The Rundown: Playoff race in the West gets tighter

Published March 25, 2023, 3:00 PMMiguel Flores

Today’s games had a huge impact on the standings in the Western Conference.



Celtics 120, Pacers 95

Wizards 136, Spurs 120

Raptors 118, 97

Grizzlies 151, Rockets 114

Hornets 117, Mavericks 109

Bucks 144, Jazz 116

Warriors 120, 76ers 112

Bulls 124, Trail Blazers 96

Kings 135, Suns 127

Lakers 116, Thunder 111

What went down

All eyes are on the Western Conference standings but not at the top. The party is happening in the middle and bottom. The fourth seed up to the 10th seed are still in limbo with teams only a few games within each other.

Today, things took an interesting turn. The Dallas Mavericks fell to 11th, losing probably their easiest matchup remaining in the season to the Charlotte Hornets, the same team that barely had enough healthy players to play a game yesterday.

Dennis Smith Jr. drilled the dagger against the team that drafted him and finished with 13 points and nine assists. It was PJ Washington that did the heavy lifting for the Hornets, dropping 28 points on 11-for-22 shooting.

The Mavericks are 3-7 in games that both Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic have played in. Dallas has torched teams offensively but the defense has not been up to par. 

In Los Angeles, the Lakers got a huge win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, thanks to a massive Anthony Davis performance.

AD finished with 37 points and 15 boards against OKC, which is also in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase. He got a lot of help from Dennis Schröeder and Lonnie Walker, both of whom sparked the massive fourth quarter rally to ice this game. Scröeder finished with 21 points while Walker had 20 off the bench.

The Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors also got huge wins today. The Suns outlasted the Sacramento Kings on the road while Golden State fended off the Philadelphia 76ers in San Francisco.

All of these results have put the Suns and Warriors in fifth and sixth in the standings, respectively. But they only have a half-game lead over the Minnesota Timberwolves and a one-game advantage over the Lakers, Thunder, and the New Orleans Pelicans. Dallas is left outside of the play-in bubble, a half a game behind the aforementioned trio.

Big-time baller

All 3s, no layups: this was the mindset for Luke Kennard today. He went off against the Houston Rockets, drilling 10 triples en route to all 30 of his points. He missed just one shot in the game, becoming the first player to hit 10 or more 3s while also shooting at 90 percent.

The Grizzlies clinched a playoff spot with the win, becoming the second team to do so in the West behind the Denver Nuggets.

What he said

This season has to be the nadir of Gregg Poppvich’s NBA career, record-wise. The man who built the San Antonio Spurs dynasty has seen the slow fall of the franchise down to where they are now: the third-worst team in the league.

It's no secret that Pop has been contemplating retirement but he says he’s still found enough juice to stick around and see to the development of the Spurs’ young group.

Did you see that?

The Milwaukee Bucks were blowing out the Utah Jazz earlier today, so Bucks fans got one of their favorite treats: Thanasis Antetokounmpo minutes. Here he is dunking over two guys and being yelled at by his brother Giannis to get back on defense.