We’re almost done with regular season basketball, did you know? It’s very sad. But then playoff basketball! That’s like, pretty fun.
Carmelo Anthony scored 40 in a win against the Hawks.
After pouring in 50 points on a LeBron James/Dwyane Wade/Mario Chalmers-less Miami Heat team two nights ago, Melo followed up that barrage with another 40 on the Atlanta Hawks. It was particularly strange because the Hawks essentially refused to double Melo, allowing him to torch Josh Smith play after play. And even worse, Melo did it largely with the most inefficient shot in the game: the pull-up, mid-range jumper. Granted its one of his strongest assets, but stat heads everywhere were probably shaking their heads. Still, the 95-82 win gives the Knicks 10 in a row, their longest streak of the season, and puts them on pace to narrowly edge out Indiana for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Los Angeles Clipppers won their 50th game of the season.
Can you believe that that’s a franchise record? Only 50 wins? Oh, you can? Right, the Clippers suck, historically anyway. As for where they’ll fall in the Western Conference standings, that’s hard to say – and it doesn’t seem likely they’ll be able to escape the second round, most likely having to face San Antonio or Oklahoma City in any second round matchup. But for a franchise that usually misses the playoffs, let alone finishes in the top four seeds in the Western Conference, baby steps. And with Chris Paul’s upcoming free agency, any steps the young support cast can make – the Blake Griffins, DeAndre Jordans, etc. – will only further his reasons for sticking around long-term.
But in terms of the present, it’s without a doubt that the Clippers can make some noise, especially if they play like they did in last night’s 126-101 win over the Phoenix Suns. The way Paul is able to manhandle the game and steer the offense at his will is mesmerizing at times, and there isn’t a defender in the league that can control him. But DeAndre Jordan’s free throw shooting woes always loom, and a lack of a serious interior post game could present problems. Not to mention that the Clippers have a depth issue – not too little depth, but too much. The rotation will be sliced down come playoff time, and certain players will see extended minutes while others are cut out entirely. How this messes with the dynamic of the team, only time will tell.