Sport Wild Wild West: Mavericks and Trail Blazers clinch key tiebreakers in standings logjam
Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers building momentum in preparation for tough stretch run
Breaking a 11-game season-high streak, Lillard scored at least 30 points for the first time since April 2 as the Trail Blazers beat the Nets 128-109 in Brooklyn for the third straight victory — all coming with an average winning margin of 20.3 points.This was Portland's third straight victory, all on the road, after a 11-game stretch where they only recorded two wins. Thus, making this their longest win streak since they won four straight at the end of March.
It was a packed slate on Saturday and 11 of the Western Conference's 15 teams were taking the floor.
That meant, irrespective of who wins, there was going to be a ton of impact on the logjam in the Conference standings.
Here's a quick look at the biggest winners and losers while looking at the upcoming schedule for the teams in question.
Play-In Tournament: Dallas & Portland clinch key tiebreakers
Despite playing on the second night of a back-to-back, Luka Doncic and the Mavericks took care of business as they hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers.
There were plenty of reasons to celebrate in the 110-90 win with Doncic passing 5,000 career points and head coach Rick Carlisle rising up the all-time winningest coaches leaderboard.
Luka Doncic: Dallas Mavericks star creates history with 20-assist triple-double in win over Washington Wizards
Luka Doncic became the second-fastest player to 35 career triple-doubles, needing just 190 games as he poured in 31 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high 20 assists in the Mavericks' 125-124 win over the Wizards.He drew the attention of a Wizards double team and fired a pass to Dorian Finney-Smith in the corner, who drained the 3-pointer to put the Mavs in front with 9.3 seconds left to seal a 125-124 win over the Washington Wizards.
Congrats to— NBA (@NBA) coach Rick Carlisle for moving up to 15th on the all-time coaching wins list!
However, given their position on the standings, the biggest takeaway from the contest would be clinching the division title - their fourth in franchise history and first since 2009-10. Sealing up the division title gives Dallas the tiebreaker if they were to slip into a three-way tie with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers.
If it isn't a three-way tie, the Mavericks do hold the tiebreaker over the Lakers. The Trail Blazers were the other big winner from Saturday.
Defeating a shorthanded Lakers at the Moda Center, which welcomed fans for the first time this season, Portland has clinched the tiebreaker against the Lakers. The 106-101 victory was powered by Damian Lillard's 38 points and seven assists, a performance that helped the Trail Blazers withstand Anthony Davis' 36-point night.
adhesive strong: Mavericks win against Washington
Maximilian Kleber has celebrated an important victory with the Dallas Mavericks in the race for a play-off square in the NBA. © Provided by sport1.de adhesive strong: Mavericks win against Washington Maximilian Kleber has celebrated an important victory with the Dallas Mavericks in the race for a play-off square in the North American basketball profiliga NBA.
Dame scores 38 PTS on just 18 shot attempts! ????
The— NBA (@NBA) move into sole possession of the No. 6 seed out West.
The Lakers' downward spiral continues, as they have won lost eight of their last 10.
The Trail Blazers would be planning to simply win more and hope there's no three-way tie because then they could climb to as high as the fifth seed as they also hold the tiebreaker against the Mavericks courtesy of their 2-1 head-to-head season series.
Mavericks: Cleveland, Memphis, New Orleans, Toronto, Minnesota
Trail Blazers: San Antonio, Houston, Utah, Phoenix, Denver
Lakers: Phoenix, New York, Houston, Indiana, New Orleans
Status quo for Utah, Phoenix
The Suns and Jazz, competing for the best record in the league - the top seed in the Western Conference, came into Saturday games separated by one and they stayed that way with both registering wins.
Devin Booker: Pair of clutch free-throws lift Phoenix Suns over Portland Trail Blazers in regular season classic
The Phoenix Suns outlasted the Portland Trail Blazers in a regular season classic. The game came down to Devin Booker being able to sink two clutch free throws in the final seconds, with the Suns holding on to hope of finishing with the league's best record.Trailing 117-116 with 4.4 seconds to play, Booker drove to the right side of the lane and pulled up for a mid-range jumper. Portland Trail Blazers' guard Norman Powell was called for a foul on the shot, sending Booker to the line. Portland head coach Terry Stotts challenged the play, but the call would stand, leaving the game in Booker's hands.
For the shorthanded Jazz, playing without their starting line-up in Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley Jr., Bojan Bogdanovic went off. In the 127-120 win, the Croatian finished with a career-high 48 against the Denver Nuggets in a rematch of last year's thrilling seven-game first-round playoff matchup.
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48 points, 8 threes, 8 rebounds, 8/8 ft, 2 assists, 2 steals |— utahjazz (@utahjazz)
The loss puts Denver one game behind the LA Clippers for the third seed with each team having five to go. All the Nuggets need to do is finish with the same number of wins because they hold the tiebreaker against the Clippers.
Meanwhile in Phoenix, it was a tight contest but the Suns ran away with it late. Over a 10-minute stretch in the second half, they seized control with a dominating 40-16 run to eventually win 128-105.
????— NBA (@NBA) tallies 26 PTS, 15 REB, leading the to victory vs. NYK!
Suns: Lakers, Golden State, Portland, San Antonio, San Antonio
LeBron James battles soreness in injured ankle as Lakers fall in standings following loss to Raptors
LeBron James was in the locker room much before the final buzzer sounded on the Lakers' 121-114 loss to the Raptors, their sixth defeat in their last seven games. The defending champions have now dropped to sixth in the West and face the possibility of participating in the Play-in tournament.Unlock live games with NBA League Pass. Get annual plans now at 50% off our start-of-season price.
Jazz: Houston, Golden State, Portland, Oklahoma City, Sacramento
San Antonio create separation
They were playing some tough opponents but their free-fall came at the wrong time. However, Saturday helped the Spurs get back on track and ensure there is some distance to the New Orleans Pelicans for the 10th and final Play-In seed.
With seven players scoring in double figures, led by Dejounte Murray's 22 points and seven assists, San Antonio defeat the Sacramento Kings 113-104 and snapped their five-game skid.
With the Pelicans, who were set to be without Zion Williamson for the remainder of the season, losing earlier in the day in Philadelphia, the Spurs hold a two-game lead for the 10th spot with six games to play while New Orleans got five more in the schedule.
Spurs: Portland, Milwaukee, Brooklyn, New York, Phoenix, Phoenix
Pelicans: Charlotte, Memphis, Dallas, Golden State, Los Angeles
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Sunday, May 2 – NBA scores, updates, news, stats, highlights and top fantasy performers .
There are 10 games of NBA action on the slate, highlighted by the return of LaMelo Ball, a showdown between No. 1 picks in Zion Williamson and Anthony Edwards and several games with playoff implications.Following along for live updates, highlights and more.