Tag Archive | "nba playoffs"

Don’t blame refs for Lakers loss to Celtics in Game 2

What happened to the Lakers in the final few minutes of game two of the NBA Finals? Rajon Rondo is the answer. But that’s starting at the end of the story.

The Celts 103-94 victory wasn’t inevitable. The game could have gone either way down the stretch, but let’s just go back to the beginning.

Ray Allen created an NBA Finals record of seven three-pointers in one half. He left the court at half-time with 27 total points. The rest of the big four were lagging way behind with most of it due to foul trouble and some Lakers defense.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were ineffective offensively and Rondo had not begun the heroics. The entire front line of the Celts was in foul trouble including back-up Glenn Davis, and yet the Lakers needed a three-pointer from Kobe Bryant to bring his team within six at half-time.

Thoughts for the home team at the half?

Well, how about putting a body on Allen, slow up on the outside shots that don’t drop and cause fast breaks led by Rondo, keep giving the ball to Bynum who was effective on both ends of the floor, send a search party for LO and tell Ron Artest to get his head in the game.

How did the boys in purple and gold do with that to-do list? Allen only had five more points the entire game, but managed another three-pointer, breaking the existing record of seven in an NBA Finals game.

Odom was still MIA, Bynum had a career night in a playoff game, Gasol and he blocked 13 shots between them and despite Artest dribbling more than a teething infant, the Lakers kept it close, even leading with five minutes left in the contest.

And then the Rondo show began. Kobe had five fouls and had to be as delicate as possible. The inside game of the Lakers was thwarted, turnovers were committed at the most inopportune times and Rondo was absolutely everywhere.

He was like Batman in “The Dark Knight”. You didn’t know what angle he was coming from but he was there to hurt you with scoring, passing and rebounds. With his second triple-double of the post season, Rondo made the Lakers pay.

Don’t listen to the critics who claim the officials tilted this game the Celts’ way. They punished both teams with fouls that were not there.

This was about no contributions from Odom and Artest, very little from Fisher, Kobe unable to score his average in the playoffs and Rondo emerging as the guy who can make the difference when two of the Big Four are absent offensively.

Now the scene shifts to Boston for Games 3, 4, and 5. The Celts haven’t defended home court as well as the Lakers this post-season and the Lakers have shown, against all their opponents in previous series that they can win on the road.

Game 3 starts Tuesday at 9 pm ET.

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles. 

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

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Hawks Bitch-Slapped by the Magic

After being swept off the court in historical fashion by Superman Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic, the Atlanta Hawks are our slam-dunk pick for Bitch-Slap-of-the-Week.

After losing by a record 101 total number of points over the 4-game series that began with a 114-71 thrashing, they would also be assured of the bitch-slap of the month, if that title existed.

101 point spread for a 4-game series–think about that number. Okay now everyone grab your megaphones and yell in unison, “The Hawks SUCK!”

The Hawks have so much blame to spread around for this debacle, they may just want to consider throwing in the towel and rebuilding from a core of maybe 3-4 players, but only after axing coach Mike Woodson and not giving free-agent Joe Johnson even an insulting contract offer to turn down.

J.J. was as cold as a Siberian night the whole series, shooting just .387 from the floor and .220 from the arch, but at least when stuck in Siberia, you can always try farting to stay warm. And it actually gets worse.

After his team’s 30-point blowout loss in Game Johnson had the audacity to say this in response to his fans showing their displeasure in the form of booing :

“That doesn’t bother me, and I hope it doesn’t bother anyone in this locker room. It’s about us in this locker room. We could care less if [fans] showed up.”

Whattup widdat!? SLAP! That deserves an additional backhander Mr. Johnson.

The Hawks tripped and sputtered to an opening round win over a much less talented Milwaukee Bucks team who ran around like a pack of Mini-Skiles before waving the white flag without a fight against the Magic.

Most reasonable fans ask one thing of their team and players . . . show up. That’s something the Hawks neglected to do for the entire series so they earn our, SLAP!! . . . Bitch-Slap-of-the-Week.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

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Hawks turn to ‘D’ to take series from Bucks

ATLANTA, GA. – As hard as it was to imagine after the Atlanta Hawks had the meltdown of the decade and blew a sure NBA photo fileswin in Game 5, losing that game may be a blessing in disguise.

Adjustments had to be made after that debacle and the Hawks were forced to come out and play defense to win the next two games against the Milwaukee Bucks, one on the road, to take the best-of-seven series 4 games to 3.

With their backs to the wall after the Game 5 loss, the Hawks clamped down defensively and held the Bucks to a franchise low 69 points for an 83-69 win in Game 6 and came out playing defense again on Sunday, coasting to 95-74 win at the Highlight Factory.

With the win, the Hawks move on to face No. 2 seed Orlando and should take that defensive mindset with them when they face the Magic on Tuesday.

Playing in the first NBA playoffs of his career, NBA sixth man award winner Jamal Crawford led the Hawks with 22 points on Sunday, just two days after he netted a game-high 24 on the road in Milwaukee in Game 6.

Crawford has spent his career on struggling teams and is enjoying the atmosphere of the playoffs.

“It’s just so much fun,” said Crawford. “It’s like walking on air.”

Crawford nailed 8 out of 16 shots, including two outside the arch while Al Horford added 16 points and 15 rebounds. The Hawks simply outplayed the Bucks, maintaining a double digit lead throughout much of the game while dominating the boards on both ends of the court.

Of the other starters, Mike Bibby scored 15 points, Josh Smith added 15 and Joe Johnson continued to struggle from the field hitting just 4-of-14 for 8 points.

“We let [the fans] down in Game 5,” Josh Smith said. “We enjoyed every minute of this.”

More NBA: LeBron Wins Second Consecutive MVP

 Hawks Implode on Home Court and Lose Game 5 to Bucks

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LeBron James injury update

CLEVELAND, OH. – Word finally came down on LeBron James’ injury to his elbow and as expected, the Cleveland lebron slam dunkCavaliers superstar will take the court on Saturday for Game 1 of the best-of-seven series against the Boston Celtics.LeBron practiced left-handed layups and short jumpers at his team’s practice today after being checked out by team docs Wednesday night in Cleveland. An MRI and X-rays were performed and the diagnosis is said to be a bone bruise accompanied by a strain.

“The best thing about it is there’s no structural damage. The docs have given me clearance that I can’t hurt it worse,” James said.

Although he’s been given the green light to play, James will continue receiving daily treatment and the team has scheduled another MRI for next week.

“We’re just being very [cautious] right now,” James said. “I didn’t do much shooting [today].”

The Cavs moved into this next round of the NBA Playoffs after they eliminated the Chicago Bulls in 5 games of a best-of-seven. Finishing that series in short fashion is exactly what the Cavaliers needed so James will be required to play less games over the stretch of these playoffs.

Knocking off the Celtics may not as easy. Many are expecting this to be a knock-down drag-out fight between these two hungry teams. The Celtics are out to prove they weren’t one-time wonders while the Cavs are still searching for their first title with James.

“If I am limited during the [Celtics] game, then I’ll be smart about it,” James said. “That’s what I was able to do in Game 5 [against Chicago]. I was very limited in shooting long-range shots, so I started going to the hole in the fourth quarter.”

With this injury limiting LeBron’s play, don’t expect a large amount of highlight-reel slam dunks until the elbow finds a way to work itself back closer to normal.

NOTE: ESPN First & Ten analyst Skip Bayless stopped just short of accusing LeBron of over exaggerating about his injury after he elected to shoot a free throw left-handed when the Chicago game was out of reach.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax™

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Hawks implode on home court, lose to the Bucks

ATLANTA, GA. – Milwaukee Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings soared into Philips Arena, scoring 12 straight points in mike woodson hawksthe first six minutes of the game Wednesday night to let the Atlanta Hawks know his team wasn’t rolling over in Game 5 of their NBA Playoffs series.

The Hawks responded, pulling away several times throughout the game and seemed to have the deal sealed after Josh Smith sunk a long jumper with 4:10 remaining giving his team a 82-73 lead.

But here’s where the old cliché kicks in: “It’s never over ‘til it’s over”.

With the Hawks thinking about hitting the showers, the underdog Bucks had other plans and stunned the home team with a 18-5 run, storming off the court with a 91-87 come-from-behind win and a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

That final run included a 14-0 spurt where the Hawks missed seven in a row from all areas of the court, imploding in front of their shocked hometown fans.

Jamal Crawford who received the NBA Sixth Player Award just prior to opening tip, was everything but, hitting just 4 of 18 from the field.

“This is incredible. We had the game won. It just slipped away from us,” Crawford said.

With this struggle and potential elimination ahead for the Hawks, coach Mike Woodson may want to get a fresh resume ready to shop around before the season ends.

Over his tenure, his team has shown several runs of unmotivated play and with his contract due again, he has good reason to be nervous.

Another face that may be packing his bags is All-Star Joe Johnson who becomes a free agent this summer. Sometimes criticized for his lack of consistency, Johnson again showed that side of his game during this crucial game, hitting just 6 of 16 from the floor for 13 points.

“It’s a terrible loss, embarrassing. It’s the same thing, effort, toughness, that’s killing us. Everybody here should check themselves in the mirror,” said Johnson.

Yes, effort and toughness but you forgot lack of motivation. Three important qualities that have been engrained into players at playoff time by passionate successful NBA coaches like Phil Jackson and Pat Riley.

Unless the Hawks find a way to win in Milwaukee on Friday then back at home in Game 7 on Sunday in Atlanta, Mike Woodson may be involved in his final playoff series behind the bench in Atlanta.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax™

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Bulls Clinch Final Spot in NBA Playoffs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose netted 27 points and Joakim Noah added 21 points and 13 boards noahas the Bulls took a win in Charlotte 98-89 to secure the final No.8 seed in the NBA Playoffs.

The victory comes at the heels of severe internal conflicts that included a physical confrontation between head coach Vinny Del Negro and GM John Paxton. Throughout this, the Bulls were able to stay focused and end the season with a three-game win streak.

Here are all the Eastern Conference and Western Conference match-ups for the NBA Playoffs.


No.1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. No.8 Chicago Bulls

No. 2 Orlando Magic vs. No. 7 Charlotte Bobcats

No. 3 Atlanta Hawks vs. No. 6 Milwaukee Bucks

No. 4 Boston Celtics vs. No. 5 Miami Heat


No. 1 LA Lakers vs. No. 8 Oklahoma City

No. 2 Dallas Mavericks vs. No. 7 San Antonio Spurs

No. 3 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 6 Portland Trailblazers

No. 4 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 5 Utah Jazz

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