The NBA is entering a final stage of its own regular season which will definitely accelerate after the 2023 All-Star break next week in Salt Lake City. For some teams, that means preparing the weaponry for the pole fight final grand prize. For others, accelerating in the race for the last places playoffsa space now more open, since the creation of the play-in. And for the latter, the worst for one thing or another, circumstantial or conjunctural, It’s about finishing as low as possible because the eyes return, now openly or dissimulating (if there has been so far) to the draft. And more if a player appears on the horizon with traits of a generational piece, an architect who will redesign the franchise in which he lands. That player, of course, is the center/wonder man French Victor Wembanyama. And two of the teams following in his footsteps are the Detroit Pistons and the San Antonio Spurs.
Both met in Detroit, in one of those songs when tanking which now have a little less drama: in the last reconfiguration of the norm, the three worst have the same chance of taking number 1, 14%. An attempt to make matches like this not a very clear contest to see who is capable don’t win with more salt. The worst is guaranteed a top 5, the second can have up to the to choose 6 and the third, up to 7. But they all have a 14% chance of being number 1. In the fourth, that number drops to 12.5%. And there they are, in this order after Detroit’s 138-131, Houston Rockets (worst, 13-43), Spurs (14-42), Hornets (15-42) and Pistons (15-42).
With their victory, the Pistons leave the bottom 3but there’s only a game and a half difference between them and the Rockets, so those scores will be settled little by little, day by day, defeat by defeat. Meanwhile, those of Motown they won after two overtimes and with an eye on what happens with the transfer that was going to leave them with James Wiseman and without Saddiq Bey, a four-man operation that hangs in the balance because Gary Payton did not pass the medical examination with some Warriors who are very angry and can reverse the entire movement.
With a team in absolute circumstances between injuries and players suspended after the hectic commercial term, the Spurs shot poorly (43% overall) but the Pistons shot worse (7/37 from 3-point range)…but grabbed a lot of offensive rebounds (21). Popovich did it with 18 seconds left in the first overtime (121-125), but four points by Bojan Bogdanovic and a steal by Isaiah Livers forced the second overtime. The Croatian finished with 32 points, the best in decisive moments. E center Jalen Duren (19 years, 86 days) had the best game, so far, of what should be a long NBA career: 30 points, 17 rebounds, 4 blocks. In the areas of the Spurs there was no resistance. For the Texans, Zach Collins contributed 29 points and 11 rebounds, the newbie 27-year-old Malaki Branham and newcomer Devonte’ Graham, 31, are licensed to shoot it all (6/16 in triples).
Another incredible loss for the Rockets
If the Spurs accumulate eleven consecutive defeats, their Texan neighbor, the Houston Rockets, is in four, and 20 in the last 23 games.. The last two, of course, were millimetric, almost impossible. On Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings they won 128-123 with 57 seconds left and 128-127 with one…and possession. They lost 128-130. This time, in Miami, they led 88-91 already in the last hour and they tied with a supersonic transition from Jalen Green (95-95) with only seven tenths left on the clock.. But Jimmy Butler completed one alley-oop and gave the victory to those of Florida, who still did not exactly give a good image. They are (31-25) sixth in the East, feeling cold after doing nothing at market close.
Stephen Silas’ coach, who complains all the time about the attitude of his young Rockets, said afterward that he warned his players not to make defensive changes to prevent a Heat player from being left alone under the rim. But it happened, and Butler scored. He finished with 16 points, Bam Adebayo with 20 and 9 rebounds and Tyler Herro, with 31+9 and 8 assists. in the Rockets, 22 + 8 for Jabari Smith Jr and a disastrous 5/19 on shots to 11 points from Jalen Green. After the departure of Bruno Fernando on Thursday, Usman Garuba gained weight in the center rotation: played more than 14 minutes (2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals).
OTHER RESULTS OF THE DAY
INDIANA PACERS 104-PHOENIX SUNS 117
BOSTON CELTICS 127-CHARLOTTE HORNETS 116
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS 119-NEW YORK KNICKS 108
TORONTO RAPTORS 116-UTAH JAZZ 122
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS 107-CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 118
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 129-OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER 138