The Boston Celtics took a major advantage against the Miami Heat as they won in Miami and can now go home to close out the series. The Celtics have gone from the “old” Celtics to a winning team. TD Garden will surely be roaring when the C’s return home for Game 6 and KG will be doing the same. The men in green have all the momentum heading home.
“They jumped on us at the beginning of the game and we just told our guys to just hang in there. Just hang in there. Don’t overreact. Hang in there. The longer we’re in the game, the better we’ll play.”
– Celtics coach Doc Rivers
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 57 points but not a single other player registered in double figures for the Heat. For the Celtics, Garnett had 26 points and 11 rebounds while Paul Pierce scored 19 points.
Marquis Daniels was certainly prepared to play as he provided the spark to help the Celtics win their first game at home. The Celtics got 20+ points from three of their big four as Garnett, Pierce and Rondo all poured in the points.
LeBron James was unstoppable as he had 34 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists but did not receive a great deal of help from his partner in crime as Wade only added 18 points.
A vintage performance from Kevin Garnett and yet another triple double from the seemingly unstoppable Rajon Rondo just allowed the Celtics to clear the Sixers at home; 92-91. Few players seem to have the ability to control the flow of a game like Rondo can, who almost always knows when the right time to pass and when to score. Rondo finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 17 assists in a dominant performance. Rondo continues to show that he is the most important Celtic, helping them win even with Pierce having a minimal impact.
“I feel we have better basketball in us. I’m sure as the series goes on we will have no other choice but to get better. Whatever is asked of me is what I am going to do.”
The Sixers did leap out to a big first half lead, led by Iguodala who finished with 19 points on the night, but the Celtics continued to grind all night as they whittled down the sizeable lead. Powered by the crowd, the Celtics kept up their seemingly unstopable form at home and took an important 1-0 lead.
“I didn’t think I would play the way I played tonight. I didn’t get a nap today so I didn’t know what to expect. I came up with some rebounds, I came up with some assists and it just happened to be a triple-double tonight.”
– Rondo on whether he expected to get a triple-double in Game 1
The Atlanta Hawks barely escaped elimination with a one point victory over the Boston Celtics. Al Horford came up huge for the Hawks with 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead his team in a game he was not even supposed to be playing in. All starters scored in double digits for the Hawks.
A Rajon Rondo burst at the end of the third bought the Celtics back into striking distance, but with Paul Pierce lagging with a knee injury, the Cs were always going to be pressed for offensive punch. Garnett added 16 and Ray Allen had 15 off the bench in the losing effort. Rondo gave the Celtics a chance to win it, stealing Josh Smith’s inbound pass, but great defence from Al Horford meant that he was not able to get the shot up
“I tried to make a play, but got caught on the [sideline]. Give Al credit . . . Al makes a big difference. He can guard anybody on the court.”
Atlanta win: 74-83 (Atlanta lead 1-0)
Josh Smith had 22 points and pulled down 18 boards as the Atlanta Hawks took full advantage of their home court as the won their first game of the series against the Boston Celtics. Kirk Hinrich provided a big lift, giving the Hawks a 12 points on 4-6 shooting from downtown. The Hawks jumped out to a big lead early and were only just able to fend off a determined Celtics fight back.
The Celtics did not hit a single three as Ray Allen continued to sit out with his bung ankle. The C’s certainly missed his presence as they did not hit a three for the game. Rajon Rondo had 20 points and 11 assists before being ejected after a stoush with a referee. Perhaps the most important decision that will be made in this series is whether the league decide to suspsend Rondo. Kevin Garnett had 20 points as well.
“I was upset about the call, and I said something [to Davis]. As I was walking I thought he stopped, and my momentum carried me into him. It’s out of my control [whether he's suspended]. My teammates all thought that I was obviously in the wrong. They may see that I bumped him, but I didn’t intentionally chest-bump him. I know the rules.”
It’s doubful whether this loss will effect a veteran team like the Celtics that much. They’ve been in this situation and know that it is not the be all and end all. The return of Allen is essential as it opens up lanes and shots for all others as they have to stick right on Ray. No help will be coming from the two guard as Allen will hit that shot with an iota of space. No injuries for either side.
(All times American)
Game 1 - Sat. April 28, Philadelphia at Chicago, 1 p.m., TNT
Game 2 - Tue. May 1, Philadelphia at Chicago, 8 p.m., TNT
Game 3 - Fri. May 4, Chicago at Philadelphia, 8 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 - Sun. May 6, Chicago at Philadelphia, 1 p.m., ABC
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Philadelphia at Chicago, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, Chicago at Philadelphia, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Philadelphia at Chicago, TBD, TNT
Not to long ago, this playoff series didn’t really seem likely. The Sixers were much higher in the standings then their current 8th seed position and were looking to prove that a team could win without a true superstar in their lineup. This does not look likely to present much of a challenge to the Bulls, as there really is no “No Rose, no Bulls argument”. If Rose does start to prove a factor, as he surely will, Andre Iguodala may play some defence on him, much like LeBron James did at times. Perhaps one of the keys here will be that. Elton Brand against Carlos Boozer will be another key match up, with the two veteran forwards likely to have to score highly for their respective teams. Bulls will get the win here
Game 1 - Sat. April 28, New York at Miami, 3:30 p.m., ABC/R
Game 2 - Mon. April 30, New York at Miami, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 3 - Thu. May 3, Miami at New York, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 4 - Sun. May 6, Miami at New York, 3:30 p.m., ABC/R
Game 5 * Wed. May 9, New York at Miami, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Miami at New York, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, New York at Miami, TBD
Possibly one of the more exciting match ups of the Eastern Conference. Great contests at multiple positions and superstars littered all over the place. The highlight will no doubt be the competition between LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, the two 2003 alumni likely wanting the win over their compatriot. Both teams love to get out on the fast break, but its not secret that a big step towards stopping the Miami Heat is halting the run of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. Amare Stoudemire’s play against Chris Bosh will be interesting to see, with Bosh having to deal with the physicality of Stoudemire, something he has shown in the past to dislike. Tyson Chandler’s shot blocking and ability to fill up the paint will also be essential in stopping the drives of Wade and James. Possible upset, but Miami likely to get the win.
Game 1 - Sat. April 28, Orlando at Indiana, 7 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 - Mon. April 30, Orlando at Indiana, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 - Wed. May 2, Indiana at Orlando, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 4 - Sat. May 5, Indiana at Orlando, 2 p.m., ESPN
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Orlando at Indiana, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Indiana at Orlando, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, Orlando at Indiana, TBD
Injuries will definitely be the determining factor in this series. The Pacers have quietly gone about having a good season as they secured the number three seed and Dwight Howard’s injury will make their playoff run much easier. David West, Danny Granger and co. will have a much easier time scoring in the paint without Dwight’s intimidating presence in the middle. Howard is really the only defensively minded player on the Magic team and they will struggle without him. Hedo will have to turn back to clock and Ryan Anderson will need to play out of his skin to force David West to play defence all the way out of to the three point line if the Magic are able to fit the series win here. Unlikely though.
Game 1 - Sun. April 29, Boston at Atlanta, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 2 - Tue. May 1, Boston at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 - Fri. May 4, Atlanta at Boston, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
Game 4 - Sun May 6, Atlanta at Boston, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Boston at Atlanta, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, Atlanta at Boston, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Boston at Atlanta, TBD, TNT
Boston’s charge at the end of the season has them well place in this years playoffs. They avoid Miami and Chicago in the first round but the Hawks are no small hurdle to overcome in the first round. The Hawk duo of Josh Smith and Joe Johnson have been playing some of the best basketball of their careers, especially Josh Smith. But the suffocating defence and the inability of the Hawks to match up with Rajon Rondo should allow the Celtics to get the win here. Ray Allen could play a key role as he comes back from extended injury, and if he’s playing off the bench will provide a huge spark. Celtics to get the win here
Western Conference previews up before too long!
In what is likely to be Deron Williams last game for the New Jersey Nets, he sat out as the Nets struggled to score all night. The now Brooklyn Nets were held to just 27 points in the first half as the Raptors built a 27 point lead. Ed Davis had 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds as both sides played with skeleton teams. Solomon Alabi had 19 rebounds off the bench.
Ben Gordon had 26 points, including 8-10 shooting from behind the arc, off the bench as the Detroit Pistons took down the Philadelphia 76ers. As most teams are at this time of the year, most of the Sixers top players were resting up for the playoffs and looking after niggling injuries.
The Boston Celtics played the exception to the rule as their usual starting line up, barring Ray Allen, all suited up and played as they won against the Milwaukee Bucks. Avery Bradley had 14 points as Doc Rivers emptied his bench throughout the game.
The Big Three sat out for Miami as the Washington Wizards tore through the Heat at home, winning by 34 points. The lead only changed hands three times as the Wizards were dominant throughout the night. Without Wade and James in the lineup, Wall dominated the fast break. Maurice Evans led the Wizards off the bench with 18 points.
With Melo and Tyson Chandler sitting out, Amare Stoudemire proved he thrived being the man as the Charlotte Bobcats are officially the worst team in NBA history. Amare had 21 to lead the Knicks including an absolutely nasty dunk over Tyrus Thomas. Next stop: Miami Heat.
Josh Smith had 23 points 9 rebounds and 7 assists in a near triple double effort as the Atlanta Hawks took down the Dallas Mavericks. The lead only changed hands once as the Hawks comfortably won by 17 points.
John Lucas had 25 points off the bench as the Bulls finished off their regular season with a 32 point win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the win the Bulls claimed the Number One overall seed throughout the playoffs, ensuring that they will have homecourt advantage no matter how far in they go.
The Memphis Grizzlies claimed home court advantage for the first time in franchise history as the Memphis Grizzlies won over a seriously slumping Orlando team. Marc Gasol had 22 points to lead all comers while Hedo Turkoglu returned to the line up with a 18 point game.
The New Orleans Horents only scored 6 points in the final quarter as they lost to the Houston Rockets. Chase Budinger had 27 points to lead both teams as the Hornets shot themselves in the foot with their terrible final quarter.
JaVale McGee had 19 points over a vertically challenged Minnesota Timeberwolves as the Nuggets won by 29 points. Riddled by injuries, the Wolves gave rookies and bench players the start in a game that had no point.
Like most playoff teams, the Utah Jazz rested their starters but still had enough to beat the Portland Trailblazers. Rookie center Enes Kanter showed some of what Jazz fans have been ranting about, scoring 12 points in 33 minutes of play.
Literally half the Laker team sat the game out as the veteran group prepared themselves for the playoffs. However, their reserves were unable to pick up the slack as they lost to the Sacramento Kings. Jimmer Freddete had 10 points off the bench while DeMarcus Cousins led all comers with 23.
Australian guard Patty Mills had a career night as he 34 points and 12 assists as he was given the start once more against the Golden State Warriors. DeJuan Blair had 22 points and 13 rebounds as well to help the resting Spurs to the win.
While Chris Paul and Blake Griffin combined for 70 points, no other Clippers players reached the double figure mark as they lost to the Atlanta Hawks. Joe Johnson had 28 points including 6-8 from behind the three point line as the Hawks edged closer to home court advantage against the Boston Celtics. However, with the loss, the Clippers lost the Pacific division title to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Boston Celtics 2nd team beat the Miami Heat reserves as the stars for both teams sat out. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all were absent while Paul Pierce only played minimal game time as the bench players for both teams were forced to step up. Aleksander Pavlovic was the standout of both teams, with 16 of his 18 points coming in the final quarter.
All five starters scored in double figures for the Kings but Kevin Durant’s 32 points led the Oklahoma City Thunder to the win. DeMarcus Cousin’s also had 32 points to match Durant, but it wasn’t enough as Durant’s big game kept him in the running for the scoring title.
The chaotic race to the end of the season continued as the Utah Jazz officially claimed the final playoff spot up for grabs with a win over the Phoenix Suns. The Jazz eliminated the Suns with a 12 point win at home. Paul Millsap had 26 to lead all comers and was absolutely dominant throughout the game.
Marco Belinelli hit the go ahead layup with 0.7 seconds remaining as the New Orleans Hornets won against the Golden State Warriors. Belinelli had 23 to lead both teams as Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 16 points.
The Bobcats got about as close as they have for a long time to ending their nineteen game losing streak as they lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 80-85. The Cats were simply overwhelmed in the final quarter 28-15. Gerald Henderson had a career high thirty two points in the loss but it was Mike Conley and his twenty points that emerged victorious in the end as the Cats season from Hell continued.
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, as well as Mikael Pietrus, all sat out in the Celtics loss to the Atlanta Hawks. With only Brandon Bass filling his spot in the regular line up, the C’s fought well to keep the game close. Joe Johnson had thirty points to lead the Hawks as they got a leg up in their fight for home court advantage in the first round.
Amare Stoudemire’s return to the starting lineup was met with what many feared-a loss. With STAT playing at the power forward, the Knicks were anemic offensively, with Carmelo Anthony only having twelve points in the loss. Despite getting the Knicks right back into th playoff race, Mike Woodson’s biggest challenge lies before him: getting these two All Stars to work together.
Vince Carter nineteen points off the bench eclipsed Brandon Rush’s twenty point equivalent as the Dallas Mavericks too down the Golden State Warriors. Klay Thompson had twenty eight points as the Warriors played without center/forward David Lee.
The Lakers-Spurs series continued to sway from side to side as the Spurs used a massive third quarter to blow out a slow Laker team. Despite Kobe Bryant returning to the lineup the Lakers struggled offenseively all night, as the Big Three for the Spurs combined for a total 61 points.
Despite a slight scare, the Oklahoma City emereged triumphant as they beat the Sacramento Kings. Kevin Durant had a double double with 29 and 14 whle James Harden followed his career night with 20 points.
Carmelo Anthony’s 42 points 9 rebounds and 5 assists were not enough for the Knicks to defeat the Miami Heat in a potential first round preview. While Carmelo was huge, there was little help to be had from the rest of his team, with only J.R Smith reaching double figures. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade carried the Heat, scoring 29 and 28 points respectively. Chris Bosh also finished with 16, but more importantly out rebound Tyson Chandler as he played the center position, pulling down 14 boards.
Three players scored 20 points or more and Pau Gasol knocked down two clutch back to back threes in overtime as the Lakers swept the series between themselves and Dallas. With Kobe Bryant still ancient, the Lakers’ offense hardly struggled without him, albeit it did require big games from unusual sources. Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points but shot just 9-28 from the field. Jason Terry also had 21 points off the bench.
Rajon Rondo had 20 points and handed out 16 assists as the Boston Celtics cruised to a win against the Charlotte Bobcats. With the Big Three staying home for the game, it was left to the younger brigade to take care of business. They did not disappoint, with Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo all scoring 20 points. Greg Stiemsma swatted 6 shots for the Celtics. Gerald Henderson also had 22 for the Cats.
After taking down the Boston Celtics, the Toronto Raptors claimed another top Eastern scalp as they defeated the Atlanta Hawks by 18 points. Demar DeRozan had 23 points but the Hawks shot themselves in the foot, only hitting one three for the entire game. Josh Smith lead all scorers with 26 points on 11-20 scoring.
The Detroit Pistons pushed the Bulls to overtime but could not finish the game off as they lost by six. Rodney Stuckey lead all with 32 point. Derrick Rose continued to struggle in his retun, scoring 24 points on 9-22 shooting. Joakim Noah also had 20 points and 17 rebounds including a phenomenal 13 offensive rebounds. 4 starters played 20 minutes plus for the Bulls.
The Orlando Magic got the win butlost another bigman as Glen Davis went down with a big knee. The injury leaves the Magic with only one slight tall player left in Ryan Anderson. Jameer Nelson had 21 and 9 assists as well as 9 rebounds to lead both teams.
Antawn Jamison had 21 for the Cavs.
Marcus Thornton Knocked down the elbow jumper to win the game with 3.4 seconds left. Thornton had 20 points to go along with the game winner. Wesley Matthews was the highlight for the injury torn Trailblazers, scoring 31 points on 8-10 shooting from downtown.
The New Orleans Hornets had a hige upset as they beat the Memphis. Rudy Gay had 24 points in the loss while Eric Gordon lead the Hornets with 18. Carl Landry had a double double off the bench registering 16 points and 11 boards.
Afflalo and Ty Lawson both dropped twenty points and Andrew Miller hadned out 11 assists off the bench as well as 7 boards as the Denver Nuggets defeated the Houston Rockets by a comfortable 15 points. Chase Budinger had 19 off the bench for the Rockets.