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NBA Scores: Shorthanded Wolves beat Knicks despite Julius Randle’s 57 points

I haven’t had enough of a chance to tie March Madness talk into NBA talk this month, so on a night where four of the six winners were underdogs (at least by the standings), now’s the best time for me to say what seedings these upsets remind me of before we get into the nitty gritty.

Hornets over Pacers reminds me of No. 15 Princeton over No. 7 Missouri. Bulls over Sixers is more like No. 8 Arkansas beating No. 1 Kansas. Wolves over Knicks is definitely like No. 6 Creighton over No. 3 Baylor. And finally, Jazz over Kings is giving me visions to this Sweet 16 when No. 7 Michigan State will beat No. 3 Kansas State.

Let’s get into what fueled these upsets, as well as the non-upsets from Tuesday night in the NBA.

Vets lead Hornets past Pacers, 115-109

Charlotte had three players score at least 20, led by Kelly Oubre’s 28, but none of them were the young guys leading the tank. Nick Richards with 14 was the only rookie-scale player to even reach double-digit points while none of the other rookie-scale players could even log major minutes. The teams at the top of the tank standings aren’t bunched up or anything, so a win like this doesn’t hurt on that front, but Charlotte fans can’t be happy that the young guys aren’t being developed along the way.

Bulls spoil Sixers’ clinching opportunity, 109-105 in double-overtime

Joel Embiid came into this one 12-0 against Chicago in his career, averaging nearly 30 points per matchup. He did even better than that, finishing with 37 points (his tenth 30-ball in a row), 16 rebounds, and three blocks, but couldn’t come out with the win this time.

Each team had just one quarter of scoring more than 25 and both shot worse than 30% from three. There were 29 combined turnovers and 43 combined fouls over a 58-minute contest. Despite playing the most minutes across the league by a significant margin, the Sixers scored the fewest points of the night and the Bulls scored the fourth-fewest. If that’s not muck, I don’t know what is.

Wolves outpace Knicks 140-134 in barnburner

Hyper-efficient scoring was the name of the game here as both teams shot at least 50% from the floor and from deep. Julius Randle embodied that in his own right with 57 points (19-29 from the floor, 8-14 from three), including 26 when the Knicks got back into the game during the third quarter, a new record for any Knicks quarter.

Randle was at near-unprecedented efficiency, taking the second-fewest shots to score 57 this season. Similarly, Taurean Prince took the fewest shots to reach 35 points this season, leading Minnesota in the winning effort.

Minnesota head coach Chris Finch moved into second on the Wolves’ all-time wins list behind the late, great Flip Saunders. Finch, who now sits at 98-98, has a chance to join Saunders as the only coaches in Wolves history with a winning record. Without Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns in the lineup, this is a huge win for Minnesota.

Warriors get first road win since January, 121-108 over Rockets

The Splash Brothers combined for 59 points and 10 made threes while Jonathan Kuminga added 17 points off the bench in 26 minutes. Golden State closed the third quarter on a 7-2 run and never relinquished the lead in the fourth, leading by as much as 12. It’s the eighth road win of the season for the Warriors; that’s the fourth-fewest in the league.

Grizzlies squeeze past Mavs 112-108 as Ja returns to the sideline

Dallas seems intent on this offensive strategy of “how concentrated can we make our offensive production?” because Kyrie Irving (28 points), Christian Wood (20) and Jaden Hardy (20) all showed up to work and did so efficiently, but Josh Green (12) was the only other Maverick with more than eight points.

That strategy won’t fly against the herd-like nature of Memphis, who had their fair share of 20-point men, like Jaren Jackson Jr. (28) and Santi Aldama (20) off the bench, but got plenty of involvement from their others. Desmond Bane had an off night by his standards (1-7 3P and six turnovers), but still made a big impact, finishing with 17 points and six assists.

Jazz get out to hot start, finish off Kings 128-120

There must be a warm front coming through Salt Lake City because the Jazz came out hotter than fire itself, starting the game on a 44-19 run. Slowly but surely, the Kings started to climb their way back, including “only” down by 16 at the half, and tying the game at 95 going into the fourth.

Ochai Agbaji was one of the key fourth quarter scorers for Utah, scoring seven of his career-high 27 points during witching hour. Kris Dunn and Udoka Azubuike each chipped in seven of their own as they closed the door on Sacramento’s comeback efforts. With the Kings’ loss and the Grizzlies’ win, there’s a new No. 2 seed in the West.

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