On Wednesday night, we saw the 2nd batch of games in the NBA Play-in Tournament, with this time all focus on the Western Conference, as the Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies took on the San Antonio Spurs. The two games did not disappoint, with both of them going down right down to the final seconds in the 4th quarter. Hopefully, we see more of the same in the coming days when the actual Playoffs finally get going.
Valanciunas dominates as the Grizzlies defeat the Spurs – Spurs 96-100 Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies are still in the hunt for a Playoff spot in the Western Conference after a close win over the San Antonio Spurs. Although Memphis got out to an early lead, the Spurs wouldn’t go down without a fight, and the game was still in the balance late in the 4th quarter before the Grizzles managed to see the game out. The main man last night for the Grizzles was big man, Jonas Valanciunas, who was dominating the paint all game long. The former Toronto Raptor scored 23 points whilst also registering 23 rebounds and 3 blocks. 2nd year point guard, Ja Morant also stepped up in the win as he put up 20 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Morant is one of the most exciting young players in the league and he definitely deserves to be playing in the Playoffs. The Grizzles will now face Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in the final round of the Play-in Tournament. With only one Playoff spot left up for grabs in the Western Conference, it promises to be a great game from the start.
The San Antonio Spurs on the other hand can now start preparing for next season, after last nights loss means they are now eliminated from Playoff contention. As mentioned earlier, the Spurs got out to a slow start and they just struggled to shoot the ball consistently. Starting Point guard, Dejounte Murray put up a triple double on the night, however he only shot 23.5% from the field and failed to hit any 3 point shots. Four-time NBA All-Star, DeMar DeRozan also had a disappointing night. He scored 20 points but shot a poor 23.8% from the field and 10 of his points came from the free throw line. The Spurs are now in a strange spot. For so long they were a team that was always competitive every season no matter the situation. However, it now looks like a rebuild or at least an effective retooling needs to take place in San Antonio, if the Spurs are going to return back to the top of the mountain in the Western Conference.
LeBron hits clutch 3 pointer as the Lakers squeeze past the Warriors – Warriors 100-103 Lakers
The defending champs have officially claimed their spot in this years Playoffs after a hard fought win over the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center. The Lakers fell into this years Play-in Tournament after a season where their main players suffered injury plagued seasons. However, when this team is healthy they have shown that they can beat anyone, and they will most likely go down as the best 7th seeded team in NBA history. The Lakers two superstar players both delivered last night when it was needed most. Although Anthony Davis went 1 for 6 from 3 point range, he still scored 25 points and added 12 rebounds along with 2 assists and 2 steals. Davis has had an up and down year, but i’m sure his play will only get better the more games he gets under his belt during the Playoffs. The main man in this game however, was none other than LeBron James. The King dropped a triple double on the night with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. He also made the play of the game late in the 4th quarter, sinking a deep 3 point shot over Steph Curry that ended up being the game winner. The Lakers will now face Chris Paul, Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the Playoffs, which on paper is arguably the best matchup in the first round.
For the Golden State Warriors however its now last chance saloon if they want to make the Playoffs. Last nights loss means that they will now face the Memphis Grizzles in the final round of the Play-in Tournament, with the winner securing the 8th seed in the Western Conference and the loser going home for the rest of the season. Although last night ended in a loss, they can definitely walk away from the game with confidence as they go into the Memphis game. Steph Curry once again was phenomenal in what has been an MVP type season for him. He scored 37 points on 52.2% shooting, including 66.7% from 3 point range along with 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Former number 1 overall pick, Andrew Wiggins also had a promising game as he put up 21 points on 55.6% shooting whilst also adding 3 rebounds and 2 assists to his stat-line. Even though the Warriors are heading into the Grizzlies game coming off a loss, don’t be surprised if they win the game and secure the 8th seed in the Western Conference. They should be considered the favourites going into the game in my opinion, however, there is no doubt that Ja Morant and co will be just as motivated, so it should be an enthralling watch.