NBA Playoffs Last Night: Magic disappear; Hawks hang on; Bulls not done; Kobe puts up 43, Nuggets still win
(Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)
You won’t see more emotion out of Miller…the LA Kid than what you see right here…
The playoffs are heating up. Wills are apparent. Coaches buckle down. Media is antsy. Players are feeling what is to come and fans are appreciative. Last night, we saw it all…the drama, the Black Mamba, the home crowds and unappreciated point guards…
Denver 102, Lakers 99. Los Angeles leads Denver 3-2
Andre Miller has this competitiveness about him when the stars shine hottest. He’s as humble as you get. I know he’s taken it hard that Ty Lawson has supplanted him as the starter, but he’ll never tell you…because he’s a true teammate. Last night, Miller and the Denver Nuggets began to pull away in the fourth and had to hope Kobe Bryant missed to survive in LA. JaVale McGee scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Nuggets…a career playoff high. Miller makes ‘em better and with all that McGee has been through professionally, having a steady point guard to get you the ball is definitely what JaVale needs. He’s playing himself into a pay day this summer.
Kobe Bryant on the other hand is dealing with media calling him every kind of asshole…
I knew he would have a big game…just like others I’m sure. He came on late when the Lakers got behind in the fourth and put up 43 total. Expect something similar out of him Thursday…just with a win associated. They’ll be none of this hilarity…
Besides Miller’s 24 points, 8 assists and McGee’s 21 and 14 boards, Aaron Afflao had 19 for Denver.
Beans led Los Angeles with the aforementioned 43. He also had 5 dimes and 6 boards. Bynum after making his “easy” comment, had 16 and 11. Where was y’alllllls boy Pau Gasol? 9 and 10 is not gonna get it.
Bulls 77, Sixers 69. Philadelphia leads Chicago 3-2.
This game here was something of bricks. What was it 35-26 at halftime? John Chaney would have loved the defensive effort…helped by the abysmal shooting. Philly was 32% from the floor, Chicago a little better 41%. The deciding factor was three point shooting. Philly was 2-11 and Chicago 5-11. Luol Deng had three of those…all at critical shot clock moments. What is perplexing is that the road team out shot the home team at the line by a wide margin: 17-24 to just 4-11. How does that happen? Philly is taking what Chicago give their big men on the outside. There is a lot of defense played on both sides. I dig the way Chicago gets back after a made shot. They know Philly also likes to get out and run…69 points ain’t no track meet…
Iguodala and Holiday were a combined 9-36…for just 27 points. Hawes did have 11 and 14. Evan Turner was 2-7 for 4 points. Looks like he had some sort of slight neck injury after spinning into a defender and he was relegated to shake the cobwebs out on the sideline. His energy was lost playing only 32 minutes and was definitely needed because Philly couldn’t get that one run they had to have. Boozer had to step up and he did with 19 points, 6 assists and 13 rebounds. The aforementioned Deng had 24 big points. Big points and also 8 boards. Will Joakim Noah play Thursday in Philadelphia? Hopefully Ron or I will be there to report it…hopefully.
Hawks 87, Celtics 86. Boston leads 3-2.
It’s great to see Al Horford back. He was the catalyst. The city of Atlanta probably wants me to repeat that. His 19 points, 11 rips, 3 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks were the energy the organization was hoping for when he came back from injury. Josh Smith had 13 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists. They joined the rest of the starting five in double figures (Teague 16, Williams and Johnson with 15).
Boston did all it could to finish this out but obviously couldn’t seal the deal as last night, only Indiana was successful in a closeout situation. Rajon Rondo had 13 and 12 dimes. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett both had 16. Ray Allen 15 and Brandon Bass 14.
Atlanta hit the shots to get out of there with a win. Crowd was into it. Rondo made a steal of a Josh Smith pass with 10 seconds left, but committed a turnover trying to get the ball to Black Pharaoh at the top of the key after being trapped on the left wing. Game over.
Pacers 105, Magic 87. Indiana wins series vs. Orlando 4-1.
Jameer Nelson had 27 points (5 threes) but it was Darren Collison’s 19 and Danny Granger’s 25 that pushed the Magic over the top to win the game and the series. Orlando obviously played without their star Dwight Howard and Glen Davis had a decent series. He had 15, 8 and 2 blocks but shot just 6-17. Ryan Anderson had 14 and J. J. Redick 12.
Indiana got a nice balanced scoring effort. Besides Collison and Granger’s already stated performances, George Hill had 15, Roy Hibbert 11 and David West had 12. That’s a strong team and getting past Indiana will not be easy for the Heat in the Eastern Conference semis.
Expect changes in Orlando. Is there anything else to be said? Nah.