Carter Hall, Contributing Writer |
This past weekend, NBA fans got to watch many games of potential playoff basketball. The Denver Nuggets suited up against the Los Angeles Clippers Friday night. These two teams currently sit in second and third place respectively in the Western Conference. The Clippers came out strong and looked dominant throughout the game. At the end of the first, Los Angeles led 37-27, and at the half they lead by ten at 56-66. While the Nuggets had four players score double digits, their two starting guards Gary Harris and Jamal Murray only combined for 15 points. The Clippers, received more help as a team and had seven players score in the double digits. Paul George ended with four rebounds, two assists and 24 points to carry the Clippers over Denver with a final score of 132-103. As a result, both teams currently sit 5 ½ games out of first place.
On Saturday night, the Houston Rockets, who are currently fourth in the Western Conference, came into Boston to face the Celtics who are third in the Eastern Conference. From the tip-off, Boston took off to a great start. At the end of the first quarter, the Celtics led by nine and were able to extend the lead to 11 by the half. However, Houston was not ready to give in. They came out hot in the third quarter and outscored Boston 36-22 and were able to gain a three point lead. Boston on the other hand looked like a different team coming out after the first half. Boston was cold from the three point line, allowing this Houston comeback. Despite their struggles, Boston was able to outscore Houston by three in the fourth quarter and forced the game into overtime on an incredible last second play. Down three, Boston inbounded the ball to their upcoming star Jayson Tatum, who was then fouled and sent to the line to shoot two free throws. Knowing they were down two, Tatum purposely missed and as Boston crashed for a rebound the ball was bounced around and found its way into the hands of Celtic Jaylen Brown who buried a three at the buzzer. This hectic play gave Boston great momentum heading into overtime. However, Houston was able to find a way to outscore Boston on their own home court 7-6 in overtime to secure the win. Houston’s Russell Westbrook ended with 41 points and managed to get eight rebounds along with five assists.
Westbrook found his stride in February. Along with the 41 scored on Saturday night, Westbrook averaged over 30 points per game in the last six games . He helped lead the Rockets to win all but one of those games, helping them work their way up the ladder in the Western Conference. The Rockets look to be playing their best basketball of the season and are a team that is becoming feared throughout the league as playoffs continue to get closer. Many doubted the ability of Westbrook to play alongside Houston star James Harden. However, as the season nears an end, these two title seeking competitors just might be putting together the run they dreamed they could make. The same run the entire league feared is now becoming not only a possibility but a reality.