NBA Playoffs – Day 6

Finally, a one-point game!

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Yeah, that’s right, I went out to dinner and missed the first half of the Mavs/Thunder game. Shout out to the Nashoba Club in Ayer, Massachusetts for having the game on. Anyway, I’m tuning in for the TNT Halftime Report, and the score’s Thunder 58, Mavs 48. Kevin Durant has 20 points already, bouncing back from his terrible Game 2, which saw the Mavs even the series.

Once again, banished to NBA TV is the Raptors/Pacers series. Right now, the Raptors are leading 42-24 with 5:56 left until their halftime. Looks like another blowout is brewing. If this first round wasn’t off to such a lousy start, I’d be angrier about missing the first half, but all things considered, it looks like I haven’t missed a damn thing.

8:31 pm – Oh man, Steph Curry is once again out tonight for the Warriors, who take on the Rockets in Game 3 of their series after the second half of the Mavs/Thunder game. Charles Barkley says that the Warriors don’t need Steph Curry against the Rockets, and I agree. Houston’s done nothing to show that they even enjoy playing basketball together, let alone being able to win a game against the team that just set the record for wins in a season. I might as well go out for a second dinner.

8:34 – Before the second half begins, I just want to say a few words about Prince, who passed away today. While I personally never really got into his music, his accomplishments and legacy are incalculable. Even to someone like me, who could hardly be called a Prince expert, his larger than life persona made it seem like he was immortal. He was also a huge basketball fan, played ball in high school and would even watch Playoff games while performing on stage. Now, that’s my kind of guy. The fact that he’s passed away is unimaginable, and he’ll be missed all over the world.

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8:38 – Okay, time for the second half down in Dallas. Ian Eagle and Brent Barry will narrate the action, and once again, the score is Oklahoma City 58, Dallas 48.

8:39 – JJ Barea, back into the Mavericks lineup after missing the first two games of the series, gets a layup, cutting the Thunder lead down to 58-50.

8:41 – We have a time out as the Thunder have scored seven straight points to to make the score Oklahoma City 65, Dallas 50 with 10:18 left in the third quarter. Apparently, the Mavs are without Deron Williams tonight, who played well in Game 2, but is also suffering from the dreaded Sports Hernia.

8:47 – They’ve reached halftime over in Indiana and the score’s Raptors 53, Pacers 36. DeMar DeRozan has broken out of his slump for 16 first half points to lead Toronto.

8:50 – FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

Raymond Felton is seriously pissed off at Steven Adams! While they were battling for position under the hoop, Felton hauls off hits Adams with a forearm. It didn’t look to me like Adams did anything bad, they just got tangled up fighting for position. Felton has a lot of things to say to Adams, who just walked away as Felton had to be restrained. Not much of a fight, obviously, but we’ll see what the refs decide to do.

8:54 – Both players get technical fouls. Again, Adams didn’t really do anything malicious. They just got tangled up like everyone else does in the paint, and Felton took extra exception to it. He must not be used to fighting for rebounds under the hoop.

8:58 – The mini-ruckus seems to have fired up the Mavs. They’ve got this thing down to ten with the score Oklahoma City 77, Dallas 67 with 5:11 left in the third quarter. Sometimes all it takes is a little skirmish in front of the home fans to inject a little life into the game.

9:02 – FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

…not even close, but Andre Roberson knocks over Dirk Nowitzki, and the big German gets right up and yells in Roberson’s face! Thankfully, no technicals are called as the two are quickly separated. This game has started to heat up since I tuned in. You’re welcome!

9:03 – Russell Westbrook knocks down a three and stares down the crowd. It leads to a Dallas time out as OKC has built their lead back up. It’s Thunder 85, Mavericks 69 with 3:39 left in what’s become an angry third quarter.

9:05 – Hey, there’s David Lee on the floor for the Mavs. He’s missed the first two games of the series with an injury and has six points in this one so far.

9:16 – We’re here at the end of the third quarter, and the Thunder are in control. It’s Oklahoma City 97, Dallas 78. It briefly looked like this one was going to be interesting, but then OKC put the Mavs in their place. Kevin Durant is up to 31 points for the Thunder.

9:20 – Randy Foye kicks off the fourth with a three for the Thunder, getting their lead up to 100-78.

9:21 – We have a time out with 10:40 left in the ball game and the score Oklahoma City 100, Dallas 82. With Dallas on a big 4-0 run, Thunder coach Billy Donavan understandably wants to call a time out to stop their momentum.

9:29 – Another time out with the score Oklahoma City 107, Dallas 86 with an even eight minutes left in the game. Yikes. Over in Indiana, the third quarter has just ended, and it’s Raptors 71, Pacers 59, with another potential clunker coming up next between the Warriors and Rockets.

9:34 – I forgot to mention this earlier, but the Thunder are wearing their weird black alternates. At least they aren’t sleeved like the crummy home jerseys they wore in the first two games. Have they just given up on their usual home and away jerseys?

9:38 – Time for another time out with the score Oklahoma City 116, Dallas 92 with 5:22 left in the ball game. Meanwhile, the Warriors/Rockets game is about to tip-off, and until this lousy game is over, it’ll be airing on HLN, since NBA TV has the Raptors/Pacers game. Who the hell scheduled these games? They could have at least had the Warriors and Rockets start at 10:00. Anyway, congratulations to HLN for the most exciting moment in their history.

9:43 – Another time out with the score Oklahoma City 124, Dallas 96 with 3:55 left in the game. Good grief.

9:46 – According to their own Twitter feed, the Thunder have set a franchise record for threes in a Playoff game. They’ve got 14 so far, and are shooting 58.3% from downtown. At least I got to see history.

9:50 – The Warriors and Rockets have tipped off on HLN! I’m going to just keep it on the Thunder and Mavs because I hate myself.

9:53 – This game finally comes to an end with a final score of Oklahoma City 131, Dallas 102. TNT unceremoniously and immediately switches over to Warriors/Rockets, where Houston is off to a 6-4 lead. Even TNT is at a loss for how to deal with these lackluster first round games. Anyway, Kevin Durant rebounded from his terrible Game 2 to score 34 points and grab 7 rebounds for the Thunder. Russell Westbrook complimented Durant with 26 points and 15 assists, and Enes Kanter came off the bench for 21 points and 8 rebounds to help lead OKC to a romping win. Wesley Matthews had 22 points and 5 rebounds for the Mavs who suffered through a hapless performance on their home floor, and now trail 2-1 in the series.

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9:55 – We have our first time out in Houston with the score Rockets 8, Warriors 6 with 8:32 left in the first quarter. Maybe the Rockets will put up more of a fight on their home floor.

9:58 – Narrating the action in Houston: none other than Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller, and once again, Steph Curry is out of service for the Warriors tonight.

10:00 – Another time out as the Rockets are on a 9-2 run! It’s the most life they’ve shown all series, and it has our score at Houston 15, Golden State 8 with 7:03 left in the first quarter.

10:06 – Hakeem Olajuwon sighting! The Rockets legend is watching this game from courtside and he’s enjoying what he’s seen so far with the home team up 17-11.

10:07 – We have a final from Indiana: Raptors 101, Pacers 85. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan each scored 21 to lead Toronto to a 2-1 series lead.

10:11 – We’ve got a time out with the score Houston 26, Golden State 15 with an even three minutes left in the first quarter. The Rockets are playing the best they have all series long, and are actually looking like they give a damn. Dwight Howard has been particularly involved, especially on the defensive end, and it’s led to a few fast break points for the Rockets as they’ve built their lead up to double digits.

10:20 – The first quarter comes to an end with the score Houston 31, Golden State 18. It’s a nice change of pace to see the Rockets with a chance to actually win a game as the Warriors are struggling without Steph Curry and their raucous home crowd behind them, shooting just 35% and, most surprising of all, they haven’t hit a single three-pointer. Meanwhile, James Harden has 14 points to help get the Rockets off to their good start.

10:24 – It didn’t take long for the Warriors to get that first three, as Marrese Speights starts off the second quarter by hitting one, cutting the Rockets lead to 31-21.

10:28 – We have a time out as the Rockets continue to maintain their lead. It’s Houston 35, Golden State 21 with 8:52 left in the first half.

10:37 – Another time out with the score Houston 47, Golden State 35 with 5:35 left in the second quarter. Despite the fact they’re playing well, I’m still not sure if I trust the Rockets to hang onto this lead, but on the other hand, the absence of Steph definitely has the Warriors out of sorts tonight.

10:45 – We’ve got a time out with the score Houston 53, Golden State 39 with 2:42 left in the first half. It’s been another ugly game, but its unexpectedness is keeping it interesting. Can the Warriors get back into it without the league’s reigning MVP?

10:50 – Technical foul on Dwight Howard! He gets his arms tangled up with Andrew Bogut, who swings him around after Howard grabs a one handed rebound. Howard then spikes the ball on the ground at Bogut and gets called for the tech. Klay Thompson knocks down the free throw for Golden State, but they’re down 55-40 as we approach halftime.

10:51 – Now Dwight Howard and Marresse Speights square off a bit after Speights intentionally fouls him to put him at the line. Howard’s been playing well tonight, but as he often does, he’s allowing his boneheaded tendencies to get the better of him. Luckily, he didn’t get called for a second T, which would have been hilarious, and lead to an automatic ejection. Oh, and he misses both of his free throws.

10:55- With Dwight Howard on the bench, the Warriors intentionally foul fellow lousy free throw shooter Josh Howard. He misses his first one, and yells, “HELL NO!” as it sails to the back of the rim. He misses the second one as well.

10:56 – The Warriors close the quarter on a 12-2 run, and they have the Rockets lead down to single digits. It’s Houston 55, Golden State 48. This is why the Rockets can’t be trusted. They had a big lead, and thanks in part to some undisciplined behavior, they’ve let the Warriors right back into it. James Harden leads the Rockets with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Marrese Speights has scored 14 off the Warriors bench to lead them in scoring, and Klay Thompson has chipped in with 11. We might actually be in for an intriguing second half as the Warriors will look to capitalize on the momentum they gained going into halftime, while the Rockets, in desperate need of a win, will try to fend them off.

11:00 – Charles Barkley guarantees the Rockets are going to lose the game! “There’s nothing worse than fake hustle,” he says adamantly. “I’ve seen fake hustle before.” He’s the absolute best.

11:02 – Well, we didn’t have time for an episode of Today in NBA Playoff History during the first game, so we’ll have to make this a good one. As usual, thanks to the keepers of knowledge over at Basketball-Reference for making all of this so easy to look up.

All the way back on April 21, 1948, the Baltimore Bullets won the old BAA championship with an 88-73 victory in Game 6 over the Philadelphia Warriors. The Bullets would eventually disband early during the 1954-55 season, after stating 3-11, while the Warriors live on in the very game I’m watching, having moved from Philly to San Francisco to Oakland, now calling themselves the Golden State Warriors. As for that game back in 1948, Joe Fulks led Philadelphia with 28 points, but no other Warrior reached double-digits. The Bullets were led by a balanced attack, with Chuck Reiser scoring 16 points to lead five players who scored in double-figures, including fellows by the names of Buddy Jeannette and Kleggie Hermsen.

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The 1948 Baltimore Bullets look less like a championship basketball team and more like me and my friends.

11:15 – Donatas Montiejunas knocks down a three to get the scoring started in the second quarter. It gets the Rockets lead up to 58-48.

11:21 – We’ve got a time out as the Rockets are on a 6-0 run, and the Warriors are getting frustrated. It’s Houston 68, Golden State 56 with 7:20 left in the third quarter. The Rockets are getting back to their solid play of the first half, and it’s got them their confidence, and a double-digit lead back.

11:32 – Time for another time out with the score Houston 74, Golden State 66 with 3:23 left in the third. The Warriors continue to lurk, but you have to hand it to the Rockets as they’ve been able to keep them at arm’s length. For now.

11:39 – We’re here at the end of the third quarter, and the Warriors finished it off with a 10-4 run, making our score Houston 78, Golden State 72. It’s the moment of truth for the Rockets. Can they finish off this game, taking advantage of the home crowd and the absence of Steph Curry, to grab a much needed win and shut people like myself and Charles Barkley up, or will they cough it up to the defending champs, much to the delight of people like myself and Charles Barkley?

11:43 – Michael Beasley spins and hits a little floater to get the Rockets lead up to 80-72 with the first points of the fourth quarter.

11:47 – Shawn Livingston hits a little floater, and it’s a one possession game as the Warriors trail, 81-78.

11:48 – Livingston hits a jumper, and Houston needs a time out, because their lead is all the way down to one. It’s Rockets 81, Warriors 80 with 8:58 left in the game.

11:54 – After a cold stretch from both teams, James Harden nails a three, and the Rockets go up 84-80.

11:56 – We’ve got a time out with the score Houston 85, Golden State 80 with 6:35 remaining. It comes in between a pair of James Harden free throws. The in between free throws time out always annoys me, for some reason.

11:59 – We come back and Harden hits his second free throw, extending the Rockets lead to 86-80.

12:03 am – Another time out as the Rockets have maintained the lead, but haven’t put the Warriors away. It’s Houston 91, Golden State 87 with 3:42 left in what’s thankfully turned out to be a pretty exciting game!

12:07 – James Harden storms through the paint and throws down a dunk! It ignites the crowd and gets the Rockets lead up to 93-87! He’s up to 33 points.

12:08 – Down 93-89, the Warriors elect to intentionally foul Dwight Howard to send him to the line. He misses them both, and the strategy pays off for now as the Warriors take the ball.

12:09 – Andre Iguodala knocks down a three! It cuts the Rockets lead down to 93-92 with 2:56 remaining in the game! Houston calls a time out.

12:13 – Ian Clark hits a runner, and the Warriors take a 94-93 lead!

12:14 – We’ve got a time out with the score still Golden State 94, Houston 93 with just 53 seconds remaining. The Warriors will have the ball when we come back, as they’ve erased a 17 point deficit and have a chance to pull out a win here at the Toyota Center!

12:17 – Michael Beasley hits two free throws, and it gives the Rockets the lead back with the score Houston 95, Golden State 94 with 41 seconds left in the ball game.

12:19 – After Klay Thompson misses a three, the Rockets have the ball as the game winds down. There’s a two second difference between the shot clock and game clock, and the Warriors elect not to foul as Houston passes the ball around. They get it to Michael Beasley on the baseline, and it’s poked out of bounds! Now they’re looking at who touched it last, Beasley, or Ian Clark. Looks to me like it went of Beasley. It’s all going down with 14.1 seconds on the clock as each team awaits to find out who has the ball.

12:21 – It will remain Rockets ball with 14.4 seconds left in the game, and 12 seconds on the shot clock. I still think it went off Beasley.

12:22 – …and the Rockets have to call their last time out as they can’t inbound fast enough.

12:24 – Shawn Livingston steals the inbounds pass and zooms up the court! It gets knocked away from behind, but it skips up to Ian Clark who’s ahead of the pack! He lays it in and the Warriors take the lead! The Rockets don’t have a time out, so they have to get down the court. It ends up with James Harden in the paint, and he nails a shot! The Rockets go up 97-96 with 2.7 seconds on the clock! The Warriors take a time out!

12:26 – Klay Thompson inbounds it to Draymond Green…who bobbles the pass! It hits off his leg and goes rolling out of bounds with just one second left! The Rockets inbound the basketball…and Shawn Livingston tips it, but right into the hands of Jason Terry, and the Rockets escape with a 97-96 victory!

What a finish! James Harden was the hero, finishing the game with 35 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists and the game winner! Donatas Montiejunans had 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Dwight Howard chipped in with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Marrese Speights scored 22 off the bench to lead the Warriors, who fell short at the end after Harden’s heroics and the unfortunate turnover from Draymond Green.

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You have to hand it to the Houston Rockets. No team has been hated on more than they have, and everyone seems ready for them to go away, up to and including their own players at times. Instead, they battled hard and eked out a victory against the defending champs. Sure, Steph Curry didn’t play, but that was a win that I didn’t think the Rockets were capable of, mainly because it involved effort and heart. For one night, at least, they played like they deserve to be here. Most importantly, we got a game that went down to the final seconds! We can all be thankful for that. Hopefully it sets the tone for the weekend, as several teams need to secure some wins, or face the end of their season.

Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

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