Lakers Roll Over the Mavs, Grizzlies Take On the Trailblazers
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles (39-36) Lakers Kobe Bryant showed up in vintage form and had career triple-double No. 19 with his 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the 101-81 win over the Dallas Mavericks (36-38).
For these teams, the clock is ticking for a playoff spot in the Western Conference but for the Mavericks, the picture is darker.
They sit 2.5 games behind the Lakers with seven games remaining. Not helping matters is the fact that the Utah Jazz (39-36) and the Lakers own the tiebreaker over Dallas. But all sports fans know it’s not impossible to change things but the Mavericks have a tough road ahead.
Especially after the team’s leading scorer on Tuesday, Chris Kaman, only had 14 points followed by Dirk Nowitzki’s 11 points (4 for 13 shooting).
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said of the game via ESPN, “It is a hit. It is a game we needed. I think everyone is frustrated. I mean, Dirk understands what this stage is about. We have some inexperienced guys that haven’t been here, so this is a valuable learning experience for them, but it has a price.”
For the Mavs, this may not be their year as they have 200 to 1 odds to win this year’s championship while the Lakers are at 20 to 1 but perhaps help could be on the way for next season.
On Tuesday, the Mavs larger-than-life owner Mark Cuban said he’d give Baylor women’s basketball player Brittney Griner a NBA opportunity with his team. He’ll consider picking Griner in the second round of this year’s draft and if she’s not selected, then she’ll receive an invite from the team to try out for its summer league team.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Memphis Grizzlies (50-24) will road trip to play the Portland Trailblazers (33-41) and look for franchise-record win No. 51.
Memphis vs. Portland
Memphis has a three-game win streak going and sit in the fifth spot for the Western Conference. They are challenged by the third-place Denver Nuggets who own the tiebreaker. A top four seed is still possible for these two teams but for Memphis, they start a five-game road tour on Wednesday including games against the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks.
The Grizzlies had a great March and so far in April, this has continued as they defeated conference leader, the San Antonio Spurs (55-19), on Monday, 92-90.
The team is playing confidently after winning its last 20 of 26 games and contributing to this is Mike Conley’s play.
New to Memphis this season, the team traded for him on Jan. 30 with Rudy Gay and over his last 16 games, he has an 18.5 point average with 7.0 assists.
On Monday, he scored a team-leading 23 points and with 0.6 of a second remaining, he nailed the game’s winning layup.
For games with Conley scoring 20 points or more, Memphis is 10-3 and in his last nine games, he has a 20.2 point average.
The Trailblazers are a different story as they’ve lost five consecutive games and the playoffs are looking less likely.
They sit in the 11th spot in the Western conference and 5.5 games behind the eighth spot. Only eight games remain (five at home) and things need to change.
Unfortunately Portland’s leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge has missed the last three games from a sprained ankle and it’s uncertain if he’ll play on Wednesday.
In Monday’s 112-102 loss against the Jazz, Wesley Mathews scored 23 points while Damian Lillard hit a league single-season rookie record from his 3-point play. The number is 169 and in his seven previous games, he’s gone 20 for 37.
From the team’s March 6 meeting, Conley scored 20 points in the 91-85 win while Lillard has 47 points combined from that game and the March 12 one.
For Memphis, the future looks brighter with 28 to 1 odds to win this year’s championship while Portland sits at 500 to 1.