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This is my last regular-season Daily Dose of the year and I’m kind of excited about it. Here’s what you missed on Thursday night if you weren’t watching the games or following the news feed.
Hawks 116, Magic 93 - Bogdan Bogdanovic has become a monster for the Hawks and racked up another 27 points and four 3-pointers as the Hawks won their 10th straight game at home. They’ve won 18 of their last 20 games at State Farm Arena and are 26-11 since Nate McMillan took over as head coach. And that, my friends, is the highest win total in the East since March 1. Clint Capela leads the league in rebounding, Trae Young is a stud and Bogdanovic has hit at least three triples in every game he’s played in May. And the win over the Magic gave the Hawks a bit of a cushion over the Knicks and Heat as they cling to the No. 4 seed in the East.
RJ Hampton racked up 18 points, eight rebounds, five dimes, a block and four 3-pointers off the bench for the Magic, which easily led the team.
Clippers 113, Hornets 90 – The No. 3 Clippers’ win put them 1.0 games ahead of the No. 4 Nuggets with two games left. Paul George led the way with 20 points, 10 boards, six dimes and five 3-pointers and Reggie Jackson came off the bench for 19 points and five triples, while Patrick Beverley started at point guard and had two points in 18 minutes.
The Hornets box score was tough to look at, but LaMelo Ball had 18 points, six boards, seven assists, two steals and three 3-pointers as he makes a final push for Rookie of the Year. Clippers rookie Jay Scrubb scored his first NBA points last night and Charlotte’s Miles Bridges hopes to return this weekend from heath and safety protocols.
Bucks 142, Pacers 133 – The Bucks’ starters went off in a nice win over the Pacers. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 40 points, 15 boards and six dimes on 14-of-18 shooting, but only hit 11-of-16 free throws. The freebies continue to be his nemesis. Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez all scored at least 20 points and Holiday had 14 assists and four blocks as his underrated season continues. The Bucks are just 1.0 games back of the Nets for the No. 2 seed now.
The Pacers put eight guys in double-digit scoring and Justin Holiday, Jrue’s brother, led the way with 25 points, five boards, five assists and a career-high eight 3-pointers in the loss. And if you picked up, or simply played T.J. McConnell last night he started and went off for a career-high 23 points, five boards, seven dimes, three steals and a 3-pointer on 10-of-19 shooting. I have to say, McConnell might be the most fun hustler to watch in the NBA right now. Domantas Sabonis left in the third quarter with a quad injury and if he’s going to miss time in the playoffs, the Pacers might as well call it a day. But, for now, the Pacers are calling his removal from the game as “precautionary.” McConnell hurt his left thumb and played the second half with a wrap on it. The Pacers are in the play-in tourney and sit a ½ game up on the Wizards for the No. 9 seed.
Heat 106, Sixers 94 – Jimmy Butler led the way with an efficient 21 points for the Heat and Bam Adebayo just missed a triple-double with 18 points, 12 boards, eight dimes and a block on 9-of-13 shooting in a win over the Sixers. The Heat stayed in the No. 5 hole in the East with the win and are still trying to catch the No. 4 Hawks. They’re a ½ game behind Atlanta and tied with No. 6 New York. The Hawks hold the tiebreaker over the Heat and the Heat hold a tiebreaker over the Knicks, so this race is not over quite yet. Kendrick Nunn left the game with a left calf injury but will travel with the team for Friday’s game. Victor Oladipo had surgery on Thursday and won’t be ready to play for at least six months. The free agent only appeared in four games for Miami before being shut down for the season and he’ll certainly end up somewhere else next year. I’m not targeting him in fantasy again any time soon, if ever again.
Joel Embiid (flu) was back in action for the Sixers but had just six points in 25 minutes. Tobias Harris led the way with 21 points and Shake Milton scored 12 off the bench in a brutal box score for Philly. The Sixers face the reeling Magic in the final two games of the season and only need to win one of them to clinch the No. 1 seed in the East. Consider that a done a deal.
Knicks 102, Spurs 98 – Alec Burks returned from a three-game absence with a knee injury and went Burks-zerk with a season-high 30 points, 10 rebounds and five 3-pointers off the bench on 11-of-20 shooting. Julius Randle just missed a triple-double with 25 points, nine boards and nine assists, and RJ Barrett added 24 points, nine boards, five dimes, a steal and five 3-pointers in a win that kept the Knicks tied with the Heat and just a ½ game behind the Hawks as the battle for 4-5-6 in the East continues. The battle for home-court between these three is a fun race to watch. Derrick Rose was out in order to rest his sore left ankle.
DeMar DeRozan led the way for the Spurs with 27 points, eight rebounds, four assists and a steal while Keldon Johnson, Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker all hit double digits for the Spurs. Jakob Poeltl came through with eight points, nine boards, a steal and three blocks in the loss. The Spurs clinched the final play-in spot in the West with Sacramento’s loss to Memphis.
Bulls 114, Raptors 102 – Zach LaVine led the way with 24 points and three 3-pointers, Lauri Markkanen had 20 points and six triples off the bench, and Coby White, Nikola Vucevic, Thaddeus Young and a guy named Javonte Green all scored in double figures for Chicago, as Vuc also had 16 boards, six dimes and two triples in the win. White also had 10 assists for a rare double-double. The Bulls are not technically out of it yet but have a tough hill to climb sitting 2.0 games behind the No. 10 Wizards.
Stanley Johnson started and scored a career-high 35 points with six 3-pointers while Khem Birch, Malachi Flynn, a guy named Jalen Harris and DeAndre Bembry also scored in double figures for the Raptors. Chris Boucher, Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby all sat out for the Raptors, who have nothing left to play for.
Grizzlies 116, Kings 110 – Memphis got 30 points and a full stat line from Dillon Brooks while Jaren Jackson Jr., Kyle Anderson, Jonas Valanciunas, Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke all scored in double figures in the win that secured the Spurs’ being the No. 10 seed in the West. The Grizzlies are battling the Warriors for the No. 8 seed in the West and the Grizzlies hold the tiebreaker.
The Kings got a career-high 31 points and four 3-pointers from a guy named Justin James and Chimezie Metu, Buddy Hield, Delon Wright and Terance Davis all scored in double figures in a somewhat meaningless game that saw the Kings eliminated from the playoff race. Davis filled up the stat sheet with five boards, four assists, three steals, a block and four 3-pointers and has been a bit of a fantasy beast over the last 10 days. Richaun Holmes left in the second quarter with a right knee injury and didn’t return. I’m guessing he’s done for the year with nothing left to play for.
Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news and updates. Plus, it allows you to easily track your favorite players. Get it here!
Nuggets 114, Timberwolves 103 – Nikola Jokic put a bow on his MVP season with 31 points, 14 boards, four assists, a steal and a block on 14-of-21 shooting and Aaron Gordon, JaVale McGee (who started), Austin Rivers, Vlatko Cancar (career-high 14) and a guy named Markus Howard all scored in double figures for the Nuggets. Michael Porter Jr. and Monte Morris rested as the No. 4 Nuggets have secured home-court advantage in the first round in the West.
The Wolves got 29 points, seven boards, five dimes, two blocks and four 3-pointers out of rookie Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns had 20 points and 11 boards, D’Angelo Russell scored 17 and Naz Reid had 10 in the loss. Edwards is making a push to be Rookie of the Year, but LaMelo Ball is probably still the favorite to win it.
Suns 118, Blazers 117 – All five Suns’ starters scored in double figures led by Chris Paul’s 26 points and seven dimes on 11-of-14 shooting. Jae Crowder, Dario Saric, Mikal Bridges (21 points, 11 boards, three triples), and Devin Booker rounded out the starter’s double-digit efforts while Cameron Payne came off the bench for 21 points, six boards, five assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers. Booker won the game with two late free throws on a night he’d probably like to forget (18 points on 5-of-17 shooting). The Suns are just 1.0 games behind the Jazz for the No. 1 seed in the NBA with two games remaining. Deandre Ayton sat out with a sore left knee, missing his first game of the season and giving Saric a start. The Suns need one more win to hit 50 on the season. If they get there it will be their first 50-win season since 2010.
The Blazers got 41 points on 16-of-23 shooting from Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum added 27 points, six assists and five 3-pointers, Robert Covington woke up with 16 points, four boards, four assists, two steals and four 3-pointers and Norman Powell had 12 points and a nice line in the loss. CJM missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game for Portland. The Blazers dropped to the No. 6 seed, a half game back of Dallas with two games left to play.