Rockets vs. Thunder (8pm ET Tuesday, TNT)
The Houston Rockets trailed the Hawks by 10 with just 1:33 left in the game on Saturday, suffering their first of two losses as James Harden was forced to leave the game with a sprained left ankle. Not long after, the Rockets lost the game 109-97 on a night when Atlanta had six guys in double figures. The Rockets wasted a big night from newly acquired Michael Beasley, who came off the bench to score a game-high 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting to go along with nine rebounds as the rest of the team made just 21 of 66 or 32%. Even more embarrassing was center Dwight Howard getting caught putting Stickum spray on his hands.
“I do it every game. It’s not a big deal. I ain’t tripping,” Howard said afterward. The Rockets are now 35-35, tied with Dallas for the last two playoff berths in the West, but Harden is still questionable for tonight’s game.
On Saturday, the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Indiana Pacers 115-111 as Russell Westbrook recorded his second consecutive triple-double – his third in four games – and Kevin Durant contributed 33 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. The Thunders’ two-headed monster was more than the Pacers could handle, despite Paul George’s 45-point effort. The win was OKC’s fourth in a row, lifting them to 48-22 and marked the first time in nearly seven weeks they’ve won more than two in a row. Forward Kyle Singler is day-to-day with a sore back as is Durant, who skipped practice Monday with a sore right elbow.
Grizzlies vs. Lakers (10:30pm ET Tuesday, TNT)
Not long ago, the Memphis Grizzlies were 37-24 and on pace for just the fifth 50-win season in franchise history. But after having their roster decimated by injuries, they’ve won just four of 10. Saturday was one of those increasingly rare wins, as they outscored the Phoenix Suns 103-97. Memphis’ power forward Zach Randolph registered a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds while Lance Stephenson led the team in scoring with just 16. The Grizzlies are now 41-30 and gamely hanging on to the fifth seed in the West as they struggle on without the services of Mike Conley from an achilles injuries for two-to-three weeks and Marc Gasol after having season-ending foot surgery, among others.
On March 8, the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic for their third victory in five games, raising their record to 14-51. But the dream was short-lived as the Lakers promptly got back to their losing ways, dropping four in a row. The latest indignity was a 95-90 defeat at the hands of the Phoenix Suns. Lakers reserve Lou Williams came up huge, scoring 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting before fouling out, but his teammates made just 21 of 69 (30%), as both teams combined to make just 36% of their shots. Kobe is still dealing with a cranky shoulder that has caused him to miss the last two games and remain a question mark for tonight’s tilt. At 14-55, the Lakers are firmly entrenched in last place in the West.