The NBA Conference Finals have begun and its already been full of chatter! The San Antonio Spurs currently hold a 1-0 lead over the Memphis Grizzlies, while the Eastern Conference Finals dont kick off until Wednesday with the Indiana Pacers heading to South Beach to face the Miami Heat. So we wanna know who do you believe is going to be in the NBA Finals kicking off June 4th.
Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, and Larry Murphy. These were the names seen on Red Wings jersey’s (as well as the Stanley Cup for various championships) for years. These guys were in their 30′s and 40′s and lead the team through what is has continued as 22 year playoff appearance streak. For so long, “old guys” lead the way. But the Chicago Blackhawks are finding out that these the “old” Detroit Red Wings of the past, and even the regular season has been switched out like a line wave with new, and inexperienced, yet younger, improved, and quick to adjust players.
Despite giving up the first goal Saturday, the Red Wings almost looked like the Red Wings of old in a Game 2 win at Chicago. But can they keep the momentum going for Monday night’s Game 3, or will Chicago respond with some adjustments of their own?
After his team lost Game 1 of its Western Conference semifinal series in Chicago Wednesday night, Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock offered a theory as to why his team looked slow in the last 40 minutes.
“We did a lot of traveling in the first series, back and forth. I saw us (Tuesday in practice) and I wasn’t surprised when I saw us today.”- Coach Mike Babcok
Wisely, Babcock took his team back to Detroit after Wednesday’s game, taking advantage of the extra day between games.
Needless to say, it worked.
Red Wings rookie Brendan Smith scored the winning goal Saturday in Detroit’s 4-1 win at Chicago that tied the series 1-1. The top-seeded Blackhawks won the opener by the same 4-1 score on Wednesday night.
“We knew they were going to come back and play much better than they did in Game 1. Obviously, we didn’t quite match the effort… There’s no time to waste in this series. We know going into their building it’s even more difficult.”- Blackhawks Captain Johnathan Toews
When the puck drops Monday night in Detroit for Game 3, Toews expects his team is ready to bounce back.
Toews had 23 goals, tying Patrick Kane for the team lead and trailing just four players in the league. However, he is struggling to score for a third straight postseason. And you can credit Henrik Zetterberg for holding Toews without a point in Game 2, an accomplishment that didn’t surprise many.
One of the great things about playoff hockey is how quickly the opportunity comes to erase a poor performance, no matter the reasons for said poor performance. Short memories are a must, but most of the guys who are good enough to play at this level have already shown that trait at some point. And while Detroit gives you the normal lines about sustaining this and playing well again in Game 3 Monday at The Joe, it’s Chicago’s turn to exhibit a short memory.
Yeah Chicago lost a game to Minnesota, but that series was never seriously in peril. Chicago can ill afford to play like that again in this series because this is the Red Wings, a division rival. This team may lack physical experience as in years, but they know the history of the franchise and certainly knows the history of competition between these 2 teams. You can believe Detroit will be a more formidable opponent that the Minnesota Wild.
Hockeytown should be ready. This final meeting of these legendary franchises as conference rivals took on a really interesting tone on Saturday, and now it’s time for the heavy Stanley Cup favorites to respond.
Former NFL Player and ‘reality star’ Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson was arrested for violation of probation. A judge ordered him be sent to jail until he posted a $1,000 bond. An arrest warrant was issued earlier this month when Johnson failed to meet his probation officer.
Everybody knows that Rihanna hold no punches when it’s time to go in. This time she decided to weigh in on JR Smith and the fact that they lost. Let’s just say, she is not a fan.
This was in response to a fan telling her that she was the reason that JR was sucky and shooting nothing but bricks. Why don’t people know by now that she is NOT to be taunted, because SHE WILL SNATCH YOUR LIFE!
It was good run by the Warriors, but in the end, it wasn’t enough. The San Antonio Spurs managed to hold off a furious final rally and beat the Golden State Warriors 94-82 in Game 6 on Thursday night to advance to the Western Conference finals.
Tim Duncan had 19 points and six rebounds while Kawhi Leonard scored 16 points. Tony Parker was struggling entering the 4th quarter with only 3 points. But he turned it on when his team needed him most and got 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. Even Tiago Splitter added a career-playoff high 14 points for San Antonio, which led by 13 late in the third quarter.
But the Warriors did not make this an easy win by any means. They cut the lead down to 2, 77-75 with just a little over 3:30 left in the game, but unfortunately some good open looks from both Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry did an in and out in the basket and the Warriors just couldn’t manage to close that gap in for good. Stephen Curry shot 10 of 25 from the floor to score 22 points on a nagging left ankle. Jarrett Jack had 15 points as the Warriors wore down.
The Spurs outshot Golden State 45 percent to 39 percent.
Harrison Barnes took a nasty fall in the 2nd quarter, leaving him with 12 stitches. He attempted to come back in the second half, however after a few plays, he suffered headaches that he had to be taken out for the rest of the game.
So what’s next for Golden State?
The Warriors won 47 games and ended a five-year postseason drought. They escaped the first round for just the second time in 22 years with an upset of the Denver Nuggets. They even put a legitimate scare into the powerful San Antonio Spurs, coming within a Game 1 collapse of winning three of the first four games of the series. Golden State hasn’t been this well positioned since the early days of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin. Only the Rockets outperformed their preseason forecast by more than Golden State, and with three starters 25 years old or younger, and two more still in their prime, there is every reason to believe that even better days lie ahead for the Warriors.
Meanwhile, San Antonio gears up to face the Memphis Grizzlies (their first WCF appearance) on Sunday at 3:30p est on ABC
The Chicago Bulls had us all believing they were going to make this Eastern Conference Semifinals match up with the Miami Heat a legitimate series after that convincing Game 1 win. Despite their double-digit defeats since then—and despite the fact that they had just finished a tough seven-game playoff series with the Brooklyn Nets- they managed to do so without their star point guard Derrick Rose, who hasn’t played a single game this season while rehabbing an ACL injury. People insisted from the beginning that Rose was going to make a comeback during the playoffs. It hasn’t happened. Now facing elimination, and heading back to Miami for a critical Game 5, it is probable that the Heat will end this series Wednesday night. But the Bulls should not hang their head in disappointment. What they managed to achieve this season without their star player is nothing short of remarkable. It leaves the real question: Do the Bulls really want or, better yet, need D-Rose back, or are they better off without him?
It sounds silly to even say this, given just how good Rose is. With all of the injuries and illnesses that they’re facing as a team (Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich have also been sidelined for this entire series), the Bulls are playing like a desperate team with nothing to lose. And, believe it or not, that’s actually worked out pretty well for them. If you were to throw Deng, Hinrich, or Rose back into the mix, it might have disrupted the flow of their offense a little bit and force them to play differently. That’s not what they needed. Against the Heat, they needed to continue to play with their backs against the wall like they have nothing to lose.
With Derrick Rose out, the Bulls opened up a pathway for one lost soul to find his way- Nate Robinson. It was a risk for Nate Robinson to come to Chicago. At the time, most thought he’d be the third string point guard after Rose returned, and Marquis Teague might even push him down to fourth string if he could have ever got going. Robinson took a non guaranteed contract to come to the Bulls. Now, he’s the unlikeliest of playoff superstars, leading one of the most dramatic comebacks in Bulls history against the Nets, playing through illness and puking in a bucket in game six, and closing out the Miami Heat, in Miami, in game one of the second round.
The Bulls shouldn’t have had a chance. There should have been no hope. There’s no way that the Bulls could beat the Heat without Derrick Rose. There sure as hell isn’t any way they could beat them without Rose, Hinrich, and Deng. But it happened. And even if the Bulls lose this series, their playoff run showed their fans as well as themselves that they can make it happen if they work hard enough. They don’t need a superstar if they really want to win.
Miami has more talent. Immeasurably more talent. This is one of the best team’s in the history of the NBA, but they don’t have the heart of the Chicago Bulls. Yea they’ll win the series and more than likely play for the NBA title. However, they just got smacked in the mouth a few times this year by the Chicago Bulls. And trust and believe, if you’re a Bulls fan, that counts for something.
No matter how talented you are, you have to work to beat Chicago. Miami got reminded in Game 1 that you can’t walk into a game against the Bulls and try and coast to victory. You’ve got to put in your 48 minutes. You’ve got to punch the clock and go to work. The Chicago Bulls are a passionate team, a prideful team, and yes they let their frustrations show on the court more than most would like. And although they are beaten and battered in that lineup, they still play physical…very physical!
All the complaints about what the Bulls did last summer in letting go the supporting cast should seem rather silly now. The non-Rose group this year carried the Bulls further than the non-Rose group last year [which went 1-4 in the playoffs against a far worse team in Philly than Brooklyn]. Yes, the Bulls probably miss Asik, but Belinelli’s had more big playoff moments than Korver ever had. Nate Robinson’s looked like a freakin all-star, and Jimmy Butler has blossomed with Ronnie Brewer’s minutes open. Don’t get me wrong. It would’ve been great for them to get D-Rose back into the lineup. Same goes for Deng and Hinrich. At full strength, they would’ve given the Heat a serious run for their money in this series. However, there’s absolutely no way they’re going to get back to full strength this season. Even if Rose did come back for one game, he would have to get comfortable out on the court again at full speed of a real game (not just on the court in practice and shoot arounds). And right now, with the series and season on the line, is not the best time for him to do that. So for that reason—and for that reason alone—the Bulls are better off without him. Of course the ultimate goal of any team is to win it all. But for what it’s worth, Chicago did a helluva job this year and should be proud to get as far as they did when they were counted out from the beginning.
p.s.- your season was MUCH better than the Lakers!
All good things must come to an end. Sometimes those things come to an end in unceremonious fashion, but they end nevertheless. That’s exactly what happened with former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb before the start of the 2010 when he was traded to a division foe, the Washington Redskins.
It was a messy exit from Philadelphia.
But Philadelphia is where McNabb went 92-49-1, and holds the franchise records for completions (2801), passing yards (32,873) and passing touchdowns (216). Philadelphia is also where McNabb led the Eagles to four NFC Championship Game appearances and Super Bowl XXXIX, where they inevitably fell to the New England Patriots.
McNabb, 36, last played in 2011, appearing in six games for the Minnesota Vikings before being released and sitting out the rest of that season after failing to find another NFL employer. He attempted once more to land a quarterback job with a team before last season but again went unsigned. The former No. 2 overall pick out of Syracuse spent last season out of football as an occasional NFL Network guest analyst and radio personality.
So now Donovan McNabb has decided its time to hang the jersey up officially and lay his football career to rest. He announced on ESPN Radio 97.7 in Syracuse that he is going to retire as a Philadelphia Eagle. McNabb was serenaded with resounding boos when he was drafted in 1999 by the Eagles organization, but the resilient quarterback went on to set nearly every significant franchise passing record within the Eagles organization. Even when the fans decided to take their anger and frustrations out on him, he still has Philly in his heart.
“There was never any animosity from the Philly fan. I have nothing but love for the Philly fans, even the ones who were highly criticizing me or opinionated in any way. I can’t get upset at them because my job is to get out on the field and be productive. That’s what quarterbacking is all about.”
McNabb said on NBC Sports Radio that the Eagles suggested Sept. 19 as a potential date for a ceremony. The Philadelphia Eagles appear on a “Thursday Night Football” matchup on NFL Network that day. Their opponent? The Kansas City Chiefs. The Chief’s coach? The man who drafted McNabb- Andy Reid.
It remains unknown whether Donovan McNabb will receive a bid later on down the line for a Hall of Fame entrance. Although he didn’t quite get the championship he was so close to grabbing, McNabb had a pretty solid career. He finishes 17th on the NFL’s career passing list with 37,276 yards and 22nd in touchdowns with 234. But Donovan says, he’s never played for “individual accolades”.
“If I’m rewarded by getting in the Hall of Fame, hey that’s great. But to me it’s like graduation. You step across the stage and say you know what, I made it, and I’m happy for it.”
The Miami Heat had a statement to make. They had a point to prove. They wanted to be sure that it was not misunderstood who the #1 seed in the conference was. And they made that point very clear with a blowout 115-78 win against the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night.
The Bulls had taken Game 1 in convincing fashion. They stole one on the road after the Heat may have been a little rusty after having 9 days off before the game on Monday. The Bulls threw the first punch in Game 1, but the Heat went for the TKO in Game 2. After nine technical fouls, two ejections and a whole lot of extracurricular pushing and shoving, the end results were as follows: The biggest postseason win in Heat history, the biggest postseason loss in Chicago Bulls history, and tons of fresh venom pulsing through the veins of this now-tied Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Believe it or not the first half of the game was pretty evenly matched. It was back and forth and very competitive. At 3:42 in the 2nd quarter the Bulls were down 42-38; then the Heat went on a 62-20 run which lasted all the way to 8:28 in the 4th quarter. The Heat scored 56 points in the paint Wednesday, their second most in any playoff game since the 1996-97 season. In building a lead that eventually swelled to 45 points, Miami shot a scintillating 60 percent and smothered the depleted Bulls’ offense — holding a proud Chicago team to just a 35.5 percent mark from the floor. Yes the Heat embarrassed the Bulls, that is until the Bulls began to embarrass themselves.
Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were ejected in the fourth quarter and the league will almost certainly review some of the things said and done in a game that was close for the first 20 minutes. The Bulls were called for six player technicals, the most by any team in a playoff game since Boston had that many against Indiana in 2005.
“I don’t know how many techs we got. … I would call that not keeping your cool, not being very Zen.”- Bulls Center Joakim Noah
Some of the calls were blatantly obvious and still the refs didn’t even acknowledge them. One can imagine how frustrating that can be for a team already in a serious hole, now imagine that team playing the Heat where most will agree calls get missed a little TOO often. Bulls forward Carlos Boozer, who scored only eight points, said he didn’t fault his teammates for speaking their minds — although cameras suggested that Gibson’s language was a little too hot for rated G-TV.
“Things don’t go your way, you’re competitors, you want to go out there and do everything you can when you feel you’re being cheated. You’re going to say something about it. But regardless we don’t place the blame on anybody else, we put it on our shoulders and we’ll play better.”- Bulls Forward Carlos Boozer
But bad calls or not, you can’t blame the refs for a 37 pt. loss. And you certainly couldn’t fault the refs for LeBron James. Though he made just a single basket after his 6-of-6 first quarter, James controlled every aspect of Game 2 — finishing with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 9 dimes. Several of those dimes suggested almost otherworldly powers of anticipation. Ray Allen had 21 in just 19 minutes.
“No matter if you win by 20, 30, or one point, it’s a 1-1 series. They came in and did their job. They got one on our floor and took home court. So, we’ve got to try to go to Chicago and get it back.”- Heat Forward LeBron James
For the first part of this game, it was everything you expect in a Heat-Bulls game. It was physical. And with Game 3 in Chicago on Friday, you can expect another physical game. But don’t count the Bulls out yet. They are pretty good in the United Center and this is same team who beat the Heat to stop a 27 game win streak. This is the same Bulls team who has to make a way out of no way with player injuries plaguing the team and no Derrick Rose. So Heat fans, enjoy the fire while it’s hot, but don’t expect a blowout like this in Game 3.
If you are surprised that the Warriors beat the Spurs last night, then you must not have been watching the right Warriors team. Because after watching the first 106 minutes of basketball between these two, the only surprise is that the Warriors aren’t 2-0 instead of 1-1.
Coach Mark Jackson said that his team would take Game 1 as a learning and growing experience after they led by a 16 point margin and lost it in the last 4 minutes, only to lose the game 127-129 in double overtime. No NBA team had ever blown such a big lead with such little time left in a playoff game. It was a devastating loss for the team and the fans. Instead of snapping a 29 game losing streak in San Antonio, they extended it 30.
Apparently a case of amnesia struck the locker room. The young Warriors took a big step in their development Wednesday night, withstanding another furious rally by the Spurs for a 100-91 victory to even their series at one game apiece and snap a 30-game skid in the Alamo City. The Warriors came out of the gate in Game 2 firing bullets, and the gun belonged to Klay Thompson. Thompson had to show up in this pivotal Game 2 because it can be argued one of the reasons Golden State blew their lead in the opener was because Thompson had fouled out the game too early. This time he had 2 fouls all night. Thompson had a career-high 34 points and 14 rebounds, and Stephen Curry added 22 points for Golden State, which had not won in San Antonio since Feb. 14, 1997.
“I truly believe the trials and tribulations are transportation for where you’re going. Game 1 made us better. We didn’t panic. We made plays. That’s a heck of a basketball team that’s extremely well-coached and has no quit in them. We don’t have any quit in us, either. The bottom line is we made the plays we needed to make.”- Warriors Coach Mark Jackson
Thompson had 17 points in the second quarter. Like Stephen Curry in Game 1, any look Thompson got that was open, and several that weren’t, resulted in a picture-perfect jumper.
The x-factor in this game was definitely from the shots from the line: 3 point line and foul line. The Spurs struggled in both those key areas, shooting 16-of-24 (66.7 percent) from the free throw line and 5-of-21 from behind the arc. While the Warriors had similar problems from the charity stripe, they hit 11 of 23 3-point attempts. Down 19 at halftime, the Spurs cut Golden State’s lead to eight, 80-72, late in the third quarter. Then Jarrett Jack found Thompson open in the corner and once again, a 3-pointer sufficed as the period expired, giving the Warriors an 11-point lead heading into the fourth. Some people say, “you live by the 3, you die by the 3.” In Golden State’s case, you live by the 3 and you just keep on living.
Tim Duncan scored 23 points and Tony Parker added 20 for San Antonio, which had won five straight in the postseason. Manu Ginobili had 12 points, and Kawhi Leonard had 11 points and 12 rebounds. They even pulled close , 97-89 with 4:23 left in the game on Ginobili’s 3, but it was the closest the Spurs would come, as they missed six straight shots before Cory Joseph sank a 16-footer with 18.9 seconds remaining.
“What happened in Game 1 wasn’t about their inexperience. It’s one of those things that happens very rarely. We shouldn’t have won that game. They came out hungrier and with more determination. They just did a much better job than us.”- Spurs Guard Manu Ginobili
Game 3 and 4 will be in Oracle Arena in Oakland, Ca. on Friday and Sunday. The Warriors have a opportunity to go up 3-1 on the #2 seed and some people’s NBA finals favorite. As Stephen Curry said, they control their own destiny.
Basketball is always a game of runs — but never like this. The Knicks scored 20 fourth-quarter points before the Pacers put a single point on the board. Going back even further, New York outscored Indiana 36-4 during a 12-minute stretch. It was the rarest of onslaughts. And the Knicks showed up in not so rare form to rout the Indiana Pacers 105-79 on Tuesday night to even the series in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
And Carmelo just may have found that umph that he lost during the end of the Boston series. Carmelo Anthony made nine of his 15 shots after halftime while scoring 22 of his game-high 32 points. He did his damage at the rim, from behind the arc and at midrange. Indiana had no answer. Then again, who would. Once the scoring title champion gets in rthym, there is no stopping him.
“I think for the most part from the start of the game and throughout the whole game, I think we played with a sense of urgency today. We played the way we’ve been playing as far as competing at the highest level.”- Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony
Iman Shumpert added 15 points, including a highlight reel of a dunk in the first half, and Raymond Felton scored 14 as the Knicks turned a close game into a blowout over the final 15 minutes.
Paul George scored 20 points for the Pacers, who had a two-point lead and momentum when coach Frank Vogel called timeout with a little more than 3 minutes left in the third quarter. By the time the Pacers got on the board in the final period, the Knicks had opened a 26-point advantage.
“The fourth quarter, we just defensively, we picked up. We kept getting stop after stop and then we would rebound the ball and get it up and our offense began to flow like old times. It was kind of nice to see.”- Knicks Coach Mike Woodson
Through 3 quarters, the Pacers were finding success near the basket, going 17-of-22 inside 5 feet. But in the 4th quarter, the Pacers were 0-of-1 from that distance. Indiana went away from taking advantage of its size, which had worked well in Game 1 against the Knicks, when David West and Roy Hibbert combined for 8-of-11 inside 5 feet. As soon as they strayed from that strategy, they strayed from putting points on the board.
Indiana also committed 12 turnovers that turned into 20 points for the Knicks.
Both teams have their flaws that can cost them games, but when Carmelo Anthony is on the floor, and looking more like the leader and competitive player we know him to be, it going to be hard to pull those flaws out from New York. Instead, Indiana succumbed to their weaknesses and the Knicks exposed them.
Game 3 is Saturday in Indianapolis.
Mike Conley showed up and showed out in Tuesday’s Game 2 contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Just one assist shy of a triple double, Conley led the Grizzlies to a 99-93 win over the Thunder with 26 points, 9 assists, and 10 rebounds. He also got a pretty good help from his teammates; Marc Gasol ended the night with 24 points and Zach Randolph gave another 15 to provide strong inside an outside game.
“Mike Conley is now one of the top five point guards in the league, whether anybody likes it or not. I know a lot of people have got their favorites on who they think it should be, but Mike Conley is in that conversation now, being able to do these types of things on the court night in and night out.”- Memphis’ Tony Allen
The Thunder just had way too many turnovers in this game which ultimately would be the x-factor here. When the one man who simply couldn’t make a mistake, made one, the contest was over then. Kevin Durant had to be perfect for his team to get by the Memphis Grizzlies. But as impressive as his 36-point, 11-rebound, 9-assist night was, he was not perfect. In fact five of Oklahoma City’s 19 turnovers came from Durant. None more costly than when he tripped and coughed the ball up with 54 seconds left and his team down four. Oklahoma City was 29th in turnover rate this season, and Memphis was second in turnovers forced. That’s a nasty combination for a team missing their starting point guard, and the Grizzlies capitalized with 29 points off turnovers.
OKC struggled on offense this game too. Derrick Fisher was the only other Thunder who tried to really give Durant some help on the offensive end with 19-points off 4-of-5 shooting, and even that wasn’t enough. To often Durant had to find his own shot. With his teammates unable to maintain, the Thunder superstar poured in seven straight, almost single-handedly allowing OKC to keep pace with Memphis.
“Too many offensive rebounds, too many turnovers for us to overcome.”- OKC Coach Scott Brooks
The Thunder knew it wasn’t going to be easy against this Memphis team without Westbrook. Even with Westbrook, when the Grizzlies pile up a 48-30 scoring advantage in the paint and outscore Oklahoma City 23-6 in second-chance points and 18-7 on the fast break, this team is tough to beat.
Westbrook will not be able to travel with the team to Memphis for Games 3 and 4 because of the surgery on his right knee that has sidelined him for the rest of the playoffs. Westbrook has been watching home games from a suite at the arena.They are going to need to feel his presence for this road trip, because the task for OKC is growing greater by the day.
The Washington Redskins has had quite an offseason and not just because of recovering quarterback Robert Griffin III. Apparently there are local leaders and pundits that are calling for a name change because they believe the team’s name is offensive to Native Americans. Opponents have launched a legal challenge intended to deny the team federal trademark protection. A bill introduced in Congress in March would do the same, though it appears unlikely to pass. David Grosso, a member of the Washington D.C. Council, said he plans to submit a resolution calling on the Redskins to change their nickname because it is “racist and derogatory” and suggested “Redtails,” in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, a pioneering group of African-American pilots who served the United States in World War II, as a replacement.
Now the Associated Press conducted a poll in which 79% said they believe the name was okay. Several poll respondents told The AP that they did not consider the name offensive and cited tradition in arguing that it shouldn’t change.
“That’s who they’ve been forever. That’s who they’re known as,” said Sarah Lee, a 36-year-old stay-at-home mom from Osceola, Ind. “I think we as a people make race out to be a bigger issue than it is.”
But those who think the name should be changed say the word is obviously derogatory.
“With everything that Native Americans have gone through in this country, to have a sports team named the Redskins — come on, now. It’s bad,” said Pamela Rogal, 56, a writer from Boston. “Much farther down the road, we’re going to look back on this and say, ‘Are you serious? Did they really call them the Washington Redskins?’ It’s a no-brainer.”
Some Native Americans say the word “redskins” to them is equivalent to the word “nigger” for African Americans. And D.C. Mayor Vince Gray says the team must consider changing their name if they ever plan to play in the city again (FedEx Field is currently located in Landover, MD)
So now LDL readers, we ask you what you think.
The New York Knicks came to the MSG dressed in all black, ready to put the Boston Celtics to rest; however, the Celtics are very much alive and well. Once ready to sweep the Celtics, the Knicks cling to a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series which is headed back to Boston tomorrow. The Knicks are slowly learning, you gotta take the Celtics out early, because if you let them linger, you may be the one going home. The Knicks got too full of themselves in the past few days, and it cost them. Smith bragged the series would be over if he had not been suspended Sunday. And following the lead of Kenyon Martin, all Knicks players had black jackets and black slacks hanging in their lockers before last night’s potential Game 5 closeout, anticipating the demise of the Celtics’ season, a season that lives to see a game 6.
“We were going to a funeral, but it looks like we got buried,’’ said Smith, who said he won’t wear black to a game anytime soon. “We got humbled.’’
Although its never been done in NBA history, it wouldn’t shock anyone if the Boston Celtics became the team to regroup from an 0-3 deficit to come back and win a series (they can just ask the Red Sox how to get it done. Remember what they did to Yankees). Kevin Garnett had 16 points and 18 rebounds for the Celtics. Brandon Bass added 17 points, steadying Boston as it shook off an 11-0 deficit and pulled away in the second half to stop the Knicks once again from achieving their first playoff series win since 2000 with 92-86 victory.
“Obviously being down 2-0 or 3-0 or whatever it was, we could have folded shop. Nobody in here is going to quit.”- Jason Terry
Carmelo Anthony hurt his left shoulder early in the fourth quarter and labored through a 22-point night with just 8-of-24 shooting dud. Anthony was 2 of 10 — 0-for-5 from 3-point land — in the second half but said he believes his shoulder “is fine.’’
“I think we’re fine. Sure, we would’ve loved to close it out and move on, but nobody said it would be easy.”- Coach Mike Woodson
Shots that were usually made, were missed. Jason Kidd didn’t play the best of defense against Pierce, or anyone he was facing for that matter. Martin and Chandler both got into foul trouble early. The Knicks blew a big lead in this game and now the series. They face an unwanted trip back to Boston instead of the rest this aging roster surely could use before the second round… IF they get there.
Some teams you worry when the playoffs begin and your star is unable to suit up.
The Pittsburgh Penguins is NOT that team…
Sidney Crosby can take his time healing that broken jaw and his teammates reassured him of that last night as they routed the New York Islanders 5-0 in the opening round of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal matchup.
Crosby broke his jaw in a regular-season game against these same Islanders when a deflected slap shot hit him in the head March 30. Crosby has been out ever since. Crosby (56 points in 36 games) is practicing and wants to play. But he doesn’t need to play against the Islanders. New York is in way over its head in this series.
Pascal Dupuis scored twice, Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves, and the top-seeded Penguins displayed why they are the #1 seed in the East (in case anyone had doubted that).
“It’s one win. We definitely feel good about it but we’ve just got to put this one behind us and get ready to work for the next one. They’ll definitely look at tape and come out harder, that’s for sure.”- Pascal Dupuis
The New York Islanders definitely got further than anyone expected them to go as they returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. However, the Islanders don’t have any secondary scoring to back up John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner. That’s not going to get it done against Pittsburgh. In fact, Tavares did not even register a shot on goal in Game 1 against the Penguins. Pittsburgh’s defense shut him down easily. The Islanders will have to figure that out if they have any hope of making the series competitive. New York fell behind less than 5 minutes in and never recovered.
So Crosby can literally rest easy and come back when he’s fully healthy….I think the team can handle the Islanders.
With your star point guard suffering from sore left ankle, shutting him down may be an action your forced to take even when you don’t want to. Coach Mark Jackson considered that action.
Steph Curry told him in the 3rd quarter how he felt about that.
Stephen Curry shook off a sore left ankle to score 22 of his 31 points in the third quarter, leading the Warriors past the third-seeded Nuggets 115-101 on Sunday for a commanding 3-1 series lead.
“It was almost like a boxer that knew he was on the ropes, because it was just a matter of time. I told him I don’t need him to be a hero. Talk about smart coaching. And I guess he realized and sensed it. He captured and embraced the moment. The thing that stood out to me, it was almost as if he had been waiting for this his entire career and he wasn’t going to allow his body to tell him it was too hurt to match the moment.”- Coach Mark Jackson
Curry shot 10 of 16 from the floor and added seven assists in a dominant display that reminded you much of his NCAA tournament days for Davidson. Only this time, he stole the spotlight in the NBA playoffs, earning praise from Hall of Famers and past and present All-Stars all over social media.
Curry took a pain-killing injection before the game, though he looked slow early and even covered his head in a towel on the bench in the first quarter. But the injection must have kicked in at half time because his five 3-pointers in the third quarter lifted Golden State to a 20-point lead and its third straight victory in this frenetic series. Curry finished with 31 points, seven assists and four steals. Jarrett Jack added 21 points and nine assists and Andrew Bogut broke out in the first half with 12 points and five rebounds for the sixth-seeded Warriors, who can close out the Nuggets in Game 5 on Tuesday night in Denver.
“The next 48 hours are going to be difficult, to say the least. They found some magic, and we have to find a way to take it away.”- Nuggets Coach George Karl
Injuries have forced both these teams into matchups they’d otherwise avoid, but only Denver was hurt by them in Game 4. Bogut abused the smaller Wilson Chandler early, and Curry proved far too quick for Andre Miller during his scoring run late in the third. Ty Lawson scored 26 points and Andre Iguodala had 19 for the Nuggets.