by Micah Hart
As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.
With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart.
I was on vacation during a bad stretch of three for alls, so I thought we’d do another round up post getting up to date on what we missed while I was out.
Memphis Grizzlies (April 2-4): Memphis started out strong, getting a road win in Oklahoma City. Maybe not quite vengeance for last year’s playoffs, but a nice victory nonetheless. They followed it up with a win at home over Golden State, and just when you thought they might get a sweep they fell to the Mavericks in Dallas. 5 points (2+3-0) for their three for all, and their story has a happy ending of sorts — they beat Dallas at home three days later.
Washington Wizards (April 4-6): Let’s not waste too many words here. Three games, three L’s for the Wiz. -3 points (-2-1-0)
Boston Celtics (April 13-15): Raise your hand if you can tell me what the Celtics are going to do in the postseason. They could get swept in the first round on cut down the nets, and neither outcome would truly surprise me at this point. As if to prove my point, they started their three play by losing to the counting-down-the-minutes-till-the-season-ends-and-playing-as-many-DLeaguers-as-they-can-get-in-uniform Raptors before rallying (if you want to call beating the Nets and Bobcats rallying) to pick up double-digit road wins to finish it off. If they’d handled their business in Toronto, they might have tied the Heat for the best mark on the season. Instead, 10 points (-2+5+7).
Cleveland Cavaliers (April 13-15): The Cavs are a bad team to begin with, so facing three games in three nights without Kyrie Irving (out with a shoulder injury) makes for a pretty daunting task. Or at least it does when the opponents are anyone besides the Wizards. Ring Cleveland up for a loss at Indiana, a win at Washington, and a home loss to Orlando for a total of 2 points (-2+4-0).
Philadelphia 76ers (April 16-18): What happened to this team? At one point this season they seemed primed to challenge the Heat and Bulls for Eastern Conference supremacy, now they are hanging on for dear life to the 8th spot. Their first two games were against playoff-bound opponents, netting them losses in Orlando and at home against Indiana. Lucky for them they finished Wednesday with the Cavs, who they beat by 16 a night after Cleveland lost by 39. To Detroit. Don’t expect Philly to last long in the playoffs, I guess is what I’m saying. 4 points (-2-1+7) for the City of Brotherly Love.
San Antonio Spurs (April 16-18): Saving the best for last. They (I) said the Heat’s 15-point performance in their three-fer could never be matched, but they didn’t count on the boys from San Antone. Not content to rest on the laurels of their previous 12-point undefeated three for all, the Spurs did indeed match Miami, knocking off Golden State (120-99), the Lakers (112-91), and Sacramento (127-102) to tie for the perfect score with 15 points (3+5+7). Which team had a better run, Miami or San Antonio? We’ll devote a separate post to that in the coming days.
Up next: Detroit takes its second crack at three in three April 17-19.
Three for all Top Ten:
– San Antonio Spurs II (15 points)
– Miami Heat (15 points)
– Chicago Bulls (13 points)
– San Antonio Spurs I (12 points)
– OKC Thunder (12 points)
– Atlanta Hawks II (11 points)
– Boston Celtics (10 points)
– Phoenix Suns II (10 points)
– Indiana Pacers II (8 points)
– New Jersey Nets II (8 points)