And what a wild night of NBA action it was to clarify the Eastern Conference playoff matchups and who the Cleveland Cavaliers would draw in the first round. On the last night of play when spots are still in question, it is interesting for whom one might find themselves rooting.
Last night the Cleveland Cavaliers had a lot of things in doubt. Were they going to be the number 2 seed? If they were going to be the number 2, then who would they play? All the action started at 7:00 p.m. and there wasn't a dull moment until the final gun sounded sometime after 10:30 p.m. We now know all the seeds, all the games, and where they will all be played. It was a good night for the Cavs as every scenario worked out the way I am guessing they wanted it to turn out.
First, Cleveland Cavaliers had to take care of their own business at home versus the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks didn't have anything to play for, but sometimes teams like the Bucks relish the opportunity to at least spoil something for someone on their way to summer tee times. If the Cavs didn't take this game seriously and beat the Bucks, scoreboard watching later would be pointless. At stake for the Cavaliers was the difference between the number 2 seed and the number 5 seed in the East. It wasn't a complete blowout by any means, but the Cavaliers had it under control for almost the entire balance of the game, finally winning 109-96. LeBron scored 24 points with 9 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
The Cavs needed to win this game, but then that wasn't the total balance of the equation. The Bulls owned the tie-breaker against the Cavs, and their records were identical going into last night's action. The Cavs also needed New Jersey to beat the Bulls. The Bulls were playing in New Jersey against the Nets starting at 7:30 on ESPN, so I was flipping back and forth.
The Bulls and Nets was a close game until the last three minutes when the Nets went on a mini-run to lock it up. Jason Kidd had a horrible night offensively in which he only made one field goal and two free throws. He made up for that with 11 assists and 11 rebounds. The players of the game for the Nets were Vince Carter, who almost recorded a triple double, Mikki Moore who dropped in 22 points before getting into foul trouble, and Josh Boone, who gave the Nets a giant lift with 15 points off the bench.