April 13, 2016, 2:40 pm
It’s the final day of the NBA regular season. It’s a day where some of you are looking at your team’s record and just shaking your head while others are excited for the playoffs to begin. There are 14 games on the slate for Wednesday and some of them are looking to be stinkers. However, there are a few games tonight that carry a lot of weight with playoff seeding on the line. Without further ado, here are your ‘must watch’ games of the night.
The Honorable Mentions: The Warriors look to pass the 1995-96 Bulls for the best single-season record in NBA history. The competition from Memphis is why I’m not calling this a must-watch game on a very busy night, but the history on the line in this game is amazing. A record that has stood strong for 21 years has the chance (very, very, very high chance) of getting broken tonight. Any yes, it can turn ‘must watch’ real quick if the score is tight.
Now for the main course, here are your ‘must watch’ games of the night.
Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics
Tip Time: 8 pm (est)
Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Player Matchup: Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas
There is a lot on the line for the Heat (48-33) in this matchup. As it stands now, Miami is currently the three-seed in the Eastern Conference. However, they are in a tie with the Atlanta Hawks and are only one game ahead of the Celtics and the Hornets (both of which own the tiebreaker over the Heat). A loss tonight could result in the Heat dropping from the three-seed to as low as the sixth seed.
“To get a win on the road at this time of the year, when you’re desperate, is good as we go into the playoffs,” Dwayne Wade said. “There are going to be moments like that in the playoffs, where you go on the road, and you might need a win. The mentality that we had today was very good. I like to see the growth in us.”
Wade has been fantastic this season, averaging 19.1 points, 4.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game. In his previous two meetings with the Celtics, the 34-year-old veteran turned back the clock averaging 24.5 points, 3.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 44.2 percent from the field.
Boston (47-34) has the chance to gain home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The importance of home court advantage is sometimes undervalued, but the Celtics seem to understand how beneficial it would be to have a playoff series start and end on their home floor.
“We’ll do everything we can to control that and it starts with a win (Wednesday),” Isaiah Thomas told the team’s official site. “Hopefully we can get fourth place and have home court in the first round because it will definitely help us.”
Thomas has been great this season and it led to him being named an All Star. Against the Heat, however, Thomas has really struggled. In his two previous meetings against Miami, he is averaging 14 points and 6.5 assists per game while shooting an abysmal 26.5 percent from the field.
This game carries the weight of the Eastern Conference standings. A win for Miami would mean no significant change, but a loss could trigger a complete shake up. If you’re ready for the playoffs and you want to watch a game with that type of feel, then this is the game for you.
Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Tip Time: 10:30 pm (est)
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Player Matchup: Rodney Hood and Kobe Bryant
The Jazz holds their playoff lives in their hands heading into tonight’s meeting with the Lakers. Utah has been an interesting team to watch all season. They play a slower paced type of game and have prided themselves on the defensive side of the floor. Unfortunately, at the most inopportune time, Utah is hobbling.
Derrick Favors is dealing with knee soreness, Gordon Hayward is playing through plantar fasciitis, Rodney Hood is dealing with back issues and now Rudy Gobert did not even make the trip to L.A. because of an ankle injury. Rookie Trey Lyles is expected to get the start in place of Gobert, moving Favors to the center position.
This is a must-win game for the Jazz. Even with a win, the team still needs Sacramento to defeat the Rockets in Houston as a 15.5 point underdog.
“We gotta go to Los Angeles and try to win a game under difficult circumstances with it being Kobe’s last game, and see what happens elsewhere and hope for the best,” said Quin Snyder.
Tonight, we say goodbye to a legend. After 20 incredible years of watching this man hit buzzer beaters, climb the record books and win championships, we have now come to the day where we say goodbye to Kobe Bryant.
It’s almost too hard to imagine a league without the Black Mamba. Bryant played this game with such passion and aggression that only a slim few bring to this game today. Even if you are not a fan of Bryant, you respect the talent. I asked fans to describe Bryant in one word and here are some of my responses: Polarizing. Dominant. Champion. Goat.
Over the season, we have seen a different side of Bryant. He has been more interactive with the fans and has been more open in his interviews. The Lakers are bad right now as the team is going through a development year. That has allowed Bryant to show a more laid back side of himself during his farewell season.
“I’ve allowed myself to take the blinders off and enjoy the fans, enjoy the crowd. Laugh a little bit more. Engage a little bit more,” Bryant said.
Tonight, in front of his home crowd, we say goodbye to one of the greatest players of all time.
“I’ve grown up in front of this crowd from the age of 17,” Bryant said. ” A lot of faces that I saw in the crowd in my very first game are still here. That’s very special. Kids that are sitting there now, that were kids when I first came in, now come to the game with their kids. You know, that’s pretty cool.”
August 17, 2019, 9:16 pmRudy GobertC, Utah Jazz
Rudy Gobert scored 14 points along with nine rebounds, two assists and a block in France's 86-72 win vs. Brazil in the World Cup exhibition games.
Gobert lead the team in scoring in 22 minutes of playing time. With the new additions of Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic on the Jazz, Gobert may take a slight hit in scoring however you can still expect excellent field goal percentage, rebounds and blocks. Evan Fournier chipped in 13 points with five rebounds, three assists and a steal for France. Brazil's Bruno Cabloclo scored nine points, seven rebounds and a steal.
August 17, 2019, 8:35 pmDennis SchroderPG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Dennis Schroder scored 19 points to lead Germany to a 83-62 win vs. Hungary as the teams prepare for the Wold Cup.
Schroder filled the box score tonight by adding three rebounds, seven assists, one steal, one block and four treys. He will come off the bench again next season behind Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Anyone who drafts the often-injured Chris Paul may want to handcuff him with Schroder. Fellow countryman Daniel Theis scored 11 points with six rebounds, two assists and one steal.
August 17, 2019, 2:10 pmTyler DorseySG, International
Tyler Dorsey has signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv B.C. of Israel.
Dorsey played 21 games for the Grizzlies last year after being acquired midseason from the Hawks via trade. He played well over that span with 9.8 points in 21.3 minutes but will take his talents overseas where, "He'll have a chance to showcase what great things he can do," according to his new head coach. Maccabi has signed several former NBA players this offseason as Dorsey will be joining Omri Casspi, Nate Wolters, Quincy Acy and Tarik Black.
Source: Macabi Tel Aviv on Twitter
August 17, 2019, 12:57 pmRayjon TuckerPG, Milwaukee Bucks
Rayjon Tucker will be signing with the Bucks on a partially guaranteed deal.
Tucker is a little older than most rookies and will be 22 before the start of the season but he played well enough at Little Rock last year to deserve a look, scoring 20.3 points per game and knocking down 2.4 triples per game at a 41.1 percent clip. He rounds out the Bucks 20-man training camp roster but since they already have 15 guaranteed contracts and both two-way spots occupied, he is very unlikely to make the team and could very well end up in the G-League.
Source: Darren Wolfson on Twitter
August 17, 2019, 12:45 pmDe'Aaron FoxPG, Sacramento Kings
Per Chris Hayes of Yahoo, De'Aaron Fox will be withdrawing from the FIBA World Cup in order to focus on the upcoming season.
Fox follows the trend set by many other players that have withdrawn for the same reason. Maybe this is related to him only playing six minutes in the exhibition against Spain on Friday but either way, he should be in line to improve last year's huge leap in production and could even be in the All-Star conversation. Derrick White is much more likely to make the final roster now with Fox out.
Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter
August 17, 2019, 11:39 amKemba WalkerPG, Boston Celtics
Kemba Walker leads US in 90-81 victory over Spain on Friday.
Walker impressed in the exhibition with 11 points, six rebounds, eight assists, and two steals in 22 minutes with Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum and Khris Middleton also playing well as his co-stars. Four Celtics are expected to be on the final roster which will serve as a great opportunity for Walker to develop a good rapport with his new teammates ahead of training camp. Marc Gasol was the top scorer for Spain with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks while Ricky Rubio finished with 16 points, seven assists and five steals.
August 17, 2019, 9:05 amKhem BirchC, Orlando Magic
Khem Birch led all scorers with 18 points as Canada lost to Australia in the second game of their mini-series exhibition.
Birch also chipped in four rebounds, two steals and a block in 23 minutes. He recently signed a two-year extension with the Magic but he currently sits as their third string center so he is off the fantasy map for now. For Australia, captain Joe Ingles put up eight points on 2-of-10 shooting with six assists and three steals in 31 minutes while Jonah Bolden chipped in 12 points, five rebounds, a steal and two triples in 18 minutes off the bench.
August 17, 2019, 8:24 amJuancho HernangomezPF, Denver Nuggets
Juan Hernangomez was back in action on Friday after undergoing core surgery in May.
Hernangomez did not do much in his 20 minutes of action in Spain's exhibition against the US on Friday but at least he has recovered from his surgery. He is entering a contract year but it will be difficult for him to get much playing time with the Nuggets at full health. He played only 8.4 minutes per game over the last two months of last season.
Source: Nick Kosmider on Twitter
August 17, 2019, 8:03 amJayson TatumSF, Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum's intent is to increase his scoring this season according to Keith Smith.
Tatum has been working on being stronger with the ball, drawing fouls and finishing through contact which should result in an increase in free throws, points and efficiency. He was already a top-60 player in only his second year in the league by providing a little bit of everything from a fantasy perspective and should only continue to grow going into his third season.
Source: Keith Smith on Twitter
August 17, 2019, 7:36 amDaulton HommesSF, San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have signed rookie Daulton Hommes.
This is likely a camp deal for Hommes as the Spurs already have 15 guaranteed contracts on their roster. The NABC Division II Player of the Year averaged 8.4 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.4 triples and 1.0 threes in in 17.7 minutes for the Bucks in summer league action. He is unlikely to play in the NBA this season.
Source: Jeff Garcia on Twitter