Everything That Happened on a Bonkers Night in the NBA

Jonathan Lehman
April 10, 2019 - 10:46 am

The NBA is the most reliable source of drama in sports, but even by its lofty standards, Tuesday night was a wild one.

Hall of Fame-bound icons Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki had emotional sendoffs in Miami and Dallas, respectively -- and they weren't the biggest stories of the night. Not even close.

Stephen Curry again tweaked his fragile ankle -- and it couldn't even crack the top five headlines.

Catch up here on one of the most surprising whirlwind NBA nights in recent memory:

Magic Johnson quits the Lakers

The bombshell: Johnson stepped down as president of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers after two years on the job in a surreal press conference. The news came seemingly out of nowhere. There were no whispers Johnson might bail, and he told the media before he told his boss, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss. Johnson did recruit LeBron James last summer, but now he leaves the franchise with which he became a superstar in shambles.

Johnson stated a desire to return to his more easygoing life as a businessman and basketball ambassador, and said he wanted to be able to tweet congratulations to opposing players again. Really. 

Dirk says goodbye to Dallas

Nowitzki confirmed it: He will retire this week, and Tuesday night was his final appearance at home for the Dallas Mavericks after 21 seasons. The 40-year-old German legend dropped 30 points in a 120-109 victory over the Phoenix Suns. 

Mavericks employees and arena workers lined up to greet Nowitzki as he arrived. He got emotional during a tribute video that played during the game, then again as he addressed the crowd in a post-game ceremony -- which also included surprise cameos from other NBA legends

Nowitzki's last game is on the road Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs.

Wade's last dance in Miami 

Wade, surrounded by family and loved ones, received a fitting farewell from the team with which he made his legacy. Wade, 37, is set to retire after 16 seasons -- 14.5 with the Miami Heat -- and three NBA titles.

The joyous occasion included a comical crash into front-row celebrities Chrissy Teigen and John Legend:

In one last bit of symmetry with Nowitzki, his rival in the 2006 NBA Finals, Wade also sprang for 30 points in a 122-99 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Heat were eliminated from playoff contention. Wade's final game is scheduled for Wednesday night in Brooklyn.

Anthony Davis' T-shirt

A goodbye of a different sort. Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans' star who repeatedly has asked to be traded, showed up to the Pelicans' final game in a shirt that read: "That's all folks."

With one year left on his contract, Davis again will be the subject of trade talks this offseason, but it remains to be seen whether he is indeed moving on from NOLA.

Jamal Crawford's 51-spot

The 39-year-old Crawford, a crafty veteran scorer of the highest order, went out and dropped 51 points in the Suns' lost to the Mavericks.

He became the oldest player to score 50 points in a game, surpassing none other than Michael Jordan (38), and hit 50 points for a fourth different team.

The most precious ankles in the NBA

Curry rolled his right ankle on a non-contact play during the Golden State Warriors' 112-103 win over the Pelicans, always a worry for a superstar with a history of ankle problems.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr expressed optimism that Curry will be available for Game 1 of the playoffs this weekend. “He's in there icing it," Kerr said. "We think he's going to be fine. He tweaked it, but we weren't going to mess around."

Curry's status will be something to monitor.

The Pistons' frantic rally

The Detroit Pistons, clinging to the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, had lost four straight and were trailing the Memphis Grizzlies by 22 points -- before rallying for a 100-93 victory that may have saved their season.

The Pistons can clinch a postseason bid Wednesday night with a win on the road against the moribund New York Knicks or a loss by the Charlotte Hornets.

Paul George for the win

George canned a 3-pointer in the final seconds to complete a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback in a Oklahoma City Thunder-Houston Rockets rivalry game with major implications for playoff seeding. On most nights, that's leading "SportsCenter." On this crazy night, it's below the fold.