Last night’s game had all the makings of a Grizzlies rally to even the series. The Spurs looked tired by the end of the 4th quarter, missing easy shots and playing mediocre defense but Memphis simply couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities. Tony Parker led the way for the Spurs, who managed to hold off the Grizzlies in OT and take a big 2-0 lead in the western conference finals. Parker looked pretty beat by the end of the game and when a point guard managed to net 18 assists in any game, you know he’s going to be out of gas by the end of the game. Although he didn’t put up massive numbers like Parker, Tim Duncan had a really solid game on offense that included some really big shot in overtime. One the other side of things, it felt like this was the best opportunity that Memphis was going to have to get a win on the road. Z-Bo had a good bounce-back performance but despite that, he couldn’t get buckets to take the lead in overtime. No one on Memphis could for that matter. I expect a much better performance from the Grizzlies as the series goes back to their house but at the same time it’s hard for me to see the Spurs easing up at all. Now i’m not trying to say that the Spurs aren’t capable of close out a series after leading 2-0 but as it’s been pointed out, this game ended very similar to the second game of last year’s west finals. Stay tuned. Oh yeah, nice job selling (pictured abve) that flagrant foul last night Tony Allen.
Sports as a whole are probably my favorite things in the world (right there with pretty brunettes) but when disaster strikes, professional athletes and fans know that they take a back seat. It’s also an opportunity for these larger-than-life athletes to do even greater good by their off the court/field contributions. I’m giving a MASSIVE shout out to Kevin Durant who pledged $1 million to help the people of Moore, OK and surrounding areas. It’s just another reason to like KD, on top of all the other things that he does. Durant is biggest athlete in Oklahoma since Adrian Peterson’s days at OU so for him to step up in this situation shows the type of person that he is. Also, people need to calm down about Matt Kemp’s $1,000 per home-run pledge. Some athletes have pledged nothing and since then, Kemp has said that he’s also going to give an additional $250k.
I’m a big fan of the NBA’s YouTube channel (duh) but i’m also a big fan of the “floater” shot. I use it as part of the my personal game but i’m not anywhere near NBA-level. Anyways, here are the top 10 from the regular season.
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
while eating a Bastardly Certified lunch by Bowser0
Talk about an ugly win for the Knicks. I actually didn’t watch most of the game as it happened live (caught the Darvish-Verlander showdown in person) but I did see the replay on NBATV earlier this morning. The Knicks won’t label this win as a “finesse” type but they can certainly pride themselves in being the better team with more effort. The Knicks played with urgency this time around, forcing the Pacers into bad shots late in the game to take the victory and send the series back to Indiana for another game. Tyson Chandler’s performance won’t show up in the stat line but his presence in the middle was key to slowing down Roy Hibbert and slowing down the Pacers’ ability to get inside and get points in the paint. Melo led the way for the Knicks as usual (28 points) but he was smarter about his game, picking his shots more carefully. And when the Knicks needed a bucket late, Melo was able to deliver with some key buckets in the 4th quarter. On the contrary, the Pacers were opposite of clutch in the 4th quarter. With chances to get back in striking distance, it was either a bad shot or a turnover for Indiana. Add that to the laundry list of problems for the Pacers last night: they didn’t shoot well from the field or free throw line and their bench only managed 10 points. Indiana needs to turn it around fast or this series is going the full length.
This was the series that I thought would go all the way. I mean, can’t we have at least one series go 7? San Antonio had other plans and they weren’t afraid to put the nail in the coffin when the opportunity presented itself. The Spurs made big plays late, fending off a Warriors rally to close out the series in 6 games and move on to the west finals. If there was any doubt that Gregg Poppovich is the best coach in the league i’d say that argument was put to rest after last night’s game. The Spurs coach had some brilliant changes late in the game, benching Tim Duncan (who played great) and trusting the bench to make the big plays. The other “big guns’” for the Spurs didn’t play well so it was the likes of Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter that made the clutch plays. I can’t for Sunday’s game 1 against the Grizzlies. As for the Warriors, it just wasn’t enough. They seemed to be worn down by the Spurs and late in the game the shots that normally went in, didn’t. Those same shots would’ve gone in earlier in the series and it’s what made this Warriors team so fun to watch. It’s goodbye for Curry and his crew but they definitely deserve a standing ovation. They were the most entertaining team in the postseason and have a bright future.
Side note: Phil Jackson is back in the headlines but this time it’s not for another coaching rumor. News broke that in Phil’s new book (“Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success“) he does in fact compare Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, with Jackson siding in the Jordan camp. I wonder how Bryan, biggest Kobe fan on this site, feels about it. There are also some other interesting points in the book that have been released.
Things are looking well for both the Pacers and Spurs, both teams looks lik they’re playing to their strengths. The Pacers are obviously in a better position with a 3-1 lead over the Knicks and as the series goes on, it’s pretty clear that the Pacers are a really bad match up for the Knicks. Last night it further cemented the Pacers’ dominance on defense and their ability to make the Knicks frustrated on both ends of the floor. Watching this series I can’t help but wonder: did game 2 of this series actually happen? After that game, I would’ve picked the series to go to the Knicks but ever since that game, the Pacers have shown that they are the superior team. The Knicks never led in last night’s game and a lot of that is because the supporting cast (Shumpert, Kidd, Martin) was nowhere to be found. Not to mention JR Smith’s complete disappearance. But that’s also credit to the Pacers’ defense and them forcing bad shots by the Knicks. Paul George played really well, helping his team out in all aspects of the game and frustrating Melo. Once again Melo had 0 points in the 4th (second straight game) and once again the Pacers out rebounded the Knicks by a large margin. The Knicks need to turn things around or this series will be over as it heads back to NYC for Thursday night’s game.
The Spurs looked like the hungrier team last night. Tony Parker led the way (25 pts, 10 reb) but it was clearly an all-around team effort to defeat the Warriors and win a crucial game 5. The ball movement looked good and the energy/hustle was clearly too much for the Warriors to handle. Fatigue was evident on Golden State’s side because everytime they tried to get back in the game, the Spurs made a play on either offense or defense to stop the comeback. The Warriors high-scoring back court (Curry and Thompson) was held in check all night, combining for only 13 points. The forwards for the Spurs (Duncan and Leonard) were great, combining for 31 ponts and 18 rebounds. I don’t feel energy will be a problem for the Warriors when they head back home but if they plan on sending the series back to San Antonio, their big shooting guard combo must come through. This is how most people think the Spurs can play, it’s the reason they had the best record in the western conference. More of that great team play from San Antonio and the series ends in 6.
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.
Not the most entertaining night in terms of close games or exciting finishes but there were some pretty good highlights to look back at. My personal favorite for the night was Roy Hibbert’s nasty dunk in the first quarter to set the tone early for the Pacers. Indiana rode their shooting performace to take the victory over the Hawks 113-98 and a 2-0 lead in the series. I watch this series between the Pacers and Hawks with the slight feeling that the Hawks aren’t playing with too much enthusiasm. Not going to go as far and say they’re not trying, that’s a little harsh but there seems to be a lack of effort or spark from Atlanta. Or maybe that’s just Atlanta’s style of play and i’m just missing it entirely. Either way, i’d be surprised if the Hawks managed to win a single game in the series. The first game, it was the Pacers playing good defense on Atlanta and last night’s game was the Pacers simply outscoring the Hawks. This one will most likely result in a sweep.
Am I the only who thought it was really weird that we were having a game in Oklahoma City start just after 6pm local time? I’m just used to the western conference games starting much later but sometimes, that’s just the way the schedule falls. It was a tight game between the Thunder and Rockets, coming down to the last few plays but eventually OKC edged out the Rockets 105-102. I was very surprised at how well the Rockets were able to get stops late in the game in order to climb back in it. It was simply too big of a task for Harden and co but I do applaud the effort. The Rockets seem to have figured out how to defend the Thunder but at times, Durant and Westbrook are just too good. Things shift back to Houston in a couple of days and if the Rockets have any chance of extending this series, game 3 is a must win. Teams don’t recover from being down 0-3 in a series.
Tony Parker looks like he’s back to 100% health and that’s pretty much it for the Lakers because when he’s back to full health, Parker is the best player on the court in this series. Led by Parker’s 28 points, the Spurs used a strong second half to cruise by the Lakers 102-91. The Lakers need to have Dwight Howard out on the court as much as possible but during the 3rd quarter, Howard picked up two quick fouls and that kept him on the bench for most of the quarter. It’s no surprise that in the same quarter Tony Parker had his best stretch, scoring 15 and leading the Spurs to a comfortable lead. What can the Lakers do to make this a series? Well for starters their back court has to play better and try to do what they can to contain Tony Parker. I’m anxious to see how much the referees influence will come up after game 3.
Most people consider the regular season a sort of “warm up” or preparation period for the elite teams, a time where teams that have a shot at the title can work out whatever problems they have before the playoffs begin. Or the “real” season as most experts like to call the NBA playoffs, only a couple days away. Even though i’m pretty bummed out that the Mavs aren’t going to participate this season (i’d almost forgotten what it’s like) i’m still very excited for the postseason to begin and all these series to get going. First things are first, every team in the NBA is playing tonight and the 8th seed in the western conference still has to be decided. Kobe’s injury was a massive blow to the Lakers (obviously) but nonetheless, the “lake show” still controls their own destiny and secures a playoff spot with a win over the Rockets tonight. That game will be on ESPN at 10:30 ET but before that game even goes down, the Utah Jazz will be in Memphis looking for a victory and keeping their chances of postseason participation alive. That game is also on ESPN and things get going at 8:00 ET. Don’t forget that the Jazz own the tie breaker over the Lakers so a Jazz win over the Grizzlies will put the maximum pressure on the Lakers. I think most fans around the NBA would prefer Utah to win if only to put the pressure on LA and create extra drama for the end of the regular season.
There were a couple of games last night but there wasn’t anything that great to mention, mostly because the losing teams from both games had nothing to play for. Something that did catch everyone’s attention was the San Antonio Spurs signing none other than Tracy McGrady. T-Mac is back! Well, sort off. In case anyone was wondering, McGrady has been spending this past season in China playing for the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles, putting up some pretty good numbers as the team struggles. T-Mac always was considered as an elite NBA talent but injuries always seemed to be the roadblock for McGrady, never advancing past the first round of the playoffs in his NBA career. Who could forget when he did this? It’s interesting that the Spurs would release Stephen Jackson just last week and then a few days before the postseason, sign T-Mac. It seems like a very low risk/medicore reward type of move so we’ll have to see what kind of impact McGrady has.
Unfortunately for myself and Mavericks fans everywhere else, this is the first time in 12 seasons that Dallas will not be participating in the NBA playoffs. It’s disheartening to be frank. I’d gotten so used to at least a shot at the NBA title for so long that i’d begun to forget what it’s like to not see the Mavs listed in the playoffs picture with their 1-8 seed number right next to it. Maybe if Dirk didn’t need surgery in the off season and hadn’t missed those first 27 games. There are tons of “maybe” scenarios for this team but I don’t want to sound like a whiner, I just wanted to put my thoughts out there before tonight’s final game against the Hornets. I enjoyed this season through the good and bad times but i’m looking forward to next season that hopefully holds a brighter future for my Mavericks.
Side note: There are multiple new sources reporting that an arrest has been made regarding the Boston Marathon bombings. No official statement has been made by the authorities but i’m hoping that it’s true so whoever is responsible can be brought to justice.