Monday, April 27, 2009
Denver destroyed the New Orleans Hornets 121-63. Is there anything left to say?
The Nuggets now have total control of the series up 3-1 with the final game Wednesday night in Denver. Yes, that will be the last game of one of the most mismatched series's in this year's playoffs. The Nuggets should win Game 5 by at least 20 points. New Orleans has nothing left to play for, if they even show up physically.
Denver led 36-15 after the first quarter, shooting 70% from the field. That was pretty much all you needed to see. No starter for either team played in the fourth quarter.
Denver had 7 players in double figures. The Nuggets out shot the Hornets 56-31% from the field. Chris Paul finished with only 4 points and 6 assists.
The Hornets had only 24 second half points. New Orleans points by quarter: 15, 24, 11, 13.
Denver is now one win away from the franchise's first playoff series win since 1994.
Atlanta jumped up 21 points late in the second quarter and it appeared Miami was in for a long night. However a superb first half was wasted by the Hawks as Miami had back to back 4 point plays by James Jones to cut the deficit to 46-42 at halftime. Jones scored 8 points in a span of 11 seconds.
In the second half, the Hawks were able to keep their composure and used stifling defense allowing the Heat only 29 total second half points. Atlanta had 6 players in double figures as they won 81-71 on the road to even the series at 2-2.
Zaza Pachulia was huge of Atlanta's bench with 12 points and 18 rebounds. Atlanta's bench outscored the Heat's 25-2.
Dwyane Wade managed just 22 points and Miami shot just 37.7% from the field and 4-16 from downtown.
I'll start with this. Yesterday's NBA action brought more excitement than the entire 2009 NCAA Tournament. 3 of the 4 games were decided by 3 points or less, and the other game, you got to see more Lebron James domination.
Bulls even series at 2 with dramatic double overtime victory against Celtics
Once this game went to the first overtime, it was already considered the most exciting series of the first round (I think Orlando/Philly might have something to say about that now). Up 3 with time running out, Chicago had the game won in regulation but then decided not to cover Ray Allen. Allen nailed a wide open 3 point bomb to tie the game and send it to overtime. Remember Allen won Game 2 for Boston on a last second 3.
In the first OT, the Celtics went up by 5. Chicago hung in there and where down 3 with 9 seconds left. Boston was looking to foul but somehow Ben Gordon was able to get an open look and bury the tying 3 pointer.
The second OT, Chicago never trailed. John Salmons finished with 20 points including hitting 4-4 from the foul line in the last 26 seconds. Down 3, Boston still had a chance to tie the game. But it was Salmons again coming up big blocking Paul Pierce's 3 point shot to end the game as the Bulls held on, 121-118.
The Bulls had all 7 players who took a shot score in double figures.
Derrick Rose finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, but also had 7 turnovers.
Rajon Rondo, looking like the best player in green, had his second triple double of the series-25 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
End of an Era as Pistons swept by Cavs
For the last 6 years, Detroit has been in the Eastern Conference Finals. This year is a changing of the guard as the Piston's were barely a bug hitting the windshield on Lebron and the Cavs' drive to the Finals.
Cleveland played Game 4 like the previous 3, they won by double digits. There may have been more Cavs' fans at The Palace in Auburn Hills as Cleveland won 99-78.
For the series, Lebron James averaged 32 points, 11.3 rebounds and 7.5 assists.
This was also probably the last game for Rasheed Wallace as a Piston.
Orlando blows another lead, Turkoglu's 3 bails them out
Here's what we've had in the other exciting first round series:
Game 1 was Andre Iguodala.
Game 3 was Thaddeus Young.
And Game 4 was Hedo Turkoglu and Orlando's turn for last second magic.
If we've learned anything from this series, it's no lead is safe, Dwight Howard can actually hit free throws, and chances are, the game is gonna come down to the final seconds.
Orlando led by 10 points with 4:30 remaining in the game. Then Philly went on a 12-2 run and tied the game at 81 on Samuel Dalembert's easy bucket with just under 15 seconds left.
Orlando had the last shot and it was Hedo Turkoglu's 3 point shot that gave the Magic a 84-81 win and tie the series at 2 apiece.
Rockets lose early lead, comeback to survive Game 4
Houston was finally able to get their big man back into the series. After going perfect in Game 1, Yao Ming had not been nearly as dominant in Games 2 and 3.
Yao came back in Game 4 with a solid performance as the Rockets held off the Trailblazers, 89-88 to go up 3-1. Yao finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
The Rockets were up 50-44 at halftime, but lost the lead as Portland finished the third quarter on a 13-1 run to go up 70-64 after three.
Offensive rebounds and second chance points were key for the Rockets in this game, especially in the 4th quarter. Shane Battier hit a couple of three's to put Houston ahead for good. Battier was huge with 14 points, 8 boards, 6 assists and shot 4-6 from downtown. Houston as a team was 9-16 from downtown compared to Portland's 7-15 from behind the arc.
After averaging 20.3 ppg through the first 3 games, Aaron Brooks was a no show with only 5 points. In fact Rick Adelman kept Brooks on the bench a good chunk of the game. Brooks and Kyle Lowry both played 24 minutes. Neither really helped their team as Lowry finished with just 4 points on 1-6 shooting.
Brandon Roy again led all scorers with 31 points. He was 13-13 from the charity stripe. But he was the only one getting to the line for the Trailblazers, as they were 17-17 as a team, Roy getting 13 of the 17 foul shots.
Yao Ming has been dominant against Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla. The two Portland centers have been almost nonexistent. Last night they combined for 4 points on 2-3 shooting and 15 reboudns. Oden had no points and 3 rebounds alone.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
And so that happened.
Coming into Game 3 at the United Center, everyone and their baby's momma were picking the Bulls to win. But it was the Celtics and their experience dominating the Bulls and exploiting their youth.
The Game was just too big for the Bulls. Going into the game, there was far more pressure on Chicago.
Boston was up double digits right away, taking the home crowd out of the game. They were up 59-37 at half. The game was over.
The Celtics' defense showed up tonight also. They forced 22 Chicago turnovers, winning easily, 107-86 and taking a 2-1 series advantage.
I've said before, even with Garnett out, you can give great consideration to Boston as the second best team in the East. Really, the Celtics should be leading this series 3-0.
And you knew it was finally time for Paul Pierce to show up this series. Pierce scored early and often scoring 24 on 9-15 while playing only 24 minutes.
Rajon Rondo? This guy is the glue for the Celtics. He actually might be the MVP for the Garnettless Celtics. Rondo had 20 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. But he was last seen be carried off through the tunnel, possible aggravating his ankle.
You know everything was going Boston's way when even Stephon Marbury is able to come off the bench and put in 13 points and 5 assists.
As for the Bulls. Coming off his playoff high of 42, Ben Gordon only scored 15 tonight. And Derrick Rose was held in check with 9 points and two assists as Chicago was abruptly brought back to earth.
In what maybe the biggest mismatch in the entire NBA Playoffs, the Denver Nuggets have completely taken the buzz out of the New Orleans Hornets. Denver won by double digits again, 108-93, and have coasted to a 2-0 lead.
Denver just has way too much fire power for Chris Paul and the Hornets, they also have Chauncey Billups. Last night, Billups had 31 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds and was 4-6 from the 3 point land.
In the first two games, Billups has 67 points, has shot 60% from the field, including 12-15 from downtown, 19/19 from the charity stripe and has yet to commit a turnover? Far and away the most impressive player in these playoffs.
For the two games, Billups has outscored Paul 67-35. Look, I've always been a huge fan of CP3 and you can't put all the blame on him. He's playing his heart out but is being asked to do way too much, score and then come back and defend Billups.
CP3 just doesn't have the supporting cast. Tyson Chandler isn't 100% and David West is struggling. Paul looks like the only one wanting to play out there for New Orleans.
Both games of the series have played out exactly the same. New Orleans can hold on for one quarter, but then Denver goes on a run. The start of the 4th quarter has been the difference in both games when the Nuggets come out on fire. Last night, Denver started the 4th on a 18-5 run. Sunday night, Denver started the final quarter on a 17-4 run.
Midway through the 4th quarter, New Orleans looks like they don't even want to be out on the court.
The Hornets might be able to steal one at home, but that's it. I don't see this series going more than five games.
After being blown out by 26 in Game 1, Dwyane and the Miami Heat came back to win Game 2 by double digits, 108-93, and even the series at one apiece.
Wade struggled in Game 1 with only 19 points but showed why he's an MVP candidate scoring a game high 33 points and shooting 6-10 from downtown.
The Heat set a franchise playoff game record by hitting 15 total three pointers. Daequan Cook provided a spark off the bench with 20 points, hitting 6-9 from behind the arc.
Miami led by as many as 18 points before Atlanta was able to pull within 5 late in the 4th quarter. With about 5 minutes left in the game, Wade was charged with his fifth foul and forced to sit on the bench. As the Hawks looked to complete the comeback with Wade sitting, Udonis Haslem hit two big jump shots to the Heat rolling.
Wade wasn't on the bench more than 2 minutes when he returned to put the final dagger in Atlanta. With 2:39 left in the 4th and one second on the shot clock, D-Wade banked in a three to put Miami up 101-91.
Miami was able to win because D-Wade was doing what he usually does and got solid play from his supporting cast, as Miami had 4 other players in double figures.
Atlanta did have 6 players in double figures, but their high scorer was Mike Bibby with 18.
As the Heat went 15-26 from downtown, the Hawks were just 6-20.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The Portland Trailblazers adjusted from Game 1's blowout loss. The adjustment, stop Yao Ming. Ming got into trouble early in the 3rd quarter and Portland was just barely able to take advantage.
After going perfect in Game 1, Yao only attempted 6 shots in Game 2 and finished with just 11 points, as the Blazers were able to hold on to a 107-103 victory.
The series is now even at one apiece with Game 3 Friday night at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Brandon Roy led Portland with 42 points, tying Clyde Drexler for second place for most points in Blazer franchise history.
Drexler actually was courtside providing commentary for Houston's local affiliate. Drexler and the rest of the Houston press criticized the officiating throughout the entire game. True, the game was called a lot tighter than Game 1 and even seemed to favor the hometown Blazers, but Yao Ming allowing attempting 6 shots the entire game was the difference and had nothing to do with the officiating.
I could call out the officiating too, saying it was definitely one sided in favor of Portland, but I'm just not going to that. It was. And I could give you many examples.
At halftime, Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge had 35 of Portland's 53 points. When it was said and done, the duo accounted for 69 of the team's 107 points.
Von Wafer provide a huge spark off the bench for the Rockets, finished with 21 points. Ron Artest was hot from the start. He had 15 points in the first half, but was failed to show in the second when his team needed him most, scoring just 4 points.
After scoring just 2 points in the first half, Game 1 hero Aaron Brooks awoke in the second putting up 21. Shane Battier failed to show on both ends of the court with only 3 points on 1-2 from the field.
Both teams shot just over 50% for the game.
While everyone changed the channel after the 3rd quarter, Detroit never gave up.
Up 29 points in the 4th, newly crowned coach of the year Mike Brown pulled Lebron off the court to seemingly rest him for the rest of the game. What Brown hadn't in mind was that he would James's heroics again before this game was done.
For the first 3 quarters, Game 2 had played like just about every other Cavaliers' home game with Cleveland in total control. Detroit went on a 27-5 run in the fourth quarter to pull within 7 points.
Then Bron-Bron pulled off the warmups and did a windmill dunk and all again was safe and sound as Cleveland held on to a 94-82 win to go up 2-0.
Lebron finished with a "quiet" 29 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists. He had help from Mo Williams who had 21 points and 7 dimes, and Delonte West put in 20 points.
However Cleveland may have exposed a weakness, their bench. With his team up 29, Mike Brown felt his team was in total control and looked to rest his starters. But Cleveland's bench was outscored by Detroit's 33-10. Brown was forced to bring Lebron back into the game to seal the deal.
Another factor in the game was the free throw disparity. Cleveland had 43 free throw attempts to Detroit's 16!
The Piston's had only 2 starters in double figures with Richard Hamilton leading the Detroit with 17.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
What happens when you put the most expensive stadium in MLB in one of the poorest neighborhoods in America?
Well, you're not going to sell out the place. I said before that the new Yankee Stadium would keep out the true fans and neighborhood employees who were able to find work and entertainment in their backyards.
Watching the opening series versus Cleveland, you couldn't help but notice the empty seats behind homeplate. What you did see was those empty seats look nice and comfortable and the vendors all look upper class, something you never saw in the old stadium.
That's not the way to enjoy a day at the old ballpark. Give me the Hot Dog/Beer vendor echoing throughout the stadium. Give me the smell of fresh cut grass and dried up beer as you walk through the tunnel.
Even longtime "Yankee Mascot" Freddy "Sez" Schuman, a fixture at Yankees' games since 1988, has found trouble getting into the new stadium.
So unless your name is Daddy Warbucks, myself, like true Yankees' fans, will rarely get the opportunity to enjoy the new Yankee Stadium unlike the old one where so many called their second home.
Now, the new Yankee Stadium is nothing but a tourist attraction, an amusement park. Yes, it may be a Gothic cathedral, but for now it is known as "the House That Greed Built."
How the NY Yankees are 7-6 is quite amazing considering their start. They've been blown out of games, most recently the 22-4 home loss to the Indians. They've given up 10 or more runs in 5 of 13 games. Of course all of this has been without A-Rod, Mark Teixeira had a wrist injury, Hideki Matsui had fluid drained from his knee, and Xavier Nady is banged up.
So where do we begin?
Chien-Ming Wang has been the biggest disappointment by far. This is a guy who nearly won the Cy Young a couple of years ago. Wang has been horrendous, which is even an understatement. I'm not sure if Wang has pitched more than three innings in a game. Through 3 starts, here is Wang's line:
34.5 ERA!, 6 innings pitched, 23 hits, 23 earned runs, 6 BB and only 2 K's.
Holy crap! The Yankees have lost 6 games, 3 of them coming in Wang's three starts. But you know what, no matter how bad you get beat in one game, it's just one game.
So Wang gets skipped in the rotation this week. That's a start. The Yankees are going to need more help in the starting rotation. How does Pedro Martinez in pinstripes sound? Right now, not bad.
The Yankees and many others have not given up on Phil Hughes, myself included. I just don't think they're ready to call him up just yet. But expect him in the starting rotation real soon.
Of course the Yankees are really hurting in the bullpen. But you also have to take in account the high number of innings the bullpen has pitched. Heck, when Wang starts, the bullpen has been expected to pitch basically the entire game.
Demaso Marte has been horrible with an ERA sitting at 21.00! Boy, how does that Xavier Nady/Marte trade sound now? The Yankees could have easily picked up Jason Bay instead of Nady. Bay is a much better overall player and has a greater track record than Nady. And of course the Red Sox quickly jumped on Bay after Brian Cashman failed to cash in on that deal. Once again, Theo Epstein got the better of Cashman on that deal.
And who was involved in that Yankees/Pirates trade last summer? The Yankees sent Ross Ohlendorf to the Pirates. All Ohlendorf did yesterday was blank the hottest team in baseball, the Florida Marlins, pitching 7 innings of 2 hit shutout baseball.
In Marte's defense, the left was basically brought in to put out big time left handers like David Ortiz.
The bullpen issues thus far leads me to this...Joba.
Joba Chamberlain is more of a threat in the bullpen. Coming out of the bullpen, he can hold down the 7th and 8th innings and is the perfect setup for the Yankees most lethal weapon, Mariano Rivera. Also, the Yankees can use Joba 4 to 5 times a week.
The lone bright spot in the Yanks' bullpen has been Brian Bruney with a 2.57 ERA.
But so far, the trusty Yankee veterans have kept the team together. Andy Pettitte has looked good. Captain Derek Jeter has already won two games with a homerun. Jorge Posada won the game on Sunday. And Rivera has been unhittable.
Robinson Cano is notorious for starting slow and finishing strong, has come out his year on fire, batting .388.
And Nick Swisher is already a fan favorite batting .333 and his 4 homeruns leads the team. And oh, he's also pitched one inning with one strikeout and a 0.00 ERA.
So we'll see if Wang can get back to what he's capable of and wait for A-Rod's return. If the Yankees can keep their heads above water, they're still one of the most dangerous teams in baseball.
And there's a little series this weekend at Fenway Park.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Just when the everyone was counting out the Spurs saying they're old and washed up, San Antonio went back to the basics: Tony Parker, solid team defense and quality play from their role players.
The Spurs came out strong and never looked back routing Dallas 105-84 and evening the series a one apiece.
Drew Gooden had 13 points, shooting 6-7 off the bench. Matt Bonner was 3-4 from downtown and finished with 11. And Timmy was Timmy. Duncan played just 28 minutes put was solid on both sides of ball. Timmy had 13 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks.
Parker led the Spurs with 38 points and 8 assists, shooting 16-22 from the field, nearly 73%!
San Antonio also held Dirk Nowitzki in check. Dirk was awful, just 14 points on 3-14 shooting.
In fact Dallas' bench almost looked better than their starting 5. The starters accounted for 47 points compared to 37 from the bench.
San Antonio led by as many as 21 points in the first half before Dallas was able to cut it to 11 at halftime. The Mavericks closed within 9 in the third quarter before the Spurs went on a 18-2 tear to go up 79-54.
After scoring only 4 points and missing the tying shot in Game 1, Ray Allen was the hero for Boston in Game 2. Allen hit the winning three pointer with 2 seconds left as the Celtics held off the surging Bulls 118-115, and evened the series.
Allen finished with 30 points, 28 coming in the second half. Rajon Rondo showed why he just might be Boston's MVP with Kevin Garnett on the bench. Rondo had a triple double with 19 points, 12 rebounds, 16 assists and 5 steals.
And what about Big Baby. Glen Davis put 26 points and 9 rebounds.
Ben Gordon nearly single handily put the Bulls up 2-0. Gordon scored a career playoff high with 42 points. After be down double figures in the first half, the young Chicago team battled back on the road and were up 109-104 with about 2 minutes left.
One thing's for certain, this Bulls team is not going away easy. Chicago's bench out scored Boston's 27-9, with Brad Miller scoring 16.
The difference of the game was Boston's offensive rebounding and second chance points. The Celtics had 21 offensive rebounds to the Bulls' 8.
Funny how a week ago, the Celtics were crying over the Cavaliers over celebrating. After Allen's winning 3, the entire Celtics bench erupted with KG in street clothes fist pumping his chest and Doc Rivers high fiving the crowd like they just won another championship. Only they are very fortunate to be going to Chicago, the number 7 seed overall, with the series tied.
The most annoying thing about Boston's celebration is Eddie House's little kid running on the floor and high fiving the team. That has got to stop!
If anyone saw this game (tip off was 10:30pm EST on a Sunday night!), you missed why Chauncey Billups is referred to as "Big Shot."
Two things we knew for sure going into this series:
1. The Nuggets' trade for Billups altered the team's whole season.
2. Chris Anderson may be the ugliest guy in the NBA.
Billups veteran leadership payed off quickly as he set a franchise record with 8 three pointers in a playoff game. He finished the game with 36 points and was 8-9 overall from downtown.
Denver used a 21-0 run spanning from the 3rd to 4th quarters to build a 97-69 lead. New Orleans went nearly 7 minutes without a single point.
Chris Paul was his usual self as he finished with 21 points, 11 dimes and 5 rebounds, but had little support. David West had just 12 points on 4-16 shooting and Tyson Chandler, back from injury, had only 6 points.
Denver's bench outscored the Hornets' 41-24.
Talk about great timing and creativity. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane never ceases to amaze or make us laugh our asses off.
Last night, Family Guy continued to break barriers with its 420th episode. If you missed it....what the hell were you thinking. We all know how infamous MacFarlane is with his song and dance routines, but last night's performance wins the pot.
Check it out.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
A month ago, the Utah Jazz were the hottest team in the NBA and in line for a possible number 2 seed. The Jazz had battled injuries all year but finally got healthy looked to be a threat in the West.
But things fell apart for Utah down the stretch. The Jazz had were terrible on the road and even had a hard time winning in Salt Lake City.
In a preview of this first round match up, Utah was again held in check last Tuesday night by Lakers, 125-112. These two teams met in the conference semifinals last year, with the Lakers having no problems beating the Jazz 4-2.
With the way Utah has been playing of late, they'll be lucky to win one game. Heck, Kobe Bryant could sit out this series and the Lakers would still win 4-2.
Case in point. LA was up 14 points late in the 2nd quarter and Kobe had just 3 points. Yeah, Kobe has learned to make his teammates better, ala Jordan. But you can expect to see Kobe get plenty of rest this series as Utah has seemed to lost its killer instinct.
But when ever LA gets into trouble, bring in the "Black Mamba." You can see the fear in the opposition. Everyone in the building is just waiting for him to explode. And it's only a matter of time.
With just 3 points more than halfway through the 2nd quarter, Kobe scored 9 in less than two minutes and the Lakers were up 62-40 at halftime.
It would be easy for the Jazz to just give up then. But Utah battled back and even cut the deficit to 9 points in the 4th quarter.
But LA's supporting cast was just too much. Pau Gasol was consistent putting in 20 points and Trevor Ariza came from nowhere with 21.
Bryant finished with a "quiet" 24 points, 8 dimes and 4 rebounds.
For Utah, Carlos Boozer was solid leading the Jazz with 27 points and 9 rebounds.
Deron Williams was sick distributing the ball giving out 17 dimes, but the all star point guard was just 4-14 from the field and 0-4 from downtown and finished with 16 points.
This was maybe the most anticipated series of the Playoffs. But in Game 1, the young Blazers looked way overmatched.
Yao Ming was perfect from the field going 9-9 and 6-6 from the foul line. Ming finished with 24 points and 9 rebounds while playing only 24 minutes as the Rockets cruised, 108-81.
The Blazers combo of Greg Oden and Joel "the Vanilla Gorilla" Przybilla were both overmatched and had no answer for Yao. Yao scored 9 of Houston's first 11 points and the Rockets never looked back from there.
Houston took the hostile crowd out of the game early as the Rockets went up 34-23 at the end of the first quarter. Houston shot 75% from the field in the first.
The Rockets were so dominant, that really didn't even need Yao in the second half. Dikembe Mutumbo put in some solid play off the bench grabbing 9 rebounds and blocking 2 shots.
And what a homecoming it was for Aaron Brooks. Brooks finished with 27 points and 7 assists, both game highs. Brooks also shot 5-8 from 3 point land.
For the game, the Rockets shot nearly 59% from the floor, compared to 42% for the Blazers.
Portland was a lethal 3 point shooting team on the season, but were only 1-11! last night.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
The Wild Western Conference started off with a Texas sized game. Other than the Lakers, not much separates the rest of the teams in the conference.
The San Antonio Spurs snuck in as the number 3 seed and home court advantage against interstate rivalry, the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks came in as one of the hottest teams in the NBA. Just a week ago, they looked like the 8th seed and headed towards a first round one and done series against the Lakers.
The Spurs came out on fire, and everything was going their way. Dirk Nowitzki picked up his 3rd foul early in the second quarter with the Mavs down 33-24. San Antonio led by as many as 13 in first half before Dallas rallied to trail by only 4 at half, 49-45.
In the third quarter, Josh Howard took over for the Mavs with 13 points. But like always, Tim Duncan came alive with 12 third quarter points as the game was tied 74-74 after three.
The big difference of the game was the bench points. For Dallas, Brandon Bass finished with 14 points, Jose Barea had 13 and Jason Terry put in 12.
The Mavericks outscored the Spurs by 12 in the second half and played just enough defense to win 105-97.
Dallas came into the game having lost 9 consecutive road playoff games.
Now, the Spurs, minus Manu Ginobli, have their backs against the ropes with a much hungrier Dallas team breathing down their throats.
Posted by Tree's Trunk at 9:42 PM
Move along, nothing to see here.
As expected, the Cleveland Cavaliers had very little trouble at home against the Detroit Pistons.
Detroit did hang around until the second quarter when Cleveland went on a 20-9. And maybe the final dagger was Lebron banking a half court shot as time expired to end the first half with the Cavs up 12.
The Pistons pulled within 8 points in the fourth quarter while Lebron was on the bench. After that, Lebron came back on the floor and the rest is history as Cleveland won 102-84.
James finished with 38 points, 8 boards and 7 assists. Along with Lebron, the Cavs had 4 other players in double figures.
For the game, Cleveland only had 4 turnovers, shot nearly 53% from the floor and hit 23-27 from the free throw line.
Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons with 20 points. The most frustrating aspect of this game for Detroit is that the Pistons probably played their best game possible, but still lost by 18.
Detroit turned the ball over 7 times and shot 46.2% from the floor. However, the Pistons were just 2-12 from behind the arc and only shot 12 total free throws.
With Kevin Garnett possibly out for the entire Playoffs, we already figured the Celtics wouldn't repeat as Champions. But now, it looks as though Boston will have a hard time getting out of the first round.
Last year, Boston struggled with the Atlanta Hawks in the first round and Ray Allen was nonexistent.
Even without KG, the Celtics came into their series with the Bulls as heavy favorites. Many even see the Celtics getting to the Conference Finals.
With Derrick Rose leading the charge, the Bulls stole Game 1 and home court advantage of the first round series.
Rose looked anything like a rookie, as finished with a game high 36 points to go along with 11 assists. In fact, the 36 points tied the record for most points by a rookie in a playoff debut.
Rose now shares that record with one Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Chicago was up 9 points at half, but the defending champs came back. The two teams seesawed the lead back and forth in the 4th quarter. The Celtics had a 96-95 lead when Rajon Rondo fouled Rose away from the ball with 9.4 seconds left in the 4th quarter.
Rose hit both free throws to give the Bulls a one point lead. On Boston's ensuing possession, Joakim fouled Paul Pierce with 2.6 left. "The Truth" had a chance to seal the game for the Celtics as he hit the first foul shot. The truth be told, Pierce uncharacteristically missed the second shot and we went to overtime.
You thought for sure now the less experienced Bulls team would fold on the road. But Chicago held it together and and was up 105-103 with the Celtics having one last shot. Ray Allen got an open look on the baseline to tie the game again, but missed. Allen finished the game 1-12 from the field, mirroring his early playoff performance from a year ago.
Boy, how far has Derrick Rose come? He's easily the rookie of the year. But remember just over a year ago as a freshmen at Memphis, it was Rose who struggled at the foul line and missed a free throw at the end of the game that would have put the game away and given Memphis a National Championship.
In first ever playoff game, on the road, Rose was 12-12 from the free throw line.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Alright. I know what your thinking...
The Rockets won back to back titles in 1994 and 1995. But remember this was due in large part to Michael Jordan's absence. (His first retirement and baseball tryout) Not to mention these two Finals had dismal ratings.
And what about Seattle? No major pro titles? And yes, Seattle recently lost the Supersonics. Seattle just cracks the top 25 for largest cities in the U.S. And Houston is the 4th largest.
I've lived in Houston for over two years now and it is extremely difficult to root for the home teams.
Since the back to back titles, Houston has struggled in the postseason, winning just two playoff series and failing to win a division title.
And of course last night the Rockets were in position to gain the number 2 seed in the Western Conference. A Houston win at interstate rival Dallas, and the Rockets were guaranteed a 3 seed. The Rockets were up 14 in the third quarter and lost by 11! Thus falling all the way to number 5.
NFL? The Houston Oilers never appeared in a Super Bowl. They do lay claim as the victims to the biggest NFL comeback in history. How can anyone forget the 1993 playoff disaster against Buffalo? The Oilers blew a 32 point lead! Even worse, they lost that lead to a backup QB, Frank Reich.
Now the Oilers don't even exist. They played their last game in 1996 with the team moving to Tennessee. Hell, the Titans have had more success than the Oilers!
The NFL came back to Houston in 2002, with a terrible name, the Texans. A lot of thought put into that one. Since their origin, the Texans are 40-72 and have never reached the postseason. They've yet to finish a season over .500!
Major League Baseball. The Astros have yet to win a World Series. They only recently won their first NL Pennant in 2005 and didn't show up for the World Series being swept by the White Sox.
They moved from the eighth wonder of the world, the Astrodome, to Enron Field. And we all know how that company turned out.
In 1980, the Astros broke the hearts of Houstonians. Up 2-1 in the NLCS against the Phillies, the Astros lost Game 4 5-3 in ten innings. Going into Game 5, the Astros had one of the best pitchers of all time taking the mound, Nolan Ryan. Ryan was going up against a rookie in a series clinching game. Of course Houston went on to lose 8-7 in ten innings. The last 4 games of that series all went extra innings.
And who can ever forget the ugly uniforms the Astros sported for so many years?
College sports? The Rice Owls did win the 2003 College World Series. But who outside Houston and Omaha remembers or cares?
The Houston Cougars do have the 1989 Heisman Trophy winner, Andre Ware. What a bust he became in the NFL. Dave Klinger set a lot of college passing records, but again, who remembers or cares.
What about the Houston Cougars college basketball history with Phi Slama Jama? More heartbreak. Led by Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon, the Cougars went to the final four 3 straight years from 1982-84. The '83 team will forever be linked to Jimmy Valvano running all over the court looking for someone to hug. Houston lost the championship game on an air ball 3 point shot that was rebounded and slama jammed for the winning bucket as N.C. State won the title.
The following year, once again Houston lost in the championship game to Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas. A great run by the Cougars, but no championships.
The top sports franchise in Houston today? The Houston Dynamo! A soccer team! Again, no one outside of Houston knows or cares.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Last year, the Celtics and Lakers played for the NBA Championship. Both teams made the Finals because of moves by their front offices. The Celtics, brought in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, making them one of the most lethal teams in the league. The Lakers got Pau Gasol from Memphis for practically nothing, Kwame Brown.
This year, the Cleveland Cavaliers finally got Lebron some quality help in Mo Williams. And Wow! What help Williams ended up being. Did anyone ever think Mo Williams was this good?
This season, Williams is averaging 17.8 points per game and shooting .436% from 3 point land. He's also putting in over 4 assists per game and grabbing over 3 boards a game. For his career, Williams is averaging 13.5 ppg and shoots .386% for 3 pointers.
Last year, Cleveland went 45-37 overall and 27-14 at home. This year, the Cavs had the best season in franchise history. Going into their final game tomorrow, Cleveland has locked the best record in the NBA at 66-15 and 39-1 at home!
The 1986-86 Boston Celtics went 40-1 at home and won 67 overall. The Cavs can tie both those marks tomorrow night when the host the Philadelphia 76ers. Cleveland will most likely rest all its starters and the 76ers are still jockeying for playoff position.
The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls who went 72-10 finished 39-2 at home.
And how about this, Joe Smith, who Cleveland sent away in the trade to acquire Mo Williams, is back with the Cavs!
Number 2. Chaunecy Billups to the Denver Nuggets.
Talk about another steal! Early in the season, the Nuggets dealt past his prime Allen Iverson to Detroit for the experienced team leader Billups.
Last year, the Nuggets finished 50-32 and squeaked into the playoffs as the 8th seed just 2 games ahead of Golden State. The Nuggets were then swept in the first round by the Lakers.
This year, Denver sits at 54-27 and are one win away from securing the second seed in the Western Conference.
As for Iverson and the Pistons? AI has been hurt, benched and has never really accepted his role as not being the number one go to guy for the Pistons. Without Iverson, the Pistons seem to play better and are a shadow of what the franchise has been this decade. Currently, Detroit is 39-42 and will be the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. Hello Cleveland! Good bye in the first round Detroit. Boy how times have changed.
Nubmer 3. Ron Artest Houston Rockets.
When the Rockets picked up Artest, there was a lot of speculation whether the ticketing time bomb would ruin the team or give Houston a legit big 3.
And when T-Mac made is annual return to the disabled list, it looked like the Rockets were done. They even waved the white flag and traded starting point guard Rafer Alston.
Since T-Mac's last game, the Rockets are 22-7. Artest has fit in perfectly as the Rockets are a scrappy, defensive team, exactly how Artest plays. Houston held Chris Paul and the Hornets to only 66 points Monday night.
Now, the Rockets are a win away from locking up a division title and maybe even a possible 2 seed in the playoffs.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Obscure Point Guard Ramon Sessions (Nevada) saw his name in bright lights as he recorded a triple double last Wednesday (April 1). No Joke.
Playing at home against the Lakers, Sessions and the Milwaukee Bucks nearly pulled off their biggest win of the year, but fell just short 104-98.
In 35 minutes, Sessions put 16 points, 16 dimes, 10 boards and 2 steals.
Later that evening in Oakland, Sacramento and Golden State showed why both teams are in the cellar...No defense. The Warriors rallied from behind to win 143-141 in overtime.
With all those fireworks you know there were some big numbers.
For the Kings, Kevin Martin (Western Carolina) scored 50 points-23 coming from the charity stripe. Martin was 23-26 from the line, 5-11 from 3 point land and 11-22 overall from the field.
For the Warriors, Monta Ellis played 49 minutes, shot 16-35 from the field, 0-1 from behind the arc, 10-12 free throw shooting, also adding 9 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals and finishing with 42 points.
Both these guards are tremendous scorers who get no publicity because they play late games on horrible teams.
Looking for a good laugh?
After hearing American Idol's Adam Lambert perform last night, I could only think of one person as I was laughing my ass off-Old man Herbert from Family Guy!
Watch the two videos and you be the judge. Better yet, don't watch them, just close your eyes and listen. Pretty hilarious and creepy!
I guess Simon gave the kid a standing ovation. Does that mean Old Man Herbert is good enough for American Idol?
Boy, this game was practically over before it started.
The only thing Michigan St. had going for them was the home crowd, and North Carolina took them out of the game early and often.
With 13:30 left in the first half, the Tar Heels had jumped out to a 24-8 lead! Carolina was shooting 60% and had created 7 turnovers.
Sparty was unable to find any transition game due to Carolina's excellent shooting.
And honestly, have you ever seen anyone run the floor better than Ty Lawson? The guy was straight up sick, not only running the offense but swiping 7 steals in the first half. And of course Lawson ended up with 8 steals for the game, a tournament record.
Lawson's play brought back memories of Michigan St.'s Mateen Cleaves and UConn's Khalid El-Amin.
North Carolina led 55-34 at half, the largest halftime lead ever in a championship game. We hadn't seen such a dominant performance in a championship game since the 1990 UNLV Running Rebels.
Whether it was stage fright or what Tom Izzo called "deer in headlights," Michigan State just could not get anything going-the turnovers, missed front ends of one and ones and poor shooting. The Spartans just couldn't make a run in the second half. North Carolina left the door open a small crack as the Tar Heels shot poorly in the second half.
Michigan St. shot just 30.4% from behind the 3 point line, compared to 41.7% for the Tar Heels.
You have to give Tom Izzo and Michigan St. props. This team overachieved throughout the tournament and was very fortunate to beat Kansas in the third round.
In the end, it was North Carolina cruising to a 89-72 victory for the school's 5th National Title. Carolina cruised through the tournament winning every game by double digits.
And another Big 10 team got slaughtered again on the big stage.