The NBA playoffs are here and we are off to the races! The L.A. Clippers lost Game 1 and home court advantage to the Utah Jazz. What is to become of this for the star-studded Los Angeles Clippers? Clips coach Doc Rivers will need to find answers in order to rebound from their Game 1 loss. The Chicago Bulls found life in their Game 1 victory in Boston. The eighth seeded Chicago Bulls will need more from their one-man show, Jimmy Butler, in order to win Game 2.
Stephen Curry scores 24 points and the Golden State Warriors beat the Sacramento Kings last night. The Kings were trying to pressure Curry to miss shots, thanks to Rajon Rondo’s pesky defense on Curry. It was to no avail. The Warriors recovered in time to seal the win. The Atlanta Hawks beat the Washington Wizards on this night also. Tiago Splitter has turned up with the Hawks and his defense and rebounding has sparked Atlanta. Also, the Houston Rockets beat the L.A. Clippers last night.
The Cleveland Cavaliers finally left the East semifinals, leaving the Chicago Bulls behind and sending Tom Thibodeau’s squad home. The Cavaliers will be facing the Atlanta Hawks and this will be a showdown between Lebron James and the run-fast up-tempo game that Mike Budenholzer implanted on these Hawks players. Lebron James will have to pick his poison on who to defend on the Hawks whether it’s Jeff Teague or Paul Millsap. The Atlanta Hawks dispatched of the Washington Wizards in six games. The Golden State Warriors, led by NBA league MVP Stephen Curry, will be taking on the winner of the L.A. Clippers and Houston Rockets.
The Chicago Bulls took care of business with Cleveland in Game 1, winning it 99-92. Derrick Rose led the way and Pau Gasol was behind him. Cleveland is without Kevin Love and J.R. Smith. It hurt them. That’s why the Cavaliers lost the game. The L.A. Clippers beat the Houston Rockets 117-101 and they were fresh off their Game 7 victory over San Antonio plus they did win Game 1 with Houston without their star point guard Chris Paul. The Atlanta Hawks bounced back from their Game 1 loss with a Game 2 victory with the Washington Wizards. If the Hawks can withstand a Wizards half-court offense with Marcin Gortat and Nene and play up-tempo basketball, they will have a chance to win the series. Otherwise, a low-post presence will hurt these smaller Hawks players. In Game 1 between the Wizards and the Hawks, the Wizards dominated because they had size and height over Atlanta. The Memphis Grizzlies also bounced back to beat the Golden State Warriors and will go to Memphis with the series tied at one game apiece. In Game 1, the Warriors were playing perfect basketball and in Game 2, the emergence of Mike Conley came back and helped Memphis regain control of the basketball game and the series.
The Atlanta Hawks have knocked off the Brooklyn Nets in six games, behind NBA Coach of the Year winner Mike Budenholzer who has effortlessly led these Hawks, who has heard of DeMarre Carroll and Mike Scott and Dennis Schroder, to a winning record. The Chicago Bulls have outlasted these feisty and long-armed Milwaukee Bucks with their size and half court offense with Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah. The Bulls have gotten under the Bucks’ skin late in Game 6, and I would expect a rematch between these two teams in the future. The Golden State Warriors dispatch of the New Orleans Pelicans was no contest. The Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies who got rid of the Portland Trail Blazers in five games. The Clippers outlasted the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 as they win 111-109 and will face the Houston Rockets in the second round, Kevin McHale’s squad playing outstanding with the play of James Harden and Dwight Howard were too much for the older, aging Dirk Nowitzki and these Dallas Mavericks.
So the Indiana Pacers finally threw off the bug that’s been hanging around on their back. They beat the Washington Wizards 93-80 in Game 6 to advance to the East conference finals. Then, in the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Clippers in Game 6 104-98 behind Kevin Durant who got into a bit of foul trouble, overcame it, and came through for his team in the clutch. Now it’s the Heat traveling to Indiana for these crucial games in the East final. The Thunder will be playing in San Antonio for Game 1 of the West final.
The Washington Wizards starve off elimination convincingly and I mean convincingly, they came out to play. Marcin Gortat and John Wall teamed up for the Wizards and win Game 5, 102-79. The Indiana Pacers don’t seem stunned, but they do know they needed to play with a passion, and the Wizards had more of it than Indiana did. Oklahoma City wins Game 5 in OKC, 105-104, down by seven points in the final seconds, and coming back to win it, boy, what a game! The Thunder overcome points by Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford to win this game.