NBA Playoffs: Celtics/Wizards Game 7

Unfortunately, things have gotten pretty busy, which has severely curtailed my basketball blogging time. Maybe that’s good news for most people, but for the three of you that actually like to read this, I apologize. The Bonus is unfortunately not my real job, and life unfortunately doesn’t stop when the Playoffs start, as much as I think it should. That being said, we’ve got a Game 7 tonight with my favorite team (the Celtics) and like everyone else, I’ve got to step up and show up here in Game 7.

I’m wearing my Larry Bird jersey. I went and bought beer from a local brewery, Wormtown out of beautiful, scenic Worcester, Massachusetts, the same city in which Celtics legends Bob Cousy and Tommy Heinsohn played their college ball. Will any of this help the Celtics tonight? I don’t know, but it certainly won’t hurt.

It’s been a heck of a series, with both close games and massive blowouts. The home team has won every game between these two in the Playoffs, and during the Regular Season as well. Both teams dislike one another, and we’ve seen ejections, scrappy play and hard fouls. It’s basically been what a Playoff series should be, and it’s culminating in tonight’s hopefully memorable Game 7. Good luck to us all.

7:43 pm – Just heating up some leftover pizza and waiting for Divergent to end on TNT…

8:00 – Divergent’s finally over, and we’re treated to an epic Game 7 intro video by our friends at TNT.

8:07 – Kenny Smith thinks the Celtics will win tonight, while Shaq and Chuck are going with the Wizards.

8:13 – We’re finally taken to the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals! Ian Eagle and Greg Anthony will narrate the action for us this evening.

8:15 – Coming into the game, the Wizards are 6-3 all time in Game 7s, while the Celtics, having played in more Game 7s than anybody, are 21-8. They win the opening tip, and another chapter of NBA Playoff history is underway.

8:17 – After he’s fouled shooting a three in the corner, Isaiah Thomas hits all three of his free throws to give the Celtics an early 3-0 lead.

8:20 – Markieff Morris gets the Wizards on the board with a two pointer, and the Wizards trail, 3-2.

8:21 – An Avery Bradley three sends us into our first time out! The score’s Boston 8, Washington 2 with 8:51 left in the first quarter. It’s very early, obviously, but the Wizards seem like they’re playing a little out of control to begin the game.

8:34 – Jaylen Brown drives down the baseline and draws a foul. He’ll head to the free throw line for a couple of free throws, but first, we’ll have a time out with the score Boston 22, Washington 17 with 1:58 left in the first quarter. The Wizards rebounded from their slow start with a 10-0 run, and obviously are playing a lot better.

8:37 – Jaylen Brown hits his free throws, and the Celtics extend their lead to 24-17 as we return to action.

8:38 – We have an early “BULLSHIT” chant from the rowdy Boston crowd after they disagree with a foul call that earns Bradley Beal a pair of free throws.

8:39 – A more furious “BULLSHIT” chant is unleashed after Ian Mahinmi gets away with sending Isaiah Thomas to the floor with what should have been an obvious foul.

8:42 – We’re here at the end of the first quarter with a score of Boston 27, Washington 23. Five different Celtics have scored five points to lead a balanced effort, while Markieff Morris has 7 points and 4 rebounds to lead the Wizards. So far, we’re off to a fine start here in Game 7.

8:46 – Otto Porter tips in a missed shot from Bradley Beal to get the Wizards the first bucket of the second quarter, cutting their deficit to 27-25.

8:49 – Isaiah Thomas finds Kelly Olynyk all alone under the hoop for an easy bucket, and the frustrated Wizards take a time out with the score Boston 31, Washington 25 with 10:11 left in the first half. Olynyk’s got seven quick points off the bench to contribute an early spark.

9:01 – We have a time out after the ball goes out of bounds off Bradley Beal. With 5:50 left until halftime, our score’s Boston 42, Washington 36. The Celtics have the advantage on hustle plays so far. For example…

Meanwhile, the Wizards are doing just enough to keep this one close, despite some less than sharp play thus far.

9:09 – Isaiah Thomas baits Marcin Gortat into committing a foul, and he’ll head to the line after a time out with the score Boston 46, Washington 45 with 2:31 left in the first half. The Wizards deserve a lot of credit for keeping this one so close, despite their continued sloppy play. If they can keep it this close, they’ll have a real chance to steal the game with the likes of John Wall on the team. It’s enough to make me admittedly nervous as a Celtics fan.

9:12 – Back from the time out, Isaiah hits his free throws, and the Celtics lead is 48-45.

9:19 – Another “BULLSHIT!” chant after a questionable foul call against Marcus Smart sends Bradley Beal to the line with six seconds left in the half. He hits both of his free throws, and the Celtics call a time out to organize their final play with the score Washington 55, Boston 53.

9:21 – Marcus Smart storms to the hoop for a layup, which he misses, plus he doesn’t get the foul call. It sends us into halftime with the score Washington 55, Boston 53. Isaiah Thomas and Kelly Olynyk lead the Celtics with 12 points. Bradley Beal has 14 to lead the Wizards, while John Wall has 13, Otto Porter has 12 (after a scoreless Game 6), and Markieff Morris has 11. For those of you scoring at home, that’s 50 of Washington’s 55 points, with the other five coming from none other than Bojan Bogdanovic.

Both teams are playing hard, both teams have been sloppy at times, both teams have had players sent to the floor, and both teams have a good shot at coming away with the victory. It is definitely a Game 7.

9:26 – Let’s try and relax a little bit with an episode of Today in Playoff History, brought to you by the scholars over at Basketball Reference.

We’re going all the way back to 2015 to see the Hawks defeat the Wizards, 94-91, in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, putting an end to that series. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 29, and John Wall finished with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 13 assists. Nene chipped in with five points and 11 rebounds.

DeMarre Carrol led the visiting Hawks with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Jeff Teauge submitted 20 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists, while Paul Millsap finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds. With the win, the top-seeded Hawks went on to get swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

We’re probably in for a similarly close game here in Game 7, with tonight’s teams fighting to take on those very Cleveland Cavaliers in this year’s Eastern Conference Finals. How will it play out? I don’t know, but I do know that I need another beer.

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9:38 – The third quarter’s about to get underway. Obviously, this could be a pivotal moment in the game. If one of these teams can get off to a good start to begin the second half, it could be the ball game.

9:39 – Bradley Beal opens up the second half with a jumper, and the Wizards go up, 57-53.

9:40 – Al Horford finds Avery Bradley cutting towards the basket for a layup, and the Celtics cut the deficit to 57-55.

9:41 – After an offensive rebound, the Wizards find Otto Porter for an easy bucket, and the Wizards go up, 59-55.

9:42 – Jae Crowder gets a layup, John Wall hits a three, and Isaiah Thomas gets a layup in rapid succession as the pace of the game is starting to ramp up. As the dust briefly settles thanks to a Marcin Gortat travel, the Wizards lead, 62-59.

9:44 – Bradley Beal hits a one handed shot over Isaiah Thomas, pushing the Wizards lead up to 64-59. He’s up to 18 points on the evening. Thomas answers with a step-back, and the Celtics trail, 64-61. Isaiah’s up to 16.

9:45 – Al Horford knocks down a straightaway three, and we’re tied at 64! Bradley Beal then takes it to the hoop for a layup, and the Wizards retake the lead at 66-64.

9:46 – After the Celtics miss a three, John Wall goes all the way down the court for a layup, plus he’s fouled. He misses the free throw, but corrals the offensive rebound, culminating in a shooting foul that puts Otto Porter at the line. He hits both his free throws, and the Wizards are up, 70-64.

9:48 – Al Horford barrels through the paint, draws a foul on Marcin Gortat, and flips in a goofy looking layup! It didn’t look pretty, but Horford hits his free throw, and it’s a one possession game again, with the Celtics down, 70-67.

9:49 – Otto Porter gets himself open with an up-fake and knocks down a two-pointer, giving the Wizards a 72-67 lead.

9:50 – Marcus Smart rises up and rattles in a three pointer that had me cringing when he let it fly, but cheering when it went down, Celtics trail, 72-70. On their next trip down the court, Smart makes a fairly atrocious alley-oop pass that Jaylen Brown catches anyway and somehow flips up and in off the glass. It leads to a time out with the score Boston 72, Washington 72 with 4:54 left in what’s been a stressful and lively third quarter.

9:54 – Marcin Gortat goes 1-2 from the line, and the Wizards go up, 73-72.

9:55 – Bradley Beal knocks down a three, and the Wizards lead goes up to 76-72. He’s made his last six shots, and has 23 points. Al Horford responds with a wild looking runner in the paint that bounces in, and the Celtics trail, 76-74.

9:56 – Marcus Smart blocks a John Wall layup out of bounds, and we’ve got a time out with the score still Washington 76, Boston 74 with 2:58 left in the third quarter. Both teams are flying up and down the court, diving for loose balls and fighting on every play. As much as it might take years off my life, it’s exactly what a Game 7 should be.

10:02 – Two Isaiah Thomas free throws tie us back up, this time at 76. It’s short lived, as Bradley Beal knocks down another three to put the Wizards ahead, 79-76.

10:03 – Isaiah Thomas ties us right back up with a three! It’s 79-79.

10:04 – Isaiah Thomas comes around a screen and knocks down another three! The Celtics take an 82-79 lead.

On the next trip down the court, Al Horford comes flying in for an offensive rebound, kicks it out to Kelly Olynyk, who makes the extra pass to the corner to Marcus Smart who knocks down a three! It puts the Celtics ahead, 85-79.

10:05 – Thanks to that volley of three pointers, the third quarter comes to an end with the score Boston 85, Washington 79. The Celtics responded nicely after the Wizards jumped out to a little lead earlier in the quarter. With the furious finish, the Celtics have the home crowd energized as we head into what should be a very exciting fourth quarter.

10:09 – Jaylen Brown opens the fourth quarter with a reverse dunk along the baseline! The Celtics lead increases to 87-79.

10:11 – With Olynyk at the free throw line, and continuing to contribute well off the bench, the Garden unleashes a “KELLY! KELLY! KELLY!” chant. He hits his free throws, and the Celtics lead is up to ten at 91-81.

10:12 – Isaiah Thomas knocks down a three! The Celtics are on an 18-3 run to inspire the Wizards to take a time out with the score Boston 94, Washington 81 with an even ten minutes left in the game.

10:17 – The Wizards respond with a 7-0 run, and after a Markieff Morris three, we’ve got a time out with the score Boston 94, Washington 88 with 8:48 left in the ball game.

10:25 – Kelly Olynyk and Markieff Morris just each earned a technical for some trash talk. Kelly’s got 21 off the bench so far, plus the T for the usually mild mannered Canadian. This is easily the best game I have ever seen him play, and it’s happening in Game 7.

10:28 – Kelly Olynyk knocks down another three, sending myself, and the Garden, into a fucking frenzy. I don’t know what’s gotten into him, but he’s out there looking like Larry Bird right now. The Wizards take a time out with the score Boston 110, Washington 100 with 3:25 left in the game. I’m pretty sure Kelly has like 47 points off the bench. Okay, he has 26, but it feels like he has 47.

10:32 – I would have continued embedding Kelly Olynyk tweets, but the game is back underway.

10:36 – John Wall goaltends a Jae Crowder fast break layup, and we’re heading into a time out with the score Boston 112, Washington 103 with just 1:01 remaining in the ball game. While Bradley Beal has been doing every thing he can for the Wizards, John Wall has absolutely disappeared, missing his last nine shots.

10:42 – The final buzzer sounds, and our final score is Boston 115, Washington 105. In what was a fun Game 7, the Celtics close out the series and move on to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they’ll face the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both teams exchange handshakes and well wishes as they head off the court.

Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 29 points and 12 assists, but it was Kelly Olynyk off the bench who really took them home. He finished with 26 points on 10-14 shooting, leading a trio of great efforts off the bench from himself, Marcus Smart (13 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and the rookie Jaylen Brown (nine points). Meanwhile, the Wizards bench managed just five points.

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Speaking of the Wizards, they were led by a worthy effort from Bradley Beal, who finished with 38 points, but ended up being the only Wizard with a pulse down the stretch. Otto Porter 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Marcin Gortat added six points and 11 rebounds. John Wall missed his last eleven shots, on his way to 8-23 shooting on the night finishing with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 11 assists.

Despite their disappointing finish, the Wizards had a great season, rebounding from a lousy start to take the top seed in the East to a Game 7. They’ve got a bright future, although, they’re going to need to do something about that lousy bench of theirs, and this Game 7 could stick with John Wall for awhile. Nevertheless, this team will be back next year, and they should be one of the better teams in the East.

As for the Celtics, their reward for winning this competitive battle is a daunting matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. It’ll be the fifth time the Celtics have faced LeBron in the Playoffs, but the first since 2012. Boston’s also the last Eastern Conference team to defeat LeBron in the Playoffs, not that it matters that much for this series. It should be a good fight, but even a staunch Celtics supporter such as myself has a hard time seeing LeBron losing to anybody in the East over the course of seven games. That being said, the Celtics will be ready for battle, and so will the Cavs, and I think we can all hope, regardless of who we root for, that it will be a fun and competitive affair.

As for now, I’m going to do what anyone should after a Game 7, win or lose. Have a goddamn beer. See you guys in the Conference Finals.

 

NBA Playoffs Day 16: The Last Stand of Lob City

The Bonus is BACK!

It’s been a busy stretch for ya boy, and this is unfortunately not my real job, so, as much as I’d love to do nothing but watch the NBA Playoffs, it just isn’t possible. That being said, we’re back in full swing for now as the Conference Semifinals get underway.

Today we’ve got Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between my Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards, two teams that do not quite get along. I’m doing my part by wearing my Larry Bird jersey and my Larry Bird socks.

Later on, the final game of the first round: Game 7 between the Clippers and the Jazz in what could be the final stand for the Lob City Clippers.

1:00 pm – We’re welcomed to Boston for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals by Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. Isaiah Thomas is back with the Celtics after attending his sister’s funeral yesterday, I don’t know how he’s doing it.

Both teams are here after wining their first round series in six games, and both teams didn’t look too sharp at times throughout their series. The Celtics, of course, lost the first two games of their series with the Bulls before winning four straight, while the Wizards struggled in Atlanta against the Hawks during Games 3 & 4. Making this matchup more enticing, these teams dislike each other for some reason, and they’ve shared many instances of chirping, pushing and shoving this season.

1:06 – The Celtics are sticking with their smaller lineup with Gerald Green starting. They’ve won four straight going with Green, who I am ready to anoint the 2017 NBA Finals MVP.

1:08 – The Wizards win the opening tip and quickly get the ball to Marcin Gortat in the paint for an easy hoop. They’re up 2-0 to start the game.

1:09 – Marcin Gortat makes a great bounce pass to Bradley Beal for a layup, and we’ve got our first time out already, as the Wizards are off to a quick start. It’s Washington 9, Boston 0 with with 10:14 left in the first quarter.

1:13 – With Marcin Gortat raising a lot of hell already, Celtics coach Brad Stevens inserts Amir Johnson into the game. Gortat immediately hits a floater over him, and the Wizards lead 11-0.

1:16 – Isaiah Thomas is fouled shooting a three. He hits his first free throw, and Boston crowd sarcastically erupts and starts chanting, “LET’S GO CELTICS!” Everybody’s in a bad mood. Thomas hits all three of the free throws, and the Celtics are finally on the board, trailing 16-3.

1:20 – After back to back threes from Isaiah Thomas, things are starting to look a little better, and as we go into a timeout, the score’s Washington 22, Boston 11 with 5:20 left in the first quarter. The Celtics are shooting 3-12 and are already being out-rebounded 12-2. Other than that, things are going just fine.

Also, apparently this happened…

I didn’t see how it happened, but he’s definitely down a tooth…

1:23 – Ah, the tooth got knocked out after he caught an elbow from Otto Porter. He went and picked up the tooth during the timeout and brought it back to the bench.

1:32 – The first quarter comes to a close with the score Washington 38, Boston 24. The Wizards are shooting 64% from the floor, led by Marcin Gortat with nine points. Meanwhile, Isaiah Thomas and Kelly Olynyk have combined for 22 of the Celtics 24 points. Outside of those two, the rest of the Celtics have combined to shoot 1-10.

1:37 – Jae Crowder knocks down a three to kick off the second quarter. The Celtics are 6-10 from three point line, which is keeping them in shouting distance as they trail, 38-27.

1:38 – Al Horford makes an awesome pass to Kelly Olynyk in the paint for a nice layup. It leads into a timeout with the score Washington 40, Boston 31 with 10:26 left in the first quarter. Kelly’s up to 12 points off the bench in what’s been one of the better stretches I’ve ever seen him play.

1:41 – Oh man, ABC shows awesome footage from the last time the Celtics and Washington, then called the Bullets, played each other in the Playoffs. It was back in 1984, and after the final buzzer of the final game, the two teams got into a big fight! Great stuff.

1:44 – More great stuff! The Celtics finish off a fast break with a three pointer from Marcus Smart, sending us into a timeout with the score Washington 40, Boston 37 with 8:45 left until halftime. Just after, Isaiah Thomas saunters out of the locker room with his tooth back in his mouth!. The Celtics have come all the way back to make this a one possession game with Thomas in the locker room for most of it.

1:49 – Oh no, Markieff Morris is on the ground and in pain after coming down on Al Horford’s foot after a shot attempt. We go to a commercial with him still down on the floor. Our score’s Washington 44, Boston 42 with 7:18 left in the first half.

1:52 – We’re back and Markieff Morris is at the free throw line so he can potentially remain in the game, but after he hits the free throw, the Wizards immediately foul Terry Rozier to get Morris out of the game. We’ll see if he ends up coming back, but he was definitely having a tough time walking on it as he went to the bench. Bad news for Washington as their thin up front.

1:53 – Morris is now seen hobbling to the locker room.

2:01 – Marcus Smart blocks a layup attempt out of bounds, and it’ll lead into a timeout with the score Washington 54, Boston 53 with 2:59 left in the second quarter.

2:09 – We’ve got a rousing “BULLSHIT!” chant after Al Horford is called for a loose ball foul. It was definitely a foul, but both Horford and the crowd are displeased. I am so glad that the Boston crowd still chants “BULLSHIT!” instead of the overwhelmingly lame, “REFS, YOU SUCK!” that you hear in so many other stadiums.

2:10 – We’re going to have a quick timeout with 28.7 seconds left in the half and the score Washington 64, Boston 58. Meanwhile, we’ve got some news for our next game…

All hands on deck for Game 7.

2:13 – Another quick timeout with 1.8 seconds on the clock and our score Washington 64, Boston 59. After Marcus Smart blocked a John Wall layup, coach Brad Stevens wanted to call a timeout and draw up a play for the final shot of the half.

2:15 – The Celtics do not score on the final shot of the half, and we go into halftime with the score Washington 64, Boston 59.

After falling behind 16-0, the Celtics have impressively made a game of it, getting a big shot in the arm from their often maligned bench, which came up big while Isaiah Thomas was in the locker room getting his tooth reinstalled. Speaking of Thomas, he’s got 19 points to lead the C’s, and Kelly Olynyk came off the bench to contribute 12 points.

Marcin Gortat leads the Wizards with 14 points and 10 rebounds, taking advantage of the Celtics lack of a big inside presence. John Wall has 13 points and 8 assists, and Bradley Beal also has 13. Kelly Oubre’s come off the bench to score ten.

What looked like a dreary afternoon is certainly looking up, both from the perspective of a Celtics fan, and someone who just wants to see a good-ass game. Both teams are really going at it, and we should be in for a great second half.

2:18 – It’s not just the return of The Bonus, it’s the return of Today in Playoff History!

Back in 1971, the Baltimore Bullets were swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals, losing 118-106 in Game 4. Fred Carter led Baltimore with 28 points, but the Bucks got 30 from Oscar Robertson, 27 from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and 21 from Bob Dandridge. Now that’s a Big Three! It remains the Bucks lone championship. Of course, the Baltimore Bullets are now these Washington Wizards we’re watching this afternoon. I wish they were still the Bullets, and I certainly wouldn’t mind if they were still in Baltimore as well.

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2:32 – Al Horford corrals a pass from Avery Bradley and goes up for a dunk for the first bucket of the second half, cutting the Celtics deficit down to 64-61. In other news, Marcus Smart starts the second half for the Celtics, instead of Gerald Green.

2:33 – Bradley Beal hits a jumper to get the Wizards lead back up to five at 66-61.

2:35 – After John Wall gets stripped of the ball, the Celtics get a three pointer out of Isaiah Thomas, and they’re within two, trailing 66-64.

2:36 – Thomas knocks down a jumper, and we’re tied at 66. However, Otto Porter answers with a floater to put the Wizards back on top, 68-66.

2:38 – Al Horford wins a fight for a rebound and lays it in, tying us up at 68…

…but Otto Porter once again answers, this time with a three, and Washington leads, 71-68. Marcus Smart tries a three of his own, misses, but it’s rebounded by Jae Crowder who puts it in the hoop, and the Celtics trail, 71-70.

2:39 – After a wild fight for the ball under the bucket, which included some missed layups and blocked shots, the Celtics finally get control of the ball. They get it to Jae Crowder who knocks down a three, and the Celtics have their first lead of the game! It’ll bring us into a timeout with the score Boston 73, Washington 71 with 6:54 left in the third quarter.

2:43 – Kelly Oubre finishes off a fast break with a dunk, and we’re tied at 73.

2:44 – Jae Crowder hits another three! The Celtics go up, 76-73.

2:45 – Bradley Beal splits a pair of free throws, and the Wizards trail, 76-74. Isaiah Thomas follows it up with a pull up jumper, and he’s got 26 points, and the Celtics got a 78-74 lead.

2:46 – After a Marcus Smart steal, Avery Bradley knocks down a wide open three! We’ll have another timeout with the score Boston 81, Washington 74 with 4:45 left in the third quarter. The Celtics are shooting a robust 13-29 from three point land.

In other, unfortunate news…

2:50 – John Wall blocks an Avery Bradley layup, but the rebound goes to Al Horford, who finds Jae Crowder behind the arc for yet another three! It’s time for another timeout with the score Boston 91, Washington 80 with 2:24 to go in the third.

2:58 – A big third quarter for the Celtics comes to an end with the score Boston 95, Washington 80, after the home team outscored the visitors 36-16 in the quarter. In fact, after their disastrous first quarter, the Celtics have outscored the Wizards, 71-42.

3:01 – Jason Smith knocks down a jumper for the first points of the fourth quarter, but the Wizards have work to do, trailing 95-82.

3:03 – John Wall finishes a fast break by lobbing the ball up to Jason Smith, who coaxes it into the hoop. The Celtics take a quick timeout with the score Boston 95, Washington 84 with 10:48 left in the game.

3:14 – Bojan Bogdanovic knocks down a three, and suddenly, we’re back to a one possession game with the Wizards behind, 101-98. That’s followed by Al Horford cleaning up an Avery Bradley miss with a tip in, and the Celtics go up, 103-98.

3:16 – A Bojan Bogdanovic airball sends us into a timeout with the score Boston 106, Washington 99 with 5:41 left in the game. The Wizards have clawed back into this one, but they’re missing too many free throws as they try to get back into this one.

3:24 – We have a timeout after the ball goes bouncing out of bounds off the Celtics. The score’s Boston 116, Washington 105 with 2:46 left in the game. The Celtics have been able to maintain the hot three point shooting that got them back into the game in the first place to keep them ahead of the Wizards, who are putting up a worthy effort here in the fourth.

3:32 – A lively game comes to an end with a final score of Boston 123, Washington 111.

Isaiah Thomas, who was at a funeral yesterday, and lost a tooth early in this one, finished with 33 points and 9 assists. Jae Crowder added 24 points and 6 rebounds, and Al Horford orchestrated a lot of the offense, nearly earning a triple-double with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists. The Celtics tied a franchise Playoff record by hitting 19 threes.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 27, and John Wall sprung for 20 points and 16 assists. Marcin Gortat had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Otto Porter chipped in with 16 & 11.

After falling behind 16-0, the Celtics caught fire, especially from three point territory, and pulled out quite a win to open the series. They also played some good defense on John Wall, forcing him into eight turnovers. Obviously, the Wizards missed Markieff Morris throughout the second half of this game, and if he ends up being lost for an extended time, they’re going to be in real trouble. Nevertheless, this series is off to a fantastic start, and it’ll be awesome to watch these two teams battle over the course of seven games.

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3:37 – We’re welcomed to the Staples Center in Los Angeles for Game 7 between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Utah Jazz. It’s sad to see this series come to an end. Watching these two teams battle it out has been a real joy. The Clippers are facing the prospect of not only seeing another Playoff run end prematurely, but potentially the end of this era, the most successful in their otherwise depressing franchise history. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and JJ Redick can all become free agents, so this is possibly the final game in their Clippers careers.

3:40 – Marc Jones and Hubie Brown will be our narrators for our second game this afternoon. I’ll take them over Breen, Van Gundy and Jackson all day, every day.

3:41 – The Jazz are wearing their dope green alternate jerseys. A good move for a Game 7. Like he did in Game 6, Austin Rivers will start for the Clippers, as they go with a smaller starting lineup.

3:42 – The Jazz win the opening tip, and Game 7 is underway over at the Staples Center.

3:43 – George Hill opens up the scoring with a jumper, giving the Jazz a 2-0 lead to start the game. Chris Paul answers with his own jumper, and we’re tied up at two.

3:46 – Joe Ingles traps Chris Paul in the corner, and the point god, as Paul’s been called lately, is forced to call a timeout with an early score of Utah 4, Los Angeles 3 with 9:04 left in the first quarter.

3:47 – Back from the timeout, we’re shown footage of the Clippers huddle, and needless to say, they’re already frustrated and kind of yelling at one another. Not a great sign.

3:48 – Luc Mbah a Moute draws the second foul on Rudy Gobert, and the Jazz big man heads to the bench early. Mbah a Moute makes his free throws, and the Clippers go up, 5-4.

3:50 – George Hill knocks down a three, and we have another early timeout with the score Utah 9, Los Angeles 5 with 8:07 remaining in the first quarter.

4:00 – Chris Paul takes it into the paint and hits a floater, and we’ll have a timeout with the score Utah 18, Los Angeles 15 with 3:56 left in the first quarter. As it’s been all series, I think we’re in for a close, low scoring affair here in Game 7.

4:03 – Beyonce, Jay-Z and Phillip Rivers are amongst the luminaries in attendance this afternoon at the Staples Center.

4:08 – We’re at the end of the first quarter with the score Los Angeles 24, Utah 24. It’s been more of the same we’ve seen all through this series. The Jazz grinding the pace down to a crawl and methodically searching for the best shot, while Chris Paul seems intent on having a big, heroic Game 7. He’s got nine points to lead the Clippers, and Gordon Hayward has seven for the Jazz.

4:13 – Rodney Hood battles through the paint for a layup, plus a foul. He misses his free throw, but he’s got the first points of the second quarter to put the Jazz on top, 26-24.

4:15 – Rudy Gobert is called for his third foul as he goes for an offensive rebound. He’s back on the bench, probably for the remaining ten minutes of the first half. The Jazz have been able to hang in without him so far, but can they keep it up until halftime?

4:17 – After an Austin Rivers layup, we’re heading into a timeout as the game remains close. It’s Utah 31, Los Angeles 28 with 8:47 left until halftime.

4:19 – Checking in on Markieff Morris and his ankle…

4:24 – George Hill hits a jumper, and the Jazz are on a 10-2 run, sending us into a timeout with the score Utah 41, Los Angeles 30 with 5:13 left in the first half. Of course, the Jazz are doing this with Gobert on the bench with his three fouls.

4:31 – DeAndre Jordan is wrapped up by George Hill on his way towards the hoop, and it’ll send us into another timeout with the score Utah 41, Los Angeles 32 with 2:17 left in what’s been a low scoring, Jazz paced first half.

4:35 – DeAndre Jordan goes 1-2 from the free throw line, and the Clippers trail, 41-33.

4:40 – The first half draws to a close with the score Utah 46, Los Angeles 39. The Clippers could use some more energy from people other than Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, who each have 11 points. Paul’s added five assists, and Jordan’s got 12 rebounds for a halftime double-double.

Derrick Favors, filling in off the bench for the foul troubled Rudy Gobert, has 10 points and 9 rebounds to lead the Jazz, who have controlled the game throughout the first half. It’s been a disappointing effort from the Clippers, especially with so much on the line for them. They scored only 15 points in the second quarter, and seem generally unexcited about things.

4:44 – It’s time for another exciting episode of Today in Playoff History!

Back in 2010, the Jazz closed out the first round of the Playoffs with a 112-104 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 6, winning the series 4-2.

Wesley Matthews led the Jazz with 23 points, and Carlos Boozer went for 22 points, 20 rebounds and 5 assists. Deron Williams added 14 points and 10 assists, and Paul Millsap came off the bench for 21 & 11.

Chauncey Billups, currently in the ESPN Halftime studio, led the Nuggets with 30 points and 8 assists. Carmelo Anthony had 20 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists, and none other than Joey Graham came off the bench for 21 points and 10 rebounds.

The win marked Utah’s last Playoff series victory. They’re now 24 minutes away from changing that.

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4:58 – Chris Paul is fouled by George Hill, and gets a ridiculous continuation call as he takes two more steps before laying it up and in. He misses the free throw, and the Clippers trail 46-41 to begin the second half.

5:02 – Rudy Gobert gets called for his fourth foul, and in comes Derrick Favors from the bench. Gobert has zero points in just eight minutes of action.

5:04 – Ah, here’s the lame “REFS, YOU SUCK!” chant from the Clippers fans after Boris Diaw knocks down a long two pointer, and is fouled by Paul Pierce. Any chant that requires a comma when writing it is lame as hell. Diaw knocks down his free throw, and the Jazz have opened up a 54-44 lead.

5:07 – Boris Diaw flips in a layup, and he’s fouled! Meanwhile, Chris Paul comes up hobbling a bit after the previous play, and things are starting to go down the drain for the Clippers. A timeout is called with the scoreboard reading Utah 58, Los Angeles 44 with 7:33 left in the third quarter.

5:11 – Boris Diaw hits his free throw, and the Jazz are on a 13-3 lead to open up the largest lead either team has had in this series. They’re up 59-44. By the way, Chris Paul is still in the game, and seems to be fairly fine.

5:19 – After Joe Ingles airballs a three pointer, we’ve got a timeout as the Jazz lead continues to grow. It’s Utah 71, Los Angeles 53 with 2:53 left in the third quarter. Things are starting to get dire for the Clips.

5:28 – In the final seconds of the third quarter, Joe Johnson attracts the attention of all of the Clippers, then makes a great pass to Rodney Hood who’s running down the baseline for a layup. It closes out the quarter with a score of Utah 79, Los Angeles 63. It’s been both disappointing and dispiriting for the Clippers, who are getting substandard performances from just about everyone on their roster, including Chris Paul, who is shooting just 6-15 for 13 points. There very well might be just twelve minutes remaining in the Lob City era.

5:33 – Rudy Gobert goes 1-2 from the line to get the first point of the fourth quarter, and his first point of the game. It extends the Jazz lead to 80-63.

5:37 – Rudy Gobert is called for his fifth foul. It’s been a lost afternoon for the big man, but it clearly hasn’t hurt his team. He returns to the bench.

5:39 – After Jamal Crawford lobs up a pass for a big slam from DeAndre Jordan, we have a timeout as the Clippers have shaved a little bit off their deficit. It’s Utah 84, Los Angeles 71 with 8:47 left in the game.

5:49 – Derrick Favors picks up his sixth and final foul, and it’ll take us to a timeout with the score Utah 96, Los Angeles 80 with 5:24 remaining. Favors finishes with 17 points and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench, filling in for Rudy Gobert, who has been in foul trouble himself.

5:55 – A kickball sends us into a timeout with the score Utah 98, Los Angeles 87 with 3:33 left in the game. The Clippers are trying to hang in there for one last run, but the Jazz still seem to be controlling the game. Still, there’s plenty of time left for something goofy to happen.

6:02 – After a jump ball, George Hill gets the ball on the floor and calls a timeout as he’s surrounded by a couple of Clippers. It’s Utah 102, Los Angeles 90 with 2:02 left in the game.

6:04 – Another timeout, this time after the Clippers force the Jazz into a shot clock violation. The score’s the same, and there’s 1:39 left on the clock.

6:06 – Rudy Gobert gets called for his sixth foul, and he’s finally fouled out of this one. He finishes with just one point and four rebounds in 13 foul plagued minutes.

6:10 – As the clock winds down, sans a Clippers comeback, Paul Pierce is receiving hugs and well wishes from his teammates on the bench, as his career will come to an end with this game.

6:11 – We’ve reached the end. Our final score from a stunned and solemn Staples Center: Utah 104, Los Angeles 91.

DeAndre Jordan finished with 24 points and 17 rebounds for the Clippers, and Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 20. Chris Paul, after a strong first quarter, finished with just 13 points and 9 assists on 6-19 shooting.

The Jazz were led by Gordon Hayward’s 26 points and 8 rebounds. Derrick Favors came off the bench for 17 points and 11 rebounds.

With the win, the Jazz move on to face the mighty Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Semifinals. Obviously, that’s a tall task, but the Jazz have great depth and are really good at dictating the pace of the game. They should be able to put up a fine fight against the Warriors.

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As for the Clippers, they’re starting the offseason earlier than they expected, once again. They’ve been one of the defining teams of the 2010s, but their run with this crew could be over after today. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and JJ Redick, who was a non-factor throughout this series, can become free agents. They’ve never made it past the second round of the Playoffs, and have bowed out in the first round two years in a row. It could be time to blow it all up.

Furthermore, this game marks the end of Paul Pierce’s great career. I grew up watching him play for the Celtics, and needless to say, he’s one of my favorite players ever. I’m sure I’ll pen quite the opus about his entire career right here on The Bonus, but that’s a post for another time. Instead, we’ll leave you with this. As we’re back to continue our outlandish Playoff coverage, Paul Pierce walks off the court for the final time…

 

NBA Playoffs Day 4: Celtspacolypse Now

Warm salutations, basketball fans! We’ve got some important games in store tonight, all of which involving home teams looking to bounce back after falling in Game 1.

Over on NBA TV, it’s Game 2 between the Raptors and the Bucks. I do not have NBA TV. You’d think I would, but I do not. As I start writing here at 7:52 pm, the Raptors hold a 36-34 lead with 8:08 left in the first half.

On TNT, a cable network that is part of my package, we’re leading things off with Game 2 between the Celtics and the Bulls. It was an emotional scene in Game 1, with Celtics star Isaiah Thomas in mourning after the death of his sister. He’ll suit up once again tonight before flying out to Washington to be with his family. Boston will be looking to even the series after the Bulls came into town and took advantage of the issues that have plagued the Celtics all season, namely, rebounding, and struggling to score with Isaiah Thomas on the bench.

In the later game, the Clippers are looking to avoid an 0-2 series deficit after their loss at the buzzer in Game 1 against the Jazz. Utah will be without defensive anchor Rudy Gobert after he injured his knee on the very first possession of Game 1.

We’re not too far into the Playoffs yet, but there’s clearly a lot at stake this evening. These home teams cannot afford to head out onto the road down 2-0. It should hopefully lead to a couple of great games, so let’s get things started.

7:58 pm – Just waiting for this episode of Bones to end. Wait, what the fuck am I doing here on TNT? Time to switch over to the local network, CSNNE, so I can listen to Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn. On top of that, the Bulls continue to be unbeatable on TNT, and maybe, just maybe, if I watch on CSNNE, it’ll rob them of some of their TNT luster.

8:01 – All right, it’s time for Game 2 between the Celtics and the Bulls right here on Comcast SportsNet New England. I’m doing my part by wearing my Larry Bird jersey. Will that be enough to give the Celtics the extra boost they need after falling in Game 1?

8:10 – The Bulls are wearing their lousy sleeved jerseys again.

8:11 – Robin Lopez wins the opening tip, and we’re underway as the Bulls take possession of the ball. After Dwyane Wade misses his first shot, Isaiah Thomas nails a three at the other end of the floor, putting the Celtics on the board first.

8:13 – Meanwhile, up in Toronto…

Back here in Boston, Rajon Rondo gets a layup for Chicago’s first basket, but by now, they’re already down, 7-2 as the Celtics have come out with a lot more energy and hustle than they had in Game 1. After the bucket, Isaiah Thomas is called for a technical foul after having going after Robin Lopez after he hit Isaiah with a screen. Jimmy Butler hits the free throw, and the Bulls trail, 7-3.

8:18 – Mike Gorman tells us that there’s a group of New England Patriots players sitting near the Celtics bench, and they all just exchanged some words with Jimmy Butler in some cross-sports trash talking.

8:20 – Nikola Mirotic storms through the paint for an easy dunk, and the Celtics take their first time out. After the C’s jumped out to a 9-2 lead, our score’s Chicago 17, Boston 11 with 6:24 left in the first quarter.

8:25 – My internet is rolling at a glacial pace right now, hindering my ability to look at Twitter, and the live box score. This happens way more often than it should, though, this is its first major slowdown during the Playoffs. Fuck you, Xfinity.

8:28 – We’ve got a timeout after Rajon Rondo is fouled on his way through the paint. Our score’s Chicago 27, Boston 18 with 2:24 left in the quarter. In other news, my internet seems to have its shit back together, but the same can’t be said for the Celtics, who are getting out-hustled and are looking generally listless.

8:36 – We’ve made it to the end of the first quarter with a 10-4 run from the Celtics to make the score Chicago 31, Boston 26. Nikola Mirotic, who was lousy in Game 1, has started hot for the Bulls with ten points, and the Bulls already have six offensive rebounds. Isaiah Thomas leads the Celtics with seven. Hopefully their little spurt to end the quarter carries over, or else it’ll be a long night for your pals here at The Bonus.

8:40 – Jae Crowder gets to the basket to score the first two points of the second quarter, cutting the Celtics deficit to 31-28.

8:41 – Technical foul on Bobby Portis for some reason. Isaiah Thomas gets the free throw to fall, and the Celtixs trail, 33-31. Not sure what Portis did to merit a technical, but I’ll take it.

8:46 – We’ve reached the second quarter TV timeout, and the Celtics are on a 15-4 run to make the score Boston 36, Chicago 36 with 8:44 left in the first half. Boston’s starting to regain their energy, hustle and fighting spirit, with Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart picking up the defensive intensity.

8:56 – Robin Lopez gets yet another basket in the paint, and after tying the game, the Celtics have gone cold. The score’s Chicago 47, Boston 38 with 4:43 left in the second quarter. Boston’s missing all sorts of easy baskets, including layups and little hook shots.

8:59 – Heading into the fourth in Toronto…

9:01 – The Celtics take another timeout after an outlet pass from Rajon Rondo to Jimmy Butler leads to a layup that makes the score Chicago 50, Boston 39 with 3:36 left until halftime. The Bulls are on a 14-3 run.

9:03 – We have another timeout with the score Chicago 50, Boston 42 with 2:47 to go in the first half. As you can see, the Celtics have made a tiny bit of progress to get their deficit back to within single digits.

9:07 – Robin Lopez beats the shot clock with a long two pointer, because of course he does. The Bulls lead, 52-42.

9:08 – The Bulls call a 20 second timeout, no doubt to try and stifle this rip-roaring 4-0 run the Celtics are on to make the score Chicago 52, Boston 46 with 53 seconds left in the half.

9:10 – We’re here at halftime with the score Chicago 54, Boston 46. I feel like the Celtics are fortunate to be down by just eight points. Aside from their run at the start of the second quarter, they’ve looked sluggish and out of gas. Isaiah Thomas leads the Celtics with 11 points, but aside from Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart, the rest of the squad hasn’t really showed up. Nikola Mirotic and Robin Lopez each have 10 points and 6 rebounds, while Playoff/National TV Rajon Rondo has made his first appearance in about five years with 8 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists.

The Celtics desperately need to come out in the second half with renewed vigor. I don’t care how they do it, but they need to protect the boards and ratchet up the defense, or they’re going to mess around and find themselves down 0-2. It’s time for them to dig deep and show that it’s no fluke that they finished the regular season with the East’s best record.

9:18 – Perhaps an episode of Today in Playoff History will cheer me up, brought to you by the fine folks at Basketball Reference!

Back in 1962, the Celtics won Game 7 against the NBA Finals with a thrilling 110-107 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers! Bill Russell submitted a truly legendary performance, racking up 30 points, and a Finals record 40 rebounds. The Celtics could really use him right now, by which I mean they could put him out on the floor right now, and despite the fact that he’s 83 years old, I’d feel better about their rebounding situation. Sam Jones added 27 for the Celtics, and Frank Ramsey, the original sixth man, scored 23.

The Lakers were led by 41 from Elgin Baylor, and 35 from Jerry West. However, it was Frank Selvy who took, and missed, a potential game winning shot at the end of regulation, preserving overtime. I bet Paul George would tell Frank Selvy that Baylor, or West, or George himself, would have to take the shot in that situation.

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9:28 – The Celtics, desperate for somebody, anybody, to help them out on the boards, send Tyler Zeller out to start the second half, in place of Amir Johnson. Zeller immediately grabs an offensive rebound after Al Horford misses a layup, and the Celtics score first in the second half and trail 54-48. Zeller follows it up by playing some great defense on Lopez, forcing him to miss a shot.

9:30 – Jae Crowder knocks down a three, and it’s a one possession game with the Celtics trailing, 56-53.

9:31 – Two Robin Lopez free throws put the Bulls ahead, 58-53.

9:32 – Isaiah Thomas gets into the paint for a little jumper, as the Celtics continue to keep this one close, down 58-55. Robin Lopez then hits another jumper late in the shot clock, putting the Bulls up, 60-55.

9:33 – Al Horford banks in a shot over Lopez, and it’s back to a three point game with Boston down, 60-57. After Jimmy Butler misses a three, Isaiah gets into the paint once again for a floater, and the Bulls take a timeout with the score Chicago 60, Boston 59 with 8:10 to go in the third.

9:36 – Looks like the Raptors held off the Bucks, 106-100, to even their series, thanks in part to this clutch shot from Kyle Lowry…

9:37 – Jimmy Butler hits a jumper over Isaiah Thomas, and the Bulls lead extends to 62-59.

9:38 – Isaiah splits a pair of free throws to bring the Celtics a little closer. They trail, 62-60. Jimmy Butler then gets a nice pass from Rajon Rondo for a layup, plus a foul. He hits the free throw, and the Bulls go up five at 65-60. Rondo’s up to ten assists to go along with 8 points and 8 rebounds.

9:42 – After a Rondo steal, the Bulls get a three out of Jimmy Butler, pushing their lead back up to ten, and pushing the Celtics to call a timeout with the scoreboard reading Chicago 75, Boston 65 with 4:56 left in the third. The story of this game has been the Celtics fall behind, fight back to make it a one possession game, then slide right back down to a double-digit deficit. Obviously, this is not a winning formula.

9:47 – Things continue to go down the drain for the Celtics, who are currently suffering through a 17-5 Bulls run…

9:53 – The third quarter ends with an Avery Bradley block leading to a Jae Crowder dunk at the other end. It gives the Celtics a small semblance of momentum heading into the fourth with the score Chicago 86, Boston 75. Some of the Celtics still seem listless, while the ones who aren’t are playing too out of control. Isaiah Thomas leads Boston with 18, and Jimmy Butler’s got 19 to pace the Bulls. If ever there was a time for Isaiah to live up to his reputation as the “King of the Fourth”, it’s now.

9:57 – The fourth quarter starts off with a mini-ruckus with Marcus Smart forcing a jump ball with Jimmy Butler, who lands on the floor. As Smart stands over him, Paul Zipser rushes to the scene and gives Smart a shove, but nothing else happens.

10:01 – Kelly Olynyk knocks down a three, which I though for sure was going to clang off the rim. It leads to a timeout with the score Chicago 89, Boston 80 with 10:03 left in the ball game.

10:08 – We have a rousing “BULLSHIT” chant after Isaiah Thomas is clobbered on a layup attempt by Jimmy Butler with nary a foul to be called. Either that, or the Celtics fans are describing their team’s effort in unison.

10:10 – Rajon Rondo throws up an alley-oop to Cristiano Felico, and I throw up in my mouth as Rondo points at the Celtics bench. It takes us into a timeout with the score Chicago 102, Boston 86 with 6:01 left in the game.

10:13 – Scottie Pippen sighting. He’s in the stands enjoying his former team’s performance tonight. Meanwhile, Rondo’s up to 14 assists, as Mike Gorman tells us that the last player to drop 14 dimes on the Celtics in the Playoffs was none other than Muggsy Bogues back in ’93.

10:14 – Oh man, even Tommy Heinsohn just said that the Bulls have a better team than the Celtics right now.

10:18 – Another timeout with the score Chicago 105, Boston 92 with 2:40 remaining. Things are starting to get ornery. Just look at these text messages between me and my good friend, and fellow Celtics fan, Pete.

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10:25 – This one comes to an end with a final score of Chicago 111, Boston 97. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 20 points, and Al Horford chipped in with 7 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler each notched 22 points to lead the Bulls, with Butler adding 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Rajon Rondo had a big game against his former team, finishing with 11 points, 9 rebounds, 14 assists and 5 steals. Paul Zipser, like Bobby Portis before him in Game 1, was big off the Bulls bench, coming up with 16 points.

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Frankly, the Celtics look like they’re the 8-seed, while the Bulls look like the 1-seed. In fact, the Celtics don’t even look like they belong in the Playoffs after that wretched performance. I am in a bad mood. Time to hop back over to TNT…where they immediately start showing the highlights of this game. Goddamnit.

10:43 – We’re finally sent out to the Staples Center in Los Angeles for Game 2 between the Clippers and the Jazz. Ian Eagle and Greg Anthony will narrate the action for us. The Jazz are up 1-0 in the series after Joe Johnson’s buzzer beater in Game 1. Once again, Rudy Gobert is still out with that injury he suffered on the first play of the first game. Derrick Favors, who filled in admirably for Gobert in Game 1, gets the start in his place.

10:45 – The Clippers win the opening tip, and we’re off and running out west.

10:46 – Chris Paul knocks down a jumper to put LA up 2-0 with the first points of the ball game.

10:47 – Gordon Hayward gets the Jazz on the board with a three, and they trail early, 4-3.

10:51 – Chris Paul lobs one up for DeAndre Jordan, and he does the rest, powering the ball through the hoop, and sending us into our first time out with the score Los Angeles 11, Utah 3 with 9:12 left in the first quarter. The Clippers are off to a strong shot, shooting a perfect 5-5 from the field to begin the game.

11:00 – Blake Griffin spins through the paint and throws down a big dunk! It gets a good cheer out of Billy Crystal, and it sends us into another timeout with the score Los Angeles 17, Utah 8 with five minutes left in the opening quarter. The absence of Rudy Gobert is already being felt, as the Clippers have scored ten points.

11:06 – After Gordon Hayward is fouled on his way to the hoop, Blake Griffin is called for a technical foul from the bench after he comes back onto the floor to voice his disagreement with the call. Forgetting about the technical, everyone lines up for Hayward’s free throws after the initial foul. He shoots one, and DeAndre Jordan blocks it from going into the hoop as everyone realizes they forgot the technical. Hayward then hits the technical free throw, then his two free throws from the foul that started this whole nonsense in motion. It leads to a timeout with the score Los Angeles 21, Utah 14 with 3:29 left in the quarter.

11:15 – All right, we’re here at the end of the first quarter with the score Los Angeles 29, Utah 18. Unlike Game 1, the Jazz haven’t been able to adjust to life without Rudy Gobert. The Clippers are actively looking to feed the ball to DeAndre Jordan, and without Gobert around to patrol the paint, Jordan’s already up to ten points and five rebounds on 5-5 shooting. Gordon Hayward has nine to lead the Jazz.

11:19 – Blake Griffin gets an easy layup underneath the hoop, and the Clippers strike first in the second quarter to extend their lead to 31-18. They’re outscoring the Jazz, 21-0 in the paint.

11:22 – The Jazz are starting to peck away at the lead a little bit, slowing the game down to their pace and patiently working for good shots. After Joe Johnson hits a little one handed shot, the Clippers take a timeout with the score Los Angeles 33, Utah 27 with 9:03 left in the first half.

11:29 – Blake Griffin gets to the hoop for a layup, plus he’s fouled. He misses his free throw, however, and the Jazz take a timeout with the score Los Angeles 40, Utah 32 with 6:03 left until halftime. The Jazz are hanging around, but they’re letting the Clippers venture into the paint with too much ease.

11:40 – We’re winding down the first half, but we’ve got a timeout with the score Los Angeles 49, Utah 41 with 1:21 left in the quarter.

11:44 – A previous Gordon Hayward shot was reviewed, and instead of a mere two pointer, it’s been upgraded to a three, so when we return from the timeout, it’s Los Angeles 49, Utah 42.

11:46 – George Hill knocks down a runner to end the first half, but it came just a tiny bit too late, and at halftime, our score’s Los Angeles 51, Utah 42.

DeAndre Jordan has a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Blake Griffin has added 13 points for LA. Gordon Hayward leads Utah with 12.

It’s no coincidence that the Clippers big men are wreaking havoc in this one. Both have been able to dominate the paint without Utah’s defensive anchor around to stifle them. Nevertheless, the Jazz are kind of hanging around here, and if they can just find a way to slow down Jordan and Griffin, they might have a chance towards the end of the game.

11:50 – It’s time for another episode of Today in Playoff History!

Back in 1975, Bob McAdoo went off for 50 points, leading the Buffalo Braves to a 108-102 victory over the Washington Bullets in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Nick Weatherspoon led Washington with 21, but McAdoo stole the show, leading the Braves to a home victory to even the series, 2-2. This one went all seven games, with the Bullets closing out the series with a big 116-95 victory. Washington would go on to the Finals, losing to the Warriors in a sweep.

Whatever became of the Buffalo Braves, you might ask? They’re still around, they’re just in a different city, and have a different name. You know them today as the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Look at that dope jersey! It’s enough to make you wish the Buffalo Braves were still around.

12:04 am – Chris Paul bounces a pass to Blake Griffin under the basket for a nice, easy layup. It puts the Clippers up, 53-42, as Los Angeles picks up where the left off in the first half: in the paint.

12:09 – Boris Diaw makes a nice pass to Derrick Favors for a layup, and a foul! He misses his free throw, but we do have a one possession game, with the Jazz trailing, 55-52. That is, until Chris Paul answers with a three to put the Clippers up, 58-52.

12:11 – Chris Paul steals the ball from George Hill, and takes it all the way in for a layup. The Jazz take a timeout with the score Los Angeles 60, Utah 52 with 6:48 left in the third. After the Jazz made this a three point game, Paul has personally scored five quick points to get the Clippers lead back up to eight.

12:19 – Time for a timeout with the score Los Angeles 70, Utah 58 with 2:50 to go in the third. The Clippers have responded well after the Jazz briefly got within one basket. Not to beat a dead horse here, but DeAndre Jordan is simply having his way without having to contend with Rudy Gobert. He’s up to 18 points and 14 rebounds, throwing down dunk after dunk. Seven of them to be exact.

12:28 – Here at the end of the third quarter, our score’s Los Angeles 79, Utah 70. Despite hanging around, the Jazz aren’t getting quite enough from their top players on offense to match what the Clippers are doing. Blake Griffin’s 19 points lead the Clippers, while Gordon Hayward has 16 to lead Utah.

12:33 – Boris Diaw spins his way underneath the hoop for a layup, and the Jazz score first in the fourth to cut their deficit down to 79-72.

12:37 – We’re here at the TV timeout in the fourth quarter, and the score’s Los Angeles 83, Utah 76 with 8:44 left in the game. The Jazz continue to put in a scrappy effort, but will it be enough to get them into the game as we head down the stretch, and will I be able to make it to the end of this game without falling asleep?

12:41- Look who’s at the game…

12:45 – After Chris Paul knocks down a jumper, we have a timeout with the score Los Angeles 87, Utah 79 with 6:07 remaining. The Clippers continue to do a great job keeping the Jazz at arm’s length. Every time the visiting team whittles the lead down to five or six, the Clippers have responded, keeping their lead around eight or so throughout much of the game.

12:53 – We have a timeout after Blake Griffin is fouled. It’s Los Angeles 94, Utah 86 with 2:41 remaining as time is running out for the Jazz.

1:01- DeAndre Jordan has fouled out of the game after hacking Derrick Favors on his way to the hoop. There’s just 52.2 seconds left on the clock, and Favors goes 1-2 from the line. The Jazz trail, 97-89. Jordan finishes the night with 18 points and 15 rebounds.

1:03 – Now we have a timeout with the score still Los Angeles 97, Utah 89 with 37 seconds to go. The Jazz seem eternally down eight points tonight.

1:07 – Jamal Crawford hits two free throws, and with just 13.4 seconds left, the score’s Los Angeles 99, Utah 91 as the Jazz take a timeout.

1:09 – The Jazz can’t score, and the Clippers dribble out the clock. Our final score: Los Angeles 99, Utah 91. Fittingly, it’s an eight point loss for the Jazz.

Blake Griffin led the way for the Clippers, scoring 24 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. Chris Paul ran the show with 21 points and 10 assists, and DeAndre Jordan had his way in the paint, ending the night with 18 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out. Gordon Hayward’s 20 points and 6 rebounds led the Jazz.

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The Clippers never trailed this evening as they raced out to a quick 11-3 lead, and maintained it from there, seemingly keeping their lead right at eight for most of the game. The loss of Rudy Gobert was felt much more in this game, but the good news is, the Jazz are hopeful that he’ll be able to return later in the series. Hopefully for them, it’s sooner rather than later, because they won’t survive much longer if they can’t find other ways to protect the paint until he comes back.

Both the Clippers and Raptors responded well to the adversity of a Game 1 loss, each of them tying their series against hearty efforts from their opponents. The Celtics, on the other hand, responded poorly, and they’ve become just the second top seed to trail 2-0 in a first round series. The good news is, the other team on that list is the 1993 Phoenix Suns, who made it all the way to the Finals. The bad news is, I watched the 1993 Phoenix Suns, I knew the 1993 Phoenix Suns, and these Boston Celtics are no 1993 Phoenix Suns.

Ugh, I need a drink…