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Nightly Grades: Still playing for positioning Monday night

By Zach Harper | NBA writer

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

TeamGradeAnalysis
A-Aside from the look of despair a child might feel if they feel they've been left in a mall by their parents coming from Thaddeus Young, the most exciting and consistent part of the Philadelphia 76ers this season has definitely been the point guard play on this team. That continued in their second to last game. Michael Carter-Williams had 21 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, and four steals while Tony Wroten came off the bench for 20 points in the Sixers' 18th win. Sixers scored 64 points in the paint against an apathetic Celtics' defense.
DThe Boston Celtics' big three of Jeff Green, Kelly Olynyk, and Avery Bradley combined for 78 points to go with Rajon Rondo's 14 assists, but this team didn't really bother playing any defense in this game. Celtics are still chasing the fourth worst record in the NBA so this was a very important loss for them.
A-Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez combined for 49 points and 11 assists as the Toronto Raptors accomplished their best season in franchise history. They beat the Milwaukee Bucks for their 48th win of the season, a franchise record. The Raptors lit the Bucks up from downtown with 14 made 3-pointers and are one win away from locking up the 3-seed in the East.
F+The Milwaukee Bucks are 15-66 on the season. Does it even matter what they did in this game? They locked up the worst record in the NBA.
A+The Washington Wizards probably want to avoid the Miami Heat as long as possible, so winning this game that didn't feature LeBron James was the right way to go. They're still battling the Charlotte Bobcats for the 6-seed, which would likely give them the Raptors in the first round. Trevor Ariza had 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting as the Wiz rolled in this one.
FNo LeBron James and no Chris Bosh meant this one was over early. Dwyane Wade only played 18 minutes as the Miami Heat conceded the number 1 seed in the East to the Indiana Pacers.
BAl Jefferson's 27 points and 15 rebounds put the Charlotte Bobcats in position to win the game and Chris Douglas-Roberts hit the floater as the winning shot to keep his team in the hunt for the 6-seed. The Bobs dominated the offensive glass in this game.
C+No Kyle Korver, no Al Horford, and no Paul Millsap but the Atlanta Hawks still managed to take the Bobcats down to the final seconds of this game. Jeff Teague nearly celebrated his Eastern Conference Player of the Week award with a win but his last second shot merely tied the game and left the Bobcats with time to win it.
AThe Chicago Bulls kept pace with the Toronto Raptors for the 3-seed by winning this game quite easily. Joakim Noah almost had another triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists in 37 minutes. Mike Dunleavy led the team with 22 points and Jimmer Fredette had 17 points off the bench.
C-Kyle O'Quinn had 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting and... that was about as interesting as the Orlando Magic were in this game. Andrew Nicholson also shot the ball very well with 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting. The Magic kept their cushion present with the Utah Jazz for third worst record in the league.
BThe Houston Rockets locked up the 4-seed and will have home court advantage in the first round, but there was a certain point in the game in which most viewers realized the Rockets were grinding out a win with their starters late in the game over the San Antonio Spurs' third team. That was awkward but a win is a win.
C+Seven Spurs' players in double figures in this one but it's hard to say they cared much about the outcome. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker all played but they didn't play heavy minutes. Spurs have nothing to play for at this point.
ATyreke Evans had 41 points (on 26 shots), nine rebounds, and eight assists against an Oklahoma City Thunder team that was trying to win and the New Orleans Pelicans pulled off a big upset. Evans also only had one turnover. It was a pretty stunning performance by him.
FNo Russell Westbrook for the Thunder but Kevin Durant played 43 points in this weird loss for the team. Reggie Jackson was terrible with just four points in this game and Durant committed seven turnovers and needed 23 shots to get 25 points. What a weird loss.
B+I guess the Los Angeles Lakers should have tried to win this game? Nick Young had 41 points off the bench and the team had 31 assists on 45 made buckets in the game. They still have a chance to catch the Celtics for fifth worst record but really hurt their chances tonight.
D+The Utah Jazz were in danger of winning this game when they entered the fourth quarter with a tie game. They spent the fourth quarter getting destroyed, giving up a 33-18 effort and securing the home loss.
A-The Memphis Grizzlies took care of business before the final game of the season with a playoff clinching victory over the Phoenix Suns. Zach Randolph had 32 points and nine rebounds with Mike Miller chipping in 21 points off the bench. Mike Conley hit huge shots down the stretch to help secure the postseason appearance.
B-The Phoenix Suns couldn't solve the Grizzlies yet again and lost their fourth game of the season against Memphis to complete being swept. Markieff Morris had 21 points off the bench but Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic combined to make just 12-of-30 from the field for 27 points.
A-No Andrew Bogut? No problem for the Golden State Warriors. Stephen Curry had a ridiculous 32-point, 15-assist effort in the 130-120 barnburner in Oakland. Curry hit seven 3-pointers to give him 261 on the season. Warriors had four different scorers get at least 20 in this game.
CKevin Love dropped 40 points for the Minnesota Timberwolves and it didn't mean anything as they lost their road game to the Warriors. The Wolves are 1-5 when Love scores 40 in a game. He finished with 40-14-9 but the team played zero defense and turned the ball over 21 times.
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