Aldridge carries Spurs into playoffs, Durant not so much

Abhishek Mukund

The NBA regular season wrapped on Wednesday night after nearly seven months of play. Even with months of basketball already completed, it took until game No. 82 to determine the final seeding in both conferences. The teams will begin the playoffs on Saturday.

LaMarcus Aldridge

The San Antonio Spurs lost to the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night, 122-98. The loss pushed San Antonio from the No. 5 seed to the No. 7 seed. In what has been an uncharacteristically rocky season for the Spurs, they still managed to lock up a playoff appearance for the 21st consecutive time.

Their leader, former Longhorn LaMarcus Aldridge, has continued to build a case that he is still one of the top players in the league, perhaps even worthy of first-team all-NBA consideration. In the four games prior to the loss to the Pelicans, Aldridge averaged 26.5 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, 1.75 steals and 1.5 blocks, while shooting 53.7 percent from the field.

Aldridge looks primed to show up big for the Spurs during the playoffs, and they will need every point he can give them so long as All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard remains out. The Spurs will matchup against the Warriors in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Kevin Durant

The Golden State Warriors have locked up the 2-seed in the West. They’ve held the position for some time now, but their recent play has left some questioning whether the champions can repeat this year.

The Warriors, led by former Longhorn Kevin Durant in the wake of all-star guard Stephen Curry going down with injury, lost by 40 points to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night. The blowout was the worst loss the Warriors have had all season, and the worst loss the Warriors have had in the regular season since Durant has joined the team.

Durant had just 13 points, four rebounds, and one assist in the blowout loss to the Jazz and had only 17 points in the blowout win against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday evening.

With injuries to Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Patrick McCaw and Shaun Livingston, the Warriors will need much bigger contributions from Durant if they hope to get back and contend for the NBA Championship again.

Myles Turner

The Indiana Pacers finished as the No. 5 seed in the East after a 119-93 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night. The Pacers have the unfortunate task of playing Lebron James, who has a 10-0 series record in the first round of the playoffs, and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. They will need every player to be amazing if they have any hope of winning.

Unfortunately, it appears Myles Turner has found himself in a terrible funk recently. The former Longhorn bigman has averaged a putrid 4.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 1 block on 27-percent shooting from the field and 10 percent from three over the last five games. The Pacers will have no shot against the Cavaliers if Turner continues his current play into the postseason. Moving forward, he looks to turn it around by Sunday.