NBA Playoffs Day 2: Easter Sunday

Today’s got a tough act to follow. The Playoffs got underway yesterday with two games coming down to the last shot, and a whole bunch of interesting and exciting action. We’re hoping for more of the same today, with four more games as the rest of the series get themselves underway. Without further ado…

12:49 pm – Just sitting here waiting for this episode of The Librarians to end on TNT. It’s actually a pretty great show to just have on in the background, something which could be said for just about every TNT original.

12:51 – Kicking off today’s action: Game 1 between the Washington Wizards and the Atlanta Hawks. The Wizards have one of the best starting backcourts in the league, with John Wall and Bradley Beal providing a potent offensive punch. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s one of the trickiest teams to get a handle on in the league. You just can’t trust the Hawks, you never know what kind of shape they’re going to show up in. They can either be a pesky team that’s tough to deal with, or a team that doesn’t look like it even belongs on the floor. We’ll have to see which version of them shows up today.

12:55 – Before we get started, we here at The Bonus wish you a Happy Easter. It’s certainly happy for us, with all of this basketball for us to enjoy today.

1:00 – We’re welcomed into Studio J in Atlanta by Ernie Johnson! It’s always great to see the friendly confines of Studio J. It means we’re going to be in good hands.

1:02 – The gang starts off by acknowledging the horrible news about the sister of Isaiah Thomas, who passed away in a car accident yesterday. Isaiah plans on playing later today in what wills surely be an emotionally charged game in Boston. We express our best wishes and condolences to Isaiah Thomas and his family.

1:05 – Ernie Johnson informs us that the last time the Wizards franchise hosted a Game 1 was all the way back in 1979.

1:06 – Charles Barkley says the Wizards are not only going to beat the Atlanta Hawks down like dogs, they’re going to make it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals.

1:09 – We’re brought to Washington DC for Game 1 between the Wizards and the Hawks! The awesome Ian Eagle will narrate the play-by-play, with former player Greg Anthony providing the color commentary.

1:11 – The Hawks win the opening tip, and yet another day of exciting Playoff action is underway.

1:12 – A jumper from John Wall gets us our first bucket of the ball game, and it gives the Wizards an early 2-0 lead.

1:15 – Paul Millsap gets himself a reverse layup, and the Hawks are finally on the board trailing 5-2.

1:20 – After a Hawks turnover, we’ve got our first time out with the score Washington 12, Atlanta 8 with 5:56 left in the first quarter. Neither team is off to a particularly rip-roaring start thus far.

1:24 – John Wall finds Markieff Morris for a big dunk at the end of a fast break! The Wizards are on an 8-0 run, and it takes us into another timeout with the score, Washington 18, Atlanta 8 with 4:33 left in the opening quarter. The Wizards are already outworking the Hawks on the offensive glass, and seem like they’ve got much more energy to begin the game.

1:26 – News for later today…

It was already going to be hard enough for Portland, and now, they’re officially without their starting center to begin their series with the Warriors.

1:33 – John Wall dives on the floor for a loose ball and calls a timeout to avoid a jump ball. With 2:34 left in the first quarter, it’s Washington 23, Atlanta 18. Wall’s off to a particularly fast start with 7 points, 5 assists, and one awesome chase-down block.

1:40 – Well, the Hawks end the first quarter on a 17-2 run, including a floater from Taurean Prince with one second left. Our score’s Atlanta 29, Washington 25. After a lively start, the Wizards finish the opening quarter shooting just 37.5% from the floor. The Hawks were able to use the free throw line to help take the lead, going 11-14 in the quarter, while the Wizards got just four chances from the line.

1:44 – Kelly Oubre gets a steal and a dunk to kick off the second quarter scoring, and get the Wizards their first basket after missing eight straight shots. They trail, 29-27.

1:50 – After another Hawks turnover, we’ve got our second quarter TV timeout. It’s Atlanta 31, Washington 29 with 8:45 left until halftime. The game’s gotten pretty sloppy, with both teams shooting a yucky 36.4% from the field.

1:59 – Taurean Prince gets to the bucket for a layup, and the Wizards take a timeout as the Hawks lead continues to grow. It’s Atlanta 39, Washington 31 with 6:23 left in what’s been an ugly first half. The Washington crowd has been quieted, and the energy the Wizards were playing with at the start has all but vanished.

2:02 – The Wizards started the game shooting 10-20. Since then, they’re 3-18. Make it 3-19 after Otto Porter misses a jumper.

2:07 – Bradley Beal knocks down a three, and the Hawks take a timeout as the Wizards are starting to drag themselves back into it. The score’s Atlanta 41, Washington 38 with 4:18 left until halftime.

2:09 – Arby’s commercials are the worst.

2:17 – Markieff Morris is fouled shooting a three at the halftime buzzer. He knocks down his three free throws, and we head into halftime with the score, Atlanta 48, Washington 45, but not before Morris and Millsap exchange a few unpleasant words! They’re separated without incident, and the two teams head to their locker rooms after a fairly uninspiring first half of basketball.

John Wall has 13 points and 7 assists to lead the Wizards, and Markieff Morris scored ten, but as a team, they shot a horrid 33.3%. For the Hawks, Paul Millsap and Dennis Schroder each have 12 points, with Schroder adding 5 assists. Dwight Howard scored just two points, but he has ten rebounds. The Hawks matched the Wizards horrid 33.3% shooting. They’ve been able to stay ahead thanks to a 19-22 showing from the free throw line.

2:24 – “We should be at church, we shouldn’t be working,” says Charles Barkley at the start of the halftime show.

2:27 – It’s time for our first episode of Today in Playoff History, brought to you by the good folks over at Basketball Reference!

Back in 1964, the St. Louis Hawks fell to the San Francisco Warriors, 105-95, in Game 7 of the Western Division Finals. Wilt Chamberlain led the way for the Warriors, scoring 39 points. Bob Pettit led the Hawks with 24, Richie Guerin netted 23, and Cliff Hagan scored 21, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Wilt and the Warriors, who went on to lose to the Celtics in the Finals.

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2:38 – Markieff Morris kicks off what will hopefully be a better second half by knocking down a three to tie the game at 48.

2:40 – Tim Hardaway Jr goes 2-3 from the line after he’s fouled shooting a three. It puts the Hawks back ahead, 50-48. Morris answers with a jumper to tie us at 50, and Dennis Schroder explodes to the hoop for a layup, getting the Hawks back up, 52-50. Things are starting to look up.

2:41- John Wall spins into the paint, then kicks it out to Otto Porter who knocks down a three, giving the Wizards a 53-52 lead.

2:42 – Marcin Gortat hits a little one handed shot and Washington’s lead expands to 55-52.

2:43 – Markieff Morris drives in for a floater, and the Hawks take a timeout with the score Washington 57, Atlanta 52 with 8:56 left in the third quarter. The Wizards have come out of halftime on a 12-4 run, and Morris has seven of those points.

2:48 – Dennis Schroder goes along the baseline for a layup, but John Wall comes right back with a quick layup of his own, and the Wizards lead, 59-54.

2:54 – Tim Hardaway Jr gets to the bucket for a layup, and it leads to a timeout with the score Washington 67, Atlanta 61 with 4:37 left in the third. The Wizards have come alive here in the third, with Markieff Morris raising a lot of hell. He’s got 11 points in the quarter so far, and on the other end, he’s making things rough on Paul Millsap with his physical defense.

2:57 – Marcus Morris sighting! He’s in the stands watching his twin brother Markieff go berserk, live and in person here in the third.

3:07 – We’ve made it to an electrifying third quarter with the score Washington 83, Atlanta 76. Unfortunately, Wizards backup big man Jason Smith is on the ground and grabbing his knee in pain, a concerning end to what was a great quarter for the home team. John Walls scored 15 in the quarter, and now has 28 points and 11 assists.

That being said, if Smith is lost, it’ll be a bad blow to Washington, whose already thin bench hasn’t contributed much here this afternoon.

Nevertheless, the Wizards were able to grab control of the game thanks to Wall, and Markieff Morris, and they’re now twelve minutes away from wrapping up a Game 1 victory.

3:11 – Brandon Jennings corrals a steal, and passes the ball up to Bojan Bogdanovic for a layup that gets us our first basket of the fourth, as the Wizards go up, 85-76.

3:13 – As Jason Smith is the only backup center for Washington that wasn’t already hurt, Markieff Morris is out their in the middle for the Wizards here in the fourth.

3:16 – Kelly Oubre knocks down a three as the Wizards bench, fairly quiet through the first three quarters, have been maintaining the lead here in the fourth. It takes us into the TV timeout, and our score’s Washington 95, Atlanta 83 with 8:15 left in the game.

3:19 – Good news on Jason Smith from sideline reporter Allie LaForce. He’s just banged his knee, and he’s been cleared to come back into the game.

3:23 – A timeout with 5:56 on the clock and the score Washington 100, Atlanta 87. The Wizards bench got the job done early in the fourth, and it’s allowed John Wall to remain on the bench for some extra rest.

3:26 – We come back from the timeout with some great footage of the last Washington basketball team to win a division championship: the 1979 Washington Bullets. We saw some great uniforms, and the likes of Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes and Bobby Dandridge. I wish they were still called the Bullets, frankly.

3:31 – Marcin Gortat throws down a dunk on Paul Millsap, and he gives Millsap an extra shove and a few words afterwards. This leads to a lame technical foul against Gortat. Come on refs, this is the Playoffs. The Wizards lead, 108-97.

3:33 – Gortat gets an offensive rebound, then takes a knee to the eye. as Taurean Prince leaps over him in the rebound action. He collapses to the ground, hands over his face. It leads into a timeout with the score Washington 108, Atlanta 100 with 2:31 left in the game. The hit to Gortat’s face looked incidental, and was not retaliation for his loud dunk a couple of minutes ago.

3:36 – We’re back and Gortat is out on the floor and looking fine.

3:39 – A pair of John Wall free throws gets him up to 30 points, bringing us into a timeout with the score Washington 112, Atlanta 103 with a mere 1:13 left on the clock.

3:45 – We’ve reached the end of the game with a final score of Washington 114, Atlanta 107.

John Wall took control in the third quarter, and finished the game with 32 points and 14 assists. Bradley Beal added 22, and Markieff Morris, who had a fine third quarter himself, ended with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks, and some great defense on Paul Millsap. Marcin Gortat added 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 25 points and 9 assists, while Dwight Howard chipped in with 7 points and 14 rebounds.

After a listless first half, the Wizards turned on the jets and put the game away, hanging onto the lead with ease, as the Hawks turned the ball over 19 times.

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3:50 – Time to switch over to Game 1 between the Warriors and Blazers, already in progress over on ABC. As we saw earlier, the Blazers will be without starting center Jusuf Nukic, who was a key part to the latter stages of their season. Compounding his absence is the fact that pretty much all of their other big men are also shelved with injuries.

3:51 – As I tune in, the Warriors lead, 13-11, coming up on midway through the first quarter. Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson are our narrators. As much as I complain about them, I have to give props to all of the other ESPN announcing crews, which were top notch throughout the day yesterday.

Anyway, the Warriors enter the Playoffs looking like the team to beat, and their potent roster has earned a spot in the annals of NBA history. Obviously, a second championship and three years would make that spot significantly bigger.

3:57 – After Kevin Durant misses a dunk and is fouled, we have a timeout with the score Golden State 20, Portland 18 with 3:18 left in the first quarter. Kevin Durant’s leading the way for the Warriors with 9 points and 4 rebounds, while CJ McCollum is keeping things close for the Blazers with 12 points so far.

4:00 – Apparently a Steph Curry shot that was initially ruled a two has been reviewed and changed to a three. Kevin Durant then hits his two free throws from the foul on his missed dunk, and the Warriors lead 23-18.

4:07 – The first quarter comes to an end with the score Golden State 32, Portland 27. Both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have 12 to lead the Trail Blazers, while Kevin Durant has 11 points and 6 rebounds for the Warriors, with Steph Curry right behind him with ten. Even though I got to this game late, it’s clear that both teams have been bringing the intensity from the start, and they’re both fired up heading into the second quarter.

4:11 – Here at the start of the second quarter, the score has once again been amended. They took a point back off that Steph Curry three, changing it back to a two. The Warriors lead is cut to 31-27 without the Blazers having to do anything.

4:12 – CJ McCollum ventures to the bucket for a layup for the first basket of the second quarter, cutting the Warriors lead to 31-29 and giving himself 14 points already.

4:17 – We’re here at the early second quarter TV timeout, and the score’s Golden State 34, Portland 34, with 8:59 left until halftime. McCollum and Lillard have combined for 28 of Portland’s 34 points, something that’s probably not sustainable, but it’s made for a fun start to the game.

4:21 – CJ McCollum has 19 points already, singlehandedly keeping the Blazers in the game, and Jeff Van Gundy just said, “This isn’t special.” Go to hell. I can’t wait to get back to TNT.

4:23 – Ian Clark gets a steal, and a layup, and we’ve got a time out with the score Golden State 44, Portland 39 with 7:09 remaining in the first half.

4:27 – McCollum gets to the hoop, draws a foul and lays it in. He misses his free throw, however, but he’s up to 25 points on 10-14 shooting. Now Van Gundy says he’s mesmerized and ready to storm the court. Make up your goddamn mind. Anyway, the Blazers trail, 44-43.

4:32 – Maurice Harkless gets past Draymond Green for a layup, and the Trail Blazers continue to keep pace. It’s Golden State 51, Portland 51, with 2:38 left in the first half. “The Blazers are back to within two!” exclaims Mike Breen. Am I being too hard on these guys? McCollum’s up to 27 points on 11-15 shooting to tie the franchise record for points in a Playoff half.

4:36 – Ronnie Lott sighting! He’s sitting court side taking in what’s been an exciting game so far.

4:40 – After Draymond Green splits a pair of free throws, the Blazers call a timeout to plan their possession with 23.1 seconds left in the half. The score’s Golden State 56, Portland 56.

4:42 – We’ve reached halftime with the score still Golden State 56, Portland 56. The big story of the first half is of course the exploits of the Blazers backcourt. McCollum still has 27 on 11-15 shooting, and Damian Lillard has 21, giving them 48 of their team’s 56 points.

Kevin Durant leads the Warriors with 16 points and 7 rebounds, and Steph Curry’s got 13. Draymond Green’s been stuffing the box score with 7 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.

What an entertaining first half. McCollum and Lillard are doing all that’s humanly possible to keep the Blazers even, but eventually, one or two other Blazers are going to have to contribute. The game’s also getting testy, with trash talk flying left and right. In other words, it’s been exactly what a Playoff game should be.

4:47 – It’s time for another intriguing episode of Today in Playoff History!

We’ve seen Wilt once already today, and we’re visiting him again, this time in 1967 when he hauled in 38 rebounds for the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 2 of the Finals against his former team, the San Francisco Warriors.

It was a triple double for Wilt, as he finished with 10 points, those 38 rebounds, and 10 assists. Just ridiculous. Hal Greer nearly had a triple double himself, springing for 30 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists. Billy Cunningham added 28 points and 6 rebounds, while Luke Jackson chipped in with 6 points and 15 boards.

For the Warriors, Rick Barry scored 30 and grabbed 10. Nate Thurmond scored 7 points, but pulled down 29 rebounds of his own, and Jim King contributed 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists.

Your final score: Philadelphia 126, San Francisco 95. The win put the Sixers up 2-0 in the series, and they’d go on to win the Finals, 4-2.

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4:54 – In other news…

Kudos to Brad Stevens for letting Isaiah Thomas do what he’s gotta do during a tragic time.

4:59 – CJ McCollum gets into the paint, misses a floater, gets the rebound and puts it in. Kevin Durant answers right back with a jumper, and we begin the third quarter tied at 58.

5:00 – Steph Curry goes along the baseline and scoops in a shot, giving the Warriors a 60-58.

5:01 – Evan Turner nails a three, but Draymond Green answers quickly with a hoop. Maurice Harkless comes right back with another three for Portland, and they lead, 64-62.

5:02 – Zaza Pachulia takes a pass from Draymond Green for a basket in the paint, tying us at 64. Maurice Harkless then bounces a pass to Noah Vonleh all alone under the hoop for a dunk, but Steph Curry answers with a three, putting the Warriors up, 67-66.

5:03 – Vonleh hits a jumper in the paint, but it’s not long before a Steph Curry layup puts the Warriors back on top, 69-68.

5:04 – CJ McCollum gives a jumper to bounce in, and the Blazers go back up, 70-69.

5:05 – Steph Curry scoops in another layup, the Warriors go back ahead, briefly, before Damian Lillard drives in for a floater, putting the Blazers up, 72-71. Klay Thompson responds with a shot from the paint, returning the lead to the Warriors, who go up, 73-72.

5:06 – Steph Curry knocks down a three, but it’s waved off due to a moving screen called on Zaza Pachulia. It remains, 73-72, Warriors.

5:07 – The Blazers give the ball to Noah Vonleh for what should be a fastbreak dunk, but Draymond Green is there for an incedible block, and he lets out a big roar!

On their next trip down the court, the Blazers finally get their dunk, courtesy of Maurice Harkless. It leads to a time out with the score Portland 74, Golden State 73 with 5:33 left in what’s been a furious third quarter. I think I need another beer.

5:11 – Andre Iguodala throws a lob down the court to JaVale McGee, who slams it home to give the Warriors a 75-74 lead.

5:12 – Evan Turner knocks down a three, and Portland goes back up, 77-75. Klay Thompson responds by getting to the hoop for a layup to tie us at 77.

5:13 – JaVale McGee gets an offensive rebound and kicks it out to Steph Curry who knocks down a three! It’s ruined by Mike Breen, who yells, “BANG!” Anyway, it brings us into a timeout with the score Golden State 80, Portland 77 with 3:30 left in the third.

5:16 – Kevin Durant forays towards the basket, draws a foul and knocks down an off-balance shot! He nails the free throw, and he’s got 21 points, and the Warriors lead is up to 83-77. It’s a critical time for the Blazers. They can’t let the Warriors go on one of their big runs.

5:24 – CJ McCollum banks home a jumper, and the Blazers are down 88-85 in the final seconds of the third quarter.

5:25 – Fellow Massachusetts native Pat Connaughton draws a foul, and hits a goofy jumper in the final second of the third! He hits his free throw, and an exciting third quarter draws to a close with the score Golden State 88, Portland 88. That wasn’t an easy quarter to keep up with, as I’m writing this as the game goes on, but I’ll take it. The Blazers have been able to keep the game tied, trading blows with the best team in the league. CJ McCollum’s up to 34 points and 6 rebounds, while Damian Lillard’s got 28.

Steph Curry leads the Warriors with 27, and Kevin Durant’s got 24 points and 9 rebounds as we head into what should be a fantastic fourth quarter.

5:29 – Draymond Green gets a friendly bounce on a three, and the Warriors strike first in the fourth, going up, 91-88.

5:31 – Green goes 1-2 from the line to extend the Warriors lead up to 92-88. He’s closing in on a triple double with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists.

5:33 – Another fellow Massachusetts native, Shabazz Napier, gets to the hoop along the baseline and lays it in, and Portland trails, 92-90. On the other end, Ian Clark misses a shot, gets his own miss, and puts it in, giving Golden State a 94-90 lead.

5:34 – Clark knocks down a three, and the Blazers need to take a timeout. Our score’s Golden State 97, Portland 90 with 8:57 remaining.

5:38 – You know what, Noah Vonleh is a Massachusetts native as well. For some reason, the Blazers are stockpiling us.

5:43 – CJ McCollum knocks down a three, but the Warriors have outscored the Blazers 15-5 here in the fourth quarter. A timeout is taken with the score Golden State 103, Portland 93 with 6:35 on the clock.

5:49 – After another emphatic block from Draymond Green, the Warriors get a layup from Kevin Durant on the other end, and a timeout is called with the score Golden State 109, Portland 99 with 4:39 remaining. Draymond’s two steals away from an elusive 5×5 game.

6:02 – The game comes to an end with a final score of Golden State 121, Portland 109. After keeping it close all game long, the Blazers were put away by a 33-21 fourth quarter run by the Warriors.

Kevin Durant, in his Warriors Playoffs debut, scored 32 and grabbed 10 rebounds. Steph Curry had 29 points and 5 boards, and Draymond Green was ridiculous with 19 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals and 5 blocks.

CJ McCollum finished with 41 points, and 8 rebounds, with Damian Lillard coming up with 34 points and 5 rebounds, giving them 75 of the Blazers 109 points. Evan Turner chipped in with 12 points and 10 rebounds, but the Blazers, while proving a worthy and valiant opponent, fell short.

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We’ve got a little bit of time before the Celtics and the Bulls face off, so I’m going to eat some lasagna, but before I do, I’d like to say that I’m happy to see that the Playoffs have picked up where they left off yesterday, and have continued to be awesome.

6:19 – Isaiah Thomas is out on the floor with the Celtics for the pregame warmups.

6:30 – It’s just about time for Game 1 between the Celtics and the Bulls. I’m doing my part, wearing my Bill Russell jersey, and watching the game on the local network, CSNNE, in the hopes that the Bulls won’t play as well if enough people aren’t watching on TNT. Mike Gorman and Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn will be our narrators.

Of course, hanging over this game is the tragic news about Isaiah Thomas’ sister, who passed away in a car accident yesterday. An emotional Isaiah has taken the court with his Celtics brethren, and will play this evening.

6:33 – CSNNE is showing the full pregame intro and the National Anthem. Before the anthem, there’s a moment of silence for Chyna Thomas, Isaiah’s sister.

6:39 – As you might have guessed, Isaiah gets a hell of an ovation as he’s announced during the starting lineups.

6:41 – The Bulls are wearing lousy sleeved jerseys.

6:42 – The Bulls win the opening tip, and Game 1 is underway. Jimmy Butler quickly hits a jumper for the first basket to put the Bulls up, 2-0.

6:44 – Isaiah Thomas goes 1-2 from the line to put the Celtics on the board. They’re down 2-1.

6:49 – Isaiah Thomas knocks down a three, and the Celtics are on an 8-0 run early on. The Bulls take a timeout with the score Boston 12, Chicago 6 with 8:33 left in the opening quarter. Thomas and Avery Bradley each have six points for the Celtics to begin the game.

6:56 – Jimmy Butler plows over Amir Johnson, but Amir’s called for the blocking foul. It gets us our first “BULLSHIT!” chant of the Playoffs, and my first outburst of the game. Butler goes 1-2 from the line, and the Celtics lead, 17-13.

7:01 – After a Robin Lopez jumper, the Celtics take a timeout with the score Boston 25, Chicago 21 with 3:02 left in the opening quarter. Lopez already has 10 points and 6 rebounds to keep the Bulls close. Meanwhile, Isaiah’s already up to 13 points for the Celtics.

7:08 – The opening quarter comes to an end with the score Boston 28, Chicago 23. Isaiah still has 13 to lead the Celtics, and Robin Lopez still has his 10 points and 6 rebounds for the Bulls. Chicago’s already got eight offensive rebounds, which is keeping them in the game, but to their credit, the Celtics have grabbed five offensive boards themselves.

7:12 – Jerian Grant takes it to the hoop for a layup, plus he’s fouled. He hits his free throw, and the Bulls are on the board first in the second quarter, trailing 28-26.

7:17 – We’ve reached the TV timeout and our score’s Chicago 33, Boston 28 with 8:41 left in the first half. The Bulls have scored the first ten points of the quarter, as the Celtics are getting absolutely nothing from their bench, which has combined to shoot 1-9 from the floor.

7:25 – After a turnover, Paul Zipser finishes off a Bulls fast break with a layup, and they’re maintaining the lead as the C’s call a time out with the score, Chicago 37, Boston 33 with 5:18 left in the first half. I am beginning to get grouchy. The Celtics are struggling to finish around the hoop, and are looking generally disheveled.

7:32 – Now everyone’s looking disheveled. Dwyane Wade just blew a dunk, then Avery Bradley missed a three, and the Celtics will have the ball after it’s poked out of bounds. First, we’ll have a timeout, though. The score’s Chicago 41, Boston 39 with 2:15 to go until halftime.

7:35 – CSNNE gives us a flashback to the last time these two teams battled in the Playoffs – that legendary first round series in 2009, which featured four games that went to overtime.

7:38 – Despite the missed dunk…

7:40 – Al Horford beats the halftime buzzer with a three! That makes me feel a little better about things, and Horford’s got the last nine Celtics points. Our halftime score’s Chicago 48, Boston 46.

Isaiah Thomas leads the Celtics with 15, Avery Bradley has 11, and Horford’s scored 11, grabbed 6 rebounds, and distributed 5 assists. Robin Lopez leads the Bulls with 12 points and 8 rebounds, seven of which have been of the offensive variety.

We saw all of the things the Celtics are bad at: rebounding, and scoring with Isaiah Thomas on the bench, but they’re hanging in there here at halftime. Meanwhile the Bulls have been controlling the tempo and style of the game, mucking it up and holding onto a lead. They’re also dominating the offensive glass to the tune of 16 offensive rebounds. The Celtics are lucky to be down by just two points.

7:45 – Time for another educational episode of Today in Playoff History!

Back in 1963, Bill Russell, whose jersey I’m wearing as we speak, pulled down 38 rebounds in Game 2 of the Finals against the Lakers. The Celtics could really use Russell right about now. Anyway, he finished the game with 16 points, those 38 rebounds and 6 assists. Sam Jones scored 27 and grabbed 10 rebounds, Tommy Heinsohn, our current color commentator, added 26 points and 8 rebounds. Bob Cousy orchestrated the action with 18 points and 11 assists, while Satch Sanders chimed in with 9 points and 11 rebounds.

For the Lakers, Elgin Baylor had 30 & 10, Jerry West scored 28 and grabbed 6 boards, and Dick Barnett finished with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Last but not least, Rudy LaRusso added 16 points and 12 rebounds.

In the end, Boston won the game, 113-106 in what I’m sure was a great battle, taking a 2-0 series lead. They eventually won the series in six games.

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7:59 – Two free throws from Nikola Mirotic gives the Bulls the first points of the second half, extending their lead to 50-46.

8:00 – Al Horford knocks down a pair of free throws, and he’s got Boston’s last 11 points. It cuts their deficit down to 50-48.

8:01 – Avery Bradley pulls up and hits a three! I pump my fist as the Celtics retake the lead at 51-50. Rajon Rondo quickly puts the Bulls back ahead, 52-51, with a layup, but Al Horford shakes of Nikola Mirotic and hits a jumper to put the Celtics on top, 53-52.

8:02 – Jimmy Butler misses a tough reverse layup, but Dwyane Wade flies in and tips it in, putting the Bulls up, 54-53. “That’s the sort of thing that should never happen,” says Tommy Heinsohn.

8:04 – After the Celtics turn the ball over, Nikola Mirotic finishes off the ensuing fast break with a layup, and the Bulls lead 56-53. Avery Bradley then finds Amir Johnson under the basket for a dunk, plus he’s fouled! Johnson hits his free throw, and we’re tied at 56.

8:05 – Jimmy Butler misses a three, but Rajon Rondo gets an offensive rebound, and a layup, and Chicago takes a 58-56 lead.

8:06 – A perturbed Brad Stevens calls a timeout, and with 6:16 left in the third quarter, our score is Chicago 58, Boston 56. It’s not like the Bulls are playing well here this evening. Jimmy Butler’s 2-8 from the floor, Dwyane Wade’s 3-8 and Nikola Mirotic is 1-8. At some point, the Celtics have got to get this thing under control, right?

8:10 – Jae Crowder goes along the baseline for a tough layup, and the Celtics have tied the game at 58. On their next trip down the court, Al Horford finds Crowder for an easier layup, and the Celtics take a 60-58 lead.

8:11 – Bobby Portis hits a long jumper, tying us back up at 60.

8:12 – Isaiah Thomas draws contact from Rajon Rondo and knocks down a tough shot! That one got a chest pound out of me. He hits his free throw, and the Celtics go up, 63-60.

8:13 – Portis hits another jumper, and the Bulls make it a one point game, trailing 63-62. On the other end of the court, Isaiah does it again, drawing contact, this time on Portis, and knocking down the shot. Once again, he knocks down the free throw, giving himself 21 points, and the Celtics a 66-62 lead.

8:15 – Rajon Rondo takes it down the baseline for a reverse layup, and we’re right back to a one possession game with the Bulls down, 66-64. It’s short lived, as Marcus Smart nails a corner three, sending us into a timeout with the score Boston 69, Chicago 64 with 2:53 remaining in the third quarter.

8:19 – Paul Zipser knocks down a pair of free throws, and the Bulls trail, 69-66. He was at the line after drawing a weak foul call against Isaiah Thomas, that prompted Tommy Heinsohn to say, “This guy’s gotta leave the building.”

8:21 – Jimmy Butler, who’s been quiet all night, ties us back up at 69 with a three.

8:23 – Marcus Smart answers with his own three pointer, and the Celtics go up 72-69.

Jimmy Butler comes right back with a layup, but Jae Crowder goes in for a floater, and the Celtics are ahead 74-71.

8:24 – Butler knocks down a three to tie us up, and Kelly Olynyk misses a three at the buzzer, and we’ll head into the fourth quarter tied with the score Boston 74, Chicago 74. Isaiah Thomas leads the Celtics with 21, and Jimmy Butler came alive towards the end of the third, and leads the Bulls with 15 points.

8:28 – Jimmy Butler kicks off the fourth quarter with a jumper to put the Bulls up, 76-74. It’s a critical stretch for the Celtics, as Isaiah begins the final quarter on the bench.

8:30 – Gerald Green splits a pair of free throws, and Boston trails, 76-75.

8:31 – Paul Zipser knocks down a pair of free throws, extending the Bulls lead to 78-75.

8:32 – Marcus Smart knocks down a three! We’re tied back up at 78. Bobby Portis answers soon after with a three of his own, and the Bulls lead, 81-78.

8:33 – Kelly Olynyk tips in an Al Horford miss, and we’ve got a one point game with the Celtics trailing 81-80. Soon after, we reach our TV timeout with 8:44 remaining and Isaiah Thomas primed to enter the game when we return.

8:37 – Bobby Portis hits yet another three, and Chicago takes an 84-80 lead.

Kelly Olynyk answers with a three, and it’s a one point game again, with Boston down, 84-83.

8:39 – Jimmy Butler knocks down a three, putting the Bulls up, 87-83. On the other end of the court, Isaiah Thomas picks up a technical after he disagrees with a non-call. Butler misses the free throw, and the score remains, 87-83.

8:41 – Al Horford fakes a three, then storms through the paint for a big dunk! The Bulls take a timeout with the score Chicago 87, Boston 85 with 6:11 to go.

8:46 – Tommy Heinsohn is so fed up with the refs, he just complained about a call that went against the Bulls. Anything is possible.

8:47 – After he’s fouled shooting a three, Isaiah Thomas knocks down all three free throws, giving the Celtics an 88-87 lead. The foul was the fifth on Rajon Rondo, and he heads to the bench.

8:48 – Jimmy Butler nails a fallaway, and the Bulls go up, 89-88.

8:49 – Jerian Grant cans a three, and the Bulls lead is up to four, at 92-88.

8:50 – Butler’s fouled shooting a three by Avery Bradley. He knocks down all of his free throws, and the Bulls are on an 8-0 run, and lead 95-88.

8:53 – Two Isaiah Thomas free throws bring us back to a one possession game with the Celtics behind, 95-92. Dwyane Wade pushes us back to two posses ions with a jumper to give the Bulls a 97-92 lead.

8:54 – We’ve got a timeout after Isaiah Thomas is called for fouling Dwyane Wade. Our score’s still Chicago 97, Boston 92 with 2:41 left in the ball game.

8:59 – Robin Lopez knocks down two free throws, and the Celtics take a 20 second time out with the score Chicago 99, Boston 92 with just 1:40 left in the game.

9:01 – Bobby Portis hits another jumper for the Bulls, and we’ve got another time out with the score Chicago 101, Boston 92 with 1:18 on the clock. This one seems out of reach for the Celtics.

9:04 – After Al Horford goes along the baseline for a dunk, the Celtics are able to trap the Bulls in the backcourt, forcing them to take a timeout with the score Chicago 101, Boston 94 with 1:04 remaining.

9:05 – Chicago takes another timeout.

9:07 – Jimmy Butler takes it to the hoop for a layup, giving the Bulls a 103-94 lead. Jae Crowder then hits a three, then draws an offensive foul on Butler! The Celtics can’t take advantage of it, however, and they’re down 103-97 as the game winds down.

9:09 – After Butler goes 1-2 from the line, Isaiah Thomas knocks down a three. As the Bulls inbound the ball, Avery Bradley gets a hand on it, and it goes out of bounds. The refs go to the screen to initiate what I imagine will be a 25 minute review to see who it went off of. The score: Chicago 104, Boston 100 with 13.7 seconds on the clock.

9:10 – This is one of those plays where one angle looks like it went off the Bulls, and the other looks like it went off the Celtics. Tie goes to the home team?

9:11 – Tie goes to the home team! It’ll be Celtics ball. The refs even added some time to the clock, so the C’s will have 14.1 seconds left to try and pull off a miracle.

9:12 – Isaiah Thomas takes it to the hoop for a layup, and the Bulls will take a timeout! It’s Chicago 104, Boston 102 with 7.5 seconds left on the clock.

9:14 – The Bulls get the ball into Jimmy Butler, who is able to evade the Celtics defenders until they finally foul him with 3.3 seconds on the clock. He’ll head to the free throw line, looking to ice the game.

9:15 – After hitting his first free throw, Butler is true on the second one. The Celtics take their final timeout with the score Chicago 106, Boston 102 with those 3.3 seconds remaining.

9:17 – Avery Bradley misses a three at the buzzer, wrapping up a rough loss for the Celtics. Our final score: Chicago 106, Boston 102.

Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 33 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists on 10-18 shooting, as well as 10-12 from the free throw line. He played his heart out under what must have been extreme emotional duress. I have two younger sisters myself, and just thinking about what he’s going through is upsetting. I feel terrible.

Jimmy Butler was quiet until the latter half of the third quarter. From then on, I feel like I typed his name a lot. He finishes with 30 points, and 9 rebounds. Robin Lopez destroyed the Celtics on the boards, ending the night with 11 rebounds and 14 points. The Bulls couldn’t have done it without Bobby Portis, who came off the bench for 19 points and 9 rebounds.

Towards the end of the game, Butler started covering Isaiah Thomas, and the Bulls were able to keep the ball out of his hands. This led to a lot of big shots coming from Marcus Smart, who, while a fine player, is just not good enough of a shooter to be handling that much of the clutch shooting load. Boston was also killed on the rebounds, and they’ve now lost home court advantage. This was not a good night for proving anything to the Celtics critics other than that they’re right.

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9:23 – We’ve got one last game left tonight, and it’s what many people consider to be the main event. Game 1 in Houston between the Rockets and the Thunder! As I join the action, we’re tied at 14 midway though the first quarter, with Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller narrating. People are pumped for this series as it features a battle between the two MVP frontrunners, James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

9:24 – Not long after I tune in, we’ve got a timeout with the score still Houston 14, Oklahoma City 14, with 5:54 left in the opening quarter, giving me a chance to catch up on the box score. Our leading scorers so far: the defensive specialists. Patrick Beverly has 8 already to lead Houston, and Andre Roberson has 6 for the Thunder. James Harden has started off scoreless and 0-4 from the field. Furthermore, the Thunder are wearing their yucky orange alternate jerseys.

9:32 – We’ve got another timeout with the score Oklahoma City 19, Houston 18 with 3:28 left in the opening quarter. I’m still recovering from that disheartening Celtics loss. Give me a few more moments to collect myself and open another beer, and I should be good to go.

9:39 – Enes Kanter misses a jumper at the first quarter buzzer, and our score after one is Oklahoma City 29, Houston 27. Russell Westbrook has 9 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists on 2-7 shooting, while James Harden has 8 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists on 4-11 shooting.

9:44 – Patrick Beverly gets the second quarter scoring started with a lone free throw. He misses his second one, but Nene grabs the offensive board and slams it home, giving the Rockets a 30-29 lead with our two MVP candidates resting on the bench.

9:49 – We’re here at the TV timeout with the score Houston 38, Oklahoma City 37 with 8:38 left until halftime. Both teams have been content to exchange baskets since I’ve got here, and I’m okay with it.

9:55 – After Eric Gordon loses the ball out of bounds, we’ve got another timeout with the score Houston 40, Oklahoma City 39 with 7:07 left in the first half as these guys continue their basket exchange.

9:58 – Christ, another timeout with the score still Houston 40, Oklahoma City 39 with 7:03 left until halftime.

10:01 – After Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverly tumble over each other, TNT gives us a flashback to the 2013 Playoffs when Beverly ended up injuring Westbrook, forcing him out of that year’s postseason. Here in 2017, Westbrook and Beverly hop back up from the floor, and Enes Kanter immediately comes flying in to keep them separated, despite the fact that neither of them caused any sort of a ruckus.

10:07 – Steven Adams knocks down a little hook in the paint, and it brings us to another timeout with the score Oklahoma City 52, Houston 51 with 2:41 to go until halftime. I am enjoying the back and forth nature of this game.

10:11 – Taj Gibson goes up over Clint Capella’s back and they both crumble to the ground. Capella flips up a shot as Gibson collapses on him, and it goes in off the glass! He misses the free throw, but he’s given the Rockets a 53-52 lead.

10:14 – We’ve reached halftime and the score’s Houston 59, Oklahoma City 54. James Harden’s taken 20 shots already. He’s hit nine of them and he has 18 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists to lead the way for the Rockets. Patrick Beverley’s added 11 points and 7 rebounds for the home team.

Russell Westbrook is shooting just 4-15, but he’s got 15 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Andre Roberson’s contributed 11 points on perfect 4-4 shooting for the visitors.

The big story here at halftime has been the rebounding and second chance points that the Rockets have racked up. They’re outscoring the Thunder 21-0 on second chance points, and they’re out-rebounding them 28-21. That seems to be making all the difference in what’s otherwise been a close game.

10:21 – It’s time for one last episode of Today in Playoff History!

Back in 1978, the Seattle Supersonics closed out their first round series against the Los Angeles Lakers with a 111-102 victory in Game 3, taking the series 2-1 back in the days when the first round was best-of-three.

Sonics rookie Jack Sikma scored 20 of his 24 in the second half as they held the Lakers at bay. Gus Williams added 22, and Marvin Webster went for 20 points and 18 boards.

Los Angeles was led by 31 from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who turned 70 today. Happy birthday, Kareem! Sorry to bring up this painful Playoff loss from your past. Anyway, Seattle made it all the way to the Finals that year, losing in seven games to the Washington Bullets.

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Jack Sikma is the most successful player in NBA history who had hair like David Bowie.

10:33 – James Harden beats the shot clock with a three pointer to start off the third quarter. He’s up to 21 points and the Rockets lead is up to 62-54.

10:34 – Patrick Beverly takes a long pass from James Harden, then goes into the paint for a floater, and the Thunder call a quick timeout as they’re now down ten. The score’s Houston 64, Oklahoma City 54 with 10:37 left in the quarter.

10:39 – Kevin Harlan tells us that Russell Westbrook has all seven of the Thunder’s turnovers. He’s well on his way to double-digits.

10:40 – Steven Adams just destroyed Patrick Beverly with a screen for the ages. Andre Roberson then knocks down a three, and the Thunder are down 64-62. After the screen, we get a look at JJ Watt in the stands, who I assume was nodding in approval. Reggie Miller loses his mind, saying “He is going to feel that tomorrow!” Reggie Miller is the epitome of the guy that ruins a moment by talking too much about it.

10:42 – James Harden draws a foul shooting a three, and knocks down all three of his free throws, putting the Rockets up, 67-62.

10:45 – Patrick Beverly knocks down a three, his second since getting laid out by Steven Adams. He’s got a Playoff career high 19 points, and the Thunder take a timeout with the score Houston 73, Oklahoma City 62 with 6:09 left in what’s turned out to be a very physical third quarter.

10:54 – After Andre Roberson steps out of bounds, we’re getting a timeout with the score Houston 83, Oklahoma City 70 with 2:36 to go in the third quarter.

11:02 – We’ve reached the end of the third quarter with the score Houston 89, Oklahoma City 74. James Harden scored 13 for the Rockets in the quarter, and Patrick Beverly added 8 as they pulled away from the Thunder. Harden’s up to 31 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists overall. For the Thunder, Russell Westbrook has 22 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 8 turnovers on 6-21 shooting.

11:07 – Patrick Beverly gets into the paint for a floater, scoring the first points of the fourth quarter, extending the Rockets lead to 91-74, and getting himself to 21 points so far.

11:11 – Lou Williams is fouled shooting a three, but first, we’re have a timeout with the score Houston 94, Oklahoma City 78 with 8:38 left in the first weekend of the NBA Playoffs.

11:14 – We’re back, and Lou Williams goes 2-3 from the line to get the Rockets lead up to 96-78.

11:16 – Patrick Beverly’s off to the Rockets locker room with Houston up, 100-78. Didn’t see what happened to him, but he seemed to be walking just fine. Maybe he just has to take a piss.

11:19 – James Harden uses some fancy footwork to get himself open for a three, and knocks it down. The Rockets are on an 8-0 run as their lead continues to grow, and Harden’s up to 37 points. It’s Houston 108, Oklahoma City 80 with 5:35 left in the game.

11:23 – Sideline reporter David Aldridge reports that Beverly was off to the locker room with a sore back, but he’s returned to the Rockets bench.

11:26 – After a Rockets turnover, we have a timeout with the score Houston 112, Oklahoma City 80 with 2:56 remaining. We’re firmly entrenched in Garbage Time as the starters have left the game.

11:34 – This one’s over with a final score of Houston 118, Oklahoma City 87. James Harden had a great night, and got better as the game went along, finishing with 37 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists. Patrick Beverly added 21 points and 10 rebounds in a scrappy performance.

Russell Westbrook ended up with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists, but he shot just 6-23 from the floor, and turned the ball over nine times. Outside of Andre Roberson, he got little help from his teammates, particular Victor Oladipo, who shot just 1-12 in his forgettable Playoff debut.

What was an evenly matched game in the first half devolved into a blowout as the Rockets took off in the second half. Houston out-rebounded OKC 56-41 and dominated the second chance points, ending the weekend with a convincing victory.

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That does it for the first weekend of the 2017 NBA Playoffs. That last game was a bit anti-climactic, but after this weekend’s excitement, I think it’s safe to say that we’re in for a memorable couple of months. As for now, it’s time to sleep, because we’re right back at it tomorrow with our first batch of Game 2s, and I’m pretty damn tired (especially after that draining Celtics game). Until tomorrow…

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Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

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