Archive for the ‘ NBA Playoffs Blog ’ Category

Blazers vs Warriors game 2 recap

Still playing without Stephen Curry, the Warriors exploded in the 4th quarter and shut the Blazers down for a comeback win, giving them a 2-0 lead in their first round playoff series. Here’s the Columbian Blog with some insight:

Blazers Warriors game 2 recap

For three quarters, it looked like the Portland Trail Blazers would add “beating the 73-9 Warriors at home in the playoffs,” to their list of accomplishments everybody else thought was impossible. But some villains are to vile to stop. Some mountains, too tough to climb. Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and the Warriors proved to be that mountain again for the Blazers, leading the Warriors to a 110-99 win behind a monster 4th quarter where they outscored Portland 34-12. The Warriors lead the best-of-seven series 2-0. Game 3 is 5:30 Saturday at the Moda Center.

Damian Lillard loves playing at home and looked better in Game 2, scoring 25 points through three quarters. And he of course wanted to erase a rough Game 1 where he scored 30 but was just 8-of-26 from the field. He was quiet early but exploded for 17 points in the third quarter, helping Portland hold an 8-point lead after three quarters. But Lillard didn’t score in the fourth and nobody on the Blazers could help their cause late as they saw what was likely their best opportunity for a road win in the series slip away.

With a quick turnaround, the Blazers looked overmatched in Game 1. Truth be told, they are overmatched. But they don’t fold and their start to Game 2 was exactly what should have been expected. The Blazers learn and they found ways to attack the Warriors with success. They preyed on Andrew Bogut’s slow feet and it helped create holes in the defense. Those holes weren’t there when Steve Kerr dusted off Festus Ezeli down the stretch, which coincided with Portland suddenly being unable to score. Ezeli suffered an injury and was inexplicably buried on the bench behind Anderson Varejao and Mareese Speights until the 2nd half of Game 2. He made a major contribution and helped turn the game around with his defense as well as improved play from Green and Thompson.

By InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner

(Note: I am typing this entire blog entry on my cellphone while in a cab around 11:15pm Friday night and not editing this, so I insist that you forgive and ignore any typos)

Friday night in Charlotte the Miami Heat beat the Hornets 97-90 to tie their first round NBA playoff series at three games apiece.

A minor side story was “Purple Shirt Guy” — an unnamed fan (if he’s famous, we didn’t recognize him) with a great courtside seat, quickly nicknamed Purple Shirt Guy because, why not.

He was standing up and loudly taunting veteran Heat star Dwyane Wade, who responded with some huge clutch baskets.

My opinion is that while fans close to the court have a right to stand up and be enthusiastic, I’m not sure that SUSTAINED yelling by a fan as he is out of his seat at a player should be allowed, especially if the fan is courtside and therefore very close to the players.

I’m not sure exactly where the league should draw the line. Naturally they should err in favor of passionate fans. But in this sort of situation in the future, perhaps a security guard needs to encourage him/her to get back into their seat and stay there.

Tough call. But Purple Shirt Guy in Charlotte did, in my opinion, cross the line slightly. Players have to feel comfortable and protected.

The good news is, D-Wade sure appeared to feel fine as he suddenly drained key three-pointers and rose up like the star he’s been for many years.

Spencer Hawes knee injury: MCL sprain

Spencer Hawes knee injury: MCL sprain

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that center Spencer Hawes underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which revealed a sprain of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee. Hawes is listed as out for Game 6 tomorrow night in Charlotte and will be re-evaluated in a week. He suffered the injury during the Hornets win in Game 5 last night in Miami. Hawes has appeared in five playoff games for Charlotte with averages of 3.6 points (.462 FG%) and 3.2 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game.

The Hornets currently lead the Heat 3-2 in their first round NBA playoff series.

The Raptors and Pacers are tied 2-2 in their first round NBA playoff series. Raptors guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan haven’t been at their best, to put it lightly. Looking at this as Glass Half Full, things can only get better — right? We’ll see. Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting:

Kyle Lowry can tell you to the third decimal what he is shooting in the playoffs.

And even if he’s not happy about that particular number he is not at liberty to grouse about it or let it affect him.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I’m not upset at how I’m playing,” Lowry said. “But I’ve got to be positive. At the end of the day my teammates bank on me to be positive and lead these guys, and that’s what I’m going to do no matter how I’m shooting the ball, I’ve got to make sure my teammates are positive and confident.”

And on that front he has been for the most part successful.

DeRozan and Lowry both know they need to shoot the ball better but getting frustrated over it is not something either will allow himself.

“No, not at all. I’m not frustrated,” DeRozan said Sunday following practice.

Here’s the Detroit Free Press reporting on the Pistons, who were eliminated yesterday by the Cavs in the first round of the 206 NBA playoffs:

Cold-blooded threes by Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith were monumental in the Cavaliers sweeping the Pistons with the 100-98 victory Sunday night at the Palace.

For the series, Cleveland made 57 threes for the series, a little more than 14 per game.

Irving’s triples were of the spectacular variety.

His final one, with 43.2 seconds left and the shot clock running down, gave the Cavaliers a 100-96 cushion.

As the buzzer sounded, Irving waved good-bye to the Pistons crowd as he finished with 31 points and averaged 27.5 points per game for the series.

“For our team it doesn’t matter who is the leading scorer,” said LeBron James, who finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds Sunday. “The fact that he was in a great groove throughout this whole series. … We rode his coattail, we rode Kev’s (Kevin Love).

Marcus Smart fined for flopping

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been fined $5,000 by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules during Game 3 of the Celtics’ Conference First Round series against the Atlanta Hawks.

The incident occurred with 4:32 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Celtics 111-103 victory over the Hawks last night at TD Garden.

Look. The NBA playoffs are very competitive, but there’s still an occasional opportunity for players to give helpful advice to guys on other teams. The latest generocity comes from Charlie Villanueva, who offers a useful tip to Russell Westbrook. Via ESPN.com:

Charlie Villanueva suggests Russell Westbrook take his dancing to a club

Charlie Villanueva has a simple request for Russell Westbrook: Find somewhere else to dance.

The Dallas Mavericks reserve forward and Oklahoma City Thunder superstar guard had a minor confrontation before Monday’s Game 2, after Villanueva stepped between Westbrook and rookie guard Cameron Payne during their normal pregame dance routine in front of the scorer’s table at midcourt.

Villanueva, who was shoved by Westbrook but didn’t push back, weighed in Tuesday after video of the incident went viral.

“If you want to go dancing and stuff like that, go to a nightclub,” Villanueva said on a Fox Pro Cast video he filmed.

The Grizzlies are without several of their best players, and in big trouble in their first-round NBA playoff series against the mighty Spurs. Here’s the Memphis Commercial Appeal reporting:

Matt Barnes says Grizzlies need to change gameplan

After the Grizzlies scored their fewest points in the postseason during their 94-68 Game 2 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, journeyman forward Matt Barnes had a suggestion or two or 10.

“We’ve got to roll the dice a little bit. We’ve got to play small, play fast. We’re coming to a gunfight with some spoons,” Barnes said. “We’ve got to do something to try to switch this up at home next game. It’s very frustrating.”

Memphis is 0-16 all-time when scoring 86 points or less in the postseason. San Antonio is responsible for six of those losses.

“You can credit their defense a little bit,” Barnes said, “but you’ve got to put the onus on us to make shots.”

Indeed.

Cavs win Game 1 vs Pistons

The Cavaliers took a 1-0 first round playoff series lead againts the Pistons Sunday. Here’s Michigan Live reporting:

There is a distinct difference between a team that knows how to win in the playoffs and one finding its way.

The Detroit Pistons might work their way to the positive side of that equation in time, but in Game 1 of a first-round Eastern Conference playoff series, it was the heavily favored Cleveland Cavaliers whose superstars closed the show in the fourth quarter for a 106-101 victory Sunday.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night here but the opener had to leave the Pistons with a gnawing feeling that this was their chance to steal home-court advantage — whether they could have kept it is a separate debate — and they let it get away…

The “Big Three” — James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love — combined for 21 of the Cavs’ 30 fourth-quarter points. They totaled 81 points for the game — 31 for Irving, 28 for Love, 22 for James.

Love (13 rebounds) and James (11 assists) had double-doubles.

J.J. Barea health in question for Game 2

Here’s ESPN.com reporting on the Dallas Mavericks, who can use all the help they can get in the health department while battling the heavily-favored Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the 2016 Playoffs:

J.J. Barea health in question for Game 2

Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea’s status for Game 2 is in question after he aggravated his strained groin during Saturday’s 108-70 Game 1 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Barea did not play in the second half because of the injury, the same one that had limited him in recent weeks.

“I’m very, very concerned,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.

One way NBA playoff seeding may change

NBA playoff seedings might change. Maybe. Here’s a possibility.

Here’s the Dallas Morning News blog reporting on a possible change to NBA playoff seedings. Many suggestions have been made as to improve the postseason seeding system. The current setup works fine. The playoffs are awesome. But there are definitely some possible tweaks that make sense, and what’s mentioned below is one of them.

A subtle, but significant, change to the NBA playoff seedings is being considered by the league’s competition committee.

It could have a positive impact on the Dallas Mavericks and everybody else in the ultra-tough Southwest Division.

League officials are considering seeding teams one-through-eight in each conference for the playoffs without regard for division winners being placed no lower than fourth, sources said.

While this would devalue winning a division, it could make a difference for teams in the Southwest Division. All five teams made the playoffs in the Southwest last season.

Without Kyrie Irving, Cavs were serious underdog vs Warriors

The Warriors won Tuesday’s NBA Finals Game 6 to beat the Cavaliers and win the 2015 NBA championship. Here’s the News Herald reporting on a critical issue that helped ensure Cleveland’s defeat:

Loss of Kyrie Irving was crucial for Cavs in NBA Finals

The loss of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving after Game 1 was probably the last straw for the Cavs.

His broken knee cap elevated Matthew Dellavedova into the starting lineup. Dellavedova had a brief flurry of spirited play, but eventually settled into what he really was: an undrafted backup role player. Pitting him against league MVP Stephen Curry was almost cruel.

Curry was fueled by all the admiration Dellavedova got early in the series. He was irked by the thought of Dellavedova slowing him down. Curry averaged 26 points in the series, 28 in the last three games.

Kevin Love was injured in Game 4 of the Boston series. They shifted Tristan Thompson into the starting lineup to replace Love, and the Cavs’ defense and rebounding intensified.

“The injuries they suffered were just too much,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “This would have been a different series with Kyrie and Kevin Love.”

With Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao (remember him?) out, the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by leBron James, were good but not good enough to handle the best team in the league this season, the Golden State Warriors. Last night in Cleveland the Warriors won the NBA championship in six games. Here’s the Northeast Ohio News Group reporting:

LeBron did a ton in Finals, but lacked help

James put in game-highs of 32 points and 18 rebounds to go with eight assists in 46 minutes. He had to fight and claw for each statistic. He was 13-of-33 from the field. After scoring his 12th point, James became the sixth player in NBA history to reach 5,000 career postseason points.

Andre Iguodala led the Warriors with 25 points. His insertion into the starting lineup in Game 4 changed the dynamic of the series. Stephen Curry registered 25 points, five rebounds and eight assists. Eight of his points came in the final quarter.

For the vanquished Eastern Conference champs, it was an incredible postseason run considering the loss of Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. The Q was electric and sheer pandemonium for two and a half quarters. But the noise subsided when it became clear that Warriors were not going to let up in the Cavaliers’ final home game of the season.

“If we want to play another day and live to fight for the championship, we need to win today,” Cavs coach David Blatt said before the game. “So it’s about survival right now, and that’s what you’re looking for.”

They didn’t play like they were in survival mode early on. Golden State got out to a quick 15-point lead in the opening quarter. The Cavs went with their normal Finals lineup with Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov in the front line, only to see Iguodala take repeated open midrange jumpers off of the pick-and-roll game against the overmatched Mozgov.

Andre Iguodala wins 2015 NBA Finals MVP

The Warriors won the NBA championship last night. And although the award could easily have gone to guard Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala was named winner of the 2015 NBA Finals MVP award. Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting:

All season long, Andre Iguodala had to answer the same questions over and over: How did he feel about not starting? How did he feel about coming off the bench? As an Olympic gold medalist and former All-Star, didn’t it bother him to sit?

Iguodala, true to his nature, never once bristled at the line of questioning. Never once did he give any indication of frustration. Instead, he patiently recited the company line: The team comes before any one individual. He was willing to do whatever the team needed to win.

In the NBA Finals, Iguodala’s patience and maturity paid huge dividends for the Warriors. Tasked with defending the best player in the world, Iguodala turned in the performance of a lifetime. Iguodala slowed down LeBron James just enough for the Warriors to win their first title in 40 years. And Iguodala found enough life in his legs to provide a real spark on offense, too.

After scoring a season-high 25 points in Tuesday night’s title-clinching win, Iguodala was named the NBA Finals MVP.

Draymond Green, Matthew Dellavedova tussle in NBA Finals Game 5

In case you haven’t heard, both Draymond Green and Matthew Dellavedova are aggressive on the court. And when aggressive meets aggressive, things are going to get interesting. Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting:

draymond Green

Draymond Green hopped off the floor hoping to hear a whistle but really wanting a piece of Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova.

Yes, Delly once again found himself in the middle of a play that might easily be construed as “dirty.”

This one occurred with 5:55 left in the second quarter of Game 5 of the NBA Finals Sunday night at Oracle Arena. As both players hustled toward the rim for a possible rebound, Dellavedova, while tumbling to the floor, subtly used his left arm to hook Green’s right arm, resulting in Green also going down, on top of Dellavedova.

It was a splendid wrestling move sneakily executed on the basketball court. Green wanted a foul on Dellavedova but officials instead ruled a double foul, one being assessed to each player.

Leandro Barbosa steps up in Finals Game 5

The Golden State Warriors lead the Cleveland Cavaliers three games to two in the 2015 NBA Finals. Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting on Warriors guard Leandro Barbosa, who did nice things off the bench Sunday:

Leandro Barbosa steps up in Finals Game 5

Before the fourth-quarter outburst, before Stephen Curry’s money threes clinched Game 5, before nearly 20,000 fans gave the Warriors a resounding have-a-ball-in-Cleveland sendoff, there was Leandro Barbosa.

On a second team that saved the Warriors throughout the season, Barbosa emerged as Sunday’s mightiest sub, scoring 13 of the bench’s 17 points — hitting four of five field-goal attempts, including his only three-point shot, and all four of his free throws…

Barbosa is the oldest Warrior (32), the most postseason-tested (95 games) and the only one to reach a conference finals before this year (twice with Phoenix). He and backup point guard Shaun Livingston came aboard in the offseason, providing a deeper roster for coach Steve Kerr, who can use either in long stretches without getting headaches.

Barbosa had a nine-point second quarter, and his 13 points (matching his total in the first four games) in 17 minutes — all in the first three quarters — kept Curry and Klay Thompson, who got in foul trouble late in the third period, fresh for the fourth.

Fatigue playing role in NBA Finals

Fatigue playing role in NBA Finals

Here’s the News Herald reporting on the 2015 NBA Finals, where the Warriors and Cavaliers bringa 2-2 tied series to Oakland Sunday night:

It’s just human nature.

The Cavaliers have a shortened rotation, are playing heavy minutes and have experienced some bumps and bruises. Fatigue — mental and physical — is obviously a factor in the NBA Finals.

The Cavaliers scored the first seven points of Game 4. Warriors coach Steve Kerr was forced to call time out with 9:43 remaining in the first quarter.

As the players came toward the bench, Kerr told them, “Don’t worry. They are playing seven players in their rotation for 48 minutes. That will wear them down.”

The Warriors ended up blowing out the Cavaliers, 103-82, to knot the series at 2-2. The series shifts to Oakland, Calif., for Game 5 on June 14 at Oracle Arena.

On Thursday, June 11, the Warriors beat the Cavs 103-82 to tie the 2015 NBA Finals 2-2. Here are video highlights of the best plays, key players, with mini-movie and more:













J.R. Smith struggles badly for Cavs in Game 4 Finals loss

Here’s the Northeast Ohio Media Group reporting on Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith, who along with many of his teammates struggled to shoot the ball Thursday in Cleveland:

J.R. Smith struggles badly for Cavs in Game 4 Finals loss

J.R. Smith pretty much summed up his play after going 2-for-12 from the field and 0-for-8 from downtown.

“Horses—,” is how he described his night on Thursday after the Golden State Warriors evened the series at two games apiece with a 103-82 victory over the Cavaliers at The Q in the NBA Finals.

His answer might have been too blunt for some, but it illustrates how hard he’s taking it. With the Cavaliers using a rotation of six and a half players, it is imperative that they get a significant contribution from Smith, and he understands that.

That’s why he’s kicking himself.

“I put a lot on myself, especially with guys being out,” Smith told Northeast Ohio Media Group. “You just try to do the best you can when you can. It’s just not paying off right now.”

Warriors beat Cavs 103-82, tie NBA Finals 2-2

Thursday night in Cleveland, the Warriors benched center Andrew Bogut, added Andre Iguodala to the starting lineup, and beat the Cavs 103-82. The NBA Finals are now tied 2-2, with Game 5 Sunday at Golden State. Here are some quotes from around the web:

The AP reports: Stephen Curry shook off Iman Shumpert with a dribble, stepped back behind the line and splashed a 3-pointer that seemed to submerge a mute button on rocking and rolling Quicken Loans Arena. Curry clenched both fists, slapped his chest and yelled, ”C’mon!”

At last, this was the MVP and these were the Golden State Warriors - so deep, so deadly.

Curry and Andre Iguodala scored 22 points apiece and the Warriors, showing why they were the league’s best team all season, squared the NBA Finals at 2-2 on Thursday night with a 103-82 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The AP reports: LeBron James scored 20 points - 21 under his average in the series - with 12 rebounds and eight assists, but Cleveland’s megastar, who needed stitches to close a cut on his head sustained when banged it into a camera in the first half, didn’t score in the fourth quarter and couldn’t do enough for the undermanned Cavaliers.

The AP reports: Timofey Mozgov led Cleveland with 28 points and guard Matthew Dellavedova, again battling leg cramps after a hospital stay for dehydration, had 10. The Cavs shot just 2 of 18 from the field and were outscored 27-12 in the fourth quarter. They also got nothing from their bench as J.R. Smith missed all eight 3-point attempts and Cleveland’s reserves combined to score seven points.

AFP reports: Iguodala had nine points in the first quarter and hit 8-of-15 shots for the game, including 4-of-9 3-point tries.

That even had four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James impressed.

“He’s one of the X-factors and he came to play,” James said. “He shot the ball extremely well. He was in attack. He got a couple of dunks in transition early on which got him going and he was really good. To start him gave them that boost.”

AFP reports: James suffered two cuts to the right side of his head on a camera after falling into a photographer late in the second quarter, writhing in pain on the floor at the feet of fans while grabbing his head. He also battled leg cramps and fatigue in the second half.

Reuters reports: “I had a slight headache, which I think every one of you guy would probably have if you ran into a camera,” James told reporters when asked about the incident. “But I didn’t go through any protocol. I’m fine. Like I said, I got a few stitches and I got a slight headache right now but I’ll be fine with that.”

Reuters reports: Iguodala had averaged 12.3 points off the bench over the first three games of the series but dug deep when it mattered most, given that none of the 32 teams who have fallen behind 3-1 in the NBA Finals have come back to win the series. Known more for his defense, Iguodala coolly drained four three-pointers en route to a season-high 22 points in 39 minutes for the top-seeded Warriors.

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