Wednesday Morning Basketball Report
April 15, 2009
The final 14 games of the National Basketball Association's regular season will be played tonight, but three of the former Demon Deacons' seasons will not end today. Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs, Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets and Josh Howard of the Dallas Mavericks are headed to postseason play, but the playoff picture will not be finalized until the games conclude tonight.
Duncan and the Spurs (53-28) currently are fifth in the Western Conference but they have the same record as Houston and Portland. San Antonio faces the New Orleans Hornets at 8:00 p.m. (ET) tonight.
Although injuring his knee last Wednesday in the loss to Portland, Duncan came back to start the Spurs' next game, a 105-99 win over Utah on Friday night. He scored 14 points to go with nine rebounds and two assists.
Duncan did not play Sunday in the win at Sacramento, but in Monday's win at Golden State, 101-72, he had 16 points, 13 rebounds and four assists in 23 minutes. This was his 48th double-double of the year, which is tied for fourth in the NBA, one behind Paul.
Paul had two double-doubles for the Hornets this past week. In a 105-100 loss to Phoenix last Wednesday, Paul had 29 points, 16 assists and seven rebounds. Paul netted 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting and had 17 assists and nine rebounds in the win against Dallas, 102-92, in New Orleans on Sunday.
In a meeting with the Mavs two days earlier in Dallas, Paul totaled 42 points - one shy of his season-high mark - to go with nine rebounds and seven assists. The Hornets lost, 100-92.
On Monday night at Houston, in a game in which the Hornets scored only 66 points and lost by 20, he had nine points and seven assists.
The Hornets (49-32) are sixth right now in the West, with the same record as Dallas.
For Dallas, Howard was a game-time decision last night due to his left ankle but did not enter the game. However, the Mavs pulled out a 96-94 victory over Minnesota to stay in the running for the No. 6 or No. 7 playoff spot in the West. A win in tonight's home game against Houston would make them No. 7, and if New Orleans loses to San Antonio and the Mavs win, they will get the No. 6 seed. The game will air tonight on ESPN at 8:00 p.m. (ET).
In Friday's win against the Hornets, Howard had a double-double with 25 points, 11 rebounds and two assists on 10-of-22 shooting.
He finished with 15 points and four rebounds at New Orleans in the loss on Sunday.
Last Wednesday in a 130-101 victory against Utah, Howard had 13 points, eight rebounds and seven steals but only shot 3-of-11 from the floor.
Songaila of the Washington Wizards contributed coming off the bench in the Wizards' three games this past week. On Monday, in the 97-96 loss, Songaila totaled eight points and six rebounds with one block against Toronto.
At Toronto on Friday, Songaila had four points and two blocks in 16 minutes in the two-point win, 100-98.
Last Wednesday, he had seven points and three rebounds in only 10 minutes of action in the 98-86 loss at Cleveland.
Check back next week for season statistics and to see updates on how Duncan, Howard and Paul are faring in the NBA playoffs and. The playoffs begin on Saturday.