We’re coming up on just about a dozen games remaining for each team in this regular season, meaning the standings will start to settle and matchups will start to make themselves clear.
The Milwaukee Bucks, having only lost three games over the last two full months, have nearly established themselves as the top seed in the league after the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets each took turns on the throne throughout the season.
Many of the other spots in the East seem pretty established as well for this point in the season, including the Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 4, who now have three games ahead of and behind them following their win in Charlotte:
Cavs earn elusive road win, 120-104 over Hornets
With 5:48 left in the first half, Charlotte trailed by only five points, which would be the closest they’d be for the rest of the game. Cleveland forward Evan Mobley scored 11 points over the final 5:48 of the half to give the Cavs a 14-point lead going into the intermission; Mobley would finish with a team-high 26 points on 10-15 shooting.
Wizards’ hot start fuels 117-97 win over Pistons
Bradley Beal missed just twice on his way to 36 points (13-15 FG), six rebounds, seven assists and two steals in 33 minutes (team-high +38). It was a great bounce-back for him after one of his worst scoring nights of the season when he had 13 points on Sunday.
Only reinforced by the loss to the Wizards, the Pistons have been tanking wizards this season with just one win over the last month and change. They’re also the only team in the league with fewer than 10 wins both at home and on the road for the season.
Raptors score 49 in first quarter, hand Nuggets fourth straight loss, 125-110
AD reminds Pelicans what they’re missing out on, Lakers win 123-108
The Pelicans took nearly three and a half minutes to get on the scoreboard, starting down 0-14 after Anthony Davis scored the first eight Laker points on his own. The Lakers stayed in the driver’s seat for the entirety of the game, leading by as much as 36 late in the first half. Davis finished with 35 points (11-18 FG) and 17 rebounds in the homecoming game.
OKC swings game in second half to beat Nets 121-107
Thunder were down 16 late in the first half before winning the second half 69-45 en route to a 14-point win. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, and Jalen Williams combined for 45 of those 69 second half points, matching the Brooklyn second half total by themselves. OKC, on a three-game winning streak, now has a game of breathing room to stay in the play-in.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn is hanging on to 2.5 games above the play-in. Newcomers Mikal Bridges (34 points) and Spencer Dinwiddie (16 points and 11 assists) continue to put up numbers despite team struggles.
Spurs secure 132-114 win over Magic behind Sochan’s big double double
San Antonio rookie Jeremy Sochan finished with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists, including this masterful crosscourt find:
It’s the second-highest point total of Sochan’s career (in his 30-point career high, Sochan played eight more minutes than he played in any of his other career high-type performances) and easily the most efficient among his high-volume scoring nights on 11-19 shooting (57.9%).
Milwaukee extends lead over rest of NBA with 116-104 win in Phoenix
Giannis Antetokounmpo has scored 82 points over his last two games after three games of inactivity and the Bucks are just an absolute buzzsaw right now, trailing for just a few minutes in Phoenix, the homecourt of a contender in their own right. Granted Kevin Durant was missing for the Suns, but so was Khris Middleton for the Bucks.
Devin Booker finished with 30 points (13-27 FG) for to lead the Suns, but didn’t get enough help from his teammates to match 36 points (11-23 FG), 11 rebounds, and eight assists from Giannis:
Knicks continue strong stretch in beating Blazers 123-107
Immanuel Quickley, Julius Randle, and RJ Barrett combined for 72 points, each making eight of their shots. Quickley and Randle each added 10 rebounds; it’s the fourth double double of the season for Quickley and eighth of his three-year career. Damian Lillard had a 38/7/7 night, but the Blazers were never in striking distance during the fourth quarter.