When I started this blog, the goal was to watch every Playoff game. This was always terrible idea because I have a girlfriend, friends and a family, and they don’t go on hiatus for the Playoffs. It all caught up with me this weekend, with two parties to go to on Saturday, I was unable to watch any Playoffs. Don’t worry, I’ll get over it. Anyway, before today’s action, let’s review what I missed out on yesterday…
Indiana 100, Toronto 83
The Pacers evened their series with the Raptors behind 22 point performances from George Hill and Ian Mahinmi. This guarantees that we’re going to get ourselves at least one Game 6 out of this First Round. I think, once all is said and done, this isn’t going to be as miserable of a First Round as it seems.
Charlotte 96, Miami 80
The Hornets got on the board in Game 3 of their series, despite missing Nicolas Batum, meaning we’ll avoid yet another sweep. After two high scoring games to start off the series, the Heat managed just 80 points on 34.2% shooting. Jeremy Lin led the Hornets with 18 points off the bench, and Marvin Williams had 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Oklahoma City 119, Dallas 108
The Thunder pushed the Mavericks to the brink of elimination, taking a 3-1 series lead. Enes Kanter scored 28 points off the bench, on 12-13 shooting, and Russell Westbrook went for 25 points, 5 rebounds and 15 assists. Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 points and grabbed 8 rebounds for Dallas, while Raymond Felton scored 19 and dished out 11 assists, but it wasn’t enough to even the series, and now the Mavs are one loss away from their season being over.
Portland 96, Los Angeles 88
After suffering two blowout losses to start off the series, the Trail Blazers got a win on their home court. Their star back court finally broke out of their slump, with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combining for 59 points, while Mason Plumlee came through with a ridiculous 6 point, 21 rebound, 9 assist performance. Chris Paul had 26 points and 9 assists for the Clippers, and DeAndre Jordan chipped in with 11 points and 16 rebounds, but their chance for a sweep is now over.
I’m glad to see that two potential sweeps got washed away. With the series now on the underdogs home courts, the lower seeds are finally playing at their best, and getting themselves back into their series.
As for today, we’ve got a full slate of four games. Kicking us off is Game 4 between the Spurs and Grizzlies. San Antonio can become the first team to advance to the Conference Semifinals if they win this afternoon.
1:00 pm – It’s time for another exciting day of basketball! Can the noble, yet shorthanded Grizzlies find a way to win to stay alive, or are the Spurs about to end their season.
1:05 – We’re live at the FedEx Forum in Memphis for Game 4 between the Spurs and Grizzlies! Our narrators this afternoon will be Mike Tirico and Hubie Brown.
1:07 – This will be Tim Duncan’s 245th career Playoff game, good enough for second all time. He wins the opening tip for the Spurs, and we’re underway in Memphis.
1:08 – Zach Randolph hits a jumper, and the Grizzlies score first, going up 2-0.
1:09 – LaMarcus Aldridge hits a couple of free throws to get the Spurs on the board and tie the game at two.
1:14 – Zach Randolph fights his way to the hoop for a bucket, and the Spurs take a time out with the score Memphis 11, San Antonio 8 with 7:31 left in the first quarter. As always, the Grizzlies look ready to battle, but can they avoid running out of gas like they did at the end of Game 3?
1:22 – Lance Stephenson hits a jumper, and the Grizzlies are off to a good start with the score Memphis 17, San Antonio 15 with 3:47 left in the first quarter.
1:26 – We’ve got a time out with the score San Antonio 19, Memphis 17 with 2:26 left in the first quarter.
1:33 – The Spurs close out the first quarter on a 10-2 run, making our score San Antonio 25, Memphis 19. It’s the highest scoring first quarter of the series for the Grizzlies, which is depressing. With their lack of offense, this six point deficit they face is amplified. Even if they can keep it close, they haven’t really shown that they can go on a run to take the lead.
1:37 – Lance Stephenson takes it to the hoop for a layup, and the Grizzlies score first in the second quarter to cut the Spurs lead to 25-21.
1:40 – I think the power just went out in the FedEx Forum. The lights began to dim, and then television feed froze, and now we’ve faded into a commercial.
1:42 – David Aldridge confirms that we’ve got a power outage in Memphis!
And we’ve gone dark in Memphis.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) April 24, 2016
1:44 – And here’s a photo tweeted by the Spurs themselves…
1:46 – Reports out of Memphis is that there’s a power surge, and the lights in the FedEx Forum are coming back on, so hopefully this game gets back underway soon, so we don’t have to listen to Jalen Rose in the ESPN studio anymore.
1:54 – The power surge is apparently affecting all of Downtown Memphis, and not just the FedEx Forum, in case you were wondering.
1:57 – We’re back in Memphis after an 18 minute delay! That’s 18 extra minutes of Jalen Rose. Even a power surge in Memphis can have unintended and unfortunate nationwide consequences.
1:59 – Not long after returning to action, we have a time out after another Lance Stephenson bucket. It’s Spurs 27, Grizzlies 27 with 8:41 left in the first half as Stephenson is singlehandedly keeping Memphis in the game with ten points off the bench already.
2:08 – We’ve got a time out with the score San Antonio 34, Memphis 34 with 5:15 left until halftime. The Grizzlies continue to hang in there, battling for offensive rebounds and second chance points to keep them in the game.
2:11 – A Kawhi Leonard three that appeared to beat the shot clock has been taken away! Reviews show that it came just a bit too late, and the Grizzlies now find themselves with a 34-31 lead, equaling their largest lead of the series, which is depressing.
2:12 – Kawhi Leonard gets his three pointer back, knocking one down and putting us right back at a 34-34 tie.
2:16 – Time for a time out with the score San Antonio 39, Memphis 36 with 2:55 remaining in the first half as the game continues to remain close.
2:20 – Kawhi Leonard leans into Chris Andersen while taking a deep two, and Andersen gets called for the foul. “YOU TOOK THE BAIT!” yells an angry fan at the ref. Meanwhile, Leonard and Andersen have a conversation before Kawhi shoots his free throws. Leonard has a smile on his face, Andersen does not.
2:27 – We’re here at halftime with the score San Antonio 47, Memphis 45. Kawhi Leonard and Lance Stephenson are having a bit of a duel. Each has scored 14 points as the Spurs haven’t been able to pull away from the scrappy Grizzlies. Will they be able to sustain the effort throughout the second quarter?
2:31 – It’s time for our first episode of Today in NBA Playoff History! As usual, thanks to the librarians over at Basketball-Reference for keeping all of this information organized for us.
We’re actually going to cheat a little bit and go outside of the NBA Playoffs, because April 24, 1994 was the last day of the regular season. It’s also the day when the Spurs David Robinson went for 71 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists in a 112-97 victory over the Clippers. The 71 points was enough to clinch the scoring title over Shaquille O’Neal. It’s also the fourth highest scoring game in NBA history, behind Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant and David Thompson.
2:42 – Word on the street is that after missing the last two games, Steph Curry is active for Game 4 between the Warriors and Rockets. I’m going to miss the beginning of that game, because the Spurs and Grizzlies are running late after our exciting power surge.
2:44 – LaMarcus Aldridge hits a jumper, and the Spurs strike first here in the second half, extending their lead to 49-45.
2:47 – Zach Randolph knocks down a pair of free throws as the Grizzlies try to stay close. They’re down 51-49.
2:49 – Tony Parker drives in for a layup, extending the Spurs lead to 53-49.
2:50 – Zach Randolph fights his way through the paint for a layup, and the Grizzlies trail, 54-51.
2:51 – Kawhi Leonard knocks down a corner three to get the Spurs lead up to six at 57-51.
2:53 – We’ve got a time out as the Spurs are starting to pull away. It’s San Antonio 62, Memphis 53 with 6:54 left in the third quarter. If the Grizzlies can’t make up some of this deficit, this could be it for their season.
2:57 – Tim Duncan gets a hoop, plus he’s fouled, and the Spurs are really starting to roll. He hits his free throw, and the Spurs lead has ballooned up to 67-53.
3:00 – We’ve got a time out the score San Antonio 69, Memphis 57 with 4:35 left in the third. Tony Parker’s really turned it on for the Spurs, with 11 points in the quarter as they’ve built their lead up to double-digits.
3:12 – Well, we’re here at the end of the third quarter, and the game has gotten away from the Grizzlies. It’s San Antonio 84, Memphis 68, as the Spurs have run away with things here this afternoon, out scoring Memphis 37-21 in the quarter. They’ve done it in their usual, quiet Spurs way, and they’re one quarter away from being the first team to advance to the Second Round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs.
3:18 – Kyle Anderson takes it into the paint for a finger-roll, and the Spurs have the first bucket of the fourth to extend their lead to 20 points at 86-66.
3:20 – We have a time out with the score San Antonio 92, Memphis 70 with 8:52 remaining in what’s been the First Round’s most depressing series.
3:28 – Another time out with the score San Antonio 94, Memphis 77 with 7:07 left in the ball game. We’re just waiting this one out at this point.
3:40 – We’ve got another time out with the score San Antonio 110, Memphis 86 with 2:58 left in the game. The Grizzlies band is now playing “Nearer My God To Thee”.
3:47 – This game comes to an end as the Grizzlies fans give their team a nice ovation after a noble, shorthanded effort. Our final score: San Antonio 116, Memphis 95, putting an end to a dominant series for the Spurs. Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 21 points and 7 rebounds, and LaMarcus Aldridge contributed 15 points and 10 rebounds to help lead the Spurs to another romp. With the win, they become the first team to advance to the Second Round, which is important for them, as they value their rest. Lance Stephenson led the Grizzlies with 26 points off the bench, and Chris Andersen chipped in with 7 points and 13 rebounds, also off the bench. The Grizzlies just didn’t have enough firepower to hang with the Spurs in this series, and without a their full compliment of players, they just couldn’t operate as well as they normally do. At full strength, they’re one of the toughest team in the league, so it was hard to watch them struggling through this series. They battled hard, of course, but there was no way the Spurs were going to let them have any success.
3:51 – And, we’re joining the Rockets and Warriors in progress. The terrible trio of Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson are our narrators. After James Harden goes 1-2 from the free throw line, Houston has an early 9-8 lead. Steph Curry did indeed start for the Warriors, by the way.
4:02 – We’ve got a time out with the score Golden State 23, Houston 17 with 2:46 left in the first quarter. The Rockets are looking to tie the series after their last minute win in Game 3, but the Warriors have Steph Curry back with a chance to send this series back to Oakland with a 3-1 lead.
4:11 – The Rockets, down 27-23 in the final minute of the first quarter, intentionally foul James Michael McAdoo, a 53% free throw shooter. He obliges by missing both of his free throws.
4:13 – James Harden beats the first quarter buzzer with a deep three pointer! Better yet, it ties the game at 29 heading into the second quarter. Klay Thompson has 11 points so far to lead all scorers, but the Rockets closed out the quarter on a 12-2 run, culminating in the exclamation point three pointer from Harden.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) April 24, 2016
4:19 – Michael Beasley hits two free throws, and the Rockets score first in the second quarter, and take a 31-29 lead.
4:21 – Patrick Beverly gets a steal, takes it to the hoop, misses the layup, but his pal Corey Brewer is there to dunk it home! It leads to a time out with the score Rockets 39, Warriors 36 with 9:52 left in the first half. Houston’s shooting 66.7% from the field, and they seem pretty riled up at the moment, and I dare say we could be in for another good game between these two teams.
4:35 – We’ve got a time out in what’s been quite a lively game. The score’s Houston 50, Golden State 43 with 5:54 left in the half. This might be the best Houston’s played all series, and that includes when they were up by 17 points in Game 3.
4:38 – Now the Warriors are intentionally fouling Festus Ezeli. He goes 1-2 from the line, and the Warriors trail 50-44.
4:44 – Another time out as the Rockets haven’t scored in a bit. They still lead, with the score Houston 50, Golden State 46 with 3:37 left in the first half. The game’s also starting to get pretty chippy, as these two teams are probably quite sick of each other by now. The refs are also catching a fair amount of hell from players on both teams.
4:49 – After an Andre Iguodala three, the Warriors go up 52-50, and now they turn to intentionally fouling, sending none other than Dwight Howard to the line. He hits one of two, and the Rockets are down by one at 52-51.
4:57 – Trevor Ariza misses a long three to end the first half, but more importantly, Steph Curry slipped while defending him, holds his knee, then comes up limping as he heads off the court. Hopefully he’s okay, but he was limping pretty good. Stay tuned. As for the game, it’s Houston 56, Golden State 56. Dwight Howard has 14 points and 10 rebounds, on 6-6 shooting to lead the Rockets. James Harden is right behind him with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. Michael Beasley provided a spark off the bench, also scoring 13. Andre Iguodala leads the Warriors with 13 off the bench, and Klay Thompson still has the 11 he scored in the first quarter. Steph Curry had 6 points and 5 assists, shooting just 2-9 from the field, and now he could be injured. The Rockets played really well, and the Warriors didn’t look as sharp as they often do, yet we’re tied here at halftime. Whether or not Steph Curry can carry on in the second half could very well decide this game.
5:05 – Time for another thrilling episode of Today in NBA History!
Back on April 24, 1967, the Philadelphia 76ers won their second NBA championship with a 125-122 victory over the San Francisco Warriors in Game 6 of the Finals. Rick Barry scored 44 to lead the Warriors, but Wali Jones, Wilt Chamberlain and Chet Walker all scored over 20 points for the Sixers to lead them to a close victory, and the title. Sounds like a game that Hardwood Classics needs to get their hands on so we can see it.
5:14 – Steph Curry is going to give it a go to begin the second half.
5:15 – Never mind! Curry’s going back to the locker room, and Shawn Livingston begins the second half for the Warriors. Patrick Beverly is also out for the Rockets, with Jason Terry replacing him in the Rockets lineup.
5:16 – Draymond Green hits a three, and the Warriors start off the second half by taking a 59-56 lead.
5:17 – Word from the Rockets is that Patrick Beverly will not be returning to the game.
5:18 – We’ve got a quick time out as the Warriors are off to a good second half start. After a Klay Thompson three, It’s Golden State 64, Houston 57 with 10:15 left in the third.
— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) April 24, 2016
5:23 – Warriors center Andrew Bogut just committed his fifth foul, so he’ll head to the bench for awhile. As a result, Donatas Montiejuanas goes 1-2 from the line, and the Rockets are lurking, down 64-59.
5:26 – The news on Steph Curry is unfortunate…
Steph Curry will not return. Sprained right knee
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) April 24, 2016
5:29 – We’re in the midst of a ridiculous and long review as the refs are ruining the game by going over a play where Dwight Howard fouled Shawn Livingston coming up the court, and for some reason, a technical foul was originally called on Howard, even though he didn’t really do anything to warrant one. After reviewing the innocuous play for at least five minutes, technicals are called on both Howard and Livingston. Jesus Christ. I think they called one on Livingston just to make up for the bad one called on Howard.
5:32 – We have a time out as the Warriors are pulling away here in the third quarter. It’s Golden State 80, Houston 67 with 6:13 left in the third quarter. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are making up for the absence of Curry, making it rain from three point line and are a combined 10-13 from downtown in the game.
5:38 – We have another time out with the score Golden State 89, Houston 76 with 2:26 left in the third quarter. More importantly, the Celtics game is starting at six o’clock, and since they’re my favorite team and all, I’m going to have to abandon the Warriors and Rockets. There could stand to be a bit more of a gap between these games so we don’t have to face with decisions like this.
5:44 – We’re here at the end of the third quarter, and the Rockets have just rolled over. Our score’s Golden State 97, Houston 76. This is why everyone hates the Rockets. They play hard for one half, and then play like garbage when they had a chance to make some real progress in this game, especially with Steph Curry out of the game. Instead, the Warriors outscored them 41-20 in the quarter. Now I’m not nearly as angry about missing the end of this game.
5:48 – Trevor Ariza gets into the paint and banks in a short range shot for the first points of the fourth quarter, but the Rockets have a lot of work to do, trailing 97-78.
5:52 – Here’s a fun fact from Twitter…
Warriors finish the third quarter with 41 points, their first 40-point quarter in the playoffs since 5/11/07 vs. Utah
— GSWStats (@gswstats) April 24, 2016
5:54 – Oh my god, and here’s a not so fun fact from the NBA on ESPN’s Twitter…
4th quarters and Dwight Howard have not gotten along this series. pic.twitter.com/pXBWeLQc4Z
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 24, 2016
…I wonder what team he’ll be on next season.
5:56 – We’ve got a time out with the score Golden State 105, Houston 82 with 7:45 left in the ball game. It’s completely unbelievable to think that this was once looking like it was going to be an exciting game.
6:00 – Enough of the crummy Rockets, it’s time for the Celtics and the Hawks! With the Warriors ahead 105-82, it’s definitely time to tune into CSNNE for Game 4 of what’s suddenly become an intense series. The C’s are looking to build off of their exciting victory in Game 3 and send this series back to Atlanta tied at two.
6:06 – Some good news for the Celtics tonight: Kelly Olynyk has been cleared to play after missing the last two games with a shoulder injury. It’ll be interesting to see how many minutes he’ll get, and how effective he’ll be.
6:09 – The Celtics are rolling out with the same starting lineup from Game 3, featuring Jonas Jerebko and Evan Turner. Our narrators this evening on CSNNE: Mike Gorman and Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn.
6:10 – The Celtics win the opening tip, and Game 4 is underway with a resounding cheer from the fans!
6:11 – Jae Crowder nails a three to start off the game! He was miserable in Game 3, and it’d be huge for the Celtics if he found his shooting stroke tonight. Boston leads, 3-0.
6:12 – Paul Millsap hits a hook shot in the paint, and the Hawks are on the board, trailing 5-2.
6:16 – Apparently, by switching over to the Celtics/Hawks game, we’ve missed out on history…
Rush hits from long range to give the @warriors a single-game playoff record 21 3s — only one coming from Curry before his departure
— NBA.com (@NBAcom) April 24, 2016
…I regret nothing.
6:17 – Jeff Teague commits a boneheaded foul on Evan Turner as he’s shooting a desperation shot to beat the shot clock. It’s the second foul on Teague, so he’ll head to the bench, as Dennis Schroder comes in and is greeted with boos after his villainous performance in Game 3.
6:19 – It’s over in Houston with the final score Warriors 121, Rockets 94 after another pitiful effort from the home team. Klay Thompson had 23 points, and Andre Iguodala had 22 off the bench to lead Golden State. James Harden went for 18 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists and 7 steals, while Dwight Howard finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds, but even those performances weren’t enough to avoid a 27 point loss on their home floor. The Warriors now lead the series, 3-1, but it could have been a costly win, depending on whether or not Steph Curry has to miss games with his sprained knee.
6:20 – We’ve got a time out as the Hawks have come out much better here in Game 4. It’s Atlanta 15, Boston 11 with 6:11 left in the first quarter.
6:25 – Bob Kraft sighting! The Patriots owner is sitting with the Celtics owner and cheering on the C’s as they’ve taken the lead back from the Hawks.
6:26 – Isaiah Thomas hits a floater, and the Garden is loud like it was in Game 3! Atlanta calls a time out with the score Celtics 20, Hawks 15 with 4:30 left in the first quarter. the Celtics are on a 9-0 run since the last time out.
6:37 – After the first quarter, it’s Boston 24, Atlanta 21, and it looks like we’re in for another tough battle. Paul Millsap already has 11 points and 5 rebounds for the Hawks, while Jae Crowder, after working on his shooting long into the night, is off to a solid 3-5 start from the field for 8 points.
6:40 – Bill Belichick, Rob Gronkowski, LaGarrette Blount and Chris Herron sightings! The three Patriots, and one former Celtic are there to show their support. No word on whether or not Ron Mercer is in attendance tonight.
6:41 – Evan Turner gets a steal, goes in for a layup, and misses, but Marcus Smart is there to clean up the mess with a tip in, and the Celtics score first in the second, and go up 26-21.
6:44 – We have a time out as the Hawks are on a 9-0 run, and our score’s now Atlanta 30, Boston 26 with 9:14 left in the first half. Both teams have had their hot and cold stretches, which could make for a seesaw game here at the Garden.
6:53 – A rousing “BULLSHIT!” chant can be heard at the Garden after the fans disagree with a foul called against Jonas Jerebko.
6:55 – Another time out with the score Atlanta 35, Boston 34 with 5:11 left until halftime. The Celtics are shooting just 33.3%, and they really struggled when Isaiah Thomas was resting on the bench, but they’re only down one, thanks in part to the ten offensive rebounds they have already.
7:02 – Now we have a time out with the Celtics on a 13-2 run as this game continues to ebb and flow. The scoreboard reads Boston 41, Atlanta 35 with 3:08 remaining until halftime.
7:04 – In the spirit of this physical series, CSNNE shows us footage from a 1983 series between these two teams in which Hawks center Tree Rollins and Celtics guard (and current GM) Danny Ainge get into a fight! During the fray, Rollins bit Ainge, and the next day, the headline in the Boston Herald read, “TREE BITES MAN”.
7:07 – Paul Millsap gets a couple of friendly bounces that allows his three point attempt to drop, and now it’s the Hawks that are back on a run, having scored the last eight points to make the score Atlanta 43, Boston 41 with 1:31 left in the first half. Millsap’s up to 21 points already.
7:11 – FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
Dennis Schroder slips and falls, crashing onto the floor and into Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder. A foul is called on Isaiah Thomas, and while Schroder is on the ground, he throws some shoves at Crowder, who is standing over him. A rousing, “SCHRODER SUCKS!” starts raining down from the Garden stands, and I’m frankly surprised it’s taken this long. Schroder gets called for a technical foul, but Isaiah Thomas misses the free throw.
7:13 – We’ve come to the end of a competitive first half with the score Atlanta 48, Boston 46. Paul Millsap has gone berserk with 26 of the Hawks 48 points, to go along with 8 rebounds. Meanwhile, the Celtics have three players in double-figures: Jae Crowder (11), Evan Turner (11) and Isaiah Thomas (10). It’s been a game of runs so far, with each team answering the other as they go back and forth. It’s been great to watch, and hopefully it’s more of the same in the second half.
7:17 – Time for another informative episode of Today in NBA Playoff History!
Back on April 24, 1963, the Celtics won their 6th NBA title in what would be Hall of Famer Bob Cousy’s final game. It all went down in Game 6 of the Finals, as the Celtics would win, 112-109 over the Lakers. Jerry West and Elgin Baylor combined for 60 points for Los Angeles, but six Celtics scored in double figures, led by 22 from none other than the man who’s color commentating this game for CSNNE right now, Tommy Heinsohn.
7:31 – The Celtics get called for a defensive three second violation, and Kyle Korver knocks down the resulting free throw for the Hawks, giving us our first point of the second half, and extending Atlanta’s lead to 49-46.
7:32 – Paul Millsap hits a shot and is fouled by Evan Turner. Millsap lets out a roar afterwards, but misses his free throw, and Atlanta’s up, 51-46.
7:36 – We’ve got a time out as the Hawks have opened up a ten point lead with an 8-0 run to start off the second half. It’s Atlanta 56, Boston 46 with 9:38 left in the third quarter. Paul Millsap continues to dominate, and he’s got himself all the way up to 33 points already, which is a new Playoff career high for him.
7:45 – After Jeff Teague is fouled, Jared Sullinger walks up and gives Teague an extra bump out of bounds, and he’s called for a technical foul. Teague does miss the technical free throw, but makes the two he got from the initial foul and the Hawks are up 64-51.
7:47 – Isaiah Thomas hits a three, and for the first time in the third quarter, there’s life in the TD Garden. The Hawks take a time out with the score Atlanta 64, Boston 56 with 5:03 left in the quarter as the Celtics have cut what was a 16 point deficit in half.
IT4 hits the big-time 3-pointer to cut into the Atlanta lead: pic.twitter.com/aoBVLdPIBJ
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 24, 2016
7:59 – Jonas Jerebko nails a corner three, and it’s a one possession game again with the Celtics down, 73-70! “I love this team,” says Tommy Heinsohn.
8:00 – The third quarter is over with the score Atlanta 73, Boston 70. The Celtics got off to a horrid start in the second half, but they’ve battled back, with help from an 8-0 run to close out the quarter. The crowd’s back into the game as well, and it’s shaping up to be a good fourth quarter in Boston.
8:03 – Jonas Jerebko gets into the paint and hits a shot for the first basket of the fourth, and the Celtics cut the Hawks lead down to 73-72.
8:04 – The Celtics get a steal, and Jerebko finishes off the fast break with a layup to put the Celtics up 74-73! Mike Muscala then scores a bucket in the paint, and the Hawks regain the lead at 75-74.
8:06 – Paul Millsap’s still on fire. He drives to the hoop and banks in a shot, plus he’s fouled. He hits his free throw for his 39th point and a 78-74 Hawks lead.
8:07 – Marcus Smart barrels his way to the hoop and gets his shot to go, plus he’s fouled! He’ll have a chance to make it a three point game again, but first, we have a time out with the score Atlanta 80, Boston 76 with 9:06 left in the game.
Marcus Smart with the tough finish through contact! pic.twitter.com/QrVTAqEOMd
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 25, 2016
8:11 – Smart finishes off the three point play, and the Celtics trail 80-77. By the way, he’ll now cover Paul Millsap, who’s up to 41 points.
8:15 – Marcus Smart goes down the baseline for a dunk!! It’s a one point game and the fans are on their feet with the Celtics down, 80-79. Kent Bazemore quiets the crowd down a bit with a layup to put the Hawks up 82-79.
8:16 – Marcus Smart knocks down a three! We’re tied at 82! Paul Millsap goes at him near the hoop and gets a bucket to put the Hawks up 84-82, but Smart comes back with another three! The Celtics lead 85-84! Smart’s having a huge fourth quarter!
Marcus Smart = 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/Rdgf0DH4jv
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 25, 2016
8:17 – We have a time out with the score still Boston 85, Atlanta 84 with 4:52 remaining. Marcus Smart, who is a pretty lousy shooter, is 7-14 with 20 points off the bench for the Celtics, and he’s hitting some big shots as this game heads down the stretch!
8:21 – Isaiah Thomas banks home a jumper, and the Celtics lead extends to 87-84!
8:22 – We’ve got a time out with the score Boston 87, Atlanta 84 with 2:59 left on the clock. The Celtics are really locked in on defense, and they’ve got some really clutch shots from the likes of Jonas Jerebko, Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas. The crowd’s behind them and raising hell, and the home team’s on a 13-4 run. Can the Hawks get their groove back, or will the Celtics close them out to tie the series?
8:27 – Paul Millsap gets a bucket in the paint, cutting the Celtics lead down to 87-86, but Jonas Jerebko knocks down a three, and the Celtics go up, 90-86!
8:28 – Jeff Teague hits a three, and the Celtics lead is down to 90-89 with under a minute left. Then, after Evan Turner misses a shot, Teague hits another three, and we have a time out with the score Atlanta 92, Boston 90 with just 20.2 seconds to go.
Are you not entertained!?https://t.co/GuPCYeo9wk
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 25, 2016
8:30 – The Celtics inbound to Isaiah Thomas, who takes it right to the hoop for the game tying layup! It’s Boston 92, Atlanta 92 with 15 seconds left. The Hawks take a time out.
8:33 – The Hawks take another time out. I don’t think teams should be able to take back to back time outs like that. You had your chance the first damn time.
8:34 – The Hawks inbound the ball to Jeff Teague, who just stands there until the clock is about to run out, then he dribbled to his left, goes up for a three, and it’s blocked by the 5’8″ Isaiah Thomas! We’re going to Overtime! Mike Gorman says, “It took them two time outs to draw that up?”
Hawks’ Jeff Teague makes an absolute mess of final possesion in Game 4 vs. Celtics pic.twitter.com/KESiayyO53
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 25, 2016
8:37 – The Hawks win the opening tip of Overtime, and we’re underway with some free basketball.
8:38 – Amir Johnson gets into the paint and gets a pass from Marcus Smart for a layup, putting the Celtics up, 94-92! After a Paul Millsap miss, thanks to some great Smart defense, he finds Johnson all alone under the hoop for an easy basket, and the C’s extend their lead to 96-92! Atlanta takes a time out with 3:44 on the clock! Not a great stretch of ball from the Hawks.
8:42 – Jeff Teague hits another three after a couple of offensive rebounds, and it’s a one point game again with the Celtics up, 96-95.
8:43 – Amir Johnson goes one for two at the free throw line, and the Celtics extend their lead by a point to 97-95.
8:44 – Kent Bazemore hits a three to beat the shot clock, but they’re going to review it. Seeing the replay, there’s no way that it’s good, and unless the referees are on the take, the Celtics will have the ball up 97-95 with under two minutes to go.
8:45 – Evan Turner hits a baseline jumper, and the C’s are back up four at 99-95!
8:47 – Isaiah Thomas knocks down a corner three!! Atlanta calls a time out, as they trail 102-95 with 30 seconds on the clock in a rockin’ TD Garden!
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 25, 2016
8:51 – Boston closes it out, with Patriots running back LaGarrette Blount on the floor giving high fives to all the Celtics as they head to the locker room. Our final score: Boston 104, Atlanta 95 in Overtime! Isaiah Thomas led the way with 28 points and 6 assists. Marcus Smart came off the bench for 20 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and some fantastic defense on the bigger Paul Millsap. Jonas Jerebko had another great game in the starting lineup, going for 16 points and 10 rebounds, while hitting some big shots early in the fourth quarter. Paul Millsap had a ridiculous game, scoring 45 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, but once Marcus Smart started guarding him, he was kept in check. On top of that, he got little help from his teammates, as the Hawks were unable to hold on to the big lead they built. This series has taken quite a turn from the Celtics being down 2-0 and things looking dire without Avery Bradley. Now, it’s tied at two, and it’s heading back to Atlanta. Will the Celtics be able to bring their momentum down there with them?
8:54 – Over on TNT, the Pistons are out to a 12-5 lead over the Cavs as we approach eight minutes left in the first quarter.
9:01 – Okay, we have a time out with the score Detroit 17, Cleveland 17 with 4:54 left in the first quarter. The Cavs can finish this series off with a sweep and join the Spurs in the second round if they win, while the Pistons are trying to salvage a win in front of their home fans.
9:12 – The first quarter comes to an end with the score Detroit 28, Cleveland 25. Like they have all series, the Pistons have gotten off to a good start against the Cavs, but their problem has been their inability to sustain their leads for the entire game. Tobias Harris already has 10 points and 6 rebounds for Detroit.
9:16 – After a turnover, LeBron gets the ball all alone and goes in for the big dunk for the first points of the second quarter. It cuts Detroit’s lead to 28-27.
9:20 – We’ve got a time out with the score Cleveland 32, Detroit 31 with 8:51 left in the first half.
9:29 – Markieff Morris sighting! He’s back in the stands like he was in Game 3 to cheer on his twin brother Marcus, who just tied the game at 34 with a free throw.
9:30 – The Pistons continue to hang in there, but the Cavs have the lead with the score Cleveland 39, Detroit 37 with 5:46 left until halftime.
9:35 – Up 42-40, it looks like the Cavs are going to intentionally foul Andre Drummond, who is the worst free throw shooter in the history of the league. He hits these two free throws, however, and we’re tied at 42.
9:37 – More intentional fouling on Drummond, this time with Cleveland up 45-44. Drummond misses these two free throws.
9:40 – Reggie Jackson heads to the hoop for a layup, and the Cavs call a time out as they’ve given up the lead. It’s Detroit 50, Cleveland 49 with 2:28 left in the first half.
9:46 – We’ve reached halftime with the score Cleveland 53, Detroit 52. LeBron James has 16 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists as he’s hoping to finish this series off tonight. JR Smith has 12 points, and Kyrie Irving scored 11. Marcus Morris has 18 to lead Detroit, while Tobias Harris and Andre Drummond each have 10 points and 6 rebounds. We’ve been seeing this all series long, the Pistons are right there with the Cavs, but if they can’t find a way to to do a bit more, this series is going to be over by the end of the night.
9:57 – Time for one last episode of Today in NBA Playoff History!
Back on April 24, 1985, the Pistons finished off a First Round sweep with a 116-115 Game 3 victory over the New Jersey Nets. This was back in the days when the First Round was Best of Five, and I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea to return to the old best of five format, especially if you’re someone that thinks the Playoffs are too long. Buck Williams had 28 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Nets, Albert King also scored 28 and grabbed 9 rebounds, and Michael Ray Richardson scored 21, hauled in 6 rebounds and dished out 10 assists. They fell just short, however, with Terry Tyler coming off the Pistons bench for 23 points and 11 rebounds. Kelly Tripucka had 12 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists, and Isiah Thomas (not to be confused with Boston’s current Isaiah Thomas) had 16 points, 5 rebounds and 11 assists in what must have been a thrilling game. I hope the people over at NBA TV are reading this, because this one sounds like it could be a worthy addition to the Hardwood Classics library.
10:06 – LeBron James gets the first basket of the third quarter, and the Cavs go up, 55-52. On the next possession, Kevin Love gets in the paint, and nails a fallaway, and Cleveland’s up 57-52.
10:07 – Marcus Morris gets a basket for Detroit, giving him 20 points and cutting the Cavs lead to 57-54.
10:08 – Kyrie Irving knocks down a three, and the Cavs extend their lead to 60-54.
10:09 – A Kyrie layup leads to a time out for the Pistons with the score Cleveland 62, Detroit 54 with 9:10 left in the third quarter. The Cavs have built their lead up a bit, and this is going to be a key stretch for the Pistons with their season on the line.
10:20 – Another time out with the score Cleveland 72, Detroit 66 with 4:18 left in the third quarter. The Pistons are trying hard, but so far, the Cavs have been able to fend them off here in the third.
10:27 – The Cavs hack Andre Drummond to put him at the line. He goes 1-2, and cuts the Cavs lead down to three, at 72-69.
10:29 – Tobias Harris hits two free throws, and the Pistons are on an 8-0 run and trail 72-71.
10:30 – Matthew Dellavedova takes it all the way in for a layup, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope knocks down a corner three, and we’re tied up at 74 with under a minute left in the third quarter.
10:31 – Matthew Dellavedova hits two free throws, and the Cavs go back ahead at 76-74.
10:32 – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope misses a three, but Aron Baynes tips it in to tie us up at 76!
10:33 – Dellavedova’s back at the line to knock down another couple of free throws, and Cleveland takes a 78-76 lead.
10:34 – Tobias Harris gets a layup, but Kyrie Irving beats the buzzer from halfcourt! It sends us into the fourth quarter with the score Cleveland 81, Detroit 78. The Pistons did a good job getting back in the game after it looked like the Cavs might be ready to pull away, but that halfcourt three has to feel deflating as we go into the final twelve minutes of action. Will it also be the final twelve minutes of the Pistons season?
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) April 25, 2016
10:38 – Matthew Dellavedova gets a floater in the paint, and it’s the first points of the fourth quarter, and it extends the Cavs lead to 83-78.
10:41 – Up 86-80, the Cavs foul Drummond before the ball is inbounded, giving him two free throws. He goes 2-2, but Stanley Johnson commits a lane violation on the second one, and it gets wiped away. It’s an unfortunate rookie mistake by the 19-year old, and Detroit trails 86-81. It’s going to especially suck if the Pistons lose by one point.
10:43 – Tobias Harris gets a floater to go down, and the Pistons are back in this one as the Cavs call a time out. It’s Cleveland 86, Detroit 83 with 9:14 left in the ball game.
10:47 – Reggie Jackson gets into the paint for a floater, and it’s a one point game thanks to a 7-0 Pistons run. They’re down 86-85.
10:48 – Kyrie Irving hits two free throws, and Cleveland leads by three at 88-85.
10:51 – After the Pistons miss three chances at a game tying three pointer, Kyrie Irving goes zooming down the court, but misses a layup against three defenders. However, LeBron follows him in for an easy tip in, and the Cavs go up 90-85.
10:52 – We’ve got a time out with the score Cleveland 92, Detroit 86 with an even six minutes remaining. The Cavs continue to send poor Andre Drummond to the line as they attempt to close out this game and the series.
10:58 – Another time out with the score Cleveland 95, Detroit 86 with 4:50 remaining. JR Smith just hit a back breaking, off balance three pointer to beat the shot clock and make the situation dire for the Pistons.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) April 25, 2016
11:03 – Time out as the Pistons will not go away. It’s Cleveland 97, Detroit 93 with 1:59 remaining.
11:06 – And now, for some non-Playoff news…
The Los Angeles Lakers have fired coach Byron Scott, league sources tell @TheVertical
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) April 25, 2016
…please hire Jeff Van Gundy or Mark Jackson. It would be funnier if they hired Jackson.
11:08 – Stanley Johnson dives on the floor and gets a steal, and the Pistons call a time out! It’s still Cleveland 97, Detroit 93 with 1:17 remaining!
11:09 – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope knocks down a three! The Pistons trail by just one at 97-96 as we go under a minute left in the game!
11:10 – Kyrie Irving answers back with a three, and Cleveland’s lead goes up to 100-96 with 42.6 seconds left. He also hit a big three in Game 3, which I missed because the Celtics are on.
11:12 – After a lot of dribbling, Reggie Jackson gets by Tristian Thompson and flies in for a dunk! It leads to another time out with the score Cleveland 100, Detroit 98 with 32.6 seconds left!
11:15 – Kyrie Irving misses a three, and in the scramble for the rebound, Stanley Johnson comes up with it and gets it to Reggie Jackson. He takes it down the court, and goes up for a contested three at the buzzer….and it’s no good! Jackson wanted a foul called, but he’s not going to get one, and our final score is Cleveland 100, Detroit 98.
Kyrie Irving finished the game with 31 points and 5 assists to lead the Cavs. LeBron had another nice all around game, finishing with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Kevin Love chipped in with 11 points and 13 rebounds. For the Pistons, Marcus Morris scored 24, Tobias Harris went for 23 points and 11 rebounds, and Andre Drummond scored 17 and grabbed 11 boards. Reggie Jackson ends with 13 points and 12 assists, but he missed the potential game winning three at the end of the game, and the Pistons have been swept out of the first round by the Cavs.
The Pistons battled hard all series, and despite the sweep, they were competitive throughout, with the exception of the second half of Game 2. They’ve got a bright future, and I’m looking forward to seeing them improve next year. As for the Cavs, they handled a great effort from the Pistons, and took care of business, earning themselves a nice rest as they await the winner of the Hawks/Celtics series.
This turned out to be an eventful day in the NBA Playoffs. The Spurs and Cavs became the first two teams to advance to the Conference Semifinals, Steph Curry was lost to a sprained knee, as the basketball world holds their breaths until tomorrow when he has an MRI, and the Celtics and Hawks played another fantastic game in what’s become the best series of the First Round.
As the Playoffs continue on into a new week, more series are on the verge of ending, while some still hang in the balance. The First Round has rebounded a bit after disappointing start, and there’s still a lot to be decided. Hopefully Steph Curry is okay and doesn’t miss too much time, because basketball is better when he’s around. We’ll see tomorrow.