12/27/2015 01:48:00 AM
As the Celtics were defeating the Pistons and moving into the top eight in the Eastern Conference last night, there were 24 other NBA teams in action. Here are 14 things you should know:
2016 DRAFT PICK WATCH
1. The Nets moved to 8-22 with a home loss to the Wizards, who are now the eleventh team in the East at/or above .500. Combined with the Pelicans win over the Rockets, Brooklyn has a two-game lead over New Orleans for the third-worst record in the NBA. The Celtics own the Nets 2016 first-round draft pick.
2. The Timberwolves lost at home to the Pacers 102-88. With the loss, they are 4-12 at home and 7-7 on the road, which makes them the only NBA team below .500 at home, but at/or above .500 on the road. They are now 11-19 and in sole possession of the fifth-worst record in the NBA. In fact, for context, the Pelicans, who we have watched battle the Nets for bottom-dweller supremacy over the last few weeks, are only one game back of the Timberwolves. Minnesota will convey their first-round pick to the Celtics only if it falls between 13-30. If Minnesota's pick falls between 1-12, they will instead convey their second-round picks in 2016 and 2017. Therefore, this pick would NOT be conveyed if the season ended today because they would be projected to receive the fifth pick in the NBA draft.
3. The Mavericks defeated the Bulls, which moved them to 17-13 on the season. They possess the fifth seed in the West and are a half-game back of the Clippers. Dallas will convey their first-round pick to the Celtics only if it falls between 8-30. If Dallas' pick falls between 1-7, the conditional 2016 pick will become a 2017 first-round pick with the same conditions. Therefore, this pick would be conveyed if the season ended today because they would be projected to receive either the 19th, 20th or 21st pick in the NBA draft.
ATLANTIC DIVISION STANDINGS WATCH
4. The Celtics defeated the Pistons 89-83.
5. The Nets lost to the Wizards 111-96.
6. The Knicks lost to the Hawks 117-98 and are now 3.5 games back of the second-place Celtics. Was their most recent surge of success their last? Could we still see a three-team race in the Atlantic?
7. The 76ers beat the Suns 111-104 for their second win this season and first on the road.
8. The Raptors got a road win over the Bucks 111-90.
Atlantic Division as of 12/27
Boston 17-13 (1.5 GB)
New York 14-17
PLAYOFF STANDING WATCH
9. WINNERS: Celtics, Hawks, Raptors, Heat, Pacers and Hornets.
10. LOSERS: Cavaliers, Magic, Bulls and Pistons.
11. Notable Change: the Celtics moved into the playoffs with their win and are now only a half-game back of the Pacers and the fifth seed. Moreover, Boston plays their next four games against teams with losing records: Nets (2), Lakers and Knicks. As most of you know, assuming you read my Christmas special published on CelticsLife yesterday, the they are 9-1 against teams with losing records this season. Between the quality of their opponents and the small gap between them and the top seeds in the East, I predict a big jump in the standings come the New Year.
Eastern Conference Standings as of 12/27
1. Cavaliers 19-9
2. Hawks 20-12
3. Heat 18-11
4. Raptors 19-12
5. Bulls 15-11
6. Pacers 16-12
7. Magic 17-13
8. Celtics 17-13
12. Paul Pierce went back in time last night, scoring a season-high 20 points to help the Clippers get a big win away from home over the Jazz. He did most of his damage after being inserted into the starting lineup for the second half, as he scored 11 of his 20 in the third quarter. He was also part of the lineup to finish the game, which proved to be an important decision by Doc Rivers in the game's final minute. With just 30 seconds left and Utah trailing by two, he hit a three-pointer to put Los Angeles up five and seal their victory. In so doing, he also passed former Celtic, Kevin Garnett, for fifteenth on the NBA's all-time scoring list. With the three, Pierce reached 26,032 points, while Garnett has 26,029.
13. Jeff Green played 24 minutes in the Grizzlies loss to the Hornets last night, and finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Tony Allen played 28 minutes off the bench and finished with 4 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.
14. Marcus Thornton played 11 minutes off the bench in the Rockets loss to the Pelicans. He finished with 9 points and 3 rebounds.
15. Kevin Garnett started and played 11 minutes in the Timberwolves loss to the Pacers last night. He finished with 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist, and was not on the floor during their fourth-quarter meltdown.
WHAT'S ON TAP FOR TONIGHT?
Knicks @ Boston
Lakers @ Grizzlies
Blazers @ Kings
Follow Max Sandgrund on Twitter @SotoSpeakz
12/27/2015 01:48:00 AM