Six games were on the schedule on Monday night. The Spurs won without their “Big Three” in Chicago, the Nets ended their losing streak in Indiana and seven was the luckiest and unluckiest number in Charlotte.
“If” by Rudyard Kipling serves as our preamble.
“If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!”
- The Spurs, despite missing Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginóbili, won 103–89 at Chicago. San Antonio lost its first seven games in which none of its “Big Three” played from 2002–03 (when Ginóbili joined the team) through last April 9. But the Spurs have now won three of their last four such contests. The Spurs defeated the Bulls despite being outrebounded, 49–26. Only one other team in the last 35 seasons has won by at least 14 points in a game in which it was -23 or worse on the boards. The Grizzlies posted a 92–78 win over the Nuggets in a game where Denver out-rebounded Vancouver 59–34, on April 19, 1996.
- The Celtics, who had won all seven games since Rajon Rondo suffered a season-ending knee injury, finally lost Monday night, 94–91 at Charlotte. Boston had lost its previous six games with Rondo in the lineup. Rondo is the first player in NBA history to play in six straight losses, then see his team immediately win six-or-more straight games without him. The Bobcats ended the game on a 7-0 run to not only snap their 7-game losing streak but it also snapped Boston’s 7-game win streak. The Bobcats might seem like an unlikely team to end a long winning streak, but their victory over the Celtics represented the eighth time in nine seasons in the NBA that Charlotte has ended an opponents’ win streak of at least seven games. That ties Boston, Denver and Utah for the most by any team since 2004–05. See how an NBA “analyst” turned into a biased, bitter, angry fan in the tweet of the night.
- Josh Smith scored 26 points, shooting 10-for-15, and grabbed 13 rebounds, while teammate Al Horford recorded 21 points and 10 boards while going 10-for-14 from the field, in the Hawks’ 105–101 win at Dallas. It’s the first time that two Atlanta teammates had 20 points, 10 rebounds, and made at least two-thirds of their shots from the floor in a non-overtime game since Hall-of-Famers Dominique Wilkins (37-12, 16-for-24) and Moses Malone (29-11, 13-for-17) did it at Golden State on April 1, 1990.
- The Nets invaded Indiana and handed the Pacers their second straight home loss after they had won their previous 15 home games. Brooklyn snapped a five-game losing streak at Indiana, and won for first time since March 12 without Deron Williams in the lineup (improve to 2-11 without Williams in last 2 seasons). The Nets won their 30th game this season; Last time they won 30 games before the All-Star Break was the 2003-2004 season (finished 47-35, lost to the Pistons in the Eastern Semifinals). Nets improve to 4-0 in OT games this season (tied with Hawks for best in NBA). Is Deron Williams a diva? Are the Nets interested in Josh Smith? James Park reports. One more nice note: Former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine, who lives in nearby Anderson, Ind., played the national anthem on a harmonica.
- Bradley Beal came off the bench to lead all scorers with 28 points in the Wizards’ 102–90 win at Milwaukee. Beal, who won’t celebrate his 20th birthday until June 28, is the third different teenager in the last 30 years to score that many points in a game he did not start. Kobe Bryant had games of 30 and 33 points at age 19 in December 1997. And 19-year-old Ricky Davis scored 32 for the Hornets on May 5, 1999. Bernucca: Lakers aren’t only team with serious issues.
Stat Mann is the nom de guerre of our research statistician, who spends a lot of time watching basketball in central Connecticut. Someone would be angry if they discovered he was moonlighting here.