I have to say, it’s a beautiful day here in Massachusetts. We just spent the whole morning burning off all of the beer we drank yesterday with a walk down the ol’ rail trail, and now we’re recovering like Kevin Love with Chocolate Milk. Now that we’re reenergized, it’s time for another slate of four Playoff games! Yesterday was certainly eventful, and there’s no doubt we’re in for another entertaining block of Playoff basketball.
2:49 pm – Hey, the Nets have a new coach! It’s Atlanta Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson, a surprisingly unsplashy move from the big market Nets. Atkinson brings some good Playoff experience over from the Hawks, now all they need is some draft picks.
2:52 – Once again, I’m joined by my buddy Ian, who will also be doing most of our tweeting throughout the day, so if we’re clogging up your Twitter feed, take it up with him.
2:58 – Our narrators for our first game: Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. Great. As for the game itself, it’s the Cavs hosting the Pistons! It’s the Pistons first Playoff appearance since 2009, and they have a promising young team. On the other hand, we’ve got the start of yet another LeBron James Playoff run, and this year, his supporting stars are healthy, and, as there always is with a LeBron team, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of drama and intrigue as they travel through the postseason.
3:07 – We’re live in Cleveland for Game 1 between the Cavs and the Pistons! It’s good to see Detroit back in the Playoffs, and with the nucleus they’ve built there, they should be frequent postseason participants over the next few years.
3:10 – Cleveland’s starting lineup has played in a total of 284 Playoff games over the course of their careers, Detroit’s have played in just 30.
3:11 – The Pistons win the opening tip and we’re underway in Cleveland! Marcus Morris leads us off by hitting a jumper and putting Detroit up 2-0.
3:12 – Kevin Love hits a three for Cleveland’s first basket, and they’re up 3-2 to start the game.
3:13 – LeBron James gets away with his first offensive foul as he shoves his defender away with an elbow, followed by silence from the refs whistles.
3:17 – We’ve got our first time out and this one is off to a good start. It’s Detroit 13, Cleveland 11 with 6:37 left in the first quarter. It’s still early, but the Pistons look like they’re here to play.
3:25 – Another time out with the score Detroit 20, Cleveland 18 with 2:28 to go in the opening quarter. Regardless of how this game turns out, it’s clear that the Pistons are not intimidated. They’re playing with a lot of confidence here at the start of the game.
3:33 – LeBron ends the first quarter with a layup at the buzzer, and it puts our score at Cleveland 27, Detroit 25. James has 10 points and 4 assists already. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has matched LeBron with ten to lead the Pistons. It’s been a great start to the game, and hopefully the Pistons can keep up this level of play throughout the game.
3:38 – Reggie Bullock nails a jumper to start off the second quarter and tie the game at 27.
3:39 – Steve Blake looks more like someone you’d expect to see sitting at your local dive bar than an actual NBA player.
3:43 – We have a time out with 8:02 to go until halftime with the score Detroit 39, Cleveland 33. The Pistons are taking advantage of LeBron being on the bench by keeping up their good work and playing with poise.
3:45 – News is starting to trickle in that it’s very unlikely that Boston’s Avery Bradley will be returning during the First Round. Just terrible news. I feel legitimately depressed about this. The Celtics are going to need Evan Turner and Marcus Smart to step up big time.
3:49 – As they often do, the Cavs have brought us all back to Earth a little bit, scoring eight straight points to make our score Cleveland 41, Detroit 39 with 6:07 remaining until halftime. It’ll be interesting to see how the Pistons respond over the rest of the quarter.
3:57 – Andre Drummond just gave Matthew Dellavedova a little elbow. Things could start to get chippy here in Cleveland!
3:59 – We’re here at another time out with the score Cleveland 50, Detroit 50 with 2:00 minutes left in what continues to be a great first half! We have a good ol’ fashioned duel brewing here between Kevin Love and Marcus Morris! Each of them have poured in 17 points as we approach halftime.
4:07 – There’s 49 seconds to go in the first half, and we have another time out with the score Detroit 55, Cleveland 53. The Pistons are shooting a robust 60.6% from the field to help them keep pace with the Cavaliers this afternoon.
4:09 – We’re here at halftime with the score Detroit 58, Cleveland 53. Marcus Morris has 19 points to lead the Pistons and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s got 13 as Detroit’s field goal shooting is up at 61.8%. If there’s been one Detroit disappointment so far, it’s been Andre Drummond. The league’s leading rebounder has been largely invisible so far with 2 points and 4 rebounds, but it hasn’t caused too much trouble for his team. As for Cleveland, their big three is shouldering most of the load, combining for 44 points. Kevin Love has 18 of those points, to go along with five rebounds. Kyrie Irving’s scored 14, and LeBron has 12 points and 6 assists.
What an impressive first half it’s been from the Pistons. It’s highly unlikely that they’re going to be able to maintain their hot shooting, so they’ll have to ramp up their defense if they’re going to come out of here with a shocking Game 1 win.
4:17 – It’s time for today’s first episode of Today in NBA Playoff History! Once again, thanks to the sooth-sayers over at Basketball-Reference for keeping this information handy for us.
Let’s go back to April 17th, 1977 and see that the Washington Bullets eliminated the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 104-98 victory for a 2-1 first round series victory. Tom Henderson led the Bullets with 31 points, and Elvin Hayes chipped in with 23. I liked them better when they were called the Bullets.
4:26 – Kyrie Irving kicks off the second half with a three, cutting the Pistons lead to 58-56. He follows that up with a nice crossover and jumper to tie us at 58.
4:27 – Kyrie isn’t finished! He hits another three, and he’s personally put the Cavs ahead, 61-58, with eight straight points! Tobias Harris answers with his own three, and we’re tied back up at 61.
4:28 – Kevin Love grabs an offensive board off an errant JR Smith three. He takes it towards the hoop and banks it home to put Cleveland ahead 63-61.
4:29 – Reggie Jackson ties us right back up with a jumper, and it’s 63-63. It doesn’t last long as LeBron answers with a jumper of his own, giving Cleveland a 65-63 advantage.
4:30 – Andre Drummond tips in a missed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope layup, and we’re tied once again, this time at 65.
4:31 – Reggie Jackson loops a pass to Andre Drummond who slams it down for a 67-65 Pistons lead.
4:32 – We’ve got a time out as this game continues to not disappoint. It’s still Detroit 67, Cleveland 65 with 7:13 to go in the third quarter.
4:35 – Back from the time out, Kevin Love hits a turnaround in the paint, and we’re tied at 67.
4:36 – Kyrie Irving cans a fadeaway, and the Cavs take the lead at 69-67. Soon after, JR Smith hits an off-balance three from the corner, and the Cavs lead extends to 72-67.
4:37 – Andre Drummond gets a bucket in the paint, keeping this one close as the Pistons trail 72-69.
4:38 – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leans into a jumper and knocks it down, and the Pistons are back to within one, trailing 72-71. Tristian Thompson follows it up by slamming home a missed layup from Kyrie Irving, putting the Cavs lead at 74-71, but Stanley Johnson ties us right back up with a three! We’re knotted up at 74.
4:40 – We’ve got a time out with the score Cleveland 74, Detroit 74 with 2:40 left in what’s been a fast paced third quarter. So far, the Pistons have been able to withstand the Cavs here in the third and not fall behind. What an awesome game.
4:44 – Andre Drummond uses his post moves to hit a hook shot in the paint and put the Pistons up 76-74. He’s finally starting to contribute here in the third after a quiet first half.
4:45 – Iman Shumpert pulls up and hits a long two, tying us at 76.
4:46 – The Cavs employ some intentional fouling by hacking horrible free throw shooter Andre Drummond, who is fresh off setting the record for lowest free throw percentage in NBA history with a disgusting 35.5%. He goes 1-2, and the Pistons go up 77-76.
4:48 – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope goes 1-2 from the line, and the Pistons lead inches up to 78-76.
4:49 – A fantastic third quarter comes to an end with the score Detroit 78, Cleveland 76. Andre Drummond came alive for Detroit, and now has a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. The Pistons have made it this far, and taken every punch from the Cavs. Can they hold them off for an impressive win on the road? We’re about to find out, and I think that means it’s time for a beer.
4:53 – Tobias Harris pulls up along the baseline and nails a little jumper, and the Pistons extend their lead to 80-76 to begin the fourth quarter.
4:54 – Reggie Bullock nails a three, and the Cavs need to take a time out! It’s Detroit 83, Cleveland 76 with 11:08 to go in the game and the Cavs are starting to feel the pressure.
4:58 – After a ton of ball movement, Matthew Dellavedova knocks down a long two, and it’s a one possession game again with the Cavs trailing 83-81.
4:59 – LeBron tips in a missed layup from Dellavedova, and we’re tied once again, this time at 83. Now it’s Detroit’s turn to feel some pressure and call a time out.
5:03 – Andre Drummond flips up a hook from around the free throw line and it goes in! Detroit takes an 85-83 lead. I didn’t know Drummond had that kind of range.
5:04 – Matthew Dellavedova goes 1-2 from the line and it cuts Cleveland’s deficit down to 85-84.
5:06 – LeBron hits a couple of free throws, and the Cavs go up 86-85.
5:07 – Richard Jefferson hits a deep two pointer, and the Cavs extend their lead up to 88-85.
5:08 – Reggie Jackson pulls up and knocks down a three! It’s the 21st tie of the game, and it leads to a time out with the score Cleveland 88, Detroit 88 with 6:28 remaining.
5:12 – Kyrie Irving flings a behind the back pass to Kevin Love for a wide open three! It puts the Cavs up 91-88.
5:13 – Andre Drummond inbounds the ball to Reggie Jackson who sneaks along the baseline for a layup, and it’s a one point game with the Pistons down, 91-90.
5:14 – Kevin Love nails a corner three, leading to the first “BANG!” from Mike Breen. That has to be the lamest announcer catch phrase. I’ll take a Marv Albert “YES!” any day. More importantly, Cleveland goes up, 94-90.
5:15 – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope knocks down a pair of free throws, keeping the Pistons close as they trail 94-92.
5:16 – LeBron gets a couple of free throws, and the Cavs go back up four, at 96-92.
5:17 – We have a time out with the score Cleveland 96, Detroit 92 with an even four minutes to go in the game. Still plenty of time for the pesky Pistons to come away with a win, but the Cavs seem to have a lot of the momentum.
5:19 – Reggie Jackson gets hit with a technical foul after he gets right into the refs face after he felt like he didn’t get a call. Kyrie Irving hits the free throw to put the Cavs up 97-92. Terrible time for Jackson to lose his cool like that.
5:22 – Reggie Jackson gets through the paint for a layup, plus he’s fouled! He coaxes in his free throw, and the Pistons are down three at 98-95.
5:23 – Kyrie Irving gets to the hoop with help from a nice crossover, and lays it up and in. it leads to a time out with the score Cleveland 100, Detroit 95 with 2:58 to go.
5:28 – We’ve got a time out with 35.4 seconds on the clock and the score Cleveland 102, Detroit 96. Reggie Jackson’s had a rough end to this game, with the unfortunate technical foul, and a horrible offensive possession in which he was being covered by Kevin Love, and instead of blowing past him, he hung out beyond the three point arc, hesitated on whether or not to shoot, not once, but twice, and then drove baseline and flung up a terrible shot that resulted in a shot clock violation.
5:30 – Coming out of the time out, Jackson gets by LeBron, but misses the layup, and the Pistons are going to have to foul to stop the clock. Looks like the Cavs have this one in the bag.
5:34 – The buzzer sounds and our final score is Cleveland 106, Detroit 101. The Cavs Big Three combined for 80 points to lead the way. Kyrie Irving scored 31, grabbed 5 rebounds and dished out 6 assists. Kevin Love had 28 points and 13 rebounds, while LeBron finished with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 11 assists. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Detroit with 21 points, and Marcus Morris had 20 points and 5 assists. Andre Drummond contributed with 13 points and 11 boards, and Tobias Harris chipped in with 10 rebounds.
The Pistons proved that they could hang with the Cavs, but when it came to finishing the game off in the fourth quarter, Cleveland showed their Playoff experience, and like many a young team, the Pistons fell just short. Reggie Jackson made a couple of suspect decisions that really cost them down the stretch. Hopefully they can learn from this experience as they move forward.
5:39 – We’re live in Miami for Game 1 between the Heat and the Hornets! Even better, this one’s on TNT! Ian Eagle and Brent Barry will be our narrators for the first game in what I think will be one of the better series of the first round.
5:41 – The Heat control the opening tip and we’re underway down in Miami! Luol Deng quickly hits a three to put Miami up 3-0.
5:42 – Cody Zeller goes 1-2 from the line, and the Hornets are on the board, trailing 3-1.
5:52 – We have our first time out with the score Miami 19, Charlotte 11 with 5:43 left in the opening quarter. The Hornets were down 9-1 to start things off, so things could certainly be worse.
5:58 – Another time out with the score Miami 28, Charlotte 15 with 3:13 left in the first quarter. The Heat are really rolling here to start off the game, shooting 66.7% thus far. Hassan Whiteside already has 10 points and hasn’t missed a shot.
6:09 – We’ve reached the end of the first quarter with the score Miami 41, Charlotte 22. The Heat have just been unstoppable, shooting 68.2%, led by a combined 9-9 shooting from Luol Deng and Hassan Whitside. Deng’s scored 14 points, and Whitside has 10 as it already looks like it could be a long evening for the Hornets.
6:13 – Nicolas Batum goes along the baseline for a layup, plus a foul. He hits the free throw, and the first points of the second quarter go to the Hornets, who now trail 41-25.
6:15 – Ian Eagle tells us that the 41 the Heat dropped in the first quarter ties their postseason record for points in a quarter.
6:17 – We’ve got a time out with 8:58 left in the first half and a score of Miami 45, Charlotte 28. Nicolas Batum is the only one who’s been able to score consistently for the Hornets. He’s got 15 points so far. Kemba Walker has seven, and no other Hornet has more than two.
6:25 – Another time out as the Heat continue to dominate. It’s Miami 51, Charlotte 33 with 6:41 to go until halftime. The Hornets have shot 20 free throws already, but they’re shooting so poorly from the field that it hasn’t mattered much.
6:34 – Time for another time out, and the situation hasn’t changed much. It’s Miami 57, Charlotte 41 with 4:43 to go in the first half. Luol Deng still hasn’t missed yet for the Heat.
6:38 – Another great stat from Ian Eagle: the Heat are out-rebounding the Hornets 21-5, not that the Heat have missed many shots for the Hornets to rebound, but damn.
6:41 – We’re going to have another time out with the score Miami 63, Charlotte 44 with 2:58 to go until halftime. Nicolas Batum has gotten himself up to 20 points for the Hornets, already a new Playoff career high, but he’s getting no help from his teammates.
6:48 – We’ve made it to halftime with the score Miami 67, Charlotte 50. Luol Deng finally missed a shot, but he leads the Heat with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Hassan Whiteside has 12 points and 6 rebounds, and Dwyane Wade also has 12. Nicolas Batum is the only Hornet in double figures. He’s got 20 points on 6-9 shooting, but the rest of his team has been scarcely heard from so far. The Heat did blow a 26 point lead in their season finale against the Celtics, so perhaps the Hornets can get back into this one. Otherwise, we’re in for a boring second half.
6:52 – Time for another exciting episode of Today in NBA Playoff History!
You know what, let’s go back to April 17, 1977 again. Our first trip back there saw the Cavs getting eliminated from the Playoffs, and since we shared that during today’s Cavs/Pistons game, we’ll even it out and tell you that the Pistons also got eliminated that day, thanks to a 109-101 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Don’t ask me what the Detroit Pistons were doing in the Western Conference. Bob Lanier and Howard Porter combined for 63 points for the Pistons, but Rick Barry, father of our Heat/Hornets color commentator Brent Barry, scored 35 to lead the Warriors to victory.
7:08 – Luol Deng picks up where he left off and hits a three to get us our first points of the second half, putting the Heat up 70-50.
7:09 – We’ve got a time out as the Heat start the third quarter off with a 7-0 run. The score’s now Miami 74, Charlotte 50 with 9:36 to go in the quarter.
7:10 – It’s dinner time! On the menu tonight: taquitos and rice, courtesy of my girlfriend, who for some reason doesn’t mind that me and Ian are spending a perfectly nice weekend indoors watching basketball for hours on end.
7:14 – Another great Ian Eagle stat: the Heat have 18 assists, while the Hornets have but four. Every time Eagle shares a stat, it’s depressingly in the Heat’s favor. By the way, the quality of announcing has jumped noticeably now that we’re on TNT.
7:22 – Another time out with the score Miami 87, Charlotte 65 with 3:57 left in the third. Luol Deng and Hassan Whiteside continue to be on fire. They’re up to a combined 17-20 from the floor as the Heat continue to run the Hornets off the court.
7:27 – Things continue to go down the drain for the Hornets, and we’ve got a time out with 1:58 in the quarter, and the scoreboard reads Heat 94, Hornets 67. Somewhere, noted Hornets fan Alfie is saying, “Awwww maaaannn!”
7:33 – We’re here at the end of the third quarter, and the score’s Miami 97, Charlotte 74. I still think this could be a great series, the Heat aren’t always going to be this hot from the floor (they’re still shooting 60% for the game!), however, the Hornets are going to have to work on their ball movement going forward. They’re not doing a good job distributing the ball and getting people other than Nicolas Batum involved in the offensive flow. Me and Alfie are not enjoying it.
7:37 – Luol Deng hits a jumper, plus he’s fouled! He’s up to a ridiculous 10-11 from the field. He doesn’t have the same luck from the free throw line, missing his shot. However, he’s got the Heat the first points of the fourth, and they’re up 99-74, with Deng leading the way with 27 points.
7:41 – Amare Stoudamire blocks a shot from Al Jefferson, but it’s called goaltending. That doesn’t stop Stoudamire from unleashing a mighty roar towards the heavens. I’ve never seen anybody that excited to give up two points before!
7:44 – Time for yet another time out with the score Miami 103, Charlotte 82 with 7:37 left in this one. Deng’s up to 31 points on 11-12 shooting.
7:48 – Deng misses a three. What a bum.
7:49 – Another Ian Eagle stat: The Hornets have lost ten straight Playoff games. No need to rub it in, Ian!
7:50 – Time out, again. The score’s Miami 107, Charlotte 84 with 5:39 left until that Hornets Playoff losing streak extends to 11.
7:55 – We got another time out with the score Miami 115, Charlotte 84 with 4:11 left in the game. At this point, it’s time to start looking ahead to tonight’s two remaining games, which in our case means getting some coffee so we can make it to the end of the night.
7:59 – Another Ian Eagle stat! He’s really killing it tonight. This time he shares with us that the Heat have broken their Playoff record for field goals made in a game. They’re up to 46 as they continue a dominating performance.
8:02 – Ian Eagle keeps the stats coming! The Heat have now set a team Playoff record for points in a game with 123!
8:04 – I got so distracted to ESPN’s Kevin Pelton responding to one of our Tweets that I almost missed the end of this game, not that there was much to miss. The final score reads Miami 123, Charlotte 91 in what was a franchise record setting performance for the Heat. They end with 49 field goals, and those 123 points to set their new franchise Playoff marks. The most memorable individual performance came from Luol Deng, who finishes with 31 points and 7 rebounds on 11-13 shooting. Right there with him was Hassan Whitside, who shot 9-11 for 21 points and 11 boards. Goran Dragic chimed in with ten assists. For the Hornets, Nicolas Batum had 24 points, Kemba Walker had 19, and that was it as far as double figure scoring for Charlotte.
That was not the sort of game I expected to see, as I predicted that this would be the most fun series of the First Round in our Interesting Playoff Preview. This one was only fun if you like the Heat, or are a member of the Heat. It’ll be interesting to see how the Hornets rebound in Game 2. As I said before, they’ll need to move the ball around more, as they only had 11 assists as a team.
8:11 – Coming up next, it’s Game 1 between the Spurs and the Grizzlies. Charles Barkley just said this one is going to be, “quick and painless,” and it’s because Memphis is so banged up. They’re missing most of their key players, and rolling out with a squad of players from the scrap heap, whereas the Spurs are, well, the Spurs.
8:13 – We’re live in San Antonio for Game 1 between the Spurs and Grizzlies! The familiar voice of Kevin Harlan can be heard from the television, and he’s joined as always by Reggie Miller.
8:15 – The Spurs win the opening tip, and this one is underway! Let’s see if Charles Barkley is right about it being quick and painless.
8:16 – The Grizzles turn the ball over, and it leads to an easy dunk for Kawhi Leonard for the first points of the ball game, giving the Spurs a 2-0 lead.
8:17 – Vince Carter knocks down a three for the Grizzlies, putting them up 3-2 with their first bucket of the game.
8:24 – We’ve got our first time out of this one, and the score’s San Antonio 10, Memphis 7 with 6:15 to go in the first. Vince Carter has all seven points for the Grizzles so far. Maybe he’ll go for 60 like Kobe.
8:33 – Another time out with the score San Antonio 12, Memphis 11 with 2:41 left in the first quarter. A couple of non-Vince Carter Grizzlies have scored, but as a team, they’re shooting just 4-17. Luckily for them, the Spurs are at 4-16.
8:41 – The first quarter comes to a close with the score San Antonio 22, Memphis 13 after the Spurs end the quarter on a 10-2 run. LaMarcus Aldridge has seven points to lead San Antonio, matching Vince Carter, who still leads the Grizzlies with his seven.
8:47 – JaMychal Green gets a layup for the Grizzlies, giving us the first basket of the second quarter, and drawing the Grizzlies a bit closer, as they’re down 22-15.
8:50 – We got a time out and it’s San Antonio 26, Memphis 22 with 9:03 left until halftime. Vince Carter is singlehandedly keeping the Grizzlies in the game. He’s got 11 points and is the only player in double figures as both teams continue to struggle putting the ball in the basket.
8:54 – A technical foul has been called on Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger! Kawhi Leonard knocks down the free throw, and the Spurs are starting to grow their lead and have it up to 31-22.
8:58 – We’re going to have a time out with the score San Antonio 33, Memphis 28 with 5:35 left in the first half. The Grizzlies are hanging in there, despite turning the ball over frequently here in the second quarter. On the plus side, they’ve dragged their shooting percentage up to 40%, which isn’t great, but it’s good enough to keep them close in this one as the Spurs are down down at 36.4%.
9:06 – Here at another time out, the Grizzlies continue to remain in shouting distance with the score San Antonio 43, Memphis 37. None other than Lance Stephenson is providing a positive contribution for the Grizzlies, with nine points so far.
9:11 – We’ve made it to halftime with the score San Antonio 48, Memphis 37. The Spurs ended the half with a little run to get their lead up to double digits. LaMarcus Aldridge leads the way with 13 points, and Kawhi Leonard is right behind him with 12. Vince Carter leads the Grizzlies with 11. It doesn’t look good for Memphis. They just don’t have enough offense, which is too bad, because they’ve been doing a good job making the game a slow, gritty affair.
9:15 – Time for another insightful episode of Today in NBA Playoff History!
The Spurs might be winning this game, but back on April 17th, 1981, they lost Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals, 105-100, to their Texas rivals, the Houston Rockets. 5’9″ Calvin Murphy led the Rockets with 42 points to close out the series.
9:31 – LaMarcus Aldridge hits a fallaway over Zach Randolph, and it’s our first points of the second half as the Spurs extend their lead up to 50-37.
9:32 – Vince Carter cans a three, and we’ve got a time out with the score San Antonio 53, Memphis 40 with 9:34 left in the third. It’s the Grizzlies first basket of second half, and their inability to score is really starting to catch up with them.
9:38 – The Spurs are up to their biggest lead of the night with the score San Antonio 61, Memphis 45 with 7:31 to go in the quarter. Not even a vintage Vince Carter (16 points, 6-7 shooting) performance can help the Grizzlies.
9:54 – We’re here at the end of the third quarter with the score San Antonio 81, Memphis 51. Charles Barkley said this was going to be quick and painless, but I think we’re all feeling the pain after sitting through that third quarter in which the Spurs outscored the Grizzles, 33-14.
9:59 – JaMychal Green hits a lone free throw to get us our first point of the fourth quarter. It shaves a point off the Spurs lead to get it down to 81-52.
10:03 – We’re here at another time out and the Spurs lead just keeps expanding. We’re up to San Antonio 89, Memphis 56 with 8:15 left in the game. Boban Marjanovic just entered the game for the Spurs, signifying their insurmountable lead and providing a much needed reason to keep watching this game.
10:09 – Another time out. Our score’s San Antonio 94, Memphis 59 with 5:56 to go. This seems like a good time to look up the Grizzlies record for lowest score in a Playoff game. It’s 70, which happened in 2004, against these very San Antonio Spurs.
10:17 – We have what’s hopefully one last time out squeezed into this one. It’s San Antonio 103, Memphis 71 with 1:35 to go. On the plus side, at least the Grizzlies have avoided setting a new record for fewest points in a Playoffs game.
10:22 – We’ve made to the end of this one, and our final score’s San Antonio 106, Memphis 74 after our second consecutive dominant performance from the home team. Kawhi Leonard led the attack with 20 points, 4 steals and 3 blocks. Tim Duncan chipped in with 7 points and 11 rebounds in a game where no Spur played 30 minutes. “I love the Spurs, I really do,” remarks Ian, “they’re just so fucking awesome.” That just about sums it up right there. Vince Carter led the Grizzlies with 16 points in 19 minutes. Let’s face it, the Grizzlies have absolutely no chance in this series, and it’s a damn shame, because when they’re healthy, they’re one of my favorite teams. Unfortunately, they’re a shell of the Grizzlies we’ve come to know and love.
10:26 – Three down, one to go! Coming up next, it’s the Clippers taking on the Blazers in what most people think is the only Western Conference First Round series that has a chance to be even remotely competitive! After our last two games, it would be nice if these guys could end the night with some excitement.
10:32 – In the TNT studio, Ernie Johnson tells us that the top three seeds in the West (Warriors, Spurs and Thunder) have won their three games by a combined 96 points. That’s unreasonable. Please help us, Clippers and Blazers!
10:38 – Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith bickering on the NBA on TNT is always awesome. Chuck’s annoyed that Kenny’s hogging all the air time by talking too much.
10:39 – We’re live in Los Angeles for the final game of the night, Game 1 between the Clippers and Trail Blazers! Marv Albert and none other than Celtics legend Kevin McHale will be narrating the action for us! Yesterday, I said that Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson would be the last three people I wanted to have show up at my apartment, let alone be on my TV. Marv and McHale, on the other hand, are welcome to come watch the Playoffs with me whenever they want. It’s easily the best announcing combo we’ve seen so far.
10:41 – The Clippers win the opening tip, and we’re underway out in LA!
10:42 – For his first free throw of the series, DeAndre Jordan somehow misses the entire hoop and backboard, sending it sailing out of bounds. He misses the second one too, but Blake Griffin is their to tip it in for our first bucket of the ball game. Maurice Harkless follows it up with a dunk for the Blazers, and we’re tied at two.
10:50 – We’re off to a good start down at the Staples Center! It’s Los Angeles 12, Portland 12 with 6:07 to go in the first quarter. Blake Griffin’s printed his first poster of the Playoffs by throwing down a dunk on Mason Plumlee, and is looking pretty damn aggressive to start this one off.
11:00 – 6’10” Noah Vonleh just somehow lost a jump ball to Chris Paul. In other news, the Clippers are on an 8-0 run, and we’ve got a time out with the score Los Angeles 22, Portland 14 with 2:27 remaining in the first quarter. Blake Griffin’s up to 10 points for the Clips.
11:06 – “This guy’s got great hair.” – Ian on the Blazers Allan Crabbe.
11:07 – Here’s our first intentional foul on lousy free throw shooter DeAndre Jordan. Apparently the Blazers plan on using a lot in this series. This time, he goes 2-2, and the Clippers lead is 26-21.
11:08 – The Clippers retaliate as they intentionally foul Blazers lousy free throw shooter, Ed Davis. After he misses the first free throw, DeAndre heads to the bench to finish the quarter. Davis misses both free throws, but the Blazers get the offensive rebound…and fail to score.
11:09 – At the end of the first quarter, it’s Los Angeles 26, Portland 21. The Blazers are hanging in there despite some earlier turnover problems. I’ve got a good feeling about this game.
11:13 – CJ McCollum knocks down a jumper to give us our first hoop of the second quarter. It makes it a one possession game with the Blazers behind, 26-23.
11:15 – Jeff Green looks poised for a classic Disappointing Jeff Green Game.
11:18 – We’ve got a time out with the score Los Angeles 32, Portland 28 with 9:11 to go in the first half. As for Jeff Green, he lasted six minutes before he picked up three fouls, and will likely spend the rest of the half on the bench. In those six minutes, he racked up zero points, zero rebounds, zero assists, zero steals, zero blocks and shot 0-2. On the plus side, he also had zero turnovers.
11:21 – So far this weekend, we’ve had four games where the winning team won by over 25 points, the most in the First Round since 1984. “I’m pretty sure my Celtics team was one of the teams with those blowouts,” says Kevin McHale.
11:24 – I hate to point this out, because I love McHale, but out of curiosity, I looked up the Celtics 1984 First Round series, and while they won 3-1, none of their wins were by 25 points, or by double digits for that matter! Looks like they got a good effort from the Washington Bullets.
11:25 – Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles, it’s Clippers 35, Trail Blazers 35 with 6:48 to go until halftime. I think we’re all happy to see a close game. Let’s hope it stays that way.
11:34 – Another time out, and we’re still tied! It’s Los Angeles 40, Portland 40 with 3:30 left in the second quarter. Not only has this game remained close, I’m also pleased to report that it’s starting to get a little chippy out there. It’s like a real live NBA Playoffs game!
11:45 – The first half comes to a close with the Clippers on an 11-2 run to put some space between themselves and the Trail Blazers. Our score: Los Angeles 50, Portland 42. Chris Paul has 14 points and 5 assists, and Blake Griffin’s got 13 and 8 rebounds. Damian Lilliard leads the Blazers with 13 points and 5 assists, and Al-Farouq Aminu has ten rebounds. The intensity level is starting to rise in this one, so hopefully the Blazers can come out strong in the third and keep this a close one.
11:49 – It’s time for one last episode of Today in NBA Playoff History!
Let’s go back to April 17, 1977 again. In the third First Round series to come to an end that day, the Portland Trail Blazers dispatched the Chicago Bulls with a 106-98 victory. For some reason, both the Bulls and the Pistons were in the Western Conference back then. Anyway, Bob Gross led the Blazers with 26 points as they fended off a 34 point performance from Chicago’s Mickey Johnson. Maybe the Blazers can tap into the spirit of Bob Gross in the second half.
12:03 am – Maurice Harkless gets a basket in the paint, and the Blazers score first in the third and cut their deficit down to 50-44.
12:08 – Portland needs a time out as the second half has not been kind to them so far. It’s Clippers 61, Blazers 48 with 8:40 left in the third as Los Angeles has gotten themselves into a nice groove.
12:17 – We’re at another time out with the score Los Angeles 69, Portland 58 with 4:44 to go in the quarter. The Blazers are trying to stay within shouting distance, but the Clippers seem to have a pretty good handle on things. Somewhere, Bob Gross is disappointed.
12:27 – We’ve got another time out as things are starting to unravel for the Blazers. It’s Los Angeles 78, Portland 60 with 1:54 left in the third quarter. Ed Davis just threw a pass out of bounds, and the Trail Blazers are just having a tough time here in the third quarter.
12:33 – Here at the end of the third quarter, it’s Los Angeles 81, Portland 66. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and JJ Redick are all having great games for the Clips, and that’s always going to make them hard to beat.
12:38 – Jeff Green takes it to the hoop, and his layup attempt is blocked, but it’s called goaltending, giving us our first points of the fourth quarter, as the Clippers get their lead up to 83-66.
12:42 – The Blazers take a time out after coach’s son Austin Rivers hits a floater as the Clippers are on a 14-2 run. What once looked like a hard fought game has turned into another blowout with the score Los Angeles 89, Portland 71 with 9:07 remaining. Will this game join the 25 point blowout club?
12:48 – Another time out with the score Los Angeles 94, Portland 77 with 6:39 left in the game. The Blazers inserted veteran, and former Clipper, Chris Kaman into the game. It’s not nearly as exciting as the Boban Majanovich Experience from the Spurs game.
12:56 – Down 98-79, the Blazers decide to intentionally foul DeAndre Jordan, and the Clippers don’t seem happy about it. Jordan misses two free throws, and the Blazers will try and cut into this lead over the last five minutes of the game.
1:07 – As the intentional fouls continue, Marv asks McHale if he remembers the most free throws he’s ever taken in a game. I’m going to look it up to pass the time between trips to the foul line because McHale doesn’t know off the top of his head…
1:08 – We’ve got a time out with 2:55 left in the game and the score Clippers 105, Trail Blazers 85. The intentional fouling has really slowed down the pace of this game. DeAndre Jordan’s up to 18 free throw attempts, and Ian has fallen asleep.
1:10 – …and Kevin McHale’s career high for free throw attempts in a game is 19! It happened back on Christmas in 1985 in a 113-104 Double Overtime loss to the Knicks.
1:16 – This one finally comes to an end with the score Los Angeles 115, Portland 95. It wasn’t another 25 point game, but with all of those intentional fouls, it was somehow even more demoralizing. I actually don’t mind the intentional fouling, but doing it when you’re down by 20 with five minutes to go in the game is definitely overdoing it. Ernie Johnson starts off the postgame show by telling us that the combined margin of victory for the West’s top four seeds this weekend is 116, and the largest deficit any of them faced was one point. Holy hell.
Back to the Clippers/Blazers game. Chris Paul set the tone for the Clips, leading the way with 28 points, 6 rebounds and 11 assists. Blake Griffin had a strong game, scoring 19 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and distributing 6 assists. DeAndre Jordan finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks and shot 8-18 from the free throw line. Damian Lillard led Portland with 21 points and 8 assists, while Al-Farouq Aminu chipped in with 10 points and 12 rebounds, but they just never recovered after the Clippers put a little distance between them just before halftime. The best thing about this game ended up being the announcing of Marv Albert and Kevin McHale. Here’s hoping they become a regular duo on TNT throughout the Playoffs.
We did it everybody! The first weekend of the NBA Playoffs is over, and while we saw a lot of blowouts, we still had a lot of fun. At least I did. I suppose I shouldn’t speak for everybody like that. It’ll be interesting to see the adjustments made after all of the Game 1s, and we’ll start to see them Monday night in what will hopefully be some more competitive games.