The Rundown: Ball brothers share the spotlight

Published May 5, 2021, 1:15 PMMiguel Flores

Top rookie LaMelo Ball and his brother Lonzo Ball had impressive performances for their respective teams on Wednesday (PHT).

Lonzo Ball's jumper late in the game against the Warriors sealed the win for the Pelicans.

Suns 134, Cavaliers 118
Hornets 102, Pistons 99
Bucks 124, Nets 118
Pelicans 108, Warriors 103
Kings 103, Thunder 99
Clippers 105, Raptors 100

What went down

As the season winds down, the intensity of the remaining games become precursors for what to expect in the playoffs.

The biggest game that had playoff implications today was the Milwaukee Bucks (41-24) squeezing out another tight win against the Brooklyn Nets (43-23), thanks to a terrific fourth quarter from Khris Middleton and clutch offensive rebounding. The win boosted Milwaukee to just 2.5 games behind the Nets for first in the East. Milwaukee also took the season series, in case they end up in a tie.

Aside from homecourt advantage through most of the playoffs, first place in the East puts any of Milwaukee, Brooklyn, or the Philadelphia 76ers in prime place to go deep in the playoffs. Being the first seed means a team will only have to face the eighth seed, then the fourth or fifth seed if they advance into the second round. They'll only have to meet a fellow top three team in the conference finals. The second and third seeds, on the other hand, could meet in the second round then the winner may have to face the top seed in the conference finals. In today’s East where the top three a cut above the rest, avoiding tough matchups until later may end up being key in a potential title run.

In the West, the Dallas Mavericks had their way with the inconsistent Miami Heat on the road. Dallas is in a three-way game of musical chairs with the Portland Trail Blazers and the Los Angeles Lakers, with the loser missing out on an outright playoffs seat. The Mavericks are tied for fifth with the Lakers with identical 37-28 records, while the 36-29 Blazers are in seventh and are in danger of falling into the play-in tournament.

The Heat are also in quite the pickle in the middle of their conference, like their fellow finalists from last season. At 35-31, Miami only has a 0.5 game cushion between them and the seventh-seeded Boston Celtics (34-31). They also aren't too far from rising as high as fourth with the New York Knicks (37-28) and the Atlanta Hawks (36-30) not too far ahead. One big run to close the season could alter Miami's road back to the Finals from maybe having to face the top three teams in all rounds to getting a more favorable matchup in the first round to build momentum.

Big-time ballers

Luka Doncic rightfully gets 90 percent of the credit in Dallas because he's their best player in 90 percent of their games. Today is that rare 10 percent when someone outshines Luka Magic.

Tim Hardaway Jr., known for being a streaky scorer, was feeling immense moisture on his jumper, sinking a career-high 10 3s for 36 points. 

Chris Paul, in a game that the Phoenix Suns shouldn’t have needed overtime to win, was key in putting away the Cleveland Cavaliers. Proving that 36 is the new 30, Paul had another strong line of 23 points, 16 assists, four steals, and two blocks.

What he said

We couldn’t hear or see what they said here, but Kyle Lowry probably said something about Serge Ibaka's drip. Most likely, they talked about something only between champions.

Did you see that?

There are millions who dream of playing in the NBA but only 450 people can make it to the league at a time. There's a small chance that brothers make it, let alone that both brothers become solid NBA players.

Today the Ball brothers each had their moments. LaMelo led the Charlotte Hornets to a big win over the Detroit Pistons with 23 points and the mandatory highlight play.

A few hundred miles down south, Lonzo was busy racking up a career-high 33 points with seven triples to put away the Golden State Warriors.

The Ball brothers are only getting started.