Archive for April 25th, 2010

Mavericks in first round trouble

Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports:

The Mavericks now are down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series that returns to American Airlines Center on Tuesday.

Only eight times in NBA history have teams rallied from a 3-1 deficit. Rick Carlisle coached one of those teams when he was with Detroit, which came back to beat Orlando.

For the second time in a row in San Antonio, the Mavericks blew a game that was well within reach. They owned a 15-point lead in the second quarter and were still up by double figures four minutes into the third quarter.

But the Spurs scored 15 points in a row to go up 62-57. The Mavericks scored just 11 points in the quarter, with just two in the final seven minutes.

Game 4: Spurs beat Mavs for 3-1 lead

The AP reports:

Game 4: Spurs beat Mavs for 3-1 lead

Tim Duncan had a miserable 34th birthday and Manu Ginobili looked as bad at times as his bandaged-up nose. But George Hill scored 29 points and San Antonio beat the Mavs 92-89 on Sunday night to take a 3-1 lead in their first-round series.

Popovich called out his supporting cast after losing Game 1. But it was his Big Three who had little bark in Game 4. reports:

It was a sight to see. Hill was awesome. And the energy of DeJuan Blair helped San Antonio a lot.

The Mavericks scored 31 points in the second quarter and 30 in the fourth, but just 17 in the first and 11 in the third.

For the Spurs, Hill scored 17. Ginobili had 17 points (just 4-of-16), four rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Richard Jefferson (6-of-9) had 15. Antonio McDyess and Tony Parker each scored 10. Duncan had just four points and 11 rebounds.

For the Mavs, Caron Butler had 17 but on 18 shots, with six rebounds. Dirk Nowitzki was a mere 4-of-10 for 17 points and 11 rebounds. Shawn Marion had 14 but on 13 shots, and seven rebounds. Jason Terry had 13 on 11 shots.

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Ron Artest still learning triangle offense

Ron Artest is still trying to pick up an offense that took Scottie Pippen a year and a half to learn in Chicago. How intricate is the triangle? Tex Winter once wrote a 320-page book about it.

Artest has been a problem spot in the Lakers’ offense, making only three of 19 from three-point range heading into Game 4.

On Saturday, he had five points and made two of nine shots in the Lakers’ 110-89 loss. He was 0 for 4 from three-point range.

Phil Jackson told Artest beforehand to pass more often, but the Lakers’ coach isn’t frustrated with him…yet.

“He’s a naïve, innocent lamb,” Jackson said. “I think he’s mistaken in a lot of ways, put in the same category as Dennis Rodman. There couldn’t be a bigger disparity between people.”

The AP reports:

Game 4: LeBron amazing 37-point triple-double, Cavs beat Bulls

LeBron James had 37 points, 11 assists and 12 rebounds, Antawn Jamison added 24 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Chicago Bulls 121-98 Sunday afternoon to go up 3-1 in their first-round series.

The Cavaliers led by 10 at halftime after scoring 38 in the second quarter and broke it open with a 37-point third, putting them in position to close it out at home on Tuesday. reports:

The Cavs shot 53.2%, the Bulls just 37.4%. Cleveland also nailed a fantastic 12-of-25 from three-point range.

For Chicago, Joakim Noah (7-of-12) had 21 points and 20 rebounds, including seven offensive boards. The Bulls had 17 offensive rebounds, the Cavs just five — though Cleveland was hitting their shots, so there were fewer misses for them to collect.

Also for the Bulls, Derrick Rose had 21 points, but on 20 shots, and he didn’t do a lot else. Luol Deng scored 16, but on 17 shots, and also contributed little else.

As expected, the Bulls are in trouble. The Cavs will probably close out the series in Game 5.

Brian T. Smith of The Columbian reports:

Early Brandon Roy return an inspiration for Blazers

Brandon Roy returned. And the Trail Blazers were back.

Lifted by the late addition of Roy to the active roster, Portland regained the form that had eluded the team during two consecutive blowout defeats.

Scrappy, energetic, resilient play — traits that carried the Blazers through an injury-plagued regular season — was evident from the opening tip.

Portland rode a wave of resurgence to down the Phoenix Suns 96-87 Saturday afternoon. With the victory, the Blazers evened the best-of-seven playoff series at 2-2.

Roy played more than 26 minutes as he took the court for the first time in the series, after recovering faster than expected from right knee surgery that was supposed to keep him sidelined through the first round.

Richard Walker of the Gaston Gazette reports:

You hear the Charlotte Bobcats trail the Orlando Magic three games to none in their Eastern Conference best-of-seven first-round playoff series and you figure perennial All-Stars Dwight Howard and Vince Carter have been unstoppable.

Well, not at all.

Despite quiet Howard, Carter production, Magic controlling Bobcats

While Howard and Carter have struggled mightily, particularly on offense, but a solid Orlando defensive effort and sharpshooting from point guard Jameer Nelson and forward Rashard Lewis are the biggest reasons the Magic is one win away from eliminating Charlotte.

Certainly, Bobcats point guard Raymond Felton is surprised by the turn of events. When asked after Saturday’s 90-86 home loss if he thought the Bobcats would be down three games to none with Howard and Carter doing so poorly, Felton offered:

“I’d say no way. But they’ve had other guys step up.”

Battling the Thunder in the first round of the Playoffs, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers were fine early on, but the Thunder are looking more convincing by the game, and pounded Los Angeles in Game 4 to tie the series at 2-2.

The AP reports:

Bryant, Lakers not in panic despite surge by Thunder

Kobe Bryant and his veteran teammates see no reason to panic after a surprising surge by the youngest team in the NBA, with most of Oklahoma City’s players making their first postseason appearance. ”It’s not rocket science,” said Bryant, limited to 12 points in the 110-89 loss in Game 4. ”We had a tough battle, we’ve got adjustments to make and we have a team that’s playing extremely well right now that we have to deal with. ”It’s not something where we lose swagger. They defended their home court. Now, it’s our turn. Simple as that.” …

”We didn’t envision ourselves in this situation but it’s where we are, and that doesn’t change anything about the way that you should approach the next game,” Derek Fisher said. ”If we were up 3-1, we would still want to go back and win Tuesday night’s game. ”That’s what our focus is right now, is making the necessary adjustments to put ourselves in position to win Tuesday night’s game and kind of get the series back in our favor.”  …

”It happens. The playoffs, it’s tough,” Bryant said. ”You go through games where you play extremely well and then you get busted up pretty well, and then you’re on to the next one. It’s such an up and down thing, especially when you’re playing against great competition. It’s just part of the playoffs.”

Despite a slow start, the Celtics made a comeback and looked to be in good shape until Dwyane Wade decided to go bonkers in the second half, keeping the Heat alive!

The AP reports:

Game 4: Wade scores 46, Heat beat Celtics 101-92 and stay alive

Undeterred by talk that this might have been his final home game in Miami, Dwyane Wade set franchise playoff records by scoring 46 points, 30 in the second half, and the Heat kept their season alive by beating the Celtics 101-92 on Sunday in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.

The Celtics still lead 3-1, and get a second shot at the clincher on Tuesday in Boston.

But Wade gave the Heat hope.

Quentin Richardson scored 20 points and Michael Beasley added 15 for the Heat, who wasted an 18-point first-half lead before digging deep to extend the season.

Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 23 points. Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 12 rebounds, Paul Pierce scored 16 and Ray Allen added 15 for Boston, which was bidding for its first 4-0 sweep of a series since 1986.

Not so fast.

Wade scored 19 points in the final quarter alone.

Game 4: Thunder pound Lakers 110-89

This was a beating! The Thunder whooped the defending champions in convincing fashion. Could the Lakers actually be in trouble? Maybe this one goes seven games.

The AP reports:

Thunder pound Lakers 110-89

Kevin Durant scored 22 points, Russell Westbrook added 18 points and eight rebounds, and the Thunder evened the first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers with a 110-89 victory in Game 4 on Saturday night…

For the second straight game, the Thunder capitalized on a significant edge at the foul line and on the boards despite the presence of the Lakers’ 7-foot tandem of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum…

Bynum had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Gasol also had 13 points to lead Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant had 12 points after spending the entire first quarter deferring to his teammates and the whole fourth quarter on the bench with three other L.A. starters…

Oklahoma City held a 50-43 rebounding edge and shot 20 more free throws—finishing 42 of 48—while leading by as many as 29.

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