The standings in the Western Conference are the focus of everyone’s attention, but not at the top. The middle and the bottom are where the celebration is happening right now. There is still a lot of uncertainty from the fourth seed down to the tenth seed because teams are only a few games apart.
Things took an unexpected and fascinating turn today. The Dallas Mavericks are now ranked 11th in the NBA after suffering a loss to the Charlotte Hornets, who are the same team as yesterday and barely had enough healthy players to compete in a game. This loss caused the Mavericks to fall to their current position.
Dennis Smith Jr. finished the game with 13 points and nine assists while playing against the team that drafted him. He also struck a dagger into their hearts. PJ Washington performed the heavy work for the Hornets, hitting 28 points on 11-for-22 shooting.
When both Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic have participated, the Mavericks have a record of 3-7 in those contests. On the offensive side, Dallas has been devastating for opponents, but their defense needs to be stronger.
Anthony Davis had a huge game, helping the Los Angeles Lakers to a major victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Los Angeles. The win was a huge deal.
AD completed the game with 37 points and 15 rebounds against OKC, another team in the thick of the race for the playoffs in the Western Conference. He received a lot of assistance from Dennis Schroeder, and Lonnie Walker, who were the catalysts for the dramatic fourth-quarter rally used to win this game. He did it with their support. Scröeder finished with 21 points, while Walker scored 20 off the bench.
Also, today was very successful for the Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors. When the Suns were on the road, they prevailed against the Sacramento Kings, and the Golden State Warriors held off the Philadelphia 76ers in San Francisco.
As a direct consequence of these outcomes, the Suns and the Warriors have moved up one spot, respectively, in the standings. However, they only hold a one-game advantage over the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the New Orleans Pelicans. Their lead over the Minnesota Timberwolves is barely a half-game. Since Dallas is a half-game behind the abovementioned group, it cannot participate in the play-in round.
Luke Kennard approached today’s game with the mentality of shooting just three-pointers and avoiding layups. In the game against the Houston Rockets, he scored all 30 points and went on a shooting spree, making ten three-point shots. He was the first player in the game to miss only one shot, making him the first player ever to hit at least ten three-pointers while also shooting at a 90 percent clip.
The victory allowed the Grizzlies to clinch a spot in the playoffs, making them the second team in the Western Conference to accomplish so behind the Denver Nuggets.