the Pistons.

Today’s Best:
  •        So Chris Paul badly wanted to win today – 24 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, and 10-of-18 FG shooting. #BattleLosAngeles
  •        Yes, Melo didn’t score 40+, but, hey, 36 ain’t too shabby, especially considering the Knicks beat the Thunder. On the road to boot.
  •        The Jazz capitalized on the Lakers’ loss by winning their own pivotal game against the Warriors. Al Jefferson and Mo Williams combined for 44 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, 4 steals, and 19-of-36 FG shooting to put Utah in 8th spot… for the moment.
Chris Paul and the Clippers have their eyes set
on a bigger prize.
(image by Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Today’s Worst:
  •        Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton were the biggest thorns, but to their own side! Evans and Thornton collectively shot 3-of-20 from the field in Sacramento’s loss to Memphis.
  •        Steph Curry is too good to have a paltry 1-1 assist-to-turnover ration, but that’s exactly what happened against Utah.
  •        I love the fact Damian Lillard had ZERO turnovers against Dallas, but I hate the fact he shot 6-of-19 from the floor. Playmaker not much?

Final Score: New York 125, Oklahoma City 120
Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) - Carmelo Anthony fell short of the 40- point plateau, but the Knicks managed to win their 12th straight game, and accomplished the feat against one of the best teams in the Western Conference. Anthony scored 36, as the Knicks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 125-120, Sunday afternoon. Anthony, who scored 40-plus points in each of the previous three games, shot 15-of-29 from the field and had 12 rebounds, nine of them offensive. J.R. Smith hit a pair of big shots during an 11-2 run late in the final quarter. He had 22 points for the Knicks, who secured their first 50-win season since 1999-2000. Their magic number to clinch the Atlantic Division title is one. The Knicks, who also broke a five-game road losing streak versus the Thunder, received 16 points and eight assists from Raymond Felton. Tyson Chandler scored 15, Jason Kidd 14 and Chris Copeland 13. Russell Westbrook scored 37, pulled down 11 rebounds and had eight assists for the Thunder, who had a three-game winning streak broken. Kevin Durant, who came into the game essentially neck-and-neck with Anthony for the league's scoring lead, had 27 points and seven assists. The result put the Thunder a game behind San Antonio for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

Final Score: LA Clippers 109, LA Lakers 95
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - For decades the Clippers were irrelevant in the city of Los Angeles. It was only fitting that they clinched their first division title in the 42-year history of the franchise at the expense of their Staples Center co-tenants. Chris Paul tallied 24 points and 12 assists in the Clippers' 109-95 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers to end their five-year run atop the Pacific Division. The Memphis Grizzlies and Charlotte Bobcats are the only teams in NBA history to not win a division championship. The Clippers also swept the season series against the Lakers for the first time since 1974-75 when they were the Buffalo Braves. Blake Griffin added 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for the Clippers, who have won two straight on the heels of a three-game skid. They've already set a franchise mark for wins in a season. Jamal Crawford poured in 20 points off the bench in the triumph. Kobe Bryant finished with 25 points, 10 assists and seven boards for the Lakers, who are tied with the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Jazz are playing the Golden State Warriors later on Sunday and own the tiebreaker. The Lakers have five games remaining, four of them at the Staples Center. Dwight Howard chipped in 25 points as LA had its three-game winning streak snapped.

Final Score: Boston 107, Washington 96
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Brandon Bass had 20 points and six rebounds in the Boston Celtics' 107-96 win over the Washington Wizards. Paul Pierce finished with 15 points and five assists, while Kevin Garnett added 12 points and six boards for the Celtics, who have won two of their last three games and sit 1 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. John Wall tallied 16 points and 10 assists to lead Washington, which has dropped two of its last three tilts.

Final Score: Cleveland 91, Orlando 85
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Although their star point guard had trouble finding his touch, the Cleveland Cavaliers managed to start their first winning streak since late February as they defeated the Orlando Magic, 91-85, at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavaliers managed to walk away with the win despite a poor shooting performance by Kyrie Irving, who went 3-of-15 from the floor to net nine points. Irving did manage to deal out a game-high 10 assists while Tristan Thompson registered a double-double for the second-straight game with 15 points and 16 boards. Alonzo Gee scored a team-high 19 points for Cleveland, which was coming off of a 97-91 victory over Boston. Nikola Vucevic was sensational in the setback as he produced his third 20-plus rebound game of the season by tallying 21 points and the same number of boards. Tobias Harris also generated a double-double with 26 points and 12 boards. Outside of Vucevic and Harris, the Magic shot a collective 13-of-51 from the field. Vucevic posted 13 points and 14 rebounds in the opening half to help the visitors claim a 48-44 halftime lead.

Final Score: Memphis 89, Sacramento 87
Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) - Mike Conley poured in 25 points and his go- ahead score with 30 seconds left helped lift the Memphis Grizzlies to an 89-87 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. Marc Gasol had 15 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, and his rejection of Marcus Thornton's 3-pointer on the last play of the game preserved the victory. Quincy Pondexter scored 17 off the bench and Tony Allen had 12 points for the Grizzlies, who moved to a game-behind idle Denver for the three-seed in the Western Conference. DeMarcus Cousins had a team-high 22 points along with nine rebounds for the Kings, who have dropped the first four of a five-game homestand. Isaiah Thomas followed with 18 points and eight assists, while Toney Douglas and Jimmer Fredette scored 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Final Score: Detroit 99, Chicago 85
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - Brandon Knight poured in 20 points as the Detroit Pistons snapped their 18-game losing slide to Chicago with a 99-85 victory over the Bulls at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Rodney Stuckey added 14 points for the Pistons, who had won just two of their previous 25 meetings against their Central Division rival from the Windy City. Greg Monroe chipped in 11 points and Andre Drummond had 10 rebounds. Jonas Jerbko went 7-of-8 from the field on his way to 17 points which he accompanied with nine rebounds. Charlie Villanueva and Khris Middleton scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, off the Pistons' bench.

Final Score: Utah 97, Golden State 90
Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Mo Williams scored 25 points and the Utah Jazz held on late for a 97-90 victory over the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on Sunday. Williams was 11-for-19 from the field and the Jazz received double-doubles from Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors to post their seventh win in eight games. With the victory, Utah vaulted itself into the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference and holds a one-half game lead over the Lakers, who lost to the Clippers earlier on Sunday. Jefferson posted 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Favors added 12 points and 13 boards. The Warriors could have clinched their first playoff berth since the 2006-07 season with a win, but their late comeback attempt fell short. Stephen Curry scored 22, Klay Thompson had 20 and David Lee finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds in defeat.

Final Score: New Orleans 95, Phoenix 92
Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - The New Orleans Hornets finally ended their eight-game road losing slide as they held off the Phoenix Suns for a 95-92 victory at the US Airways Center. Anthony Davis led the charge with 20 points and blocked two shots for New Orleans as it ended a two-game losing streak. Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson scored 17 points apiece. Anderson also grabbed 10 rebounds and the Hornets improved to 16-21 with Gordon in the lineup. Markieff Morris scored 18 points for Phoenix, which also received 17 points and 10 boards from Luis Scola. Jared Dudley chimed in with 15 points off the bench, but it was not enough to help the Suns avoid their season-high ninth consecutive setback. Goran Dragic had 11 points and eight assists in the loss. Michael Beasley had a tough outing, going 1-of-11 from the field to tally only three points.

Final Score: Dallas 96, Portland 91
Portland, OR (Sports Network) - Chris Kaman poured in a game-high 26 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks held off a late Portland rally to down the Trail Blazers 96-91 on Sunday. Dallas led by as many as 26 points in the second half, but saw the Blazers pull within three points in the final seconds. Shawn Marion scored 20 points and Vince Carter added 14 points off the bench for the Mavs, who trail the Utah Jazz by 2 1/2 games for the final spot in the upcoming Western Conference Playoffs. Will Barton scored a career-high 22 points to go with 13 rebounds and six assists off the bench and LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 18 points for Portland, which has been eliminated from playoff contention for the second consecutive season

Damian Lillard ran into all sorts of trouble against
Shawn Marion and the Mavs.
(image by Don Ryan/AP)

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