The Oklahoma City Thunder continued their momentum as they notched their third win in their series against the San Antonio Spurs and one away from the NBA Finals. In a perhaps unforeseen turnaround, the Thunder have won three in a row and suddenly people are saying that the Spurs look to old. With the loss today, the Spurs lost three in a row for the first time this season. Kevin Durant led the way for the Thunder with 27 points on 10-19 shooting while James Harden had 20 points of the bench.
“Bottom line is you can’t turn it over 21 times for 28 points. That’s what we did again. Turnovers have been theme during the entire deal.”
— Spurs coach Greg Popovich
Manu Ginobli was huge for the Spurs, scoring 34 points, including 2 big threes to bring the game close. However, it was not enough as the Spurs now face elimination from the playoffs.
The San Antonio Spurs fought back late to take a Game One victory at home over the dangerous Oklahoma City Thunder. On the verge of giving up home court advantage and losing their first game of the playoffs, the Spurs rode a tremendous Manu Ginobli to victory. Ginobli had 26 points off the bench in a encouraging return to form for the Spurs.
“(Ginobili) is just left-handed and crafty. He can get to the rim. He made plays in the fourth quarter, and we stopped moving the ball.”
— Oklahoma City’s James Harden
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 27 points and 10 rebounds, but for one of the few times in his career, fell over in the 4th. After veteran Stephen Jackson was moved on to Durant, the long armed terror only managed to get up two shots in the final period. A poor return from a usually reliable performer. James Harden had 19 while playoff warrior Derek Fisher added 13 points
The San Antonio Spurs kept up their perfect record in the playoffs and posted a 18 game winning streak as they swept the Los Angeles Clippers. Winning 102-99 in LA, the Spurs were led by none other than Tim Duncan. Seemingly hell bent on adding another ring to his collection, Duncan scored 21 points and added 9 rebounds. Tony Parker filled out the usual suspects alongside Manu Ginobli who had 17 and 11 points respectively.
Chris Paul had a big game with 23 points and 11 assists, as well as 6 rebounds. Blake Griffin also had 21 points.
A 24-0 run from the veteran Spurs left the Clippers faithful wondering what could of been as the Spurs topped the Clips yet again to take a more than likely insurmountable 3-0 lead. 28 points from Blake Griffin however was a reassuring sight for the future. For now however, Tim Duncans 19 points and 13 rebound game, complimented by 4 assists, will come out on top. Still youthful guard Tony Parker added 23 points and 10 assists.
“We did not plan on being down that much in the first quarter, but we understood that they were going to make a run early, and we needed to sustain. We’ve been through enough of them to understand that’s how it goes. It was great poise by our entire team.”
— Spurs forward Tim Duncan
Whilst it looks likely that the Clippers will be leaving these playoffs in a sweep, this can be nothing but a positive season for this young team. Griffin playing against the master himself in Tim Duncan, in playoff time, is a huge learning experience for the young man.
Despite a desperate rally from the Utah Jazz, the San Antonio secured themselves a much wanted rest when the finished their sweep with a 87-81 victory. The Jazz were down 21 late, but fought hard to bring it back to a close margin. Al Jefferson led all scorers with 26 points and 10 rebounds while Paul Millsap dominated the boards as he tore down a total 19 rebounds while also putting in 10 points. Gordon Hayward’s poor series continued as he he didn’t make the scoreboard, missing all seven of his shots.
The bench was the driving force behind the Spurs win, with Manu Ginobli scoring 17 points off the bench. Tiago Splitter also had 10 points in a good showing for the Brazilian. The Spurs are certainly looking dangerous heading further into the playoffs, especially with Ginobli beginning to find his feet.
“We ignore that. We’ve been hearing that for 10 years.”
— Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich on how his team responds to other people saying San Antonio is too old to compete for another NBA championship.
Tony Parker’s MVP level play and a sprightly Tim Duncan continued to power the San Antonio Spurs over the Utah Jazz as they took a commanding and near insurmountable 3-0 lead heading into the final game in Utah. With Parker scoring 27 along with Duncan adding in 17 and running the floor like a much younger man, the Spurs were rarely challenged in what ended up being a fairly routine win.
The Jazz were led by a 21 point double from Al Jefferson and Devin Harris who both reached the mark. But it was a mediocre 9 points from usually high scoring power forward Paul Millsap that really let the Jazz down in the long run. Young Gordon Hayward struggled all night, missing 9 of his 10 shots to score only 4 points. Whilst the effort has been there for the Jazz, it is difficult to see anything else than a sweep now.
The San Antonio Spurs used double digit scoring from 7 players to lift them to a huge Game Two win over the Utah Jazz. Heading into Utah after this game, the Spurs certainly gave themselves the best chance to close out the series in Utah with the big win. No doubt this will certainly be hugely demoralizing for the Jazz. The gap between the number one seed and the eighth is certainly evident on the Western side of the conference.
“We were aggressive and we wanted to make sure we matched their energy,”
Spurs guard; Tony Parker
From a simple stats view, starting ‘center’ Boris Diaw only had 11 points, but was a preposterous +41 in the plus/minus column. Tony Parker also pushed a double double, scoring 18 points and dishing out 9 assists. Rookie Kawhi Leonard had 17 points while Tim Duncan kept up his ageless play with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
In a miserable game for the Jazz, only Al Jefferson and Josh Howard were the only ones to crack double digits, both scoring 10 points apiece. Enes Kanter’s play was the only slight positive for the Jazz, scoring 8 points and pulling down 10 rebounds in around 15 minutes of play.
Coach of the Year Greg Popovich also accepted his award for his work in getting an older Spurs list to where it is today.
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.
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.
Bargnani had 30 points as Toronto beat fellow cellar dweller Charlotte by 5 in Canada. DJ Augustin had 18 off the bench as Kemba Walker was given the start. Demar DeRozan had 20 for the Raptors to support Bargnani.
The game was won within the first quarter as the San Antonio Spurs shot 60% percent, destroying the hapless Cavaliers by 35 points. Aussie point guard Patty Mills lead the way for the Spurs with 20 points off the bench in 20 minutes playing time. Boris Diaw had 9 assists, while kyrie Irving had 13 points and 5 assists in the horror loss.
The Pacers launched a 40 point final quarter to defeat the New York Knicks despite Carmelo Anthony’s 39 points. Granger had 27 as the Pacers rolled right through and well over a final quarter deficit.
LeBron James’ season high 41 points lead the Heat to a win over ‘best of the rest’ contender Philadelphia. LeBron also pulled down 6 boards and handed out 4 assists as the Sixers’ Evan Turner had 26 points.
Still without Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic went down to the Detroit Pistons, despite a big effort from Glen Davis who had 31 points and 10 rebounds whilst trying to guard budding big man Greg Monroe/ Monroe had 22 and 11 to lead the Pistons.
Steve Nash had 18 and 12 assists as the Suns beat the Sacramento Kings. DeMarcus Cousins HUGE game of 41 points and 12 rebounds somehow was not enough for the Kings as the lost by 9.
Kobe Bryant had 24 points and rattled home the game sealing three as the Lakers beat the Nets without Andrew Bynum. Deron Williams had 20 points and Kris Humphries had 18 and 15 rebounds in the loss.