NBA Playoffs Last Night (5/1/12): Paul Pierce is a Sixers 3rd Quarter (TNT Notes follows)

36 and 14…the same number that was the deciding 3rd quarter Sixers/Bulls output

Yesh, Yesh Y’all…it’s a dreary day in Philly but it’s still jiggy.  Seems like a just about that time for the leaves to fall day…sans the yellow seed bearers of poetic measure. Let’s get in to what happened last night in the NBA playoffs. Beans went off, so did the Truth. Iguodala grabs highlights walking on the ceiling…Jeff Teague too…

Philadelphia shoots past Chicago 109-92. Series locked at 1 apiece.

 

I picked the Sixers in 7 over the Bulls just before the series began and caught a lot of twitter heat for doing so. There was something about Derrick Rose that just didn’t seem right. He sat out way too many games and if he wasn’t near healthy, I thought the Sixers matched up well with the fiery Bulls. Unfortunately, Rose suffered a tear in his knee and is done for the playoffs and the Olympics as well. Very sad for the young get upper. I hope his springs return like the leaves do of green.

This series, IMO, rests on the broad shoulders of one young Jrue Holiday now that Rose is out. If he balls to his capability and as long as the Sixers out-rebound (Turner will be a factor here) Chicago, Philly should actually win. Deng and Iguodala is a wash. Noah, Brand, Boozer, Hawes…same. Brand is not appreciated defensively but his 4 blocks last night shows that’s not smart. He doesn’t have to help off Rose drives or double the MVP and can focus on just being an early rock inside and getting the Sixers off. Boozer has to do his thing. Why shouldn’t he be 20/10? I don’t get it. Noah should have a nice series. He has great emotion and that passion wills buckets and blocks and boards and sick passes not common of his position. How will Watson and Lucas respond? How does Taj Gibson fit in? Thibbs better figure it out quick…

So last night. Chicago tested what was to be without Pooh. He walked on the floor pregame to an applause by the United Center crowd happy to see him, but depressed nevertheless.  Seats were empty. I thought of my son Gaston. Rose is his favorite player, and his injury reminded me of how I felt when Chris Webber went down that fateful night vs. the Mavericks. He came back but his spring was not the same. Technology is better so we hope Rose will be able to fall from the sky with two handed fury.

The Bulls came out ready. Jumpers were made. Joakim Noah had a fire on the offensive end. Dug his two drives into the Sixers defense and subsequent soft hooks off the glass. They got out to an 8 point lead…the crowd got into it. Unfortunately for Chicago, halftime happened.

The Sixers shot out like a force of Philly heart in the second half. 59% shooting in the 3rd quarter. There were Iguodala dunks…

Lou Williams oops. Jrue Holiday dribble drives and baskets UCLA off glass reminiscent. He wanted this. Doug Collins had to be happy his team responded. The Bulls had no answer. Deng has to perform the same or better than his number sake…Iguodala. If not, Chicago will have a very down off season and the ghost of Dikembe on the floor happy and joyous in Seattle will be seen again.

1 2 3 4 T
PHI 25 22 36 26 109
CHI 28 27 14 23 92

Who got off:

Philadelphia:  Holiday 26 Points, 6 dimes and a steal. Elton Brand had a very efficient 12 points, 5 boards and a very important 4 blocks. He seems to give it something extra vs. the Bulls. Lou Williams had 20 and 6 droppers. Iguodala had just 11 but his 5 and 5 and open court play gave his teammates a jolt.

Chicago:  Noah 21 points, 8 rips, 5 dimes. John Lucas did well offensively at point in relief of Watson. He had 15 and 4 assists. He had some nice drives. The aforementioned Watson had 12 and 3 helpers. Rip Hamilton had 10.

Beans and Bynum power LA past Denver 104-100. Lakers lead 2-0.

Kobe Bryant will not allow this Lakers team to underachieve. Now that Andrew Bynum is healthy, the Lakers, because of their size, could shock the world and get into the Finals (my pick). Yes, Denver is another one of those well coached collectives getting the most out of its roster, but LA can’t lie down or Karl’s contingent will take advantage.

Andrew Bynum, coming off an Oscar with blocks, is out to freak the NBA world. He had a above average playoff career high 27 points and also 9 boards last night. Pau Gasol was 13 and 10. That adds up to a 2-0 series lead.

Ty Lason had 25 and 7 given. His floor game was nice. Kenneth Faried is impressive. 14 and 10 in 26 minutes. He plays as if he’s a vet looking to cash in a free agent contract…yet he’s a rookie. Denver is a couple of years away from doing some damage. The Nuggets hung around last night but just don’t have that star to power them over the top vs. an elite unit like the Lakers. They might get one game out of seven this time out. Miller didn’t score but he had 8 dimes. 15 assists out of your backcourt is nice.

1 2 3 4 T
DEN 25 23 26 26 100
LAL 32 23 26 23 104

Who got off:

Denver: T. Lawson 25 points and 7 dimes.

Los Angeles: K. Bryant 38 points (83rd 30 point game. 2nd behind Mike’s 109), 4 boards and 3 steals. Bynum with 27 and 9 rebounds.

Without Rondo and Allen, Boston rides the Truth and defeats ATL 87-80. Josh Smith twists his knee. Series tied 1-1.

Look, this is money time. Money time is where big time players do it big. Paul Pierce is well aware of the moment and putting up 36 and 14 boards is Larry legendary. It appeared Atlanta would win this game but Pierce will not let it happen. He had the fade going. When he’s hitting that shot, he’s unstoppable and everyone might as well watch him shine. Joe Johnson was smooth with his and Jeff Teague had a nice game (a highlight dunk and block as well). Josh Smith went down after twisting his knee with 4:20 remaining. The Hawks cannot obviously lose the talented forward. He’s their rock.

1 2 3 4 T
BOS 24 17 20 26 87
ATL 24 20 22 14 80

Who got off: 

Boston: P. Pierce 36 points, 14 boards and 4 dimes. Garnett was 15 and 12 with 5 assists. Avery Bradley had an effective 14.

Atlanta: J. Johnson 22 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 steals. Josh Smith 16 points, 12 boards and 5 dimes. Jeff Teague had 18 points.

TNT Notes:

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith

 

Barkley on New York’s Amar’e Stoudemire: “Going forward, he has to come back and figure out…the same thing with Carmelo [Anthony]…they’ve got to find ways to help their team win when they’re not scoring.”

Smith on Stoudemire: “The Knicks actually have played pretty well without him [Stoudemire]. All of a sudden the offense might flow a little better, the Garden [MSG] might get excited, and all of a sudden they might make a game out of Game 3.”

 

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Philadelphia 76ers (109) @ Chicago Bulls (92) – Series tied 1-1

Announcers: Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Reggie Miller (analyst) and Cheryl Miller (reporter)

 

Miller on one of the keys to the 76ers offense in the series: “Rebounding is the No. 1 key for [76ers head coach] Doug Collins in this series.”

Miller on the 76ers making adjustments over the course of a series and listening to the coach’s direction: “Talking about players relating and listening to their coach…you don’t want to get embarrassed, because it’s all about adjustments. If you’re not listening to your coach and coaching staff, you’re going to get embarrassed.”

Miller on Chicago center Joakim Noah’s ability to stay consistent: “Even with Derrick Rose out they’re not going to run any plays for Noah, but he finds ways to score.”

 

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed 76ers head coach Doug Collins following the first quarter:

 

DC: “We executed well. I was happy with our offense. We want to push it. We’re not a great half court team.”

 

 

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

 

Smith on the impact on the Chicago Bulls backcourt without Derrick Rose: “You have backup point guards [John Lucas III and C.J. Watson] with starter mentalities and that’s why the Chicago Bulls are so good.”

Barkley on Joakim Noah’s unorthodox shooting stroke: “My favorite player [Noah] is ‘balling’ tonight. It [Noah’s shooting stroke] is like a Jim Furyk golf swing. It might not look good…”

 

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Miller on how the Chicago Bulls will try and compensate offensively for the absence of Derrick Rose: “If [the Bulls] need a bucket down low, [they’re] going to have to go to Carlos Boozer.”

 

 

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed 76ers guard Jrue Holiday following the game

CM: “Was it that big of a difference not having [Chicago’s] Derrick Rose on the floor?”

JH: “Last game we focused a lot on Derrick Rose. Now we can single in on Kyle Korver and Rip [Hamilton] and they didn’t start out hot…and that was good for us.”

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Game Break

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

 

Barkley on Denver’s game plan tonight: “Aaron Afflalo and [Ty] Lawson have to show [tonight]. The Lakers bench is not very good. Denver’s bench is probably the best scoring bench in the NBA. They got outscored in Game 1 by the Lakers bench. If they do that [outscore the Lakers bench]…I think they [Denver] will win the series.”

O’Neal on Denver’s chances in the series: “This game reminds me of you guarding me – too little, too weak. Denver is too little and too weak. Denver may win a game but they will not win the series.”

 

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Denver Nuggets (100) @ L.A. Lakers (104) – Lakers lead the series 2-0

Announcers: Marv Albert (play-by-play), Steve Kerr (analyst) and Jaime Maggio (reporter)

 

Kerr on what the Nuggets need to do to get their offense going: “The problem is the Nuggets are at a huge size disadvantage. Denver has to play with pace. That is their game – to push the ball up the floor. It all starts with Ty Lawson. He has to be a factor.”

 

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

 

O’Neal on the mentality of a team with home court advantage in the playoffs: “When you are a veteran team, especially with championship experience, you want to say to the other team – ‘You’re not even going to get close. We’re going to beat you and we’re going to beat you [mercilessly].’”

 

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Kerr on Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl: “[He is] the most underrated coach in the NBA.”

Kerr on Denver Nuggets forward Corey Brewer: “He hasn’t really established himself in this league. He’s not a good enough shooter to be a full-time small forward.”

 

TNT’s Jaime Maggio interviewed Lakers guard Kobe Bryant following the game:

 

Bryant on how he expects Denver will adjust in Game 3: “In their arena they’re going to really push the ball. They’re going to be more comfortable doing it. They’re going to be more comfortable taking their shots.”

 

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

 

Smith on the Nuggets/Lakers series changing for Denver at home in Game 3: “They are at home and they are going to play a little better defensively. I don’t think the Lakers will shoot as well in Denver. It still is going to come down to a four minute span [in the fourth quarter] where you have to play half court basketball. If Denver can play half court basketball then they can win one or two games in this series. I don’t think they can win this series but they can win one or two games.”

O’Neal on the Nuggets playing Game 3 at home: “Denver will be more comfortable going home. They don’t fear the Lakers. They know if the Lakers take a bad shot they can get out and run. They [Nuggets] are going to get real comfortable. If they can get Game 3 it will give them great confidence going into Game 4.”

O’Neal on the Philadelphia 76ers: “They went from where we thought they didn’t have a chance to actually having a chance to win the series. They believe they have a chance they can win.”

Smith on the difference in the 76ers in Game 2: “You look at the 76ers body language, they were calm. They didn’t look the same way in Game 1. I thought at times [in Game 1] they looked unsure of themselves. In the second half [of Game 2] they made C.J. Watson very uncomfortable.”

O’Neal on Game 2 of the Celtics/Hawks series: “Obviously, they [Atlanta] let one get away. I don’t think they understand the mentality of great players. Great players do not have two bad games in a row. The first game Paul Pierce didn’t shoot the ball well. The second game we knew there was no Rondo so we knew Paul Pierce was coming out more determined than ever.”

Barkley on Celtics forward Paul Pierce: “Once the star player Paul Pierce came out and lit the house on fire, the Hawks were in trouble.”

Barkley on the possibility of Hawks forward Josh Smith being out for the remainder of the series: “If they don’t have Josh Smith, they don’t have a chance.”

Barkley on the Atlanta Hawks: “The Hawks have more physical talent than more than 50 or 60 percent of the teams in the league. But when you get in the playoffs and you play good teams night- in and night-out and you don’t have a good half court offense, that is when your weaknesses shows.”

 

Inside Award: Defensive Player of the Year

Smith: “I went with Serge Ibaka. Ibaka was blocking shots. He’s a guy who concentrates on defense.”

Barkley: “I gave it to the Spurs team about 10 years ago, so I’m going with the Chicago Bulls [this year]. They play really great defense and make you work in the half court. [With] their defensive mentality, I went with the Chicago Bulls as a team.”

O’Neal: “I’m going with Serge Ibaka. Three games he had with 10+ blocks and 21 games with 5+ blocks. I’m going with Serge Ibaka.”

 

2 Responses to “NBA Playoffs Last Night (5/1/12): Paul Pierce is a Sixers 3rd Quarter (TNT Notes follows)”

  1. Temple3 says:

    I really just do not care for the Atlanta Hawks. That team really bothers me, not individually, but as a FRANCHISE. I’m still annoyed they didn’t draft CP3 or Deron Williams. When I watch them in the playoffs, that’s all I think about. Marvin Williams simply isn’t that dude. Joe Johnson isn’t that dude. They have so much talent — they should trade their most valuable pieces and start over, or trade enough to get a rock solid PG. With all the guards in the league, they’ve got Teague. He’s good, but not remotely good enough. If he was running their 2nd unit, they would be lights out. I just want Boston to put them out of their misery.

    KILL PAUL, KILL!!!!!!!!

    (P.S. — I think I’m still pissed that they lost to the Celtics back in the 80′s when Dominique was at the height of his powers.)

  2. Okori Wadsworth says:

    @Temple3: I’m a Hawks fan. And I find myself vigorously nodding my head in agreement with everything you say.

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