As we did the other night, we’re joining the Cavs and the Raptors at halftime because I don’t get out of work in time for these 7:00 pm starts. Also, who cares about this series, anyway? Just kidding, I care about all of the series, but we do sort of know what to expect from it at this point. For instance, at halftime, it’s Cleveland 62, Toronto 48. Let’s head to Twitter to try and get a feel for what’s going on here…
DeRozan misses a pair of free throws to end the half, and we have another 62-48 score at the half.
See what I mean? We know what to expect from this series, right down to the Cavs having the same 14 point lead at halftime that they did in Game 1.
LeBron has 19 points to lead Cleveland, and Channing Frye has come off the bench to score ten. The Cavs are shooting 57.9% from the floor, and they’re a scorching 10-15 on their threes. Again, more of the same.
Not more of the same: Jonas Valanciunas leads the Raptors off the bench with 19 points! Kyle Lowry’s added 15 points, and you’d think this would be good news for the Raptors, but, DeMar DeRozan has scored just one point on 0-7 shooting. Yuck!
Also, once again, it looks like the Cavs aren’t too worried about this one. Observe LeBron James messing around with the basketball before draining a three…
While we’re here, there was no Bonus for Tuesday’s games because I was at that Celtics game! What can I say about Isaiah Thomas that hasn’t already been said? Simply put, that was one of the most memorable individual performances I’ve ever seen, in one of the most most memorable games. Over the first half, I thought John Wall was going to have one of those games where he just wins it all by himself, and under normal circumstances, he did. Isaiah just outdid him, and it was awesome.
8:24 pm – All right, we’re back to Cleveland for the second half of Game 2 between the Cavs and the Raptors. Marv Albert and Brent Barry will narrate the action. How much do you want to bet that, like Game 1, the Cavs will win this game, 115-104?
8:26 – The second half is off to a horrendous start as it seems Kyle Lowry is injured underneath the basket. A reminder that things can always get worse. We solemnly go into a timeout. During the play, Serge Ibaka goaltended a shot from LeBron James, so our score’s Cleveland 64, Toronto 48 with 11:33 left in the third quarter.
8:29 – Looking at the replay, it seems that a falling Norman Powell careened right into Lowry’s knee. Lowry then dragged himself out of bounds to avoid any further contact with anyone. He walked off to the locker room with a limp, and as action continues, Cory Joseph is into the Raptors lineup to replace him.
8:30 – After Serge Ibaka sends LeBron to the ground with a hard hit, Tristan Thompson steps in and exchanges a few words with Serge. Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry is making his way back to the Raptors bench with an ankle injury, according to sideline reporter Kristen Ledlow. She reports he’ll test it out and see if he can get back into the game. After review, Ibaka gets called for a common foul.
Serge with the ol’ pull-LeBron-by-his-jersey-and-shoulder-him-in-the-mouth
8:33 – Kyle Lowry comes back into the game for the Raptors. Let’s see how effective he is going forward.
8:34 – Lowry immediately gets a layup, but he’s still hobbling around, as Marv Albert points out. Toronto trails, 66-52.
8:35 – Kyle Lowry gets called for a technical foul after he’s called for a foul slapping the ball away from Kyrie Irving. Lowry contends that it was a clean strip, but the refs don’t see it that way. Irving knocks down the technical free throw, plus the two he earned from the original foul, and the Cavs lead is 69-52. Lots of stuff is happening here to start the third, none of it good for the Raptors.
Lowry with a brilliant layup and a technical. He’s back, in full.
8:36 – LeBron James hits a three, tying him for second all time in NBA Playoff scoring with none other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
8:37 – After Lowry’s fouled shooting a three, he knocks down his first two free throws, and before the third, the Cavs call a timeout with the score Cleveland 72, Toronto 56 with 8:52 left in the third quarter. Lowry deserves a hell of a lot of props for staying in the game, but he’s definitely struggling out there, despite how active he’s been since his return.
Kyle Lowry can’t move. Cavaliers should go after him every single time down the court.
8:47 – Kyrie Irving finds Tristan Thompson all alone in the paint for one of the easiest dunks he’ll ever get. It leads to a timeout with the score Cleveland 85, Toronto 65 with 5:41 left in a third quarter that I am only half paying attention to.
Non-Kyrie Cavs are shooting 78% from the field.
8:59 – After Jonas Valanciunas tips the ball out of bounds, we’ll have a timeout with the score Cleveland 97, Toronto 73 with 2:40 left in the third quarter. The Cavs are pretty much openly dicking around with fancy passes as their lead continues to grow. The Raptors have started turning the ball over, and they look generally hopeless, I have to say.
9:01 – Back from the timeout, we learn that Kyle Lowry has limped back to the Raptors locker room.
9:04 – The third quarter comes to an end without any Raptors field goals over the last four minutes and ten seconds, according to Marv Albert. As a result, the score’s Cleveland 99, Toronto 73. LeBron James is up to 36 points and seems to be genuinely delighting in ruining the Raptors season. Kyrie Irving, despite lousy 6-19 shooting, is up to 22 points and 11 assists. Meanwhile, the Raptors just lost their most important player to an injury, and their co-most important player is shooting 0-9.
9:23 – The Cavs turn the ball over, and it’ll take us into a timeout. You know the game’s gotten bad when it’s turnovers, and not big baskets, that are sending us into timeouts. Anyway, it’s Cleveland 113, Toronto 90 with 5:09 left in the game.
9:29 – Iman Shumpert goes driving to the hoop for a layup, plus a foul, and finally it’s not a lousy turnover taking us into a timeout. Our score’s Cleveland 122, Toronto 97 with 1:39 mercifully remaining.
9:33 – Shumpert hits his free throw, and the Cavs lead goes up to 123-97. Marv Albert and Brent Barry are talking about volleyball movies, and I’m spending more time texting with the groom for the Bachelor Party I’m in charge with this weekend, than I am watching the game.
9:35 – The game comes to a close with a final score of Cleveland 125, Toronto 103. The 125 points set a Cavaliers franchise record for points in a Playoff game.
LeBron James had another great game, dropping 39 points on 10-14 shooting. That’s some efficient work. James also grabbed six rebounds, and shot 15-21 from the free throw line. Kyrie Irving added 22 points and 11 assists as the Cavs shot 54.1% from the floor, including an 18-33 effort from downtown.
Jonas Valanciunas came off the bench to score 23 and grab 5 rebounds for the Raptors, and his fellow benchman, Cory Joseph, added 22 and 6. Kyle Lowry finished with 20 points and 5 assists, but he of course had to leave the game, and Raptors fans everywhere will hold their breaths until his status going forward is revealed.
I said this after Game 1, but, the Cavs just own the Raptors. Toronto has no answers for anything Cleveland throws at them, and everyone seems pretty resigned to an unfortunate Raptors fate.
Raptors give up the most points they ever have in a playoff game, if you thought there were no new lows to reach!
9:43 – We’re whisked down to San Antonio for Game 2 between the Spurs and the Rockets. Game 1 was a surprising Rockets blowout, and the Spurs are looking to bounce back. Pau Gasol joins the starting lineup for San Antonio, replacing David Lee. Will this be more of the same like we saw up in Cleveland, or can the Spurs make the right adjustments to get themselves into this series?
9:45 – The Spurs take the opening tip, and Game 2 is underway at the AT&T Center.
9:46 – Kawhi Leonard knocks down a three, and the Spurs strike first. Trevor Ariza comes right back for a layup, and the Rockets are on the board, down 3-2.
9:52 – After Danny Green knocks down a three, we’ll head into our first timeout with the score San Antonio 19, Houston 16 with 6:22 left in a frantically paced first quarter. Obviously, this one’s off to a much better start for everyone than Game 1 was, but we already have a cause for concern…
James Harden is wincing in pain during the timeout. He appears to get getting attention on his left hip.
9:58 – Ryan Anderson knocks down a transition three, and it’ll take us into another timeout as Anderson’s already up to ten points. The score’s San Antonio 25, Houston 19 with 3:32 left in the first quarter.
10:07 – David Lee finds LaMarcus Aldridge for a layup a mere 0.02 seconds before the first quarter expires, and it makes the score San Antonio 33, Houston 30 after one. Now this is more like it! Danny Green’s got nine points on 4-4 shooting to lead the Spurs, while Ryan Anderson has ten for the Rockets. The pace has been fast, and it seems like the Spurs are not so much disrupting the Rockets as they are just staying ahead of them. Nevertheless, it’s been awesome, but we’ll see if they can continue to hang at such a fast pace.
10:11 – Patrick Beverly kicks off the second quarter by getting to the bucket for a quick layup, plus a foul. He knocks down the free throw, and we’re tied at 33.
10:14 – Eric Gordon knocks down a shot, and we’ve got a timeout as the game continues in a fast paced, razzle-dazzle fashion. It’s San Antonio 39, Houston 37 with 9:19 left in the first half.
10:22 – The ball goes bouncing out of bounds for a timeout with the score San Antonio 50, Houston 46 with 5:50 left in the second quarter. After struggling in Game 1, LaMarcus Aldridge is contributing nicely for the Spurs here in Game 2.
10:32 – Tony Parker hits a three from the corner, and thanks in part to some sloppy possessions by the Rockets, the Spurs have been able to pull away to a double digit lead. It’s San Antonio 61, Houston 48 with 2:29 left until halftime.
10:40 – We’re here at halftime with a score of San Antonio 65, Houston 55. Kawhi Leonard’s been magnificent with 20 points and 5 assists on 7-9 shooting. Danny Green’s got 12 on 5-5 shooting, and Tony Parker’s added 11. Ryan Anderson has 15 points and 5 rebounds on 6-6 shooting to lead the Rockets, and Eric Gordon’s come off the bench to score 12. James Harden’s shooting just 1-9, and most surprisingly, has yet to attempt a free throw, but Houston is still well within shouting distance. Despite their deficit, the game is being played at their pace, which gives them a great shot at erasing this deficit if they can come out strong in the second half.
The Spurs have 65 at half. Had 67 thru 3 quarters in Game 1.
10:45 – I think it’s time for tonight’s episode of Today in Playoff History, brought to you by the scholars down at Basketball Reference!
It’s been a great bounce back for the Spurs so far tonight, but back in 1988, they suffered a first round sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers, thanks to a 109-107 loss in Game 3.
Walter Berry came off the Spurs bench to lead them with 27 points and 7 rebounds, Frank Brickowski had 22 points and 7 boards, and Alvin Robertson had 8 points, 5 rebounds, 11 assists and 4 steals. However, 25 points, 5 rebounds and 11 assists from Magic Johnson led the Lakers to the close victory. He had help off the bench from Mychal Thompson who submitted 23 points and 9 rebounds, while James Worthy contributed 16 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists.
10:58 – Kawhi Leonard cans a jumper to start off the second half, and the Spurs lead swells up to 67-55.
11:01 – A Spurs turnover leads to Clint Capella, of all people, taking the ball down the court for a layup, and that Spurs lead is starting to shrink. A timeout is called with the score San Antonio 71, Houston 65 with 9:22 left in the third quarter.
11:11 – James Harden misses a three, and then he’s sent to the floor due to an accidental elbow from LaMarcus Aldridge after they both chase after the rebound. It leads into my least favorite aspect of the Playoffs – a long video review, coupled with Reggie Miller’s running commentary. It ends up being a common foul. Also, Harden appears to be okay, and he has one or two things to say to Aldridge as both teams get set to continue the game.
11:18 – After James Harden draws one of those infuriating fouls as he’s shooting a three, we have a timeout with a score of San Antonio 82, Houston 76 with 2:48 remaining in the third quarter. When we return, Harden will have a chance to make this a one possession game with his three free throws.
11:22 – James Harden goes 2-3 from the line, and the Rockets have cut this down to a four point game, trailing, 82-78.
11:24 – James Harden finds Eric Gordon behind the arc for a three, and it’s finally a one possession game with the Rockets behind, 84-81.
11:25 – Jonathan Simmons gets a bucket along the baseline, and the Spurs get their lead to 86-81. Lou Willams then fights his way inside for a layup, and the Rockets get the deficit down to 86-83.
11:26 – After a Jonathan Simmons jumper to close out the quarter, the score’s San Antonio 88, Houston 83. The Rockets are right back in this one, even with James Harden shooting a disgusting 3-15 from the floor. If they can keep the pace to their liking, they’ll have an excellent shot at overtaking the Spurs and heading home to Houston with a 2-0 series lead.
11:30 – Tony Parker misses a short shot, but Manu Ginobili “flies in untouched” as an excited Kevin Harlan puts it, and tips in the miss. It’s the first basket of the fourth, and it extends the Spurs lead to 90-83.
11:33 – Tony Parker finds Pau Gasol with a great bounce pass for a big dunk! The Spurs are on an 11-0 run after the Rockets got to within one possession, and we’ll have a timeout. The score’s San Antonio 97, Houston 83 with 10:07 left in the game after a perfect start to the fourth quarter for the Spurs.
11:38 – Oh dear. Tony Parker is sitting on the ground by himself, holding his knee. Looks like he had an awkward landing after attempting a runner. It’ll bring us into a timeout with the score still San Antonio 97, Houston 83 with 8:42 to go.
That look from Tony Parker was one of someone who knows something’s seriously wrong w/ his knee. Here’s hoping it’s not as bad as it looks.
11:41 – We’re back, and Tony Parker was indeed carried off the court after taking a few painful steps himself. Kawhi Leonard replaces him in the Spurs lineup.
11:50 – Kawhi Leonard knocks down a three, and we’re getting a virtuoso performance out of the MVP candidate tonight. As we go into a timeout, it’s San Antonio 111, Houston 88 with 4:54 remaining. Kawhi’s up to 34 points on 13-16 shooting.
Kawhi has a career-high 8 assists to go along with his 34 points.
12:04 am – This one draws to a close with a final score of San Antonio 121, Houston 96. Kawhi Leonard finishes with 34 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists on 13-16 shooting. Pau Gasol, inserted into the starting lineup, ended the night with 6 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Ryan Anderson led the Rockets with 18 points and 8 rebounds, while James Harden struggled mightily, shooting 3-17 and ending up with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists.
As much as things went well for the Rockets in Game 1, they went equally as bad here in Game 2. The Spurs also made some nice adjustments, starting Gasol and getting a nice spark from Jonathan Simmons. Of course, Kawhi Leonard played much better as well, leading his team to an important victory, tying the series after these teams have swapped blowouts.
Obviously, Tony Parker’s status is looming over an otherwise successful night for the Spurs. If he’s lost, it’ll be a serious blow to a team that doesn’t have a ton of point guard depth. We’ll know more after tomorrow’s MRI, but for now, best of luck to the Spurs veteran.
Each of the series we heard from tonight have been built upon blowouts, but at least the Rockets and Spurs seem equally likely to hand out a shellacking. As for the Eastern half of tonight’s action, it certainly looks like the Cavs are still looking for a worthy challenger in the Eastern Conference.
Remember earlier when I mentioned a Bachelor Party? That’s this weekend, so I won’t be around to cover the Playoff action. On top of that, a cousin I’ve never met before is in town, so I’ll be meeting him tomorrow, and as a result, The Bonus will return next week. Hopefully nothing exciting or interesting happens in the NBA Playoffs between now and then, but I wouldn’t count on it. So, with that in mind, dear readers, keep watching, because it’s been a great Playoffs so far, and keep me in your thoughts this weekend as I try and survive what promises to be a lively bachelor party.
I went out for dinner tonight over at the Nashoba Club in beautiful Ayer, Massachusetts. If you’re ever in Ayer for some reason, definitely check out the Nashoba Club. Speaking of checking things out, let’s switch on TNT and Twitter and see how Game 1 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors are going.
The Cavs basically look at the Raptors like a substitute teacher
Well then. Meanwhile, Charles Barkley is saying on TNT’s halftime show that he doesn’t even think the Raptors themselves believe that they can beat the Cavaliers. Jesus. Looks like it was a less than inspiring first half for the Raptors. In other news, I had a very inspiring Pastrami sandwich and a Wachusett Country Ale at the Nashoba Club for dinner.
Okay, we’re joining this on in progress at the start of the third quarter with the score Cleveland 62, Toronto 48. Our narrators are Marv Albert and Grant Hill. Let’s see if the Raptors can make any progress here in the second half.
8:23 pm – After Kevin Love is fouled shooting a three, he goes 2-3 from the line as Kristen Ledlow tells us that the Raptors led the league in double-digit comebacks during the year, and Marv Albert informs us that the Raptors did manage a 19-3 run during the first half. They’re obviously going to need more of the same as our score’s Cleveland 64, Toronto 48 to start off the third quarter.
8:26 – Jonas Valanciunas hits a little jumper, and the Raptors have this one within single-digits. It inspires the Cavs to call a timeout with the score, Cleveland 65, Toronto 56 with 9:29 left in the third quarter. This seems like a good time to scan the box score. Kyrie Irving has 16 to lead the Cavs, LeBron’s got 14, and Kevin Love’s contributed 13. For the Raptors, Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry each have 15, and DeMar DeRozan’s not far behind with 13.
8:34 – Tristan Thompson spins through the paint and then flings a pass to the corner to Kyrie Irving, who cans the three. It’ll bring us into a timeout with the score Cleveland 79, Toronto 64 with 5:56 left in the third quarter. The Raptors did briefly cut their deficit down to seven, but that’s about as close as the Cavs seem willing to let them get.
8:42 – The Raptors have resorted to intentionally fouling lousy free throw shooter Tristan Thompson, trailing 85-69. He hits both of them, and the Raptors are now down, 87-69.
8:44 – LeBron just got fouled on his way to the hoop, couldn’t quite finish the layup, then galloped down the baseline into the crowd, and quickly grabbed a beer from an usher, and pretended to take a sip. Fantastic stuff from the king. Obviously, the only way it’d be better is if he actually drank the beer. Anyway, he hits two free throws, and the Cavs go up, 89-71.
8:49 – Well, the third quarter is over with the score Cleveland 96, Toronto 74. They seem to be in complete control of the game, in a free-flowing, beer drinking groove. You know you’re in trouble when the Cavs have reached “just fucking around” mode.
8:54 – Norman Powell knocks down a three to kick off the fourth quarter for the Raptors, but they’re in dire-ass straights, trailing 96-77.
8:56 – PJ Tucker hits a long jumper, and it’ll take us into a timeout as the Cavs look to put a halt to the wave of momentum the Raptors have suddenly built up to cut their deficit down to…sixteen. It’s Cleveland 98, Toronto 82 with 10:23 left in the ball game.
9:06 – Deron Williams gets to the hoop for a little runner, and we’ll take a timeout with the score Cleveland 106, Toronto 87 with 6:13 left in the game. Ugh.
We can probably start looking ahead to our next game – Game 1 between the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets, a marquee matchup if ever there was one. Can the well oiled Spurs machine find a way to subdue the Rockets free wheeling, three point shooting high powered attack? At the very least, it should be better than what we’re seeing in Cleveland, where the Cavs just flat out own the Raptors, and there’s just no way around it.
9:16 – Kevin Love hits a pair of free throws, and the Cavs lead has reached 20 points. It’s Cleveland 112, Toronto 92 as we have another timeout with 3:17 left in the game.
9:25 – Dahntay Jones throws down a mean dunk, then trash talks Raptors rookie Jakob Poetl, and somehow gets himself ejected with a pair of technical fouls. There’s 18 seconds left in the game. What the hell?
Well, I guess you can say Dahntay Jones gets a lot done in limited time.
9:27 – This game comes to an end with a final score of Cleveland 116, Toronto 105, and it wasn’t even that close. I do not regret missing the first half.
LeBron James finished with 35 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Kyrie Irving had 24 points and 10 assists, and Tristan Thompson chimed in with 11 points and 14 boards. Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 20 points and 11 assists.
Well, the Cavs looked a lot better than they did in that first round series against the Pacers. They don’t seem to be worried about the Raptors at all, and the Raptors didn’t give them any reason to change their minds. As the Playoffs roll along, the Cavs just seem to get stronger and stronger. Unless the Raptors can find a way to put up a real fight, this is going to be a depressing series. At least it’ll be short.
‘Topes lose. A casual dismissal, including a Dahntay Jones ejection. 116-105.
Respect to Raptors writer Eric Koreen for the Simpsons reference. Give that man a Twitter follow if you haven’t already.
9:35 – We’re just getting ready for Game 1 between the Spurs and the Rockets, one of the most anticipated series of the Playoffs.
9:36 – Down in Studio J, Charles Barkley apologizes to the women of San Antonio…because now that he’s eaten churros, he now understands the excitement people feel about the city of San Antonio. Shaq is so vexed he gets up from the desk and walks away laughing.
9:38 – And we’re off to San Antonio for Game 1 down at the AT&T Center. Kevin Harlan and, sigh, Reggie Miller will narrate the action for us. For the second straight series, James Harden faces off against one of his fellow MVP candidates, this time San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard.
9:40 – The Spurs are gonna roll with David Lee in the starting lineup to begin the series.
9:41 – The Spurs win the opening tip, and this much anticipated series is underway! Kawhi Leonard gets the scoring started with a pull up, and the Spurs take a 2-0 lead. The Rockets quickly answer with a Clint Capella dunk, and we’re off to a fine start, tied at two.
9:42 – After a James Harden three, the Spurs call an early timeout with the score Houston 5, San Antonio 2 with 10:40 left in the first quarter. Apparently Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is displeased with David Lee’s less than stellar defense after that Harden three.
9:48 – Damn, TNT shares a graphic that tells us that the last time anybody had 71+ free throws through the first five games of the Playoffs, as James Harden does this year, was all the way back in 1965 when none other than Jerry West pulled it off.
9:50 – James Harden lobs up a pass to Clint Capella who is able to coax it into the hoop, and an angry Gregg Popovich calls another timeout with the score Houston 15, San Antonio 6 with 7:54 left in the first quarter.
9:58 – Pau Gasol takes a nice pass from Kawhi Leonard and goes storming through the paint. He’s fouled on his way to the hoop by Lou Williams, and he’ll get a couple of free throws, but first, we’ll have a timeout with a surprising score of Houston 28, San Antonio 13 with 2:21 left in the first quarter.
10:02 – Back from the timeout, Pau Gasol knocks down his free throws, and the Spurs trail, 28-15.
10:05 – The first quarter draws to a close, and the Spurs have started to look a little more like themselves. That being said, our score after one is Houston 34, San Antonio 23. We know the Spurs, and you have to think they’ll close the gap, especially with after a fairly encouraging end to the quarter. Kawhi Leonard’s got 10 points and 5 rebounds to lead the home team, and James Harden’s got 11 for the visitors. This marks the first time in these Playoffs that the Rockets have had a lead after the opening quarter.
We’ve had “Plush” by Stone Temple Pilots and a “Gangnam Style” remix. Spurs Game ops will never not amuse me.
10:10 – Lou Williams nails a three, and the Rockets start off the second quarter with a 37-23 lead.
10:13 – Patrick Beverly knocks down a three, and the Rockets are on a 19-4 run and are shooting 9-16 from downtown. That’s good enough to run any team off the floor, and here at the second quarter TV timeout, it’s Houston 47, San Antonio 25 with 8:59 left in the first half.
10:22 – Manu Ginobili knocks down a three, and he’s fouled! That’s the good news for the Spurs. The bad news is, as we head into a timeout, the score’s Houston 58, San Antonio 34 with 5:13 left in the second quarter, as the Rockets haven’t slowed down and are now up to 11-23 shooting from downtown.
The Rockets are 11-of-23 on 3s, matching the most they made in any first-round game. It’s midway through the second quarter.
10:38 – So, we’re at halftime of a game that prompted Kevin Harlan to at one point exclaim, “I don’t believe what I’m seeing!” and Reggie Miller to describe the proceedings as, “An old fashioned, take you behind the woodshed beatdown.” As you might imagine, the score’s Houston 69, San Antonio 39.
Kawhi Leonard has 12 points and 9 rebounds, but the rest of his teammates have been scarcely heard from. James Harden has 16 points and 7 assists to lead the Rockets, Trevor Ariza’s right behind him with 15, and Ryan Anderson’s chipped in with 11 points and 5 rebounds.
Houston utterly dominated every aspect of the game. The Spurs seem disheveled, like they don’t know what hit them. Since they’re the Spurs, they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt, but, it certainly doesn’t seem like tonight’s the night for an epic San Antonio comeback. They head to the locker room facing the biggest halftime deficit in Spurs Playoff history.
10:44 – Since I got home late, we’ve only got one episode of Today in Playoff History, so let’s make it a good one.
Back in 1977, the Houston Rockets put the finishing touches on the Eastern Conference Semifinals with a 108-103 victory over the Washington Bullets, winning the series 4-2. For some reason, Houston was in the Eastern Conference back in those days. It’s just as perplexing as this first half was.
Phil Chenier led the Bullets with 21 points, while Elvin Hayes added 20 points and 8 rebounds. Mitch Kupchak chipped in with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Wes Unseld finished with 11 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists.
Rudy Tomjanovich led the Rockets with 26 points and 8 boards. Mike Newlin scored 21, and Moses Malone went for 14 points and 14 rebounds. The win sent the Rockets to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in six games.
10:56 – Clint Capella gets an easy bucket to start off the second half, and the Rockets lead balloons up to 71-39.
11:03 – The Spurs get back to back threes from Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard, and it’s enough to get Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni to call a timeout with the score Houston 73, San Antonio 45 with 8:02 left in the third quarter.
11:07 – James Harden makes an awesome pass to Clint Capella for a dunk, and the Spurs need another timeout with the score Houston 80, San Antonio 45 with 6:28 left in the third. Harden’s done an excellent job tonight drawing attention from defenders and finding people like Capella for easy buckets. Harden’s got 16 points and 12 assists so far, while Capella has really benefited from Harden’s fine passing, racking up 17 points and 10 rebounds on 8-10 shooting.
11:22 – Things are starting to get a little chippy. During some Kawhi Leonard free throws, Trevor Ariza and Jonathan Simmons mouth off to one another, and engage in some minor shoving. After Kawhi’s free throws, Nene sends Simmons to the floor with a big pick on everyone’s way back up the floor.
11:25 – RUCKUS! RUCKUS! RUCKUS!
After the third quarter comes to an end, the Spurs Dewayne Dedmon gets into it with Nene, and both teams square off a bit. An angry Dedmon is led away by his teammates, while Reggie Miller goes on his usual, “THIS IS PLAYOFF BASKETBALL! I LOVE IT!” rants.
Anyway, our score’s Houston 96, San Antonio 67. As you can see, not a whole heck of a lot has changed.
And standing ovation from the Spurs crowd for Dedmon starting a ruckus with Nene down 29 to end the 3rd.
11:29 – We’re back for the start of the fourth quarter, and the refs are reviewing the ruckus, which means we get to hear even more from Reggie Miller! It is unenjoyable. Dedmon and James Harden get technical fouls, and Nene is ejected for some strange reason.
Looking at the replay, Nene grabbed Dedmon’s throat, earning the ejection. Fair enough.
Patty Mills misses a technical free throw, and the Rockets lead remains 96-67.
11:35 – After another obnoxious replay of a foul committed on Lou Williams while he was shooting a three, Williams hits all of the free throws for the first points of the fourth quarter, and the Rockets lead is up to 99-67. This game is starting to become insufferable.
11:40 – We have a timeout with the score Houston 106, San Antonio 72 with 8:49 left in the game. I apologize for saying this was going to be a better game than the Cavs and Raptors.
11:45 – Oh man…
Houston don’t turn off the tv yet. San Antonio hits a 30 pointer and they are right back in this.
11:46 – Dewyane Dedmon just got ejected as he was about to shoot some free throws. Patrick Beverly sort of incited him into some trash talk, and the refs got fed up, slapping Dedmon with his second technical foul, an automatic ejection. Amazing stuff. Beverly hits the technical free throw, and the Rockets select David Lee to shoot the free throws that Dedmon were about to. Lee hits them both, and the Spurs trail, 112-78.
Not sure I’ve ever seen someone thrown out while shooting free throws
11:52 – We’re here at another timeout as this game draws closer to finally ending. It’s Houston 119, San Antonio 82 with 5:24 left in what has to be one of the most bizarre Playoff games I have ever seen.
11:59 – Jonathan Simmons takes it to the hoop for a layup, plus he’s fouled. Before he heads to the line, we’ll have a timeout with the score Houston 120, San Antonio 88 with 2:54 remaining.
12:01 am – TNT shows us some footage of the last time these two teams tangled in the postseason. It was back in 1995, and just before Game 1, Spurs center David Robinson was awarded that season’s MVP instead of Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon, who took it super personally and pretty much eviscerated Robinson and the Spurs throughout the six game series, on his way to a second straight championship with Houston. Legendary stuff.
12:07 – This one finally comes to an end with a final score of Houston 126, San Antonio 99. You expect this sort of behavior out of the Cavs/Raptors series, but this was legitimately surprising.
Kawhi Leonard finished the night with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists for the Spurs. A fine line, but he somehow didn’t make much of an impact on the game, and the rest of the squad was nowhere to be found as the Rockets really dominated the game. They got 23 points from Trevor Ariza, 20 points and 13 rebounds from Clint Capella, and 20 points and 14 assists from James Harden. They shot a ludicrous 22-50 from three point land, setting a franchise Playoff record for threes in a game, and last but not least, they had 30 assists on 40 baskets. It was pretty much a flawless victory against the team with the second best record in the league, and in their home court, nonetheless.
Heavens to Jupiter! Twenty-Two threes?
How in heaven’s name didst thou accomplish
Such a number on Saint Anthony’s Spurs?
That was a wacky game, bringing an end to a wacky night of basketball. I missed the first half of the Cavs/Raptors game, but I feel like I didn’t really miss anything. Sorry, Raptors. As for tomorrow night, I’m going to Game 2 of the Celtics/Wizards series! Obviously, I won’t be writing a running diary, but, maybe I’ll tweet during the timeouts. It’s not like you’ll notice if there’s no running diary. We just went ten days without one, and nobody said a word. Anyway, keep enjoying these wild and wacky Playoffs, and we’ll see you later in the week.
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.
1:20 – 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.
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.
The Wizards should be down more, but the Hawks’ offense is a trash can rolling down a hill on fire.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Draymond Green and Damian Lillard jawing back and forth at one another. This game is getting interesting.
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.
CJ McCollum of the Land of Ports
Hath put the Trailblazers upon his back
Punishing the rotten state of Golden.
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.
Durant and Harkless yelling at each other heading into that timeout.
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.
Said in my series preview Blazers could win if Lillard & McCollum average 80. Combined for 48 in the 1st half. Score tied at 56 at the break
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.
4:54 – In other news…
Brad Stevens on Isaiah Thomas: “He’s really hurting.” Said he believes IT intends to play but will leave decision to him.
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.
This game is all kinds of weird. Pat Connaughton throws in a prayer and-one and we’ll go to the fourth tied at 88. Should be a fun one.
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.
5:38 – 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.
“It goeth downward. I declare, ‘Timber!'”
“I demand that thee move and that thee dance.”
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.
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.
Isaiah Thomas on the floor, has his shoes marked “Chyna” and “I love you”… Heartbreaking
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.
6:49 – 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.
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.
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.
Rondo cleans up the miss and gets the lay up to drop.
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?
Mirotic not really helping the Bulls at all today.
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.
After Butler drains a 3 — Celtics fan behind me screams: “He’s going to look great in a Celtics jersey!”
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.
That Smart 3 did not look good until it had hit the floor after going through.
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.
There is literally nothing Isaiah could do short of punching me that would result in me giving him a technical tonight.
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.
A full court trap works in the NBA for the first time in 30 years, because, Bulls
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.
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.
Who in the name of Jupiter’s golden loins
Doth approv’d these foul jerseys for this game?
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.
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.
THIS SERIES HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MVP, A REGULAR SEASON AWARDTHIS SERIES HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MVP, A REGULAR SEASON AWARDTHIS SER
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.
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…