NBA Playoffs – Day 25

The Thunder take control of their series against the Spurs.

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Last night, I went to my local Town Meeting instead of watching the NBA Playoffs. Why? Because I’m a goddamned civic minded, red blooded American, that’s why. We voted on important matters, and had some laughs, because nothing is more entertaining than a good old fashioned New England Town Meeting. Nothing, that is, except for the NBA Playoffs, and it was just my luck that both of the games went to Overtime last night while I was voting, and having a post-Town Meeting beer. Serves me right for doing my civic duty. Here’s what I missed…

Miami 94, Toronto 87 (OT)

With both teams missing their starting centers, the Heat tied the series with an overtime victory. Dwyane Wade had another stellar game, scoring 30 points. It was another tough game Toronto’s star backcourt, with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combining to shoot 6-28, for just 19 points. Terrence Ross and Cory Joseph led the Raptors with 14 points apiece off the bench. This series is now tied at two, and as long as Wade continues to excel, and the Raptors stars falter, the Heat will have the easier path to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Golden State 132, Portland 125 (OT)

Stupid Town Meeting. I actually got to see the entire second half and Overtime of this one, and it was certainly a sight to see. Steph Curry returned, and came off the bench, but any minutes restriction he might have had was thrown out the window when Shawn Livingston was ejected from the game after picking up two technical fouls. Curry then shook off some rust and went for 40 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists in 36 minutes off the bench, including a Playoff record 17 points in Overtime. Not only that, but earlier today, he was named MVP for the second straight season, and this time, it was unanimous. It’s the first time in NBA History that we’ve had a unanimous MVP. It’s well deserved, too, and that game he had last night was certainly the stuff of an MVP. Legends, too.

Tonight we’re back to our regularly scheduled, non-Town Meeting program, and thank God, because we’ve got Game 5 between the Spurs and the Thunder. After a Game 1 blowout win from the Spurs, the last three games have been excellent, coming down to the final quarter, and featuring plenty of big plays. The series is tied at two, and it’s the night’s only game, which might be for the best, because I don’t know if we can handle more than one with the way these two teams have been going at it. Game 5 of a tied series is usually a great game, so I have high hopes for what we’re in for tonight.

8:00 pm – It’s just about time for what should be another exciting basketball game between the Spurs and the Thunder! Making things even better, it’s on TNT.

8:01 – We’re live at the AT&T Center in San Antonio for Game 5! Marv Albert and Chris Webber will narrate the action for us.

8:02 – The Thunder win the opening tip, and this pivotal Game 5 is underway!

8:03 – Kevin Durant fights to put in a shot underneath the basket, and the Thunder score first to take a 2-0 lead.

8:06 – A Kawhi Leonard shot falls short, but LaMarcus Aldridge is under the hoop to grab it and put it in for the Spurs first bucket. They trail, 4-2.

8:09 – Russell Westbrook just passed up an open layup to pass it off to Durant, resulting in a turnover. I appreciate that Westbrook is trying to get his teammates involved, but this was an instance where it would have been okay to be selfish.

8:10 – Westbrook goes to the hoop and puts the ball in with his left hand, and the Spurs need a time out as the Thunder are off to a strong start. It’s Oklahoma City 9, San Antonio 2 with 8:29 left in the first quarter.

8:17 – We have a time out as the Spurs have gone on an 8-2 run to make the score Oklahoma City 11, San Antonio 10 with 5:09 left in the first quarter.

8:28 – The first quarter comes to an end with the score Oklahoma City 22, San Antonio 16 after a low scoring and uneventful start to the game. Nobody on the Spurs have scored more than one basket, and they’ve started the game by shooting just 7-22 as a team, including five straight misses to end the quarter.

8:32 – Kevin Durant scores on a runner for the first points of the second quarter, putting the Thunder up, 24-16.

8:37 – Kawhi Leonard rips a rebound away from Serge Ibaka and puts it in the hoop. He’s personally on a 6-0 run to make the score Oklahoma City 26, San Antonio 24 with 8:25 left until halftime.

8:45 – Another time out with the score Oklahoma City 29, San Antonio 28 with 5:52 to go until halftime. The defense is really starting to ramp up as both teams struggle for control of this one.

8:53 – Time out with the score Oklahoma City 39, San Antonio 38 with 2:38 left in the first half as the Thunder continue to try to fend off the Spurs.

9:02 – We’ve reached halftime, and the Spurs closed out the first half on an 8-0 run to make the score San Antonio 48, Oklahoma City 43. Kawhi Leonard had a huge second quarter on both ends of the court, and he leads the Spurs with 17 points, 15 of which came in the second quarter. Russell Westbrook has 14 to lead OKC, and Kevin Durant has 12 points and 6 rebounds, but the Thunder relinquished the lead towards the end of the half, and will have to fight to get it back against the formidable Spurs.

9:10 – Time for for tonight’s episode of Today in NBA Playoff History! Big thanks to the soothsayers down at Basketball-Reference for housing all of this knowledge.

9:12 – Back on May 10, 1987, Golden State’s Sleepy Floyd entered the NBA History books, setting a Playoff record for points in a quarter by scoring 29 in the fourth. He also set the record for points in a half, going for 39 in the second half of a 129-121 Game 4 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Semifinals. It would be the Warriors lone win of the series, but it was a legendary one. Sleepy finished with 51 points and 10 assists. Joe Barry Carroll helped out with 23 points and Larry Smith chipped in with 4 points and 16 rebounds. Byron Scott scored 28 points and 7 rebounds for the Lakers, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went for 27 and 8, and AC Green notched 13 points and 12 rebounds. Michael Cooper even came off the Lakers bench for 17 points and 10 assists, but this game belonged to Sleepy, and to this day, the game is known as “The Sleepy Floyd Game”.

sleepy_floyd_arhe.jpg
When your nickname is “Sleepy”, you’re probably doing something wrong, but if you have a memorable NBA Playoff game named after you, you’ve definitely done something right.

9:20 – LaMarcus Aldridge hits a jumper to start off the second half, and it gives the Spurs a 50-43 lead.

9:25 – The Spurs get a steal, and Tony Parker finishes off the ensuing fast break with a layup, and we have a time out with the score San Antonio 56, Oklahoma City 47 with 8:55 left in the third quarter. So far, so good for the Spurs as they try to maintain their lead here in the second half.

9:35 – Kevin Durant throws down a dunk, and it leads to a time out with the score San Antonio 63, Oklahoma City 53 with 6:09 left in the third quarter. OKC’s come out flat here in the third, and they’re in danger of letting this one slip away. Can they go on a run like the Spurs did at the end of the first half and get back into it?

9:41 – A rousing “REFS, YOU SUCK!” chant can be heard in the AT&T Center after the fans disagree with a call. It’s the lamest chant ever. All it tells me is that everyone in the crowd are too afraid to yell “BULLSHIT!” over and over again. You wouldn’t catch a Boston crowd chanting, “REFS, YOU SUCK!”, I can guarantee that much.

9:49 – Randy Foye hits a three from the corner, and we’re back to a one possession game for the first time in awhile, as the Thunder have the Spurs lead cut down to 72-69.

9:50 – The third quarter comes to an end with the Thunder on a 12-4 run, and the score still San Antonio 72, Oklahoma City 69. Just when this game was in danger of becoming uninteresting, the Thunder have come back to make this just a one possession game as we head into the final twelve minutes of action.

9:55 – Dion Waiters goes 1-2 from the line, scoring the first point of the fourth quarter, and drawing the Thunder a little closer as they’re behind, 72-70.

9:56 – LaMarcus Aldridge also goes 1-2 from the line, and the Spurs lead is returned to three at 73-70.

9:58 – Aldridge gets an easy layup, thanks to a nice pass from Manu Ginobili, and the Spurs lead grows to 75-70.

10:00 – Dion Waiters knocks down a jumper, keeping the Thunder close, as they trail, 75-72.

10:01 – Danny Green knocks down a three! It gets the Spurs lead up to 78-72. Russell Westbrook then beats the shot clock with a deep three pointer, keeping this a three point game with the Thunder behind, 78-75.

10:02 – Kevin Durant cans a three, and the Spurs take a time out. It’s San Antonio 78, Oklahoma City 78 with 8:02 left in the game! God bless this series.

10:07 – Tim Duncan knocks down a pair of free throws, and the Spurs take an 80-78 lead.

10:08 – We’ve got a time out with the score still San Antonio 80, Oklahoma City 78 with 5:54 left in the game.

10:12 – Danny Green knocks down a three, and the Spurs are up 83-78. Green’s got 20 points, and has shot 6-8 from downtown.

10:13 – Steven Adams is able to get a layup amongst the congestion under the hoop, and the Thunder trail 83-80. Kawhi Leonard then goes along the baseline, goes past the hoop, turns and hits a hook shot to put the Spurs back up by five at 85-80.

10:14 – Steven Adams comes right back with a dunk, and the Thunder stay within three, trailing 85-82.

10:15 – Kawhi Leonard goes 1-2 from the line, and the Spurs lead is sitting at 86-82.

10:16 – After some staunch Thunder defense, Russell Westbrook goes coast-to-coast for a layup, and it’s a two point game now with the Thunder down, 88-86.

10:17 – We’ve got a time out with the score San Antonio 88, Oklahoma City 86 with 2:39 left in the game. This game is made even better because we have Marv Albert guiding us through it.

10:20 – Enes Kanter gets a layup off a pass from Russell Westbrook, and the Thunder are on a 6-0, tying this game at 88!

10:21- Kevin Durant misses a bank shot, but Kanter is there to put in the miss! Tony Parker then hits a jumper for the Spurs, and we’re tied up at 90.

10:22 – Kevin Durant is fouled taking a jumper, and he has a chance to put the Thunder ahead from the line with 54.7 seconds remaining.

10:23 – Durant knocks down the first free throw…and he’s good on the second! The Thunder take a 92-90 lead.

10:24 – Tony Parker goes 1-2 from the line, and Russell Westbrook grabs the rebound and the Thunder take a time out with the score Oklahoma City 92, San Antonio 91 with 42.3 seconds to go.

10:26 – After Kevin Durant turns the ball over, the Spurs have a chance to take the lead. Tony Parker, however, misses a jumper, and the ball goes bouncing out of bounds. The Thunder take a time out, and they’ll have the ball with 9.3 seconds left and the score still Oklahoma City 92, San Antonio 91.

10:28 – Dion Waiters inbounds to Russell Westbrook, who’s able to get to the hoop before the Spurs can foul him! He gets a layup, then he’s fouled, and he has a chance for a three point play with 6.3 seconds left!

10:29 – Westbrook hits the free throw, and he has 35 points, the Thunder are on a 13-3 run, and the score’s Oklahoma City 95, San Antonio 91 with just 6.3 seconds remaining. Westbrook might have just iced the game.

10:31 – Kawhi Leonard misses a three, the Spurs get the ball, and get it out to Danny Green, who air-balls a three, and that’s the way this game is going to end. Our final score: Oklahoma City 95, San Antonio 91.

Wow. In a surprising turn of events, the Thunder come from behind to defeat the Spurs in San Antonio. Russell Westbrook went for 35 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists to lead the way for OKC. Kevin Durant had 23 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, and Steven Adams scored 12 and grabbed 11. Enes Kanter came off the bench to chip in with 8 points and 13 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard did all he could for the Spurs, coming up with 26 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 20 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, but shot just 6-21. Danny Green also scored 20, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Spurs from dropping Game 5 at home.

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It was an impressive win for the Thunder. It looked like the Spurs were in control, but Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant had other ideas. The Thunder now lead the series, 3-2, which I don’t think many people saw coming. They can now put an end to the series in Game 6 on their home floor, but I think it’s safe to say the Spurs aren’t going to make it easy for them. That being said, and I hate to say this, but the Spurs have been looking a little tired during this series, especially tonight. Tim Duncan’s been legitimately depressing to watch, and the Thunder’s chaotic style might be wearing them down. It’s that same chaotic style that also dooms the Thunder from time to time, but that’s what makes them so fascinating to watch, and there’s no doubt it’ll be on full display as they try to advance to the Western Conference Finals in Game 6.

That does it for tonight. Tomorrow, we’ve got two more Game 5s, and zero Town Meetings, so I won’t be missing a goddamn thing. Until then…

Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

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