NBA Playoffs Day 3: Comebacks Fall Short

Now that the weekend’s over, we’re into our first couple of Game 2s! First, the Cavaliers host the Pacers after they survived a close call in Game 1. A missed shot at the buzzer from CJ Miles ensured a victory for the Cavs, and Pacers star Paul George apparently had a word with Miles after the game, saying that he’s the one that needs to be taking those sorts of shots. Regardless of who took the shot, it was an unfortunate miss, robbing the Pacers of a chance to steal Game 1. You’re not going to get many chances like that to best LeBron and the Cavs, and if the Pacers can’t hang like they did on Saturday, this will loom as a big opportunity lost.

Later tonight, the Spurs host the Grizzlies in Game 2 of their series, following a big blowout win by San Antonio in Game 1. Hopefully Memphis can bounce back to make that series a little more interesting, but that’s a tall task against a team like the Spurs.

6:55 pm – Just waiting for this episode of of Once Upon A Time that my girlfriend is watching to end…

7:01 – With not a moment to lose, the episode ends, and I tune into TNT for tonight’s exciting NBA Playoffs action. Looks like Kenny Smith is back in action after losing his voice last night.

7:03 – Charles Barkley is unimpressed with Paul George saying he needed to get the last shot. Shaq says George absolutely needed to get the ball back on the final play of Game 1.

7:06 – The Cavs have a moment of silence before the game for Robert Godwin Jr, the victim of the shooting that was uploaded to Facebook over the weekend.

7:10 – We’re welcomed to the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio by the legendary Marv Albert. He’ll be joined by Brent Barry on color commentary, and Kristen Ledlow, who will be roaming the sidelines, reporting. Can the Pacers give the Cavs another scare, and maybe steal the game, or did they blow their shot in Game 1?

7:11 – The Pacers win the opening tip, and our first Game 2 is underway.

7:13 – The Pacers come up with a steal, and it leads to an easy dunk for Paul George, giving us our first two points of the game.

7:15 – Kevin Love finds Tristan Thompson rolling through the paint with a nice pass, and Thompson throws down a dunk, getting the Cavs on the board, trailing 3-2.

7:16 – Paul George knocks down a three, and we have our first timeout as the Pacers are off to a nice start. The score’s Indiana 9, Cleveland 4 with nine minutes left in the opening quarter.

7:28 – Another Celtics legend has been passed in the all time Playoff rankings.

7:29 – An errant Pacers pass is scooped up by the Cavs, and it leads to a big dunk by LeBron all alone on the fast break. As a perturbed Pacers President Larry Bird shakes his head in the stands, we have a timeout with the score Cleveland 24, Indiana 21 with 2:48 left in the first quarter.

7:37 – The first quarter comes to an end with an 8-2 run from the Cavs to make the score Cleveland 32, Indiana 29. Kevin Love has 10 points and 7 rebounds already for Cleveland, and Paul George has scored ten for the Pacers. We’re off to a good start so far, with the Cavs defense continuing to look less than sharp. Luckily for them, their offense has been in fine form.

7:41 – LeBron gets an easy basket in the paint, scoring the first points of the second quarter to extend the Cavs lead to 34-29. Brent Barry notes that LeBron should have been called for a travel.

7:45 – LeBron James gets by everybody for a thunderous dunk, and we’re going to have a timeout as the Cavs have scored the first eight points of the quarter, and they’re now on a 16-2 run. The score’s Cleveland 40, Indiana 29 with 8:40 left in the first half.

7:54 – Paul George finishes off a 3-on-1 fast break with a nice pass to Thaddeus Young for a soft dunk, but things haven’t been going particularly well for the Pacers as we head into a timeout. The score’s Cleveland 56, Indiana 45 with 5:07 left until halftime. The Cavs are shooting 61.8%, including a 9-15 showing from beyond the arc. Looks like they might be on their way to having one of those games.

8:01 – Larry Bird’s now chewing his fingernails in the stands.

8:03 – LeBron James is fouled while going up with a shot, and he’ll head to the free throw line, but first, a timeout. Our score’s Cleveland 62, Indiana 53 with 2:19 remaining in the first half.

8:07 – Back from the timeout, LeBron goes 1-2 from the free throw line to give the Cavs a ten point lead at 63-53.

8:11 – We’ve made it to halftime with a 7-1 run from the Pacers. Our score’s Cleveland 63, Indiana 58. It feels like the Cavs should be up by a lot more, but their defense continues to be less than stellar. On top of that, they’ve turned the ball over 11 times, and the Pacers, after being behind double digits earlier, are well within shouting distance.

LeBron James has 17 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists…and six turnovers for Cleveland. Kevin Love has 13 points and 7 boards, and Kyrie Irving’s added 12.

Paul George has been playing like a man on a mission, pacing the Pacers with 18 points on 6-9 shooting, including several ferocious dunks. Jeff Teague’s added 12 points and 4 assists on 5-6 shooting, Thaddeus Young has contributed ten points.

8:16 – It’s time for tonight’s first episode of Today in Playoff History, brought to you by the librarians over at Basketball Reference!

Back in 1977, the Cavaliers found themselves eliminated from the Playoffs, losing Game 3 of their first round series, 104-98, to the Washington Bullets.

Tom Henderson scored 31 to lead the Bullets, and Elvin Hayes added 23 points and 15 rebounds. Elmore Smith led Cleveland with 20 points, but it wasn’t enough to win the decisive Game 3, back in the days when the first round was best-of-three.

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8:29 – As the second half begins, Iman Shumpert is on the floor for the Cavs as JR Smith is back in the locker room with some sort of injury. Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving gets a layup for the first points of the quarter, putting the Cavs ahead, 65-58.

8:30 – JR Smith is making his way back to the Cavs bench.

8:31 – Iman Shumpert knocks down a three, and the Cavs have opened up the third quarter on a 7-0 run. It’s enough for the Pacers to take a timeout with the score Cleveland 70, Indiana 58 with 10:25 left in the third quarter.

8:34 – Sideline reporter Kristen Ledlow tells us that JR Smith will not be returning to the game due to a left hamstring injury. He’s solemnly sitting on the Cavs bench.

8:36 – And now Jeff Teague seems like he’s in distress after landing hard on his wrist on a drive to the hoop. Kevin Love is called for a blocking foul on the play, and LeBron James disagrees with the call, earning a technical foul for arguing with the ref. Paul George hits the technical free throw, and Teague hits both free throws, but he’s holding that wrist on his way back on defense. The Pacers trail, 73-62.

8:41 – Jeff Teague is once again seen clutching his wrist as he remains in the game.

8:43 – LeBron continues his climb up the all time Playoff leaderboards…

8:45 – Not to be outdone, Kyrie Irving is rising up the Cavs all time Playoff scoring ranks, passing one of my favorite players, Mark Price, for second on their list.

8:47 – Myles Turner finally scores his first couple of points, courtesy of a jumper from near the free throw line. It leads to a timeout with the score, Cleveland 79, Indiana 68 with 4:43 left in the third quarter.

8:59 – Lance Stephenson makes a nice pass to Kevin Seraphin for a layup, but nice plays like this have been few and far between. A timeout is called with a minute left in the third and the score Cleveland 91, Indiana 75. Kevin Love’s been particularly dominant here in the third. The Pacers haven’t been able to guard him with their smaller lineup, and he’s been especially making life hell for Stephenson, much to the delight of the home fans.

9:03 – Kyrie Irving knocks down a three woth .02 seconds left on the clock, then Lance Stephenson throws in a bomb after the Pacers inbound the ball, but it will unfortunately not count. Thankfully, Jeff Van Gundy isn’t around to call him Lance Romance.

Anyway, a rough third quarter for the Pacers has come to an end with the score, Cleveland 96, Indiana 78. The Cavs are shooting 60.3% from the field, and they really dominated their opponents throughout the quarter. Each of Cleveland’s big three are over 20 points, with Irving leading the way with 26. Kevin Love feasted on Lance Stephenson in the paint on his way to 23 points and 9 rebounds heading into the fourth. LeBron’s been orchestrating the show, and he’s got 21 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks and 8 turnovers. Paul George has 22 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists for the Pacers, but things are looking quite dire for them as we enter the final twelve minutes of the basketball game.

9:07 – CJ Miles kicks off the fourth quarter by hitting a jumper, cutting the Pacers deficit down to 96-80.

9:09 – Kevin Seraphin hits a jumper, and the Cavs call a timeout as the Pacers have chiseled a little bit away from their lead with a 7-0 run. It’s Cleveland 96, Indiana 85 with 10:07 left in the game.

9:19 – After Paul George misses a layup, he fouls Kevin Love after he grabs the rebound. It leads to a timeout with the score Cleveland 109, Indiana 96 with 5:37 left.

9:25 – Paul George ventures into the paint and shovels a nice pass to Myles Turner for a dunk, and suddenly, the Pacers are on a 8-0 run to make the score Cleveland 109, Indiana 102 with 3:14 remaining.

9:27 – Another timeout after Kyrie Irving misses a jumper, and Tristan Thompson and Myles Turner fight over the rebound, with a jump ball finally being called. The score’s still Cleveland 109, Indiana 102, but now there’s 2:49 on the clock.

9:31 – Myles Turner wins the jump ball for the Pacers. Down the court, Paul George thinks he’s fouled and throws up a shot. He doesn’t get the call, but the shot goes down! The Pacers run is up to 10-0, and they trail, 109-104.

LeBron answers with a floater with the shot clock running down to put the Cavs ahead, 111-104 with just about two minutes to go.

9:32 – Two free throws from Paul George make this a five point game again, with Indiana behind, 111-106.

9:35 – We have a key review here as the refs take a look at who hit the ball out of bounds after LeBron misses a shot from close range. Looks to me like it will be out on Myles Turner. The refs eventually agree with me, and it will be Cleveland’s ball with six seconds on the shot clock, still ahead 111-106 with 30.9 seconds left in the game.

9:36 – Kyrie Irving gets free for an easy layup. Inexcusable defensive lapse for the Pacers, who take a timeout with the score Cleveland 113, Indiana 106 with 29.6 seconds to go.

9:39 – Myles Turner goes up for a layup, but it’s sent away by LeBron James! The Pacers will retain possession of the ball with 23.3 seconds left.

9:40 – Paul George knocks down a three, and the Cavs take a timeout with the score Cleveland 113, Indiana 109 with 18.1 seconds remaining.

9:42 – Two Kevin Love free throws put the Cavs ahead, 115-109 with 17.5 seconds on the clock. Indiana calls a timeout.

9:44 – Before Indiana can inbound the ball, CJ Miles is called for an offensive foul, giving the ball back to the Cavs. For fuck’s sake.

9:46 – Time runs out on this game with a final score of Cleveland 117, Indiana 111. Kyrie Irving poured in 37 points for the Cavs. Kevin Love added 27 points and 11 rebounds on 6-7 shooting in a highly efficient performance. LeBron James filled the box score with 25 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals, 4 blocks and 8 turnovers.

Paul George finished with 32 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists, while keeping things interesting down the stretch. Jeff Teague chipped in with 23, but the Pacers fell short with some unfortunate miscues after fighting their way back into the game.

The Cavs are lucky they had such a great third quarter, because the Pacers came back and outscored them, 33-21, in the fourth. Once again, the Cavs defense looked shaky, and they were fortunate that the Pacers didn’t have enough juice to overtake them down the stretch.

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9:47 – We’re immediately sent out to San Antonio for Game 2 between the Spurs and Grizzlies. San Antonio has a 2-0 lead. Hopefully we get a more competitive game than the big Game 1 beatdown the Spurs unleashed on the Grizzlies.

9:57 – We have our first timeout with the score San Antonio 17, Memphis 10 with 6:22 remaining in a first quarter that I haven’t been able to pay attention to because I’ve been finishing up my recap of our first game.

10:01 – Zach Randolph hits a jumper to take us into another timeout with the score San Antonio 20, Memphis 14 with 5:01 to go in the first quarter. By the way, Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller are our narrators.

10:12 – Kevin Harlan tells us that the Grizzlies have lost nine straight Playoff games to the Spurs over the years. Oof.

10:14 – After Pau Gasol fights his way through the paint for a bucket, the first quarter comes to an end with the score San Antonio 29, Memphis 16. Kawhi Leonard has ten points to lead the Spurs, and Mike Conley leads Memphis with eight. The Grizzlies are shooting just 6-24 from the field, and it’s already looking like we’re in for another depressing Spurs/Grizzlies experience.

10:18 – LaMarcus Aldridge hits a turnaround to kick off the second quarter scoring. The Spurs lead is up to 31-16.

10:20 – After Tony Parker knocks down a three from the corner, his second of the quarter, the Grizzlies take a timeout with the score San Antonio 37, Memphis 20 with 9:37 left in the first half. Parker has matched Kawhi Leonard with ten points to lead the Spurs.

10:28 – RUCKUS! RUCKUS! RUCKUS!

All of a sudden, Vince Carter gets into Kyle Anderson’s face with some trash talk, and he’s called for a technical foul. A replay shows that Carter was upset after he felt Anderson gave him a push on the previous possession. Not much comes of it, and Carter is led away from the scene. LaMarcus Aldridge misses the technical free throw.

10:29 – After Danny Green goaltends a layup attempt from Mike Conley, we’re going to have a timeout. The score’s San Antonio 42, Memphis 23 with 7:48 left in the first half. Thanks to the goaltend, even when the Grizzlies score, they still can’t put the ball in the basket.

10:40 – Kawhi Leonard hits a jumper for his 14th point, and it brings us into a timeout with the score, San Antonio 52, Memphis 28 with four minutes to go until halftime.

I ain’t going to bed.

I ain’t reading no book, although, I am kind of listening to my scanner. Seems there’s a brush fire in the nearby town of Pepperell.

10:47 – Pepperell summons their tanker truck to respond and standby on the road near their brush fire.

10:50 – The Grizzlies call a quick timeout with 31 seconds left in the half and the score San Antonio 56, Memphis 35. In other news, let’s go to Kristen Ledlow with an update on JR Smith, who left our first game with a hamstring injury…

10:52 – We’ve made it to halftime with the score San Antonio 56, Memphis 37. Kawhil Leonard leads the Spurs with 18 points on 4-7 from the floor, and 10-10 from the free throw line. LaMarcus Aldridge has 11, and Tony Parker has 10.

Mike Conley has 14 points and 4 assists for the Grizzlies, and Zach Randolph has come off the bench for 10 points and 8 rebounds. Marc Gasol, who had 27 points at halftime in Game 1, has 3 points on 1-8 shooting here in Game 2. As a team, the Grizzlies have hit just a third of their shots, and have inspired people on Twitter to suggest straight up going to bed, while others prefer to read a good book, or in my case, listen to a scanner.

10:58 – Time for our second episode of Today in Playoff History!

We’re going back to 1981 to see the Spurs fall to the Rockets, 105-100, in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

George Gervin had 21 to lead the Spurs, and Mark Olberding scored 20. However, Calvin Murphy, his era’s Isaiah Thomas, scored 42, and Moses Malone added 21 to lead the Rockets to a rare Game 7 win on the road. They’d go on to the Finals that year, losing to the Boston Celtics.

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11:02 – Pepperell has the majority of their fire knocked down.

11:11 – Zach Randolph, starting the second half for the Grizzlies, knocks down a jumper to cut their deficit to 56-39 and give us our first points of the second half.

11:21 – Mike Conley flies in for a steal and takes it all the way for a layup, and the Grizzlies are on a 7-0 run, prompting the Spurs to take a timeout. The score’s San Antonio 61, Memphis 50 with 6:07 to go in the third. It might be time to put down that book or turn off the scanner if the Grizzlies can keep this up.

11:26 – Danny Green’s climbing the Spurs franchise Playoff ranks…

11:29 – We got a timeout as the Grizzlies are battling, but still down double digits. It’s San Antonio 70, Memphis 58 with 2:42 left in the third quarter.

11:33 – We’re back from a timeout and apparently, the Grizzlies JaMychal Green got called for a technical foul while we were gone. Kawhi Leonard knocks down the technical free throw, and the Spurs are up 71-58.

11:37 – Mike Conley knocks down a three to close out the third quarter, and it’s just a ten point game heading into the fourth. The scoreboard reads San Antonio 75, Memphis 65. Kawhi Leonard is up to 27 points, thanks to 15-15 shooting from the free throw line. Conley’s got 19 points and 6 assists for the Grizzlies, and Zach Randolph has a double-double off the bench with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

You have to hand it to the Grizzlies. After taking a beating in Game 1, and taking another one here in Game 2, they’ve gritted and grinded a big Spurs lead down to a manageable deficit. Plenty of teams would have folded by now, but these guys keep fighting on.

11:43 – Mike Conley nails a three for the first points of the fourth, and the Grizzlies deficit is down to 75-68.

11:47 – Kawhi Leonard hits a little one handed shot from close range, but we’ve definitely got a game on our hands going down the stretch as the Grizzlies refuse to quit. It’s San Antonio 77, Memphis 71 with 8:27 left in the game. I am no longer paying attention to the scanner.

11:53 – Zach Randolph battles his way into the paint and hits a little shot over LaMarcus Aldridge, taking us into a timeout with the score San Antonio 80, Memphis 75 with 6:41 remaining.

11:58 – Pau Gasol knocks down a three, as Kevin Harlan yells, “He will rip your heart out!” After Memphis got this down to a five point game, the Spurs have responded with an 8-0 run. The Grizzlies call a timeout with the score San Antonio 88, Memphis 75 with 4:56 to go.

12:08 am – Vince Carter knocks down a three, but time has run out on the gallant Grizzlies. It’s San Antonio 94, Memphis 82 as we head into a timeout with 1:06 remaining.

12:10 – Kawhi Leonard throws down an exclamation point dunk to put this one away by getting the Spurs up, 96-82, with under a minute left.

12:11 – The game comes to an end with a final score of San Antonio 96, Memphis 82. Kawhi Leonard was tremendous tonight, scoring 37 points and grabbing 11 rebounds on 9-14 shooting from the floor and 19-19 from the free throw line.

Mike Conley had 24 points and 8 assists to lead the Grizzlies, and Zach Randolph came off the bench for 18 points and 10 rebounds. With their trademark grittiness, the Grizzlies made a game of it, forcing turnovers and fighting back by hitting some tough shots. Kawhi and the Spurs were just too much to handle down the stretch, ending the game on a 16-7 run to secure a 2-0 series lead.

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Both games tonight featured home teams building a big lead, then seeing it chipped away by a feisty opponent, reminding us all that even when a game is looking like a depressing slog, it can turn on a dime at a moment’s notice. Later this week, both the Pacers and the Grizzlies will have a chance to get over the hump on their home floor, otherwise, they’ll have to face the dreaded 0-3 hole.

That does it for tonight. Tomorrow brings three games, with the Raptors, Celtics and Clippers, all three of the higher seeds that lost their Game 1, looking to bounce back and even their series. It promises to be an eventful evening.

As this eventful evening draws to a close, we leave you with the following tweet, a reminder that, no matter what adversity you might be going through, teams like the Grizzles can provide a noble light in these dark times.

 

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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…

NBA Playoffs Day 1: Gone in 17 Seconds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other news…

Come on, Tony! Lay off them Celtics legends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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