Archive for the ‘ NBA Playoffs Blog ’ Category

James Harden on bench during wild Rockets Game 6 comeback win

The Rockets unleashed an amazing comeback Thursday to win Game 6 in Los Angeles against the Clippers, and they did so with their star guard on the bench watching the show. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

James Harden on bench during wild Rockets Game 6 comeback win

James Harden never heard his name, never asked to go back in.

The Rockets reserves were rolling, the Clippers lead shrinking and Harden kept sitting. As the Rockets rallied from a 13-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter, a 17-point hole when Harden sat and a 19-point Clippers lead when it had swelled to its largest, Harden remained on the Rockets bench.

He did not play even a full second in the fourth quarter (he entered the game, but no time expired before he was back out) as Rockets coach Kevin McHale stayed with the players that turned the game around and sent the series to a Game 7 on Sunday. Harden had no complaints.

“Amazing. It was really amazing. Just really proud of those guys in that fourth quarter, man, to keep fighting, keep battling. They did a tremendous job on both ends of the floor, battling, holding that team to 15 points. Being down 13, … those guys kept battling and it was an amazing job.”

James Harden trying to shake off effects of flu

The Houston Rockets face elimination tonight in Game 6 unless they can step up and once again beat the Los Angeles Clippers. Rockets star James Harden, who is averaging 24.8 points, 6.0 assists and 9.2 assists per game in this second round series through five games, is shaking off the effects of the flu. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

James Harden trying to shake off effects of flu

James Harden was coughing and trying to clear his throat during his chat with reporters on Thursday morning.

The Houston Rockets’ starting guard will play in Thursday’s critical Game 6 against the Los Angeles Clippers while still feeling the effects of the flu.

“I’m all right, I’m good,” said Harden, who played through the illness and needed IV fluids the morning of Game 5 on Tuesday. “I’m all right, I’m in a good place right now.”

His team isn’t.

The Rockets trail the Western Conference semifinal best-of-seven series 3-2, and to force a Game 7 at home, they must win in a place where they have played badly.

The Clippers lead the Rockets 3 games to 2 in their second round playoff series. Tonight’s Game 6, in Los Angeles, is must-win for Houston. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

Josh Smith will start Rockets-Clippers Game 6

Rockets coach Kevin McHale said he would start forward Josh Smith again in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals on Thursday night in Los Angeles.

Smith started in Game 5 and forward Terrence Jones came off the bench.

“We just tried to change some things up, tried to get (Jones) with that second unit, maybe get him some more looks, get him going,” McHale said. “Josh is a very good passer. We gotta use another guy out there to break them down.”

Without Tony Allen, Grizzlies lose Game 5 to Warriors

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting on Wednesday’s Warriors-Grizzlies second round playoff game, which went quite badly for Memphis:

Without Tony Allen, Grizzlies lose Game 5 to Warriors

Much like the last playoff game in Oakland, Game 5 came down to a key Grizzlies player who was a game-time decision because of injury. While Mike Conley put on a face mask and cape in Memphis’ win in Game 2 at Oracle Arena, Tony Allen was not able to play with a bad hamstring Wednesday night.

The defensive repercussions were obvious, but the Grizzlies were actually somehow worse offensively without their jump shot-challenged tough guy.

“It’s huge, being without Tony,” Grizzlies guard Courtney Lee said. “We can’t replace his energy or his defensive intensity. We needed to step up tonight and we didn’t.” Memphis shot 5-of-25 in a 12:35 span over the end of the first quarter and most of the second quarter, turning a 25-15 lead into a 49-37 deficit.

Memphis shot 5-of-25 in a 12:35 span over the end of the first quarter and most of the second quarter, turning a 25-15 lead into a 49-37 deficit.

And a 12-point deficit might as well be 24 — which it grew to — for a big, physical team that can’t get out on the fastbreak (six points all night) or shoot threes (they made four).

John Wall returns in Wizards Game 5 loss to Hawks

Nobody expected injured Washington Wizards guard John Wall to return during these playoffs. But yesterday it happened, and he gave it his all, though the Wizards fell slightly short to the Atlanta Hawks. Here’s CSN Washington reporting:

John Wall returns in Wizards Game 5 loss to Hawks

John Wall threw himself on the floor with 32.6 seconds left, and the score tied at 78, for a loose ball, corralled it and called a timeout. He slapped the floor repeatedly with his good hand, the right one, as he sensed a Game 5 victory was near Wednesday.

But a 3-2 series lead for the Wizards is oh-so-far away. Wall blocked Dennis Schroder’s shot on the final play as he drove to the basket, but Al Horford darted in like a bowling ball to send bodies scattering to grab the loose ball for the putback with two seconds left and an 82-81 victory for the Atlanta Hawks at Phillips Arena.

“It felt great. I didn’t have any problems with my hand,” Wall said after having 15 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals. “I was able to play aggressive and make plays so I was fine.”

Andrew Bogut remains healthy

No, Andrew Bogut isn’t injured. He’s still good to go.

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting good news on the Warriors front:

Andrew Bogut banged up, but still healthy

Andrew Bogut said his ribs are fine. In fact, his post-Game 4 X-ray was on his left knee, and that checked out OK, too.

“Everything is good,” the Warriors’ center said after Wednesday’s shootaround. “No problems.”

Bogut did grab at his right ribs a couple of times during the second half of the Warriors’ Game 4 victory over Memphis, and it was reported by multiple outlets that he had X-rays on his ribs. But the big man said the bigger concern was a tweak he felt in his left knee, and that’s what he had checked after the game.

Pau Gasol plans to play Cavs-Bulls Game 6

Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting on Bulls power forward Pau Gasol, a key member of the squad who could certainly be the difference between a tied series or the Cavs advancing and leaving Chicago in the dust. The Cavs lead the series 3 games to 2, so Thursday is must-win for the Bulls:

Pau Gasol plans to play Cavs-Bulls Game 6

Pau Gasol says he’s going to try and play in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night. Gasol missed the past two games because of a strained left hamstring.

“I made some good progress today,” Gasol said after the Bulls’ workout on Wednesday. “No residual pain from [Tuesday] also works. We’re making progress. At the end of the day, [Thursday] is the game and I’ll do everything I can to help the team. … I’ll be out there. Whichever way I can be, I will be.”

Gasol initially hurt his hamstring in Game 2 and played only 22 minutes in Game 3 after being taken out in the second half.

NBA fines Dwight Howard $15K

Dwight Howard fined for hard foul on Matt Barnes

NBA fines Dwight Howard $15K

The NBA announced today that they have fined Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard $15,000 for making contact above the shoulders with Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes in Rockets-Clippers Game 4 on May 10.

Howard’s actions occurred with 9:21 remaining in the first quarter of the Clippers’ 128-95 win over the Rockets on May 10 at Staples Center.

The Clippers currently lead their second round series with the Rockets three games to one.

DeAndre Jordan sets a free throw-related NBA record

If you watched yesterday’s Game 4 between the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers, your main memory may be that of a tall dude standing still at a line while missing free throws. Here’s the Los Angeles Times reporting:

DeAndre Jordan sets a free throw-related NBA record

What a long, strange trip to the free-throw line for DeAndre Jordan. Again and again.

The Clippers center is now in the NBA record books, though not for a reason he’d ever envision, after taking 28 free-throw attempts in the first half of the Clippers’ playoff game Sunday.

The Houston Rockets kept fouling him intentionally, so Jordan kept going to the line, eventually passing Shaquille O’Neal’s 27 free-throw attempts for the Lakers against Portland in the second half of a 2000 playoff game.

“That’s crazy,” Clippers forward Blake Griffin said. “I’ve never witnessed that or experienced that. For us to just maintain our composure … we just grinded it out.”

All in all, Jordan made 14 of 34 free throws in the Clippers’ 128-95 victory over Houston in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Kyrie Irving struggling, playing with foot strain

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving looks like a shade of his former self lately as he struggles to play through injury. Would taking a game off to recover help? Problem is, there’s no margin for error left. The Cavs and Chicago Bulls are tied 2-2 in their very gritty second round playoff series. Both teams are two losses away from elimination. Tough situation, especially with the Cavs already missing injured forward Kevin Love. Here’s the Cleveland Plain Dealer reporting:

Kyrie Irving struggling, playing with foot strain

It’s been a frustrating last few games for Irving, who has been diagnosed with a right foot strain. He gave everything he had on Sunday, but the three-time All-Star still couldn’t prevent the thoughts from creeping into his head: He started to feel like he had a question for his teammates.

“I asked them if they still wanted me out there,” he revealed after Cleveland’s 86-84 Game 4 win against Chicago.

This is not the same unstoppable offensive force who stunned San Antonio for 57 points in March; or the player who exploded for 30 points in his playoff debut against Boston, squashing any talk about his readiness for the NBA’s biggest stage.

This is a wounded youngster who scored 12 points on Sunday and is now averaging 11.5 points on 5-of-23 (21 percent) shooting in the last two games. But his numbers, while they are well below Irving’s standards, don’t seem to matter to his teammates. One of them, Iman Shumpert, didn’t hear Irving’s pointed query, but there wouldn’t have been much to ponder.

“I definitely always want him out there if he can go,” Shumpert said after the game. “We will be hurt after the season. Right now we have to get wins.”

No reason yet to expect a John Wall return in these playoffs

There’s no real reason to expect a John Wall return from injuries during the ongoing NBA playoffs, but a bit of hope is still being kept alive. Here’s CSN Washington reporting:

No reason yet to expect a John Wall return in these playoffs

The fractured left and and wrist of John Wall is starting to look better, but there’s no indication that he’s anywhere close to practicing or playing again as the Wizards prepare Sunday for Game 4 with the Atlanta Hawks on Monday at Verizon Center (TNT, 7 p.m. ET).

“Good. Swelling, again, down,” Wittman said when asked if his All-Star point guard had done anything on the practice court following Saturday’s Game 3 win. “Its heading in the right direction so again we’re not to the point of him doing anything on the floor yet or of that nature. It’s heading to a situation where hopefully he can get the ball in his hand, get the feeling, see how that feels and then you take those steps like that.”

Zach Randolph scored 22 points and Marc Gasol added 21 points and 15 rebounds as the Grizzlies beat the Warriors 99-89 on Saturday night to take a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal…

Mike Conley and Courtney Lee both finished with 11 points for Memphis, which has yet to lose this postseason with Conley in the lineup.

MVP Stephen Curry finished with 23 points for Golden State but was 8 of 21 from the field, including 2 of 10 outside the arc. Klay Thompson had 20 points, and Harrison Barnes added 16…

For a second straight game, the Grizzlies made the Warriors look nothing like the team that was the NBA’s best home or away during the regular season. The Warriors missed seven straight 3s during one stretch, several wide-open looks, and the Grizzlies harassed them into a handful of ugly turnovers.

The Warriors went just 6 of 26 from 3-point range, tying their season-low at 23.1 percent, and 19 of 28 at the free throw line.

– Associated Press

It was a play added to the Washington Wizards’ offense a day earlier, and it was drawn up for a guy, Paul Pierce, who’s been doing this sort of thing for the better part of two decades.

With three defenders near him, Pierce made a fallaway, 21-foot jumper that went in off the backboard at the buzzer to lift the Wizards over the Atlanta Hawks 103-101 on Saturday night, despite playing without John Wall and after letting a 21-point lead evaporate…

Schroder and Jeff Teague led Atlanta with 18 points apiece. … Paul Millsap was out of the starting lineup because of flu-like symptoms and looked lethargic once he was on the court. He had eight points and two rebounds.

– Associated Press

Glen Davis fined for flopping

Big babies sometimes fall down. It happens.

Glen Davis fined for flopping

Los Angeles Clippers forward-center Glen Davis has been fined $5,000 by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules during Game 3 of the Clippers’ Conference Semifinals series against the Houston Rockets.

The incident occurred with 1:09 remaining in the first quarter of the Clippers’ 124-99 victory over the Rockets last night at Staples Center.

To view the play, click on this link.

Mike Conley not mad at Draymond Green

Mike Conley not mad at Draymond Green

Look. In games, players fall. And when that player has the ball, sometimes another player tries to grab it. These things happen. Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting on Grizzlies guard Mike Conley and Warriors forward Draymond Green:

Mike Conley not mad at Draymond Green

In the days following Mike Conley’s Game 2 brush with Warriors’ power forward Draymond Green, the Grizzlies’ point guard has gone from “no comment” to “it is what it is” to forming an opinion.

“At the end of the day, I think Draymond Green is a phenomenal player,” Conley said before Friday’s practice. “He’s a competitor. In the heat of the game, things happen. Guys get hit. Guys bring a lot of passion to the game. I have no opinion other than that. I think it was just basketball.”

Conley was driving through the lane when he got tied up by Green and Klay Thompson midway through the second quarter. He recovered the ball with 4:58 remaining and called a timeout while lying on his back with the ball near his chin. Green reached in to try to grab the ball and bumped Conley in a mask designed to protect surgically repaired facial fractures.

Officials reviewed the play as a potential “hostile act” and didn’t call a foul, but that hasn’t changed the opinion of the Grizzlies’ fans. Green said he’s gotten Twitter hate and warnings about coming to Memphis.

Matt Barnes fined for cursing at a fan

Matt Barnes fined for cursing at a fan

Matt Barnes fined for cursing at a fan

Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes has been fined $50,000 for directing inappropriate language at a fan, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The “fan,” it turned out, was the mother of Houston Rockets star James Harden.

According to the Houston Chronicle, “Barnes said today that he didn’t know it was Harden’s mother and that he has spoken with her twice since the incident. Barnes also said reports of what he said aren’t accurate. “We’ve spoken twice since the incident,” Barnes said. “She said something. I said something back. I spoke to her at halftime and after the game. “What I said was said, what she said was said. It doesn’t matter what was said, we both said something. “What’s crazy is fans can say anything and everything. Things about our wives, our kids, anything. We say one thing, and they run and tell, and next thing you know (I’m fined)…”

The incident occurred during the Clippers’ 115-109 loss to the Rockets on May 6 at Toyota Center.

Joakim Noah fined $25,000 for pushing a fan

Joakim Noah fined $25,000 for pushing a fan

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has been fined $25,000 for pushing a fan, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred at halftime of the Bulls’ 106-91 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on May 6 at Quicken Loans Arena.

Slight hope that injured John Wall can return during these playoffs

Here’s CSN Washington reporting on John Wall, who has multiple hand and wrist injuries and is still presumably done for the playoffs:

Slight hope that injured John Wall can return during these playoffs

While the end appears near for John Wall this postseason, he’s not giving up hope that he could actually play again in this series with the Atlanta Hawks that is tied 1-1 with Game 3 Saturday at Verizon Center. Or at some point in the playoffs if the Wizards can advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

Friday, he avoided giving any specifics on a timetable for his return from a left hand and wrist that has five non-displaced fractures.

“It’s moving better but there’s still pain there,” said Wall, who led the Wizards to a 104-98 win in Game 1 with 18 points and 13 assists. “I haven’t tried dribbling again so I’ll probably try it tomorrow. Just the same pain has been there even if the swelling goes down a little bit.

“I have no idea (if I can play again). Depends on my swelling and how all the pain goes away. I finished Game 1 with it not knowing I had anything wrong and then I came back and got evaluations so I have no idea.”

Matt Barnes says Chris Paul will play Rockets-Clippers Game 3

Here’s ESPN LA quoting Matt Barnes on Chris Paul:

Matt Barnes says Chris Paul will play Rockets-Clippers Game 3

Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul plans to start Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets on Friday, according to teammate Matt Barnes.

After going through an on-court workout on Thursday and a shootaround on Friday, Paul told teammates he plans to play in Friday’s game.

“He said he’s playing tonight,” Barnes said Friday after going through shootaround with Paul. “You just hope that he’s ready. His game is so much stop-and-go, and he’s such an integral part of our team. I hope he can stay healthy throughout the game because we’re going to need him for this run.”

Chris Paul making progress, may play in Game 3 vs Rockets

The Clippers stepped up without Chris Paul in Game 1 but could have used him in Game 2. And need him back as soon as possible. Here’s the OC Register reporting:

Chris Paul making progress, may play in Game 3 vs Rockets

The Clippers left Houston with a win, plenty of confidence and homecourt advantage. But the biggest, most important thing leaving town with the Clippers was a point guard who wasn’t any more injured.

Chris Paul, the man whose last-second shot sent the NBA’s defending champions packing in Round 1, didn’t have to push it in Houston. He didn’t need to try and play to prove the Clippers can be competitive.

Instead, he rested. He healed. He put himself in position to possibly come back.

Paul went through a comprehensive workout on the court Thursday, giving him his best chance to play Friday in Game 3.

Basketball blog