NBA Playoffs – Day 11

6:00 pm – Leaving work in a very disgruntled mood because the NBA scheduled my Celtics for 7:00 and there’s no way in hell I’ll be home for the start of the game. I really wish they had checked in with me beforehand. Oh well, this is probably the biggest first world problem ever, and I should really stop bitching. On top of that, there’s a new Lowe Post and The Starters Twitter Show to listen to during the trek out to my home out on the frontier beyond I-495, so things are looking up!

6:10 – On the Green Line…

6:24 – Some good news for the Celtics tonight: Marcus Smart is projected to make his long awaited return from injury, and not a moment too soon.

6:40 – In the car! ETA home: 7:23. Not catastrophic.

7:27 – After bursting through the front door of my house, I’m joining Game 5 between the Celtics and Bucks in progress, just in time to see a replay of Marcus Smart diving onto the floor after a loose ball. Talk about a sight for sore eyes. The Celtics have a 15-13 lead, and with this game relegated to NBA TV, I’m enjoying local team of Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn are announcing on NBCSN.

7:30 – Right after I come in, we have a time out with the score still Boston 15, Milwaukee 13 with 2:37 left in the first quarter. This gives me a time to remember the other games tonight: Game 5 between Philadelphia and Miami, and Game 5 between Golden State and San Antonio. The Sixers and Warriors are looking to close those series out this evening. We’ll join Philadelphia and Miami in progress after the Celtics and Bucks are done.

7:37 – The first quarter ends with a 14-4 Celtics run to make the score Boston 23, Milwaukee 15. Al Horford has five points and five rebounds for the C’s, and Terry Rozier’s scored five as well. Giannis Antetokounmpo has six to lead the Bucks. As a team, Milwaukee’s shooting just 6-22.

Of course, both of these teams are battling for an important 3-2 series lead, so this should be a well contested game.

7:41 – Khris Middleton begins the second quarter with a bucket, and the Bucks trail, 23-17.

7:49 – We’ll have a time out after a Marcus Morris layup makes the score Boston 33, Milwaukee 25 with 7:40 left until halftime.

7:51 – News from elsewhere in the playoffs…

That game was so feisty, there’s still being technical fouls called.

7:57 – Jayson Tatum knocks nails an open three, and the Garden is alive as we go into a time out with the score Boston 43, Milwaukee 29 with 4:22 left in the first half. This pause in the game seems like a good opportunity to feed the cat.

8:09 – We’re here at halftime with the score Boston 48, Milwaukee 37. Al Horford has eight points and nine boards to lead the Celtics, and Marcus Morris came off the bench to provide eight and five. Once again, it’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton leading the Bucks. They each have 11 points, and Giannis also has eight rebounds. Outside of that, the Bucks are having a tough time, and they’re shooting just 34.9% from the field overall. Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go eat my salad and pork chops.

8:26 – Eric Bledsoe gives us the first points of the second half with a pair of free throws, and the Bucks are within single digits, down 48-39.

8:30 – We have a minor ruckus between none other than Terry Rozier and Eric Bledsoe. Rozier bumped Bledsoe along the baseline, and then Bledsoe shoved him out of bounds. Rozier was probably just trying to introduce himself since Bledsoe said he doesn’t know who he is.

8:34 – After a lengthy review by the refs, Bledsoe gets hit with a flagrant, while Rozier is assessed a technical.

8:37 – Terry Rozier knocks down a three, and mouths off to the Bucks bench! His exploits have the Celtics up, 56-40.

8:39 – We’ve got a time out with the score Boston 56, Milwaukee 43 with 7:39 left in the third quarter.

8:44 – Dispatches from Philadelphia!

The best part about that game is that Meek Mill, released from prison today, was choppered in by the Sixers owner to attend the game this evening. They deserve to win for that alone.

8:53 – Jayen Brown nails a three, and we’ve got a time out after a 7-0 Celtics run makes our score Boston 68, Milwaukee 57 with 2:24 left in the third. It was a timely run, as the Bucks had made it a four point game, thanks to eleven quick points off the bench from none other than Shabazz Muhammad.

8:59 – After the ball goes out of bounds on the Bucks, Brad Stevens calls a time out to draw up what I’m sure will be a thrilling inbounds play. Not much has changed on the scoreboard, which reads Boston 68, Milwaukee 59 with 1:10 left in the third.

9:00 – Al Horord gets called for an setting a moving screen, ruining the magical play Brad Stevens drew up.

9:02 – The third quarter is over with a score of Boston 72, Milwaukee 61. Al Horford’s up to 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Celtics. Khris Middleton also has 15 for the Bucks. Aside from the brief run sparked by Shabazz Muhammad, the Bucks haven’t shown much fire, and they’ve been kind of going through the motions while the Celtics maintain their lead.

9:06 – Thon Maker manages to throw down an easy dunk, and the Bucks strike first in the fourth and trail 72-63.

9:10 – Jabari Parker grabs an offensive rebound, then goes up for a dunk, and we’ve got a time out as it’s a four point game again. The score’s Boston 72, Milwaukee 68 with 8:44 left in the ballgame. Let’s see if the Celtics respond now as well as they did in the third quarter when they faced the same situation.

9:14 – Dispatches from Philadelphia!

9:19 – Marcus Morris ventures through the paint and gets a layup, and we’ll have a time out as the Celtics have built their lead back up to nine to make the score Boston 79, Milwaukee 70 with 5:46 remaining.

9:29 – Al Horford finds Jaylen Brown under the hoop for a layup, and we’ve got a time out with the score Boston 84, Milwaukee 77 with 1:49 left in the game. The Bucks have had ample opportunities to make this a one possession game, but they just haven’t been able to get over that hump, and each time they come close, the Celtics ramp up their defense and muster a bucket or two to push their lead back up.

9:34 – We’ve got a time out after Al Horford is fouled with the score Boston 84, Milwaukee 79 with just 34.5 seconds left. The Celtics will have some free throws to hit over the remainder of this one.

9:35 – My bad, no foul called there, just the time out.

9:36 – The Celtics inbound to Marcus Smart, who nearly loses the ball and has to dive to the floor against three Bucks for it. He’s able to slip it to Horford, who is all alone for a dunk, and we’ve got another time out with the score Boston 86, Milwaukee 79 with 28.1 seconds to go.

9:39 – After Al Horford goes 1-2 from the line, Eric Bledsoe is able to get a quick layup, and it’s just a three point game with Bucks down, 87-84. Terry Rozier is fouled to stop the clock.

9:40 – Rozier hits his free throws, and the Celtics lead is up to 89-84. After the Bucks fail to score, Thon Maker commits a foul for some reason, and it’s his sixth. He heads to the bench with two points and two rebounds on 1-5 shooting in 23 minutes off the bench. Clearly, he was not able to provide the same spark here at the Garden that he was out in Milwaukee.

9:42 – All right, this one comes to a close with a final score of Boston 92, Milwaukee 87.

Al Horford was great tonight for the Celtics, finishing with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Khris Middleton’s 23 lead the Bucks, and Giannis had 16 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists, but seemed tired down the stretch.

Throughout the second half, the Bucks lingered within shouting distance, but the Celtics always had an answer for them with a timely bucket or big defensive play. The return of Marcus Smart provided Boston with an obvious jolt of extra swagger and energy. Now, the Celtics have a chance to close out the series in Game 6, but they’ll have to do so in Milwaukee, where the Bucks have played well.

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9:46 – Time to switch over to TNT and join Game 5 between the Sixers and Heat. They’re in the midst of a commercial break, with a score of Philadelphia 66, Miami 54 with 6:11 left in the third quarter.

9:54 – After a loose ball foul on Justise Winslow, we have a time out with the score Philadelphia 72, Miami 59 with 3:21 left in the third. The Sixers appear to be pulling away like they have throughout this series.

10:02 – We’re here at the end of the third quarter with a score of Philadelphia 80, Miami 66. Right now, the Miami Heat band has assembled on the deck of the ship to play lively ragtime music, to help keep people calm and perhaps inspire a comeback. JJ Redick has 16 to lead the Sixers, and Goran Dragic’s 13 leads the Heat.

10:06 – Dwyane Wade takes a pass from Kelly Olynyk and dunks it to give the Heat the first points of the fourth quarter. They’re down, 80-68.

10:10 – Joel Embiid knocks down a jumper, and we’ve got a time out as the Sixers can taste victory here with the score Philadelphia 87, Miami 69 with 9:46 left in the game.

10:15 – Tyler Johnson cans a three, and we’ve got a time out with the score Philadelphia 87, Miami 72 with 8:34 on the clock.

10:25 – We’ve got a review after James Johnson sends both JJ Redick and Marco Bellinelli into the stands with a hard hit. Is it possible to be called for two fouls on two different players on the same play? Anyway, players from both teams briefly gathered on scene in case anything further was to go down, but everyone eventually walked away.

10:28 – We have a common-ass foul, and a technical-ass foul called on Johnson. It’s unfortunate timing for the Heat, who have closed their deficit down to 87-79. Now, with Philadelphia in the bonus, Bellinelli gets two free throws, on top of the technical free throw that JJ Redick hit. Marco hits his as well, and the Sixers lead, 90-79.

10:30 – Now Tyler Johnson has committed his sixth foul, and he’ll head to the bench with 16 points in 19 minutes. It once again sends Bellinelli to the line, and he splits the free throws, but James Johnson tips the rebound off the second free throw out of bounds, and the ball will remain with the Sixers.

10:35 – Two JJ Redick free throws send us into a time out with the score Philadelphia 95, Miami 82 with 3:48 left on the clock. The Heat have made some noise here in the fourth, but some out of control play has kept them from truly getting back into it, especially with the Sixers in the bonus, but it has been enough to keep the Miami Heat band from playing “Nearer My God To Thee”.

10:43 – This one winds down with a final score of Philadelphia 104, Miami 91.

27 points from JJ Redick led the Sixers, while Joel Embiid submitted 19 points and 12 rebounds. Ben Simmons contributed 14 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Kelly Olynyk came off the Miami bench for 18 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists.

The Sixers were impressive throughout the series, and thus far, look like the team to beat in the East. While the Heat put up a worthy effort, it’s hard to hang in there when the other team has the two best players in the series, and especially when the other team keeps going berserk from three point land. After becoming the first Eastern team to advance, the Sixers await the winner of the Celtics/Bucks series.

I have to say, I am very happy for the Sixers and their fans. Just two years ago, this team was 10-72. Now it wouldn’t be shocking to anybody if they found themselves in the Finals. The process worked.

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10:45 – We’re welcomed to The Oracle out in Oakland by Marv Albert, as we get set for Game 5 between the Warriors and Spurs. Golden State’s looking to close this one out with a win tonight.

10:46 – The Warriors win the opening tip, and we’re underway.

10:47 – Klay Thompson starts things off with a jumper, and the Warriors strike first to take a 2-0 lead.

10:48 – Draymond Green hits an open three from the corner, and we already have a time out with the score Golden State 7, San Antonio 0 with 10:25 left in the first quarter.

10:54 – Rudy Gay misses a shot at close range, but LaMarcus Aldridge grabs the miss and put it in, plus he’s fouled. He hits the free throw, and the Spurs are finally on the board, down 9-3.

11:00 – We’ve got a time out as the Spurs, never ones to go away quietly, have responded well after initially falling behind, 9-0. In fact, a Patty Mills three has them within two with a score of Golden State 15, San Antonio 13 with 4:06 left in the first quarter.

11:12 – We’re here at the end of the first quarter with a score of Golden State 22, San Antonio 20. Klay Thompson has six for the Warriors, as does Patty Mills for the Spurs.

At first, it looked like the Warriors were going to run away with this one, but the Spurs dug in, and we’ve got a close one so far.

11:17 – Rudy Gay cans a three, and the Spurs take a 23-22 lead with the first points of the second quarter.

11:22 – We’ve got a time out with the score Golden State 31, San Antonio 26 with 7:50 left until halftime. Neither team is lighting the world on fire, and as long as the Warriors slog through the game, the Spurs are going to be able to keep it close.

11:28 – Draymond Green finds Kevon Looney for a tough layup, plus a foul, and we’ve got a time out as the Warriors lead is starting to expand. The score’s Golden State 35, San Antonio 26 with 6:18 left in the first half.

11:31 – Back from the time out, Looney misses his free throw.

11:40 – Kevin Durant storms to the hoop for a transition dunk, and we’ll have a time out with a score of Golden State 47, San Antonio 36 with 1:17 left in the second quarter. The Warriors are slowly gaining steam as the game goes on, and the Spurs haven’t shown any signs of being able to keep up. I fear we’re in for a depressing second half, but if that’s the case, maybe I’ll get to make more Titanic band jokes.

11:44 – Klay Thompson ends the first half by sinking a jumper at the buzzer, and we’ll head into halftime with a score of Golden State 49, San Antonio 38. Thompson’s been carrying the load all night, and is up to 17 points on 8-12 shooting. Rudy Gay and Patty Mills each have nine to lead the Spurs.

With the third quarter looming, San Antonio’s in real trouble. The Warriors have been legendary in the third quarter this season, and with the Spurs lacking any sort of offensive punch this evening, things could down the drain real fast.

12:02 am – Dejounte Murray is fouled by Draymond Green as he shoots a three, and goes 2-3 from the line to give us the first points of the second half, and cut the Spurs deficit to 49-40.

12:09 – Two Kevin Durant free throws send us into a time out with a score of Golden State 60, San Antonio 49 with 7:16 left in the third.

12:16 – We’ve got a time out in between a pair of LaMarcus Aldridge free throws, and with 4:49 left in the third, not a whole heck of a lot has changed here with the scoreboard reading Golden State 62, San Antonio 51.

12:32 – At the end of three quarters, our score’s Golden State 79, San Antonio 65. Klay Thompson has 19 so far for the Warriors, and Draymond Green’s got 12 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge has 17 points and 6 rebounds for the Spurs.

The Warriors had a bit of a flurry towards the end of the third, and they’ve got their lead up to 14. I’ve been waiting for a decisive volley from them all night, but San Antonio has been able to keep things fairly respectable thus far.

12:37 – Kyle Anderson gets the scoring started in the fourth quarter with a layup, thanks to a nice pass from Pau Gasol, and the Spurs trail, 79-67.

12:40 – A LaMarcus Aldridge jumper sends us into a time out with a score of Golden State 82, San Antonio 71 with 8:40 remaining as the status quo continues to be maintained.

12:50 – Kevin Durant knocks down a jumper, and with another time out, our score’s Golden State 89, San Antonio 77 with 5:12 left. I feel like not a damn thing has changed about this game since the first half.

12:57 – Manu Ginobili finds LaMarcus Aldridge with a nice bounce pass for a dunk, and suddenly, the score’s Golden State 89, San Antonio 83 with 2:35 left in the game as the Spurs have finally made some inroads here.

12:59 – Kevin Durant explodes to the bucket for a two hand jam, and we’re sent right back to another time out with the score Golden State 91, San Antonio 83 with 2:13 on the clock.

1:04 – Rudy Gay misses a layup, but LaMarcus Aldridge is there to get the offensive rebound, and get fouled. He hits his free throws, and he’s up to 30 points and 12 rebounds, including a perfect 14-14 from the line, and the Spurs are within two, trailing 93-91, and we’ll have a time out with 42.3 seconds to go.

1:07 – Kevin Durant nails a jumper, and the Warriors go up, 95-91. On the Spurs possession, Manu Ginobili throws the ball away, and it looks like the Warriors are going to dodge the bullet here.

1:08 – Durant hits two free throws after he’s fouled to stop the clock, and he now has 10 of the last 12 Warrior points, and the Spurs have to take their final time out with the score Golden State 97, San Antonio 91 with 24 seconds left.

1:11 – With Manu Ginobili dribbling it out, this game comes to an end with a final score of Golden State 99, San Antonio 91.

Kevin Durant finished with 26 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, and Klay Thompson was right behind him with 24 points and 5 rebounds. Draymond Green packed the box score with 17 points, 19 rebounds and 7 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 30 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs.

The Spurs battled hard all series long, against long odds, but they just didn’t have the firepower to hang with the Warriors, who tonight, didn’t exactly light the world on fire themselves. San Antonio now goes into an offseason of uncertainty, with the ongoing Kawhi Leonard situation continuing on, and old timers like Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker mulling their future.

As for the Warriors, they move on to face the surprising Pelicans with questions of their own. Just when will Steph Curry return, and how effective will he be? Can Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday replicate their outstanding first round performance and give New Orleans a fighting chance against the defending champs?

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Now that tonight’s all said and done, the Heat and the Spurs, two hard fighting, worthy opponents, have fallen in five games, while the Celtics have put themselves one game away from the second round. Also, their Game 6 with the Bucks is now the one and only game on Thursday, and it tips off at 8:00, so we won’t have a repeat of tonight’s tumultuous situation of having to miss the start of the game. Praise the Basketball Gods.

Tomorrow night, however, is even more ridiculous, with four games going on. The action once again kicks off at 7:00, so the race home will once again be urgent, so I better be off to bed, because tomorrow night is likely to be eventful.

 

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NBA Playoffs – Day 9

We’re back for another packed day of NBA playoff action. We could see one series come to an end today, as the Warriors have a chance to sweep the Spurs. But first, the Celtics look to bounce back after a lousy performance in Game 3, whereas the Bucks will be looking to even that series.

Later on, the Wizards will also look to even their series with the Raptors after getting on the board with a Game 3 win, but perhaps the main event has been saved for last. In our final game this evening, the Pacers will try to take an improbable 3-1 lead over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With three teams looking to tie their series, and one looking for a sweep, it should be quite the day as there will be much to lose and gain during the following proceedings.

1:00 pm – Whoops, I thought Game 4 between the Celtics and Bucks was on ESPN, but it’s on ABC instead, so I’m tuning into good ol’ WMUR, Channel 9 up in Manchester, New Hampshire. The Celtics were terrible in Game 3, and now the Bucks have an opportunity to even the series. I am doing my part by wearing my Larry Bird jersey, but will that be enough? Mark Jones and Hubie Brown will be our narrators as we find out.

1:08 – We’re welcomed to the Bradley Center in Milwaukee for Game 4. If the Celtics win today, and win Game 5, this will be the Bucks final game at the Bradley Center. Milwaukee’s Jason Terry is already on record as saying it won’t be.

1:11 – Amidst a “BUCKS IN SIX” chant, the Celtics win the opening tip, and another day of playoff action is underway.

1:12 – Jaylen Brown knocks down a three, and it’s the first basket this afternoon, giving the Celtics an early 3-0 lead.

1:16 – Two Tyler Zeller free throws finally get the Bucks on the board, but with the Celtics not lighting the world on fire, the Bucks are only down 4-2.

1:18 – Jayson Tatum knocks down a jumper, and we’ve got our first time out with a score of Boston 10, Milwaukee 4 with 7:21 left in the first quarter. The Celtics have come out much more aggressively than they did in Game 3, and they’ve got five offensive rebounds already. As for the Bucks, they’re shooting just 1-6 to begin the game.

1:28 – Malcolm Brogdon heads to the hoop for a reverse layup, and we’ll have a time out as the Bucks have responded well to make the score Boston 12, Milwaukee 11 with 3:55 left in the first quarter.

1:38 – With 1.2 seconds left in the first quarter, Marcus Morris lazily rolls the ball inbounds, and Matthew Dellavedova comes flying in, scoops it up, and scoops it in off the glass. The score’s now Milwaukee 24, Boston 17. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker lead the Bucks with five points apiece, while Marcus Morris has five to lead the Celtics, but he’s shooting 2-7, just made an inexcusably dumb-ass play, and has made me very, very angry.

1:43 – Thon Maker knocks down a corner three for our first second quarter points, extending the Bucks lead to 27-17.

1:46 – Technical fouls on Marcus Morris and Khris Middleton as they refuse to cooperate while jostling for position before a jump ball. Coach Brad Stevens takes Morris out of the game before he can do any more damage to his own team.

1:51 – Thon Maker blocks a Jayson Tatum shot, and we’ve got a time out as things continue to go well for the home team. The score’s Milwaukee 34, Boston 21 with 6:54 left in the first half. The Celtics are shooting just 8-32 from the floor, and that lack of shooting helping them fall behind more and more.

2:01 – Jabari Parker is fouled as he attempts to finish off an alley-oop, and we’ll have a time out with the score Milwaukee 45, Boston 32 with 2:36 left in the first half. Jaylen Brown’s the only Celtic who’s worth a damn right now, as he’s got 14 points, and is the only one playing aggressively. Meanwhile, everyone on the Bucks is playing aggressively on both ends of the court.

GO TO HELL, MARCUS MORRIS. He’s probably going to end up hitting a game winning three, or something.

2:10 – The first half comes to an end with the score Milwaukee 51, Boston 35.

Khris Middleton leads the Bucks with 13 points and 5 rebounds, Jabari Parker’s got 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks off the bench, and Giannis Antetokounmpo has 10 points and 5 rebounds. Jaylen Brown leads the Celtics with 15 points and 5 rebounds.

The Celtics are shooting 13-43 from the floor, and they’ve been unable to keep the energized Bucks from running away with the game so far.

2:15 – Maybe an episode of Today in NBA Playoff History, presented by Basketball-Reference, will cheer me up.

Back in 2011, Rajon Rondo recorded 15 points, 11 rebounds and 20 assists in the Celtics 113-96 victory over the New York Knicks in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round. Many of those assists went to Paul Pierce (38 points), and Ray Allen (32 points). Kevin Garnett chipped in with 9 points and 12 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony had 15 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists for the Knicks.

I remember watching this game live in Carlin’s in Ayer, Massachusetts with my pal Brendan. This was before Carlin’s renovated themselves from the grimy dive bar they were, into the wannabe respectable establishment they are today. I liked them better, a lot better, when they were a grimy dive bar.

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2:26 – A basket from Tyler Zeller opens up the second half, extending the Bucks lead to 53-35.

2:34 – Eric Bledsoe wraps a nice pass to Giannis who throws down a dunk, and it’s been more of the same here in the third with the score now Milwaukee 65, Boston 45 with 7:37 left in the third quarter.

2:37 – ABC shows us old footage of the 1974 NBA Finals, in which the Celtics defeated the Bucks in seven games. That cheers me up a little.

2:40 – We have a time out with a score of Milwaukee 65, Boston 51 with 5:47 left in the third quarter. The Celtics have scored six straight points, but they’re going to need a lot more than just a little spurt to get themselves back into this one.

2:53 – It turned out to be more than a little spurt, and at the end of the third, our score’s Milwaukee 75, Boston 67. Giannis and Middleton each have 18 to lead the Bucks, as they’ve done all series long. Jalen Brown leads the Celtics with 24. Finally, the Celtics were able to match and even exceed the Bucks effort level, and they’ve made this one a game headed into the fourth.

2:57 – Thon Maker is very upset after he and Baynes get tangled up. He tries to go after Baynes, but is held back while Baynes just looks at him. A double foul is called, and we’ll get back to business.

2:59 – Shane Larkin finds Baynes for a dunk, and we’ve got our first points of the fourth quarter with the Celtics behind, 75-69.

On their next possession, Jaylen Brown knocks down a three! The Bucks take a time out with the score Milwaukee 75, Boston 72 with 10:37 left in a suddenly exciting game.

3:03 – Giannis fights his way into the paint and banks in a shot, putting the Bucks ahead, 77-72.

3:04 – Driving through the paint, Shane Larkin slips to the floor, but is still able to bounce the ball out to Marcus Morris in the corner, who knocks down a three. The Celtics trail, 77-75.

3:05 – Marcus Morris makes his way to the hoop for a bucket, and we’re tied up at 77, the first tie since it was 0-0 at the start of the game.

3:06 – Thon Maker is left wide open, and he nails a three, putting the Bucks back up at 80-77.

3:08 – Marcus Morris knocks down a pair of free throws, and the Celtics make this a one point game, down 80-79. Eric Bledsoe answers with a three, and the Bucks go up, 83-79.

3:09 – After the Bucks can’t take advantage of an Eric Bledsoe steal, we’ll have a time out with the score still Milwaukee 83, Boston 79 with 7:08 remaining.

3:13 – Jayson Tatum knocks down a three to beat the shot clock! Boston trails, 83-82. Khris Middleton comes back with his own three, and the Bucks lead is back up to four at 86-82. Terry Rozier hits yet another three, and it’s back to a one point game, with the Celtics down, 86-85.

3:14 – Eric Bledsoe gets to the hoop for a layup, and the Bucks extend their lead to 88-85.

On the Bucks next possession, he’s fouled shooting a three by Terry Rozier, which I am sure Bledsoe is pleased about.

3:16 – Bledsoe goes 2-3 from the line, and the Bucks lead, 90-85. Jaylen Brown follows it up by banking in a shot from close range, and the Celtics trail, 90-87.

3:18 – Khris Middleton hits a pair of free throws, getting the Bucks lead up to 92-87.

3:19 – Giannis drives on Al Horford and throws down a big dunk, igniting the crowd and sending us into a time out with a score of Milwaukee 94, Boston 87 with 3:59 left on the clock.

3:22 – Terry Rozier hits a long three, and the Celtics won’t go away, trailing 96-93.

3:23 – Malcolm Brogdon drives to the hoop for a layup, and the Bucks extend their lead up to 98-93.

3:24 – Jaylen Brown cleans up an offensive rebound and gets a bucket, keeping the Celtics within three, down 98-95.

3:25 – Giannis splits a pair of free throws, and the Bucks lead is at 99-95. Jaylen Brown answers with a step-back three, and it’s a one point game with the Celtics behind, 99-98.

3:36 – After a crummy Eric Bledsoe pass results in yet another turnover, Jayson Tatum rises up and nails a jumper! It leads to a time out with a score of Boston 100, Milwaukee 99 with 52.4 seconds to go! It’s the Celtics first lead since they were up 14-13. In other news, Bledsoe has sabotaged, not one, but two Bucks fast breaks with terrible turnovers, and now this errant pass that gave Boston the chance to take the lead.

3:28 – Malcolm Brogdon hits a three from the corner, and the Bucks retake the lead as the Celtics take a time out with the score Milwaukee 102, Boston 100 with 33.5 left on the clock.

3:30 – Al Horford drives to the hoop, goes up for a dunk, and is fouled. He’ll have a chance to tie the game from the line with 29.6 seconds remaining.

3:31 – Horford makes them both, and we’re tied at 102.

3:32 – Brogdon goes to the hoop and can’t convert the layup, but Giannis is there to tap in the miss, and the Bucks take the lead. It’s Milwaukee 104, Boston 102 with just 5.1 seconds to go.

3:33 – The Celtics get the ball to Marcus Morris, who of course misses a jumper at the buzzer. However, the refs are reviewing something, so stay tuned.

3:34 – The refs rule the game over, and our final score is Milwaukee 104, Boston 102.

Along with the game winning tip, Giannis finished with 27 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Khris Middleton added 23 points and 6 rebounds. Jaylen Brown had 34 points and 8 rebounds for the Celtics, and Jayson Tatum added 21. Aron Baynes contributed 9 points and 11 rebounds.

The Celtics embarked on quite the comeback, but Giannis, and Malcolm Brogdon, were able to make enough big plays for the Bucks to fend off Boston. I will spend the rest of the day wishing that the C’s gave the ball to anyone other than Marcus Morris on the final play.

Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Four

3:39 – We’re welcomed to San Antonio by Mike Breen, which means after the Celtics loss, things have gotten worse from my point of view, as I have to spend the next couple of hours listening to him, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. Time for another beer.

3:41 – The Warriors win the opening tip, and we’re underway down in Texas. Golden State, of course, is looking for a sweep here this afternoon.

3:42 – Rudy Gay gets to the hoop for our opening basket, giving the Spurs a 2-0 lead to begin the game.

3:43 – JaVale McGee, of all people, hits a jumper, tying the game at two with the Warriors first points.

3:46 – LaMarcus Aldridge tries to finish a fast break with a layup, and it doesn’t go well. However, Danny Green is there to corral the rebound and dribble out to the corner to hit a three, and we have our first time out with an early score of San Antonio 10, Golden State 7 with 7:47 left in the first quarter.

3:57 – Another time out after the Warriors knock the ball out of bounds. The score’s San Antonio 19, Golden State 14 with 2:59 left in the first quarter. So far, the Spurs have been outworking the Warriors, and are winning battles for loose balls and rebounds, but eventually, the Warriors are going to wake up.

4:06 – The first quarter draws to a close with the score San Antonio 30, Golden State 22. LaMarcus Aldridge has eight to lead the Spurs, while Kevin Durant’s got eight for the Warriors. The Spurs are getting it done on defense so far, but the real test is coming later when the Warriors make their inevitable run.

4:10 – Draymond Green leads off the second quarter with a three, and the Warriors trail, 30-25.

4:13 – Draymond finds Shaun Livingston for a dunk, and we’ve got a time out with the score San Antonio 34, Golden State 27 with 9:29 left in the half and the Warriors hanging around in striking distance.

4:27 – DeJounte Murray knocks down a jumper, and he’s heating up, as are the Spurs, and the score’s San Antonio 50, Golden State 35 with 3:08 left until halftime.

4:36 – We’ve reached halftime with a score of San Antonio 56, Golden State 42. DeJounte Murray leads the Spurs with 11 points, providing a spark with 3 three-pointers, something he’s not known for doing. Rudy Gay and LaMarcus Aldridge have contributed ten points apiece. Kevin Durant has 12 points, and Draymond Green has 5 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists.

So far, the Spurs have maintained a great defensive presence, and with the added contributions from Murray, they’ve been able to build a good lead. Meanwhile, the Warriors are not playing like a team that can win their playoff series today.

4:55 – Klay Thompson scores the first points of the second half by burying a three to cut the Warriors deficit to 56-45.

4:56 – And we’ll have a time out after Kevin Durant pulls up and hits a jumper to make our score San Antonio 56, Golden State 47 with 10:01 left in the third quarter.

4:57 – News from tonight’s Game 3 between the Raptors and Wizards…

The Raptors will have to try to prevent the Wizards from tying the series without the services of one of their key bench players.

5:08 – LaMarcus Aldridge, left open after JaVale McGee leaves him to double team Rudy Gay, knocks down a three from the corner, and we’ve got a time out with a score of San Antonio 64, Golden State 52 with 5:47 left in the third as the Spurs have been able to maintain their double digit lead so far.

Meanwhile, on a previous play, a strange technical foul was called on David West who was on the bench as an offensive foul was called on JaVale McGee.

5:21 – After Kevin Durant hits a jumper, our score’s San Antonio 77, Golden State 71 as we head into the fourth quarter. LaMarcus Aldridge leads the Spurs with 17, while Durant’s up to 25 for the Warriors. Golden State hasn’t been playing their best, but they’re in great position to grab this game from the Spurs as we head down the stretch.

5:26 – Pau Gasol dumps the ball off to Rudy Gay for a dunk to lead off the fourth quarter, extending the Spurs lead to 79-71.

5:34 – Kevin Durant drains a jumper, and we have a time out as the Warriors keep inching closer. It’s San Antonio 88, Golden State 83 with 6:34 left in the ballgame.

5:39 – Kevin Durant nails a three pointer, and he’s got 32 points, and the Warriors have this down to a two point game, trailing 88-86.

5:40 – After Manu Ginobili hits two free throws the Spurs extend their lead to 90-86. If the Warriors complete their comeback and win the game, this could very possibly be Ginobili’s last game.

5:41 – With Draymond Green draped all over him, LaMarcus Aldridge spins and launches a three, and banks it home! The score’s San Antonio 93, Golden State 86 with 4:21 remaining.

5:50 – This time, it’s Manu Ginobili that has Draymon draped all over him, but he battles for a hook shot that goes in and sends us to a time out with the score San Antonio 100, Golden State 90 with 1:19 left in the game.

5:53 – Time runs out on this one with a final score of San Antonio 103, Golden State 90.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, and Manu Ginobili provided a real boost down the stretch, finishing with 16 points and 5 assists. Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 34 points and 13 rebounds, and Draymond Green filled up the stat line with 9 points, 18 rebounds and 9 assists.

It looked as though the Warriors were making their run to snatch the game away and end the series, but Ginobili went to work, using all the tools in his crafty veteran kit to save the day and send this series back to Oakland for Game 5.

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5:59 – Okay, time to head over to TNT, where we’re awaiting the end of what appears to be a game show hosted by Snoop Dogg. Someone just won $50,000 dollars as money falls from the ceiling and Snoop Dogg yells, “You go girl! Do your money dance!”

6:00 – Ernie Johnson starts building the narrative as the NBA on TNT begins. Coming up next, Game 4 between the Raptors and Wizards in DC. Washington will be looking to even the series, while Toronto looks to rebound from a disappointing loss in Game 3.

6:09 – Spero Dedes welcomes us to Washington for Game 4. He’s joined by none other than Mike Fratello.

6:11 – The Wizards win the opening tip, and we’re underway on Turner Network Television. On the Raptors first possession, Serge Ibaka gets a friendly bounce on a three, and Toronto scores first to go up 3-0.

6:12 – John Wall misses a jumper, but Marcin Gortat cleans up the mess and gets a bucket, putting the Wizards on the board, down 3-2.

6:17 – After a bucket from OG Anunoby, we have our first time out with the score Toronto 11, Washington 4 with 8:26 left in the first quarter.

6:25 – Jonas Valanciunas is called for a flagrant-1 after he fouls John Wall hard at the end of a fast break. To me, it looked like a good, hard, playoff foul.

Anyway, Wall splits the free throws, and the Wizards trail, 15-7.

6:29 – After Markieff Morris puts in a missed layup from John Wall, we have a time out with the Wizards on a 9-2 run to make the score Toronto 17, Washington 13 with 5:19 left in the first quarter.

6:43 – We’re here at the end of the first quarter with a score of Toronto 30, Washington 22. Each team has had good and bad moments so far, which is sort of just how both of these teams exist. Nothing would surprise me as we move forward. Bradley Beal’s nine points lead the Wizards, while DeMar DeRozan also has nine to lead the Raptors, but he’s done it while shooting 0-5 from the floor and 9-12 from the free throw line. As a team, Toronto’s already taken 16 free throws.

6:50 – After a slow start to the second quarter, John Wall finally explodes to the hoop and throws down a dunk for our first points of the quarter, nearly two and a half minutes into it. The Wizards trail, 30-24.

6:52 – Kyle Lowry gets a friendly bounce on a three pointer, and we’ll have a time out after five straight Raptors points makes the score now Toronto 35, Washington 24 with 8:52 left in the first half.

7:02 – We’ve got news for our next game between Cleveland and Indiana…

7:03 – We’ve got a time out after John Wall finds Marcin Gortat under the basket for an easy hoop, plus he’s fouled! Suddenly the Wizards are chipping away with the score Toronto 41, Washington 35 with 4:40 left in the first half.

7:11 – OG Anunoby is hurt and has to limp off to the bench after he fouls John Wall, who was coming at him for a layup. Anunoby was actually injured on the prior play, and was down at the other end of the court John Wall got a steal and zipped down the court towards the injured Raptor, who heads straight to the locker room.

7:16 – We’re here at halftime with a score of Toronto 51, Washington 40. John Wall has 12 points and 5 assists for the Wizards, and Bradley Beal’s right with him with 11. Unfortunately for them, they haven’t gotten much help beyond that. DeMar DeRozan leads the Raptors with 15.

And with that, it’s time for more playoff lasagna.

7:33 – Kyle Lowry leads off the second half by nailing a three, and the Raptors have their largest lead of the night at 54-40.

7:38 – Otto Porter knocks down a jumper, and that largest lead the Raptors had has all but disappeared as Porter has found his shot here in the third to make the score Toronto 58, Washington 56 with 8:38 left in the quarter.

7:43 – John Wall finds Marcin Gortat for a short shot, and we’re tied at 58. Kyle Lowry responds by fighting through the defense and getting a reverse layup, plus a foul! He hits his free throw, and he’s up to 15 points, and the Raptors have a 61-58 lead.

7:46 – DeMar DeRozan hits a pair of free throws, but Bradley Beal answers with a three. DeRozan comes back with a tough shot off the glass, and the Raptors lead is at 65-61.

7:47 – Bradley Beal finds Otto Porter for a dunk. He’s up to ten points in the quarter, and the Wizards are back to within two, trailing 65-63.

7:48 – Beal hits a three! It gives the Wizards their first lead of the evening, but it doesn’t last long as Jonas Valanciunas comes barreling through the paint and puts in a shot, plus a foul. He hits his free throw, and the Raptors have regained the lead at 68-66.

7:50 – A Serge Ibaka free throw extends the Raptors lead to 69-66. He was fouled by Bradley Beal, who heads to the bench with four fouls.

7:51 – John Wall keeps it close with another layup, and the Wizards trail, 69-68.

7:52 – Another Serge Ibaka free throw, and a DeMar DeRozan layup, plus a foul puts the Raptors ahead, 73-68.

7:54 – We’ve got a time out after a big Kelly Oubre dunk, followed by Oubre drawing an offensive foul makes our score Toronto 73, Washington 70 with 2;55 left in what’s been a lively third quarter.

7:58 – John Wall pulls up and hits a jumper, and it’s a one point game with the Wizards trailing, 73-72. CJ Miles responds with a layup to push that Raptors lead back up to three at 75-72.

7:59 – A Mike Scott floater cuts the Wizards deficit back down to one at 75-74.

8:00 – DeMar DeRozan rises up and buries a jumper to push the Raptors up to a 77-74 lead.

8:01 – John Wall splits a pair of free throws, and the Wizards trail, 77-75.

8:02 – DeRozan hits another jumper, plus he’s fouled by Mike Scott! Upon a review, it’s confirmed that DeRozan was shooting a three. He misses the free throw, however, and the Raptors lead, 80-75.

8:03 – Kelly Oubre drives in and banks a tough shot off the glass, and he’s fouled! He hits his free throw, and it’s a two point game again, with the Wizards behind, 80-78.

8:04 – The third quarter ends with Mike Scott knocking down a goofy runner, and we head into the final period with a score of Washington 80, Toronto 80. Bradley Beal has 23 points (and four fouls), and John Wall has 17 points and 11 assists. DeMar DeRozan has 29 for Toronto.

That was a pretty wild third quarter, as both teams caught fire, and we’re in a good dogfight going down the stretch.

8:09 – Jakob Poeltl misses an easy shot, but grabs his miss and puts it in, giving the Raptors the first points of the fourth, as well as an 82-80 lead.

8:10 – After an offensive rebound, Delon Wright finds Kyle Lowry with a nice pass for an open layup, and the Raptors have their lead up to 84-80.

8:11 – Kyle Lowry goes in for another layup, and the Raptors have the first six points of the fourth quarter, inspiring a Wizards time out with the score Toronto 86, Washington 80 with 10:01 left in the game.

8:17 – Bradley Beal commits his fifth foul. He remains in the game as we go under eight minutes remaining and the Wizards behind, 88-82.

8:20 – John Wall knocks down a jumper and we’ve got a time out as the Wizards are right back behind the Raptors with the score Toronto 90, Washington 88 with 6:47 left on the clock.

8:24 – Bradley Beal ties us up at 90 with a pair of free throws. Beal’s up to 31 points this evening.

8:25 – DeMar DeRozan knocks down a three! He’s got 32, and the Raptors have a brief lead, until Marcin Gortat throws down a dunk to maintain the tie at 92.

8:27 – As they battle for a rebound, Bradley Beal fouls DeMar DeRozan, and has now fouled out of the game. Beal is very upset, and once he gets to the bench, he has to be restrained by his teammates as he continues to voice his displeasure. Looked like a pretty crummy call to me. Beal finishes with 31 points and 5 rebounds.

8:28 – Here comes the always lame “REFS, YOU SUCK!” chant. The Wizards deserve to lose this game because their fans aren’t hearty enough to chant “BULLSHIT”

8:29 – Jakob Poeltl knocks down a jumper, and the Raptors retake the lead, 94-92.

8:30 – We’re going to have a time out after John Wall goes in for a layup that’s goaltended by Poeltl, and our score’s Washington 94, Toronto 94 with 3:50 remaining.

8:32 – John Wall lobs it up to Markieff Morris who coaxes it into the hoop to give the Wizards a 96-94 lead.

8:34 – Kelly Oubre goes 1-2 from the line, inching the Wizards lead up to 97-94. DeMar DeRozan follows it up with a bucket after an offensive rebound by Serge Ibaka, and the Raptors are down, 97-96.

8:35 – After Oubre finally gets control of a rebound, John Wall goes in for a layup, and the Wizards lead increases to 99-96.

8:36 – Jakob Poeltl commits a loose ball foul, and now he’s gone with six. It’ll send Otto Porter to the free throw line, where he misses the first attempt, and the Raptors will take a time out with the score still Washington 99, Toronto 96 with 1:33 remaining. Poeltl finishes with a solid 10 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.

8:39 – Porter hits the second free throw, and the Wizards lead is at 100-96.

8:44 – DeMar DeRozan hits two free throws to send us into a time out, but the score’s Washington 104, Toronto 98 with 16 seconds left. Things are going to get apoplectic up in Toronto over the next couple of days.

8:47 – John Wall hits two free throws, an we got another time out with the score Washington 106, Toronto 98 with 15.2 on the clock.

8:48 – Kelly Oubre steals the ensuing inbounds pass, and this one comes to an end with a final score of Washington 106, Toronto 98.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with those 31 points and 5 rebounds he had when he fouled out. John Wall added 27 points, 6 rebounds and 14 assists. DeMar DeRozan had 35 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists for the Raptors, and Serge Ibaka chipped in with 7 points and 10 rebounds.

These are the kind of losses that have plagued the Raptors throughout their playoff history. With Bradley Beal fouled out, Toronto still couldn’t fend off the Wizards, who believe that they are every bit as good as the Raptors are, and with the series now even after four games, they have actual reason to. Game 5 in what will surely be a nervous Toronto will be an interesting affair.

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8:49 – We’re immediately whisked away to Indiana for Game 4 between the Cavs and Pacers. Marv Albert and Chris Webber will narrate. The Pacers, looking to take a 3-1 series lead, have a 2-0 advantage early in this one.

8:51 – LeBron James gets ahead of the defense and gets a pass for an easy layup, and the Cavs are on the board, trailing 3-2.

8:56 – LeBron makes his way to the bucket for a layup, and we’ll have our first time out with the score Cleveland 11, Indiana 8 with 6:36 left in the opening quarter. This seems like a good time to feed the cat.

9:07 – Tristan Thompson, resurrected from whatever exile he’s been in this series, commits an offensive foul, and we’ll have a time out with the score Cleveland 21, Indiana 15 with 2:44 remaining in the first quarter. The Pacers seem to be overcome with a fair amount of nervous energy, and it’s affected their play thus far. Hopefully they can calm down before too long.

9:17 – JR Smith ends the first quarter with an insane shot from the three point line…on the other side of the court. It puts our score at Cleveland 30, Indiana 24. Victor Oladipo has seven points for the Pacers, while LeBron James leads the Cavs with 11.

9:24 – Two Larry Nance free throws give us the first points of the second quarter, pushing the Cavs lead up to 32-24.

9:28 – After Jeff Green ventures into the paint and banks in a one handed shot, we’ll have a time out with the score Cleveland 40, Indiana 28 with 8:53 to go in the first half.

9:36 – Myles Turner hits a three, and we’ll have a time out with the score Cleveland 49, Indiana 36 with 5:02 left in the second quarter. The Cavs are rolling pretty well right now, but the Pacers have come back from big deficits in the previous two games in this series. All they need to do is settle down.

9:50 – We’re here at halftime with a score of Cleveland 60, Indiana 50. Myles Turner’s 12 points lead the Pacers, and Victor Oladipo is right behind him with ten. LeBron leads the Cavs with 23, plus they got a big spark from Jordan Clarkson, who’s got 12 points on 5-5 shooting off the bench.

While the Cavs seem a little more locked in tonight, the Pacers have made big comebacks twice in this series. They’re more than capable of closing the gap over the next 24 minutes of action.

10:07 – Myles Turner kicks off the third quarter with a layup, and the Pacers trail, 60-52.

10:12 – After Myles Turner steals the ball away from LeBron, Bojan Bogdanovic gets a layup on the other end, and we have a time out with the score Cleveland 62, Indiana 60 with 8:51 left in the third quarter. So far, Indiana’s not messing around as we begin the second half.

10:17 – Kyle Korver puts in a pair of free throws, and the Cavs extend their lead to 64-60.

10:18 – Victor Oladipo finds Domantis Sabonis for a big dunk!

However, JR Smith answers with a three, and the Cavs lead, 67-62.

10:19 – Bojan Bogdanovic knocks down a three, and the Pacers remain close, down 67-65. Jose Calderon answers with a three, but Bogdanovic knocks another one down from the corner, and the Pacers deficit is 70-68.

10:20 – Kyle Korver hits a three from the corner, and it’ll lead to a time out with the score Cleveland 73, Indiana 68 with 5:44 left in the third quarter.

10:27 – Victor Oladipo turns on the jets and goes to the hoop, but he misses the layup. However, Domantis Sabonis is there to grab the miss and put it in, and we’ve got a time out with the score Cleveland 76, Indiana 72 with 3:23 left in the third.

10:32 – Thaddeus Young works his way to the bucket for a big dunk! We’ve tog a two point game again with the Pacers down, 80-78.

10:33 – The third quarter draws to a close with the score still Cleveland 80, Indiana 78. Myles Turner’s 17 leads the Pacers, and LeBron’s got 24 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists.

As they’ve done all series, the Pacers have fought their way back and given themselves a chance to win another game in this series.

10:37 – Lance Stephenson knocks down a jumper to give us the first points of the fourth quarter, and more importantly, tie us at 80. LeBron comes right back and puts in a shot from close range, and the Cavs go back ahead, 82-80.

10:38 – Domantis Sabonis hits a three! It gives the Pacers an 83-82 lead, their first since they held an early 3-2 advantage.

10:39 – Jeff Green puts in a driving hook shot, and the Cavs go up, 84-83.

10:41 – Trevor Booker hits a pair of free throws, and the lead returns to the Pacers, 85-84. Jeff Green answers with a three, and the Cavs regain the lead at 87-85.

10:42 – Domantis Sabonis spins in the paint for an easy bucket, and we’re tied back up, this time at 87.

10:44 – Two free throws from Rodney Hood give the Cavs an 89-87 lead. We’re quickly tied back up by a Domantis Sabonis bank shot. He has seven points here in the fourth, and 19 overall.

10:46 – Victor Oladipo can’t convert a layup, but Thaddeus Young comes in to tap in the miss! It’ll bring us into a time out with the score Indiana 91, Cleveland 89 with 6:12 remaining.

10:50 – Heading into the time out, LeBron gave his constant irritant, Lance Stephenson, a shove, and got called for a technical! Victor Oladipo hits the ensuing free throw, and the Pacers lead goes up to 92-89.

10:51 – LeBron comes back and banks in a shot, and the Cavs are down, 92-91.

10:53 – We’ve got a time out with the score still Indiana 92, Cleveland 91 with 4:38 left in the ballgame.

10:57 – Victor Oladipo splits a couple of free throws, and the Pacers lead is now 93-91.

10:58 – Kyle Korver cans a three from the corner, and the Cavs go back on top, 94-93.

10:59 – LeBron gets to the bucket for a layup, and he’s up to 30 points, and the Cavs are up to a 96-93 lead.

11:00 – Victor Oladipo knocks down a jumper, and it’s a one point game…until Kyle Korver hits another three, giving the Cavs a 99-95 lead.

11:02 – We’ve got a time out with the score Cleveland 101, Indiana 95 with 1:18 remaining. Unfortunately, the Pacers offense has gone off a cliff, with everyone trying to do everything themselves, leading to atrocious contested jumpers.

11:06 – Another time out, and the score remains Cleveland 101, Indiana 95 with just 23.6 seconds left. It looks like the Cavs are going to hang on and tie this series up.

11:08 – Thaddeus Young goes in for an uncontested dunk, and we’ll have a time out with the score now Cleveland 101, Indiana 97 with 15.2 seconds on the clock.

11:10 – After he’s fouled, Kyle Korver hits two free throws, and the score’s Cleveland 103, Indiana 97 with 14 seconds to go as the Pacers call their final time out.

11:12 – Jesus Christ, Victor Oladipo hits a crazy three pointer, and then Lance Stephenson ties up Jeff Green for a jump ball! As the two roll around on the ground fighting for the ball, Green throws a little extra shove into Stephenson, and the refs are looking it over. Our score’s Cleveland 103, Indiana 100 with nine seconds left.

11:16 – Lance Stephenson gets called for a foul during that scrum, and it puts Jeff Green at the line. That’s disappointing, I really wanted something completely unreasonable to happen. Instead, Green goes 1-2 from the line to put the Cavs ahead, 104-100, and that’s how this one will end.

Let’s try and make sense of all of this. Once again, our final score: Cleveland 104, Indiana 100.

Domantis Sabonis led the Pacers off the bench with 19 points and 6 rebounds and Thaddeus Young notched 12 points and 16 rebounds. Victor Oladipo had 17 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, but he shot a terrible 5-20 from the field.

LeBron had 32 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists for the Cavs, and Kevin Love chimed in with 5 points and 11 rebounds.

Cleveland almost let another one slip, but as LeBron said in his postgame interview, this time around, they didn’t “lose our composure”. In fact, if anyone lost their composure, it was the Pacers, who began the game with a nervous energy, which returned down the stretch, when they relied to heavily on ISO ball, which resulted in the chucking of a lot of lousy jumpers. Nevertheless, the series is still tied at two, and I’m sure we can expect more of them same in what should be an intense Game 5 in Cleveland.

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We made it through another eight game weekend, and the playoffs are in pretty good-ass shape. There’s only one sweep, and the Eastern Conference features three series tied at two, and another one that’s been endlessly entertaining. The series out West have been fun, too, and we’ve got a couple more Game 4s tomorrow night, so it’s time to rest up before we return to the high stakes of the NBA Playoffs.

 

NBA Playoffs – Day 3

Before we begin today, we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a time to acknowledge Philadelphia 76ers legend Hal Greer, who passed away at the age of 81. Greer was drafted back in 1958 by the old Syracuse Nationals, and stayed with them once they moved to Philadelphia to become the Sixers. He was a ten time all star, named to the All NBA 2nd team seven times, and a champion in 1967. He spent his entire career with the Nationals/Sixers franchise, finally retiring in 1973. To this day, he is the Sixers all time leader in points, games and minutes played, a true accomplishment when you consider the legends the Sixers have employed over the years. This evening, the Sixers will honor him before Game 2 of their series against the Heat.

Hal Greer is one of the finest players in NBA history, and though he doesn’t often get mentioned amongst some of his contemporaries like Russell, Wilt, Elgin, West and Oscar, he absolutely belongs alongside them in the annals of NBA mythology. We here at the Bonus wish him godspeed.

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And now onto tonight’s business. The aforementioned Sixers start off tonight’s action in Game 2 against the Miami Heat. The Sixers pulled away in the second half full a big blowout in Game 1. They remain without Joel Embiid this evening, but if they get another performance like they did the other night, they’re going to be just fine.

In the late game, Golden State hosts San Antonio in Game 2 of their series, which also saw a Game 1 blowout. Without Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs simply don’t have much of a shot to hang with the Warriors, even without Steph Curry. It was, by far, the most depressing Game 1 of the weekend, and this is an early favorite for the Most Depressing Series award. The Spurs have been on the giving end of that award many times, but now, they’re on the business end of it, and it is hard to watch. We’ll see if they can make things a little more competitive later tonight.

7:41 pm – Just waiting for Shrek to end on TNT.

7:42 – The Sixers are going with a change to their starting lineup tonight…

Ilyasova finished Game 1 with 17 points and 14 rebounds. With hm in the lineup to start the second half, the Sixers ran away with the game. They’ll be looking to do the same right off the bat this evening.

8:00 – Ernie Johnson welcomes us to tonight’s action, as usually he’s joined by Shaq, Kenny and Chuck.

8:02 – The gang starts off by reminiscing about Hal Greer. Ernie recalls watching him play as a little kid back in the day when the Sixers would visit Atlanta to play the Hawks. He remembered Greer would shoot his free throws as if he were shooting jumpers. Unfortunately, Greer played long before my time, but I’ve always heard him described as nothing else but a great player, and a true gentleman, something that Charles Barkley echoed here during the pregame show.

8:06 – Charles Barkley and Shaq would like to see more Hassan Whiteside for the Heat tonight. The Miami center only played 12 minutes in Game 1, and while he has a tough time guarding the Sixers perimeter players without Embiid in their lineup, Chuck counters that the Sixers don’t have a whole hell of a lot of people that can stop him either. Whiteside continues to be a polarizing player. Kenny cautions that, unlike Shaq did in his day, Whiteside won’t necessarily dominate against the smaller Sixer lineup.

8:10 – TNT just revealed footage of Shaq eating a chicken breast in like two bites.

8:13 – TNT shows us the moment of silence at the Wells Fargo Center for Hal Greer.

8:15 – And now we’re welcomed into the Wells Fargo Center down in Philadelphia by tonight’s narrators, Spero Dedes and the Czar himself, Mike Fratello. I am unfamiliar with this Spero Dedes character, but I’m sure he’ll do a fine job.

8:16 – The Heat win the opening tip, and we’re off and running in Philadelphia. James Johnson works his way to the hoop for the first points of the game, giving Miami a 2-0 lead. TNT score’s bug briefly credits the points to the Sixers.

8:17 – JJ Redick answers quickly by driving through the paint for a layup, tying us up at two.

8:21 – I believe that was a “WHITESIDE SUCKS” chant I just heard echoing through the Wells Fargo Center.

8:23 – Off to a good start so far, Goran Dragic is called for his second foul, and is taken out of the game with the Heat off to an 11-8 lead. He’s got six early points on 3-4 shooting after a quiet Game 1.

8:25 – We’ve got our first time out with a score of Philadelphia 13, Miami 11 with 5:19 left in the opening quarter. Dragic and James Johnson have scored all 11 points for Miami, while five different players have scored for Philadelphia.

8:31 – Now Hassan Whiteside, who continues to be useless, has committed his second foul and heads to the Miami bench. He hasn’t scored on 0-1 shooting, though, he has grabbed three rebounds.

8:33 – Marco Belinelli is fouled shooting a three, but before he goes to the line, we’ll have a time out with a score of Philadelphia 23, Miami 16 with 2:44 left in the first quarter. It is also time to feed the cat.

8:37 – An earlier three pointer from Ersan Ilyasova has been reviewed and called a two pointer, so make that score Philadelphia 22, Miami 16 as we return to action.

8:43 – Here at the end of the first quarter, our score’s Philadelphia 29, Miami 22. Once Goran Dragic left the game with his two fouls, the Heat began struggling. They just don’t seem to have enough answers to the questions the Sixers are posing. Once again, Marco Belinelli (9 points) and Ersan Ilyasova (8 points, 5 rebounds, 4-4 shooting) are wreaking havoc. Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade each have six points to lead the Heat.

8:49 – Dwyane Wade hits a turnaround to kick off the second quarter scoring, and cut the Heat’s deficit to 29-24. He’s got a quick eight points on 4-4 shooting, and his veteran experience could come in quite handy with Miami struggling so far.

8:54 – Wade hits another turnaround, and the Sixers have to take a time out with the score Miami 30, Philadelphia 29 with 8:31 left until halftime. Wade’s up to 12 points on 5-5 shooting, and with the Sixers not on fire from downtown like they were in Game 1, he’s been able to nudge the Heat ahead.

9:00 – Rollicking “WHITESIDE SUCKS” chant as Hassan shoots free throws. He hits them both, however, and the Heat lead, 34-31.

9:01 – Looks like we have a flagrant foul review as Ben Simmons extended his elbow into Justise Winslow on a drive. It’s called a common foul, and the review inspires a “REFS, YOU SUCK” chant from the Philly fans. Come on guys, I know you sons of bitches are better than that.

9:03 – Now we have a time out as Ersan Ilyasova is tended to on the bench. Looks like he was bleeding a bit. Anyway, it’s Miami 34, Philadelphia 31 with 6:53 left in the first half. So far, it’s been a much grittier affair than Game 1.

9:05 – Wow, Hassan Whiteside fouls Ben Simmons in the backcourt for his third foul of the evening. He has to go back to the bench, which is too bad for the Heat. He’s finally come out of his shell a little in this one, especially while on the floor with Dwyane Wade.

9:06 – A lineup change for our next game…

9:12 – JJ Redick knocks down a three to give the Sixers a shot of life. It’s been a miserable second quarter for them so far, and we’ve got a time out with a score of Miami 42, Philadelphia 36 with 4:19 to go until halftime. The Heat have really ramped up their defensive intensity, sacrificing a few fouls here and there for an increased physicality which has taken a toll on the Sixers.

9:24 – Here at halftime we have a score of Miami 56, Philadelphia 42. The Sixers are shooting just 33.3% from the floor and have been generally disheveled ever since the the Heat turned up the defense. Ben Simmons and Marco Belinelli each have nine points to lead Philadelphia. As for the Heat, Dwyane Wade has come off the bench to pour in 21 points on 8-9 shooting, and Goran Dragic’s got 11 on 5-6 shooting. However, the most important thing the Heat have done has been on the defensive end. They’ve even extended the pressure the full length of the court, sending Justise Winslow to body up against Ben Simmons along his own baseline. The Sixers are going to have to make some serious adjustments, otherwise, this one’s going back to Miami with the series tied.

9:29 – It’s time for tonight’s first episode of Today in NBA Playoff History, brought to you by the scientists over at Basketball-Reference.

Back in 1967, Wilt Chamberlain hauled in 38 rebounds, to go along with 10 points and 10 assists, in the Sixers 126-95 victory over the San Francisco Warriors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Hal Greer, whose memory has been honored today, nearly had a triple double himself, finishing with 30 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists. Billy Cunningham notched 28 points and 6 rebounds, and Luke Jackson chipped in with 6 points and 15 rebounds.

Rick Barry led the Warriors with 30 points and 10 rebounds, and Nate Thurmond pulled down 29 rebounds to go along with his seven points. Jim King chimed in with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists, but it wasn’t nearly enough to survive the Sixers onslaught.

The Sixers would go on to win the championship in six games.

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9:41 – Amir Johnson, starting the second half for the Sixers tonight, replacing Ersan Ilyasova, takes a pass from JJ Redick and goes through the paint for a dunk. It’s the first points of the half, and it cuts the Sixers deficit down to 56-44.

9:45 – Hassan Whiteside commits his fourth foul, and this time, it’s of the offensive variety. He goes back to the bench as the Sixers are starting to regain some momentum. If he’s getting into foul trouble tonight, what’s he going to do when Embiid gets back?

9:51 – James Johnson picks up a steal and gets it ahead to Josh Richardson who takes it the rest of the way for a layup. It’ll take us to a time out with a score of Miami 71, Philadelphia 59 with 5:46 left in the third quarter. The Sixers did make some inroads, getting the deficit down to single digits, but the Heat have responded well to build their lead back up to twelve.

10:00 – We’re going to have a time out with a score of Miami 77, Philadelphia 65 with 3:35 remaining in the third. While the Sixers have played much better than they did in the second quarter, the Heat have been able to maintain their lead thanks to their continued defense, and some solid shooting.

10:05 – Dwyane Wade hits a turnaround over Robert Covington and we’re going to have another time out, this time with the scoreboard reading Miami 81, Philadelphia 65 with 2:28 remaining in the third quarter. Wade’s shot sent Covington to the ground, and Wade took an extra moment to tower over him before heading back up the floor. Also, I am starting to feel silly about picking the Sixers to sweep the Heat.

10:12 – JJ Redick misses a three at the end of the quarter, but TJ McConnell goes up to try and tip it in, and he’s fouled, but did it happen before the buzzer went off? That’s what the refs are reviewing now.

10:13 – McConnell was indeed fouled before the quarter expired, so he’ll get two free throws with 00.4 seconds left on the clock. He knocks them both down, and we’ll head into the fourth with a score of Miami 86, Philadelphia 75.

Ben Simmons leads the Sixers with 17 points and 7 rebounds, but he also has four fouls. Dwyane Wade remains on fire, and is up to 23 points on 9-12 shooting off the Heat bench. We’ll see if the Sixers can make a comeback in the fourth.

10:17 – Wayne Ellington leads off the fourth with a three, extending the Heat’s lead to 89-75.

10:18 – Kelly Olynyk finds James Johnson for a big dunk, and the Sixers call a quick time out with the score now Miami 91, Philadelphia 75 with 11:04 left in the game. Things aren’t looking so great on the Philly comeback front.

10:25 – Dario Saric knocks down a three, and ever since I typed, “things aren’t looking so great on the Philly comeback front,” the Sixers have outscored the Heat, 10-2, making our score Miami 93, Philadelphia 85 with 8:58 remaining, and making things on the Philly comeback significantly more enthusiastic.

10:34 – Dario Saric is found all alone in the corner, and he drives baseline for a layup to make our score Miami 96, Philadelphia 92 with 5:47 on the clock in a very loud Wells Fargo Center.

10:39 – Dario Saric drives into the paint and misses a runner, but Ersan Ilyasova tips it in! The Sixers have the Heat lead all the way down to 98-96.

10:40 – Dwyane Wade comes up with a steal and gets a dunk on the other end, putting the Heat up, 100-96.

10:42 – After an offensive rebound from Wade, the ball finds its way to Goran Dragic, who nails a jumper, and the Heat have quickly scored six straight points to make our score Miami 104, Philadelphia 96 with 2:25 remaining.

10:46 – We’re going to have a time out after another ridiculous Marco Belinelli three misses, Robert Covington grabs the offensive rebound, but sends the pass right between JJ Redick’s leg and skittering the length of the court and out of bounds. The score’s Miami 104, Philadelphia 98 with 61 seconds remaining.

10:51 – After Goran Dragic lays the ball in during the final seconds, our final score is Miami 113, Philadelphia 103. I’m sure people will be all up in arms over the DISRESPECT of Dragic tacking on a couple of extra points to the final score.

Ben Simmons had another fine game for the Sixers, finishing with 24 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. Dario Saric added 23 points, 9 rebounds and 5 steals, and Ersan Ilyasova chipped in with 14 & 11. After their blistering performance from downtown in Game 1, which saw them shoot 18-28 from beyond the arc, Philadelphia was a disgusting 7-35 from long range here in Game 2.

The big story for the Heat was Dwyane Wade and his 28 points and 7 rebounds on 11-17 shooting off the bench. Goran Dragic added 20 as the Heat evened the series before it heads down to Miami. Just as important as Wade’s throwback performance was the Heat’s defensive intensity. They took it to another level on their way to building a big lead, and by the time the Sixers got their act together, it was just too late.

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10:52 – We’re immediately whisked to Golden State for Game 2 between the Warriors and Spurs. Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller will narrate the action for us. Harlan informs us that Draymond Green is already out of the game with two fouls. The Warriors have an early 5-4 lead.

10:56 – Andre Iguodala knocks down a three, his third of the game, and we have our first time out with a score of Golden State 15, San Antonio 8 with 7:21 left in the first quarter. If Iggy’s going to go ballistic from downtown, this one’s going to be over fast.

11:04 – After Iguodala misses what would have been a thunderous dunk, the Spurs get the ball down the court to Rudy Gay for a finger roll to take the lead, prompting a Warriors time out. The score’s San Antonio 18, Golden State 17 with 4:20 left in the first quarter.

11:15 – We’re at the end of the first quarter with the Spurs on a 14-6 run to make the score San Antonio 25, Golden State 23. Iguodala still leads the Warriors with nine points, and LaMarcus Aldridge has 11 to lead the Spurs, who are playing with much more energy and aggressiveness than we saw from them in Game 1.

11:19 – Tony Parker makes a long jumper to give the Spurs the first points of the second quarter. It’ll also lead to a quick time out with the score San Antonio 27, Golden State 23 with 11:08 to go in the half.

11:23 – Let’s take a look at Joel Embiid’s Instagram story this evening and OH DEAR…

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I guess he feels like he’s been ready to play.

11:26 – Reggie Miller was just saying something about the Kawhi Leonard situation but I wasn’t paying attention because Reggie’s opinion is about the last one I want to hear on any topic.

11:32 – Kevin Durant knocks down a jumper to send us in to a time out with 5:40 remaining until halftime and the score Golden State 35, San Antonio 35. It’s certainly been the sort of game the Spurs like to play, grinding and slow. However, the only advantage it’s gotten them so far is a tie game.

11:46 – After Patty Mills misses a three for the Spurs, the Warriors find Klay Thompson in the corner for a three, and we’ll have a time out with the score San Antonio 49, Golden State 45 with 55.9 seconds left in the first half.

11:50 – We’re here at halftime with a score of San Antonio 53, Golden State 47. Kevin Durant’s 17 leads the Warriors, and he’s been matched by 17 from LaMarcus Aldridge to lead the Spurs. Rudy Gay, inserted into the Spurs starting lineup this evening, has contributed ten.

San Antonio continues to control the pace, and they’re really playing their asses off. It’s been enough so far, but we’ll see if it can be sustained throughout the second half. Irregardless, it’s been an impressive performance so far.

11:55 – Time for another episode of Today in NBA Playoff History.

Back in 1964, the San Francisco Warriors advanced to the Finals with a 105-95 victory over the St. Louis Hawks in Game 7 of the Western Finals.

Wilt Chamberlain sprung for 39 points, 30 rebounds and 6 assists to lead the way. Guy Rodgers added 19 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists, and Nate Thurmond contributed 6 points and 10 rebounds. Bob Pettit led the Hawks with 24, Richie Guerin scored 23 and Cliff Hagan added 21, but nobody was going to overcome that ludicrous performance from Wilt.

The Warriors went on to fall in the Finals to the Boston Celtics.

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12:08 am – Kevin Durant lobs it to JaVale McGee for a dunk and the first points of the second half, cutting the Spurs lead to 53-49.

12:09 – Durant comes down the floor and pulls up for a three to make this a one point game with the Warriors trailing, 53-52. He’s up to 20 points on the night.

12:11 – Another lob to McGee, this time from Draymond Green gives the Warriors a 54-53 lead. Patty Mills answers with a three for the Spurs to put them back ahead, 56-54, but Klay Thompson comes right back with his own three, and the Warriors are back up, 57-56.

12:13 – Klay Thompson drives to the hoop for a lefty layup, and the Spurs call a time out with the score Golden State 59, San Antonio 56 with 8:05 left in the third quarter. The Warriors have come out of halftime with renewed vigor, forcing turnovers and grabbing the lead away from a Spurs team that had been controlling the flow of the game up until now.

12:17 – A Warriors fast break ends with a big dunk from JaVale McGee, and their lead goes up to 61-56.

Then, Rudy Gay grabs an offensive rebound and goes up for a dunk, keeping the Spurs close, down 61-58.

12:18 – Klay Thompson knocks down a three, pushing the Warriors lead up to 64-58.

12:22 – A pair of LaMarcus Aldridge free throws makes this a one possession game again, with the Spurs behind, 66-64.

12:23 – Aldridge takes it to the hoop, grabs his own miss and puts it up and in, plus a foul! He puts in the free throw, giving him 26 points, and with the Spurs on a 9-0 run, the Warriors take a time out. Our score’s San Antonio 67, Golden State 66 with 4:40 left in the third quarter.

12:28 – Draymond Green hits two free throws to put the Warriors back on top, 68-67.

12:29 – Kevin Durant knocks down a three, extending the Warriors lead to 71-67.

12:32 – After a steal, the Spurs get the ball down the court to Manu Ginobili who lays it in, and the Spurs refuse to go away, trailing 74-71.

12:33 – David West hits a pair of free throws to get the Warriors lead up to 76-71.

12:36 – We’re heading into the fourth quarter with a score of Golden State 80, San Antonio 75. Both Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge have scored 28, and it should be quite a battle heading down the stretch.

12:40 – Klay Thompson finds Draymond Green for an easy basket, Green’s first of the night, and it supplies the first points of the fourth quarter, and extends the Warriors lead to 82-75.

12:46 – Thompson’s on fire, and just hit yet another jumper to put him at 21 points, sending us into a time out with the score Golden State 88, San Antonio 77 with 10:24 remaining.

Editor’s Note: This is where I fell asleep. I woke up to find that the Warriors continued pulling away for a 116-101 victory. Kevin Durant finished with 32 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, and Klay Thompson had 31 points and 5 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge was valiant in defeat, ending the night with 34 points and 12 rebounds, and Patty Mills added 21. The Warriors now enjoy a 2-0 lead in the series.

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Do I feel bad about falling asleep? Yes, but, I have seen that movie time and again, so I feel like in the grand scheme of things, I didn’t miss anything. I was on my tenth basketball game in 72 hours, what can I say? Hopefully it doesn’t happen again tomorrow…