There’s no doubt that lst night’s game between the Heat and Pacers was the best we’ve seen in this year’s playoffs. It had pretty much everything you could want in a basketball game. Last second drama, costly turnovers, crazy possessions, great plays on defense, incredible shots, questionable calls by the officials and to top it all off, a buzzer beater to win the game. LeBron’s game-winning lay up at the buzzer was the difference, sealing the win for Miami in a thrilling overtime victory over the Pacers. If game 1 was any indication of how this series will play out then it looks like we could have ourselves a classic. Even though Indiana was so close to victory, I don’t feel that it was their only chance to win a game on the road. A couple of mistakes that they don’t make and this game is their’s but at the same time, the same could be said for the Heat. That’s how good last night’s game was. LeBron had a super-human game (30 pts, 10 reb, 10 ast) to lead all players but also impressive was Paul George’s play, who’s future gets brighter by the game. But what has to be remembered is that despite George’s incredible 3-point shot to send the game into overtime, his defense on LeBron’s game winning lay up was less than stellar. Then again, it’s easier said than done to say “Hey, just say in front of LeBron” and actually be successful. I also think Indiana coach Frank Vogel is catching just the right amount of criticism about his decision to bench Roy Hibbert on those final possessions. Sure, LeBron might get to the rim either way but at least you have your big man (who played great) there to, at the very least, foul him and make him earn the points at the line. Just a thought.
Hot off the presses, this season’s All-NBA teams have been announced. Here’s the entire list and for the most part, every single player that’s listed deserves to be there. If I were to change anything it would probably be in what specific team they’re in. I know Bryan is going to disagree but I don’t think Kobe deserves to be on the first team, mostly because of his defense. Kobe’s heroics this season can’t be denied but when I look at the first team for any season, it’s basically saying “who are the best 5 players that can be put together right now” type of deal. Give me Russell Westbrook over Kobe in that situation. I’m less opposed to Tim Duncan being on the first team but i’d still rather have Marc Gasol as part of the first 5. Also, I think Stephen Curry and Joakim Noah deserve spots somewhere on the 3rd team.
The San Antonio Spurs were truly impressive yesterday. Most fans/analysts around the league had the Grizzlies with a real shot at taking down the top-seeded Spurs. Sure, it’s only one game and certainly too early to draw definitive conclusions but the way San Antonio played yesterday certainly had many thinking twice about their predictions for this series. I was most impressed with the way San Anotnio was able to defend Zach Randolph, throwing multiple defenders at him and nearly taking him out of the game completely. On the offensive side of the ball it was Tony Parker leading the individual performances (20 pts, 9 ast) but the Spurs’ three point shooting was their biggest weapon of the night. Memphis just couldn’t figure out how to defend the supporting cast for San Antonio, a very different change of pace from the series against the Thunder. The finals scor favored the Spurs 105-83 and it felt every bit like a 23 point loss for the Grizzlies. Tony Allen was surprisingly ineffective, one of the best perimeter defenders in the league but he was unable to stay with the Spurs players. What’s scary for the Grizzlies is that Tim Duncan didn’t even have a great game on offense, finishing with only 6 points. While it’s an impressive win for the Spurs, I don’t think anyone needs to remind them that they were up 2-0 and ended up losing last year’s west finals. So i’m willing to bet that they’re going to try and finish this series as quickly as possible.
It feels like the Heat haven’t played in over a week. It’s actually going to be exactly one week when the eastern conference finals get going in Miami on Wednesday. Just so people didn’t forget about the series, Indiana coach Frank Vogel was apparently quoted as saying that Miami was “just another team” or something of that context. His statement has changed since then, claiming that the media misquoted him and that has has “great respect for LBJ and the champs. Looking forward to a great series.” Vogel probabltydidn’t expect that much backlash for such a little comment but that’s how the media is these days. Anything and everything that can stir up some conversation. LeBron responded to the first comments, saying ”I don’t understand what he’s saying. But we’re not just another team. That’s not true. He said we’re just another team in their way. We’re a great team. If we’re just another team, you really don’t prepare for just another team. You have to prepare for us.” All true statements. Miami is a great team, best in the league as shown by their record in the regular season and performance so far in the postseason. If they continue their strong performances, this team will have the resume that can include them with the best teams of all time. Stay tuned, this will be a good series between Indiana and Miami.
Just reminding Moe of how bad Melo was stuffed at the rim by Roy Hibbert
Halfway to the ultimate prize. That’s what the Heat and Grizzlies are thinking this morning after they took care of business and eliminated their opponents in 5 games. For Miami it’s just a step in the process, repeating as the champions was the clear goal from the beginning. Last night the Heat used a big 4th quarter to come from behind and eliminate the Bulls from the playoffs 4 games to 1. LeBron James, as usual, was the best player on the court last night (23pts, 7 reb, 8 ast) but it was Dwyane Wade’s spark in the 4th quarter that really fueled the Heat’s comeback. The Bulls actually played very well, leading for the entire 3rd quarter and at one point they had a double digit lead. For a a few minutes there, the Boozer and Robinson-led Bulls actually looked like they were going to send the series back to Chicago. But as the rest of the series showed, it was too big of a mountain for Chicago to climb. The effort wasn’t a problem. This Bulls team was too depleted but hats off to Chicago for making this such a great series to watch. For Miami it’s on to the eastern conference finals where they’ll be awaiting their next opponent. I have a feeling that Indiana takes care of business tonight and sets up a nice series against the Heat.
It’s been a hard past for this Grizzlies franchise. I remember when the Mavs used to always eliminate them in the first round back in the mid-2000s No more because for the first time in franchise history, the Grizzlies are in the western conference finals. The Grizzlies withstood a late rally by the Thunder to win on the road and takes the series 4-1 to move on to the west finals. Things got a bit shaky for Memphis there at the end of the game but the Thunder didn’t make the shots at the end (thought Durant’s last shot was in) to make the comeback complete. Kevin Durant did not play well, especially in the 4th quarter and when the chance to come up big for his team came around it was evident he didn’t have it. It’s really hard to carry your team for several games and the pressure increases exponentially during the postseason; Durant feeling the effects as the series went on. Z-Bo led the way for the Grizzlies with his “old man” basketball (24 pts, 14 reb) and despite some missed free throws late, he was the power behind the Memphis offense. Marc Gasol played great defense as always and what do you know, another big clutch shot by the best big man in the league. That’s what makes this team so scary for whoever their opponent in the west finals is.
I don’t know what it was about last night but there were a ton of dunks. Big shout out to Tayshuan Prince for this dunk. Dunking on three Thunder players at once. I know i’m not the only one who hit rewind on their remote just to watch it again.
while thinking about eating a Bastardly Certified lunch by Bowser0
Both Miami and Memphis won deciding games last night but they both won their respective games in different manners. Miami completely dominated the Bulls while the Grizzlies mounted a comeback to edge out the Thunder in overtime. Am I the only one who has the slight feeling that these two teams will be meeting in the Finals? I’m getting ahead of myself. The Miami Heat have officially rounded back into their championship form. The Heat dominated pretty much every facet of the game against a depleted Bulls team that could no longer compete. Miami ended up winning the game 88-65 but the deciding quarter was clearly the 3rd as Chicago could only manage to score 9 points, a franchise playoff low. It’s simply too big of a task for this Bulls team to compete with the favorites to win it all, no matter how much effort is put into it. Nate Robinson was terrible (0-12 from the field) after starting the series with plenty of swagger and confidence. LeBron James on the other hand (27 pts, 8 reb, 7 ast) was great as he continued to play at MVP-level and looks like he’s completely in the zone. This series looks to be all but over as it heads back down to Miami for Wednesday night’s game.
It was surprising to see how well the Thunder started out in last night’s game, dominating the offensive side of the ball but it was coming from the supporting cast around Kevin Durant. The Thunder looked solid, leading the Grizzlies by as many as 17 points during the 2nd quarter. It was Memphis who played the better second half and overtime, frustrating Durant late in the game and forcing the Thunder into some costly turnovers to help the Grizzlies take a commanding lead in the series. The Thunder can certainly extend this series. They showed it last night during the first half how they can do so. Durant had a nice stat line (27 pts, 7 ast, 7 reb) with a clutch basket but it’s not that great considering what he’s done in other games since the Westbrook injury and the Grizzlies will certainly live with that. The Grizzlies will definitely live with Marc Gasol playing the way he did last night (23 pts, 11 reb, 6 blk) as he might have been angry with the fact that despite winning DPOY, Gasol wasn’t named part of the NBA’s All-Defensive first team. It’ll be interesting to see how the Thunder respond at home tomorrow night as their season is on the line while the Grizzlies look to strike the final blow and secure a spot in the conference finals.
If there’s a show worth staying up for, Inside the NBA is definitely one of them. It’s a shame that this show can’t be the main one covering the Finals. Anyways, here’s a video of them making fun of Wade’s choice of clothes:
Talk about a difference of games in a span of just 48 hours. The Bulls and Heat went at it last night, playing a physical game that resulted in multiple ejections from the Chicago side of the battle. But the more physical the game got, the more depleted Chicago’s team was. Miami dominated the second half, leading by as many as 45 points in the 4th quarter to even the series with a 115-78 win over the Bulls. Maybe it was because Alonzo Mourning was sitting courtside that both teams decided to play with a lot more edge. Nah, the Heat just needed to respond in a big way and they did. LeBron was great, going a perfect 6 for 6 from the field in the first quarter and played a great game all around. James’ 9 assists led the way for Miami and they included some pretty great passes like this one to ray Allen, who led the Heat scoring with 21 points. So have the Miami Heat returned to their title-favorite form? Looks like it but things are still in Chicago’s favor because they only need to win their home games to win the series. I’m looking forward to the Chicago crowd as the series heads up there for game 3 on Friday night.
Speaking of great crowds, Oracle Arena should be pretty ridiculous when Friday rolls around and the Warriors are back in town. Another great shooting night for Golden State but the difference this time was that the Warriors made smart plays down the stretch to hold off any Spurs rally. Led by Klay Thompson’s monster shooting night (8 of 9 from 3s) the Warriors bounced back to take game 2 over San Antonio and even the series at 1 game a piece. Does it just seem like bad luck for San Antonio? First they have to deal with Stephen Curry’s barrage just a couple of night’s ago but then Thompson decides to join the shooting party. Curry was relatively quiet last night but he did have a couple of highlights and some clutch baskets to seal the deal for Golden State. If there’s a team that won’t be rattled by a raucous home crowd, it’s this experienced Spurs team. Popovich is the best coach in the game and i’m sure he’ll make the right adjustments so that the Spurs can take back their home court advantage. It’s going to be a good one Friday night.
Unfortunately there are no games tonight (feels weird) but here are the best plays of the first round
Last night’s games pretty much sum up what everyone loves about the NBA Playoffs. Sure things started off a bit slow (how terrible was that first quarter?) between the Heat and Bulls but it turned into a well fought, statement win for Chicago. I continue to be impressed by how resilient this Bulls team is. Nate Robinson led the way for Chicago, scoring 29 points as the Bulls upset the Heat in Miami to take a 1-0 series lead. Nate had an excellent quote after the game, stating “God blessed me with a lot of heart and no height, and i’ll take that any day.” It was very evident that plenty of heart came into play down the stretch as the Bulls scored the final 10 points of the game to seal the deal. Robinson had clutch plays but also very impressive was Jimmy Butler, playing great defense on both LeBron and Wade while scoring 21 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. LeBron had pretty pedestrian numbers by his standards and Wade played alright but no one else on the Heat stepped up. Chris Bosh and Ray Allen were the next best players and they were only able to combine for 18 points. I think Miami will be fine and I still see them winning the series but as everyone expected, it’s not going to be easy to beat this Bulls team.
I spent a good 30-45 minutes arguing with my really good friend (Spurs fan) last night about whether it was a Spurs rally or a Warriors meltdown. Either way, it was a such a good game to watch. San Antonio withstands Curry’s 44 as the Spurs win a double overtime thriller at home to take the first game of the series. The experience by both teams was very evident last night as the Warriors were never able to close out the Spurs despite numerous opportunities to do so. On the flip side, San Antonio took full advantage of the situation and went on a 18-2 to close out the game and send it into overtime. Once again Stephen Curry was lights out and once again, the 3rd quarter belonged to him. Who’s the MVP of the playoffs so far? It’s either him or Nate. Manu Ginobili had both the best and worst shot of the game, all within the final minute of the second overtime. Coach Popovich put it best by saying “I went from trading him on the spot to wanting to cook him breakfast tomorrow. That’s the truth.” The Warriors played the Spurs about as well as you can but can they do it again? It feels like Curry’s performance was wasted and I can’t help but feel that last night’s game was the only one the Warriors would be able to steal on the road.
while eating a Bastardly Certified lunch by Bowser0
My apologies for not making a post yesterday, both games were excellent and definitely worth some discussion but sometimes real life gets in the way. A few lingering thoughts about Monday night’s games: how about Joakim Noah just providing all kinds of life to that Bulls squad? Everyone knows about how much Noah matters to the Bulls’ defense but he’s clearly not 100% physically, not that it mattered to him that night. Noah made some great hustle plays (keeping the ball inbounds and the block on Lopez), proving that this Bulls team was not going to roll over after a disastrous performance in game 1. Things are tied up between Chicago and Brooklyn, all signs indicating that this will be a long series. One last time, how about Chris Paul down the stretch against the Grizzlies that night? It was the best moment of the playoffs so far. Alright, last night’s action:
The Heat certainly stayed hot, using a 12-0 run at the start of the 4th quarter to put away a Bucks team that hung around for most of the first three quarters. Easily noticeable was Wade’s health as it seems to be almost back to 100%, showcasing it on a couple of nasty dunks. The put back dunk was nice but I liked this one a bit more. That’s scary for the rest of the eastern conference because adding a fully healthy Wade to that arsenal just seems like doomsday for the rest of the conference. Elsewhere in the east, the Knicks used a strong second half to win 87-71 last night and take a 2-0 series lead over the Celtics. Melo was great once again, scoring 34 to lead the Knicks offense and spark the big 3rd quarter run that got New York the lead. The Celtics were never able to recover after the Knicks’ outburst in the 3rd quarter and once again, the scoring was abysmal for the Celtics. A low 19% from the field and only 23 points in the second half for Boston. It just seems hard for the Celtics to score but Boston fans will try to motivate their team as the series heads up there for the next game.
This Nuggets-Warriors series has been so entertaining, by far the most exciting out of all the other series so far. The first game was very close, coming down the last second and even though last night even turned into a comfortable win for the Warriors, it was still fun to watch. Golden State, powered by their shooting, won 131-117 on the road over the Nuggets to even the series at 1 a piece. Just watching what Stephen Curry (30 pts, 13 ast) did during the 2nd and 3rd quarters was enough to keep the casual sports fan from changing the channel. Every time Curry shot the ball, it looked like the hoop was twice as big for him, hitting nothing but net. Is he the best shooter in the game right now? If you thought the Denver crowd was great, wait until the series shifts to the Bay Area and their fans get going. I’m getting nightmares of the first round of the 2007 playoffs as I type this.
Side note: It was leaked yesterday that Marc Gasol of the Grizzlies would win Defensive Player of the Year but just a little while ago it was confirmed by the NBA. Congrats to Gasol and the rest of the Grizzlies organization.
All this time I thought she was a huge Lakers fan, but I guess even RiRi knows that Lakers are gonna get booted in four games by the Spurs. The 25-year-old international superstar was seen sitting courtside with her BFF/scissor-buddy Melissa Forde during the Miami-Milwaukee game, which ended with with a Milwaukee loss & LBJ nearly getting a triple-double. From a fashion standpoint, Rihanna was rocking her usual streetwear-on-crack getup, where people sitting in the shitty seats could easily spot her. Aside from a ton of gold accessories, she was also rocking a black hat with “FUKK” written on it. As always, she’s a perfect role mode!
Here are a couple pics taken during the game with her buddy Melissa Forde that RiRi posted on Instagram…