NBA Playoffs – Day 3

A furious finish in OKC, a Steph-less night at The Oracle.

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After a fun filled weekend filled with lopsided basketball, it’s time to move on as teams look to keep their momentum going, or bounce back from defeat after our opening games. Tonight, we’ve got three Game 2s, one of which I won’t be able to see because I don’t have NBA TV. Every year, some unlucky First Round series gets banished there, and this year, it’s the Raptors and the Pacers. Toronto will be trying to even the series after a dispiriting Game 1 loss on their home floor.

As for the games I will get to see, Game 2 between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks will be leading us off. The Thunder kicked off that series with a resounding 108-70 victory in Game 1, and it seems like they’re just too talented for the Mavericks to handle. One silver lining for the Mavs is they’ve got a great coach, so you have to think tonight’s game will at least be more competitive, although things are looking grim as far as the Mavs overcoming the Thunder’s onslaught.

In our second game, the Golden State Warriors host the Houston Rockets in Game 2 of that series. All eyes are on Steph Curry, as we’re all waiting to hear if he’s going to play after tweaking his ankle in Game 1. The Warriors didn’t really need him, as they ran the Rockets off the floor with a 104-78 ass-kicking. Regardless of whether or not he plays, I’m hoping that TNT assigns Marv Albert and Kevin McHale to announce the game because McHale was the coach of the Rockets until they fired him early this season, and I think he might enjoy seeing them get destroyed by the Warriors.

7:57 pm – It’s almost time for basketball! But first! Let’s check the live box score for Game 2 between Toronto and Indiana…with 5:47 left in the first half, it’s Raptors 40, Pacers 27. That should quell some of the panic that’s going on in Toronto after that Game 1 loss.

8:00 – We’re live on TNT for tonight’s Playoff action! Ernie Johnson welcomes us into Studio J down in Atlanta to begin the night.

8:02 – “Can we get a good game,” pleads Charles Barkley after a weekend full of blowouts. Ernie Johnson scolds him for whining.

8:09 – We’re live in Oklahoma City for Game 2 between the Thunder and the Mavericks! Our narrators for this one are Brian Anderson and Steve Smith.

8:11 – The Thunder control the opening tip and another evening of Playoff basketball is underway!

8:12 – Unfortunately for the Mavs, JJ Barea and David Lee are out tonight, and Deron Williams is playing with a sports hernia. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook hits a free throw, and the Thunder score first to take a 1-0 lead.

8:13 – Dirk Nowitzki gets a layup, and the Mavs take an early lead at 2-1.

8:14 – The Thunder are sadly wearing their white, sleeved jerseys, so it looks less like they’re playing basketball and more like they’re in their pajamas and ready for bed.

8:16 – Oh dear, Dirk Nowitzki just committed his second foul, and he’s off to the bench. He’s the only Maverick who scored in double figures in Game 1. Dallas is going to have to hope someone else steps up, or we’ll be in for another blowout.

8:18 – We’ve got our first time out, and Dallas is off to a good start! It’s Mavericks 15, Thunder 7 with 7:01 left in the first quarter. None other than Deron Williams is off to a hot start with 11 points on 4-4 shooting already, sports hernia be damned.

8:25 – The Mavericks take a time out, and they’ve still got the lead. It’s Dallas 18, Oklahoma City 14 with 4:11 left in the first quarter. Meanwhile, at halftime, it’s Toronto 53, Indiana 48. Jonas Valanciunas has 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Raps.

8:35 – Technical foul on Rick Carlisle…for some reason. The Thunder were just upset about a call against them, but somehow it was the Mavericks coach that ends up getting the technical. Kevin Durant hits the free throw, and the Thunder trail 22-20 as we approach the end of the first quarter.

8:37 – We’re here at the end of the first quarter with the score Dallas 24, Oklahoma City 20. Deron Williams still leads the Mavs with 11 points, and they’ve done a good job getting a lead and holding onto it. The Thunder are struggling, shooting just 33.3%, but you have to think they’ll heat up at some point, and it will be interesting to see if the undermanned Mavs can keep their lead.

8:41 – Dirk Nowitzki hits a shot from the baseline, and Dallas strikes first in the second quarter to extend their lead to 26-20.

8:44 – Deron Williams is really hobbling out there, but he’s still finding a way to contribute. Meanwhile, a Justin Anderson dunk leads us to a time out with the score Dallas 28, Oklahoma City 23. Kevin Durant is struggling early for the Thunder, shooting just 3-11 and his frustration seems to be rising.

8:53 – Anthony Morrow nails a three to tie the game, and the Mavs call a time out with the score Oklahoma City 32, Dallas 32 with 6:48 left until halftime. Dallas is really scrappin’ but they haven’t been able to maintain the distance between themselves and the Thunder.

9:02 – Meanwhile, on NBA TV, they’ve made to the end of the third quarter up in Toronto with the score Raptors 72, Pacers 65.

9:03 – Russell Westbrook cans a three, and we’ve got a time out with 1:59 to go until halftime and a score of Oklahoma City 43, Dallas 40. The Mavs need to keep the Thunder from finishing the first half on a big run, or else they could see this game slip away.

9:11 – We’re here at halftime with the score Dallas 45, Oklahoma City 43. Deron Williams has 11 points and 5 assists for the Mavs, and Raymond Felton has also scored 11. Dirk Nowitzki has ten. Russell Westbrook scored 13 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, and Kevin Durant’s got 10 points and 7 boards, but he shot just 4-14 from the field. The Mavs did a great job standing tall at the end of the half, and they head into halftime with a slight lead. The whole team is giving it their all, and so far, it’s been just enough to hold off the Thunder, but will it continue into the second half?

9:16 – It’s time for our first episode Today in NBA History! As always, thanks to the gang over at Basketball-Reference for housing all of the basketball knowledge.

Back on April 18, 1962, the Celtics won their fifth championship with a 110-107 overtime victory in Game 7 of the Finals! Elgin Baylor and Jerry West combined for 76 points to lead the Lakers, but Bill Russell scored 30 points and grabbed 40 rebounds in what must have been a very intense game. Get the producers of Hardwood Classics on NBA TV on the phone, because this game needs to be available for all to see.

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9:24 – Charles Barkley seems adamant that Steph Curry will play in our second game tonight. The tweets I’m seeing from the reporters out in Golden State seem less hopeful. Stay tuned.

9:30 – Serge Ibaka hits a jumper to start off the second half scoring. It ties us up at 45.

9:32 – Russell Westbrook hits a jumper to put the Thunder ahead, 47-45. Then, the Thunder get a steal and Andre Roberson takes it all the way for a dunk, but Dirk Nowitzki answers with a three, and the Thunder lead 49-48.

9:33 – Kevin Durant hits three free throws to put the Thunder up 52-48. After hitting the second one, some of the players didn’t realize he had another one coming and took off down the court.

9:34 – BREAKING NEWS OUT OF OAKLAND! Steph Curry will not be suiting up for the Warriors tonight. That’s too bad, although I still think the Rockets will find a way to lose by double digits.

9:37 – We have a time out after Russell Westbrook takes it coast-to-coast at full speed for a layup. It’s Oklahoma City 54, Dallas 48 with 7:24 left in the third quarter as the Thunder have begun the second half on an 11-3 run.

9:42 – We’ve got a time out as the Thunder now have their largest lead of the night. It’s Oklahoma City 58, Dallas 50 with 5:43 left in the third. Meanwhile, we have a final score from Toronto: Raptors 98, Pacers 87. Jonas Valanciunas had 23 points and 15 rebounds for the Raptors, while Paul Geroge had 28 to lead the Pacers. With the series now tied at one, that sound you hear is the collective sigh of relief from our Canadian friends.

9:47 – Raymond Felton, who seems to also be playing injured, tracks down a rebound and takes it coast-to-coast for a layup, and a foul! He knocks down the free throw, and it’s a two point game as we have a time out. It’s Thunder 58, Mavericks 56 with 3:53 left in the third.

9:51 – Russell Westbrook gets a steal, then dumps the ball to Anthony Morrow for a layup, and the Thunder lead 60-56.

9:54 – Salah Mejri tips in a missed Raymond Felton shot, but Enes Kanter matches him by tipping in a missed three from Anthony Morrow, and the Thunder maintain a four point lead at 62-58.

9:56 – Salah Mejri goes 1-2 from the line, cutting the Thunder lead to three at 62-59.

9:58 – We’re here at the end of the third quarter with the score still Oklahoma City 62, Dallas 59. Kevin Durant is really struggling, shooting just 5-23 through the first three quarters. That, along with the Mavericks gutsy effort, has given Dallas a chance to steal this game as we head into the final quarter.

10:02 – Justin Anderson goes down the baseline and unleashes an awesome behind the back pass to Salah Mejri for an easy layup for the first hoop of the fourth, and Dallas is within one, trailing 62-61.

10:03 – Anthony Morrow knocks down two free throws, and the Thunder are back up three at 64-61.

10:04 – Devin Harris, another one of the Mavs walking wounded, drives baseline for a layup, making it a one point game again with Dallas behind 64-63. After a Thunder turnover, Harris goes in for a layup, misses, but Salah Mejri is there to slam home this miss and put Dallas ahead, 65-64!

10:05 – Mejri blocks a Kevin Durant shot, but Enes Kanter is there to tip it in. That’s followed by a jumper from Dirk Nowitzki, and a layup from Dion Waiters, and these two teams are in a tug-of-war that leads to a time out with 9:10 remaining and the scoreboard reading Oklahoma City 68, Dallas 67. Brian Anderson tells us that Kevin Durant has now missed 20 shots in the game, the most he’s ever missed in a Playoff game.

10:10 – Devin Harris hits a pair of free throws and the Mavs go up 69-68.

10:11 – Dion Waiters gets a layup, plus he’s fouled! He knocks down his free throw, and the Thunder regain the lead at 71-69.

10:12 – Dallas turns the ball over, and Kevin Durant finishes off the ensuing fast break with an angry dunk! That might be just what he needs to get going. It gives the Thunder a 73-69 lead.

10:13 – Serge Ibaka hits a three, sending the home crowd into pandemonium! Dallas calls a time out with the score Thunder 76, Mavericks 69 with 6:43 left in the game and OKC on an 8-0 run. Do the Mavs have anything left in the tank after a valiant effort, or is this going to be the end of the line?

10:17 – The Mavs aren’t going away! Nowitzki makes a nice pass to Salah Mejri for a dunk, and it leads to a Thunder time out with the score Oklahoma City 78, Dallas 75 with 5:24 left in the game!

10:21 – Raymond Felton hits a long two, and we’re back to a one point game with the Mavs down 78-77!

10:22 – Felton pulls up and hits another jumper! The Mavericks are on a 10-2 run, and they have the lead back at 79-78!

10:23 – Salah Mejri gets hit with a three second violation. Now is not the time, Salah! Kevin Durant hits the free throw, tying us at 79.

10:24 – Steven Adams gets an offensive rebound and puts the ball in the hoop, putting the Thunder back on top, 81-79. On the other end of the court, Raymond Felton goes for a floater, but Adams blocks it into the stands!

10:26 – Wes Matthews gets a steal, and it leads to a layup from Devin Harris, tying us up at 81 as we head under two minutes remaining in what’s turned out to be a great game!

10:27 – We’ve got a time out with 56.7 seconds remaining and a score of Oklahoma City 81, Dallas 81. I’m glad the Basketball Gods were listening when Charles Barkley was pleading for a good game at the start of the night.

10:30 – Raymond Felton takes it to the hoop for a layup! OKC calls a time out with 28.7 seconds on the clock and the score Mavericks 83, Thunder 81! This is easily the best game I’ve ever seen Felton play. He’s got 21 points and 11 rebounds!

10:32 – Kevin Durant drives towards the paint, but the ball goes out of bounds, but did it go off of Durant, or Salah Mejri? The refs are reviewing and we’ve got a big call coming up. Looks to me like it may have grazed Mejri on the way out of bounds, but it’s a close one for sure.

10:33 – It was indeed off Mejri, and the Thunder have the ball with 26.5 seconds on the game clock, and 21 on the shot clock. Kevin Durant misses a shot, but Steven Adams gets the rebound, and gets back out to Durant for three….and he misses! In the scramble for the rebound, Wesley Matthews tracks down the ball and takes it coast-to-coast for a layup!! It’s Dallas 85, Oklahoma City 81 with 14.4 seconds left in the game! Durant’s now shooting 6-31 in the game, and 1-10 from downtown.

10:35 – Durant hits a three! Dallas calls a time out with 9.5 seconds left and the score Mavericks 85, Thunder 84. Even on his worst shooting night, Durant can still be a killer.

10:37 – The Mavs inbound the ball to Raymond Felton, who is fouled. The Thunder had a foul to give, so the Mavs will inbound again with 7.5 seconds to go. They once again get it to Felton, and he’s immediately fouled to send him to the foul line with 7.1 on the clock. Both teams are out of time outs.

10:38 – Felton misses the first free throw! He misses the second one too! The Thunder zoom down the court, Durant and Westbrook miss a couple of shots at the rim, but Steven Adams gets one last tip, and it goes in at the buzzer!! The refs will review….and they wave it off!!! The Mavs escape with the 85-84 victory! What a finish!

Wow. Once again, our final score from OKC: Mavericks 85, Thunder 84. Dallas was outmanned and outgunned and several of the men and guns they did have were injured, but they won a big game on the road to tie this series. Raymond Felton had the game of his career, with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and a lot of big buckets down the stretch. He also missed those two free throws, but his team survived a wild finish. Kevin Durant had 21 points and 9 rebounds, but shot just 7-33 from the field. Russell Westbrook filled up the box score with 19 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists, but it wasn’t enough as that Steven Adams tip in was just a tiny bit too late.

That was the sort of game we’ve been longing for after a weekend that was filled with big blowouts. Now it feels like we’re in the Playoffs.

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10:45 – There’s no time to digest the fantastic game we just saw because we’re live in Oakland for Game 2 between the Thunder and the Rockets! They’ll have a tough act to follow after that first game, but we’re off to a good start with Marv Albert and his old partner Mike Fratello narrating the action for us. As awesome as it would have been to have Kevin McHale team up with Marv again, Mike Fratello is always welcome on my television.

10:46 – The Rockets win the opening tip, and we’re underway! Once again, the Warriors are without Steph Curry in this one. The Warriors offense is actually kind of bad when Curry’s not on the floor, which might be a problem if they were up against a more worthy foe. Donatas Montiejuanas hits a lefty hook shot for our first points of the game, giving Houston a 2-0 lead. Hopefully he doesn’t do much else in this one, because it’s not fun trying to spell and type his name.

10:47 – Klay Thompson knocks down a three for the Warriors first bucket, and they trail 4-3.

10:52 – We’ve got our first time out as the Warriors are on an 8-0 run and with 7:14 left in the opening quarter, it’s Golden State 11, Houston 6. All five of the Warriors starters are already on the board, with each of them contributing one bucket apiece.

11:02 – We’ve got another time out with the score Golden State 23, Houston 15 with 3:30 left in the first quarter. Obviously, the Warriors aren’t their usual selves without Steph on the floor, but so far, the Rockets have done nothing to make me think that they can provide any kind of threat in this one.

11:11 – With the end of the first quarter approaching, the Rockets employ some intentional fouling by sending lousy free throw shooter Festus Ezeli to the line. He goes ahead and knocks down both of his free throws, and the Warriors lead, 33-27.

11:12 – We’ve reached the end of the first quarter and the score’s Golden State 33, Houston 30. The Rockets have heated up from behind the arc, with Josh Smith putting in three three pointers. I’m still not convinced that the Rockets can win.

11:16 – Leandro Barbossa goes baseline for a layup, and it’s the first points of the second quarter, extending the Warriors lead to 35-30.

11:23 – Time for a time out with the score Golden State 46, Houston 42 with 8:22 to go until halftime. The Rockets are doing a decent job hanging in there on the strength of their 6-9 three point shooting.

11:31 – After James Harden picks up his third foul, he heads to the bench with 6:02 left in the first half. Can the Rockets continue to keep this one close with him out of the game?

11:38 – That didn’t last long. Harden is back in the game with the Rockets trailing 55-49.

11:39 – Now we’ve got a time out as the Warriors are on a 7-0 run to make the score Golden State 58, Houston 49 with 3:51 to go until halftime.

11:42 – Another time out with the score Golden State 58, Houston 51 with 2:46 left in the first half. Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala are doing their best to make up for Steph Curry’s absence. They’ve combined to shoot 7-12 from downtown so far.

11:48 – More intentional fouls as we near halftime with the Rockets sending lousy free throw shooter Andrew Bogut to the line. Bogut misses both free throws, and the Rockets will look to cut into the Warriors 64-53 lead.

11:54 – We’ve made it to halftime with the score Golden State 66, Houston 58. Klay Thompson has 20 points to lead the Warriors, and Andre Iguodala has 14 off the bench, as they continue to step up in Steph’s absence. James Harden has 16 points and 5 assists to lead the Rockets, and although he’s only shooting 2-9 from the field, he’s already 12-13 from the free throw line. Houston’s been lurking in striking distance, but they haven’t been able to put together a run to take the lead.

11:59 – “It’s not fun to watch the Rockets play, Ernie.” – Charles Barkley.

12:00 am – How about a midnight edition of Today in NBA History!

Even though it’s now April 19th here on the East Coast, we’re going to stick with the 18th, and take us back to 1967 when Rick Barry led the San Francisco Warriors to a 130-124 victory in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Barry dropped 55 points on Wilt Chamberlain and the Philadelphia 76ers as the Warriors got their first win of the series.

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12:11 – It’s been a rough halftime show for the Rockets. Not only did Charles Barkley say that they’re no fun to watch, Shaq said, “The problem with James Harden is that he has no leadership skills.” It’s stuff like this that has made me confident in saying that they’re not going to win, despite the fact they’ve been keeping this one close.

12:15 – Andrew Bogut tips in a Draymond Green miss and the Warriors get the first points of the second half, and their lead is up to ten at 68-58.

12:16 – Now Marv and Mike Fratello are talking about Dwight Howard, and how he’s been fairly invisible in this game. Howard’s got 6 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists so far, and he just picked up his third foul.

12:18 – Dwight Howard grabs an offensive rebound and instead of trying to get a basket, he throws the ball back out towards the perimeter. It goes sailing past everybody, and James Harden has to track it down in the other end of the court for a backcourt violation. The Houston Rockets, everybody!

12:22 – The Warriors take a time out with the score Golden State 71, Houston 64 with 7:21 left in the third quarter. It’s impressive that the Rockets aren’t down by double-digits, as it’s starting to look like they’re don’t really know what they’re doing, and are unwilling to try and figure it out.

12:30 – We’ve got a time out with the score Golden State 79, Houston 73, with 3:38 left in the third. If any other team were within six points of the Warriors right now, it’d be an exciting game, but somehow, the Rockets make even a close Playoff game feel like you’re sitting in a waiting room.

12:34 – Jason Terry rattles home a three, and it’s suddenly a one possession game that requires my full attention. Damn it. The Rockets trail 79-76.

12:35 – Draymond Green takes it to the hoop and banks home a lefty runner, putting the Warriors up 81-76.

12:38 – The third quarter comes to an end with the score Golden State 86, Houston 79. Every time the Rockets cut the deficit down to around one possession, the Warriors score a couple of baskets to get the lead back up to around seven or so. Despite this being a pretty close game, nobody seems excited, and the Rockets aren’t playing with much of a sense of urgency either. It’s been a strange one.

12:43 – Andre Iguodala finds Leandro Barbossa for a layup, and the Warriors score first in the fourth and lead 88-79.

12:46 – We have a time out in between a couple of Jason Terry free throws. He hit the first one, giving us a score of Golden State 88, Houston 84 with 9:51 left in the game.

12:49 – Terry hits the second free throw, and it’s a three point game again, with the Rockets trailing 88-85.

12:50 – Shawn Livingston pulls up for a jumper, and the Warriors extend their lead to 90-85.

12:56 – Rockets coach JB Bickerstaff gets called for a technical foul as the Warriors are starting to pull away. He just wouldn’t stop complaining about a call and finally got hit with the T. Klay Thompson hits the free throw, and Golden State leads 95-86 as things are starting to return to normal over at The Oracle.

12:57 – We’ve got a time out with the score Golden State 99, Houston 86 with 6:56 remaining. Now this is more like it!

12:59 – Sonic commercials are the worst.

1:05 – Much to the delight of everyone, Dwight Howard has fouled out of the ball game. “He had that one good stretch in the third quarter, but at times, we forget he was on the court,” says Marv Albert. Damn! Howard finishes with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Draymond Green hits his free throws, and the Warriors go up 105-90.

1:09 – The Rockets take a time out as the Warriors are up to their biggest lead of the night. It’s Golden State 110, Houston 94 with 2:42 left in the game. If the Rockets have one redeeming quality, it’s that they’re at least fun to hate.

1:19 – We’ve reached the end of the ball game out in Oakland! Our final score: Golden State 115, Houston 106. Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 34 points, which ties his career Playoff high, and 5 assists. As usual, Draymond Green filled up the box score with 12 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists. Filling in for Steph Curry, Shawn Livingston finished with 16 points on 6 assists on 7-9 shooting. James Harden “led” the Rockets with 28 points and 11 assists, and Dwight Howard scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. The Rockets were just awful all game long. They played without passion, and even when this game was close, it was impossible to take them seriously. Thankfully, there’s a good chance that we’ll only have to deal with them two more times.

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Despite the Rockets best efforts, it was still a good night of basketball. The Raptors and Mavericks evened their series, and we had our first game that went right down to the final buzzer. Hopefully Steph Curry can come back soon, although if the Warriors decided to keep him out for the rest of this series, they’d still probably sweep.

Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

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