NBA Playoffs Day 1: Gone in 17 Seconds

We’ve finally made it to the NBA Playoffs. Everyone’s excited. Even the government pushed Tax Day to Tuesday, because of an ancient law that prohibits the deadline to take place during the first weekend of the NBA Playoffs. I think JFK signed that one into law. Anyway, I just got back from purchasing my Playoff Provisions, namely beer, snacks and coffee, three things that definitely take years off your life, but when it comes to a big Playoff run, sacrifices must be made.

Every year, I start off with the goal of watching every single Playoff game, and every year, I fall short. Contrary to what you might think when you read this blog, I’m not some sort of basketball recluse, living in a cabin, with only a WiFi connection, NBA League Pass, and sparse amounts of food and water to keep me going. I’ve got friends, family, even a girlfriend, if you can believe it, a real job and a life beyond basketball, all things I’m thankful for, and all things that keep me from my unattainable and ridiculous Playoff watching goals.

That being said, I try my damnedest. Along the way, I always keep a running diary of the experience. What’s happening in the game, what beer I’m drinking, who I’m watching the games with. It’s all part of an effort to capture the mood of each Playoff series, and better remember each little moment. That, and I like writing, and I like basketball, so, why not, right? It’s fun for me, and hopefully, fun for you to read it. Without further ado, it’s time for the 2017 NBA Playoffs to begin…

2:30 pm – We’re welcomed to the Playoffs by Michelle Beadle, Jalen Rose and Chauncey Billups on ABC. Our first game: the Cleveland Cavaliers vs the Indiana Pacers. The Cavs have been one of the more interesting teams heading into the postseason. They’ve struggled recently, slogging through the last 46 games of the season with a 23-23 record. Whether or not they have an extra Playoff gear is one of the big questions as the postseason begins. I’m reminded of the 2010 Celtics, who finishes the season 25-25, then made it to the Finals.

2:36 – Jalen Rose notes that LeBron got his hairline “touched up”, and that because of this, the Pacers are in trouble.

2:38 – A big reason for excitement with this series is the LeBron vs Paul George matchup. They had a great duel a couple of weeks ago, and these two going at it are one of the only hopes we have for this series being interesting.

2:44 – For this weekend’s beer, I went with an all lager lineup: Jack’s Abby Saxony Lager, and the old standby, Sam Adams Boston Lager.

2:48 – It doesn’t seem right to be kicking off the Playoffs without the ceremonial 12:30 pm game in Toronto.

2:58 – I made it through all of NBA Countdown without complaining about Jalen Rose. This is a positive step forward for everyone involved. Now’s the true test, however, as we’re sent out to Cleveland where we’re welcomed by Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, who will narrate Game 1 between the Cavs and the Pacers. I appreciate ABC getting these three out of the way early.

3:08 – The Cavs win the opening tip, and the 2017 NBA Playoffs, at long last, are underway.

3:09 – A pair of Kevin Love free throws are the first points of the Playoffs. Cleveland takes an initial 2-0 lead.

3:10 – Thaddeus Young gets an offensive rebound off of a Paul Geroge jumper, and kicks it back out to George, who knocks down a three to give the Pacers their first bucket of the Playoffs, as well as a 3-2 lead.

3:18 – My girlfriend Aubrey on our announcing crew: “They’re pretty obnoxious to listen to.”

3:19 – We have our first time out with 5:37 left in the first quarter, and the score: Cleveland 18, Indiana 18. We’re off to a good start here, particularly Kevin Love, who’s already reached double figures with 10 points. Interestingly enough, the only player that hasn’t scored or taken a shot yet is LeBron James.

3:26 – Tristan Thompson tips in a missed reverse layup from Richard Jefferson, and with 3:21 left in the first quarter, it’s Cleveland 23, Indiana 21. LeBron still hasn’t taken a shot, or scored, but he does have three assists, and made a nice pass to Jefferson on his missed layup attempt. He’s clearly looking to facilitate early, and get the rest of the squad going.

3:29 – This is LeBron’s 200th Playoff game. He’s never gone scoreless in a Playoff first quarter before.

3:30 – LeBron takes his first shot – a missed layup attempt. He corrals the offensive rebound, however, and eventually drives to the hoop and draws a foul. He hits both of his free throws to put the Cavs up 25-21, and avoid going scoreless in a Playoff first quarter for the first time.

3:32 – Lance Stephenson has entered the game for the first time for the Pacers! We all remember his legendary battles with LeBron earlier this decade. He’s actually provided a real spark for the Pacers down the stretch of the regular season. We’ll see if he can keep up the good work here in the Playoffs against his old rival LeBron.

3:33 – Lance Stephenson makes a nice pass to Kevin Seraphin, who hits a floater. “Nice pass by Lance Romance!” says Jeff Van Gundy. He’s immediately scolded by Mark Jackson for that one. Anyway, the score’s Cleveland 29, Indiana 25 with 1:22 to go in our opening quarter.

3:35 – Stephenson hits a jumper, and Mike Breen also calls him “Lance Romance”. We couldn’t even make it past the first quarter before these guys started going off the rails.

3:37 – The first quarter comes to an end with Thaddeus Young not realizing the buzzer was about to go off, and missing a jumper that was too late anyway. The score after one: Cleveland 34, Indiana 29. The Pacers are doing a nice job hanging in there, and they’re shooting 52.6%. Unfortunately for them, Cleveland’s shooting an even 65%. Kevin Love still leads all scorers with those ten early points he scored, and Paul George has six to lead the Pacers.

3:42 – Aaron Brooks grabs a rebound, comes down the court and pulls up for a three to kick off the second quarter scoring. It cuts the Pacers deficit down to 34-32. Afterwards, LeBron goes after Lance Stephenson for the first time, backs him down to the hoop, banks in a shot off the glass, and draws a foul. He hits his free throw, and Cleveland’s lead goes up to 37-32.

3:47 – We’ve reached the TV timeout early in the second quarter. The score’s Cleveland 45, Indiana 39 with 8:56 remaining in the first half. The Pacers are up to 56% shooting, but they haven’t been able to cut into Cleveland’s lead, because they’re up to a ridiculous 68% shooting.

3:50 – “Lance Romance” is now trending on my Twitter feed.

3:55 – Another time out, with the scoreboard now reading Cleveland 54, Indiana 48 with 5:58 left until halftime. There hasn’t been a whole heck of a lot of defense played in this one, which is keeping the Pacers in the game. If only they weren’t allowing the Cavs to shoot 67.7% from the floor.

4:00 – Indiana’s Thaddeus Young picks up his third foul, but for now, he stays in the game. Meanwhile, Kevin Love goes 1-2 from the line to put the Cavs ahead, 57-50.

4:04 – We’ve arrived at another time out with the score Cleveland 61, Indiana 53 with 2:54 left in the second quarter. The Pacers are down to 50% shooting, and we seem on the cusp of a big Cavs run to close out the first half.

4:08 – “Oh my god, they are really obnoxious…oh my god! They’re really annoying.” – more thoughts from Aubrey on our narrators, as they discuss a blocking foul called against Kyrie Irving.

4:13 – LeBron takes it to the bucket for a layup, plus a foul with just a second left in the first half. He misses the free throw, however, and we head into halftime with the score Cleveland 66, Indiana 59.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love lead the Cavs with 15 points apiece. LeBron’s right behind them with 14 points, as well as 8 assists. They’ve got 44 of Cleveland’s 66 points. Paul George is doing his best to keep the Pacers within shouting distance, leading all scorers with 16 points. Indiana’s lucky to be down a mere seven points. Cleveland’s shooting 61%, and they don’t seem to be challenged by the Pacers defense. To their credit, Indiana’s hanging in there with 50% shooting, including 7-13 from downtown. Whichever team that decides to start playing defense should be able to come away with a win here.

4:17 – It’s time for the first episode Today in Playoff History of the 2017 Postseason! As always, Today in Playoff History is brought to you by the scholars over at Basketball Reference.

Back in 1965, the Celtics defeated the 76ers, 110-109 to win Game 7 of the Eastern Division Finals. In fact, you might be familiar with how this game ended…

Definitely one of the most famous moments in NBA History. As for the rest of the game, Sam Jones led the Celtics with 37 points. John Havlicek had 26 points, 11 rebounds, and one iconic moment. Satch Sanders chipped in with 18 points and 10 boards, Bill Russell finished with an outlandish 15 points, 28 rebounds and 8 assists, and it was his inbound pass that struck the basket support which led to the Sixers fateful inbound pass that could have set up a game winning bucket. KC Jones added 6 points and 10 assists for a home team that was thankful to escape with the close win.

For Philly, Wilt Chamberlain sprung for 30 points and 32 rebounds. Dave Gambee added 25 points and 6 boards, while Chet Walker scored 24 and grabbed 5 rebounds. Now, that’s a ridiculous box score. The Celtics went onto win the Finals, as they so often did in those days.

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4:30 – Paul George hits a fallaway to get us the first points of the second half, cut the Cavs lead to 66-61, and get himself up to 18 points.

4:34 – Paul George hits a turnaround on the baseline, and all of a sudden, it’s a one possession game with the Pacers trailing, 73-70. LeBron promptly throws a dope bounce pass to Tristan Thompson for a dunk, to get the Cavs lead up to five at 75-70. George has nine quick points to kick off the second half.

4:36 – Myles Turner slams home a dunk to make this a three point game again, with Indiana down, 75-72.

4:37 – LeBron knocks down a step-back three, and he’s now 8-9 from the field for 22 points. More importantly, Cleveland’s lead is doubled to six, at 78-72.

4:38 – Jeff Teague finds Thaddeus Young for an easy hoop, and it leads to a time out with the score Cleveland 78, Indiana 74 with 6:15 to go in the third. Meanwhile, Paul George is really starting to heat up, and we could have quite a game on our hands as we roll towards the fourth quarter.

4:43 – After he’s fouled shooting a three, Jeff Teague sinks three free throws, and it’s back to a three point game with the Pacers trailing, 80-77.

4:45 – Myles Turner goes 1-2 from the line as the Pacers continue to chip away. They’ve got the Cavs lead down to 80-78.

4:46 – Kyrie Irving knocks down a jumper to extend the Pacers lead to 82-78.

4:47 – Richard Jefferson goes 1-2 from the free throw line, and it leads to a time out with 3:36 remaining in what’s been an enjoyable third quarter. The score’s Cleveland 83, Indiana 78 as the Pacers are not going away. They’ve shown that they can lurk within striking distance, but do they have what it takes to snatch the lead away from the defending champs?

4:51 – Jeff Van Gundy is throwing down spoilers for Designated Survivor. I’d care more if I watched, or knew anyone who watched, Designated Survivor.

4:52 – LeBron comes away with a loose ball, charges up the court with Richard Jefferson, gives RJ the ball, gets it right back, and throws down a fast break dunk. The Pacers need a time out, because the score’s suddenly Cleveland 90, Indiana 78 with 2:11 left in the third. The play also inspires Mark Jackson to say, “Mama, there goes that man!” for the first time in these Playoffs. Ugh. Anyway, a critical stretch is on the horizon for the Pacers. Can they get back into this one, or are the Cavs about to flush them down the toilet?

4:56 – The third quarter draws to a close with the scoreboard reading Cleveland 92, Indiana 84. The Pacers made it interesting for a stretch there, but the Cavs never surrendered the lead. Nevertheless, it’s still just an eight point game. LeBron’s got 26 points, 5 rebounds and 10 assists, and Kyrie Irving’s not far behind with 21 points and 6 assists. Paul George has 25 to lead the Pacers, but he’s going to have to do even more for them if they’re going to steal Game 1, and he’s already done just about everything he can do thus far.

5:00 – Kyle Korver knocks down a three to begin the fourth quarter. It extends the Cavs lead to 95-84. It was Korver’s first shot of the game.

5:03 – Larry Bird sighting! The Pacers President looks less than pleased.

5:04 – Deron Williams knocks down a three, and the Cavs continue to hold the Pacers at bay. It leads to a time out with 9:06 remaining in the ball game, with the score Cleveland 98, Indiana 88.

5:10 – Lance Stephenson goes spinning through the paint, then flings a pass over his shoulder to Thaddeus Young who banks in a shot from close range. The Pacers continue to hang in there as we go into a time out. The score’s Cleveland 98, Indiana 92 with an even eight minutes to go in the game.

5:17 – Myles Turner gets a layup in the paint, and the Pacers have scored seven straight to make our score Cleveland 103, Indiana 101 with 4:26 to go. Turner’s reached double figures with 11 points. They deserve a lot of credit for weathering the storm and getting themselves into a position to actually steal this game.

5:21 – With a chance to tie the game from the line, Paul George, a 90% free throw shooter, misses the first, but hits the second one, and the Pacers are down 103-102 as we’re now under four minutes remaining.

5:22 – Jeff Teague knocks down a three! The Pacers take a 105-103 lead! It’s their first lead since they were ahead, 21-18, in the first quarter, and they’re on an 11-0 run. LeBron James answers with a thunderous two hand slam, and we’re immediately tied at 105.

5:23 – Kyrie Irving knocks down a jumper, and the Cavs retake the lead at 107-105.

5:24 – JR Smith goes 1-2 from the line, and the Cavs lead is up to 108-105, as we’re now under two minutes remaining. Lance Stephenson follows it up by missing an irrational confidence three. Very unfortunate.

5:26 – We’ve got a time out in between a pair of LeBron free throws. He misses the first one, and our score is still Cleveland 108, Indiana 105 with just 1:17 remaining. Meanwhile, Jeff Teague is having one of his fingers worked on by the Pacers trainer.

5:27 – LeBron hits his second free throw, and we’ve got another time out called with the score now Cleveland 109, Indiana 105 with 1:17 to go.

5:30 – Paul George pulls up and hits a long three! We’ve got a one point game with the Cavs ahead, 109-108 as we go under 40 seconds to go.\

5:31 – LeBron James misses a three, the Pacers secure the rebound, and we’ve got a timeout with just 20 seconds on the clock and the score still Cleveland 109, Indiana 108. The Pacers now have a chance to win Game 1 at the buzzer. Ridiculous.

5:32 – Jeff Teague inbounds to Paul George. He kicks it out to CJ Miles and….the Cavs commit their foul to give. The Pacers will inbound again with 10.6 seconds to go.

5:33 – This time, Teague inbounds to Geroge, who is double teamed by LeBron and JR Smith. He gets the ball to CJ Miles who pulls up for a jumper….and it’s no good! The Cavs escape with a 109-108 victory here in Game 1! Now that’s how you start off the Playoffs!

Man, what a game. Once again, our final score from the Quicken Loans Arena: Cleveland 109, Indiana 108. I don’t think many people, including myself, expected this one to come down to the last shot, but it sure as hell did, and Miles got a pretty decent look, it just hit the rim. We saw flashes, but if the Cavs have an extra Playoff gear, I’d say it wasn’t reached.

LeBron James finished with 32 points, 6 rebounds and 13 assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and 6 assists, while Tristan Thompson chipped in with 8 points and 13 boards.

Paul George did all he could for the Pacers, ending up with 29 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Lance Stephenson provided a real spark off the bench, ending up with 16 points and 7 rebounds.

They escaped with the win, but the Cavs did little to alleviate the concerns that many people had about them coming into the Playoffs. Every time it looked like they were going to go on one of their trademark game-sealing runs, the Pacers came right back. The Cavs were able to fall back on their hot shooting, but their defense left a lot to be desired. They might be able to get away with this sort of behavior here in the first round, but they’re not going to be around as long as they’re accustomed to unless they find a way to shore themselves up.

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5:38 – We’re live in Toronto for Game 1 between the Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks! This should be a great series. The Bucks have a young, hard playing team, while the Raptors have a deep team that’s racked up a good amount of Playoff experience over the past few years. They’ll be hungry for more after their very first trip to the Conference Finals last season. Of course, the Bucks have one of the league’s most exciting young players in Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose name I have copied on my computer, and ready to paste throughout the game.

5:40 – Toronto wins the opening tip, and this one’s underway. Doris Burke is our color commentator, but I’m not sure who our play-by-play man is. Stay tuned.

5:41 – DeMar DeRozan hits one of his trademark midrange jumpers, and the Raptors strike first, taking a 2-0 lead.

5:42 – Giannis Antetokounmpo throws down a big dunk to score Milwaukee’s first points of the Playoffs. They’re down 4-2 early on.

5:49 – Bucks rookie Malcolm Brogdon storms through the paint for a layup, and it leads into our first time out in Toronto. It’s Milwaukee 15, Toronto 13 with 6:26 to go in our opening quarter, as both teams are exchanging blows early.

6:00 – We’ve got a time out with the score Milwaukee 26, Toronto 19 with 2:25 left in the first quarter. It’s early, but the Bucks are looking quite poised in the face of a rowdy Toronto crowd, which is already fed up with the refs.

6:07 – The first quarter comes to an end with the score Milwaukee 30, Toronto 22. Thus far, it’s the Bucks that are looking like a poised, experienced basketball team. For the Raptors, Serge Ibaka is making a good first impression in his Toronto Playoff debut with ten points, while DeMar DeRozan’s scored eight points, however, the rest of the Raptors have done little to support them. Giannis Antetokounmpo has seven points to lead the Bucks.

6:10 – Giannis Antetokounmpo gets to the hoop for a layup as Kyle Lowry makes a half-hearted effort to stop him. Lowry’s called for a foul as Milwaukee strikes first in the second quarter. Giannis misses the free throw, but the Bucks have opened up a ten point lead at 32-22.

6:14 – Jonas Valanciunas gets himself a bucket, and that ten point Bucks lead has nearly been erased. The score’s Milwaukee 34, Toronto 33 with 9:15 to go until halftime. The Raptors are starting to show their Playoff experience with an 11-2 run.

6:24 – After a Serge Ibaka dunk, we’re going to have another time out with the score Toronto 41, Milwaukee 40 with 5:24 left in the first half. Ibaka continues to raise hell for the Raptors. Both he and DeMar DeRozan have scored 12 points, but Giannis Antetokounmpo’s got 15 as the Bucks continue to keep pace.

6:30 – Kyle Lowry just picked up his third personal foul as we head under three minutes remaining in the first half. He heads to the bench having scored just two points. Meanwhile, we’re heading into a timeout with the score Toronto 43, Milwaukee 43 with 2:47 remaining in the first half.

6:38 – We’ve reached halftime with the score Toronto 51, Milwaukee 46. After falling behind by double digits, the Raptors were able to take control thanks to the exploits of DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka. DeRozan’s got 18 points and 5 rebounds to lead the way, and Ibaka’s contributed 14 & 7. They’ve offset Kyle Lowry’s quiet first half. He’s got just two points, four assists and three fouls. Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the Bucks with 15 points, and Malcolm Brogdon has chipped in with ten. It’s been impressive to see the Bucks hang with the Raptors throughout the first half. Hopefully they can keep it up as the game continues on.

6:46 – It’s time for another exciting and informative episode of Today in Playoff History!

Back in 1966, the Los Angeles Lakers advanced to the Finals with a 130-121 victory over the St. Louis Hawks in Game 7 of the Western Division Finals. Jerry West led the way with 35 points and 6 assists for the Lakers, and Elgin Baylor submitted 33 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. Rudy LaRusso also had a solid game, coming up with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.

Cliff Hagan led the Hawks with 29 points and 7 rebounds. Bill Bridges had 23 points and 13 boards, Joe Caldwell scored 21 and grabbed 6, while Richie Guerin finished with 20 points and 5 rebounds. Despite their four 20 point scorers, the Hawks fell short, while the Lakers went on to lose to the Boston Celtics in the Finals.

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6:54 – Oh fuck. Celtics star Isaiah Thomas’ sister was killed in a car crash this morning. This is just terrible news, and I can’t imagine what he and his family are going through. Our best wishes go out to him and his family.

6:57 – Back in Toronto, a pair of Jonas Valanciunas free throws give us our first points of the second half, extending the Raptors lead to 53-46.

6:58 – After a basket from Giannis Antetokounmpo makes this a three point game, Milwaukee’s Tony Snell ties us up with a three. It leads to a time out with the score Toronto 53, Milwaukee 53 with 9:23 to go in the third quarter. As we head into the timeout, Serge Ibaka is seen on the ground and in pain.

7:02 – We’re back and Serge Ibaka is looking fine and ready for action. He remains in the game.

7:03 – Jonas Valanciunas breaks the tie with a pair of free throws, and the Raptors take a 55-53 lead.

7:04 – Milwaukee rookie Thon Maker hits a jumper, tying the game back up at 55. On the next possession, fellow rookie Malcolm Brogdon nails a three, and the Bucks retake the lead at 58-55.

7:05 – DeMar DeRozan knocks down a pair of free throws to make this a one point game with the Raps trailing, 58-57.

7:06 – Our first “REFS, YOU SUCK!” chant of the Playoffs arrives courtesy of the Raptors fans. Easily one of the worst chants in all of sports. What’s wrong with a simple “BULLSHIT!” chant?

7:07 – After Thon Maker blocks a DeMar DeRozan layup on one end, Giannis Antentekoumpo goes in for a layup at the other end, plus he’s fouled! He hits the free throw, and the Bucks expand their lead to 61-57.

7:08 – Kyle Lowry beats the shot clock with a tough jumper, and it’s Toronto’s first field goal here in the second half. It cuts the Bucks lead to 61-59.

7:09 – We’re tied back up after a DeMar DeRozan layup evens the score at 61.

7:10 – Malcolm Brogdon knocks down a three in the corner to put the Bucks back ahead, 64-61. That’s followed by Kyle Lowry grabbing an offensive rebound after Serge Ibaka misses a three. Lowry kicks it out to PJ Tucker, who nails a three, and we’re tied at 64. The Bucks take a time out with 5:05 left in a lively third quarter.

7:14 – Oh dear, Giannis just picked up his fourth foul going after a rebound with PJ Tucker. He’ll head to the bench with 4:33 left in the third. Meanwhile, Tucker hits both free throws, and the Raptors go up, 66-64.

7:16 – DeMar DeRozan hits a pair of free throws, and the Raptors put a little bit of space between themselves and the Bucks with a 68-64 lead.

7:17 – Matthew Dellavedova knocks down a couple of free throws, and the Bucks draw closer, trailing 68-66. There are way too many crazy names in this series.

7:18 – Khris Middleton finds Greg Monroe in the paint for a layup, and we’re tied back up again, this time at 68.

7:19 – Dellavedova knocks down a three, and the Bucks retake the lead. It leads to a time out with the score Milwaukee 71, Toronto 68 with 2:45 left in the third. The Bucks have gone on a 7-0 run with Giannis on the bench.

7:22 – Two more free throws from DeMar DeRozan makes this a one point game with the Raptors down, 71-70.

7:23 – Tony Snell explodes to the bucket with a big two hand slam to get the Bucks lead back up to three at 73-70.

7:24 – Two free throws from Khris Middleton puts the Bucks up 75-70 as we near the end of the third quarter. PJ Tucker can’t hit a shot at the buzzer, and we’ll head into the fourth with the score still Milwaukee 75, Toronto 70. That poise from the Bucks that I mentioned earlier has remained, but we’ll have to see if they can close things out on the road in the fourth. DeMar DeRozan’s up to 26 points and 7 rebounds for the Raptors, and Serge Ibaka’s got a double-double with 14 & 10. Giannis has 22 points on 10-13 shooting to lead the Bucks.

7:30 – Jason Terry finds Greg Monroe in the paint for an easy bucket, and the Bucks strike first in the final quarter with their lead now up to 77-70.

7:35 – After scooping up a loose ball, Greg Monroe has a fast break opportunity. He can’t score, but he is fouled, and it leads to a timeout with the score Milwaukee 81, Toronto 71 with 8:47 left in the game. The Raptors have gone cold, their fans are getting antsy, and they’re in danger in losing yet another Game 1.

7:38 – We’re back from the timeout and our play-by-play man (still haven’t caught his name, sorry, there’s a lot going on) tells us that the Raptors are shooting just 3-20 from the field here in the second half. Yikes. Meanwhile, Monroe hits his two free throws, and the Bucks lead balloons to 83-71.

7:43 – Giannis works his way into the paint, puts up a shot, gets fouled, and has the shot goaltended by Serge Ibaka. It’ll lead to a timeout with the score Milwaukee 87, Toronto 75 with 5:45 to go in the game. When we come back, Giannis will be at the line looking to make it a three point play.

7:46 – Giannis misses his free throw, and the score remains Bucks 87, Raptors 75 as we head down the stretch here in Game 1.

7:51 – Giannis knocks down a turnaround over PJ Tucker, and this game has taken an unexpected turn as the Raptors take a timeout. The score’s Milwaukee 93, Toronto 76 with 2:38 left in the game. All of the Playoff demons that we thought didn’t matter anymore for the Raptors have returned, and they’re well on their way to their 93458th Game 1 loss.

7:56 – DeMar DeRozan goes in for a layup, and it’s blocked emphatically by Giannis! He’s fired up, and DeRozan’s pissed off. Giannis gets called for a lame technical foul after his animated reaction to his big play, while DeRozan had to be restrained by Serge Ibaka. DeRozan hits his free throw, but the Raptors trail, 95-77 with under two minutes remaining.

8:00 – This one comes to an end with an unexpected final score of Milwaukee 97, Toronto 83. It’s the Bucks first Game 1 win on the road since 1983.

DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 27 points and 8 rebounds, but he, like the rest of the team, went might cold down the stretch. Serge Ibaka was impressive with 19 points and 14 rebounds, but even he was quiet during the latter stages of the game. Kyle Lowry had an unfortunate evening, finishing with just four points on 2-11 shooting.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had a great game for Milwaukee, finishing with 28 points and 8 rebounds, while Greg Monroe came off the bench, looking unstoppable on his way to 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Everything bad about the Raptors Playoff history reared its ugly head here tonight. Another Game 1 loss, an invisible Kyle Lowry, a terrible performance at home. It was an unenjoyable evening for those that feel that the Raptors are the second best team in the East, and it wasn’t a great afternoon for the folks that feel that the Cavs have a Playoff switch. It’s made for a very interesting start to the 2017 Playoffs.

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8:08 – We’re whisked down to San Antonio for Game 1 between the Spurs and the Grizzlies! We’re welcomed by Marc Jones and Hubie Brown. It’s amazing how great ESPN’s broadcast crews are once you get past their Big 3. Anyway, Memphis has been one of my favorite teams this decade, and they’re going up against the Spurs once again. These two teams always play hard against one another, and this could be a gritty series. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies will be without one of their key defensive players, Tony Allen. Wayne Selden will start in his place.

8:10 – The Spurs control the opening tip, and yet another series between the Spurs and Grizzlies is underway.

8:11 – Marc Gasol gets the first bucket of the game with a fadeaway, giving the Grizzlies a 2-0 lead. Tony Parker quickly answers with a bucket in the paint, tying us at two.

8:13 – We have an early time out with the score Memphis 5, San Antonio 2 with 10:10 remaining in the first quarter. Marc Gasol’s scored the first five points for the Grizzlies, so clearly, savvy Spurs coach Greg Popovich wants to slow him right down.

8:16 – We’ve got another timeout after Mike Conley hits a little floater. The Grizzlies have hit their first five shots on their way to a 12-5 lead with 8:32 left in the first quarter. All of their points have been scored by either Conley or Gasol.

8:23 – The Spurs turn the ball over, which leads to a fast break dunk by none other than the 40 year old Vince Carter. This game couldn’t have started better for the Grizzlies. Our score’s Memphis 22, San Antonio 9 with 5:15 to go in the first quarter thanks to a 10-2 run. The Grizzlies are also shooting 9-12 from the field.

8:24 – Back from the timeout, Pau Gasol’s shot is blocked by his brother Marc as things continue to be unpleasant for the Spurs.

8:27 – Yet another timeout. With 2:40 left in the first quarter, it’s Memphis 26, San Antonio 15. The Grizzlies are up to 11-15 from the field, although you have to assume that the Spurs are going to shake off this poor start and make this a close game before too long.

8:32 – After a Kawhi Leonard interception leads to a Patty Mills three, the Grizzlies call a timeout as the Spurs are starting to make their move. The score’s Memphis 28, San Antonio 23 with 57 seconds to go in the first quarter.

8:36 – An interesting first quarter comes to an end with the score Memphis 30, San Antonio 25. The Grizzlies hit two-thirds of their shots in the opening quarter. Marc Gasol has 11 points already, and Mike Conley’s right behind him with ten. The Spurs came to life towards the end of the quarter however, led by Kawhi Leonard, who has 11 points on perfect 5-5 shooting. Hopefully both teams can keep up the great work, and keep the momentum going on what’s been an awesome first day of the Playoffs.

8:41 – Mike Conley goes 1-2 from the line to score the first point of the second quarter, extending the Grizzlies lead to 31-25.

8:47 – Marc Gasol banks in a ridiculous shot to beat the shot clock, plus he’s fouled by Danny Green! It takes us into a timeout with the score Memphis 35, San Antonio 34 with 8:29 to go before halftime.

8:50 – Back from the timeout, Gasol hits his free throw, and the Grizzlies lead is now 36-34.

8:53 – Marc Gasol hits a nifty turnaround over LaMarcus Aldridge, as both he and Mike Conley have remained hot. It sends us into a timeout with the score Memphis 38, San Antonio 34 with 6:20 left until halftime. Gasol’s up to 16 points on 7-8 shooting.

8:59 – We have a timeout after a Tony Parker three gives the Spurs a lead. It’s San Antonio 41, Memphis 38 with 4:31 left in the second quarter.

9:05 – Manu Ginobili has to leave the game after taking an errant Zach Randolph elbow to the eye. He leaves with the Spurs ahead, 45-41, after Kawhi Leonard slams home a put back dunk on the same play.

9:11 – A great first half comes to a close with the score San Antonio 52, Memphis 49. Kawhil Leonard has 17 points to lead the Spurs, Tony Parker’s got 12, and LaMarcus Aldridge has ten. Meanwhile, Marc Gasol has 25 points here at halftime, almost singlehandedly keeping the Grizzlies in the game. I say almost, because Mike Conley’s added 13 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Beyond those two, however, it’s been quiet. They’ve got Memphis this far, but the rest of the gang are going to have to do something in the second half if they’re going to have a shot at stealing Game 1.

9:14 – Time for another exciting episode of Today in Playoff History!

Back in 1977, the Celtics wrapped up a first round sweep of the Spurs with a 113-109 victory in Game 2. That’s right, Game 2. Things were different back then. The NBA had Best of Three first round series, and San Antonio was apparently in the eastern half of the country.

George Gervin led the Spurs with 30 points, and Billy Paultz added 20. Jo Jo White got the job done for the Celtics, pouring in 38 points to get Boston out of the first round.

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9:28 – LaMarcus Aldridge gets the Spurs the first points of the second half with a jumper, and their lead goes up to 54-49.

9:30 – By the way, Marc Gasol’s 25 first half points sets the Grizzlies record for points in a Playoff half. He might need to do it again here in the second half if they’re going to have a chance to win.

9:33 – After Vince Carter forces a Kawhi Leonard turnover, the Grizzlies get a fastbreak with Wayne Selden finishing off a 2-on-1 opportunity with a layup. It takes us into a timeout with the score San Antonio 56, Memphis 53 with 9:18 left in the third quarter. In other news, Marc Gasol has a new Playoff career high with 27 points.

9:37 – Kawhi Leonard knocks down a pair of free throws, extending the Spurs lead to 58-53.

9:39 – A Marc Gasol hook shot makes this a one possession game again, with the Grizzlies behind, 58-55.

9:40 – After Danny Green blocks a Mike Conley layup attempt, Tony Parker hits a little floater for the Spurs, building their lead up to 60-55.

9:42 – Kawhi Leonard spins into the paint and hits a shot over Vince Carter. The Grizzlies need a timeout as the Spurs lead continues to grow. It’s San Antonio 64, Memphis 55 with 6:01 left in the third.

In other news…

Come on, Tony! Lay off them Celtics legends!

9:55 – Patty Mills knocks down a three, and everything’s going well for the Spurs. Even Spurs legend David Robinson is seen applauding in the stands, and with good reason. It’s San Antonio 79, Memphis 64 with a minute left in the third quarter.

10:00 – We’re here at the end of the third quarter with the score San Antonio 84, Memphis 64. Kawhi Leonard scored 15 in the quarter, and is up to 32 on the night. As for the Grizzlies, their hot start was too unsustainable. Marc Gasol’s up to 32 points, but we’ve gotten to the point where he’s the only one contributing. Even Mike Conley’s gone cold, still stuck on the 13 points he had at halftime.

10:04 – Patty Mills leads off the fourth quarter with a three, extending the Spurs lead to 87-64.

10:08 – Tony Parker makes a shot from short range, and the Spurs have scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter as we head into a timeout. Our score’s San Antonio 91, Memphis 64 with 9:32 remaining. Marc Gasol has scored exactly half of the Grizzlies points so far.

10:10 – We’ve got another timeout with the score San Antonio 93, Memphis 64 with 8:49 left. Here we were thinking this was going to be different from the Spurs annihilation of the Grizzlies in last year’s first round, yet here we are with San Antonio on the verge of a 30 point lead, with the Grizzlies still having yet to score here in the fourth.

10:20 – We’re just waiting for this one to come to an end at this point with 5:38 left in the game and the score San Antonio 100, Memphis 68. After a fun first half, the Spurs have outscored the Grizzlies 48-19 here in the second half so far.

10:28 – We have what should be one last timeout with the score San Antonio 107, Memphis 71 with 2:30 to go.

10:35 – This one finally comes to an end with a final score of San Antonio 111, Memphis 82. Gross.

Kawhi Leonard was magnificent for the Spurs, scoring 32 points on 11-14 shooting, and dishing off five assists. LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points and 6 rebounds. Marc Gasol finished with 32 points and 5 rebounds to lead the Grizzlies.

After a great start, the Grizzlies just couldn’t keep it going. Mike Conley disappeared after coming out of the gates on fire, and Gasol was left to try and deal with things by himself. As you might imagine, it didn’t go well for Memphis. The Spurs were patient, methodical and disciplined like they always are, and it carried them to a big win here in Game 1.

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10:41 – Up next, our final game of the day. The Los Angeles Clippers vs the Utah Jazz. This could be the beginning of the last ride of the Lob City Clippers, while this Jazz team are in the Playoffs for the first time together. They’re going up against an experienced Playoff team that has never quite gotten as far as they’ve expected to.

10:44 – We’re live at the Staples Center for Game 1 between the Clippers and Jazz! Dave Pasch and Doug Collins are our narrators.

10:46 – The Jazz win the opening tip, and our final game of the day is underway, and we’re immediately off to a horrendous start. Gordon Hayward goes to pass the ball to Rudy Gobert, but he bangs knees with Luc Mbah a Moute, and he can’t get up, and needs to be helped off the floor. He’s one of the best defensive players in the league, and he’s being helped to the locker room on literally the first play of the goddamn series. Derrick Favors replaces him in the lineup. This sucks.

10:48 – Chris Paul hits a lone free throw after a defensive three second violation, giving the Clippers an early 1-0 lead.

10:49 – Joe Ingles gets himself a layup for the first Jazz bucket. They trail 3-2.

10:52 – Blake Griffin gets a bucket from close range, and the Jazz need a timeout. The score’s Los Angeles 7, Utah 2 with 8:15 left in what’s already been a depressing first quarter.

11:09 – Joe Johnson hits a three from the corner, and the Jazz are hanging in there without their big man. It takes us to a timeout with 2:44 left in the first quarter, and the score Los Angeles 19, Utah 17. This whole Gobert injury has me really bummed out. I was really looking forward to this series, and seeing what the Jazz could do.

11:12 – The word from sideline reporter JA Adande is that Gobert has a sprained knee and will not return tonight. Lousy news, but not as lousy as it could have been, I suppose.

11:16 – We’ve reached the end of the first quarter, and our score’s Los Angeles 24, Utah 22. Blake Griffin’s already got 11 points to lead the home team. Gobert’s injury is hanging over everything, but the Jazz aren’t the sort of team to roll over, and so far, they’ve been able to make do without their defensive anchor.

11:20 – JJ Redick knocks down a corner three to start off the third quarter, giving the Clippers a 27-22 lead.

11:26 – Jamal Crawford gets himself to the bucket for a layup, and the Jazz call a timeout with the score Los Angeles 36, Utah 30 with 8:26 remaining in the first half.

11:33 – We’re going to have a timeout with the score Los Angeles 36, Utah 35 with 5:46 to go until halftime. The Jazz continue to stay in the game thanks to their defense and balanced offense. It feels like the Clippers should have a much bigger lead.

11:38 – George Hill bounces a pass to Derrick Favors for an easy dunk, and the Jazz are on a 9-0 run. It leads to a timeout with the score Utah 44, Los Angeles 38 with 3:49 left in the second quarter. The Clippers have turned the ball over five times here in the quarter, leading to 11 points for the Jazz.

11:42 – Well, the Clippers have come right back with five quick points to make this a one point game. It’s Utah 44, Los Angeles 43 with 2:42 to go until halftime.

11:49 – We’re here at halftime with the score Los Angeles 52, Utah 52. After an opening possession that would have deflated a lot of teams, the Jazz really haven’t missed a beat. Their depth has really saved them here this evening.

Blake Griffin leads the Clippers with 20 points, and Chris Paul has 5 points, 5 rebounds and 10 assists already. Joe Johnson’s come off the Jazz bench to lead them with 14 points.

It’s been impressive to see the Jazz lose maybe their most important player, and remain in the game like this. The question is, can they keep it up? Chris Paul hasn’t even really looked to score yet (he’s just 1-4 from the field). Will he try to take over and put the game out of Utah’s reach in the second half, or will he continue to feed Griffin, whom the Jazz seem to have no answer.

11:55 – It’s time for our final episode of Today in Playoff History!

We’re going back to 1979 to see the Lakers defeat the Nuggets, 112-111, to win their best of three first round series, 2-1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hit a skyhook with 12 seconds left to put Los Angeles ahead and seal the victory.

David Thompson scored 28 to lead Denver, and Dan Issel added 24. Kareem led the Lakers with 29 points, and the clutch skyhook. Adrian Dantley scored 26, and Jamaal Wilkes went for 23.

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12:07 am – Boris Diaw makes an awesome pass to Joe Ingles in the corner for a three pointer, giving us our first points of the second half, and putting the Jazz up, 55-52.

12:08 – Blake Griffin barrels into the paint for a basket, and the Clippers cut their deficit to one, at 55-54. On the next possession, JJ Redick ventures into the paint for a layup, and the Clippers take a 56-55 lead.

12:09 – Derrick Favors gets an easy bucket in the paint, and the Jazz retake the lead at 57-56.

12:10 – Chris Paul goes all the way to the hoop for a layup, and now the Clippers are back on top, 58-57, but Derrick Favors follows it up with another easy bucket from close range, and the Jazz go back ahead, 59-58.

12:14 – Chris Paul pulls up, and the Clippers regain the lead. It leads into a timeout with the score Los Angeles 60, Utah 59 with 6:18 left in the third quarter.

12:18 – Back from the timeout, Gordon Hayward hits a jumper to give the Jazz a 61-60 lead. On their next possession, George Hill misses a floater, but gets his own miss and gets it into the hoop, putting the Jazz up, 63-60. Back on the other end, Blake Griffin gets a layup, and the Clippers are down, 63-62.

12:19 – George Hill gets fouled by Chris Paul in the paint, throws up a shot, and it goes in. He’s good on his free throw, and the Jazz now have a 66-62 lead.

12:20 – Joe Johnson finds Gordon Hayward at the end of a fastbreak for the layup, and it leads to a Clippers timeout. The score’s now Utah 68, Los Angeles 62 with 4:24 left in the third. I can’t say enough about how hard the Jazz are playing. Losing Gobert does not have them rattled, and everyone else has stepped up. They play very well together.

12:25 – Chris Paul goes through the paint for another layup, and we’re back to a two point game with the Clippers trailing, 68-66. Paul’s looking to score more here in the second half, and he’s up to 8 points in the quarter.

12:27 – Two free throws from Marresse Speights ties us up at 68.

12:29 – Jamal Crawford comes down the court, pulls up, and knocks down the shot, giving the Clippers a 70-68 lead.

12:30 – Two free throws from Gordon Hayward has us tied back up at 70, as we’re about to go under a minute left in the third quarter.

12:31 – Two more free throws from Hayward puts the Jazz up 72-70.

12:32 – Hayward hits a jumper with 1.7 seconds left on the clock, and he’s closed out the quarter with a personal 6-0 run. It sends us into the fourth quarter with the score, Utah 74, Los Angeles 70.

Blake Griffin’s got 24 points to lead the Clippers, but he hasn’t been heard from in awhile. Meanwhile, Hayward’s up to 16 for the Jazz, who are 12 minutes away from pulling off an improbable Game 1 victory.

12:36 – Raymond Felton goes to the paint for a layup, and the Clippers score first in the fourth to cut their deficit down to 74-72.

12:37 – Rodney Hood knocks down a three to get Utah’s lead up to 77-72.

12:38 – Derrick Favors takes a nice bounce pass from Joe Ingles to the hoop for a layup, and the Jazz have their largest lead of the night. With 9:56 left in the game, our score’s Utah 79, Los Angeles 72 as the Clippers take a timeout.

12:42 – George Hill bails out the Jazz by banking home a three as the shot clock expires, getting their lead up to 82-74.

12:44 – Marresse Speights gets into the paint, then throws up a lob to DeAndre Jordan, who slams it home. It leads into a timeout with the score Utah 82, Los Angeles 79 with 7:45 left in the ball game.

12:47 – Rodney Hood finds Derrick Favors under the hoop for an easy dunk, giving the Jazz an 84-79 lead. Favors has been doing a great job filling in for Gobert tonight.

12:51 – After a great steal on one end, Chris Paul pulls up and hits a jumper to make this a one possession game again, with the Clippers behind, 84-81. Unfortunately for them, Joe Johnson knocks down a three to extend Utah’s lead to 87-81.

12:52 – We’ve got a technical foul on DeAndre Jordan. He was unhappy after getting called for a loose ball foul while fighting with Derrick Favors for a rebound. Gordon Hayward knocks down the free throw, putting the Jazz up, 88-81.

12:55 – Chris Paul takes the ball down the court, pulls up and nails a three! He’s scored the last ten points for the Clippers, and they’re down one, at 90-89. Undaunted, Gordon Hayward comes back with a fadeaway to put Utah ahead, 92-89, as we go under three minutes to go.

12:57 – Joe Johnson ventures into the paint and hits a floater! It leads to a timeout with the score Utah 94, Los Angeles 89 with just 1:07 on the clock. Johnson’s up to 19 points off the bench.

1:01 – JJ Redick takes it to the hoop for a layup, and the Clippers trail 94-91.

1:02 – As Joe Johnson tries to work his way to the bucket, he loses the ball, and on the ensuing Clippers fast break, Blake Griffin is fouled with 23.3 seconds on the clock. Griffin, who hasn’t scored since midway through the third quarter, knocks down the first free throw, and is good on the second one as well. We’ll have a time out with the score, Utah 94, Los Angeles 93 with just 23.3 seconds to go.

1:05 – After the Jazz inbound the ball, the Clippers use their foul to give. Now the Jazz will inbound again with 19.8 seconds to go.

1:06 – The Jazz inbound to Derrick Favors, and he’s fouled with 18.7 seconds left. He’s not the best free throw shooter, he’s spent much of the season injured, and he’s definitely been heroically laboring through this game as he’s filled in for Rudy Gobert.

He misses the first free throw….but bounces in the second one, and the Clippers call a timeout, trailing 95-93 with 18.7 seconds on the clock.

1:08 – Chris Paul takes the ball the and banks in a floater off the glass, tying us at 95! The Jazz elect not to use their timeout. Instead, they take the ball down the court. Joe Johnson ventures into the paint, puts up a runner….and gets a friendly bounce at the buzzer! The Jazz win 97-95!!

Wow. Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 26 points and 7 rebounds, but he was nowhere to be found down the stretch. Chris Paul did indeed try to take over in the second half, finishing with 25 points, 7 rebounds and 11 assists. He had a clutch shot with just 13 seconds to go, but it ended up being for naught. DeAndre Jordan contributed 10 points and 15 rebounds to the cause.

Joe Johnson came off the bench to score 21 for the Jazz, including the buzzer beater to win the game. Gordon Hayward finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Derrick Favors, pressed into action with the loss of Gobert, finished with 15 points and 6 rebounds, all while running out of steam towards the end after an injury plagued season.

I have to say, I was pretty depressed a mere 17 seconds into the game after Gobert was lost. The mood on Twitter was the same, as people openly wondered if this series was now over. Well, the Jazz remained undaunted, played their game, and stole an important victory here in Game 1. What a fantastic way to end the day.

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The Playoffs got off to a tremendous start today, with two of the games going right down to the final shot. One of those final shots even went in. Tomorrow has a tough act to follow, and like the rest of the NBA, we’ll be back in action for another full day of memorable basketball. We’ll leave you with this…

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Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

2 thoughts on “NBA Playoffs Day 1: Gone in 17 Seconds”

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