Archive for the ‘ NBA Playoffs Blog ’ Category

Warriors take Game 1 vs Grizzlies

Warriors take Game 1 vs Grizzlies

Stephen Curry had 22 points and seven assists, and the Golden State Warriors wore down the undermanned Memphis Grizzlies in a 101-86 victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals Sunday.

Klay Thompson added 18 points and Draymond Green scored 16 to help the top-seeded Warriors roll to their 21st straight victory at raucous Oracle Arena. They led by nine at the half, 20 late in the third quarter and never let the Grizzlies build any momentum in the fourth.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night in Oakland.

Marc Gasol had 21 points and nine rebounds, and Zach Randolph finished with 20 points and nine rebounds for a Memphis team missing point guard Mike Conley. He sat on the bench in a suit, his left eye still swollen, as he continues to recover from surgery to repair broken bones in his face.

– AP

Wizards take 1-0 series lead vs Hawks

Wizards take 1-0 series lead vs Hawks

The second round of the 2015 NBA playoffs began today with a road win by the Washington Wizards in Atlanta. Here’s the Washington Post blog reporting:

The Wizards repeated the feat Sunday, rolling off the Atlanta Hawks’ explosive punches to erase a 12-point third-quarter deficit and stun the hosts, 104-98, and seize control of another series at Philips Arena. With the victory, Washington improved to 8-1 on the road in the playoffs the past two seasons under Coach Randy Wittman. The Wizards are the first team in NBA history to win four straight Game 1s on the road.

Bradley Beal headed the effort with 28 points but sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter. He returned but was held scoreless the rest of the way. John Wall played through a left wrist injury he suffered in the second period to post 18 points, 13 assists, and seven rebounds. Marcin Gortat added 12 points and 12 rebounds.

DeMarre Carroll erupted for 21 points in the first half — the most a Hawks player has scored in a half this season – but was held to just three in the second half. His 24 points led five Hawks in double figures. Al Horford (17 points and 17 rebounds) and Paul Millsap (15 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists) each registered double-doubles but Atlanta was held to 35 points in the second half after recording 37 in the first quarter alone.

Cavs set to resume play after long layoff

You remember the Cleveland Cavaliers, right? They swept the Boston Celtics and have been sitting and waiting to begin the second round. They’re without power forward Kevin Love for the rest of the playoffs, though. And without shooting guard J.R. Smith for a couple of games. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

By sweeping the Boston Celtics out of the first round of the playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers saved themselves the stress that comes with an elongated series but gave themselves a new challenge to think about: How will they respond as a team to having eight days off in between Game 4 against Boston and Game 1 against the Chicago Bulls on Monday?

“It’s a concern,” Cavs coach David Blatt said Sunday after his team’s final practice before it opens up the second round, “and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t because that’s a long time, and our opponent obviously played games during that time.”

The Bulls, who beat the Milwaukee Bucks by 54 points in a close-out Game 6 on Thursday, should be coming into the Eastern Conference semifinals with some semblance of game rhythm. The Cavs, meanwhile, practiced five out of the seven days they’ve had to wait since finishing their first-round series.

“I hope we respond well,” Blatt continued. “Exactly what that’s going to look like initially, it’s hard for me to say.”

Mavs players decline to share playoff money with Rondo

If Rajon Rondo wasn’t going to share his heart or talent with the Dallas Mavericks, the Mavs players apparently didn’t want to share their playoff bonus with him. Here’s the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporting:

During their exit interview with the media Wednesday, the Dallas Mavericks players made all of the politically correct comments when asked about wayward point guard Rajon Rondo.

But when it came time for the 14 players to vote on whether or not to give Rondo a share of the pool of money they earned for qualifying for the playoffs, the Mavs players voted not to give him a share, according to multiple sources.

For participating in the first round of the playoffs, the Mavs earned a total of $208,940. Shared equally among the other 14 players, that’s an estimated $14,924 per player.

Doc Rivers fined for public criticism of officiating

Doc Rivers fined for public criticism of officiating

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers has been fined $25,000 for public criticism of officiating, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

Rivers made his comments following the Clippers’ 111-107 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, April 28, at Staples Center.

Tyson Chandler denies throwing a punch at Dwight Howard

Here’s the Houston Chronicle clearing up something you may have heard about but probably didn’t because it didn’t actually happen. Not the Chronicle’s fault. They’re simply clarifying what’s up. Here is the report:

Tyson Chandler denies throwing a punch at Dwight Howard

Dallas center Tyson Chandler said he had no idea there were rumors that he might face suspension for an altercation between he and Rockets center Dwight Howard in Game 4 on Sunday.

On Monday, a video of a play where Chandler and Howard were tangled up and both called for technical fouls floated around social media. In some angles, it looked like Chandler might have thrown a punch, which according to NBA rules would have left him with a one-game suspension.

Chandler said he hadn’t heard any of that speculation until shoot around before Game 5 on Tuesday.

“That is the first time I heard that,” Chandler said. “I didn’t throw any punches. I wouldn’t throw a punch at Dwight.”

Kevin Love injury update: Out for second round, perhaps longer

nba blog

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love sustained a left shoulder dislocation during the first quarter of yesterday’s game in Boston vs. the Celtics. His shoulder was assessed, reduced in the locker room, immobilized and he did not return to the game. X-rays and a MRI have been performed, as well as further evaluation at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health today by Cavaliers head team physician Dr. Richard D. Parker and Dr. Mark Schickendantz.

Evaluation and imaging have defined the extent of the injury: an acute anterior inferior glenohumeral dislocation with the corresponding ligament/labrum tearing and humeral head bone bruising. Currently, Love is undergoing training room treatments while additional opinions are being obtained and treatment options being explored.

Love will be unavailable for the Cavaliers’ upcoming Conference Semifinal playoff series and an update regarding his status beyond that will be determined over the next several days.

J.R. Smith and Kelly Olynyk suspended, Kendrick Perkins fined

J.R. Smith and Kelly Olynyk suspended, Kendrick Perkins fined

Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith has been suspended two games without pay and Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk has been suspended one game without pay for their roles in separate incidents during Cleveland’s 101-93 victory over Boston on April 26 at TD Garden, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations. In addition, Cavaliers center Kendrick Perkins’ second quarter Flagrant Foul 1 has been upgraded to a Flagrant Foul 2 and he has been fined $15,000.

Smith’s incident, during which he swung his arm and made contact with the head of Celtics forward Jae Crowder, resulted in a Flagrant Foul 2 and his ejection at the 10:24 mark of the third quarter of the game. Smith will serve his suspension in Games 1 and 2 of the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference semifinals when the Cavaliers host the winner of the Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks series.

The incident involving Olynyk, in which he became entangled with Cavaliers forward Kevin Love and yanked his arm down, occurred with 5:22 remaining in the first quarter of the game. Olynyk will serve his suspension in the first game of the 2015-16 NBA regular season for which he is eligible and physically able to play.

The incident involving Perkins occurred with 1:44 remaining in the second quarter of the same game.

To view the plays, click on the following links:

J.R. Smith

http://www.nba.com/video/channels/originals/2015/04/27/jr-smith.nba/index.html

Kelly Olynyk

http://www.nba.com/video/channels/originals/2015/04/27/kelly-olynyk.nba/index.html

Kendrick Perkins

http://www.nba.com/video/channels/originals/2015/04/27/kendrick-perkins.nba/index.html

After sweeping Pelicans, Warriors get time to rest

One really nice thing about tossing an opponent out of the playoffs as quickly as possible is that the winning team gets to relax and heal up before the next round begins. After sweeping the New Orleans Pelicans, the Golden State Warriors get to recover physically and study who they face next.  It’s a luxury. Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting:

During the next week, the Warriors want to mix rest with repetitions, treatment with training and all-out scrimmaging with sit-down studying. It’s a delicate balance that Kerr observed a handful of times in winning five championships as a player with the Bulls and Spurs.

But the Warriors might actually have a head start on some of those teams. They’re pretty healthy and rested already.

Point guards Stephen Curry’s arms are scratched and bruised from being held and grabbed, and power forward Draymond Green rolled his left ankle a couple of times in the series. But the only player to miss any time during the first round was reserve forward-center David Lee, who has almost fully recovered from a lower back injury.

Kevin Love thinks Kelly Olynyk injured him on purpose

Here’s the Boston.com blog reporting on Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, who suffered a dislocated shoulder at the hands of Celtics big-man Kelly Olynyk during a play that looked like pro wrestling just as much as it looked like basketball:

Kevin Love thinks Kelly Olynyk injured him on purpose

Kevin Love was not in a celebratory mood after the Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Celtics out of the postseason on Sunday afternoon. Following the game, Love made it clear that he blamed Boston’s Kelly Olynyk for a dislocated left shoulder he suffered in the game.

“I thought it was a bush league play,” Love said of Olynyk’s foul. “I mean I was out there and Olynyk was in a compromising position and had no chance to get the ball. It’s just too bad he would go to those lengths to take someone out of a game and do it to someone. I have no doubt in my mind he did it on purpose.”

Love suffered the shoulder injury midway through the first quarter after getting tangled up with Olynyk as both players attempted to rebound a loose ball. Olynyk was whistled for a foul on the play, but Love was forced to miss the remainder of the contest with the injury.

Warriors sweep Pelicans in first round

The Golden State Warriors have quickly escorted the New Orleans Pelicans out of the the playoffs and into the offseason. Which is either rude or polite, depending on how you look at it. Rude, because nobody wants to be swept from the playoffs. But polite, because the Warriors ended the Pelicans quickly. They didn’t draw it out. No time was wasted. Time is valuable. Yeah. Anyway, here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting:

For about a month now, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has been waiting for his team to take its game to another level.

The wait is over.

They practiced most everything Kerr has preached this season in a 109-98 victory over the Pelicans on Saturday night to sweep the best-of-seven, first-round series.

The Warriors will play the winner of the Memphis-Portland matchup in the Western Conference semifinals, a series that could start next weekend in Oakland.

With a chance to close out the plucky Pelicans, the Warriors played nearly perfect ball. They outshot the Pelicans 54.2 percent to 22.7 percent from three-point range, dished out 28 assists to 10 turnovers and won in fastbreak points 20-0. The Warriors even beat New Orleans in rebounding (39-36) and paint points (44-40).

The stellar team stats came on the coattails of some brilliant individual efforts. Stephen Curry had 39 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, Draymond Green put up 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and Klay Thompson added 25 points.

Wizards forward Otto Porter playing well against Raptors

Here’s the Washington Post blog with a positive report on Wizards forward Otto Porter:

Wizards forward Otto Porter playing well against Raptors

A feisty Porter has emerged against the Raptors to do a little bit of everything. He is averaging 10.7 points and 7.3 rebounds in 34 minutes, though much of his performance isn’t represented on a stat sheet. His three-pointer with 4 minutes 23 seconds remaining in Game 3 Friday handed Washington a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. He has salvaged possessions with tap-outs and been a nuisance on both ends of the floor. He does the grunt work that’s made the Wizards’ wildly successful small lineup with Pierce at power forward as potent as it is.

“He’s been the difference,” Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez declared after the Wizards’ Game 3 win.

Porter’s greatest contribution, however, may be his defense. The long-limbed Porter – he is 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan — has served as a DeMar DeRozan stopper of sorts during the series and it was evident again Friday.

Stephen Curry hit six 3-pointers during a 39-point night, and the Golden State Warriors cruised to 109-98 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, completing a sweep of their first-round playoff series.

Klay Thompson added 25 points for the Warriors, the NBA’s top overall seed, who will wait to host Game 1 of their second-round series against the winner of the Portland-Memphis matchup.

Draymond Green added 22 points and 10 rebounds for Golden State, which raced to a 67-54 halftime lead and widened the gap to as many as 24 points in the second half before the desperate Pelicans briefly cut their deficit to single digits in the final minutes.

Curry had eight rebounds and nine assists in Game 4.

Anthony Davis had 36 points and 11 rebounds to close out what has been a remarkable third season for the Pelicans’ 22-year-old franchise player. He just didn’t have quite enough help.

– Associated Press

They were beaten badly in the regular season and were losing by a little in the playoffs.

On their seventh try this season, the Nets finally got a victory over Atlanta. Get another one Monday, and they will be all even with the No. 1 seed in this Eastern Conference series.

Brook Lopez had 22 points and 13 rebounds, Thaddeus Young added 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Brooklyn trimmed Atlanta’s lead to 2-1 with a 91-83 victory Saturday.

“We know they’re going to make adjustments, but we really feel we can compete with these guys and we have a lot of confidence right now,” Lopez said.

The Nets seized control with an 18-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters after the Hawks grabbed their first lead since the opening basket. Bojan Bogdanovic added 19 points for the eighth-seeded Nets, who qualified for the playoffs on the final night of the regular season.

– Associated Press

Paul Pierce making life difficult for Raptors

Here’s the Boston.com blog reporting on Washington Wizards small forward Paul Pierce, who is doing mean things to the Toronto Raptors in their first-round playoff series:

Paul Pierce making life difficult for Raptors

Paul Pierce continues to make life miserable for the Toronto Raptors.

The former Celtics star scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of three-pointers in crunch time to help clinch a 106-99 win for his Washington Wizards over the Raptors on Friday night. The win gives Washington a commanding 3-0 series lead in the best-of-seven series.

The Truth finished the night shooting 5 of 9 from the field, including 4 of 7 from beyond the arc in just 27 minutes of action. Wizards’ coach Randy Wittman limited Pierce’s minutes so the veteran could be fresh in the fourth quarter and the move paid major dividends.

Mavs hoping to avoid sweep by Rockets

Mavs hoping to avoid sweep from Rockets

The Houston Rockets lead the banged-up, short-handed Dallas Mavericks 3-0 in their first round playoff series. Here’s ESPN Dallas reporting:

All that’s left for the Dallas Mavericks is to play as hard as they can Sunday night to avoid getting swept in their first-round series against the Houston Rockets.

It’s doubtful effort alone will be enough to derail the inevitable.

None of the 110 NBA teams that have previously trailed three games to none in a best-of-seven series has ever rallied to win the series — and the Mavs aren’t going to be the first.

They simply don’t have enough healthy players or talent to beat these Rockets, who won 56 games and finished second in the Western Conference.

Injuries are never an excuse for losing, and the Mavericks certainly aren’t making excuses, but there comes a time when a team suffers so many injuries that it becomes compromised.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle fined for public criticism of officiating

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle fined for public criticism of officiating

Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle has been fined $25,000 for public criticism of officiating, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

Carlisle made his comments following the Mavericks’ 130-128 loss to the Houston Rockets on Friday, April 24, at American Airlines Center.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “I’m sure they’ll put the money to good use, I’m very confident of that,’’ Carlisle said after Saturday’s practice. “I accept the fine. “I have strong feelings about how I feel about my team and I’m going to fight for my team, and that’s just the way it’s going to be. I’m a lot like my owner — I’m going to fight for my guys.’’”

Marcin Gortat steps up in Wizards Game 3 win vs Raptors

The Washington Wizards are on a roll. Now up 3-0 in their first-round series against the Toronto Raptors, the team has regained some of the swagger they enjoyed earlier in the season. Here’s the Washington Post blog reporting:

Marcin Gortat steps up in Wizards Game 3 win vs Raptors

Marcin Gortat’s season reached a nadir in Canada on Feb. 11. He had just watched his Washington Wizards play an entire fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors from the bench for the third time this season because Coach Randy Wittman had elected to use smaller lineups without him. Gortat was visibly fuming. He had signed a $60-million contract over the summer and he didn’t anticipate sitting in the fourth quarter during marquee matchups as part of the deal.

“It’s tough. It’s really tough especially the last year I played pretty much every fourth quarter,” Gortat said after the game. “It’s a coaching decision. You guys have to ask him why I’m not playing.”

Fast-forward three months and Gortat is starring – and playing fourth quarters –against the same Raptors as the Wizards have taken a commanding 3-0 series lead. The center registered team highs of 24 points and 13 rebounds in 42 minutes while adding strong rim protection at the other end in the fourth quarter of the Wizards’ 106-99 Game 3 win Friday.

Warriors unleash amazing comeback to win Game 3 vs Pelicans

The Golden State Warriors unleashed an amazing comeback to push Game 3 of their first round playoff series against the New Orleans Pelicans into overtime, and then coming away with a shocking win. Golden State now has a 3-0 series lead. Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting:

The Warriors became the third team in postseason history to overcome a deficit of at least twenty points entering the fourth quarter, and win.

Steph Curry’s miraculous game-tying 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left in regulation will be remembered forever, but he wouldn’t have been able to play the role of hero without a lot of help from his teammates.

“We were pretty desperate,” Steve Kerr said following the historic win. “We went small. We put Shaun Livingston in there. We gave Steph a brief rest to start the fourth … our small unit in the fourth quarter just came in and turned it into a track meet.

“Draymond was fantastic. When you go small and you have to guard (Anthony) Davis, you’re really not getting much help on the backside and Draymond thwarted several lobs and plays at the rim, and got rebounds and then we were able to get out and run.

But I’m gonna have to watch the tape. I’m not quite sure what happened. I’m as startled as everybody else.”

Spurs need an effective Tony Parker

Here’s the San Antonio Express-News with a key health update on the Spurs:

Tony Parker will play Game 3 vs Clippers

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich says perennially hobbled point guard Tony Parker will play in Game 3 tonight against the L.A. Clippers. Given Parker left Game 2 in the fourth quarter with soreness in his right Achilles tendon — to go with a rolled ankle and thigh contusion suffered in Game 1 — it is fair to wonder how effective he might be.

The matchup between a limping Parker and Clippers All-Star Chris Paul has not been a fair fight so far. Paul has outscored Parker 53-11 in two games, a gulf the Spurs have been forced to make up in other areas.

Though the Spurs have used several different defenders against Paul, including newly minted Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard, Parker has drawn the assignment to start the game.

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