NBA Playoffs – Day 4

Ughhhhhhhhh.

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I’m already upset. My favorite team, the Celtics, go into tonight’s action missing not only Avery Bradley, who injured his hamstring in Game 1, but Kelly Olynyk, who is bothered by a sore shoulder that kept him out of action for a stretch during the regular season. Already down 1-0 to the Hawks, they head into Game 2 undermanned. Last night, we saw the Dallas Mavericks eke out a victory in similarly dire circumstances, so tonight, I’m hoping the Celtics can do the same. Who will step up for them? Will it matter? These are the reasons we watch the Playoffs.

After the Celtics and Hawks square off, we’ll see Game 2 between the Spurs and Grizzlies. What Memphis has gone through with injuries makes what the Celtics are dealing with look like a walk in the park. They suffered through a horrible ass-whooping in Game 1, losing 106-74. Both the Mavs, and even the Rockets, to a lesser extent, rebounded from similar Game 1 losses last night and made their Game 2s much more competitive, with the Mavs stealing a win. Can the Grizzlies come up with a similar effort, and will I be in the mood to care after the Celtics game?

7:00 – Now that this rerun of Castle is over, it’s Playoff time on TNT!

7:02 – Starting for Avery Bradley tonight will be Marcus Smart. He can match Bradley’s defense, but on the offensive end, he can really struggle. If you ever want your day ruined, look up his field goal percentages.

7:05 – Julius Erving sighting! He’s in attendance for Game 2 between the Hawks and Celtics.

7:09 – We’re live in Atlanta for Game 2! Our narrators: Ian Eagle and Brent Barry. The Celtics are wearing their normal road jerseys, instead of their black trimmed alternates from Game 1. As it turns out, the Celtics have never won a Playoff game wearing those black trims, so let’s hope the traditional green and whites bring them what they need here in Game 2.

7:11 – The Hawks win the opening tip, and we’re underway down in Atlanta! Jeff Teague gets our first basket of the night with a three pointer to put the Hawks up, 3-0.

7:12 – Jared Sullinger gets a jumper for the Celtics, scoring their first basket. They trail early, 6-2.

7:13 – Oh, holy hell, it looks like Marcus Smart just got hurt after taking a knee to the ribs while defending a Kent Bazemore layup. Sparsely used rookie RJ Hunter comes into the game to replace him.

7:14 – The Celtics call a time out with the score Atlanta 11, Boston 2 with 9:56 remaining in the first quarter. I’m already receiving texts from my friends about this terrible start.

7:17 – Marcus Smart is back, thank god. The Celtics immediately turn the ball over.

7:22 – We have another time out with the score Falcons 21, Patriots 3 with 6:13 left in the first quarter. Oh, sorry, I meant Hawks 21, Celtics 3. Boston’s shooting 1-9 from the field, I’m still receiving texts, from such diverse people as a coworker, and my girlfriend’s dad. At this rate, by the third quarter, someone is going to call the police to do a wellbeing check on me.

7:29 – We have another time out with 2:12 remaining in my amount of patience the first quarter. The score’s Atlanta 24, Boston 7. The Celtics are 3-20 from the floor, and even the open shots aren’t falling. I’m looking forward to the inevitable furious second half comeback that falls just short.

7:31 – Wait a minute! Maybe this is all my fault! I forgot that the game is on CSNNE, and put it on TNT instead. Maybe switching over to Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine on the local telecast will help out the Celtics…

7:35 – We’re here at the end of the first quarter, and the score is remarkably still Atlanta 24, Boston 7, so while the switch over to CSNNE hasn’t helped, at least it hasn’t hurt either. The seven points are the lowest the Celtics have ever scored in a quarter during the Playoffs. The Hawks have gone cold themselves, but the Celtics aren’t taking advantage and are missing any and every shot they take, including layups that you or I could have made in high school gym class. Kyle Korver leads the Hawks with 12 points on 4-5 shooting from three point land. Isaiah Thomas has a whopping three points to lead the Celtics, who end their nightmare quarter shooting 3-23 from the floor. I’ve received more concerned text messages than the Celtics have made baskets.

7:39 – Evan Turner works his way along the baseline for a reverse layup, and the Celtics score first in the second quarter, ending a stretch of 16 consecutive missed shots by both teams. Boston trails 24-9.

7:40 – Boston rookie Terry Rozier dribbles out the shot clock, and it was clear he had no idea how much time he had. He then gets called for a technical foul for shoving the ball towards Atlanta’s Dennis Schroeder, who hits the technical free throw, putting the Hawks up 27-9. I’m getting increasingly belligerent, and I haven’t even been drinking alcohol.

7:43 – The Celtics have hit their last four shots, but the score isn’t any more respectable. It’s Atlanta 34, Boston 18 with 8:18 left until halftime. Meanwhile, here’s an actual text exchange with my buddy Pete, who is at work and mercifully missing out on this debacle…

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7:52 – Another time out as the Celtics have started to make a little progress. It’s Atlanta 39, Boston 26 with 5:41 to go until halftime. Boston’s heated up here in the second quarter, and have outscored the Hawks 19-15 since I switched over to CSNNE. If only I had remembered.

8:00 – The Celtics have gone back to playing horribly, doing things like air-balling threes and stepping out of bounds while driving along the baseline. Actually, Jae Crowder was the culprit on both of those incidents. As for the score, it’s Atlanta 43, Boston 28 with 2:23 remaining in the first half. The irritating thing is that the Hawks really aren’t playing spectacularly after their fast start, and if the Celtics were playing the way they’re capable of, they very well could be in control of the game.

8:08 – We’ve reached halftime with the score Atlanta 43, Boston 28. Just as the first quarter ended, neither team scored during the final stretch of the second quarter, adding to my frustration. The Hawks are shooting 37.5% and have turned the ball over 11 times, yet they’re up 15 because the Celtics are playing like the Monstars stole their talent. Kyle Korver has 15 points to lead Atlanta, while Amir Johnson and Evan Turner have each scored eight points to lead Boston.

8:12 – Let’s head into the archives and dredge up our first episode of Today in NBA History! As always, thanks to the gate-keepers over at Basketball-Reference for guarding all of the important basketball knowledge.

We’re going back to April 19, 1968 as I attempt to cheer myself up with the fact that on that date, the Celtics advanced to the Finals with a 100-96 Game 7 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Division Finals. Sam Jones led Boston with 22 points, and John Havlicek was right behind him with 21 to punch the Celtics ticket to the 1968 NBA Finals.

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8:17 – That seven point first quarter was the worst opening quarter by any team since the NBA introduced the shot clock in 1954. This graphic from TNT sums it up…

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…everything about this night has been wicked awful. The Celtics turned it around in the second half in Game 1 before ultimately falling short, can they make a game of it again, or is my night going to be ruined?

8:26 – Marcus Smart lobs it up to Amir Johnson who slams it home, and the Celtics score first in the third and cut the Hawks lead to 43-30.

8:38 – We’ve got a time out with the score Atlanta 53, Boston 38 with 5:33 to go in the third. Amir Johnson and Evan Turner are the only two Celtics that are making any sort of positive contribution, combining for 24 points on 11-18 shooting. The rest of the gang has 14 points on a ghastly 5-36 shooting.

8:45 – Time for another time out with the score Atlanta 57, Boston 44 with 2:56 left in the third. The Celtics are one run away from being right in this game, but instead, they keep going through prolonged stretches where they can’t buy a basket.

8:53 – The third quarter comes to a close with the score Atlanta 61, Boston 46. The Hawks have left the door to a Celtics comeback wide open, but the C’s just won’t go through it. By the way, the Celtics record for fewest points in a Playoff game is 66, and I remember watching that game! It happened back in 2002. I was in ninth grade and they actually won, 66-64 against the Pistons after a Jerry Stackhouse buzzer beater came just a little bit too late.

8:57 – Kyle Korver banks home a runner, and the Hawks strike first in the fourth and extend their lead to 63-46.

8:59 – Al Horford calls for a time out, and gingerly saunters over to the Hawks bench. Looks like something’s up with his knee. Our score’s Atlanta 65, Boston 49 with 10:30 left in the game.

9:02 – Horford appears to be okay after initially heading towards the locker room, then flexing his legs a bit. Sometimes all you need is a good leg flex.

9:08 – Thabo Sefalosha launches a three, and it wedges in between the rim and the backboard for a wedgie! That’ll make The Starters happy. Go check out their podcast. Anyway, Thabo was fouled taking that three, and hits two of his three free throws, and the Hawks lead is up to 76-53. The wedgie has been the highlight of the game for me.

9:11 – Time for a time out with the score Atlanta 76, Boston 60 with 5:13 left in the game. Isaiah Thomas is starting to heat up for the Celtics, but it’s a little too late for heroics, I fear. Maybe if he gets hot, it’ll carry over into Game 3. These are the only things I have to be hopeful about at this point.

9:19 – With 2:53 left in the game, it’s Atlanta 83, Boston 68. Since I switched over to CSNNE, the Celtics have outscored the Hawks, 61-59, so this might be all my fault.

9:25 – Atlanta takes a time out with the score Hawks 87, Celtics 72 with 1:19 left in this lousy game of basketball. Atlanta’s back up point guard, Dennis Schroeder is seen getting helped to the locker room after he twisted his ankle.

9:27 – We’ve reached the end of the game with a final score of Atlanta 89, Boston 72. Al Horford had 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 blocks to lead the Hawks, and Kyle Korver also scored 17 and grabbed 7 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas scored 16 to lead the C’s, but he shot just 4-15, combining with Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart to shoot 6-37 from the field and ruin my entire week.

The most irritating thing about this game is that the Hawks didn’t really play well either, scoring only 87 points and shooting 39% from the field. The Celtics were just worse, missing all kinds of shots, turning the ball over, and, although I hate to say it, looking like they just weren’t playing hard (with the notable exception of Amir Johnson, who had 14 points and 8 rebounds). This should have been a winnable game for the Celtics, but instead they find themselves down 2-0 in the series, and if they can’t turn things around on their home court, what was a fine season will come to a quick and disappointing end. Oh, and, the final tally since I changed the channel to CSNNE: Atlanta 65, Boston 65. I blame myself for robbing us of what could have been a game that went right down to the wire.

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9:34 – Time to regroup and put it back on TNT for Game 2 between the Spurs and the Grizzlies. They show us San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard being presented with his second consecutive Defensive Player of the Year award! Congrats, Kawhi!

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9:38 – We’re live in San Antonio for our second game of the night! The familiar voice of Kevin Harlan welcomes us, and he’s joined by Reggie Miller. The Grizzlies got annihilated in Game 1, and they’re looking to grit and grind their way back into the series, a tall task against the 67-win, and fully healthy, Spurs.

9:40 – The Spurs win the opening tip, and we’re underway down at the AT&T Center!

9:41 – LaMarcus Aldridge hits a jumper to kick off the scoring. The Spurs lead, 2-0.

9:42 – Vince Carter nails a jumper for Memphis, getting them on the board and tying us at two.

9:48 – We’re off to a low scoring start down in San Antonio with the score Spurs 9, Grizzlies 6 with 5:15 left in the first quarter. Ugh.

9:55 – With 2:57 to go in the first quarter, I’m pleased to report that both teams have finally reached double figure scoring. It’s San Antonio 13, Memphis 10.

10:05 – We’re here at the end of the first quarter, and the Spurs are on an 11-1 run to make the score San Antonio 22, Memphis 11. The Grizzlies are just 5-20 from the field, and it’s looking like we’re in for a repeat of Game 1.

10:09 – Jarell Martin starts off the second quarter with a dunk for the Grizzlies, cutting their deficit to 22-13.

10:13 – We’ve got a time out and the score’s San Antonio 25, Memphis 17 with 9:45 left in the first half. It isn’t pretty, not even close, but the Grizzlies are doing a good job battling to stay within shouting distance.

10:18 – We’ve got a time out with 7:57 remaining until halftime and the score San Antonio 32, Memphis 21. The Grizzlies got the Spurs lead down to six, but San Antonio has quickly got it back up to double digits.

10:29 – The game is starting to get away from the Grizzlies and with 2:25 left in the first half, it’s San Antonio 44, Memphis 28. The Spurs are controlling the pace of the game, and the Grizzlies can’t keep up. On top of that, the Spurs are 5-8 from downtown, while the Grizzlies are 0-4.

10:34 – We’ve got a technical foul on the Grizzlies Jordan Farmar. He and Tony Parker dove for a lose ball, and Farmar was called for a foul, and wasn’t happy with it. Reggie Miller was also unhappy with the call, complaining so loudly that the refs might have mistook him for Farmar when they gave him the T. Kawhi Leonard makes the technical free throw, and the Spurs lead is all the way up to 47-29.

10:41 – We’re here at halftime with the score San Antonio 49, Memphis 35. Kawhi Leonard leads the Spurs with nine points, Tony Allen has scored eight off the bench to lead the Grizzlies. What is there to say about this one? Memphis just doesn’t have any kind of offensive punch. They’re playing hard, but if you don’t have anybody that can put the ball in the basket, you’re not going to last long in the Playoffs. Between this and the Celtics game, it’s been a depressing evening of basketball, even the gang in the NBA on TNT studios seem demoralized.

10:46 – Charles Barkley and Shaq are bickering over championships again. Shaq says that defense wins championships, to which Chuck says, “You weren’t a great defender.” Shaq fires back with, “But I was a great champion, I have four of them, you wouldn’t know anything about that.” It was the most competitive moment of the night.

10:47 – Time for another episode of Today in NBA Playoff History!

This is turning out to be a forgettable day in NBA Playoff History, so let’s head back to April 19, 1986. There we’ll find Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins dropping 50 points on the Detroit Pistons in a 137-125 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round. On top of ‘Nique’s 50, the Hawks got 35 more points from Randy Wittman, and Spud Webb came off the bench to score 19 points, grab 7 rebounds and dish out 18 assists.

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11:00 – Tony Parker twists his way to the hoop for the first two points of the second half. It gets San Antonio’s lead up to 51-35.

11:05 – We have a time out with the score San Antonio 56, Memphis 42 with 7:09 left in the third quarter. The Grizzlies are 0-8 from three point land, while the Spurs are 6-11. In other news, Tim Duncan has yet to take a shot for the Spurs.

11:13 – Time for another time out with the score San Antonio 63, Memphis 45 with 4:13 left in the third. Zach Randolph, the one guy on the Grizzlies that might be able to score, has been shut down by the Spurs defense. Since he’s the only real threat to score, the Spurs swarm all over him when he gets the ball around the hoop, and he’s got no reliable help. As a result, he’s shooting just 3-14 from the field and as a team, the Grizzlies are shooting 32.2%.

11:17 – Speaking of bad shooting, Kevin Harlan tells us that the Grizzlies are shooting just 23% here in the third quarter.

11:27 – At the end of the third quarter, it’s San Antonio 70, Memphis 53. Hopefully nobody chose tonight to introduce their kids to the game of basketball. This hasn’t exactly been an amazing basketball showcase here tonight.

11:33 – Kyle Anderson knocks down two free throws, getting the scoring started in the fourth and extending the Spurs lead to 72-53.

11:36 – The Grizzlies have yet to score here in the fourth quarter, and with 9:19 left in the game, it’s San Antonio 74, Memphis 53 as this game continues to find new ways to get worse.

11:44 – Boban Marjanovic is into the game for the Spurs! That perks everyone up a bit.

11:45 – David West gets a steal and takes it all the way down the court for a dunk. It leads to a time out, and with 5:58 left in the ball game, the score’s San Antonio 82, Memphis 61.

11:48 – David Robinson sighting! The Spurs legend is sitting in the stands, and he unleashes a yawn. Even The Admiral is bored with this one.

11:49 – TNT shares this graphic to point out that four of the six oldest players in the league are participating in this series…

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11:52 – We’ve got a time out with the score San Antonio 88, Memphis 63 with the longest 3:17 ever remaining in the game. As they were in Game 1, the Grizzlies are in danger of setting their record for lowest scoring Playoff game. The current record is 70, set back in 2004 against the none other than these San Antonio Spurs.

12:01 am – This game finally puts us out of our misery by ending. Our final score: San Antonio 94, Memphis 68. It’s a new franchise low for points in a Playoff game for the Grizzlies.

12:02 – In the TNT studio, Ernie Johnson implores viewers to stick around for highlights of tonight’s games. “HIGHLIGHTS!?” yells an incredulous Charles Barkley. This was right after he was berating the commentary of Reggie Miller because Miller theorized that the Grizzlies were going to play much better as the series switches to Memphis.

Yuck. Patty Mills led the Spurs with 16 points off the bench. None of their players reached more than 27 minutes played, and they’ve gotten to work in plenty of rest into the first two games of this series, which is important for them. Tony Allen’s 12 points off the bench led the Grizzlies, and Zach Randolph chipped in with 11 points and 12 rebounds, but the poor Grizzlies never had a chance, finishing the night with a shooting percentage of 32.6%. Now the series will shift to Memphis with the Spurs up 2-0. Reggie Miller seems to think the Grizz will play better in front of their fans, but I’m with Charles Barkley on this one, although if they reach 75 points, that would technically qualify as playing better. Jesus Christ.

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Usually, I can find something enjoyable out of any night of basketball, but this was a difficult night. It didn’t help that my favorite team found themselves on the wrong end of one of these games. My Celtics set a team record for fewest points in any Playoff quarter, and an NBA record for fewest first quarter points, while the Grizzlies had their lowest scoring Playoff game ever, so, at least we got to witness history.

12:09 – Barkley just called Reggie Miller the worst analyst on television. Just when I thought nothing could cheer me up, Charles Barkley comes through. Until tomorrow…

 

Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

1 thought on “NBA Playoffs – Day 4”

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