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Lakers Clinch Playoff Spot, Curry Hits 3-Point Record, Hardaway Ready for the NBA

After the team’s rough start, coaching changes and injuries, the Los Angeles (45-37) have safely landed in the NBA playoffs. On Wednesday, the team defeated the Houston Rockets (45-37) 99-95 in overtime.

Thanks to an 86-70 Utah Jazz (43-39) loss to the Memphis Grizzlies (56-26) earlier on Wednesday night, the Lakers entered the game knowing they had made the playoffs but were uncertain of a possible No. 7 or No. 8 seed.

Yep, it’s the seventh seed.

Pau Gasol and Mike D'Antoni

Pau Gasol and Mike D’Antoni

Steve Blake scored 24 points while Pau Gasol had a triple-double (No. 7 for his career) with 17 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists. Dwight Howard added 16 points with 18 rebounds. He also hit the 9,000th career rebound mark during the first quarter and he is now the youngest player to do so–beating Wilt Chamberlain by 14 days.

The Lakers will now face the No. 2 seed San Antonio Spurs (58-24). The series begins on Sunday at the Spurs home court. They are +725 to win this year’s NBA Championship while the Lakers are +3000.

For the Rockets, they now have the eighth seed and will open the first round against the No. 1 Oklahoma Thunder (60-22) on its home court on Sunday. This could be an interesting matchup as Houston is tops in the league for pace, while the Thunder is tied with the Miami Heat (66-16) for offensive efficiency.

The Thunder come in right behind the Heat at +500 to win it all in June. For the Heat, they are 50 to 1 to go undefeated in this year’s playoffs and -105 for a Championship repeat.

From other hoops action on Wednesday with wins by the Golden State Warriors (47-35) and the Denver Nuggets (57-25), the Nuggets now have the No. 3 seed and will play the Warriors at home on Saturday.

The Nuggets are +2500 to win this year’s Championship.

Golden State Warriors Guard Stephen Curry

Golden State Warriors Guard Stephen Curry

Along with their win, the Warriors’ Stephen Curry set the three-point record for a season. In the game’s second quarter, Curry hit No.  270, followed by two additional ones for the game to finish the regular season with 272 3-pointers.  He will also be remembered this season for his 54-point game against the New York Knicks and just last Friday, he had 47 points against the Lakers.

And on a final note, the Los Angeles Clippers wrapped up their season with a 112-108 win over the Sacramento Kings, extending their win steak to seven. They will now host the Grizzlies for a rematch of last season’s seven-game first round. The series will begin on Saturday in Los Angeles.

The Clippers are +2700 to bring home the Championship trophy.

Hardaway Headed to the NBA

In other hoops news, NBA legacy and Michigan player Tim Hardaway Jr. is ready to follow in his father’s footsteps and will enter this year’s draft, forgoing his senior year. He will follow his teammate Trey Burke into the NBA, who announced his decision on Sunday.

Hardaway is ending a three-year career as a Wolverine where he started in 107 games. This season he averaged 14.5 points per game and helped lead his team to the Final Four. But the 6-foot-6 guard’s draft status is a little uncertain as compared to Burke who is expected to go as a top pick.

Potential players can receive NBA draft advisory committee input before making a decision to enter the draft but in the end, Hardway said he made the choice himself. He said via the Associated Press, “This was my decision. It wasn’t about the advisory committee, it was about my decision and what I wanted to do. I obviously had input from my coaches and my father, but it was my decision and they were behind me 100 percent.”

For the Orlando Magic, they’re at 25 percent to have the top draft pick .



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