NBA Recap: April 18th, 2012

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Indiana Pacers are the only two teams not playing tonight. That’s right folks, we have 28 NBA teams playing in 14 different games and it only gets better. Every match-up tonight features at least one playoff team, there are no games that don’t matter! So let’s take a look at all your NBA action from Wednesday night.

The Philadelphia 76ers took down the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road last night. This win keeps Philadelphia in control of the Eastern Conference’s 8th playoff spot. Jrue Holiday scored a game-high 24 points for the Sixers and Andre Iguodala recorded 19 points and 13 rebounds. 19 of Jrue Holiday’s 24 points came in the 3rd quarter, when the Sixers put the game away with a 24-2 run. Kyrie Irving returned for the Cavs, scoring 9 points in 20 minutes.

PHI — 103-87

The Chicago Bulls easily took down the league-worst Bobcats in Charlotte. This contest marks the second straight game where Charlotte’s offense couldn’t score over 70 points. Despite Chicago sitting Luol Deng and Derrick Rose, the Bulls still scored 100, as they ran over the Bobcats. Richard Hamilton scored a game-high 22 points and added 6 assists.

CHI –100-68

The Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Washington Wizards on the road; the loss caused them to fall 2.5 games behind Philadelphia for the last playoff spot in the east. Monta Ellis, Drew Gooden, and Brandon Jennings all scored over 20 points for the Bucks, Ellis led them with 31 points, however they didn’t receive much help of the bench. Jordan Crawford scored a game-high 32 points for the Wizards, as 6 Washington players scored in double-digits. Furthermore, Washington shot 55 percent from the field compared to Milwaukee’s 45 percent. The Bucks sit at 29-32, with 5 games left to play.

WAS — 121-112

The Atlanta Hawks soared past the Detroit Pistons last night in a throw-away game. 11 players from each team played double-digits and it was clear neither team cared much about the outcome. Tracy McGrady led the Hawks offense with 17 points in 17 minutes. The high man for Detroit was Greg Monroe with 17 points in 25 minutes. The Hawks are currently the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference.

ATL — 116-84

The Miami Heat rested Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade during a large victory over the Toronto Raptors. LeBron James led Miami with a game-high 28 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. With the win, Miami is 3 games behind the Chicago Bulls for the number one seed in the East, so it’s still statistically possible for them to come out on top; although it is a long shot.

MIA — 96-72

The New York Knicks took down the Nets in New Jersey thanks to Carmelo Anthony’s big game. Anthony finished with 33 points, 21 of which came in the first quarter; he also grabbed 7 rebounds. However, the Nets didn’t give this game away. Kris Humphries led all rebounders with 15 boards, and Gerald Wallace scored a team-high 21 points. Yet, with the New York win, the Knicks hold on to the 7th playoff spot, with Philadelphia one game behind at number 8.

NY — 104-95

Paul Pierce scored 29 points and recorded a career-high 14 assists, as the Celtics clinch the Atlantic Division. They defeated the Orlando Magic, thanks to a strong 4th quarter performance by Pierce. Glen Davis kept Orlando in the game with a team-high 27 points. Yet, even though both Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo didn’t play, Boston came out on top. The Celtics are currently the number 4 seed in the East, while Orlando is number 6. The Magic sit one game behind the division-rival Hawks, however, they’re post-season doesn’t look bright with the absence of Dwight Howard.

BOS — 102-98

The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the New Orleans Hornets, allowing them to clinch their 2nd straight playoff-berth. Rudy Gay scored a game-high 26 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists in the victory. The Grizzlies are currently the 5th seed out West, however they are only two games behind the LA Clippers for the number 4 spot.

MEM — 103-91

Dirk Nowitzki can sense the playoffs are near. He scored 21 points in the fourth quarter sending the Houston Rockets to their 5th straight loss. Nowitzki finished with a game-high 35 points, as the Mavericks move into the 6th spot in the West. Houston played a tough-game, as all five starters scored in double-digits and Marcus Camby led the game with 17 rebounds. Yet, Dirk seem too much for the Rockets to handle. Dallas currently holds a .5 game lead on the Denver Nuggets (7th seed), while Houston is on the outside looking in, with a 32-30 record.

DAL — 117-110

With that said, the Denver Nuggets lost at home to the LA Clippers last night, propelling them back to the 7th spot in the Western Conference. Ty Lawson led all scorers with 26 points, he also added 6 rebounds and 4 assists. However, Chris Paul helped facilitated the game with 21 points and 8 assists, and Mo Williams came off the bench to score 19 points for LA. The Denver Nuggets are only 2 games away from missing the playoffs, and one game away from falling to the 8th seed. This makes every game from here on out, a “must win;” as is the same for a number of teams out West.

LAC — 104-98

The Utah Jazz crushed the Portland Trailblazers to attain the 8th playoff spot in the West. Devin Harris scored a game-high 27 points, Gordon Hayward netted 21 points, and Al Jefferson recorded a double-double in the win. Wesley Matthews was the high man for Portland with 21 points. However, this game was all about the Jazz. Due to (spoiler alert) the Suns loss to the Thunder last night, Utah took control of the last playoff spot out west, as the Suns fell a 0.5 games behind the Jazz.

UTA — 112-91

The San Antonio Spurs cruised past the Sacramento Kings to stay 0.5 games ahead of the Thunder for the number one spot in the West. The Spurs had 8 players in double-digits, as the rested Tim Duncan for the playoffs. Both Tiago Splitter and Gary Neal came off the bench to score 17 points, Splitter also added 7 rebounds. Isiah Thomas scored 21 and Marcus Thornton scored 20 for the Kings, but they were no match for San Antonio’s depth.

SA — 127-102

James Harden scored 40 points off the bench as the OKC Thunder knock the Phoenix Suns out of the 8th spot in the West. Harden became the first player this season to score 40 off the bench and it’s a career-high for him. He finished with 40 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals, while Kevin Durant chipped in 29 points and 11 rebounds. The Suns were led by Jared Dudley’s 21 points, however, off-nights from Marcin Gortat (9 points) and Steve Nash (5 assists) may have cost Phoenix the game. With the win, OKC is 0.5 games behind the Spurs for the top playoff spot out West.

OKC — 109-97

Kobe Bryant sat out his 8th straight game, as the Lakers stay 0.5 games ahead of the Clippers thanks to Pau Gasol’s triple-double. Both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum had big nights against the Golden State Warriors, helping LA hold their ground the in Pacific Division. Bynum finished with a game-high 31 points and 9 rebounds, while Gasol had 22 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds. This was Pau’s 5th triple-double, 3rd as a Laker, and first this season.

LAL — 99-87

For a more detailed look at all 14 of last night’s games, head over to ESPN.