kevin durant shawn marion april 2014

Well, here we are. The NBA regular season is drawing to an end. With less than two weeks of games remaining, very little is actually settled.

From seeding for those teams that have already clinched a playoff spot to rounding out the final few playoff teams, there is a lot to be settled over these last games.

Let’s take a look back at how things shook out around the league this week.

Warriors Beat Mavs In Thriller


In what has to be a contender for NBA game of the year, the Warriors took on the Mavericks in Dallas on Tuesday night.

Golden State came into the game sitting in sixth place in the conference, holding on to a slim two-and-a-half game lead on the Mavericks. Dallas had been doing its best to hold off the hard charging Memphis Grizzlies, but suddenly found themselves in a dogfight for a playoff berth.

The Warriors led for the entire first quarter and were able to extend their advantage to 30-19 with five consecutive points from Jordan Crawford.

The Mavericks took their first lead of the game in the second quarter thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from Vince Carter.

With Dallas leading, 51-46, Klay Thompson was fouled by Carter on a layup and hit the free throw to pull the Warriors back within two with three minutes to play in the half.

That’s when Dirk Nowitzki took over. Nowitzki scored 11 points in less than two minutes, including three 3s, to give the Mavs the 62-53 halftime lead.

In the second half, three straight buckets from The Super Splash Brothers brought the Warriors back within two. Four more points for Nowitzki to start the second half meant that he scored 15 consecutive points for the home team, keeping the lead for his team.

Steph Curry’s 3-pointer with less than a minute in the third quarter gave Golden State the lead again at 83-79. The Warriors took a four-point lead into the final quarter.

An 8-0 run by the Mavericks, fueled by Monta Ellis and DeJuan Blair, gave the Mavs a four-point lead with 4:30 to play. The final few minutes of the fourth-quarter were some of the most exciting in any game this season.

Dirk’s jumper put the Mavs up, 106-102, with less than two minutes remaining. The Warriors answered with a 3 from Andre Iguodala.

Monta Ellis had a jumper to put the Mavs up three, but Klay Thompson answered with a 3 of his own to tie the game at 108.

Draymond Green had a chance to win it for the Warriors, but his tip-in attempt failed and Shawn Marion collected the rebound and called a quick timeout. The Mavs had the ball with a shot to win it in regulation, but Jose Calderon’s bad pass was intercepted by Curry as time expired.

In overtime, Nowitzki played a game of dueling shots with Iguodala. The duo combined for nine points in exactly one minute of play.

A 7-2 run by the Warriors gave them a one-point lead before Calderon hit a 3 for Mavs that put them up two with 42 seconds left setting up a wild finish.

Jermaine O’Neal finished a layup of a great feed from Draymond Green, tying the game at 120. Calderon drove the lane for the Mavs and pulled up for a short jumper. O’Neal soared for the block and got it, collecting the loose ball.

Fans booed and play halted for a split second as it appeared O’Neal may have got the ball on the way down, which would have been a goaltending call.

With 11 seconds left, O’Neal quickly passed the ball to Curry, who brought the ball up for the final possession. Curry had the ball on the left wing as Golden State tried to set up a screen for Curry to come around.

Curry denied the screen and brought the ball back to his left and pulled up for the 21-foot shot. It fell. The Warriors won the game and a key tiebreaker over the Mavs.

Western Conference Playoff Race Is a Tight One

zach randolph marcus morris suns grizzlies 2014

The Western Conference playoff race is one to watch. As it stands, four teams are separated by a mere two games for the final three playoff spots: the Warriors, Mavericks, Grizzlies and Suns.

Golden State is sitting prettiest. They are 6-3 in their last nine games and two of those losses came to the San Antonio Spurs during their record-breaking 19-game winning streak.

The Warriors close the season out against only one playoff team, finishing with the Jazz, Nuggets, Lakers, Trail Blazers, Timberwolves and Nuggets.

The Mavericks have struggled as of late, going 4-4 on an eight-game home stand. Dallas lost three of those home games in overtime and could very easily have been 7-1 on the stand, but alas, it was not to be.

The Mavs face basement dwellers, Sacramento and Utah before closing out against the Spurs, Suns and Grizzlies.

Memphis has a record of 5-4 since an away loss at Miami on March 21. The Grizzlies have lost to every playoff contender they have faced in that stretch, with the exception of the ailing Indiana Pacers.

The Grizzlies have arguably the toughest remaining schedule of the four competitors in the West. Memphis has six games remaining against San Antonio, Miami, Philadelphia, the Lakers, Phoenix and Dallas.

Phoenix has won seven of their last nine games and are the hottest team of the four. Unfortunately for the Suns, they have a tough remaining schedule.

Phoenix will play the Thunder, Pelicans and Spurs before getting a shot at both the Grizzlies and the Mavericks. The Suns will then close the season out against the beleaguered Kings.

With each of the Mavericks, Grizzlies and Suns playing one another in the final week of the season, the race for the playoffs will not be settled until each team plays their 82nd game.

Spurs Record Win Streak Comes To an End


The Spurs lost their match up with the Thunder on Thursday, unceremoniously ending their 19-game winning streak.

San Antonio was effective in bothering Durant’s shots all night, forcing him to take 26 field goal attempts to score 28 points. Durant was 6-6 from the free throw line, but missed each of his four shots from beyond the arc.

The Spurs, without the services of Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, were less than effective, hitting on 3-of-10 shots.

Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills were the “Big Three” for the Spurs on this night. The trio combined for 55 of the 94 Spurs points on the evening.

It was not enough to overcome the dynamic duo of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, who both combined for 54 points for the Thunder.

The lean athleticism of the Thunder was disruptive to the Spurs on offense as well as defense, with the Thunder collecting 14 steals and five blocks on the evening.

Kevin Durant Ties a Michael Jordan Record

kevin durant april 2014

Kevin Durant scored 28 points in a duel with the Houston Rockets as the Thunder fell, 111-107. The points in a loss would not be of note except that it was Durant’s 40th straight game with 25 points or more.

This tied Michael Jordan’s record, and if Durant is able to score 25 or more against Phoenix he will have the most consecutive games of 25 or more in the last 30 years.

As of right now, Durant doesn't care.

Dirk Nowitzki Climbs Up the Scoring List

dirk nowitzki january 2014

In the Mavericks' April 5 win over the Lakers, Dirk Nowitzki became the league’s 10th all-time leading scorer. Nowitzki passed Dominique Wilkins by converting a free throw in the middle of the third quarter.

This season, Nowitzki has passed Jerry West, Kevin Garnett, Reggie Miller, Alex English and John Havlicek.

Nowitzki is not yet done climbing the scoring ladder. With 32 more points, Nowitzki will pass Oscar Robertson for 10th on the all-time list.

If Dirk can stay healthy, then it is reasonable to assume that he will end next season in the seventh position, sitting just behind Shaquille O’Neal.


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