We have ourselves a game 7 people! The end of the game was a bit confusing and was sort of a buzz kill but still an enjoyable game overall. The Nets held off the Bulls’ last ditch efforts to take the victory 95-92 and force a winner take all game 7 in Brooklyn tomorrow night. Many fans/analysts had the opinion that the Nets should have won last night’s game, not just because it was a do or die situation but because Chicago was so depleted due to injuries. Well all know Rose’s injury but this game also had Kirk Heinrich sidelined for a second straight game, Luol Deng with what might now be meningitis. Oh yeah, there’s also Nate Robinson who despite throwing up right there on the sidelines, still fought for his team. It was a valiant effort by the Bulls but the Nets would not let them take the lead after the 1st quarter. Towards the end of each quarter, the Bulls were there trying to inch close to a lead, only to see it go away a few minutes later. Brooklyn was pretty balanced, five players scoring in double digits and Reggie Evans coming out of nowhere with 15 rebounds. Game 7 should be a good one but it’s going to depend a lot on the Bulls’ health situation. Then again, these teams are just fighting for a spot to get beat by Miami in the next round, right?
It wasn’t the most solid way to close out a game but Golden State can still be proud of their series win, first since 2007 when they took down my Mavs. Why did I just remind myself of that? The Warrios held off a furious rally by the Nuggets, ending the game with a 92-88 win and a 4-2 win for the series. Warriors’ coach Mark Jackson looked like a nervous wreck as the game’s final seconds ticked away and with reason, his team nearly squandered a 18-point lead with 9 minutes left in the game. Golden State’s inexperience was very evident as they made errant passes and took bad shots to further fuel Denver’s rally. There were some questionable calls by the referees but it was simply too little too late for the Nuggets. They can blame themselves a little bit too, not being able to capitalize on all the chances they were given. The Nuggets end this series with a “what if” mentality, stemming from whether or not the Gallinari injury would have changed the series outcome. Golden State celebrates for now but it has to be a pretty big turn around because the Spurs are next.
MASSIVE night for the NBA playoffs tonight. Four Game 6s! If you’re lucky enough to be around two TVs at the same time tonight, just ask for one on ESPN and the other on ESPN2. Games get going at 7pmET.
The announcement that Jason Collins made yesterday took most of the headlines around basketball and sports but the playoffs still had to go on. Last night’s games weren’t particularly intense, the Thunder-Rockets game got intense towards the end but it was more of a flow game. But last night did show that teams can certainly evolve as the series goes on. The Nets showed a lot of fight last night with their backs on the ropes, beating the Bulls 110-91 and extending the series as it heads back to Chicago for a big Game 6 on Thursday. I was pretty impressed with Brook Lopez (29 pts, 10 reb) as he led the Nets offense and kept Joakim Noah pretty quiet as Lopez dominated the paint for pretty much the entire game. Deron Williams also had a solid game (23 pts, 10 ast) and it’s that 1-2 punch that makes the Nets so dangerous but it’s about consistency of play. The Bulls were able to get within a point a couple of times in the 4th quarter but never took the lead, mostly because when the starters weren’t on the floor it was very difficult for Chicago to score.
On the other side of the eastern conference bracket, Atlanta and Indiana played another weird game in a series that has been impossible to predict. I literally have no idea what either of these teams is going to play like on a nightly basis. Josh Smith was certainly impressive (29 pts, 11 reb, 4 ast, 3 stl) in scoring a career playoff high for points, even though he had a bad 3rd quarter. Was Indiana going with a “hack-a-Smith” during the 3rd quarter? It got Indiana back into the game but once again, like in game 3, their halftime deficit (17) was just too large to overcome. Now the series is tied as 2 as it heads back to Indiana for tomorrow night’s critical game 5. The most likely result of that game is Indiana winning by a large margin but at this point in the series, I’ve begun to expect anything from these two teams.
Great game between the Rockets and Thunder, filled with plenty of memorable plays and a sort of bizarre finish. I know Serg Ibaka probably still feels bad about missing the game-tying lay up at the buzzer but he shouldn’t. Anyone who has played basketball at any level for an extended period of time has missed an easy shot. Or dropped a pass playing football or missed an easy goal playing futbol/hockey. Sure, it’s not at nearly the same level but we can sympathize at least a little. More positive memory from last night’s game for the Thunder was this ridiculous dunk by Durant down the stretch. Chriss Webber’s reaction says it all. Houston did have the last laugh though. Led by Chandler Parsons’ breakout performance, the Rockets were able to hold off the Thunder and win 105-103 to stay alive in the playoffs. How about Carlos Delfino of all people dunking right in the face of Durant? Durant has been superhuman these past couple of games so that dunk was a bit eye-opening. Like the top comment on the video says “LOL, now Durant has to wake up from this nightmare and drink Gatorade.“
Shout out to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on their D-League championship.
Of course it sucks that NFL season is over, there’s nothing quite like it here in the US but luckily for sports fans around the country, we have the NBA to fall back on. Maybe it was just pure coincidence but as the football season ended, it seems like the NBA is getting into the best part of the season, where teams realize where their season is really going and games start to get played at a higher level. Trade rumors have been heating up as the season heads into the All-Star break (just over a week away) and the trade deadline hits on the 21st of this month. The biggest trade made was Rudy Gay heading to Toronto (seems good, so far) but other than that, it’s just been rumors headline by Kevin Garnett’s departure to the Clippers. Though Garnett and the Celtics shot down the rumors this week, it’s still interesting to see what the Celtics are going to do post-Rondo injury despite still being undefeated without him.
Last night’s action included the Houston Rockets absolutely making it rain on the Warriors, going 23-40 from behind the 3-point line. How ridiculous was this? Well set aside the 140 total points that Houston scored and the fact that it tied the NBA record for 3-pointers made in a game. Out of the 11 players that the Rockets had on the floor during the game, only it’s two big men DIDN’T make a 3 point shot. The Houston crowd wanted “one more 3!” at the end of the game but Warriors’ coach Mark Jackson decided to intentionally foul. What a buzz kill, right? The big game last night was between the Lakers and Nets (caught a lot of it on NBA TV) and despite being without Howard and World Peace, the Lakers showed heart and took the win over the cold-shooting Nets. Gasol was hurt during the game and is awaiting MRI results as of this morning but enter Kobe, with a pretty sick dunk (video below) over Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace. All of a sudden the Lakers are playing well and have a legit shot to make the playoffs.
There are tons of games tonight so chances are your team is playing. If not today, then tomorrow’s TNT games should be an interesting watch. I’d keep my eye on the Warriors visiting the Thunder tonight. That game should have plenty of offense and who knows, we’ll find out if the Warriors have what it takes to make some noise in the west.
It’s only been a few weeks of NBA basketball but the Wizards were already beginning to be the butt of jokes around the league, starting at a horrendous 0-12 but they finally broke that streak as they got their first victory in a close game last night over the Trailblazers 84-82. My favorite pun about the Wizards being win-less was their name change to the “Lizards” because you know, their team only has Ls. Anyways, now that the Wizards have finally got their first victory the bigger question is, when will their NEXT win come? They have a few tough games in a row (at Knicks, Heat, at Hawks, Warriors) but then they go to New Orleans who still might be without their rookie sensation Anthony Davis. If the Wizards aren’t able to win that game, they’re looking at another tough stretch and it won’t be until the 3rd week of December until they face an opponent that they can compete against. Of course this is professional basketball and upsets do happen throughout the season but 1-21 is a really possibility for these Wizards. Keep an eye out for that.
The Brooklyn Nets were in Boston last night, taking on the Celtics in what could be seen as two of a few teams that can take down the Heat in the eastern conference. The game started out with some good basketball, both teams playing well but the Nets began to pull away in the second as just as the Celtics began to cut into the lead a fight/skirmish occurred between PG Rajon Rondo and F Kris Humphries. The incident occurred after Celtics forward Kevin Garnett took a hard from Humphries and Rondo (right next to the play under the basket) wasn’t too fond of the foul so he basically tried to retaliate in defense of his teammate. Were Rondo’s actions uncalled for? Yes and no. It was ok that he stood up for his teammate but Rondo was too aggressive and it resulted in himself and Humphries being ejected. Anyone who has played sports knows that sometimes in the heat of battle, tempers flare but this was an important game for Rondo as his assist streak was on the line. A little less emotional next time Rondo. Gerald Wallace of the Nets was a little too aggressive while trying to break up the fight so he also earned an ejection from the referees. Also, Paul Pierce got his ankles broken by Joe Johnson during the 4th quarter.
James Harden returned to OKC for the first time since the trade to the Rockets but his return was spoiled pretty quickly by the Thunders’ defense and Durant’s 37 points. Not only did Harden shoot bad (3-16) but he also had six of his shots blocked by his former team. While other teams seem to be taking the spotlight early this season (Knicks, Lakers, Nets etc.) i’m not surprised to see the Heat cruising along where they left off last season. This is their title to lose so we’ll see how other teams respond because when the Heat are next on a team’s schedule, it’s the biggest test of the season. The Heat are the best team so far, followed closely by three powerhouses in the western conference (Grizzlies, Spurs, Thunder) and my fifth best team is…the Brooklyn Nets. Don’t get mad at me Moe, I know your Knicks are doing well to start the season but i’m going to wait until Stoudemire’s return and see how that goes before I include them in the NBA’s elite.
Quick reminder: NFL action tonight as the Saints visit the Falcons. If you’re not feeling that game there two good NBA games tonight as well (Spurs at Heat; Nuggets at Warriors) so there’s plenty to watch tonight for sports fans. Enjoy!