NBA Playoffs – Day 11

Two Game 5s, two very different results.

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Once again, we start off the night with some dire injury news. Last night, word came out that Chris Paul could miss the rest of the Playoffs with a broken hand, and it’s now just come out that Blake Griffin is gone for the remainder of the postseason with his injured quad. In just 24 hours, the Clippers went from looking like an intriguing pick to go all the way to the Western Conference Finals with Steph Curry missing for the Warriors, and now, it’s looking like they’ll be lucky if they even make it out of the first round. Not only are Paul and Griffin their two best players, they’re two of the league’s best. This is horrible news for Los Angeles, a team that was already under a lot of pressure to succeed four straight seasons of disappointing Playoff exits. It’s horrible news for everyone, really, as Paul and Griffin are without a doubt two of the more electrifying players in the league. With the loss of them, Steph Curry, Nicolas Batum and Avery Bradley, not to mention all of the Grizzlies and Mavericks health woes, injuries are certainly playing a key role in this year’s postseason, forcing some teams to completely change their playing style, and flat out submarining other teams chances at going anywhere. As for The Bonus injury report, loyal readers, if any, will remember that I stepped on my external hard drive yesterday. Well, today, it was dropped off at a computer store in Arlington, Massachusetts, where they’ll try to recover its contents. Even inanimate objects aren’t immune to the cruelty of the Playoffs. Despite these severe blows, the show must go on, and we’ve got two more games tonight, and they should be good ones.

I don’t know who scheduled tonight’s action, but our first game kicks off early at 6:00 pm, so hopefully everybody’s home in time from work to catch all of the action. If not, well, that’s what this blog is for. Anyway, starting us off: Game 5 between the Raptors and Pacers. That series is tied at two, with the teams splitting the games on each others home floor. Now, they’re back in Toronto, and with each team knowing they can win on the road, it promises to be quite a battle.

After that, it’s another Game 5, and another series that’s knotted up at two. After intense games in Boston, the Hawks and Celtics are back in Atlanta fighting for a series lead. The home team has won every game in the series, so the pressure is on the Celtics to show that they can carry the momentum they earned over the weekend with them on the road.

I’m expecting a great couple of games, because a Game 5 of a tied series is often a tense affair. The teams are at the point where they’re sick of each other, and they’ll be vying to put themselves one win away from clinching a spot in the second round.

6:00 pm – It’s time for an early edition of the NBA on TNT! All of the injuries have put a solemn mood over the Playoffs, but it’s nothing a couple of great games won’t cure.

6:09 – We’re live in Toronto for Game 5 between the Raptors and Pacers! Finally, I can watch a game in this series, after it’s spent most of its time on NBA TV. Brian Anderson and Steve Smith will narrate the action.

6:10 – The Raptors have inserted Patrick Patterson into their starting lineup, replacing Luis Scola, who’s been struggling all series long.

6:11 – The Pacers control the opening tip, and we’re underway north of the border.

6:12 – Paul George gets a jumper to fall for the first bucket of the game, and the Pacers take a 2-0 lead.

6:13 – DeMar DeRozan rises up and hits a jumper, getting the Raptors on the board as they trail 4-2.

6:20 – We have our first time out, and the Pacers are off to a great start with the score Indiana 13, Toronto 6 with 7:24 left in the first quarter. The good news for the Raptors is that DeMar DeRozan is getting to the free throw line early, which is always a key to his success. However, he’s the only Raptor that has scored so far, and they’ve already turned the ball over four times.

6:27 – Another time out with the score Indiana 20, Toronto 12 with 5:09 left in the first quarter as the Raptors have come out flat on their home floor to start Game 5.

6:30 – Now we’ve got another time out, after an incredible 4-0 run from the Raptors to make the score Indiana 20, Toronto 16 with 3:54 left in the opening quarter.

6:37 – Oh man, George Hill misses a three, but Terrence Ross goes up for the rebound, and touches the ball while it’s still in the cylinder, so, chalk up the three for the Pacers, and they’ve got a 32-18 lead.

6:38 – After a Paul George three, the Raptors need a time out as the Pacers are already running away with the ball game. It’s Indiana 35, Toronto 18 with 55 seconds left in what’s turned out to be a miserable first quarter for the home team, as the Pacers are on a 15-2 run.

6:40 – The first quarter comes to an end with the score Indiana 35, Toronto 20. It’s been a horrible start for the Raptors, and they’ve dug themselves a big hole to begin the game. Paul George has 12 points and 4 assists for the Pacers, who are shooting a blistering 7-10 from beyond the arc so far.

6:44 – DeMar DeRozan hits a jumper for the first bucket of the second quarter, cutting the Raptors deficit to 35-22.

6:46 – DeRozan explodes to the hoop for a big dunk, igniting the crowd as he’s scored the first six points of the second quarter! The Pacers take a time out with the score Indiana 35, Toronto 26 with 10:37 left in the first half. It’s the first real signs of life for the Raptors.

6:52 – Drake sighting!

6:57 – We’ve got a time out with the score Indiana 46, Toronto 35 with 5:58 left until halftime. The Raptors grabbed the momentum for a bit, sparked by DeMar DeRozan, but Paul George has snatched it back for the Pacers as their lead is back up to double digits.

7:07 – Time for another time out with the score Indiana 53, Toronto 45 with 1:54 left in the first half. We’ve got a duel brewing between Paul George and DeMar DeRozan. George has 19 points so far, and DeRozan is trying to keep the Raptors close with 17 points as we approach halftime.

7:17 – We’ve reached halftime with the score Indiana 61, Toronto 52. The Raptors shook off some early jitters to get themselves closer to the Pacers, but they haven’t been able to threaten to take the lead so far. Paul George has 22 points and 5 assists for the Pacers, as he’s pretty much personally kept them ahead, heating up whenever the Raptors look like they’re going to make a run. George Hill has 15 points, and rookie Myles Turner has chipped in with 10. DeMar DeRozan has 19 to lead the Raptors, but he hasn’t been getting the same help that Paul George has, as no other Raptor has reached double digits. We might be in for a Paul George/DeMar DeRozan duel, but if the other Raptors don’t chip in, they’ll be in serious danger of falling behind 3-2 in the series.

7:25 – Time for another rousing episode of Today in NBA Playoff History! As always, thanks to the gang over at Basketball-Reference for keeping track of all of this nonsense for us.

We’re gonna go back to April 26, 2011. That’s when the Chicago Bulls eliminated the Indiana Pacers with a resounding 116-89 victory in Game 5 of the First Round. Paul George played in that game and scored just seven points, and Danny Granger led the Pacers with 20. Tyler Hansbrough had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Pacers, but that couldn’t keep them from getting blown out. Derrick Rose scored 25 to lead the Bulls, and Luol Deng was right behind him with 24. This was back before Rose suffered all of his injuries and the world seemed like a better and simpler place.

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Derrick Rose in simpler times.

7:35 – Patrick Patterson gets into the paint and hits a jumper, giving us our first basket of the second half, and cutting the Raptors deficit down to 61-54.

7:36 – FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

As always, not much happened. After Kyle Lowry and Paul George both go to the floor, George is unhappy as Lowry kind of dragged him down. The two briefly get into one another’s face, and now the refs are taking us through another excruciating review as they try to decide if either of them will get a technical foul.

7:39 – Paul George is going to get a technical foul, as the replay shows that he shoved Lowry while they were both still on the ground. DeMar DeRozan misses the technical free throw, and the Raptors trail 63-54.

7:49 – Jonas Valanciunas gets into the paint for a layup, plus he’s fouled. It leads to a time out with the score Indiana 71, Toronto 64 with 6:24 left in the third. Valanciunas will have a chance to make this a six point game when we come back.

7:52 – Valanciunas hits his free throw, and the Raptors are down, 71-65.

7:59 – The Raptors fans unleash a “BULLSHIT!” chant after they disagree with a foul called against Kyle Lowry. The foul gives Monta Ellis two free throws, and it leads to a time out with the score Indiana 82, Toronto 73 with 3:28 left in the third quarter. The Raptors fans have a lot more to worry about than a bad call, as their team hasn’t been able to snatch the lead from the Pacers.

8:09 – The third quarter comes to a close with the score Indiana 90, Toronto 77. Paul George is eviscerating the Raptors, going for 15 points in the quarter to put him at 37 for the game. DeMar DeRozan has 29 for Toronto, but they continue to struggle, and their home crowd has gone quiet.

8:14 – Kyle Lowry nails a jumper to start off the fourth quarter, cutting the Raptors deficit to 90-77.

8:19 – We’re going to have a time out as the Raptors are trying to chip away, having scored the first six points of the fourth quarter, making the score Indiana 90, Toronto 83 with 8:36 left in the game. Of course, when it’s time for Game 5 between the Celtics and Hawks, I’ll be flipping over to CSNNE. Couldn’t that game start at 9:00 instead?

8:25 – Terrence Ross nails a corner three, and it’s a two point game with the Raptors trailing, 92-90. Norman Powell then steals the ball and goes sailing in for a big dunk! The score’s Toronto 92, Indiana 92 and we have a time out with 6:31 left in the game and the Raptors on a 17-2 run!

8:29 – Okay, screw it, we’ll stick around for the rest of this game.

8:30 – Drake sighting again!

8:32 – DeMar DeRozan knocks down a three, and the Raptors have their first lead of the game at 95-92!

8:33 – Cory Joseph knocks down another three for the Raptors! The Pacers need a time out with the score Toronto 98, Indiana 92 with 3:26 left in the ball game.

8:35 – We’ve got another time out with the score still Toronto 98, Indiana 92 with 2:54 left in the game. The Raptors are on a 23-2 run, and they couldn’t have picked a better time to go bonkers.

8:42 – Another time out with the score Toronto 100, Indiana 96 with 41.9 seconds left in the game. The Raptors will have the ball when we come back, and they’re poised to finish this one off after an epic comeback.

8:43 – They’re underway in Atlanta, and the Celtics just got the first bucket of the game, courtesy of Amir Johnson. Hang on guys, I’ll be there in 41.9 seconds!

8:45 – Solomon Hill knocks down a three in the corner, and this one isn’t over yet. The Pacers then foul DeMar DeRozan to send him to the line and stop the clock with 13.9 seconds left and the Raptors ahead, 100-99.

8:46 – DeRozan knocks down his free throws, and the Raptors lead goes up to 102-99. The Pacers call a time out, and they’ll try and tie this one up when we get back. With my luck, we’ll be going to Overtime, causing me to have to choose between that and the Celtics game.

8:48 – Monta Ellis drives towards the hoop, misses a shot, and the ball goes out of bounds as Ellis and Bismack Biyombo go for the rebound. We have a review to see who it went out on, and it’s going to be close.

8:50 – It’s out on Biyombo, and the Pacers will inbound the ball with 2.7 seconds on the clock, but not before one last time out with the score still Toronto 102, Indiana 99.

8:52 – Monta Ellis inbounds to Paul George, who passes over to Solomon Hill who shoots a three…and it’s good! But did he get it off before the buzzer?? Once again, it’s going to be really close. The refs confer…and it came too late! The Raptors escape with a 102-99 win after outscoring the Pacers 25-9 in the fourth quarter!

What a finish. Once again, our final score: Toronto 102, Indiana 99. Things looked dire for the Raptors all game long, but they went wild in the fourth quarter, and eked out an important victory. DeMar DeRozan scored 34 to lead the Raptors. Bismack Biyombo came off the bench for 10 points and 16 rebounds to help spark the big comeback. Paul George had 39 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists for the Pacers, but he was very quiet in the fourth, scoring just two points. With the big win, the Raptors go up 3-2 in the series, and have a chance to close it out in Game 6 back in Indianapolis.

8:54 – Okay, we’re here on CSNNE, and there’s a commercial break going on.

8:57 – All right, play resumes with the score Atlanta 9, Boston 7 halfway through the first quarter. Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine are narrating. Thankfully, it appears I didn’t miss much, which is good, because I would have been pretty pissed off at myself if I missed the ending to the Raptors/Pacers game.

9:03 – We have a time out in what’s been a low scoring first quarter. It’s Boston 12, Atlanta 11 with 2:41 left in the first quarter. Both teams have combined to shoot 7-33 to start the game.

9:11 – The first quarter ends with an 8-2 Boston run, and the score’s Celtics 20, Hawks 15. It’s been an ugly start with the C’s shooting just 31.8%, while the Hawks are even worse, shooting a paltry 23.8%. Al Horford and Jeff Teague have been particularly awful, combining to shoot 1-11 for Atlanta.

9:15 – Jared Sullinger knocks down a jumper for the first basket of the second quarter, and it puts the Celtics up 22-15.

9:19 – The Celtics have started the second quarter strong, and with 8:33 left until halftime, it’s Boston 27, Atlanta 18. After getting off to lousy starts in the first two games in Atlanta, the Celtics have jumped ahead, and they’re even starting to heat up a little from the field.

9:26 – We have a time out with the score Boston 29, Atlanta 21 with 5:41 to go in the first half. The Hawks continue to lay an egg, shooting just 20% from the field, prompting Mike Gorman to say, “I can’t tell if they’re booing Isaiah Thomas, or their own team.”

9:32 – Now the Celtics need a time out as the Hawks have suddenly gone on a 13-2 run to take the lead. It’s Atlanta 32, Boston 31 with 3:36 left in the first half. The fans have definitely gone back to just booing Isaiah Thomas whenever he touches the ball, just as Celtics fans did to Dennis Schroder.

9:39 – The Hawks continue to run amok as they’ve now taken control of the game. It’s Atlanta 45, Boston 35 with 1:05 to go until halftime. Each team has held a double digit lead in the first half, but right now, the home team has all of the momentum. The Celtics need someone to get hot from the field before the Hawks build too big of a lead.

9:43 – We’ve reached halftime with the score Atlanta 47, Boston 39. For awhile, it looked as if the Celtics were going to build a big lead, but the Hawks came roaring back. The start of the third quarter will be a key stretch here, and could decide the outcome of this game depending on which team comes out of halftime stronger. Kent Bazemore got hot for the Hawks, shooting 4-7 from downtown on his way to 14 points. Jeff Teague has added 10 points for Atlanta. Jared Sullinger has 7 points off the bench to lead the Celtics, and Isaiah Thomas, the Playoffs leading scorer, is 0-4 from the field and is still looking for his first points. Obviously, he’ll need to get his offense going in the second half if Boston is going to have any sort of a chance in this one.

9:50 – Time for another episode of Today in NBA Playoff History!

Back on April 26, 1964, the Celtics won their 7th championship with a 105-99 victory over the San Francisco Warriors in Game 5 of the Finals. Wilt Chamberlain scored 30 to lead the Warriors, but the Celtics got the best of them as six of them scored in double figures, led by 19 points from Tommy Heinsohn, who’s not in Atlanta to provide color commentary, but is in the CSNNE studio.

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That’s the grin of a champion.

10:01 – Al Horford hits a shot to start off the second half and extend the Hawks lead to 49-39. It’s his first bucket of the ball game.

10:03 – Isaiah Thomas leans into a shot and it goes down, finally getting him his first points, and cutting the Celtics deficit to 49-41.

10:10 – We’ve got a time out with the score Atlanta 64, Boston 53 with 6:02 remaining in the third quarter. The Celtics had the deficit down to five, but their coughing the ball up way too often, and it’s put a damper on any comeback they might be able to manage so far.

10:18 – Paul Millsap gets a friendly bounce or two on a three pointer, and the Hawks are on a 14-3 run to make the score Atlanta 80, Boston 58 with 3:19 left in the third. Compounding the Celtics issues is the fact that the Hawks have suddenly heated up from three point land. The C’s always seem to battle back, but with the way they’re playing, coming back from a 22 point deficit on the road sounds like a tall task.

10:21 – Another time out, as the Hawks have added another basket to their lead. Our updated score: Atlanta 82, Boston 58 with 2:23 remaining in a demoralizing third quarter.

10:29 – The third quarter comes to an end, and the score’s Atlanta 89, Boston 62. The Hawks have outscored the Celtics, 74-42, since the end of the first quarter.

10:33 – Thabo Sefolosha gets a dunk for the first points of the fourth quarter, putting the Hawks lead at 91-62. Afterwards, Dennis Schroder gets called for a technical foul for taunting Isaiah Thomas, who then misses the technical free throw to perfectly sum up this game for the Celtics.

10:36 – Isaiah Thomas limps his way to the locker room after committing a foul so he can be taken out of the game, reminding us that things can always get worse. He came down strangely after getting a layup, and immediately took himself out of the game.

10:37 – We have a time out with the score Atlanta 95, Boston 66 with 8:48 remaining in the game.

10:41 – Sideline reporter Abby Chin chimes in to tell us that Isaiah Thomas has a mild left ankle sprain and is done for the night.

10:45 – We’ve got another time out with the score Atlanta 101, Boston 72 with 5:39 left in the game. On the plus side, the Red Sox are killing the Braves, 11-4, behind 14 strikeouts from David Price, ensuring that Boston will escape the night even with Atlanta as far as sports are concerned.

10:54 – We have what should be one last time out with the score Atlanta 109, Boston 78 with 1:32 left in the game.

11:00 – The game finally comes to an end with the score Atlanta 110, Boston 83. The Celtics secured an early lead, then proceeded to turn the ball over at an alarming rate, and go cold from the field, always a terrible combination. It didn’t help that the Hawks jumped on the opportunity, heating up from the field and burying the Celtics. Mike Scott led the Hawks with 17 points off the bench, to go along with 5 rebounds. Evan Turner led a hapless Celtics effort with 15 points, also grabbing 5 boards. The Hawks now lead the series 3-2, and can put an end to it in Game 6 in Boston. They haven’t been able to win there, but if the Celtics are without Isaiah Thomas, I don’t see how they’re going to find enough scoring punch to compete. I am depressed.

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Tyler Zeller and Kris Humphries, two tell-tale signs of Playoff Garbage Time.

That’s it for tonight, and this will be the earliest I’ve gotten to bed since the Playoffs have started. Two teams got closer to stamping their tickets to the second round, but the teams down 3-2 will each get a chance to force a Game 7 on their home floor. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go sleep off a rough night from my favorite team so I can return refreshed for tomorrow’s action.

Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

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