Archive for the ‘ NBA Playoffs Blog ’ Category

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.

Warriors aiming for sweep of Pelicans

Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting on the Golden State Warriors, who were the best team in the league in the 2014-15 regular season and hope to keep it rocking all playoffs long:

The Warriors are up 2-0 despite some obvious difficulties with New Orleans. With the elongated form of Anthony Davis blanketing half the court, the Pelicans have been disruptive on defense. On offense, they’ve utilized screen-and-rolls to get Davis near the rim or, more damaging, to give Quincy Pondexter and Eric Gordon open looks beyond the arc.

But if the Warriors fix those two problems — and they believe they will — it’s realistic to believe they can win twice at Smoothie King Center and achieve the sweep.

“I like the position we’re in,” coach Steve Kerr told CSNBayArea.com. “I don’t think we’re ahead of the game; you don’t get ahead of the game until you win on the road. But I feel good. I know we can play better.”

The Warriors have put together impressive stretches but no truly impressive game, partly because New Orleans is a well-coached, high-quality team. But the Warriors expect better.

Deron Williams struggles badly in Game 2 vs Hawks

Here’s ESPN New York reporting on Nets point guard Deron Williams, who shot bricks in Brooklyn’s Game 2 loss to the Atlanta Hawks: 

Deron Williams struggles badly in Game 2

Coming off one of the worst playoff games of his career, Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams knows he needs to produce at a higher level.

Asked to assess where his game is on Thursday, Williams responded, “Do I really have to answer that? I just came off two points, 1-for-7 [shooting]. I can play better.”

In Brooklyn’s 96-91 Game 2 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, Williams, as he said, had just two points on 1-for-7 shooting. He missed a wide-open, potential game-tying jumper with 10 seconds remaining.

The Nets trail the Hawks 2-0 in their first-round series. Game 3 is Saturday afternoon at Barclays Center.

The Dallas Mavericks announced that after being re-evaluated today forward Chandler Parsons is out for the remainder of the playoffs. He is currently exploring surgical options to address his right knee injury. The Mavs are currently facing the Houston Rockets in the first round of the postseason.

Parsons (6-10, 230) played 36 minutes in Game 1 at Houston and had 10 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists.

Also, guard Rajon Rondo sustained a back injury in last night’s game at Houston. He is out indefinitely and is seeking additional medical opinions.

In two games vs. Houston, Rondo has averaged 9.5 points, 3.0 assists and 1.0 rebound in 18.6 minutes.

In related news, Devin Harris is listed as probable for Game 3 vs. Houston after missing Game 2 with a left great toe injury.

Read fan reaction and share your opinion in this forum topic.

Jason Terry fined for flopping vs Mavs

Jason Terry fined for flopping vs Mavs

Houston Rockets guard Jason Terry has been fined $5,000 by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules during Game 2 of Houston’s first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks.

The incident occurred with 6:25 remaining in the third quarter of Rockets’ 111-99 victory over the Mavericks last night at Toyota Center.

To view the play, click on this link.

Former AAU teammates now together in playoffs for Rockets

It’s cool when buddies from your childhood are in your life years later. Especially when they’re your teammate on a really good NBA playoff team. Here’s ESPN Houston reporting:

As kids growing up in Atlanta, they played on the same AAU team, just having a good time and dreaming about the big time: playing in the NBA.

Josh Smith’s dad, Pete, picked the kids up and directed them on basketball. Dwight Howard, a close friend of Josh’s, would ride along and have a good time talking about the future.

“I looked at a picture of me and him in high school that we took together playing AAU basketball,” Howard said Tuesday morning. “It’s crazy that we’re actually competing, hoping for a chance at an NBA title. It’s amazing and we’re blessed that we have an excellent opportunity in front of us and we have to take advantage of it.”

Tuesday night, that future turned into the present as Howard and Smith dominated the second half of a sloppy first-round playoff game at the Toyota Center.

During the middle of the noise and the good times, Smith and Howard gave each other a shoulder bump, just like old times. At the end of the evening, the Houston Rockets took control of this series against the turmoil-plagued Dallas Mavericks with a 111-99 victory to take a 2-0 series lead.

Coach David Blatt is an experienced winner

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt is an experienced winner. In places other than the NBA, that is. He’s new to the league and had a good regular season, but these playoffs should be a learning experience. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting:

Growing up in Framingham and cheering for the likes of Celtics greats Bill Russell and John Havlicek, Cavaliers coach David Blatt knew what championship basketball was all about.

At the professional level, Blatt has coached 17 champions in various leagues and tournaments, the most recent, a Euroleague title last year for Maccabi Tel Aviv.

None of those championships were the NBA, so critics were interested to see how he would handle his first postseason series against the Celtics.

“I don’t really know if people are aware of just what kind of different competitions I’ve been in based on how they approach my rookie season here in the NBA,” said Blatt, 55, a Princeton graduate. “It’s kind of funny to me. You have to recognize that I’ve been on playoff runs that are national team-oriented. I’ve coached teams that have played 11 games in 15 or 16 days in order to win a medal or European championship.

“They don’t have anything like that in the NBA. That’s extremely difficult.”

Damian Lillard struggles in Blazers Game 1 loss to Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies beat the Portland Trail Blazers 100-86 Sunday to take a 1-0 series lead. Blazers guard Damian Lillard struggled badly, shooting 5-of-21 for 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Here’s the Oregonian reporting:

Damian Lillard was locked in at long last. This was the stingy and smothering laser-like All-Star effort we’d been promised all week by the guard. It was the defensive performance of a lifetime.

Here was Lillard late Sunday night, long after the Blazers Game 1 loss against the Memphis Grizzlies, shutting down the scrutiny, one dress sock at a time. He’d already toweled off like a retiree watching a sunset. Now, the Blazers All-Star guard sat on a folding chair, back to the room, checking text messages.

It was so crowded with media in Lillard’s corner of the locker room that when guard Steve Blake emerged from the showers he had to dispatch a locker room attendant through the mob of cameras to retrieve his clothes. Also, during the Lillard filibuster a reporter from TNT asked Chris Kaman if he wouldn’t mind giving the network a quote, as Lillard was about to bleed their deadline out.

Kaman obliged and left. Blake eventually dressed, conducted an interview and left the room. So did the rest of the Blazers teammates. One by one, from Robin Lopez to Nic Batum to Wesley Matthews and back, the Blazers absorbed the disappointment and disappeared out the locker room doors.

Clippers take Game 1 vs Spurs

Clippers take Game 1 vs Spurs

The Clippers beat the Spurs 107-92 in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin did big things for the home squad in the win. Here’s the Orange County Register reporting:

Paul delivered on the all-around excellence fans of his are accustomed to, scoring 32 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists, and Griffin delivered four of the game’s most emphatic points on the way to 26, 12 and 6.

“They had it going,” Doc Rivers said. “And we noticed it and kind of rode it.”

With the game yet to be decided in the third quarter, Griffin hammered home two separate merciless slam dunks on the head of San Antonio reserve Aron Baynes, sending the Staples Center crowd into a state of euphoria.

And while the defending NBA champions fought back from a 20-point lead to get within single digits in the fourth quarter, Griffin and Paul were there again to answer, leading a 7-0 run that doused any sparks of a comeback.

With four days off since their regular season finale, the Clippers had a trio of practices to go over the Spurs and their multiple offensive sets and defensive schemes.

Derrick Rose, back in the NBA playoffs

Derrick Rose, back in the NBA playoffs

On Saturday, Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose played in his first NBA playoff game in years, stayed healthy, looked pretty good, and enjoyed a win. The former league MVP shot 9-of-16 for 23 points, seven assists and two steals as the Bulls beat the Milwaukee Bucks 103-91 to take a 1-0 lead in their first round series.

Leading the Bulls was guard Jimmy Butler, who shot 8-of-14 for 25 points and six assists. Forward Pau Gasol shot just 5-of-17 for 10 points, though he did add 13 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Center Joakim Noah had six points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block.

In Milwaukee’s loss, Khris Middleton scored 18 points on 17 shot attempts. The Bucks as a team shot just 39.3% for the game.

2015 NBA playoffs begin Saturday

The 2015 NBA playoffs begin Saturday, and we couldn’t be more excited.

Once again, the West is loaded with talent, while the East, well, they have some good players. And a few strong teams. They matter too.

Here are the series-by-series schedules for the first round: NBA playoffs schedule

In hugely important game for Brooklyn, Nets gets blown out by Bulls

The Chicago Bulls are already headed to the 2015 NBA playoffs. The Brooklyn Nets hoped to join them. But a two-game losing streak now has Brooklyn’s postseason dream turning into a nightmare.

Behind 26 points off the bench from Nikola Mirotic, 22 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks from Pau Gasol, and 50% team shooting, the Chicago Bulls beat the Nets in Brooklyn 113-86.

The Bulls outscored the Nets 30-15 in the third quarter. And with plenty of Bulls fans in the crowd, the visiting team got plenty of cheers on a number of plays — especially when D-Rose unleashed some quickness, several times leaving D-Will and other Nets defenders flat-footed behind him.

For Chicago, Jimmy Butler shot 7-of-10 for 17 points, Taj Gibson was 5-of-6 for 15 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, and Derrick Rose only shot 5-of-13 as he works his way back but still looked good, showing explosiveness at times and finishing with 13 points and seven assists.

The Nets struggled in just about every way possible. Bojan Bogdanovic came off the bench to lead them in scoring with 17. Jarrett Jack scored 15 in 25 minutes off the bench, but needed 14 shots to do it. Brook Lopez had a quiet night with 13 points, eight rebounds, no assists and one block. Deron Williams shot 3-of-13 for just nine points, seven rebound and five assists. Joe Johnson scored 12. Thaddeus Young shot 3-of-11 for eight points, 11 rebounds.

The Bulls had 26 assists, the Nets 12. And the Bulls hit 12-of-30 three-pointers, the Nets 3-of-12.

It was a mess in Brooklyn.

Nets coach Lionel Hollins: “Stats say it all. They shot better from the three than we did from two, they outscored us 56-36 (in the second half). We had 12 assists, five in the first half, and I told the coaches that if we go out there and can’t get more than five assists in the second half and only have 10, we can’t win. We got two more for 12 assists. We have to give up the ball, we have to make shots, we have to make layups, we have to defend with second and third efforts. It was a disappointing loss, but the way I look at it is that we have one more game left and we have to win it.”

For the Bulls, who played without center Joakim Noah, a bonus in addition to the win was very solid from Derrick Rose, who isn’t anything close to his superstar self of the past, but looks like a player that can help his squad in the postseason, which is the most Chicago can expect from him right now.

“The big thing is obviously getting Derrick Rose back,” said Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau.

“He’s got the power, quickness and speed; it’s very unusual. I don’t know if anyone else is like him in the league,” said Thibodeau about Rose.

The Bulls go on to prepare for the playoffs. The Boston Celtics clinched a playoff spot tonight, so the Nets must hope that the Pacers and Heat — other East squads hoping to reach the postseason — don’t remember how to play basketball for the next 48 hours.

Mavs hope Chandler Parsons will return before playoffs

Here’s ESPN Dallas reporting on the Mavericks, who recently clinched a Western conference playoff spot. Seven spots are now claimed. The team hopes there will be good news on the Chandler Parsons front soon.

Mavs hope Chandler Parsons will return before playoffs

The Dallas Mavericks hope that small forward Chandler Parsons, who will miss his second consecutive game Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns due to swelling and soreness in his right knee, will get some playing time before the playoffs begin.

However, there is no firm timetable for Parsons’ return.

“He’s doing better. He’s just not there yet,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told reporters after Wednesday’s shootaround. “We’d like to get him back to play a game or two before the playoffs, if it’s possible. But nothing is for sure.”

Danny Ainge happy with Celtics playoff push

To make the playoffs or not? If a team has a chance to go far in the postseason, of course they should want in. But if they’re going to be lucky to even be there, and will quickly be sent home, and will receive a lower draft pick as a result? Tough to say what’s better for an organization. Because money is made on home attendance for a couple playoff games. But money also gets made from drafting a better player who helps the team win more and draw more fans and attention. Have fun analyzing all that. Anyway, here’s ESPN Boston reporting on the Celtics:

Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge admitted Thursday that he sees value in his team getting a taste of postseason experience and would be disappointed for his players and coaches if the Celtics were to come up short in their quest for a postseason berth.

Ainge, who as overseer of the team’s rebuild must balance a desire for optimum draft position with the benefits of his current players getting big-game experience, has been leery at times of simply sneaking into the playoffs in a lowly Eastern Conference. But with his team playing far more inspired ball in recent months, the possibility of an extended season seems to have grown on him.

“I probably would be [disappointed if the Celtics missed the postseason], just because our guys have worked really hard and our coaching staff. I know how much they’re focusing on getting into the playoffs,” Ainge said Thursday during his weekly call to Boston sports radio 98.5 the Sports Hub. “They’re working, they have goals, and I’d like for them to accomplish the goals that they’ve set. So, yeah, I’d be disappointed for them.”

Video: NBA playoffs buzzer-beaters

Enjoy these video highlights of the best buzzer beaters from the 2013-14 NBA playoffs, which recently ended with the San Antonio Spurs beating the Miami Heat in five games to grab the championship:

Video: Best dunks of 2014 NBA Finals

The San Antonio Spurs beat the Miami Heat in five games to win the 2014 NBA championship. Enjoy these video highlights of the best dunks from the 2014 NBA Finals:

Photo of 2014 San Antonio Spurs NBA championship gear. The Spurs just won the title in five games, beating the Heat tonight.

The Spurs currently lead the Heat 3-1 in the 2014 NBA Finals. Miami is coming off a Thursday home loss. Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on the series and Heat star LeBron James:

LeBron James says he has been bothered by ankle for a few days

What started with LeBron James unable to even make his way off the court due to cramps could close with the Miami Heat forward limping to the finish of these NBA Finals.

In the wake of Thursday’s 107-86 loss to the San Antonio Spurs that dropped the Heat to a 3-1 deficit in this best-of-seven series that continues Sunday at 8 p.m. at the AT&T Center, both James and coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged an ongoing ankle issue briefly took James off the court in the first quarter of Game 4.

“I went to go get re-taped, re-tape my ankle,” James said early Friday. “It’s been kind of bothering me for the last couple days, but I felt OK.”

With James unable to finish Game 1 due to cramps exacerbated by an air-conditioning malfunction at the AT&T Center, the Heat were unable to hold off the Spurs. Thursday, James appeared to be easing his way into Game 4, with both James and Spoelstra insisting that the other time James left the bench at the outset was because of a bathroom break.

Tuesday in Miami, the San Antonio Spurs went wild early on, scoring 41 points in the first quarter against the Heat. Enjoy these Spurs video highlights:

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