NBA

Lakers lose again to leave play-in chances in jeopardy, Memphis keeps winning

By Sports Desk April 02, 2022

If the season ended today, the Los Angeles Lakers would not even make the play-in tournament after a painful 114-111 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The loss moves the Lakers' record to 31-46, and 4-16 in their past 20 games.

The Lakers built this game up as a must-win, re-inserting Anthony Davis to the line-up from a lengthy absence and LeBron James from an ankle sprain, but ultimately could not get stops down the stretch.

James was terrific, scoring 38 points on 13-23 shooting, while Davis was also strong, scoring 23 points (eight-of-17 shooting) to go with 12 rebounds and six assists. During Davis' 37 minutes on the floor, the Lakers were plus four.

But the Pelicans duo of C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram would not be denied, as McCollum led the way with 32 points (12-of-23 shooting), while Ingram chipped in with an efficient 29 on 10-of-17 shooting to go with eight rebounds and seven assists.

The Lakers' five remaining games are at home against the Denver Nuggets, away at the Phoenix Suns, away at the Golden State Warriors, at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and away against the Nuggets.

The San Antonio Spurs currently lead the race for the 10 seed by one game.

 

Fill-in Grizzlies fill it up

Another game without Ja Morant, and another win for the Memphis Grizzlies as they got the better of the full-strength Phoenix Suns 122-114.

As well as Morant, Memphis was without center Steven Adams, Defensive Player of the Year candidate Jaren Jackson Jr and emerging shooting guard Desmond Bane, but in front of their home fans the replacement Grizzlies were up to the task.

Dillon Brooks top-scored for the Grizzlies with 30 points (11-of-28 shooting) and seven assists, while Devin Booker had 41 points on 17-of-28 shooting for the Suns.

Memphis are now 20-2 in games Morant has missed.

 

Celtics win a shoot-out, Covington goes bananas 

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both surpassed 30 points in the Boston Celtics' 128-123 win against the Indiana Pacers.

Tatum finished with 31 on 10-of-24 shooting, while Brown had 32 on 12-of-18, but the Celtics had to withstand a sharpshooting display from Tyrese Haliburton, who had 30 points on 10-of-11 shooting, including six-of-six from long range.

Meanwhile, Robert Covington played the game of his life as his Los Angeles Clippers beat an undermanned Milwaukee Bucks side 153-119.

Covington finished with 43 points, going 11-of-18 from three-point range, setting a new franchise record for threes made in a game, beating J.J. Redick and Caron Butler's previous joint-record of nine.

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    Thompson's five-year contract with the Warriors – who selected him 11th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft – is due to expire following an abrupt ending to their 2023-24 campaign.

    The Warriors were eliminated from the Play-In Tournament by the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, with Thompson shooting 0-for-10 from the field in a 118-94 defeat at Golden 1 Center.

    The four-time NBA champion is yet to agree fresh terms and has already been linked with the Orlando Magic and the Dallas Mavericks. 

    Asked what the future holds in his exit interview on Wednesday, the 34-year-old said the ability to compete for a fifth championship would play a huge role in determining where he will play next year.

    "Considering it's April 17, I don't think I have to pivot that quickly," Thompson said. "When is free agency? July 1? Yeah, I've got some time.

    "I want to keep winning. When you've been a part of winning seasons, you don't really want to go away from that. So I would like to win again. One for the thumb would be nice. 

    "I still think it's within reach. Other than that, you've just got to think about what will really make you happy in the last few years of your career.

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    Joel Embiid had 23 points, 15 rebounds and six assists and the 76ers beat the visiting Miami Heat 105-104 on Wednesday in an Eastern Conference play-in game.

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    Embiid’s availability against Miami was uncertain after the reigning league MVP tweaked his surgically repaired left knee Friday and sat out the regular-season finale two days later.

    He played 38 minutes and stepped up down the stretch with eight points in the final three minutes and dished out a clutch assist.

    With the game tied at 96, Embiid found Kelly Oubre Jr. under the basket with 36 seconds to play, and he was fouled while making a layup for a three-point play to put Philadelphia ahead for good.

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    White erupts for career-high 42 in Bulls’ win

    Coby White scored a career-best 42 points on 15-of-21 shooting and Nikola Vucevic added 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Chicago Bulls rolled to a 131-116 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

    White, who surpassed his previous career high of 37 points, had nine rebounds and six assists as Chicago advanced to a Friday matchup at Miami for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.

    DeMar DeRozan had 22 points and nine assists and Ayo Dosunmu added 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting after missing the final four regular-season games with a bruised right quadricep.

    The Bulls shot 56.8 percent from the field and 42.3 percent (11 for 23) from 3-point range to go with a 47-34 rebounding advantage.

    Dejounte Murray led the Hawks with 30 points and Trae Young and Clint Capela each had 22 as Atlanta’s season came to an end after it closed the regular season with six straight losses.

    The Hawks were within 88-85 but Vucevic’s 3-pointer ignited a 17-2 run to put the Bulls up 105-87 with 1:27 left in the third quarter.

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