2014 Free Agency

2012 Playoffs Game Time: Day Two

In Game Log / Recap on April 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm

San Antonio vs Utah

Notes on game

  • Utah starting well. Devin Harris looking frisky against Tony Parker. Some good defensive sequences, a very confident three pointer as Tony ducks behind the screen and a hard drive and finish at the rim. Utah lead 11-8 five minutes into this one as Ginobili looks to check in.
  • The Jazz’ starting lineup should fare well against the Spurs starting unit. I think the matchup at center between Duncan and Big Al should be fairly neutral. Millsap has an advantage at PF (DeJuan Blair) and Hayward at SG (Danny Green). The SF matchup should be largely neutral.
  • However, the real test for Utah will be when San Antonio brings in it’s bench. They have a lot of firepower there with Manu Ginobili (still a top twenty player in this league) leading the way. Also — Stephen Jackson, Tiago Splitter, Matt Bonner, Boris Diaw, Patty Mills, Gary Neal. This is where San Antonio’s major advantage lies in this series and it will be the decisive factor in this matchup. 
  • Ginobili will swing the SG matchup back in San Antonio’s favour although Hayward is a much improved player and a clear top ten SG himself. Not a landslide but a firm advantage due to Manu’s killer-instinct and experience more so than skill-level (which speaks very highly of G.Hayward).
  • Diaw has had a nice impact since coming on. He made a beautiful dump pass for a layup and has such a nice connection with Tony Parker as he finds the space and makes the easy layup. Tying the Spurs offense and defense together nicely.
  • Spurs on a 9-2 run over the last two minutes to claim back the lead since Manu checked in. Manu helps against the post-up vs Al Jefferson, kickout, too easy, Hayward nails a wide open three. Sorry, that was ruled a two pointer. Foot must have been on the line.
  •  6-0 run (13-4 run since Ginobili checked in) from San Antonio capped off by a Ginobili slam dunk on the fastbreak. The Spurs are beginning to pull away here. Utah needs to show some stickivity here and find a way to hang around. Weather the run.
  • Ginobili with terrific pressure defense on Hayward 26 feet from the rim. Forces the shot clock down to 7 seconds. A forced long jump shot heavily contested, miss.
  • Derrick Favors shows the jumper with an 18 footer from above the FT line.
  • Ginobili just threw one of those beautiful bullet passes to a cutting Splitter but Splitter blows the layup. Al Jefferson attacks off the left block on the other end, nice move, finishes well, bucket. Gary Neal, high pick and roll, kicks it to the near corner to Bonner who moves well into the space and knocks down the triple. Spurs continue to build momentum. Utah needs to stop this run.
  • Spurs lineup – Neal, Ginobili, Jackson, Bonner and Splitter – this is a lethal offensive lineup. So much shooting ability. Highly efficient and intelligent offensive players (Jacks aside). Three players who can handle and pass on the perimeter. Bonner spacing the floor. Only one big in the paint. Lots of room for everyone to work with. Very difficult to provide help defense due to the caliber of shooters and passing. This is going to be a tough lineup for Utah’s second unit to deal with … especially with San Antonio on a run and Utah needing to put together consecutive stops and get a few baskets of their own.
  • Jazz lineup – Tinsley, Hayward, Carroll, Favors, Jefferson – I like Ty Corbin keeping Al Jefferson and Gordon Hayward out there against this Spurs unit. They need their offensive firepower. And as I say that Big Al comes out for Kanter. Kanter immediately blows the box out on Splitter and concedes and offensive rebound and tip-in as the first quarter expires. San Antonio leads 28-22.
  • First five minutes here in the second quarter are important for Utah. Kanter makes another mistake right away – travel on the post move, turnover. Helps make up for it on the other end challenging the driving ball-handler and puts enough pressure on the Spurs player for him to make a miscue and lose control of the ball. Turnover. Utah fastbreak, foul, FTs for Hayward, hits them.
  • Lovely possession from San Antonio. Possession looked to be going nowhere with Gary Neal at the top of the key trying to find a pass but nothing was on. Jackson couldn’t get separation on the screen. Came up opposite side, Carroll played excellent ball-denial defense, made the pass difficult. Ginobili and Splitter get in each other’s way on the other side, too congested, take away the passing options there. Nothing on for Neal after holding the ball for about 4-5 seconds 28 feet from the rim. Neal dribbles right to create a better passing angle for Jackson, right side of the court opens up for him, drives hard baseline, kicks it out to Bonner to the opposite corner (left side), defense rotates, swings it to Manu left wing, good look, pump fakes, a sea of open space all the way to the basket opens up, Manu passes up the jumper and takes it right to the rim, slam dunk!
  • Tony Parker has come back in for Manu Ginobili. Spurs lead 32-26 with 9:30 left to play in first half.
  • The Spurs led the league as a team with a 39% three point percentage.
  • Favors knocks down another midrange jumper. Looking good. Adding that jumper is going to make a major difference to his career.
  • Tony Parker with a lovely drive and kick (for a Jacks 3) and then a beautiful acrobatic finish off the high pick and roll on the next possession. Terrific pick and roll play from Parker.
  • The Jazz have done well in these first five minutes. Stopped San Antonio from pulling away. Weathered a dangerous period.
  • Tim Duncan with a lovely backdoor pass to Diaw, layup. Spurs lead 39-34 with seven minutes to play. Favors with a nice interior pass to Millsap, layup. Utah hanging in there.San Antonio keeps scoring though. Tony Parker knocks down the 18 footer top of the key.
  • Favors with a nice sequence of plays. Takes but misses the 18 footer above the foul line. Comes back and stays engaged defensively. Duncan trails the play, nice pass by Jackson, Duncan goes for the dunk, met at the rim by Favors, blocked shot … San Antonio recover loose ball, back to Duncan right baseline, Favors meets him, stands tall arms extended, Duncan goes into the body but Favors doesn’t budge, contests the shot as well as he can and Duncan looses it. Big defensive plays. Leads to a layup (Burks) on the other end for Utah. A few plays later, Spurs fastbreak, Tony Parker to the rim, Favors with the block to deny Parker. Utah’s transition defense playing well and Favors starting to make an impact defensively.
  • Timeout, Spurs lead 42-38 with under five to play.
  • Great hustle by Duncan to deflect the post entry pass to Big Al, chases it down, dives on it but can’t save the ball from going out of bounds. Impressive effort from the great one.
  • Utah with back to back turnovers. Ginobili blows the breakaway dunk on the first while Duncan draws the foul on the early post up on the second one.  Duncan with another bucket on the duck in, feed from Parker. Another turnover Utah (Josh Howard), Utah’s defense recovers brilliantly to deny two Spurs attempts at the rim but they can’t recover the possession. Screen and roll Parker, stops and pops from 15, Harris blocks him and runs down the loose ball. Utah playing hard defensively.
  • San Antonio has looked the much more impressive side in the first half but Utah is staying alive and keeping it close. Spurs lead 54-47 at the half.

Second half

  • Duncan starting to heat up here early in the third. He has 9 rebounds already and has just made a couple of baskets / free throws. Such a joy to watch. You have to admire the intelligence and competitiveness of Tim Duncan.
  • Jefferson with a pretty jump hook out of the left block. Most gifted pure scorer in the low post in the game today? Certainly in the mix. Great footwork and lots of moves.
  • San Antonio lead 66-61 midway through the third
  • Ohh, haha, Tim Duncan throwing one down! Left side post up, faces up instead, pump fake, Big Al bites, goes right around and throws one down with the right hand over the helping Paul Millsap. He has had a few of those type of dunks (exact same play actually) over the last two months of the regular season. Looks good physically.
  • Next play down, Tim Duncan, 15 feet right wing, skips into the paint off the bounce and hits that sweeping hook going across the lane. Winding back the years …. and now Duncan comes up with the steal, outlet pass, nothing on for Parker so he pulls it back out and runs a set instead. Double digit lead.
  • Big Al finds the cutter for the layup. The announcers praise his improvement as a passer this and justifiably so (about time too!).
  • Tim Duncan gets a massive ovation as he heads to the bench for a breather. Spurs lead 74-64 with three minute sto play.
  • Derrick Favors with another block, this time blocking Ginobili on that lefty drive of his. Playing sound fundamental defense. Not jumping at everything just making himself big and long and staying on the ground. Favors has been impressive. Looks much better than he did early on in the season.
  • Manu Ginobili with back-to-back assists to put San Antonio up 13 and the crowd are loving it. The second one was a beautiful wrap around bounce pass through a crowd on the left wing to a cutting Blair for a layup. Ginobili also had a beautiful over the head backwards pass to a cutting Duncan for a layup of his lefty drive on the left side of the court, drawing the defenders and creating the gap for the big man to cut through for the easy layup. Such a talented passer. A joy to watch, Manu Ginobili.
  • Spurs finish the third quarter up 15, 85-70. It’ll be tough for Utah to come back from this.
  • Tiago Splitter will not return. He is out for the rest of the night with a sprained wrist. Hopefully, this is not too serious and he’ll be back for the next game.
  • Utah get out in transition and Carroll bags the layup. Back to back hoops for Utah to cut it to 11.
  • Tony Parker responds brilliantly, high pick and roll, attacks the rookie Kanter, crosses him over, gets the contact, draws the foul, finishes and scores the free throw. Lead back to 14. Utah needs to get this into single digits over the next few minutes. In contrast, it’s important San Antonio’s second unit stops that from happening. If they do, the Spurs should finish out this game comfortably.
  • Kanter gets away with a foul on a similar play on the next possession. Similar contact but Kanter blocked the finish this time. Referees swallowed their whistle.
  • I love seeing Matt Bonner put the ball on the floor and drive to the rim. Takes a floater (front rims it) from the middle of the paint that time. He just looks so uncomfortable and out of place doing it.
  • Beautiful give and go from Parker to Ginobili to Parker for the layup. Parker dribbling upcourt, passes to the right wing, Parker cuts to the rim, defender turns his head, Ginobili just throws it on up there and Parker gets an easy layup. They’ve been doing that give and go for years. Such a basic and yet beautiful basketball play.
  • 7 minutes to play, Spurs up 10, 91-81 … Parker gets the turnover, breakaway, fouled, makes one of two. Next possession, nice ball movement from San Antonio, Jacks swings it to Bonner, three ball, bang! 14 point lead once gain. 6 minutes to go. The Spurs second unit has done their job.
  • Utah have a big two minutes here. They are running out of time. Need to get it to single digits.
  • The Jazz have decided to go big with Big Al, Favors and Millsap (SF) with Hayward and Harris in the backcourt. Tried to post up Millsap but Jacks did a great job fighting for position and denying the entry pass.
  • Big Al with that beautiful quick release jump hook from about 11 feet at an awkward angle. Tough shot. Good defense by Duncan. Ginobili splits a pair on the other end. 13 point game. Millsap posts up Jackson again on the next possession, draws the foul off the ball as he fights for position, makes both after getting a friendly roll on the first one. Jackson answers with some FTs of his own on the other end. Utah cannot afford to keep trading points. They need to get stops and make a run.
  • Jefferson with a beautiful move, jab step right, spins back left, finishes strong against a good shot contest by Duncan. Great move. Beautiful basket. Utah get a stop, run down, take it to the rim but no, turnover. They could have cut it to 9 there. Foul, Jacks makes another pair to push the lead back to 13. Huge four point swing there. Only 3:30 to play. Utah running out of time very quickly.
  • Spurs up 102-87 with two minutes to go (after Parker scores), I’m calling it, Spurs win.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets

Should be an enjoyable series with the post play of the Lakers and the jump-shooting (Harrington, Gallo and Afflalo mainly) and uptempo play of the Nuggets. I think the Lakers will win the series comfortably but there will be a lot of good basketball played by both teams in this series.

  • Ebanks starts instead of Barnes. I imagine that Mike Brown wants to keep his bench rotation steady with Barnes. Give him some extended minutes while giving the rotation and lineups as much stability as possible.
  • Gallinari with a lovely move to side-step Bynum and finish at the rim to open the scoring for Denver.
  • Lakers length showing there. Firstly with Pau Gasol’s shot contest on Afflalo and then Bynum snaring away the contested defensive rebound over the smaller Nuggets.
  • Strong double team by the Nuggets. A big double with Gallinari helping on Bynum. Forced the turnover (travel).  I like big double teams (vs doubles with small guards which bigs can pass over easily).
  • Sessions with the runner in traffic over a crowd on the break. Lakers up 8-4 as we near the midway point in the quarter. Not much scoring early in this one. That will change when Al Harrington comes in.
  • Faried has had a couple of nice quick drives/cuts (pick and roll, one dribble and finish) and finishes along the edge of the paint. He has 4 of Denver’s 6 points. Gallo has the other basket.
  • Gallinari isolation left wing, drives right, spins back left and finishes easily. No help. A few possessions later, a lovely baseline drive and spinning finish at the basket, rolls around the rim, misses. Nice move though. Gallinari looking very good early on.
  • Pau Gasol with a beautiful pass to a cutting Kobe Bryant as he ducks along the baseline.
  • McGee with a pair of aggressive moves. The first was and pick and roll leading to an acrobatic dunk attempt over Pau Gasol (foul). The second was a physical post move and hard take against Pau which missed. It was a good move though. Nice to see his post game coming along (gradually). Lakers lead 13-9 with four minutes to play. McGee misses the short 4 foot shot on the next possession after the feed from Gallinari. Not finishing these plays but putting himself in some good positions. Lakers help defense hasn’t been great.
  • Lakers make a mini-run to push the lead to 10 late in the first, up 20-10. A bad outlet pass (by McGee, who else would it be?) picked off by Barnes to put LA up ten there. No co-incidence that LA made this run with McGee on the floor. Blake bags his second three pointer since coming off the bench.
  • Gallinari has Blake on a mismatch, muscles up a short shot, gets it to fall. He has 9 of Denver’s 14 points. Faried has 4 of the other five. I think it was McGee that got the FT.
  • Steve Blake buries another three pointer. A flurry of points here from the Lakers over the final three minutes. They lead 26-14. Kobe Bryant draws a foul before the first quarter ends, two more points for LA.
  • Denver shot only 5-20 in the first quarter
  • I expect to see this combination a lot from Denver with Al Harrington (PF) and Kenneth Faried (C). This is oftentimes their best big man combination despite being so undersized in large part to the limitations of their options at center. Faried’s rebounding helps anchor this team in terms of rebounding. Their speed, quickness and ball-retention helps the turnover side of possession also. It does give LA’s center (Pau or Bynum) a major matchup advantage though.
  • Harrington bags a three pointer after Denver strings together three layups and two corner threes to cut the lead to four. LA up 31-27 with 8 minutes to go in the first.
  • Jordan Hill with his third offensive rebound (and putback) in limited minutes.
  • Both teams getting a lot of run-outs and fastbreaks here in the second quarter. The game is a bit messy right now which probably favors the Nuggets more so than the Lakers. LA wants to keep more control of this tempo. Force Denver to score against their halfcourt defense.
  • LA leads 39-32 after Bynum’s tip-in following Kobe’s missed short jump-shot (one of many missed shots by Kobe today) in the paint. Bynum has 8 rebounds and 3 blocks already. That was his first points of the night.
  • Gallinari posts up on the right box, against Kobe, spins baseline and beats Kobe easily. Finishes with a pretty two handed reserve dunk. Gallinari has been terrific today.
  • Sessions with a lovely dribble drive and dump to Bynum for the two handed dunk. On the other end, Bynum and Gasol combined to block Denver at the rim  (Gasol got the swat, on Ty Lawson), fastbreak LA, Denver recover well but Ebanks makes a strong drive and hits the pull up jumper. He has 12 points (game high). Timeout. LA scores again out of the timeout (Kobe) to push the lead to 11. Strong defense against from Bynum as he forces a rushed shot and miss from McGee.
  • Final two minutes, La leads 45-34. The two teams trade baskets (Al Harrington and Sessions traded threes, Sessions from the right corner off a Kobe feed while Harrington was on the right wing a step or two beyond the three point line with Pau Gasol late on the closeout [as normal for Pau in that matchup]) and the score finishes up at 50-40 at the half.

Second half

  • Pau Gasol knocks down a jumper from the right elbow. I love seeing seven footers with that midrange jumper. It makes such a difference to the floor spacing.
  • Andrew Bynum just pulled down his 10th rebound. He also has 5 blocks. He has had a major impact on today’s game.
  • Gallinari with another basket. He is 5-8 from the field and 5-6 from the FT line. So efficient.
  • Ty Lawson has been very quiet tonight. Just had a caption on the screen that said he is scoreless with one turnover and only one assist.

Missed rest of third quarter, tuning in for the fourth quarter. LA leads 77-64

  • The Lakers are shooting an impressive 49% from the floor and 43% from three while holding Denver to 37% shooting from the field and 37% from three. Both teams have kept the ball well although Denver has turned it over three times more than LA and have a negative rebounding differential of five. So the Lakers with more possessions and using them far more effectively so far.
  • Final 10 minutes, Lakers lead 81-66
  • Pau Gasol posts up Al Harrington, whirls around him into the paint and finishes a soft  shot (rolling hook) at the rim. Next possession, now he attacks McGee, faces up, takes the 13 footer, misses, offensive rebound LA.
  • Andre Miller with a beautiful hesitation dribble to freeze the help defender and open up the paint for the driving layup. Excellent move.
  • Jordan Hill with two more rebounds. The first was his fourth offensive rebound and resulted in another tip in. They have to keep Hill off the glass. The Nuggets can’t be giving up easy points like that and expect to win. LA has to many weapons elsewhere.
  • Ty Lawson gets his first field goal (a driving layup, right wing, went right, isolation). The Nuggets are down 15 with 8 minutes to play.
  • Oh my, an over the head pass out of the low post to a cutting Jordan Hill for the layup and the foul from Pau Gasol. His passing has excellent tonight. Lakers picking apart this Nuggets defense with ease.
  • Lawson responds with a pull up jumper over the bigger player after getting the switch. 13 point game. Denver needs to get this to single digits.
  • Kobe Bryant responds with two baskets. The first a tough heavily contested driving layup in the lane. The second, a breakaway uncontested dunk after failing to get back on defense and after Andre Miller missed a layup. An important four point, or six point, swing for Denver there.
  • Bynum with another block, announcers say it’s his 9th block of the game, leads to a fastbreak and a foul. The Lakers are up 19 with two free throws to come with 6 minutes left to play. That’s game over. Appearently, Bynum has just tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most blocks in a Lakers postseason game.

Bad performance by Denver. They’ll be upset and rightfully so by their poor performance on both ends of the court tonight.

This will be a very tough series for them. Probably the worst matchup they could have gotten given the respective front-courts of these two sides but today’s performance was inexcusable. Have to do better than that.

Boston vs Atlanta

This one will likely be a dud (ugly game)

  • The Atlanta Hawks have roared out to an 18-6 lead four and a half minutes into the first quarter. They are 7-9 from the floor. Joe Johnson has been terrific. He got the party started when he leaked out for a layup, then made a nice drive and dish play to Hinrich for a triple and also buried a step back J in Pierce’s face after an isolation on the left wing. Jeff Teague scored a dribble into the three point shot too. Josh Smith just nailed a 22 footer to put Atlanta up 14. Timeout Doc Rivers.
  • Atlanta starting to cool off but Boston are still struggling to score. Not making much headway. Joe Johnson has missed three straight three pointers since I praised his play. The first was a contested three against the shot clock, the second a rushed three from the corner which air-balled off the offensive rebound from his initial miss, the third from the opposite corner (left side) where he decided against passing it back to Hinrich who had more time and space to get off a shot.
  • Josh Smith with a chase down block to deny Avery Bradley’s fastbreak dunk attempt. Then takes it right into the shot-blocker Stiemsma on the other end of the court and muscles up and in the shot attempt against him.
  • Bad turnover by Boston. Bass got caught with the ball against the shot clock and then picked up his dribble, had nowhere to go, turnover, fastbreak, JJ alley oop to Marvin Williams, slam dunk! Atlanta leads 24-10. Crowd starting to get into it.
  • Rondo responds quickly (with a driving layup) to quiet the crowd. Seemed purposeful on that possession, to reply as quickly as possible and to take it upon himself instead of looking to set something up.
  • Atlanta lead 29-12 with a minute and a half remaining in the first. Looking good but they won’t be able to maintain this. Boston will have plenty of opportunities to make a run and close that gap. This will tighten up at some point. Rondo has scored four straight points to cut it to 13.
  • Josh Smith with another rainbow jumper over Garnett from the top of the key off the dribble. When he is making shots like that, Atlanta is tough to beat. Garnett replies on the other end with a 21 footer of his own from the left wing. His first jumper after missing his first six shots (including an air-ball on that baseline fadeaway of his). Garnett got off to bad start, as he does occasionally in big games, but it looks like he starting to settle down.
  • Rondo has scored or assisted (10 points, 3 assists) on every Boston basket except one which tells you just how much has gone right for Boston outside of Rondo.
  • Josh Smith off to a terrific start with 9 points and 5 rebounds. Playing excellent defense too.
  • Paul Pierce amping himself up. Very aggressive the last few possessions. Looking to attack. Had a nice isolation and drained the contested jumper out on the left wing. Then split the defense on the right wing, drove hard to the rim and attacked the help defender (Jason Collins) and finished strong against the contest. Dooling follows that up with a drive and dunk after the ball was swung over to the weakside and opened up the left side of the court for Dooling to drive. Timeout Atlanta. 33-24, Hawks lead.
  • Pargo dribbles up and court, looks like he is about to initiate the offense but suddenly pulls up and drains a triple. That took the wind out of Boston’s 12-4 run. Quite a few missed shots from both sides since then. That is four straight and five of six (that have missed).
  • A 9-1 run by Atlanta since that last timeout. Hawks lead 42-25 and we have another timeout.
  • Atlanta have Tracy McGrady at the two spot now against Avery Bradley. Extremely difficult assignment for the 6-3 Bradley. Tracy is a legit 6-8 with great length and strength and he has an excellent post game + handle + passing ability. Very difficult matchup for Boston. I’d rather see Sasha or Pietrus get the nod here instead of Bradley. Keep Bradley on Kirk Hinrich and/or Willie Green.
  • Teague just stole two offensive rebounds. One was taken down by Pavlovic but stripped by Teague. The second he slipped in between Garnett and Bass and stole it.
  • Atlanta leads 46-33 with two minutes two after Pierce’s three point play in transition. Lovely dribble drive and no look drop bounce pass to Avery Bradley who was cutting along the baseline for a tough reserve layup against Josh Smith.
  • Boston have played with some more energy and hustle in the last few minutes. Starting to get a footing in this game.

Halftime

  • Atlanta leads 49-35
  • The Celtics still have plenty of time to come back and win this game. I fully believe this game will tighten up at some point. To me, the main question will be whether Boston will have enough left in the tank to finish it off after they make the big run or will Atlanta have made them work so hard for it that they have nothing left to offer while Atlanta comes good down the stretch and finishes them off.
  • Boston run a play for KG out of halftime, a backdoor cut for the alley oop from Rondo after setting a screen above the left elbow. Rondo gives a thumbs up to Doc for the good call on the play. Bass adds a jumper on the next possession.
  • Atlanta come back down, great defense by Boston, working against the shot-clock, 25 feet from the rim with nothing, Hinrich protecting his dribble against Bradley, nothing on, has to heave it, hits it! Tough shot. Big boost for Atlanta.
  • 53-41 Atlanta lead at the eight minute mark
  • Atlanta lead 31-21 on the backboards. Part of that has been Boston’s horrific jump-shooting though.
  • Fastbreak, Rondo to Bradley, alley-oop! Timeout Atlanta.
  • Hinrich bags a three pointer from the left corner. Fourth three pointer of the night for Hinrich. He has Atlanta’s only two baskets in the third quarter so far. Garnett replies with a long two point jumper of his own. Hopefully, that will get him going. Hinrich with a driving layup against the clock, gets it up on time but misses it, but Collins slips in for the tip. Hinrich, making things happen! On the next possession, Collins drains a 16 footer along the baseline. Atlanta’s two weakest starters carrying them here in the third.
  • Avery Bradley misses a baseline J. He has had a tough time with his shot tonight.
  • Atlanta leads 60-45 with 4:30 left in the third
  • Josh Smith has 17 points and 16 rebounds as we near the end of the third.
  • Rondo bags his second jumper of the last few minutes. He has 16 points on 14 FGAs (with 8 assists). The Celtics are down 13 with a minute and a half to play in the third (64-51, Hawks lead).
  • The Hawks offense has fallen apart here in the third but Boston hasn’t scored enough to take advantage. Still can’t buy a jump shot (as Pierce’s misses another three). Pierce isolation at the top of the key to end the third, dribbles in, pull up jumper from 18 feet, misses. End of third.
  • Rondo hits another jumper from the right wing. Looked like his foot was on the line. Closes the lead to 10 (65-55).
  • Tracy McGrady responds with a jumper from the left corner.
  • The earlier Boston makes their push the better their chances of winning will be. Rondo drives into the lane and makes a runner. Ten point lead again. Back to Tracy, iso, left wing, drives right, Pietrus deflects it, turnover, fastbreak, kickout for the jumper, misses. Garnett blocks Ivan Johnson at the rim, KG sprints down court, gets great position, pass inside to KG, fouled, sideline out. Garnett misses a 20 footer from left wing, good contest by Collins. Pargo turns it over on his dribble drive and attempted wrap around pass in traffic. Third straight turnover by Atlanta, Rondo to Bass top of the key, knocks it down. Eight point game. Timeout Atlanta.
  • Joe Johnson has been non-factor offensively since his early start. Atlanta needs him to step up down the stretch. He has played good defense on Pierce though.
  • Joe Johnson misses a three pointer from the left corner. He is 3-13 from the field now. Has 10 points. 0-7 from three.
  • Rondo uses his fake behind the back pass to get into the lane and free up his runner, misses it … Atlanta run the other way and Pargo comes up with a big basket.
  • McGrady comes up with the offensive rebound and slam dunk as three Celtics get in each other’s way and fumble the rebound. Atlanta lead 71-59 with 7:20 to play.
  • Garnett bags a long jumper as the shot clock dips down.
  • McGrady should have taken that shot. Not enough time to make that pass. Forced Johnson into a very difficult heave at the rim from 25 feet against the shot clock with a hand in his face. Clearly, JJ missed.
  • Pierce makes two FTs to cut the lead to five. 71-66 Atlanta. Josh Smith nailed a jumper over Garnett (right wing, face up J from 18 feet with a hand in his face). Next possession, Brandon Bass with a big jumper against the clock (left elbow) when nothing else was on. Lead back down to 5.
  • Atlanta lead 73-68 … Jeff Teague just knocked down a three pointer to force the timeout. Smith  setup that three for Teague (and pulled down the defensive rebound, plus the jumper. Atlanta lead 76-68.
  • Rondo 1-3 screen and roll with Pierce right wing, Pierce pops up top, Garnett comes down from top of the key to set a screen, Rondo finds Garnett for the mid-range jumper as Collins helps on Rondo’s drive towards the baseline.
  • Teague up top, to Smith above the three point line left high post, looking for JJ coming around the curl on the right wing, Collins cuts to rim, nice pass by Smith to find the cutting Collins. Foul. Doesn’t get FTs. Then feels the need to take an unnecessary jumper from 14 feet right baseline when he touches the ball next time. Deserved FTs but shouldn’t let his frustrations get to him like that.
  • Pierce misses another triple, long rebound goes out of bounds. 0-11 from behind the arc, Boston is tonight. Pierce is 4-17 from the field. Jesus.
  • Teague with a hard drive left from the right wing, teardrop in the lane, good! Atlanta lead 78-70 with two minutes to play.
  • Pick and roll, Pierce and Garnett, lovely pass to KG, finishes well. Six point game. 100 seconds to play.
  • Smith isolation by Bass, right wing, good defense, off balance prayer hoisted up, miss.
  • Pierce and Garnett high screen and roll against the shot clock again, Pierce forced wide right, takes a fallaway and nails it!
  • Joe Johnson on the dribble, has it knocked away, turnover? No, loose ball, several players dive on it. Jump ball. Wait, what happened? Rondo just got ejected. What did he do? Rondo bumped the official after the call. Tiny bump. Probably won’t get an ejection. Stupid thing to do. Not a jump ball either, loose ball foul on Bass. That is what Rondo was unhappy about.
  • Five point game. Forty seconds to play. Smith hits two FTs. Seven point game. Timeout Boston.

Good win for Atlanta.

Memphis Grizzlies vs Los Angeles Clippers

Good matchup here

  • Zach Randolph has returned to the starting lineup presumably to matchup against Griffin.
  • Memphis jumps out to a 15-6 lead in large part due to their big men. They are attacking with their size. Both as scorers and as passers. Doing a great job of moving into space, forcing the defense to react and finding cutters and shooters. Marc Gasol has had a pair of beautiful passes, is 3-3 from the field including a strong post move against DeAndre Jordan. Randolph and Gay opened up the scoring for Memphis with a jumper each from the right wing about 20-22 feet from the rim and Mike Conley has nailed a three pointer.
  • The Grizzlies team defense is on song here early in the game. Trapping Paul well. Forcing his lesser teammates to make plays and make them pay and so far they haven’t been able to.
  • OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay hit back to back three pointers to put Memphis up 23-9
  • 28-12 Grizzlies lead with 2:30 to play in the first quarter. The Clippers have nothing going for them offensively.
  • The Clippers cannot defend Marc Gasol when D.Jordan is off the floor. Neither Kenyon Martin or Blake Griffin is big enough physically to contain him. This is a really bad matchup now for the Grizzlies. First play, Gasol drew a foul. Second play, Gasol made a nice slow shake and turnaround J move over Kenyon, bucket.
  • That gets DeAndre Jordan back in the game. Pick and roll with Conley and Gasol, Gasol pops sorry to the baseline (left side), Conley down the lane, drive and kick to Gasol, knocks down the 15 footer. Marc Gasol tearing apart the Clippers here in the first quarter.
  • Terrific first quarter performance by the Grizzlies. They lead 34-18 at the end of one.
  • Eric Bledsoe with an incredible spinning move going to the basket and finishes. Lovely stuff. Not wild about Vinny Del Negro playing Mo Williams, Eric Bledsoe and Nick Young together though. Very small on the perimeter and vulnerable on the glass and defensively. He just brought Reggie Evans in too with Kenyon Martin as his center. Small lineup. Lots of holes for Memphis to exploit.
  • Both teams trading punches here midway though the second. Grizzlies lead 43-28.
  • Nick Young gets a layup in transition. Lead down to 13. He has 10 points in 8 minutes. Clippers quick guards doing a good job forcing the issue in transition.
  • The Clippers doing a nice job on the backboards here in the second quarter and have gotten a couple of offensive boards leading to easy put-backs too.
  • There is that matchup again with Reggie Evans stuck on Gasol this time. Bullies him easily and draws the foul. They need to sync up DeAndre Jordan’s minutes with Gasol’s.
  • 6-0 run by Memphis off of those Gasol free throws. Dante Cunningham hit a shot and Rudy Gay had a nice post up and shoot over the top of Butler for the short J (bucket). Make than an 8-0 run as Mike Conley finds Marc Gasol for the easy dunk. An 11 point game turns into a 19 point halftime lead for Memphis. (58-39, Grizzlies)
  • Second half
  • Chris Paul hits a jumper from just above the foul line. Just his first field goal of the game.
  • Griffin and Paul starting to make plays … but Memphis just keep on answering, more recently with Mike Conley who nailed a three. And then Rudy Gay who swooped down the lane, missed the floater but followed his miss and tapped it back up and in. Grizzlies lead 63-46.
  • Memphis just need to hold onto their lead here. Keep it at 15 or above. If they can fight off this Clippers run here over the next few minutes, it’ll have a demoralizing effect on LA.
  • Conley just buried another two three pointers. Kind roll on the second one. That is three for the quarter and four overall for the game. Grizzlies lead 74-50. Blake Griffin had an alley oop dunk in transition in between those triples from Conley.
  • Mike Conley left wing, post entry pass to Rudy Gay, double comes from the foul line, Marc Gasol cuts down, Gay finds him, Gasol goes up as if for the shot, Griffin helps across, Gasol with the dump off to Z-Bo for the easy flush. Beautiful passing and movement from Memphis.
  • Grizzlies lead 85-65 heading into the fourth quarter. Clippers can’t put a run together. This has been a demolition.
  • Okay, I’m going to call it here, Memphis have this wrapped up

Excellent performance and result for Memphis.

 

Edit: How the hell did that happen? Incredible recovery in the final 8 minutes from from the LA Clippers to steal the game. Epic collapse from Memphis. I don’t have time to watch those minutes now but I look forward to seeing what happened here tomorrow.

The Comeback

Here is some video of the Clippers comeback

The score was 95-71 with 8 minutes to play.

  • Evans going to the bucket, gets an and-one but misses the FT. Blake Griffin gets the offensive rebound and bucket. 20 point game.
  • Z-Bo and Evans, physical battle for position, Randolph trying to face up and create space, loses control of the ball. Turnover.
  • Paul brings it up, high PnR, splits the defense, gets to the rim, layup. 18 point game. Seven minutes to play.
  • Conley up top, high post to Gasol, down to Randolph in low post, passes it out, re-post, misses the baseline jumper. Fastbreak the other way, Conley gives up the foul. Sideline out. Tony Allen and Rudy Gay comes in. Grizzlies have their starters out there while LAC have Evans, Young, Paul, Bledsoe and Griffin. Bledsoe rips down an offensive rebound, exceptional athletic play, dribbles out and drains the jumper from the opposite corner.
  • 95-79 Memphis with 6:20 to play. Rudy Gay, PnR, gets the switch, takes Griffin, shoots the pull up jumper and misses.
  • Clippers post up Griffin, Marc Gasol is too slow, defense helps, out to Paul, Bledsoe cuts from the left side to the right corner, Paul drives, help defense, loses Bledsoe, kicks it to corner, drains triple.
  • Conley gets himself to the foul line on the drive. 14 point game.
  • Blake Griffin, right midpost, drives middle, pump fake, up and under, finishes. 12 point game with five minutes to play.
  • Grizzlies moving the ball reasonably well. Then it breaks down so Conley takes a 20 footer off the dribble, misses.
  • Paul on the right sideline, drives baseline, into traffic, loses the ball, turnover.
  • Gay posts up Young, passes it to the cutter, touch pass to the baseline, layup, misses. Blew it. Lovely ball movement.
  • Clippers turn it over again next possession down. Four minutes to play. Score is 96-84.
  • Grizzlies playing the clock too much. Didn’t make a pass until 12 seconds had gone by. Conley was dribbling the ball 30+ feet from the rim. No threat.
  • Clippers fail to capitalize on the other end. Fastbreak, Nick Young, takes a midrange jumper, misses it. Fastbreak for Memphis, Paul fouls Conley. Sideline out.
  • 3:40 to play – same score, 96-84 – Conley, high post to Gasol, forced out by Reggie Evans, Gay cuts baseline, posts up Young, turnaround jumper, misses it. Clippers get the rebound, pass upcourt to Paul who travels on the catch. Turnover again.
  • 3:10 – Gay isolation against Evans, drives, loses the ball, turnover.
  • Reggie Evans has been terrific here. Playing with fantastic energy and hustle. Inspiring his teammates.
  • Chris Paul drives and kicks it along the baseline to the opposite corner to Nick Young who knocks down the triple. 9 point game with 2:40 to play.
  • OJ Mayo comes in and bricks a low percentage long two point jumper off the dribble. Tough shot.
  • Clippers run down the other end, ping it out to Nick Young on the right wing (opposite side) and he knocks down another three pointer. 6 point game.
  • Conley muscles his way into the paint, takes the runner, misses … fastbreak the other way, carbon copy of last play and same result again, Nick Young knocks down a three pointer on the right side after Paul feeds him.
  • 96-93 with 1:47 to play
  • Conley brings it up, dribbles down the clock, high pick and roll, to Gasol with 13 seconds on the clock after PnP, Marc Gasol has it knocked away, loose ball, Gasol fouls fighting for the ball. Two FTs for Griffin, makes both.
  • 1:30 to play – 24-1 run in the last 8 minutes
  • Z-Bo post up against Evans, terrific defense again, Z-Bo takes the off balance fallaway, misses.
  • Clippers, patiently, Paul high screen and roll, drives hard, draws the defense and finds the trailer Reggie Evans for the layup. First lead of the night for LAC.
  • Conley, right wing, 1-3 screen and roll with Gay, LAC switch, post up Gay against Paul, no help, Gay takes the turnaround, hits it! Memphis gets the lead back.
  • 28.4 seconds to play – 98-97 Memphis lead – Paul goes one-on-one with Tony Allen, picks up his dribble, Tony stays with him, reaches in and gives up the foul. Paul hits two.
  • Memphis holds it for the final shot. 20 seconds to play. They run down the clock. Clippers use their foul to give with 9.8 left on the clock. Plenty of time for Memphis to run something. Gay isolation, top of the key, against Kenyon, drives left, pull up J from above the foul line and he misses it. Memphis lose.
  • Great defense by Kenyon Martin on that final play. Stayed with Gay. Contested the dribble. Was all over him on the shot-attempt. Well done. Such a talented defender.

Remarkable comeback from the LA Clippers.

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