NBA Playoffs Day 19: Game 2 Blowouts

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…

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.

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.

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.

8:40 – Back from the timeout, Lowry knocks down his third free throw, and he’s up to 20 points, but the Raptors are down, 72-57.

8:43 – And with another three, LeBron is now in sole possession of second place on the NBA’s all time Playoff scoring list.

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.

Kyrie’s only shooting 4-15, but DeMar DeRozan’s at a lousy 0-8 from the field.

8:51 – DeRozan’s now 0-9 after missing a runner, but Serge Ibaka cleans up the mess with an offensive rebound and gets a bucket. Toronto’s down, 85-67.

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.

9:03 – Not that it was in question, but, Kyle Lowry’s officially done for the night.

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.

9:07 – DeMar DeRozan kicks off the fourth quarter by making his first shot! Unfortunately, it’s still worth just two points, and the Raptors are down, 99-75.

9:12 – Another Raptors turnover as DeMarre Carroll steps out of bounds, and it’ll take us to another timeout with the score Cleveland 107, Toronto 79 with 8:53 remaining.

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.

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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.

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…

9:55 – Back from the timeout, James Harden is still on the floor for the Rockets, but we’ll keep an eye on him.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

11:55 – Another timeout with the score San Antonio 114, Houston 88 with 3:57 left in the ball game. At this point, we’re all holding our breaths, waiting for news on Tony Parker.

11:59 – Allie LaForce, our intrepid sideline reporter, tells us that the Spurs say that Tony Parker has a “left leg injury”, and that he will go in for an MRI tomorrow. Eek.

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.

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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.

NBA Playoffs Day 17: Game 1 Blowouts

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.

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?

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.

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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.

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.

Hilarious.

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.

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Now THAT’s an All Star jersey!

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.

10:01 – What is this…

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.

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.

10:19 – Hey, check this out…

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.

10:26 – Back from the timeout, Ginobili knocks down the free throw to complete the four point play. They’re down, 58-35.

10:28 – We’re here at another timeout after Tony Parker turns the ball over. The score’s Houston 60, San Antonio 35 with 3:29 left until halftime.

10:35 – This is disappointing. -10 points, LeBron.

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.

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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.

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…

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.

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.

11:55 – Legendary NBA superfan Jimmy Goldstein is sticking this one out to the bitter end…

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.

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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.

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.

NBA Playoffs Day 4: Celtspacolypse Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8:13 – Meanwhile, up in Toronto…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8:59 – Heading into the fourth in Toronto…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12:41- Look who’s at the game…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ugh, I need a drink…