Just when they pulled us back in … this happens.
The Celtics were cruising. In a game they had led from the eighth minute against an opponent that entered Saturday night on a 6-13 slide, Boston's lead peaked at 18 with 8:55 remaining.
Beyond that peak? Sheer cliffs. Dizzying heights. And a baller from the Bronx not quite ready to watch his season sink into the sun-drenched seas.
To their credit, it took nearly two minutes for the Hornets to take advantage.
Jeremy Lamb missed a hook. Kemba Walker missed a 3. Then, with 7:43 to play, Walker hit one.
From those humble beginnings, Charlotte's All-Star tapped into his deep well of March magnificence, igniting a game-ending 30-5 run with 18 points and single-handedly keeping the Hornets' floundering playoff hopes alive.
"Just wanted to win," Walker said in the postgame interview on court. "And the young guys, much credit to those guys, they played so well tonight. Marvin [Williams] made some huge plays. Everybody who came in tonight made some huge plays and that was a huge win for us."
With 10 games to play, the Hornets kept pace with No. 8 seed Miami, who held off the Wizards 113-108. The Magic sit between them after winning four straight; the Heat are 7-3 in their last 10 and finally healthy. This needs to be the beginning of something for Charlotte to truly charge into the playoffs.
But if anyone can be trusted with that finishing kick, it's the three-time All-Star who sent the Celtics into another mini-crisis. Cue Kyrie:
"It's 1-on-1," Irving said. "You have pride. Down the stretch, try to come in and help as much as possible. We probably should've tried to trap him more, like every other team does in the league. But we didn't. He torches us every time. It's no surprise."
[INSERTS GRIMACE EMOJI X A MILLION]
Aaaaand scene. We'll be processing the fallout from that one with y'all tomorrow.
The Trae Young traveling circus has been trick-dribbling and dialing long-distance for months now. On Saturday, the Hawks turned back the Sixers on Young's last-second bucket, another highlight for the season reel.
But first, just as it looked like Philadelphia would hold off the rally, Joel Embiid crossed himself up and Kevin Huerter took wild liberties with the ensuing fast break:
We see you on the dunk, young fella. Staring down Jimmy Butler and earning his forever wrath is probably not worth it for this late regular-season spoiler upset before you go on vacay. But even after he dunks on your family just to prove a point, you can think back on all the texts rolling in this once and smile from the ground.
In any case, that set up an exchange (two free throws for a layup) before the Hawks locked down to force a shot clock violation and set up Young for a final shot.
Huerter smoothly hit him with the inbounds pass, and Young quickly cut back toward the basket, beating Jimmy Butler to his right hand and a clear line to shoot. Nothing but net – a swish and a shower.
The shot,and its accompanying 32-point, six-rebound, 11-assist line didn't go unnoticed around the #NBATwitter streets:
I second that https://t.co/T05kCNhFLV— kuz (@kylekuzma) March 24, 2019
🗣🗣🗣 third https://t.co/8pYUNSPaN3— Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin23) March 24, 2019
The case is there to be made, and that's a strong dual co-sign for young Trae.
But it's complicated by things like this:
Yep. The Mavericks beat the champs behind a triple-double from the Slovenian sensation, Luka Doncic. And Dirk Nowitzki showed he still has some left in the tank with five 3-pointers en route to 21 points against the Warriors.
Dame Time for Detroit
Hey, remember when it actually seemed like the Pistons might have a chance against Portland?
Me neither. Good talk, see you out there.
Her salsa sense is tingling
Sure, the Bulls lost to the Jazz by 30-plus. That's a thing!
But so is this:
The web shooter hands! True commitment to the costume. Huzzah.