NBA Playoffs – Day 14

Sadly, we’re off TNT tonight and over on ESPN for a pair of Game 6s just as soon as the goddamn NFL Draft switches over to ESPN 2….WHERE IT BELONGS.

Our first game this evening is Game 6 between the Cavs and Pacers. Indiana has proven to be the toughest first round opponent LeBron’s ever faced, but after his buzzer beater the other night, the Pacers are on the ropes. The good news for them is they’re at home, which is where you want to be when you’re trying to force a Game 7. Just ask the Milwaukee Bucks.

Later tonight, it’s Game 6 between the Thunder and Jazz. In Game 5, OKC looked on their way out until Russell Westbrook led an epic comeback. The Jazz still have the series lead, however, and are looking to close it out at home.

Also happening tonight, Game 6 between the Raptors and Wizards. Otto Porter Jr is out for the Wizards, and will be for the rest of this series, while the Raptors have Fred Van Vleet back. They’re looking to finally close out this series and move on to the Semifinals. Since that one’s on NBA TV and ESPN News, we’ll have to monitor Twitter for dispatches. That one started at 7:00 and we should get some halftime reports soon.

8:01 pm – We’re welcomed to Indianapolis by, ugh, Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. I miss TNT already.

8:08 – Dispatches from Washington!

8:11 – The Pacers win the opening tip, and another exciting evening of playoff basketball is underway.

8:12 – Right off the bat, LeBron goes for a baseline layup, and he’s wrapped up by Bojan Bogdanovic, as Van Gundy and Jackson demand justice in the form of a flagrant foul. They don’t get it as it’s ruled a mere common foul. Anyway, LeBron hits the two free throws to score the first points of the game for the Cavs.

8:14 – Myles Turner hits a jumper, and the Pacers are on the board, down 5-2.

8:17 – After a crummy JR Smith pass leads to a turnover, Victor Oladipo flies down the court for a layup, and we have our first time out this evening with a score of Indiana 8, Cleveland 8 with 8:23 left in the first quarter.

I’m going to go ahead and say that the father should be booed for not doing a good enough parenting job to ensure that his lousy kid roots for the home team.

8:27 – Kevin Love hesitates, but then drains a three, and we’ll have another time out with the score Cleveland 22, Indiana 17 with 3:44 left in the opening quarter.

8:35 – Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson keep arguing about the refs and it is awful. Unfortunately, those two have brought their A-game tonight.

8:38 – We’re here at the end of a lively first quarter with the score Indiana 29, Cleveland 26. Victor Oladipo, who’s been struggling most of the series, and shot 2-15 in Game 5, is already up to 15 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals on 6-8 shooting. LeBron leads the Cavs with seven points. He and Lance Stephenson are already irritating each other, and it seems like we’re in for a good night.

8:41 – Rodney Hood starts off the second quarter with a jumper, closing the Cavs gap down to 29-28.

8:43 – Now Jeff Van Gundy’s stealing Shaq’s lines as he describes a Kevin Love hook shot in the post as “Barbecued Chicken”. How dare he.

8:49 – Domantis Sabonis hits a one handed shot in the paint, plus he’s fouled! Before he heads to the line, we’ll have a time out with the score Indiana 40, Cleveland 34 with 6:46 left in the first half.

8:53 – Dispatches from Washington!

9:00 – We’re going to have a time out as LeBron is on the ground under the hoop with a cut above his eye. He collided with Thaddeus Young and appears to have caught an elbow from him. In other news, our score’s Indiana 52, Cleveland 43 with 2:13 left until halftime.

9:03 – We’re back and LeBron’s got a bandage above his eye.

9:09 – Here at halftime, our score’s Indiana 57, Cleveland 47. Victor Oladipo’s up to 18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals on 7-9 shooting. Meanwhile, LeBron’s has 14, five assists and one bandage.

The Pacers have played well, and have a good hop in their step. They’ve made it this far, but they’ll have to keep up the intensity if they’re gonna fend off bandaged LeBron and force a Game 7.

9:13 – Time to feed the cat!

9:26 – Darren Collison bounces a pass to Myles Turner who continues in for a layup, and we’re back underway at the start of the third with the Pacers expanding their lead to 59-47.

9:27 – Victor Oladipo hits a three, and we’re going to have a time out with the score suddenly Indiana 62, Cleveland 47 with 10:40 left in the third. Oladipo’s 5-5 from downtown.

9:28 – Final dispatches from Washington!

It was a good series for the Raptors, who were able to face down some of their usual playoff demons. They’ll face either the Cavs or the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

9:32 – We’ve got a time out as Kevin Love is having a tough time after taking an elbow to the face. The score’s still Indiana 62, Cleveland 47 with 9:30 left in the third.

9:35 – We’re back, and Kevin Love remains on the bench. Tristan Thompson, who’s been mostly exiled to the end of the bench this series, comes into the game and immediately hits a hook shot.

9:37 – Sideline reporter Lisa Salters chimes in to tell us that Love is available to return to the ballgame.

9:41 – Bojan Bogdanovic nails a three from the corner, and the Cavs have to take their third time out of the quarter because the score’s now Indiana 74, Cleveland 54 with 5:50 left in the quarter.

9:46 – LeBron knocks down a three, and you know he’s not going down quietly as we head into another time out with the score Indiana 79, Cleveland 63 with 3:12 left in the third.

9:53 – After a dominating third quarter from the Pacers, our score’s Indiana 92, Cleveland 67. Victor Oladipo’s up to 28 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals, and as a team, the Pacers are shooting 55.4% overall and 52% from downtown. They’re riled up and playing with a lot of energy. On the other end of that spectrum, the Cavs don’t have a lot going for them, and they’re now down to just two time outs to last them the fourth. LeBron has 22 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists, but he’s received very little help from the supporting cast.

9:57 – Domantis Sabonis grabs an offensive rebound and gets a bucket out of it, and the Pacers lead is all the way up to 94-67. On the Cavs side, Kevin Love is back in the game, but LeBron’s on the bench, where he is likely to remain for the rest of the night.

10:03 – Jeff Green hits a three, and we’ll have a time out with the score now Indiana 103, Cleveland 74 with 7:34 left in the game. We’re in dangerous territory here. Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson are the last two people you want at the helm of a big blowout.

10:09 – I am definitely ready for this game to end so I no longer have to listen to Jeff Van Gundy sarcastically talking about triple-doubles. Since Mark Jackson has one of the Pacers playoff triple doubles…against Jeff Van Gundy’s old New York Knicks teams, it’s all they’re talking about. Send help.

10:11 – Van Gundy suggests cancelling the rest of the game and I am in agreement if only because it means his voice will no longer be coming out of my television.

10:13 – We have a time out as Victor Oladipo walks back to the bench, encouraging the crowd who obliges with an appreciative cheer. He’s got the triple double with a 28-13-10 and four steals. The score’s Indiana 110, Cleveland 81 with 4:09 remaining.

10:19 – Mike Breen, in a rare moment of providing insight, tells us that Sunday’s Game 7 will be the first time that LeBron will have faced elimination in the first round.

10:20 – We’ve got another time out with a score of Indiana 117, Cleveland 83 with 2:05 left on the clock. Almost there!

10:26 – The game comes to an end, and according to Mike Breen, it ends with the largest victory in Pacers playoff history. Our final score: Indiana 121, Cleveland 87.

Victor Oladipo exploded out of his slump for 28 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists and 4 steals on 11-19 shooting. LeBron finished with 22-5-7.

What a win for the Pacers. After falling behind 3-2 in the series, losing a couple of winnable games, it stood to reason that LeBron would take of business tonight, but that was far from the case. Through six games, the Cavs look like the vulnerable team, lucky to even be here, while the Pacers, who won Game 1 in Cleveland, have a great shot to keep LeBron from making out of the first round for the first time.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Indiana Pacers - Game Six

10:30 – Coming up next! Game 6 in what’s been an ornery series between the Thunder and the Jazz. In this one, it’ll be the Thunder trying to force a Game 7, but they’ll have to do it in hostile territory on the road.

10:38 – We’re sent out to Salt Lake City for Game 6 between the Thunder and the Jazz. Mark Jones and Hubie Brown, THE GOOD ESPN ANNOUNCERS, will narrate the action.

10:41 – The Thunder win the opening tip, and we’re underway.

10:42 – Donovan Mitchell leads off the scoring with a corner three, right after the struggling Carmelo Anthony missed everything on a crummy jumper. The Jazz lead, 3-0.

10:43 – Russell Westbrook finds Steven Adams for a dunk and OKC’s first points. They trail, 3-2.

10:47 – Russell Westbrook nails a three, and we have our first time out with the score Oklahoma City 13, Utah 11 with 6:30 left in what’s been a good first quarter, despite the fact that some ASS in the crowd keeps blowing a whistle and confusing the players.

10:56 – Jerami Grant knocks down an open three, and the Thunder are on a 12-0 run to make our score Oklahoma City 20, Utah 11 with 3:06 left in the first quarter. The Jazz have missed their last six shots.

11:01 – Whoa, Ricky Rubio has a hamstring injury and will miss the rest of the game. Bad news for the Jazz and fans of flashy passing alike.

11:05 – We’ve reached the end of the first quarter with a score of Oklahoma City 22, Utah 18. Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert have each scored four points to lead the Jazz, while Russell Westbrook’s seven leads the Thunder. Obviously, the big story thus far is Ricky Rubio going down for the night. He’s been such an important player for the Jazz, and their backup point guards don’t exactly inspire a ton of confidence. We’ll see if and how they hang in.

11:12 – Alec Burks gets into the paint and puts it in for our first points of the second quarter. It cuts the Jazz deficit to 22-20 as neither team seem able to put points on the board at the moment.

11:15 – A mysterious technical foul is called on Rudy Gobert. Russell Westbrook misses the free throw, however.

11:16 – After a Jazz turnover, we’ll have a time out with the score Utah 23, Oklahoma City 22 with 8:17 left in the first half. The Thunder have yet to score as we approach four minutes into the second quarter, while Alec Burks has been the only Jazzman to put any points on the board since the quarter began.

On the plus side, at least we had a block wedgie, courtesy of Alex Abrines!

11:23 – We’re in the midst of lengthy review after Paul George runs over Jae Crowder. Initially, a foul was called on Crowder, but we’ll see what the refs come up with after their conference.

11:24 – It ends up just being a common-ass foul on Crowder. Everybody carry on.

11:30 – Paul George gets a steal, and then flings it up the court to Russell Westbrook for a big jam, followed by a big roar from Westbrook. It takes us into a time out with the score Oklahoma City 35, Utah 26 with 4:02 left until halftime.

11:39 – Joe Ingles knocks down a three from the corner, plus Steven Adams bowls over Rudy Gobert for a foul, the third on Adams. It’ll send Gobert to the line for a potential four point play, but first we’ll have a time out as the Jazz continue to hang around with a score of Oklahoma City 39, Utah 36 with 1:15 to in the second quarter.

11:43 – We have another review as Jae Crowder swipes at the ball, but ends up slapping Paul George in the face instead. That’s three fouls on Crowder now, but it’ll be just a common foul.

11:45 – The first half draws to a close with the scoreboard reading Utah 41, Oklahoma City 41. Ten points from Donovan Mitchell leads the Jazz, while Russell Westbrook has 15 for the Thunder.

The Jazz battled back after a stagnant start to the game, and we’re even here at halftime. The Thunder may live to regret allowing Utah to chip away at the decent lead they built over the course of the quarter.

Also, we had another block wedgie, this time courtesy of Donovan Mitchell.

12:00 am – Here is something that happened as the Thunder returned to the locker room for halftime…

12:01 – Donovan Mitchell leads off the second half with a layup, and the Jazz take a 43-41 lead. In other news, Royce O’Neale is out there for Utah to replace Ricky Rubio.

12:02 – Mitchell knocks down a three, and the Jazz lead goes up to 46-41.

On the other end, the much maligned Carmelo Anthony hits a turnaround, and the Thunder trail, 46-43.

12:03 – The Jazz lose the ball, but Donovan Mitchell gets it right back and goes in for a nifty layup. Russell Westbrook answers with a three, and the Jazz lead, 48-46.

12:04 – Mitchell knocks down a three! He has ten quick points in the quarter. On the other end of the court, Steven Adams has to go to the ground for a lose ball, secure it, and call a time out with the score Utah 51, Oklahoma City 46 with 9:20 left in an already interesting third quarter.

12:12 – After Derrick Favors misses a free throw, Jae Crowder sneaks in for the offensive rebound, and eventually the ball finds its way to Mitchell for yet another three! We’ve got a time out with the score Utah 62, Oklahoma City 52 with 6:32 left in a third quarter that’s been taken over by Donovan Mitchell.

12:15 – Check it out, Donovan Mitchell is the first rookie to score 20+ points in each of his first six playoff games since none other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1970!

12:29 – After a scintillating third quarter, our score’s Utah 79, Oklahoma City 70. Mitchell dropped 22 in the quarter and is up to 32 on the evening. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook has 35, but Paul George has just five on 2-11 shooting, and Carmelo Anthony has only managed seven points. Nevertheless, the Thunder are fully capable of erasing a nine point deficit as we head down the stretch out in Salt Lake City.

12:35 – Russell Westbrook knocks down a three to score the first points of the fourth, and he’s up to 38 points, and the Thunder have their deficit down to 78-73.

12:36 – Oh dear, Donovan Mitchell commits his fifth foul. He heads to the bench with a long 10:01 left in the ballgame.

12:41 – In between a pair of Rudy Gobert free throws, we’ll have a time out with the score Utah 85, Oklahoma City 73 with 7:04 remaining. The Jazz have been able to extend their lead even with Mitchell on the bench with his five fouls.

12:47 – Jerami Grant hits a three in the corner, and this one’s nowhere near finished with the scoreboard reading Utah 86, Oklahoma City 78 with 5:55 left in the game.

12:55 – Raymond Felton hits a three from the corner, and the Thunder continue to inch closer. In the meantime, we’ll have another time out with the score Utah 90, Oklahoma 86 with 3:06 left on the clock.

12:57 – Russell Westbrook finds Steven Adams for a layup, but Donovan Mitchell comes back with a scoop shot, and the Jazz are hanging onto their four point lead at 92-88.

12:59 – Westbrook knocks down a three! It’s a one point game with the Thunder behind, 92-91.

1:00 – Derrick Favors knocks down a jumper, and the Jazz go up, 94-91.

1:02 – After three offensive rebounds, and a couple of missed threes, the Thunder take a time out before their luck runs out. The score’s still Utah 94, Oklahoma 91 with only 37.9 seconds on the clock.

1:04 – After two more goddamn offensive rebounds, the ball finally goes careening out of bounds, and we’re going to have a review to see who sent it out with just 24.7 seconds left.

1:06 – It’s going to be Thunder ball, but first, we’ll have a time out with the score still stuck at Utah 94, Oklahoma City 91 with those 24.7 seconds remaining. OKC is now out of time outs, while the Jazz still have two.

1:08 – Paul George tries to draw a foul and shoot a three, and it does not go his way and he air balls the three. Then, the Thunder wait all the way until there’s 6.9 seconds remaining to foul and stop the clock. When they finally do, it’s Donovan Mitchell they send to the line.

1:09 – Mitchell hits his free throws, and Paul George misses another three, and that’s how this series will end! Our final score: Utah 96, Oklahoma City 91.

Donovan Mitchell ended the night with 38 points on 14-26 shooting, including a classic third quarter performance that will live on in Utah Jazz lore. Rudy Gobert added 12 points and 13 rebounds.

For the Thunder, Russell Westbrook went down with 46 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists on 18-43 shooting. Steven Adams came through with 19 points and 15 rebounds. OKC got no help from their other two superstars. Carmelo Anthony submitted seven points on 3-7 shooting in just 26 minutes. Even worse, Paul George, who gave himself the nickname, “Playoff P” earlier in the series, threw up all over himself for five points on 2-16 shooting. Let this be a lesson to anybody who decides to give themselves their own nickname.

On the way back to the locker room, this happened…

With the win, the Jazz advance to take on the top team in the West, the Houston Rockets, in the semifinals. They’re sure to put up a worthy fight against this season’s best team. Hopefully for them, and all of us, Ricky Rubio will be good to go when that series gets started on Sunday.

For the Thunder, a strange season comes to an end with plenty of uncertainty. Paul George enters the offseason as one of the most coveted free agents around the league, with Los Angeles looming as a potential destination. Tonight also gave plenty of fodder to those who feel that Russell Westbrook is someone who cannot be the best player on a successful team. His worst habits surfaced once again, but he’s who the Thunder have, and they’ll have to continue to try and build around him moving forward.

jazz.jpg

Tomorrow, the Semifinals finally get underway, with the Warriors hosting the Pelicans. Before that, we’ll have our first of two Game 7s of the weekend, and it’ll involve my favorite team, the Boston Celtics. It’s sure to be another memorable night, so rest up, and keep me in your thoughts.

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NBA Playoffs – Day 12

7:03 – Whew! Made it home just in time for tonight’s ridiculous slate of games. We’ve got four, count ’em, four games on tonight, all happening at the same time. On TNT, we’ll start off with Game 5 between the Cavs and Pacers, followed up by Game 5 between the Rockets and Timberwolves. The other pair of Game 5s are on NBA TV, so I cannot watch them, which is too bad, because they’ve got Raptors vs Wizards (tied at two), and Thunder vs Jazz, with Utah looking to put an end to the series. If I had my way, which I so rarely do, TNT would have that Thunder/Jazz game.

I can’t complain too much, as Cavs/Pacers have been one of the more exciting series here in the first round, and given the choice, I always err on the side of avoiding the Wizards. That being said, I’ll be monitoring Twitter for dispatches from those NBA TV games.

7:12 – We’re welcomed to the Quicken Loans Arena by tonight’s narrators, Ian Eagle and Brent Barry. Of course, this series is tied at two, though both teams can argue that they should/could have a 3-1 series lead. The Pacers are clearly not afraid of LeBron and the Cavs, and I’m frankly just happy that a first round series involving James has provided us some excitement and intrigue, in contrast to his usual sweep through the first round.

7:14 – The Pacers control the opening tip, and this pivotal Game 5 is underway.

7:15 – LeBron James drives along the baseline for a layup to give the Cavs the first points of the game, and a 2-0 lead. On the other end, after a Thaddeus Young offensive rebound, Bojan Bogdanovic hits a jumper to tie us at two.

7:22 – LeBron draws a foul and he’ll have a couple of free throws, but first, we’ll have a time out with the score Indiana 13, Cleveland 7 with 6:44 left in the first quarter. The Cavs are shooting just 2-10 to start the game.

7:29 – After JR Smith steals a crummy pass from Myles Turner, he passes to LeBron for a layup, and we’ll have a time out with the score Indiana 15, Cleveland 13 with 4:36 left in the opening quarter.

7:33 – Dispatches from Toronto!

7:41 – We’re here at the end of the first quarter with a score of Indiana 25, Cleveland 23. The Pacers had their lead up to ten, but the Cavs closed out the quarter on an 8-0 run to make this a two point game.

LeBron James is already all the way up to 14 points on 6-7 shooting, the only Cavalier to have hit more than one shot in the opening quarter. Victor Oladipo has six to lead the Pacers.

7:45 – A Rodney Hood floater ties us up at 25 with the first points of the second quarter, and the Cavs are now on a 10-0 run.

7:52 – After a steal, Lance Stephenson goes in for a crafty layup, and it’ll take us to a time out with the score Indiana 39, Cleveland 36 with 7:03 left in the first half.

8:04 – LeBron gets his way to the basket for a dunk, and we’ll have a time out with the score Indiana 52, Cleveland 47 with 2:37 left until halftime. The Pacers are ahead thanks in big part to a 4-6 mark from downtown.

8:05 – Dispatches from Toronto!

8:12 – We’re here at halftime with a score of Indiana 56, Cleveland 49. LeBron James has 20 on 9-11 shooting to lead the Cavs, and Domantis Sabonis has come off the bench to score 12 for the Pacers.

Indiana’s shooting 56.8% from the floor, and if it wasn’t for LeBron James, they’d have a much bigger lead. Will they be able to keep it up in the second half to send this series back home up 3-2?

8:14 – Time to feed the cat! It’s apparently her birthday today, so, happy birthday, Mia.

8:30 – The second half begins with two free throws from LeBron James, to cut the Cavs deficit to 56-51.

8:31 – Jose Calderon knocks down a three from the corner, and it’s a two point game with the Cavs behind, 56-54.

8:34 – LeBron gets a steal, and gets the hoop on the other end, and we’ve got a time out as the Cavs have come out of halftime on a 7-0 run to make the score Cleveland 56, Indiana 56 with 8:51 left in the third quarter. Let’s see how the Pacers respond…

8:38 – LeBron takes it to the hoop once again to give the Cavs a 58-56 lead.

8:39 – Myles Turner flies in for a layup, plus a foul! He hits the free throw, and the Pacers retake the lead at 59-58. However, Kyle Korver comes right back with a three, and the Cavs go back ahead, 61-59.

8:41 – Two more free throws from LeBron James extends the Cavs lead up to 63-59.

8:43 – LeBron barrels through the paint for a layup, plus a foul. He hits his free throw, and we’ll have a time out with the score Cleveland 66, Indiana 59 with 6:26 left in the third. It’s been an unfortunate stretch for the Pacers, and they’ve started turning the ball over at an alarming rate.

8:50 – Dispatches from Toronto!

8:55 – Back at the Quicken Loans Arena, we have a time out in between a pair of Domantis Sabonis free throws. The score’s Cleveland 73, Indiana 65 with 4:09 left in the third quarter. Despite the Cavs onslaught, the Pacers remain in shouting distance for the time being.

9:06 – Lance Stephenson beats the third quarter buzzer with a three! Even though the Pacers suffered from a usually deadly deficit of cold shooting and turnovers, they’re still in the game with the score Cleveland 81, Indiana 73 as we head down the stretch with LeBron up to 35 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists for the Cavs, while Domantis Sabonis has 14 off the bench to lead the Pacers.

9:10 – A Jeff Green three supplies the first points of the fourth quarter, pushing the Cavs lead up to 84-73.

9:14 – Domantis Sabonis backs his way towards the hoop and banks in a shot over Jeff Green. A time out is called with the score Cleveland 88, Indiana 82 with 7:57 remaining. So far, the Pacers have looked a lot better here in the fourth, however, they’ve been doing it with LeBron resting on the Cavalier bench.

9:27 – Final dispatches from Toronto!

Meanwhile, back at the Quicken Loans Arena, two LeBron free throws send us into a time out with the score Cleveland 95, Indiana 89 with 4:38 remaining. The Pacers have come close to making this one a one possession game, but their shooting’s still just cold enough to keep them from overtaking the Cavs. By the way, LeBron’s free throws has him up to 41 points, and he’s a perfect 15-15 from the line.

9:33 – We’ve got a time out with the score still Cleveland 95, Indiana 89 with 3:33 left in the game. Unfortunately, the Pacers have suffered back to back turnovers on their previous two possessions, a sequence indicative of their struggles throughout the second half.

9:34 – Game 5 between the Thunder and the Jazz is underway, unfortunately on NBA TV. The Jazz are trying to close out that series on the road, and I would so much rather watch that one than our next TNT game between the Rockets and Timberwolves.

9:35 – Bojan Bogdanovic misses a three, but tracks down his own offensive rebound, and dumps a pass off to Thaddeus Young who puts in a layup, and the Pacers have finally gotten to within one possession, trailing 95-93.

9:38 – Domantis Sabonis hits a little shot from the free throw line, and holy shit, this game is tied. The Cavs take a time out with the score Cleveland 95, Indiana 95 with 33.6 seconds to go.

9:39 – LeBron loses the ball out of bounds! The Pacers take a time out and will have the ball when we return with the score still tied at 95 with 26.3 seconds left. James just lost control of his dribble along the baseline.

9:42 – Victor Oladipo drives to the hoop….and he’s blocked by LeBron! As we go to a time out, we see the ball hitting the backboard before the block, meaning it should have been called a goaltend. Instead, the Cavs have the ball with three seconds left, and they take a time out.

9:43 – LeBron James knocks down a three at the buzzer! Our final score Cleveland 98, Indiana 95. That missed goaltend call…damn.

Obviously, that one’s going to sting the Pacers for a long time, but let the record show that they had many, many opportunities to get back into this game throughout the fourth quarter, but they just couldn’t make enough shots, and they turned the ball over much to often throughout the second half. That being said, that’s a soul crushing defeat for a team that proved themselves a worthy opponent, and despite their flawed performance tonight, still had a chance to steal the game.

As for the Cavs, they were rescued by LeBron, who has just about done it himself all series long. Like him or not, he is one of the greats, and his performance tonight is just the latest entry in his legendary career.

As the dust settles, LeBron finishes the night with 44 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists on 14-24 shooting as well as a 15-15 mark from the free throw line. Kevin Love added 11 points and 10 rebounds, but shot 2-11 from the floor, and JR Smith was even worse with an 0-8 performance. Once again, LeBron is really doing this all by himself.

For the noble, but unfortunate Pacers, Domantis Sabonis came off the bench for 22 points and 5 rebounds. Victor Oladipo added 12 points and 12 rebounds, but he shot a disgusting 2-15 from the field.

This one is going to haunt the Pacers for awhile, especially if they fall in Game 6. Nevertheless, they continue to be unintimidated, and despite all of their struggles in the second half, they gave themselves a chance to grab a win. That being said, they also coughed up their halftime lead and it took them much too long to recover. They head back home for Game 6 facing elimination.

Indiana Pacers v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Five

9:49 – We’re sent down to Houston for Game 5 between the Rockets and Timberwolves. Houston is looking to put an end to this series after running away with a big win in Game 4. Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller will narrate the action for us.

9:51 – The Timberwolves win the opening tip, and we’re underway down in Houston.

9:53 – Karl-Anthony Towns spins and lays one in for the first bucket of the ballgame, giving the Timberwolves an early 2-0 lead. Trevor Ariza answers on the other end by beating the shot clock with a corner three to put the Rockets ahead, 3-2.

9:54 – News from beyond the playoffs!

It would be cool to see him at the helm of the Milwaukee Bucks. A successful coach like him might be able to guide their talented roster over the hump.

9:58 – Jeff Teague knocks down a three, and this one’s off to a good start as we head into our first time out with the score Minnesota 12, Houston 10 with 6:32 remaining in the opening quarter.

10:03 – Dispatches from Oklahoma City!

10:04 – A Clint Capela dunk sends us into another time out with the score Houston 16, Minnesota 14 with 4:25 left in the first quarter. There are way too many things happening at once in the NBA tonight.

10:14 – With Andrew Wiggins at the line, Kevin Harlan points out that his father, Mitchell, played for the Rockets back in the day. “In this building!” exclaims Reggie Miller. WRONG. Everyone knows the Rockets played at The Summit back when Mitchell Wiggins played, and did so up until the early 2000s. Come on, Reggie.

Houston Summit-L.jpg
Mitchell Wiggins driving to work at The Summit during his playing days with the Rockets.

10:16 – We’re here at the end of the first quarter with a score of Minnesota 26, Houston 25.

I have to say, I was disappointed about this being the late TNT game, but it’s been a good one so far. As always, the lesson here is that one should never bitch and moan about playoff basketball. It’s all awesome in one way or another. Anyway, Trevor Ariza and Clint Capela lead the Rockets with eight points apiece, and Taj Gibson’s eight leads the Timberwolves. A point of concern for Houston: James Harden and Chris Paul are a combined 1-7 from the field thus far.

10:20 – An Eric Gordon three turns out to be the first points of the second quarter, and it puts the Rockets ahead, 28-26.

10:23 – With Derrick Rose at the free throw line, Kevin Harlan says, “Reggie, comma, Rose…” in reference to his antics in Game 4. Harlan is one of the good ones. Reggie, on the other hand…

10:28 – After a James Harden turnover, we’ll have a time out with the score Minnesota 44, Houston 37 with 6:49 left in the first half. The Wolves are shooting 53.3% from the floor, including 5-8 from downtown. A big run from the Rockets seems inevitable, but as long as they continue to struggle shooting (5-18 on threes), let’s see if the Wolves can maintain, or even build upon, their lead.

10:36 – Trevor Ariza nails a three from the corner, and the Rockets have closed the gap to make the score Minnesota 51, Houston 47 with 3:46 left in the first half.

10:37 – Dispatches from Oklahoma City!

Oh dear.

10:48 – Back at The Summit The Toyota Center, we’ve reached halftime with a score of Minnesota 59, Houston 55.

Trevor Ariza and Clint Capela each have 13 points to lead the Rockets, and Capela’s hauled in eight rebounds as well. Eric Gordon’s come off the bench to put in 12 points. Jeff Teague has 14 points and 5 assists to lead the Wolves, and he’s doing it with a bandage on the dislocated pinky finger on his shooting hand that he suffered in Game 4. Karl-Anthony Towns added 13 points and 11 boards.

Chris Paul (1-7) and James Harden (2-9) continue to struggle from the floor, and with those two putting up those yucky numbers, the Timberwolves have to be wishing their lead was a lot larger than four. Will they be flushed down the toilet by another Rockets third quarter onslaught, or will the Rockets struggles continue just enough for the Wolves to eke out a win to extend the series?

10:59 – We take a live look at the proceedings down in Oklahoma City, and the Jazz have got their lead all the way up to 71-46 as a disgusted Charles Barkley rails against the Thunder. I am no longer angry about not being able to see this game.

11:04 – Back in Houston, Chris Paul banks in a close range shot, and the Rockets strike first in the third, to cut their deficit to 59-57.

11:05 – Karl-Anthony Towns easily puts the ball in against a smaller defender, and the Timberwolves are back up by four, at 61-57.

11:06 – James Harden nails a three, and the Rockets deficit is down to one at 61-60.

11:07 – PJ Tucker hits a three from the corner, and the Rockets take a 63-61 lead. This is already reminiscent of Game 4’s third quarter, in which the Rockets dropped 50 points.

11:08 – We have a time out after Chris Paul pulls up and hits a jumper to make the score Houston 65, Minnesota 61 with 9:17 left in the third.

11:12 – A pair of Karl-Anthony Towns free throws keeps the Timberwolves close, at least for now. They’re down, 65-63.

11:13 – Jeff Teague splits a pair of free throws, and now they’re down one, at 65-64.

11:15 – Taj Gibson bullies his way into the paint for a bucket, and the Timberwolves briefly retake the lead…

…but James Harden nails a three on the other end, and the Rockets hold a 68-66 advantage.

11:16 – James Harden ventures through the paint and throws down a big dunk, and the Rockets have matched their biggest lead of the night with a score of Houston 70, Minnesota 66 as we head into a time out with 6:30 left in the third quarter.

11:26 – Dispatches from Oklahoma City, where the situation has changed dramatically.

I am once again angry about not being able to see that game.

11:29 – Back in Houston, we have a ruckus! Jamal Crawford sends Chris Paul to the floor, and Paul grins back at Crawford from the floor as Jamal stood over him, and the two then got into each other’s faces a little. Beyond that, nothing noteworthy happened.

11:31 – Jamal Crawford is given a technical foul after all is said and done. James Harden hits the free throw to put the Rockets ahead, 85-70.

11:34 – Here at the end of the third quarter, our score’s Houston 85, Minnesota 74. It wasn’t quite Game 4’s third quarter, but the Rockets still managed to outscore the Wolves, 30-15 in tonight’s third. James Harden’s up to 20 points, 15 have come after halftime. Karl-Anthony Towns has 19 points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota.

11:38 – Eric Gordon leads off the fourth quarter with a transition layup, and he has 14 points, and the Rockets have the first points of the fourth to extend their lead to 87-74.

11:40 – Chris Paul gets into the paint for a little floater, and we’ve got a time out with the score Houston 92, Minnesota 76 with 9:37 left. I think I see the Timberwolves band starting to warmup…

11:49 – We’ll have a time out with the score Houston 98, Minnesota 82 with 6:33 left in the game. The Timberwolves band is now playing lively ragtime music in an attempt to keep everybody calm.

11:57 – Andrew Wiggins knocks down a three, but there’s not much time left for the Timberwolves with the score Houston 108, Minnesota 94 with 3:57 left in the game.

11:59 – After another live look in at the Thunder/Jazz game, in which OKC now has a 107-99 lead in the final minute, even Kevin Harlan seems forlorn that he got stuck with this game instead.

12:00 am – Final dispatches from an epic scene in Oklahoma City!

12:03 – As we go under a minute left, the Timberwolves band starts to play “Nearer My God To Thee”.

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12:06 – This one comes to a close with a final score of Houston 122, Minnesota 104.

Clint Capela capped off his excellent series with 26 points and 15 rebounds. James Harden shook off a poor start to finish with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 12 assists.

Karl-Anthony Towns, who improved as the series rolled along, finishes his first trip to the playoffs with 23 points and 14 rebounds, while Jamal Crawford dipped into the archives to submit a 20 point performance on 8-10 shooting off the bench. Jimmy Butler had just 8 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, and was nowhere to be seen throughout the fourth quarter, the entirety of which he spent on the bench.

The Rockets did what they were supposed to do: take care of business against the 8-seed. While the Timberwolves were able to hang in there for stretches, they’re just not ready to go toe to toe with a team like the Rockets yet. Houston now awaits the winner of the ridiculous Thunder/Jazz series, which got extended tonight after OKC’s epic comeback victory.

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It was pretty wild tonight with four games crammed into the schedule. Tomorrow night features just one game: Game 6 between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks. That one starts at 8:00, so there should be no obstacles as far as me getting home in time for the tip off. Nothing is stopping The Bonus as the playoffs continue on.

 

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.