The Atlanta Hawks beat the Boston Celtics in Game 6, 104-92 and advance to meet the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East semi-finals. In the West, the San Antonio Spurs along with two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard will meet Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. I think that the Warriors, despite losing Stephen Curry to injury, might be able to handle winning more games in the playoffs, because they play together as a team and also as a cohesive unit bonding together for a purpose. Shaun Livingston has been able to fill in for Curry as the point guard, contributing points, defense, passing, and complimentary fill in for a two-time Most Valuable Player. The Clippers in Los Angeles has suffered injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Much has surpassed the times if the Clippers are able to get by the Portland Trail Blazers now. It looks like now Portland might get by the Clippers and meet the defending NBA champs Golden State Warriors in the second round of the Western Conference.
No surprise for the San Antonio Spurs who did have a game plan, but managed to ride the coattails of Tim Duncan down the stretch as they win their Game 1 of their series against the Dallas Mavericks, 90-85. The Mavericks shut down the Spurs’ perimeter shooters, but did not contain Duncan. That was a crucial point. The Golden State Warriors stole Game 1 from the L.A. Clippers, but the Clips took back Game 2 in dramatic fashion. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were factors in the Clippers’ win over Golden State. The defending NBA champions Miami Heat win Game 1 of their first round series against the Charlotte Bobcats, 99-88. Or at least that’s what the score is. Dwyane Wade came back from his injury to contribute in the Heat win. The Washington Wizards won the first game of their playoff series against the Chicago Bulls 102-93 and boy, did Nene, the power forward for the Wizards come up big. Knowing Joakim Noah was going to have a huge game for the Bulls, Nene prepared to defend him with all he has got. Brooklyn won Game 1 against the Toronto Raptors, because Paul Pierce showed up to play. This is the primary reason why the Nets signed Pierce and Kevin Garnett. So they could hit their big shots and their veteran leadership was shown in light of that. Oklahoma City won Game 1 against the Memphis Grizzlies, but Tony Allen’s perimeter d on Kevin Durant keyed the Grizzlies’ Game 2 victory. The Atlanta Hawks stole Game 1 from Indiana in Indianapolis, which was a big shock. Portland wins in overtime against the Houston Rockets 122-120 which was an exciting game. LaMarcus Aldridge scored a playoff career high 46 points on 17-for-31 shooting in that game. I am surprised by the Bulls’ loss, because I expected Joakim Noah to have a big game and I also expected Indiana to bring their ‘A’ game as well. I expect both Chicago and Indiana to bounce back. Expect the scoring champ Kevin Durant to bring his ‘A’ game in Game 3 in Memphis.
Kyrie Irving is the All-Star game MVP and Lebron James chipped in in the East’s victory over the West as the Western Conference All-Stars finally lose a game in three years. Irving is the man in Cleveland and he will be for years to come. No closure yet on how Lebron James will say if he will leave Miami and go back to Cleveland. Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant were the leading scorers for the Western Conference All-Stars as they were humble in the loss. Time will tell if the L.A. Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder will be able to figure out why their respective teams will go further in the NBA playoffs.
The Chicago Bulls lost to the Brooklyn Nets in Game 1. Plenty of action in that series and for the Bulls to react to the loss so they can get back into the series. The Nets played better basketball than Chicago did. Plain and simple. They made the extra pass. They shot better. They played better defense and gave more effort than Chicago did. The Golden State Warriors lost to the Denver Nuggets on a last second shot. The Warriors hung around until they finally lost on a game-winning layup belonging to Andre Miller. The Warriors did everything right in the game against the Nuggets. They played stifling defense and didn’t allow the Nuggets to run their fast-paced fast break game. They just let a game go to Denver. The team to watch out for in the NBA playoffs are the L.A. Clippers. Why? They have a lot of players on the bench that can contribute in a hurry, get rebounds, play defense, and score points. They surprised the Memphis Grizzlies in their Game 1. Look for the Clippers to run and gun especially when you have Chris Paul on the wings and DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin running beside him.
Ahh, just like a regular workday, although it’s Sunday, I expect today’s games to be just as entertaining as any other day. The Clippers are playing the New York Knicks, so expect the Clippers to run with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and De Andre Jordan. The Knicks are ever so inconsistently running with Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd as their best defensive stalwarts, although they do have a formidable defense at the basket. Expect the Clippers at their best and the Knicks performing somewhat admirably best at running their halfcourt sets. This game is on ABC today, and it really should be a nail-biter if New York makes this game competitive.
Terrible thing Ibaka did to Blake Griffin. Ibaka got fined for it.
It’s a brand new year and the L.A. Clippers are on a 17-game winning streak. There’s no stopping the Chris Paul-led basketball team, the Clips are outmanning the other 29 NBA teams with their deep bench and inside-outside scoring of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. I think there’s going to be a lot of firepower, especially with Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford as well as Eric Bledsoe on that Clipper bench. Look for Ryan Hollins and Ronny Turiaf to provide defense and energy behind DeAndre Jordan and Griffin. It’s a close matchup between the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks and the Indiana Pacers in the Central Division. Of course, can’t miss the East matchup of division leaders between the New York Knicks in the Atlantic division and the Miami Heat in the Southeast division. I like the Oklahoma City Thunder’s chances of ruling the West with their dominant basketball play behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and of course, bench scoring weapon Kevin Martin.