The Knicks Control Their Destiny; Kevin Durant Closes In On The Scoring Title

By: 04.26.12
J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith (photo. Rob Hammer)

We know Randy Foye dropped 15 in the third quarter and was doing work all night for the Clippers (28 points), but still L.A., here’s some advice: don’t go to him with the game on the line. Foye had a pass deflected off the backboard in the final seconds for a turnover, and then threw up an air ball. The Clippers had raced back after trailing by as many as 18, and even though the man once traded for Brandon Roy‘s knees was at the center of that, you’d think they would’ve gone somewhere else to avoid what ultimately became a six-point Knick win. Even Blake Griffin, who might have trouble as the closer even if they casted him in the lead on the TNT show, would’ve been a better option. He hit a crazy one-handed hook shot in the lane to cut the lead to one in the last minute. He did also have 29 points, 10 boards and six assists … As for the Knicks, J.R. Smith hit a number of big shots down the stretch, and his 21 points off the bench were huge for New York because of the playoff implications. New York will get the No. 7 seed in the East – and a matchup with Miami – if they win tonight or if Philly loses. The Knicks play Charlotte, by the way, so you can pretty much book a trip to South Beach this weekend. It’s so obvious that even the New York crowd saw the writing on the wall. “Beat The Heat” chants were erupting throughout the crowd in the second half. Knick fans – who would you rather see, the Heat or Chicago? … Amar’e Stoudemire had his best dunk – a sick reverse – in a long time. We miss the old STAT … Speaking of the Bobcats, the Worst Team We’ve Ever Seen lost their 22nd game in a row to fall to 7-58, getting slapped around by Orlando, 102-95. J.J. Redick went absolutely crazy and stomped on Charlotte with a career-high 31 points. The win did a couple of things for Orlando. It stopped their three-game losing streak and also secured the sixth seed in the playoffs. They’ll take on Indiana in the first round this weekend. But the Magic also lost Big Baby last night to a sprained ankle. Their frontline is looking thinner than Kate BosworthJason Richardson (17 points) turned back the clock for two big dunks. He caught a lob from nearly midcourt, and also handed out a facial in the lane … For just the 15th time this year, the Bulls had their whole starting lineup together, and it was enough to beat the Pacers, 92-87. Derrick Rose only had 10 points and seven dimes, and while he couldn’t really finish inside, his explosiveness does seem to be back. With Rose still working himself back into shape, the Bulls instead rode Kyle Korver. Yes Kyle Korver. They needed all 20 of his points to withstand Lance Stephenson. Our former cover boy did his thing (22 points) while taking nearly twice as many shots as everyone else on his team … So it’s nice to see John Wall waited until the nearly last time possible to play like a future star. Going up against the position’s hot new crush (well technically, Kyrie Irving barely played more than any of us) in Cleveland, Wall played only 32 minutes and yet still had a line that read like lottery ticket numbers: 21 points, seven rebounds, 13 dimes and seven steals. Also, for perhaps the first time in his entire career, Wall changed speeds on the break during the second half. We couldn’t believe it … Washington has now down the unthinkable. They’re winners of five in a row after dispatching the Cavs, 96-85. Cleveland, however, did do one cool thing last night: they didn’t play any of their starters for longer than 23 minutes … Keep reading to hear how many points Kobe will need tonight to win the scoring title …

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Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant (photo. Rob Hammer)

The Thunder sent a message to the West last night by playing their starters all the way through. They wanted Denver in the first round. Badly. Instead, the Nuggets spoiled the party by beating OKC in their own gym, 106-101, by putting seven players into double-figure scoring (Ty Lawson led the way with 25). Denver now is in position to win their final game and get the six seed. That would mean the Lakers instead of OKC. But perhaps more importantly, this could mean we’ll get an epic OKC/Dallas rematch in the first round … Kevin Durant scored 32 and had one of the best dunks of his career. He threw one so hard on JaVale McGee‘s dome that it doesn’t even need to be accompanied by a McGee joke … Kobe now has to score 38 in the Lakers last game of the season to wrestle the scoring title away from Durant. We can see it now… Bryant in the third quarter of a meaningless game hoisting up shot after shot, calling for clear-outs and throwing up 46 pump fakes in one game. There hasn’t been a surer thing since the Bourne series … Even with Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young all resting, the Sixers took care of business in Milwaukee, 90-85. Evan Turner picked up the slack by throwing up 29 shots while going out and dominating (29 points, 13 rebounds, six assists) … In what might’ve been Steve Nash‘s (eight points, seven assists) last game as a Sun, it was the other point guards who blew up in San Antonio’s 110-106 win. Patty Mills lit it up with 27 points, and Sebastian Telfair had 20 himself … After initially saying he was coming back to school, Baylor’s Quincy Miller announced this week that he’s actually decided to go to the NBA. The skill is there but he has the body of Gumby. Is he Kevin Durant-lite or just light? … And last night on NBA TV, Shaq and C-Webb were pulling off a sort of SNL skit of World Peace‘s “accidental” elbow to James Harden, but the best part was Shaq getting a wide open layup and COMPLETELY missing it. It was one of those shots that would keep you from touching the ball ever again if you pulled it off in a pickup game. O’Neal also tried to make a big joke about Gregg Popovich, and compared him to “Ari Fischer… one of the greatest chess players ever” before being corrected that, indeed, one of the greatest chess players ever was actually Bobby Fischer … We’re out like Miller.

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