NBA Playoffs – Day 7

The Playoffs are heating up.

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I don’t know who scheduled the games today, but I have a bone to pick with them. Game 3 between my Celtics and the Hawks is sandwiched between the other two games, meaning I’ll miss the end of the Cavs/Pistons game, and the beginning of the Spurs/Grizzlies. Some of us are trying to watch every single Playoff game, which is a damn near unattainable goal to begin with. I don’t like this one bit, but I’m going to have to move forward through this adversity, because that’s what the Playoffs are all about.

Leading off the night is Game 3 between the Cavs and the Pistons, a series which has gotten a bit hilarious thanks to Pistons 19-year old rookie Stanley Johnson. He’s been tasked with covering LeBron, and he’s called him out, saying that LeBron only talks trash once they’ve got a big lead, and that he’s definitely in LeBron’s head. This came after LeBron scored 28 points on 12-18 shooting. It’s great to see the youngster with so much confidence, but on the other hand, the last thing you want to do is fire up LeBron. It’ll be interesting to see if James comes out and goes after the kid, at least for the first half of the game, because at eight o’clock I’m switching over to…

…Game 3 between the Celtics and Hawks, and trust me, I will remember to put it on CSNNE first. Loyal readers, if there are any, will remember the other night when I started the game on TNT, and the Celtics got off to a miserable start. After I started watching the game on CSNNE, they were even with the Hawks. Word just came in that the Celtics are going with a different starting lineup tonight, with Evan Turner and Jonas Jerebko replacing Marcus Smart and Jared Sullinger. Hopefully it pays off because the Celtics really need a win.

Once that game ends, it’s Game 3 between the Spurs and Grizzlies. This has easily been the most lopsided series in a lopsided Playoffs, with the Grizzlies scoring 74 and 68 points in Games 1 & 2. The one good thing about the Celtics/Hawks game bleeding into this one is it’ll save me from watching half of the carnage.

7:00 pm – It’s time for Game 3 between the Cavs and Pistons! The series now shifts to Detroit, and we’ll see if the Pistons, who have been able to be fairly competitive in this series, can get a boost from their home fans. After a week on TNT, we’re back on ESPN, so our narrators are Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. I’m hoping Van Gundy and Jackson get head coaching jobs over the off season. Somebody, please hire them!

7:08 – All right, we’re live at the Palace of Auburn Hills for Game 3 between the Pistons and Cavs! Once again, I’m switching over to the Celtics game at 8:00. What a terrible schedule tonight. Anyway, the topic of discussion right off the bat is Stanley Johnson, who apparently got a good ol’ fashioned talking-to from coach Stan Van Gundy about shooting his mouth off about LeBron. It’ll be fun to see if anything interesting happens between him and James tonight.

7:10 – The Pistons win the opening tip, and Game 3 is underway!

7:11 – Andre Drummond gets the first basket of the ball game with a hook shot to put the Pistons up 2-0.  LeBron answers by storming through the paint for a dunk to tie us at two.

7:18 – Markieff Morris sighting in the stands! He’s here cheering on his twin brother Marcus and the Pistons.

7:21 – We’ve got a time out with the score Detroit 17, Cleveland 13 with 5:01 left in the first quarter after a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope layup. Mark Jackson just said that the Cavs defense got “blitzed by The Pope!” I miss TNT.

7:26 – We’ve got a flagrant foul review after LeBron gets bonked on the head by Marcus Morris while going for a layup. Looks like Morris was just trying to take a swipe at the ball, and accidentally caught LeBron on the dome. The refs agree, and it’s called a common foul.

7:29 – Another time out with the score Detroit 21, Cleveland 20 with 2:27 left in the first quarter. It’s been a solid start to this one.

7:37 – The first quarter comes to an end with the score Detroit 27, Cleveland 24. With the exception of the second half of Game 2, the Pistons have done a good job hanging with the Cavs. Hopefully with their home fans cheering them on they can avoid letting the Cavs run away from them in the second half.

7:42 – After he steals the ball, Iman Shumpert gets an open shot at a three from the corner, and he knocks it down to tie us at 27 with the first points of the second quarter. Stanley Johnson is into the game now for the Pistons, and the fans give him an extra wave of cheers whenever he touches the ball.

7:46 – Time for a time out with the score Cleveland 33, Detroit 31 with 8:51 left until halftime. Nothing out of the ordinary seems to be going on between LeBron and Stanley Johnson early on in their matchup tonight.

7:51 – The Cavs take a time out with the score Detroit 38, Cleveland 35 with 6:46 left in the first half. The Pistons continue to do a great job remaining calm and collected against the best team in the East. I’m a little bummed out that I’ll be missing the bulk of this game, but hometown loyalties do take precedence in this situation.

7:57 – Up 41-40, the Cavs employ some intentional fouling to get Andre Drummond, the worst free throw shooter in NBA history, to the line. Drummond goes 1-2 to tie the game at 41.

8:00 – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope knocks down a three to put the Pistons up 44-43, but I’m afraid it’s time to switch over to CSNNE for Game 3 between the Celtics and the Hawks.

We’re live in Boston for Game 3! The Celtics are in need of a win after a tough loss in Game 1, and a horrible performance in Game 2. They’ll be without Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk once again tonight, and as I mentioned before, they’ve changed the starting lineup as Evan Turner and Jonas Jerebko are replacing Marcus Smart and Jared Sullinger. Mike Gorman and Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn will be our narrators.

8:10 – The Celtics fans are already on their feet and wearing nothing but green. Much to their delight, the Celtics win the opening tip and we’re underway at The Garden! Isaiah Thomas misses a three, but Jonas Jerebko comes flying in to slam it home! The Celtics score first for a 2-0 lead.

8:11 – Paul Millsap gets an easy layup under the hoop, and we’re tied at two.

8:13 – Over in Detroit, it’s Cavaliers 54, Pistons 53 at halftime. There’s been 17 lead changes in that one already.

8:14 – Our first “BULLSHIT!” chant of the Playoffs can be heard, unsurprisingly at the TD Garden. The fans are upset after what they deem to be a lousy offensive foul call against Amir Johnson.

8:16 – The Celtics, and their fans, are all sorts of riled up to begin the game! It’s Boston 15, Atlanta 6 with 8:14 left in the first quarter! The Celtics have responded well to the extra energy provided by their rowdy fans, and the fact that I started the game on CSNNE like I was supposed to.

8:22 – I do not appreciate this tweet from the Hawks…

8:26 – Jae Crowder gets a steal and goes all the way for a layup, and Jeff Teague fouls him hard! Just a solid Playoff foul, but Crowder gets up and has some words for him! It incites a rousing “LET’S GO CELTICS!” chant from the fans! Tommy Heinsohn thinks it’s a flagrant foul, which is surprising since he comes from an era where Celtics coach Red Auerbach got into a fist fight with the owner of the Syracuse Nationals before a game.

8:32 – We have another time out, and the Celtics and their fans, and myself, are “turnt up” as the kids say these days. With 2:31 left in the first quarter, it’s Boston 29, Atlanta 14. Isaiah Thomas, who has had a hard time getting his offense going in the first two games, has 14 points already. Meanwhile, the Hawks are shooting just 26.7% from the floor, which is only fueling the energy that’s pulsating through the crowd.

8:36 – FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

Atlanta’s Dennis Schroeder comes over and pushes Isaiah Thomas to the ground! Jared Sullinger has to yank Thomas all the way over to the sideline to calm him down. They’ve been going at it against each other ever since Schroeder came into the game, and Isaiah did hit Dennis in the face a little bit ago. Both of them get hit with a technical foul in what’s becoming an increasingly intense game!

8:41 – Celtics fans are on their feet here at the end of the first quarter with the score Boston 37, Atlanta 20! Isaiah Thomas has 16 points to lead the way as the C’s have found their offense in a big way. I also have to say, I’m a big fan of this starting lineup with Jerebko and Turner. Jerebko has especially taken advantage of the starting opportunity, with 5 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a lot of energy. As for the Hawks…

Thanks for spotting the Celtics all those points, guys!

8:45 – Mike Gorman tells us that the last time the Celtics dropped 37 points in a Playoff first quarter, it was 1990. I was three, and Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish were walking through that door.

8:46 – The Hawks turn the ball over, and rookie RJ Hunter takes the ball the length of the court for a layup! It gives the Celtics the first points of the second quarter, and extends their lead to 39-20.

8:48 – Oh man, we’re at the point where there’s a lot of players crashing into each other and hitting the floor, and each time, they get into each other’s faces as the refs rush to get in between them! This time, it was Jonas Jerebko and Al Horford who briefly exchanged words. This is the sort of hatred I love to see in the Playoffs!

8:51 – Dennis Schroeder has reached the point where every time he touches the ball, he receives a chorus of boos from the fans. In other news, we’ve got a time out with the score Boston 42, Atlanta 27 with 8:18 left in what’s been a feisty first half.

8:53 – Over in Detroit, they’ve made it to the end of the third quarter with the score Cavaliers 79, Pistons 73. LeBron has 13 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists as the Cavs appear to have put a little distance between them and the Pistons. Does Detroit have a fourth quarter rally in them? WHO CARES! I’m busy watching this awesome Celtics game!

8:58 – We’ve got a time out as the Hawks are showing signs of life. It’s Boston 49, Atlanta 35 with 5:54 left until halftime.

9:06 – After the Hawks got the Celtics lead down to ten, Isaiah Thomas gets to the bucket for a layup, plus he’s fouled! We have to wait for his free throw, however, because we’ve got a time out with the score Boston 53, Atlanta 41 with 2:08 left in the first half.

9:07 – Of course since this is the Celtics and the Hawks, we get a flashback to Game 7 of the 1988 Eastern Conference Semifinals for old footage of the famous Larry Bird/Dominique Wilkins duel. Wilkins is actually in the house as a color commentator for the Hawks broadcast. The Atlanta legend actually spent one season with the Celtics. I was in second grade, and the C’s went 35-47, but somehow made the Playoffs. What a time it was to be alive.

9:13 – A fantastic first half comes to an end with the score Boston 57, Atlanta 45. It’s been a really intense game, with bodies flying and players from both teams not backing down. The crowd has been nuts as well, and it’s clear that the Celtics are feeding off that energy. Isaiah Thomas leads the C’s with 19 points. Kent Bazemore, Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroeder all have ten points to lead the Hawks, who were able to peck away at the Celtics lead, but still trail by twelve. Hopefully the all this energy carries over into the second half, because this has been one of the more intensely played games of the Playoffs so far. Also, it’s time for another lame tweet from the Hawks…

9:18 – It’s halftime, so that means another exciting episode of Today in NBA Playoff History! As always, thanks to the savants over at Basketball-Reference for housing all of basketball’s historical documents…

All the way back on April 22, 1947, what is considered to be the first NBA championship was won by the Philadelphia Warriors when they defeated the Chicago Stags, 83-80, in Game 5 of the Finals. The last three games were decided by three points, one point, and three points, respectively. Joe Fulks, the league’s best scorer in those days, led the Warriors with 34 points as they came away with the league’s first title.

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9:30 – Evan Turner gets a steal, goes in for a layup, and it’s goaltended! It’s the first points of the second half, and it puts the Celtics up, 59-45.

9:31 – The Celtics have scored the first seven points of the second half, and the Hawks need a time out with the score Boston 64, Atlanta 45 with 10:49 left in the third quarter!

9:33 – Bill Belichick sighting! The coach of the Patriots is sitting in a suite and taking in the action.

9:38 – The Hawks are on a 12-0 run, and the Celtics need a time out with the score now Boston 64, Atlanta 57 with an even eight minutes left in the third quarter. Meanwhile, the game has ended out in Detroit, with a final score of Cavaliers 101, Pistons 91. Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and Kevin Love all had big games for Cleveland, and they now hold a 3-0 lead over Detroit.

9:49 – Dennis Schroeder, who has his number 17 bleached into his hair on the back of his head, gets fouled on his way to the hoop, and we have another flagrant foul review, as Schroeder seemed to get hit in the face a little bit on his way up by Jared Sullinger. It is indeed called a flagrant, and Schroeder hits one of two free throws, and the Hawks trail 76-68.

9:53 – Jared Sullinger pump fakes under the hoop, then goes up with it, and he gets hit across the face, and we’ve got another flagrant review. The fans start chanting, “FLAGRANT!”, and it does indeed turn out to be one. Unlike Schroeder, Sullinger hits both free throws, and the C’s go up 78-71. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard a “FLAGRANT!” chant.

9:57 – Dennis Schroeder hits a jumper, and the Celtcs lead is all the way down to three after an 11-2 run from the Hawks to make the score 78-75.

9:58 – Schroder gets a layup, plus he’s fouled. He hits the free throw, and this one’s tied at 78. He’s rapidly becoming a villain in Boston.

10:00 – Jonas Jerebko picks a loose ball off the floor and flips it into the hoop to beat the third quarter buzzer! It’s Boston 80, Atlanta 78 heading into the fourth quarter! It’s been a really physical and intense game, and it’s about to get even more fierce with both teams looking to come away with an important win. Also, to be fair, here’s what the Hawks Twitter has to say, and I can’t even be snarky about it…

10:04 – Aww man, they reviewed an earlier Isaiah Thomas three, and ruled that it was a two pointer, so it’s now Celtics 79, Hawks 78. Amir Johnson hits a little hook shot to kick off the fourth quarter, so make it Celtics 81, Hawks 78.

10:05 – Dennis Schroder gets a layup, and it’s a one point game with the hawks behind 81-80.

10:06 – Marcus Smart pulls up and hits a three! It puts the Celtics up 84-80, but Kyle Korver comes back with a three of his own, cutting the C’s lead to 84-83.

10:07 – Evan Turner turns the ball over, and none other than Dennis Schroder takes it all the way in for a layup, and the hawks have the lead at 85-84. The Celtics take a time out, down one, with 9:13 left in the game.

10:08 – That other game is underway, and after one quarter, it’s Spurs 26, Grizzlies 18. Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge each have seven points to lead San Antonio.

10:10 – Jonas Jerebko takes it through the paint to the hoop for a layup, and the Celtics go back ahead, 86-85.

10:13 – We’re having another damn review after Dennis Schroder fouls Isaiah Thomas after falling for a pump fake. Thomas walks away with a confident smile on his face. It’s yet another flagrant foul, and Isaiah will head to the line, and the Celtics will keep the ball.

10:14 – Isaiah hits one of two free throws, and the Celtics lead is 87-85.

10:15 – Evan Turner makes a nice pass to Amir Johnson along the baseline for a hoop, and the C’s go up 89-85. However, Kyle Korver nails a three, plus he’s fouled, and he’ll have a chance to tie the game with a four point play.

10:16 – Korver hits the free throw, but Mike Scott, who has emojis tattooed all over him, commits a lane violation, and the free throw doesn’t count. Amir Johnson gets another layup, and Korver gets another three, and we’re tied at 91.

10:17 – Marcus Smart hits another three! Boston goes up 94-91, but Mike Scott answers back with another three, and we’re tied back up at 94. Isaiah Thomas then goes down the baseline for a layup, and Jeff Teague gets into the paint for a basket of his own, and it stays tied at 96.

10:18 – Evan Turner gets a shot to bounce in, plus he’s fouled! He knocks down his free throw, and the Celtics go up 99-96 as the fans rise to their feet.

10:19 – Jeff Teague scoops in a shot, cutting the C’s lead down to one at 99-98.

10:20 – After Isaiah Thomas is fouled going for a layup, we have a time out, and a chance for me to catch my breath, with the score still Boston 99, Atlanta 98 with 5:56 left in the game.

10:23 – Isaiah hits his two free throws, and the Celtics go up, 101-98. Thomas has 36 points.

10:24 – Evan Turner gets under the hoop, pump fakes, draws a foul and gets a layup! He hits his free throw, and the Celtics have their lead up to 104-98.

10:29 – We have a time out with the score Boston 105, Atlanta 100 with 2:56 left in the ball game. The Celtics are starting to clamp down on defense now, making the Hawks miss shots to protect their lead. The crowd also continues to be awesome, and they’ve been on their feet for a lot of the fourth quarter.

10:34 – Isaiah Thomas knocks down a three, and he’s got 40 points on the night! It puts the Celtics up 108-101 with under two minutes remaining in the game! The 40 points is a new career high for Isaiah.

10:36 – We’re gonna have a time out with 48.2 seconds left and the score Celtics 108, Hawks 103. I have to say, the refs have been terrible in this game, and both teams have legitimate gripes. Even Celtics GM Danny Ainge was seen screaming at a ref from the stands. Anyway, the Hawks will have the ball when we come back.

10:38 – Isaiah Thomas steals a pass along the baseline, and he’s fouled! He’s played just a hell of a ball game here tonight. He hits both free throws to get himself up to 42 points, but more importantly get the Celtics up to a 110-103 lead with 42.9 seconds to go!

10:44 – This one comes to an end with the score Boston 111, Atlanta 103! Isaiah Thomas had a monster game, dropping 42 points on 12-24 shooting, and 13-15 free throw shooting. Jonas Jerebko, inserted into the starting lineup, contributed with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Jeff Teague had 23 points and 5 assists to lead the Hawks, Kent Bazemore had 20 points and 8 rebounds, and Dennis Schroder came off the bench to irritate the Celtics and score 20.

That was easily the best game of the Playoffs so far. The shorthanded Celtics came through with a huge win, with help from their incredible crowd, who turned up to help fuel their team to victory. It was just what the doctor ordered for this First Round, as we finally got a gritty, intense, chippy, good old fashioned Playoff game.

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10:49 – Let’s head back to ESPN where San Antonio and Memphis are at halftime. The score’s Spurs 44, Grizzlies 43. Seems like being back on their home floor is helping out Memphis as well, after two horrendous losses to start this series. Kawhi Leonard has 14 points to lead the Spurs, and Zach Randolph has 10 points and 6 rebounds for the Grizzlies.

10:52 – Do we have time for another episode of Today in NBA Playoff History? I think we do!

Let’s stick with the Celtics and go back to April 22, 2011 to find Rajon Rondo going for 15 points, 11 rebounds and 20 assists in a 113-96 victory over the Knicks in Game 3 of the First Round. I remember where I was for this game: over at Carlin’s in beautiful Downtown Ayer, Massachusetts, watching the game and drinking beer with my buddy Brendan. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen benefited from all those Rondo assists, going for 38 and 32 points, respectively.

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Rajon Rondo in simpler times.

10:58 – As we come back to Memphis for the second half between the Spurs and the Grizzlies, they show footage of the famous Rendezvous BBQ in downtown Memphis! It’s another place that me and my buddy Brendan have found ourselves drinking beers. It’s been a big couple of minutes for random Brendan memories.

10:59 – Tony Parker kicks off the second half with a jumper, putting the Spurs up 46-43. Matt Barnes answers with a deep three, tying the game at 46.

11:00 – LaMarcus Aldridge falls away to hit a jumper, and the Spurs take a 48-46 lead.

11:01 – Vince Carter cans a three, and the Grizzlies take a one point lead at 49-48.

11:02 – Tony Allen knocks down a pair of free throws, and the Grizzlies take a 51-48 lead. It’s their largest lead of the series.

11:04 – Manu Ginobili hits a three, and this one’s tied at 51.

11:05 – Danny Green knocks down his own three, and the Spurs go up, 54-51.

11:06 – Zach Randolph retrieves a blocked shot and puts it in the hoop, and the Grizzlies deficit is now 54-53.

11:07 – LaMarcus Aldridge goes 1-2 from the line, and the Spurs extend their lead up to 55-53.

11:09 – Zach Randolph works his way to a little hook shot in the paint, and we’re tied up at 55.

11:10 – Danny Green finishes off a fast break for the Spurs with a layup, and the Grizzlies call a time out with the score San Antonio 57, Memphis 55 with 5:09 left in the third. The crowd down in Memphis seems quite quiet, but their team’s hanging in there. It’s sort of a let down after that great Boston crowd, who played a key role in that game. If only the Grizzlies fans could make a little noise, they could inspire their team to eke out a victory.

11:13 – Vince Carter ties us at 57 with a couple of free throws.

11:14 – Kawhi Leonard hits a three, and the Spurs take a 60-57 lead, but Vince Carter fights his way to the hoop for a layup, and the Grizzlies trail 60-59.

11:15 – Zach Randolph forces his way to the hoop for a layup, and Memphis takes a one point lead at 61-60.

11:16 – Kawhi Leonard answers with a shot under the hoop, and the Spurs go ahead, 62-61. Kyle Anderson follows it up by taking it to the hoop for a layup, and foul! He misses his free throw, and the Spurs lead is 64-61.

11:17 – Heather Cox comes in and tells us that the Spurs Kevin Martin is out for the rest of the night with an illness. Meanwhile, Zach Randolph gets another basket and San Antonio calls a time out with the score Spurs 64, Grizzlies 63 with 2:38 left in the third. Despite this being a close game, and a must win for the home team, it somehow has none of the excitement of the Celtics/Hawks game, and I swear I’m not just saying that because I’m a biased jerk from Massachusetts.

11:20 – Boris Diaw hits a jumper in the paint, extending the Spurs lead to 66-63.

11:21 – Matt Barnes fights his way through the paint, gets a bucket, and gets fouled! He misses the free throw, and the Grizzlies trail 66-65.

11:23 – Barnes taps in a lob from JaMychal Green and the Grizzlies take the lead at 67-66!

11:24 – JaMychal Green gets a basket, and the Grizzlies are up 69-66. He follows that up by committing a goaltend on the other end of the floor, and it’s a one point game with Memphis ahead 69-68.

11:25 – Green hits a jumper, but Patty Mills fakes a hand off to Kawhi Leonard, and explodes to the hoop for a basket, bringing an end to the third quarter with the score Memphis 71, San Antonio 70. Do the Grizzlies have what it takes to grab a win here tonight, or will they fall into the dreaded 0-3 hole?

11:27 – By the way, our narrators for this game: Mike Tirico and Hubie Brown, by far the best announcing team ESPN has to offer.

11:29 – JaMychal Green finishes off a lob from Xavier Munford, and the Grizzlies strike first in the fourth quarter. Kawhi Leonard answers with a jumper, and Memphis leads, 73-72.

11:30 – Now we have a time out with the score still Memphis 73, San Antonio 72 with 11:03 left in the game. The Grizzlies seem like they’re using every ounce of effort they have to fight for some of the baskets their getting. Will it be enough?

11:36 – Boris Diaw beats the shot clock with a turnaround, and the Spurs regain the lead at 74-73.

11:37 – Kawhi Leonard hits a three from the corner, and the Spurs go up 77-73.

11:38 – Kyle Anderson sneaks behind the Grizzlies defense, and Boris Diaw finds him with a football pass. It leads to an easy dunk, and a time out for the Grizzlies with the score San Antonio 79, Memphis 73 with 8:07 left in the game.

11:47 – Tony Allen misses a three, Zach Randolph misses a tip in, but Matt Barnes is there for one last tip, and it goes into the hoop. The Grizzlies are back to within two, trailing 83-81.

11:49 – Tony Allen gets hit with a three second violation, and Kawhi Leonard hits the free throw, extending the Spurs lead to 84-81. Not the time for three second violations, Tony!

11:50 – Danny Green knocks down a three, and the Spurs lead is back up to six at 87-81.

11:51 – We’ve got a time out with 2:59 left in the game and the score San Antonio 89, Memphis 81. This could be it for the Grizzlies if they can’t find a way to score some points here. No NBA team has ever come back from the 0-3 series deficit that Memphis will face if they lose.

11:58 – Kawhi Leonard gets a friendly bounce on a three, and the Spurs are up 96-87 late in the fourth quarter! That might be it for Memphis as we go under a minute left in this one. Kawhi’s up to 32 points.

12:00 am – This one comes to an end with the final score San Antonio 96, Memphis 87. The Grizzlies battled hard, but they just couldn’t overcome the mighty Spurs, and they now trail 3-0 for the series. Kawhi Leonard had a great game for San Antonio, finishing with 32 points on 11-22 shooting and 6-9 from downtown, to go along with 7 rebounds, 4 steals and 5 blocks. LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and the Spurs are one win away from punching their ticket to the second round. Zach Randolph and Matt Barnes did all they could to keep Memphis in this one, with Randolph finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Barnes ending the night with 17 and 11.

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Things are starting to heat up in the Playoffs, and we had our most competitive night thus far. That said, two of the series still went to 3-0, while the Celtics got into their series with a great home win. Now we head into another busy weekend for the Playoffs, and for me! I have two parties I have to go to tomorrow, which will take a toll on my basketball watching, but don’t worry, I’ll still find a way to post something. Whether or not you think that’s good news might be a different story.

NBA Playoffs – Day 6

Finally, a one-point game!

Yeah, that’s right, I went out to dinner and missed the first half of the Mavs/Thunder game. Shout out to the Nashoba Club in Ayer, Massachusetts for having the game on. Anyway, I’m tuning in for the TNT Halftime Report, and the score’s Thunder 58, Mavs 48. Kevin Durant has 20 points already, bouncing back from his terrible Game 2, which saw the Mavs even the series.

Once again, banished to NBA TV is the Raptors/Pacers series. Right now, the Raptors are leading 42-24 with 5:56 left until their halftime. Looks like another blowout is brewing. If this first round wasn’t off to such a lousy start, I’d be angrier about missing the first half, but all things considered, it looks like I haven’t missed a damn thing.

8:31 pm – Oh man, Steph Curry is once again out tonight for the Warriors, who take on the Rockets in Game 3 of their series after the second half of the Mavs/Thunder game. Charles Barkley says that the Warriors don’t need Steph Curry against the Rockets, and I agree. Houston’s done nothing to show that they even enjoy playing basketball together, let alone being able to win a game against the team that just set the record for wins in a season. I might as well go out for a second dinner.

8:34 – Before the second half begins, I just want to say a few words about Prince, who passed away today. While I personally never really got into his music, his accomplishments and legacy are incalculable. Even to someone like me, who could hardly be called a Prince expert, his larger than life persona made it seem like he was immortal. He was also a huge basketball fan, played ball in high school and would even watch Playoff games while performing on stage. Now, that’s my kind of guy. The fact that he’s passed away is unimaginable, and he’ll be missed all over the world.

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8:38 – Okay, time for the second half down in Dallas. Ian Eagle and Brent Barry will narrate the action, and once again, the score is Oklahoma City 58, Dallas 48.

8:39 – JJ Barea, back into the Mavericks lineup after missing the first two games of the series, gets a layup, cutting the Thunder lead down to 58-50.

8:41 – We have a time out as the Thunder have scored seven straight points to to make the score Oklahoma City 65, Dallas 50 with 10:18 left in the third quarter. Apparently, the Mavs are without Deron Williams tonight, who played well in Game 2, but is also suffering from the dreaded Sports Hernia.

8:47 – They’ve reached halftime over in Indiana and the score’s Raptors 53, Pacers 36. DeMar DeRozan has broken out of his slump for 16 first half points to lead Toronto.

8:50 – FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

Raymond Felton is seriously pissed off at Steven Adams! While they were battling for position under the hoop, Felton hauls off hits Adams with a forearm. It didn’t look to me like Adams did anything bad, they just got tangled up fighting for position. Felton has a lot of things to say to Adams, who just walked away as Felton had to be restrained. Not much of a fight, obviously, but we’ll see what the refs decide to do.

8:54 – Both players get technical fouls. Again, Adams didn’t really do anything malicious. They just got tangled up like everyone else does in the paint, and Felton took extra exception to it. He must not be used to fighting for rebounds under the hoop.

8:58 – The mini-ruckus seems to have fired up the Mavs. They’ve got this thing down to ten with the score Oklahoma City 77, Dallas 67 with 5:11 left in the third quarter. Sometimes all it takes is a little skirmish in front of the home fans to inject a little life into the game.

9:02 – FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

…not even close, but Andre Roberson knocks over Dirk Nowitzki, and the big German gets right up and yells in Roberson’s face! Thankfully, no technicals are called as the two are quickly separated. This game has started to heat up since I tuned in. You’re welcome!

9:03 – Russell Westbrook knocks down a three and stares down the crowd. It leads to a Dallas time out as OKC has built their lead back up. It’s Thunder 85, Mavericks 69 with 3:39 left in what’s become an angry third quarter.

9:05 – Hey, there’s David Lee on the floor for the Mavs. He’s missed the first two games of the series with an injury and has six points in this one so far.

9:16 – We’re here at the end of the third quarter, and the Thunder are in control. It’s Oklahoma City 97, Dallas 78. It briefly looked like this one was going to be interesting, but then OKC put the Mavs in their place. Kevin Durant is up to 31 points for the Thunder.

9:20 – Randy Foye kicks off the fourth with a three for the Thunder, getting their lead up to 100-78.

9:21 – We have a time out with 10:40 left in the ball game and the score Oklahoma City 100, Dallas 82. With Dallas on a big 4-0 run, Thunder coach Billy Donavan understandably wants to call a time out to stop their momentum.

9:29 – Another time out with the score Oklahoma City 107, Dallas 86 with an even eight minutes left in the game. Yikes. Over in Indiana, the third quarter has just ended, and it’s Raptors 71, Pacers 59, with another potential clunker coming up next between the Warriors and Rockets.

9:34 – I forgot to mention this earlier, but the Thunder are wearing their weird black alternates. At least they aren’t sleeved like the crummy home jerseys they wore in the first two games. Have they just given up on their usual home and away jerseys?

9:38 – Time for another time out with the score Oklahoma City 116, Dallas 92 with 5:22 left in the ball game. Meanwhile, the Warriors/Rockets game is about to tip-off, and until this lousy game is over, it’ll be airing on HLN, since NBA TV has the Raptors/Pacers game. Who the hell scheduled these games? They could have at least had the Warriors and Rockets start at 10:00. Anyway, congratulations to HLN for the most exciting moment in their history.

9:43 – Another time out with the score Oklahoma City 124, Dallas 96 with 3:55 left in the game. Good grief.

9:46 – According to their own Twitter feed, the Thunder have set a franchise record for threes in a Playoff game. They’ve got 14 so far, and are shooting 58.3% from downtown. At least I got to see history.

9:50 – The Warriors and Rockets have tipped off on HLN! I’m going to just keep it on the Thunder and Mavs because I hate myself.

9:53 – This game finally comes to an end with a final score of Oklahoma City 131, Dallas 102. TNT unceremoniously and immediately switches over to Warriors/Rockets, where Houston is off to a 6-4 lead. Even TNT is at a loss for how to deal with these lackluster first round games. Anyway, Kevin Durant rebounded from his terrible Game 2 to score 34 points and grab 7 rebounds for the Thunder. Russell Westbrook complimented Durant with 26 points and 15 assists, and Enes Kanter came off the bench for 21 points and 8 rebounds to help lead OKC to a romping win. Wesley Matthews had 22 points and 5 rebounds for the Mavs who suffered through a hapless performance on their home floor, and now trail 2-1 in the series.

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9:55 – We have our first time out in Houston with the score Rockets 8, Warriors 6 with 8:32 left in the first quarter. Maybe the Rockets will put up more of a fight on their home floor.

9:58 – Narrating the action in Houston: none other than Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller, and once again, Steph Curry is out of service for the Warriors tonight.

10:00 – Another time out as the Rockets are on a 9-2 run! It’s the most life they’ve shown all series, and it has our score at Houston 15, Golden State 8 with 7:03 left in the first quarter.

10:06 – Hakeem Olajuwon sighting! The Rockets legend is watching this game from courtside and he’s enjoying what he’s seen so far with the home team up 17-11.

10:07 – We have a final from Indiana: Raptors 101, Pacers 85. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan each scored 21 to lead Toronto to a 2-1 series lead.

10:11 – We’ve got a time out with the score Houston 26, Golden State 15 with an even three minutes left in the first quarter. The Rockets are playing the best they have all series long, and are actually looking like they give a damn. Dwight Howard has been particularly involved, especially on the defensive end, and it’s led to a few fast break points for the Rockets as they’ve built their lead up to double digits.

10:20 – The first quarter comes to an end with the score Houston 31, Golden State 18. It’s a nice change of pace to see the Rockets with a chance to actually win a game as the Warriors are struggling without Steph Curry and their raucous home crowd behind them, shooting just 35% and, most surprising of all, they haven’t hit a single three-pointer. Meanwhile, James Harden has 14 points to help get the Rockets off to their good start.

10:24 – It didn’t take long for the Warriors to get that first three, as Marrese Speights starts off the second quarter by hitting one, cutting the Rockets lead to 31-21.

10:28 – We have a time out as the Rockets continue to maintain their lead. It’s Houston 35, Golden State 21 with 8:52 left in the first half.

10:37 – Another time out with the score Houston 47, Golden State 35 with 5:35 left in the second quarter. Despite the fact they’re playing well, I’m still not sure if I trust the Rockets to hang onto this lead, but on the other hand, the absence of Steph definitely has the Warriors out of sorts tonight.

10:45 – We’ve got a time out with the score Houston 53, Golden State 39 with 2:42 left in the first half. It’s been another ugly game, but its unexpectedness is keeping it interesting. Can the Warriors get back into it without the league’s reigning MVP?

10:50 – Technical foul on Dwight Howard! He gets his arms tangled up with Andrew Bogut, who swings him around after Howard grabs a one handed rebound. Howard then spikes the ball on the ground at Bogut and gets called for the tech. Klay Thompson knocks down the free throw for Golden State, but they’re down 55-40 as we approach halftime.

10:51 – Now Dwight Howard and Marresse Speights square off a bit after Speights intentionally fouls him to put him at the line. Howard’s been playing well tonight, but as he often does, he’s allowing his boneheaded tendencies to get the better of him. Luckily, he didn’t get called for a second T, which would have been hilarious, and lead to an automatic ejection. Oh, and he misses both of his free throws.

10:55- With Dwight Howard on the bench, the Warriors intentionally foul fellow lousy free throw shooter Josh Howard. He misses his first one, and yells, “HELL NO!” as it sails to the back of the rim. He misses the second one as well.

10:56 – The Warriors close the quarter on a 12-2 run, and they have the Rockets lead down to single digits. It’s Houston 55, Golden State 48. This is why the Rockets can’t be trusted. They had a big lead, and thanks in part to some undisciplined behavior, they’ve let the Warriors right back into it. James Harden leads the Rockets with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Marrese Speights has scored 14 off the Warriors bench to lead them in scoring, and Klay Thompson has chipped in with 11. We might actually be in for an intriguing second half as the Warriors will look to capitalize on the momentum they gained going into halftime, while the Rockets, in desperate need of a win, will try to fend them off.

11:00 – Charles Barkley guarantees the Rockets are going to lose the game! “There’s nothing worse than fake hustle,” he says adamantly. “I’ve seen fake hustle before.” He’s the absolute best.

11:02 – Well, we didn’t have time for an episode of Today in NBA Playoff History during the first game, so we’ll have to make this a good one. As usual, thanks to the keepers of knowledge over at Basketball-Reference for making all of this so easy to look up.

All the way back on April 21, 1948, the Baltimore Bullets won the old BAA championship with an 88-73 victory in Game 6 over the Philadelphia Warriors. The Bullets would eventually disband early during the 1954-55 season, after stating 3-11, while the Warriors live on in the very game I’m watching, having moved from Philly to San Francisco to Oakland, now calling themselves the Golden State Warriors. As for that game back in 1948, Joe Fulks led Philadelphia with 28 points, but no other Warrior reached double-digits. The Bullets were led by a balanced attack, with Chuck Reiser scoring 16 points to lead five players who scored in double-figures, including fellows by the names of Buddy Jeannette and Kleggie Hermsen.

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The 1948 Baltimore Bullets look less like a championship basketball team and more like me and my friends.

11:15 – Donatas Montiejunas knocks down a three to get the scoring started in the second quarter. It gets the Rockets lead up to 58-48.

11:21 – We’ve got a time out as the Rockets are on a 6-0 run, and the Warriors are getting frustrated. It’s Houston 68, Golden State 56 with 7:20 left in the third quarter. The Rockets are getting back to their solid play of the first half, and it’s got them their confidence, and a double-digit lead back.

11:32 – Time for another time out with the score Houston 74, Golden State 66 with 3:23 left in the third. The Warriors continue to lurk, but you have to hand it to the Rockets as they’ve been able to keep them at arm’s length. For now.

11:39 – We’re here at the end of the third quarter, and the Warriors finished it off with a 10-4 run, making our score Houston 78, Golden State 72. It’s the moment of truth for the Rockets. Can they finish off this game, taking advantage of the home crowd and the absence of Steph Curry, to grab a much needed win and shut people like myself and Charles Barkley up, or will they cough it up to the defending champs, much to the delight of people like myself and Charles Barkley?

11:43 – Michael Beasley spins and hits a little floater to get the Rockets lead up to 80-72 with the first points of the fourth quarter.

11:47 – Shawn Livingston hits a little floater, and it’s a one possession game as the Warriors trail, 81-78.

11:48 – Livingston hits a jumper, and Houston needs a time out, because their lead is all the way down to one. It’s Rockets 81, Warriors 80 with 8:58 left in the game.

11:54 – After a cold stretch from both teams, James Harden nails a three, and the Rockets go up 84-80.

11:56 – We’ve got a time out with the score Houston 85, Golden State 80 with 6:35 remaining. It comes in between a pair of James Harden free throws. The in between free throws time out always annoys me, for some reason.

11:59 – We come back and Harden hits his second free throw, extending the Rockets lead to 86-80.

12:03 am – Another time out as the Rockets have maintained the lead, but haven’t put the Warriors away. It’s Houston 91, Golden State 87 with 3:42 left in what’s thankfully turned out to be a pretty exciting game!

12:07 – James Harden storms through the paint and throws down a dunk! It ignites the crowd and gets the Rockets lead up to 93-87! He’s up to 33 points.

12:08 – Down 93-89, the Warriors elect to intentionally foul Dwight Howard to send him to the line. He misses them both, and the strategy pays off for now as the Warriors take the ball.

12:09 – Andre Iguodala knocks down a three! It cuts the Rockets lead down to 93-92 with 2:56 remaining in the game! Houston calls a time out.

12:13 – Ian Clark hits a runner, and the Warriors take a 94-93 lead!

12:14 – We’ve got a time out with the score still Golden State 94, Houston 93 with just 53 seconds remaining. The Warriors will have the ball when we come back, as they’ve erased a 17 point deficit and have a chance to pull out a win here at the Toyota Center!

12:17 – Michael Beasley hits two free throws, and it gives the Rockets the lead back with the score Houston 95, Golden State 94 with 41 seconds left in the ball game.

12:19 – After Klay Thompson misses a three, the Rockets have the ball as the game winds down. There’s a two second difference between the shot clock and game clock, and the Warriors elect not to foul as Houston passes the ball around. They get it to Michael Beasley on the baseline, and it’s poked out of bounds! Now they’re looking at who touched it last, Beasley, or Ian Clark. Looks to me like it went of Beasley. It’s all going down with 14.1 seconds on the clock as each team awaits to find out who has the ball.

12:21 – It will remain Rockets ball with 14.4 seconds left in the game, and 12 seconds on the shot clock. I still think it went off Beasley.

12:22 – …and the Rockets have to call their last time out as they can’t inbound fast enough.

12:24 – Shawn Livingston steals the inbounds pass and zooms up the court! It gets knocked away from behind, but it skips up to Ian Clark who’s ahead of the pack! He lays it in and the Warriors take the lead! The Rockets don’t have a time out, so they have to get down the court. It ends up with James Harden in the paint, and he nails a shot! The Rockets go up 97-96 with 2.7 seconds on the clock! The Warriors take a time out!

12:26 – Klay Thompson inbounds it to Draymond Green…who bobbles the pass! It hits off his leg and goes rolling out of bounds with just one second left! The Rockets inbound the basketball…and Shawn Livingston tips it, but right into the hands of Jason Terry, and the Rockets escape with a 97-96 victory!

What a finish! James Harden was the hero, finishing the game with 35 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists and the game winner! Donatas Montiejunans had 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Dwight Howard chipped in with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Marrese Speights scored 22 off the bench to lead the Warriors, who fell short at the end after Harden’s heroics and the unfortunate turnover from Draymond Green.

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You have to hand it to the Houston Rockets. No team has been hated on more than they have, and everyone seems ready for them to go away, up to and including their own players at times. Instead, they battled hard and eked out a victory against the defending champs. Sure, Steph Curry didn’t play, but that was a win that I didn’t think the Rockets were capable of, mainly because it involved effort and heart. For one night, at least, they played like they deserve to be here. Most importantly, we got a game that went down to the final seconds! We can all be thankful for that. Hopefully it sets the tone for the weekend, as several teams need to secure some wins, or face the end of their season.

NBA Playoffs – Day 5

Another lopsided night is in the books.

As the First Round of the NBA Playoffs rolls along, my contention that there’s always something interesting about them has taken a massive hit. Last night, there were two more uninspiring blow outs, and people seem ready for the First Round to go away. That’s too bad, because it’s not going anywhere, for now, and there’s three more games tonight.

Banished to NBA TV is Game 2 between the Heat and the Hornets. Nobody was prepared for how badly Miami defeated Charlotte over the weekend, and the Hornets are looking to show that it was just a fluke. This was supposed to be one of the better series of the First Round, and hopefully it can be salvaged by a good bounce back effort by Charlotte. I won’t be seeing it, because I don’t have NBA TV, but it’d be nice to see that series get a shot in the arm.

Kicking off the games I will be watching tonight is Game 2 between the Cavs and the Pistons, one of the few series that is coming off a competitive Game 1. The Pistons had a real chance to steal the game, but their inexperience showed down the stretch, and after some unfortunate decisions, the game slipped away from them. It’ll be interesting to see if they can remain competitive with the top-seeded Cavs, or if they’ve already blown their chance.

In the late game, the Clippers and Blazers square off in their Game 2. The Clips looked pretty damn good in Game 1, and Portland will be hoping that their star back court of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum can come back strong after a disappointing opener.

7:57 pm – Another exciting episode of Castle is coming to an end on TNT, which means it’s almost time for basketball! Before Ernie Johnson welcomes us to Studio J, let’s take a look at the live box score for Game 2 between the Heat and the Hornets. It’s tied at 47 with 4:45 remaining in the first half. Looks like Charlotte has come back nicely from their Game 1 misadventures. Hopefully that sets the tone for TNT’s games.

8:00 – It’s time for evening of Playoff basketball! Ernie Johnson tells us that Al Jefferson has scored 16 points in the second quarter for the Hornets.

8:02 – Instead of talking about the first game, Ernie Johnson and team remember Pearl Washington, who passed away today. Kenny Smith, a fellow New Yorker, recalls how much Pearl meant to his contemporaries when they were growing up in their city.

8:09 – We’re live in Cleveland for Game 2 between the Cavs and Pistons! Brian Anderson and Steve Smith will narrate the action for us tonight.

8:11 – The Pistons win the opening tip, and we’re underway at the Quicken Loans Arena! Andre Drummond, who was quiet in Game 1, hits a hook shot to get the first points in the ball game, getting the Pistons off to a 2-0 lead.

8:12 – The score at halftime down in Miami: Heat 72, Hornets 60. Sounds like a real shootout down there! The Heat are shooting an unreasonable 74.4% from the floor.

8:14 – Kyrie Irving hits a floater along the baseline, and the Cavs are on the board, trailing 4-2.

8:19 – We’ve got our first time out with the score Detroit 15, Cleveland 7 with 6:46 left in the first quarter. All five Pistons starters have scored, while Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are the only Cavs that have put the ball in the basket so far.

8:30 – Detroit’s 19-year old rookie Stanley Johnson is playing defense on LeBron, and doing a decent job. This is why the drinking age should be 18. If you have to guard LeBron in the Playoffs, you should be able to have a drink afterwards if you want one.

8:31 – After Stanley Johnson hits a three, we have a time out with the score Detroit 26, Cleveland 17 with 1:53 left in the first quarter. Both Kevin Love and Tristian Thompson went to the bench early with foul trouble, but Kyrie Irving is trying to step up. He had a stretch where he scored 11 straight points for the Cavs, and is already up to 13 for the quarter.

8:34 – The Pistons have lost nine straight Playoff games against the Cavs, it’s the longest active Playoff losing streak against a particular team in the league.

8:36 – The Cavs have decided to intentionally foul lousy free throw shooter Andre Drummond. He misses both free throws, but the rebound gets batted out of bounds by the Cavs, and the Pistons retain possession.

8:38 – After the Cavs send Drummond to the line again, the rebound is once again tapped out of bounds by the Cavs, giving the ball back to the Pistons. The Basketball Gods must be angered by the Cavs strategy. Detroit brings in Aron Baynes to put an end to the intentional fouling.

8:41 – At the end of the first quarter, our score’s Detroit 28, Cleveland 23. It’s been a balanced attack from the Pistons so far, as their six players who have scored all have four or five points. Kyrie Irving has 13 to lead the Cavs, who trailed during the entire quarter. Detroit got off to a good start in Game 1 and saw it slip away down the stretch. We know they can hang with the Cavs, but can they sustain it until the end of the game?

8:44 – Matthew Dellavedova lobs one up for LeBron who slams it home. It’s the first points of the second quarter, and it decreases the Pistons lead to 28-25.

8:45 – We have a quick time out as the Cavs have suddenly tied the game with a Richard Jefferson three. It’s 28-28 with 10:59 left in the first half as the Cavs are on an 11-2 run.

8:51 – We’ve got another time out as the Cavs are starting to roll. It’s Cleveland 34, Detroit 30 with 8:25 remaining until halftime. LeBron’s up to ten points now, as he’s starting to bully the smaller defenders that the Pistons are throwing at him.

8:54 – At the end of the third quarter down in Miami, it’s Heat 91, Hornets 78. Hassan Whiteside has 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat, and what was once looking like a close game has devolved into another blowout.

8:55 – LeBron James is fired up right now. He just threw down a huge dunk, followed by a big roar. He’s got ten points in the quarter and was just seen prancing down the court after a foul was called against the Cavs, who lead 36-30.

8:58 – Kevin Love hits a three, and the Pistons call another time out with the score Cleveland 42, Detroit 36 with 5:46 left in the first half. It’s only a six point game, but it feels like the Pistons are further behind as the stadium is filled with a loud buzz after the Cavs have grabbed all of the momentum.

9:05 – We’ve got a technical foul on Marcus Morris. Kyrie Irving misses the free throw however, and Cleveland leads 45-44 as the Pistons are in the midst of an 8-1 run.

9:07 – We have a time out as Detroit has retaken the lead. It’s Pistons 46, Cavaliers 45 with 3:03 left until halftime. Detroit weathered the storm after the Cavs looked like they were primed to take over the game. So far, the younger Pistons have been able to remain poised and keep the pressure on Cleveland.

9:11 – With the game tied at 47, Cleveland goes back to intentionally fouling Andre Drummond. He hits both of his free throws, and the Pistons are up 49-47.

9:16 – After another intentional foul sends Drummond to the line, he misses the free throws, but the Pistons get the offensive rebound. That’s three times Detroit’s been able to keep the ball with Drummond at the line.

9:17 – We’ve made it to halftime with the score Cleveland 55, Detroit 53. I have to say, I’m impressed with the Pistons. I’ve seen many a team wilt while facing a fired up LeBron, but here we are with a close game here at the half as Detroit’s had an answer for everything Cleveland has thrown at them. LeBron leads the Cavs with 16 points, 14 of which came in the second quarter. JR Smith has 15 points, all of which have come from three pointers, and Kyrie Irving still has the 13 points he had at the end of the first quarter. Andre Drummond leads Detroit with 15 points, but he’s shooting a disgusting 3-12 from the free throw line. Reggie Jackson has 12 points and 5 assists as the Pistons continue to impress. We’ll see if they can close this one out, or if we’re in for a repeat of Game 1 where they let the game get away from them down the stretch.

9:20 – “Thank you, Cleveland and Detroit, we needed this!” – Ernie Johnson. Amen, brother.

9:24 – Time for our first episode of Today in NBA Playoff History! As always, thanks to the priests over at Basketball-Reference for doing the lord’s work when it comes to documenting basketball statistics.

Back on April 20, 1986, in one of the most famous games in NBA history, Michael Jordan scored a Playoff record 63 points in Game 2 of the Bulls first round series against the Celtics. It somehow wasn’t enough, as the Celtics outlasted the Bulls, 135-131, in double-overtime. After the game, Larry Bird (who went for 36 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists) famously described MJ’s performance by saying he was “God disguised as Michael Jordan.”

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God, disguised as Michael Jordan, shooting a jumper against the Celtics.

9:35 – Reggie Jackson takes it right to the hoop to start off the third quarter by tying us up at 55. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope follows that up by hitting a three, giving the Pistons a 58-55 lead. In other news, we’ve got a final score down in Miami: Heat 115, Hornets 103. Dwyane Wade had 28 points and 8 assists, and Miami now leads the series, 2-0.

9:36 – Andre Drummond hits a lefty jump hook, and the Pistons have scored the first seven points of the third quarter to make the score Detroit 60, Cleveland 55 as the Cavs call a time out with 10:38 left in the third quarter.

9:41 – Kyrie Irving takes it to the hoop for a layup, and they’re finally on the board here in the second half. They’re down 60-57.

9:43 – Kyrie Irving passes to JR Smith in the corner, who zips it right back to Irving who knocks down a three, and we’re tied at 60.

9:44 – Marcus Morris knocks down a pair of free throws, and the Pistons go ahead 62-60.

9:46 – Kevin Love hits a three, and the Cavs regain the lead at 63-62.

9:47 – LeBron gets a three of his own, extending the Cavs lead to 66-62.

9:49 – We’ve got a time out as the Pistons have gone cold, and the Cavs have taken advantage. After a JR Smith three, it’s Cleveland 71, Detroit 62 with 4:47 left in the third quarter. The Pistons have been able to respond well to the Cavs in both games so far, and they need to do it again now.

9:53 – The Pistons have gone cold, missing their last seven shots, leading to an 11-0 run for the Cavs. To make matters worse, Marcus Morris has a nose bleed, and it won’t stop, so he’s stuck on the bench for now.

9:59 – Detroit takes a time out with the score Cavs 77, Pistons 68 with 1:12 left in the third quarter. After getting off to such a good start at the beginning of the quarter, the wheels have come off for Detroit, but they’re still battling as they try to remain within striking distance.

10:03 – The third quarter comes to an end, and the score’s Cleveland 82, Detroit 68. Brian Anderson tells us that the Cavs have set a franchise record for threes in a Playoff game with 17, seven of which have come from JR Smith. As a team, they’re shooting 53.1% from behind the arc as they look to put the Pistons away.

10:08 – After a Pistons turnover to start the quarter, Matthew Dellavedova gets into the paint and gets a bucket for the first hoop of the fourth. It puts Cleveland up 84-68.

10:09 – We have a quick time out with the score Cleveland 86, Detroit 70 with 10:29 left in the game. Now this is looking more like a 1 vs 8 series. Too bad.

10:18 – Matthew Dellavedova throws up an alley-oop to Iman Shumpert who finishes it off, and the Pistons take a time out. The score’s Cleveland 93, Detroit 74 with 7:44 left in the game. At least we got one good half out of this one.

10:32 – Kevin Love hits a three, and it leads to another time out with the score Cleveland 98, Detroit 80 with 3:59 remaining in the game.

10:36 – Yet another time out. This time the score’s Cleveland 100, Detroit 84 with 2:57 on the clock.

10:41 – Time for another time out. With all of these stoppages in play, we’re going to miss the start of the Clippers/Blazers game, and at this point, I think we just want this current game to go away. It’s Cleveland 100, Detroit 86 with 1:41 remaining.

10:44 – Another goddamn time out for some reason. The score’s Cleveland 102, Detroit 88 with 1:13 left. The Cavs are one three pointer away from tying the NBA record for threes in a Playoff game, so I suppose that’s one reason to stay invested.

10:46 – Jordan McRae hits a three, and the Cavs tie the NBA record for threes in a Playoff game! The Warriors, Mavericks and Sonics have also accomplished this incredible feat. So glad I got to see it.

10:47 – This game comes to an end with the score Cleveland 107, Detroit 90. Three Cavaliers scored over 20 points, led by LeBron’s 27 points, to go along with 6 rebounds. Kyrie Irving scored 22 points, and JR Smith had 21 and five rebounds, with all of his points coming from three pointers. Kevin Love contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds. Andre Drummond scored 20 points and grabbed 7 rebounds for Detroit, but shot just 4-16 from the free throw line. We entered the night hopeful that this series would continue to be close, but the Cavs laid down the law in the second half and made the Pistons look like the 8-seed that they are. The series now heads to Detroit with the Cavs in the driver’s seat, up 2-0.

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The Cavs walk off the court up 2-0.

We switch over to Clippers/Blazers just in time to see CJ McCollum score the first points of the game with a layup, putting the Blazers up 2-0.

10:48 – After a three second violation, Chris Paul hits a free throw to get the Clippers on the board. They’re down 2-1 to start the game. By the way, our narrators here in Los Angeles: Marv Albert and Kevin McHale. Excellent.

10:52 – We have our first time out of the game as the Clippers are off to a fast start. It’s Los Angeles 8, Portland 2 with 9:57 left in the first quarter.

11:00 – Things are starting to look up a little bit as the Blazers have hit four of their last five shots. They still trail, but the score’s looking much better. It’s Los Angeles 18, Portland 13 with 4:54 left in the opening quarter. JJ Redick already has 11 points for LA.

11:03 – With the Clippers in the bonus, Chris Kaman checks into the game for the Blazers, and there’s a solid chance he’s in there to intentionally foul DeAndre Jordan.

11:06 – Jamal Crawford is into the game for the Clippers, fresh off winning his third Sixth Man of the Year Award. He was honored for it before the game, which we missed thanks to that lousy Cavs/Pistons game. Two time Sixth Man winner, and current color commentator, Kevin McHale was part of the pregame presentation. Crawford’s the first player in NBA history to win the award three times, so congratulations to him!

11:08 – Now Kevin McHale is sharing old Celtics stories, telling us about how Red Auerbach pioneered the use of the sixth man, and he even uses a fantastic impression of Red as he recounts all of the reasons the grizzled Celtics legend would use to explain why it’s great to be the sixth man. With how lousy most of these games have been, McHale’s story immediately becomes a top-five Playoff moment.

11:12 – Maurice Harkless spins around his defender and make a halfcourt shot, but it’s unfortunately after the buzzer sounds, and the first quarter ends with the score Los Angeles 22, Portland 17. After their fast start, the Clippers shooting percentage is down to 36.4%. The Blazers have been even worse, however, shooting just 30.8%. Nevertheless, it’s a close game as we head into the second quarter. In other news, I’m pleased to report that Chris Kaman didn’t commit a single intentional foul. He must be in because the Blazers feel his experience and tough play will prove valuable, especially if the game is going to continue to be a gritty, defensive struggle.

11:16 – Cole Aldrich takes a nice bounce pass from Jamal Crawford and lays it in, extending the Clippers lead to 24-17 with the first points of the second quarter.

11:19 – The Clippers are on an 8-0 run, and the Blazers need a time out with the score Los Angeles 32, Portland 19 with 9:25 to go in the second quarter.

11:27 – Another time out with 7:02 remaining in the first half and the score Los Angeles 37, Portland 23. It figures we started this blog just in time for this dud of a First Round.

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I feel you, Admiral.

11:31 – Hey! The Blazers are making a little noise here, and they have their deficit down to nine with the score Los Angeles 39, Portland 30 with 5:39 left in the second quarter. Mason Plumlee will be at the line trying to cut into the Clippers lead even further once we return from a time out.

11:34 – Plumlee hits one of two free throws to cut the Clippers lead down to 39-31. Stay tuned…

11:40 – We’ve got a time out as Plumlee and the Blazers try to hang in there. It’s Los Angeles 45, Portland 35 with 2:58 left in the first half.

11:47 – Kaman finally intentionally fouls DeAndre Jordan with 25.7 seconds on the clock so the Blazers can get the last possession of the first half, trailing 47-41. Jordan obliges and misses them both, and the Blazers have the ball for the final possession of the first half.

11:49 – We’ve reached halftime, and despite trailing by as many as 15 points, the Blazers have fought back with a 7-0 run to make the score Los Angeles 47, Portland 43. The Clippers don’t seem to have much of a killer instinct tonight, and they’ve allowed the Blazers to stay in this one, which is fine with me, because I assume like all NBA fans, I’m desperate for an exciting game. JJ Redick leads Los Angeles with 13 points. DeAndre Jordan hasn’t scored, but he’s grabbed ten rebounds already. Mason Plumlee and CJ McCollum have each scored 11 points to lead the Blazers, who have to be thankful that Plumlee has stepped up, as their star, Damian Lillard, is shooting just 2-10 from the field for six points.

11:53 – Time for another installment of Today in NBA Playoff History!

In the spirit of Michael Jordan’s aforementioned scoring outburst, we’re going to April 20, 2003 for another impressive shooting display. On that day, Allen Iverson got the Playoffs started by hanging 55 points on the New Orleans Hornets, leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a 98-90 win in Game 1 of the First Round.

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This year’s Playoffs could use a little Allen Iverson.

12:09 – JJ Redick comes around a screen and nails a jumper to kick off the second half scoring and increase the Clippers lead to 49-43. That’s followed up by a steal and a dunk by Luc Mbah a Moute to put LA up 51-43, leading to a Blazers time out with 10:32 left in the third. This is obviously not the start Portland wanted coming out of halftime.

12:17 – CJ McCollum nails a three, and the Blazers are on an 11-2 run! It makes our score Los Angeles 57, Portland 54 with 6:47 remaining in the third quarter as the Clippers take a time out.

12:20 – Chris Paul gets to the hoop but misses a layup, however, Blake Griffin comes flying in for a dunk to give the Clippers a 59-54 lead.

12:22 – CJ McCollum hits a baseline jumper, keeping the Blazers close as they trail 59-56.

12:23 – Chris Paul nails a corner three to double LA’s lead, putting them ahead 62-56.

12:24 – Damian Lillard takes a nice bounce pass from Mason Plumlee and gets a layup, plus he’s fouled! I’m really impressed with Plumlee in this one, especially his passing. Meanwhile, Lillard makes his free throw, and the Blazers are down three again at 62-59.

12:25 – Chris Paul misses a shot from close range, but DeAndre Jordan slams it home for his first points of the game, putting the Clippers up 64-59.

12:29 – The Blazers are intentionally fouling DeAndre Jordan again as they try to keep this a close game in the last minute of the third. This time, he misses both free throws, but the Clippers lead is up to eight at 67-59.

12:33 – The third quarter draws to a close with the score Los Angeles 67, Portland 61. The Blazers continue remain in the game, but they haven’t been able to put a run together to take the lead as both teams have experienced stretches of cold shooting. On the plus side, it’s just a two possession game as we head into what will hopefully be a fun fourth quarter.

12:37 – Cole Aldrich hits a hook shot and the fourth quarter scoring is underway as the Clippers extend their lead to 69-61.

12:42 – We’ve got a time out, and the fourth quarter hasn’t been particularly fun thus far. It’s Clippers 73, Blazers 63 with 8:59 remaining in the game. Portland’s field goal percentage is down to 30.3%, which is keeping them from grabbing any kind of momentum.

12:51 – As the Clippers lead continues to grow, the Blazers need another time out. It’s Los Angeles 88, Portland 71 with 5:28 remaining. Damian Lillard is shooting just 5-21 for the Blazers, who have been unable to overcome their struggles from the field.

1:02 – We have one last time out as we’re 1:15 away from yet another blowout with the score Los Angeles 97, Portland 81.

1:06 – This one comes to an end with the score Los Angeles 102, Portland 81. Chris Paul led the way with 25 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and some really great defense against Damian Lillard. DeAndre Jordan finished with 3 points, 18 rebounds and 5 assists, while the Clippers bench played really well, keeping the Blazers from making any progress, and even building LA’s lead many times throughout the night. Mason Plumlee was the only Blazer worth his salt tonight, finishing with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. Damian Lillard had 17 points and 6 rebounds, but shot just 6-22 and had just a miserable time against Chris Paul. Al-Faroq Aminu chipped in with 9 points and 10 rebounds, but the Blazers shot poorly as a team and the game got away from them.

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Chris Paul dominated his matchup against Damian Lillard.

All three games were similar in the sense that it was close at first, and then the home team pulled away for a big win. The Hornets, Pistons and Blazers all looked like they had a chance to steal their games tonight, but they were quickly put in their place as the lopsided NBA Playoffs continue on. Now, each series is switching to the lower seeds home courts. Here’s hoping that with their home fans cheering them on, the underdogs can find a way to claw their way back into their series, because I’m running out of ways to write about blowouts.