“Let Burien Chevrolet make you a great deal!” - Elise Woodward
By Trenton Jocz, KJR Intern
With 8 playoff games this weekend, any number of things can keep one from missing a game. Whether you had to work, couldn't pass up "Mad Men" or "Game of Thrones," or just wanted to sleep in, catch up on what you missed with the Instant Replay:
(All home teams in bold)
NEW YORK 85, Boston 78
Looking Back: Before the game, Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce came together in order for a nice moment addressing the crowd and the country about the tragic events in Boston this past week. Boston carried a 4 point lead into the locker room largely thanks to Jeff Green’s 20 point first half out burst. Avery Bradley was pretty important for both teams early on. On one hand, he was burning the Knicks with off ball cuts time and time again for easy buckets at the rim. Conversely, he also paid homage to an in-attendance Mark Sanchez (booed by his own New York crowd) and repeatedly threw errant entry passes that led to New York fast break opportunities. In the second half though, even with a clearly limited Tyson Chandler on the bench, Boston’s offense fell into one of its familiar slumbers, culminating in a pathetic 8 points in the final quarter. Despite that, the game still hung in the balance in the final minutes, but Anthony, continuing his torrid pace that won him his first scoring title, shut the door on the Celtics with a couple late buckets and a fantastic pass out of a double team to a wide open Kenyon Martin under the hoop for a backbreaking dunk. He finished with 36 points on 13-29 shooting overall, 4-6 from deep and 6-6 from the line.
Going Forward: Some took Boston's failure to capture a winnable game as a death blow, but the reality is, with the way Boston has bullied Carmelo and the Knicks over the last couple years, New York needed this game much more than Boston did. Doc Rivers talked about needing something, heck, anything, from his bench, and the biggest culprit is Jason Terry. The Jet continued his miserable season, going 0-5 from the floor, capped by a late brick on a three pointer at the top of the key. If he can't turn it around, Boston may have to turn to Jordan Crawford for some scoring off the bench, which is far from ideal. Rivers also said he may need another big besides Brandon Bass to contribute from the bench. However, if Chandler continues to be a non-factor, the Celts may be able to avoid giving minutes to the likes of Chris Wilcox or Shavlik Randolph.
DENVER 97, Golden State 95
Looking Back: If you missed this game, you might be looking at the final score wondering how in the world neither team reached 100 points in a series many predicted would feature final scores in the 120s, and the answer is missed shots. Stephen Curry missed 9 of his first 10 shots and was wild all game with the ball. The only Denver starter who shot 50% was Andre Iguodala, and he only took 4 shots, making 2 of them. Klay Thompson kept Golden State afloat with a strong first half, and Andrew Bogut looked as good as he has all season. Bogut's resurgence, however, was tempered by the loss of David Lee, who tore his hip flexor and is done for the season. The dynamic duo for the Nuggets turned out to be the odd couple of 37 year old Andre Miller and internet favorite Javale McGee. McGee's energy was huge with Kenneth Faried sidelined and Miller had a game for the ages (and the aged), with 18 of his 28 points in the final frame, and he saved the best for last. After Curry tied the game with a tough 3 in the corner, Miller took rookie Draymond Green to school in the waning seconds, driving past him with his array of old man, herky jerky moves for the winning layup.
Going Forward: While any contender should be expected to take Game 1 at home, this loss was a huge blow for the Dubs. They failed to capitalize on the absence of Faried, who is expected to return for Game 2, and lost Lee for the season. That will force offensive non-entity Festus Ezeli into more minutes and potentially small-ball lineups with either Harrison Barnes or Richard Jefferson at power forward.
BROOKLYN 106, Chicago 89
Looking Back: The Bulls got their doors blow off from the start, with the game being much uglier than the final score indicates. Deron Williams continued his post-All Star break play, finally looking healthy from the ankle problems that plagued him earlier this season. On the other hand, Joakim Noah is clearly hobbled thanks to plantar fasciitis, and for various reasons, Brook Lopez is capable of dominating Taj Gibson (too small), Nazr Mohammed (too terrible) and Carlos Boozer (too small and too terrible). With 25 points on 12-20 shooting, Boozer maintained his track record of big games against the Nets this year, but Chicago had an even harder time than usual scoring, as Luol Deng had perhaps his worst game of the year.
Going Forward: Lopez will continue to dominate, though Gibson's absence due to foul trouble in Game 1 represents a glimmer of hope for Chicago. Expect a close Game 2, as the Bulls respond as well as any team in the league after a humiliating loss. Brooklyn may very well win this series but I'd be shocked if they shot 55% twice in the same series against a Tom Thibodeau defense.
LA CLIPPERS 112, Memphis 91
Looking Back: If Brooklyn's winning margin underestimates their dominance, then this final score overestimates the tone of this game. The Clips never trailed, but Memphis cut the deficit to 1 in the 4th quarter early on before Los Angeles pulled away. The battle down low between Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph was as physical as advertised. The two post players battled for position all game to the point of getting each other in foul trouble for large chunks of the game. Both played just 25 minutes. The wing depth of the Clippers showed in this game, as basically every one of them had moments, while only Jerryd Bayless was able to help compensate for a bad game by Mike Conley.
Going Forward: Memphis simply can't survive when Conley and Randolph are such non factors. Tony Allen and Bayless are too damaging on one of the floor (offense for Allen, defense for Bayless). Chris Paul and Marc Gasol are the ultimate offensive traffic conductors but Gasol is also responsible for the defensive end of the floor, and it's just too much to ask any player (non-LeBron category) to dominate on both ends for the entire game. With that said, Memphis played very poorly and was still in it until the final stretch. I still expect this series to go the distance.
INDIANA 107, Atlanta 90
Looking Back: The first game of this year's black sheep series that even made NBA junkies cringe actually turned out to be entertaining enough. Paul George made up for a 3-13 game from the floor by hitting 17 of 18 from the line and posting 11 rebounds and 12 assists to tally a triple double. The efforts of Jeff Teague, Josh Smith and Al Horford weren't enough to pick up the slack for the void of contributions from their wing players. Timely triples from Lance Stephenson and George Hill stretched the lead from the 10 point range Atlanta had been holding at to a comfortable 15 or so that really broke the game open.
Going Forward: George should be able to dominate this series as Kyle Korver doesn't have the lateral speed or overall athleticism to keep up and George towers over the likes of DeShawn Stevenson or Dahntay Jones. Atlanta's chances to win a series were slim no matter who the opponent, but sliding down to face Indiana just to avoid a second round matchup with Miami that will never come remains perplexing.
SAN ANTONIO 91, LA Lakers 79
Looking Back: Often times, older teams will coast through the end of the regular season just trying to get healthy before the playoffs, but even Gregg Popovich expressed concern over the way his Spurs played down the stretch. If this game was any indication though, San Antonio looks just fine. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili each pitched in 18 points and looked healthy. Steve Nash, on the other hand, looked limited and admitted as such, although expecting him to be full strength after receiving two epidurals was wishful thinking. With Kobe out (and stealing the show tweeting from his couch), the Lakers simply didn't have the horses to keep up with San Antonio. Metta World Peace was a paltry 2-9 and the bench contributed next to nothing.
Going Forward: Of all the Game 1s, this game may be the most indicative of the games to come. San Antonio has a multide of supporting players to pitch in, while the chances of Los Angeles rest on the shoulders of Howard and Gasol playing at their absolute peak.
MIAMI 110, Milwaukee 87
Looking Back: This game remained reasonably close into the third quarter, but the combination of Brandon Jennings hitting jump shots and Miami's cadre of shooters missing proved to be unsustainable. The shots started falling for the Heat and with Larry Sanders in foul trouble, Miami was also routinely able to get to the hoop. All in all, a pretty ho-hum game for the defending champs.
Going Forward: Miami is clearly not threatened by the Bucks. When they get deeper into the playoffs, Norris Cole may not even see the floor, let alone play 29 minutes. If Milwaukee is to at least take a game in this series, they'll need more than 1-6 shooting in 16 minutes from J.J. Redick.
OKLAHOMA CITY 120, Houston 91
Looking Back: The Rockets looked shellshocked early on, with the NBA's fastest offense stuck in neutral in what looked liked a wire to wire blowout, but they withstood the initial blitz from a locked-in OKC squad and fought back, with the help of OKC's Derek Fisher, to tie it up in the second quarter. The Thunder pulled away rather quickly in the second half though, making it easy for those who had a Sunday night show to watch to change the channel, as by the 4th quarter, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka were cheering on the likes of DeAndre Liggins and Hasheem Thabeet. Thanks to poor games out of Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons, James Harden was the only Rockets starter in double figures
Going Forward: This game, despite the final score, actually showed some promising signs from the Rockets, both for now and the long-term. Much like OKC in 2010 against the eventual champion Lakers, they fought through adversity on the road. What is clear is that Houston cannot afford to play Omer Asik and Greg Smith at the same time, as they did to start the game. Houston is better off going small and attempting to take Serge Ibaka out of the paint and force him to guard a perimeter shooter like Carlos Delfino, a strategy Miami used effectively in the Finals last year. Expect a much closer Game 2, and Houston looks like a team that should be able to hang on for a win in a gentleman's sweep.
Tonight's games: Chicago at Brooklyn (Game 2) and Memphis at LA Clippers (Game 2).