Brooklyn wins Game 7 barely, 104-103 on Paul Pierce’s blocked shot of Kyle Lowry’s layup going to the basket. This has been a terrific season for the Toronto Raptors, because they had a contract year for Lowry whose value performance came right on the moment and in a season where all was on the line. The San Antonio Spurs beat the Dallas Mavericks in a blow out in Game 7. The Spurs win 119-96 and the number one seed in the West will take on the fifth seeded Portland Trail Blazers in the second round. Do I smell confidence oozing out of the San Antonio Spurs? I expect the Portland Trail Blazers to give the Spurs their best effort in the West semifinals.
The Grizzlies hung on to beat Kevin Durant and his Thunder 98-95 to take the pivotal Game 3 and lead the series 2 games to 1. The L.A. Clippers held on to beat the Golden State Warriors 98-96 in their Game 3. Both were exciting games to watch. The Brooklyn Nets beat the Toronto Raptors 102-98 and they did it in style behind Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce. The Bulls take Game 3 against Washington, 100-97 and so do the Houston Rockets against the Portland Trail Blazers 121-116. So the Pacers win Game 4, 91-88 behind Paul George and it wasn’t easy, because a determined Hawks squad wanted to dismantle a united Pacers team on that night only. The Miami Heat take a 3-0 commanding series lead with a 98-85 victory and they look confident in the first round, knowing that the later rounds will get difficult as time goes on. The Mavericks win Game 3 on Vince Carter’s improbable three-pointer at the buzzer as Dallas wins 109-108 to lead the series against the San Antonio Spurs, 2 games to 1. And, the Oklahoma City Thunder take Game 4 92-89 against a mentally tough Memphis Grizzlies team led by Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Is there anyone in the league who can contain these two from getting their points? The San Antonio Spurs have shown that in the past playoffs. The Miami Heat are cruising here, because the first round competition is too easy to handle. The Raptors-Nets series, the Pacers-Hawks series, the Thunder-Grizzlies series, Mavericks-Spurs, and Bulls-Wizards are all very closely competitive contests. The Raptors and Nets are equally talented on paper, however the Nets are more experienced. The Hawks are giving Indiana all they can handle. The Grizzlies and Thunder face off in another showdown, while the Mavericks-Spurs and Bulls-Wizards are very closely played basketball games. Given from the start, the Wizards are showing us they are a very good ball club now against Chicago in these playoff games. The Atlanta Hawks are also showing the world they are a good basketball team against the Indiana Pacers.
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.
Jason Kidd is entering his first year being the NBA head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, yet he is struggling. Since retirement, we do not know what coach Kidd has yet to learn about basketball coaching, yet he has the caliber chance to deliver an NBA title to Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, and Andrei Kirilenko. The real question we should be asking Jason Kidd is why do we care about him being a good coach. Don’t get me wrong, Kidd was a veteran presence to have in the locker room and on the court, and because of his savvy ball handling skills, he knows how to get the rock to his teammates where he likes to have them make shots. The fact is, Jason Kidd is a rookie coach and shouldn’t be taken seriously. This is his first year being a basketball coach, and should we be surprised that he is struggling? Not all first-year NBA coaches do well on the job. Stay tuned for future articles on Jeff Hornacek, the new coach of the Phoenix Suns and Brian Shaw, the new coach of the Denver Nuggets.
This is the start of the NBA season and I have yet to witness, but read about it, Paul George’s basketball brilliance. He continues to expand his perimeter game and he is on the cusp of greatness, the same as Lebron James, and both George and James are continuing to put the hurt on opposing perimeter defenders with their long-range shooting and slashing to the hoop. Houston is 4-1, because of James Harden and new Rocket Dwight Howard’s post interior defense, scoring, and rebounding. It will all depend on Howard’s ability to finish games, because he was unable to help Kobe Bryant finish late in the closing seconds of basketball games when he was with the Lakers. Cleveland is 2-2 and I am keenly interested in how Jarrett Jack mentors the young Cavs in Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. Teams to watch out for as November games continue: the Brooklyn Nets with their starting five of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Brook Lopez, and the Chicago Bulls and their star point guard Derrick Rose plays since his injury, and Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe, who got off to a fast start having 18 points and 6 assists against Utah on November 1, 26 points and 14 assists against OKC on November 3, and 25 points and 5 assists against New Orleans on November 5.
The Chicago Bulls will definitely have Derrick Rose back for a full NBA season and they hope they will dethrone the two-time NBA champion Miami Heat come June in the NBA Finals. The Brooklyn Nets have Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry and they will have new Nets coach Jason Kidd lead them to the Promised Land and get an NBA title. When the NBA season starts, look for these things to expect: 1) Watch out for Alex Len, the center for the Phoenix Suns and expect him to get 15 points-10 rebounds a night, 2) the duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson shoot the lights out of the gym every night, and 3) expect Chauncey Billups to have an impact on Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe’s development as basketball players.
Leandro Barbosa is going to join the Boston Celtics. This is a good opportunity for him to get to know Rajon Rondo and play with some of the Celtic greats like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Also joining Boston are Courtney Lee and Jason Terry. They may not rule the Eastern Conference like in the past, but they will still be there somewhere at the top of the playoff race.