Archive for the ‘ NBA Playoffs Blog ’ Category

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 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

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 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.

Warriors aiming for sweep of Pelicans

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 “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

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

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.

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