Posts Tagged ‘sixers’


Wow.

What a way to kick off the Playoffs. I have never seen, rather, the NBA has never witnessed this type of surprises.

For the first time in NBA Playoff history, the top 2 seeds of a conference lose their Game One’s. The Memphis Grizzlies lived up to their words, and beat the Spurs without Rudy Gay for a 101 – 98 thriller. What was not thrilling though was the loss of my beloved LA Lakers, which I still don’t understand how, but they somehow found a way to lose to the New Orleans Hornets, 109-100.

The other games were close, and only the Orlando Magic was the upper seed (#4) to lose to the Atlanta Hawks.

Anyway, let’s take a look at how, for a change, there was no game that was one sided:

Eastern Conference

Indiana Pacers [8] vs Chicago Bulls [1] (99-104)

Derrick Rose said that it wouldn’t be easy.

He was damn right.

With the critics and analysts saying that the Pacers’ record isn’t good enough to be in the playoffs, they proved otherwise. Putting up a challenge in the entire night, they just weren’t able to finish the game right as they started it. Derrick Rose showed why he should be the league’s MVP (39 points, 6 assists), leading the Bulls to end the game on a 16-1 run after trailing 98-88 with over 2 minutes left.

What to expect in Game 2: Expect Carlos Boozer to have a better game, and the rest of the Chicago Bulls to take the Pacers more seriously. Game Two should be Chicago’s.

Philadelphia 76ers [7] vs Miami Heat [2] (89 – 97)

As expected, the Heat beat the Sixers. Also, the Sixers didn’t give in easily. With a mediocre shooting game from LeBron James, and finally taking into the decoy role that he should have been doing all season in the last two minutes of the game, Dwayne Wade managed to score five of his 17 points in the last 2 minutes, securing the win for the Heat. The game kicked off with Philly leading 25-11, yet the Heat bounced back and managed to pull a 12 point lead in the fourth quarter, only for the Sixers to rally back one last time and cut the deficit to 1 point, yet Wade showed them who’s boss, ending the game in favor of the upper seed. Let’s not forget Chris Bosh putting on his A-game with those 25 points and 12 rebounds. The Sixers in general had a good game, but they simply can’t match up with the Heat.

What to expect in Game 2: Another Miami Heat victory unless the Sixers find a way to stop both LeBron and Dwayne at the same time.

New York Knicks [6] vs Boston Celtics [3] (85-87)

I had a feeling this series would be good. I just never thought the games would be this good.

As great as the rivalry was Game 1. Carmelo Anthony didn’t impress as much, Amar’e Stoudemire was awesome, and I’m worried about that Chauncey Billups injury. The New York trio weren’t good enough to beat the Celtics, where Ray Allen shone again with 24 points on 15 shots, including that late 3 that won them the game. It was an exciting game, yet the series took an unfortunate turn for the Knicks with Billups’ injury at the end of the game and is questionable for Game 2.

What to expect in Game 2: If the Knicks don’t feed the ball more to Stoudemire, and Billups not coming back (no offense to Toney Douglas), expect a Celtics victory again.

Atlanta Hawks [5] vs Orlando Magic [4] (103-93)

I haven’t seen a one man performance like Dwight Howard’s in a while. 31 points in the first half? One would think the Magic were dominating the game! *Annoying buzz* Wrong answer. Despite those 31 points, the Atlanta Hawks were outplaying the Orlando Magic.

Other than Dwight Howard’s 46 points and 19 rebounds, there was nothing really to see in the Magic. And they said that Jason Collins was going to bother Howard. Jameer Nelson had a slow start in the first half, but finished strong with 27 points. But that’s about it.

Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford and co. put on a strong game, and seem to be confident about themselves given they won the season series 3-1. Why not? They played big after a not-so-good first quarter.

What to expect: The Defensive Player of the Year for the third year in a row can’t go any bigger than those 46 points, but his teammates assumingly would step up their game. Orlando tie the series.

Western Conference

Memphis Grizzlies [8] vs San Antonio Spurs [1] (101-98)

Memphis rested their starters for the last 4 games to make sure they are ready AND end up with the Spurs in a playoff matchup. They could’ve went up to sixth and played the Dallas Mavericks, who they owned in the regular season. Yet they chose to stay 8th.

They lived up to it. Big time.

Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol put on a show, and despite the game taking lead changes at the end, the Grizzlies were able to get their first playoff win for the franchise. As an eighth seeded team against the best team in the West. Now that’s good.

Yet no need to worry, I still think that, despite my hatred for the Spurs, they’ll still win this series in six games.

What to expect: San Antonio bouncing back like they always do. Spurs win. Very hard for the Grizzlies to pull off another stunner at the AT&T Center.

New Orleans Hornets [7] vs Los Angeles Lakers [2] (109-100)

WHY?

I watched the game the other night, and I still couldn’t understand. Why would Pau Gasol play so horribly like that? Kobe Bryant was the man for LA with those 34 points and those amazing shots, and Ron Artest put up a decent game with that double-double, but seriously Pau Gasol, WTF?! 2 from 9, 6 rebounds?! And you wonder why championship-less center Stoudemire calls you soft? Get your act together! Andrew Bynum had 13 points and 9 rebounds, but wasn’t as good as he was in the streak. Kobe couldn’t pull it off by himself this time. And LA’s defense sucked big time.

Chris Paul, the player who came second to Kobe in MVP voting back in 08, scored 33 points, had 14 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals and played around the Lakers defense at free will. The way the Hornets were knocking down those one handed layups was as if they were playing alone. THE LAKERS SHOULD HAVE DOMINATED THE DAMN GAME! The Hornets don’t have David West. Emeka Okafor had a bad game with more fouls than points. Aaron Gray and Carl Landry outplay Pau Gasol???!!! IN WHAT WORLD?!

It’s a good thing Kobe called out Gasol today. He seriously has to start playing like a 2 time champ.

What to expect: I still think the Lakers are going to win this series in 5. So expect a Lakers win.

Portland Trail Blazers [6] vs Dallas Mavericks [3] (81-89)

It felt so good to see the Mavs win. They got such a good team that I’ll never understand why they just can’t win in the playoffs and play the way they play the regular season. Everyone undermines Dirk Nowitzki and thinks he chokes in the playoffs. Really? He’s one of 4 guys in NBA history to average 25 points and 10 rebounds in the playoffs. Don’t forget those performances against the Suns and Spurs back in the day. And whoever tells me that he choked in the 06 Finals, we all know what happened then. So enough about that.

I enjoyed more than anything my favorite non-Laker player being the X-Factor of the game. That’s right, 38-year old Jason Kidd had 24  points, including 6 3-pointers, and with Nowitzki’s 27 points, the Mavs were finally able to quiet those who are foreseeing an upset in this series and pull off a well deserved win.

What to expect:  This series is puzzling, and I’m not expecting Kidd to have another 24 point game. But I still think the Mavs are going to win both at home. So another Mavs win.

Denver Nuggets [5] vs Oklahoma City Thunder [4] (103-107)

This could easily be the most exciting series in the playoffs. Why not? The youngest and most athletic players in the NBA going at each other? The leading scorer? The team that the Ewing Theory seems to work perfectly on? Yeah, I want this series.

Kevin Durant (41 points) and Russell Westbrook (31 points) combined for one of the best guard performances so far and were able to overcome the winningest team since the All Star break.

Kendrick Perkins had 4 points, but 2 of them gave the Thunder the lead for good.

Denver had a good game, and despite dominating the NBA since the Carmelo Anthony trade, they just can’t seem to beat the Thunder. What I like about Denver is that they had eight players with at least 8 points, led by Nene Hilario’s 22, which makes them a threat given you can’t tell who is going to dominate the game at any given night.

What to expect:  I honestly don’t know. This is one of the series where any team can win on any given night because they are so young. I’ll go with the Thunder on this one, although the Nuggets are going to give them hell again.


After the unexpected turn that the games on Monday night took, the Miami Heat locked up the second seed of the Eastern Conference for the playoffs this year after beating the currently fifth seeded Atlanta Hawks while the Boston Celtics surprisingly lost on the road to the Washington Wizards in overtime. After last night, the Eastern Conference has been mostly determined, where the top seeded Chicago Bulls will play the Indiana Pacers, the Miami Heat will face the Philadelphia 76ers, the old rivalry of the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks opens a new chapter while the Orlando Magic and the Hawks will have another playoff series.

Once again, another first round series, given the fact that the Heat are starting to develop that team chemistry that everyone has been talking about. But hasn’t this happened already? When the Heat beat the Cavaliers the first time, and they went on that long run where they were unbeatable, didn’t everyone say that they finally clicked? Then they went on that losing streak and the “Cry-Gate” incident, and their eligibility to be contenders was questioned again. Now they seem to be on the right path, and the Heat along with their fans are hoping that this may be it.

Meanwhile, after a 3-13 start where most critics thought that will be another disappointing season from Pennsylvania’s lone representative in the NBA, Philadelphia’s coach Doug Collins was able to switch their fortunes around, giving them one of the best records in that period since the disastrous start despite the fact that they don’t even have a current Top-40 scorer in the NBA and no “legitimate superstar”.

Coach

From the beginning of the season, this man has always been on the rumors page and on the hot seat.  Everything seemed to be pointing that Miami coach Erik Spoelstra will be fired. The 9-8 start, the five game losing streak that included a loss to the Chicago Bulls (whom eventually swept the Heat in a three game series), losing the season series 3-1 to Boston Celtics, blowing leads in the stretch, unable to win close games in the last minute, and other things worth noting. Yet team president Pat Riley never said that Spoelstra’s job was in danger, although there seemed to be conflicts at times between team star LeBron James and the coach. I still have doubts that the Heat will win it all this year given that they have a lot of inconsistencies to work on.

The season series that took place between the two teams was one sided, where the Heat won all three games at a margin of at least 9 points, but not more than 12. Yet if you take into consideration when the games took place, two of them which were very early in the season, you cannot judge how this playoff series will play based on the season. The Heat got their first win of the season in Philly, and the Sixers’ 13th loss was in Miami before they had that massive turnaround. Coach Collins, first year with the team who formerly coached the young Michael-Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, somehow managed to work things out with the team, and was able to put them on a huge run from that point on, after the second loss to Miami.

Winner: A little nudge to Doug Collins

Star Power

The Big Three of Miami are doing a great job considering this is their first season and all the scrutiny and criticism they had to go through, although they are unable to execute down the stretch against the big teams (which matters most). After the second worrying losing streak that the Heat endured during March, Chris Bosh wanted the ball more and made it clear publicly, and when they played the Los Angeles Lakers next, despite how “soft” he is, he was still able to make a difference. Miami's Big ThreeThese three, on any given night, are able to put up between 70 to 90 points easily. The third game of the season series indicated so, was one of a kind, where the Miami’s Big Three had 91 points, including a monster game by Dwayne Wade (39 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 blocks and 3 steals) that has a very unlikely precedence of happening again.

When the highest scorer on your team averages 15 points a game, you know that these players are all about the team. There is no really one star on this team, since every night, someone seems to play star when he’s on a roll. Elton Brand is one of six players on the Sixers that averages double figures (10+ points a game). Andre Igoudala is finally playing the lockdown defense on the perimeter that he should have been playing ages ago. Yet after seeing them throughout the season, the Sixers still lack a true star, a center I believe, that can play next to Brand in order to compete against the big guys.

Winner: Miami’s Big Three

The Rest:

At the beginning, Miami had James Jones knocking down all those threes for them. Then he got kicked out of the rotation. Udonis Haslem went down early in the season and has yet to play since. Mario Chalmers has been ineffective. Carlos Arroyo was released, and eventually signed with the Celtics. Zydrunas Ilgauskus has diminished a lot this year, Joel Anthony is Canadian, and Juwan Howard, well he’s Juwan Howard. Mike Miller has yet to play a decent game since he recovered from an injury, and Mike Bibby is starting to clearly look his age, although he is having some good games. When your fourth best player is some old veteran that has his ups and downs, that has to be worrying enough.

As mentioned above, the Sixers may not have the best players in the NBA, but they are full of role players that know their position on the team. Having four starting players that are under the age of 24, they have a very promising team in the future and although they won’t be able to compete now, one should have an eye out for them in the future. Jrue Holiday, Louis Williams, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young are all look-out-for players that should be taken into consideration.

Winner: Sixers

It’s true that you cannot win with your stars only, but this series is likely to indicate otherwise. The Miami Heat are definitely winning this series, just don’t expect the Sixers to go down without a fight.

Final (Projected) Result: Miami 4 -2.


In the Washington Wizards’ hope opener last night, John Wall did the Dougie dance in the introductions. The Wizards beat the Philadelphia 76ers for the first win 116-115 in OT. Wall had 29 points, 13 assists and 9 steals in the win.

And here’s the Dougie dance:


After seven years, the Cleveland Cavaliers are playing their first game without LeBron James.

And they got their first one.

Playing back in the Q, the Cleveland Cavaliers got their first win in as many tries and delivered the first loss to the Boston Celtics, who defeated LeBron James and the Miami Heat one night ago.

With a packed arena that had the atmosphere of an NBA Finals Game 7, JJ Hickson led the Cavs with 21 points to their first victory, giving possibly a lot of hope to the fans of Cleveland that life may be good after all without LeBron.

Cleveland fans were grateful for Boston, since the Celtics beat LeBron one night earlier, and then lost to the Cavs. With this win, I don't expect to see much of these.

The game was a tight one for three and a half quarters, where no team was able to hold on to a good lead.

Until the last half of the 4th quarter, where Anthony Parker broke a tie at 86 with a three pointer shot at the last second of the 24 second shot clock. And it was all Cleveland from there, where Daniel Gibson, scoring all of his 16 points in the second half, scored 4 crucial free throws in the final seconds to clinch the first LeBron-less win 95-87.

Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo was in charge for Boston, scoring 18 points and having 9 assists and 3 steals. Paul Pierce had 13 points and Ray Allen added 12 points while Kevin Garnett collected 15 rebounds in the Celtics’ first loss.

Meanwhile, the Miami Heat scored their first victory of the season in their second road game, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 97-87. Dwayne Wade had 30 points, LeBron scored 16 points, had 7 rebounds, 6 assists but turned the ball over 9 times. Chris Bosh finished with 15 points, but the real savior of the Heat was bench player James Jones, who scored 20 points, including six 3-pointers.