Tag: betting on playoffs
The Indiana Pacers stayed true to their game and won at home to take a 2-1 lead in the best of seven Eastern Conference semifinals. With a phenomenal performances from Roy Hibbert and Paul George, the Pacers took control of the game early on and never gave the Knicks a chance to even fight for it. Hibbert would go on to finish the night with 24 points and 12 rebounds, while George, although a little slow offensively, was a complete nightmare for the Knicks with his spectacular defense. George struggled to create offensive opportunities but still finished the game with 14 points. He was a bit shy of a triple-double as he would sing off the night with eight rebounds and eight assists. But it would be his defensive heroics that would ultimately give the Pacers and strategic advantage to secure a 82-71 win at home.
With this win, Indiana now has emerged from an embarrassing 26-point loss to New York in the Madison Square Garden last week and proved that the Knicks are going to have to bring forth something more than the return of the banged-up Amare Stoudemire to the court. In his return from injury, Stoudemire looked very rusty and was unable to give the Knicks an edge. He would finish the night making just 3-of-8 eight shots to finish the match with seven points and two rebounds. The Knicks star Carmelo Anthony never really had much space to do his magic. Still, he did what he could and scored 21 points. Not bad, but certainly not in par with his playoffs scoring average of 29.3 points per game.
The biggest issue here is that Melo went cold in the fourth quarter, when his team needed him most and finished with only two points and no baskets in the final 12 minutes. As if that was not enough he was held to 6 of 16 shooting from the floor. And yet, we have to acknowledge that this was in part because of the Pacers ferocious defense. J.R. Smith once again also had very little production. He went 4 of 12 and scored nine points. Still, as a whole, he is only 11 of 42 from the field and his shooting woes continue. The Knicks attempted only 3 three-pointers all night long and were held to their worst scoring game in this postseason.
It was clear from the start that the Pacers defense proved to be too much for the Knicks last night “Offensively, we just didn’t have anything,” said New York’s head coach Mike Woodson in the postgame press conference. “I thought defensively, we hung in there and did what we had had to do, but we just didn’t have any offensive pop and we have to figure that out.” For starters they have to find a way to get more open shots and how to fight a little better against the best rebounding team in the league. Indiana limited the Knicks to 35.2 percent shooting from the floor and forced 15 turnovers. And they had a 53-40 rebounding that ultimately gave the Pacers a 20-10 advantage in second chance points.
This was by far one of those very interesting stories coming out of the Western Conference. Both the Nuggets and the Warriors went head to head in the 1st round of the NBA Playoffs and it was quite unclear which team would come out victorious. Now, the Nuggets were a slight favorite on the series price to take on the first round, but Stephen Curry got on the way. He guided the Warriors efforts with 22 points and eight assists to finish off the series in 6 games at the Oracle Arena in Oakland California as the Warriors took a 92’88 win at home. Before a sellout 19,596 crowd, the Warriors managed to make it pass the first round of the NBA Playoffs for the first time in the last six years. The Warriors dominated from the start, and even managed to expand their lead to 18-points going into the fourth quarter, before the Denver Nuggets gave it one last shot to get back in the game.
The Nuggets relied heavily on a brilliant performance from Andre Iguodala who had 24 points and 9 rebounds while Ty Lawson added 17 points but couldn’t help to see how Denver made another early disappointing exit in the postseason. The Nuggets won 23 of their final 26 regular-season games to earn the Western Conference’s third seed. It made them a clear favorite to give either the San Antonio Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder a run for their money. They followed that sensational run in the regular season with losing the next four of six to the hot-shooting Warriors. “We didn’t lose this series tonight. This is a proud loss,” Nuggets coach George Karl said in the postgame press conference. “We lost this series in Game 1 and 2. We didn’t play well enough to sustain the confidence. We won Game 1 on a last-second layup. In Game 2, we gave away everything we worked for with 57 wins in the season. And that’s on me.” Still, it was a disappointing sensation overall.
The Warriors had a great game not only from sharpshooter Stephen Curry, but from the rest of the squad as well. Andrew Bogut was able to overcome an injury prone season to finish the night with 14 points and 21 rebounds. Every time he went into the court, you could feel the excitement from the crowd that was backing him up as he returned from an injury that had kept him out of the 5 previous games. Draymond Green had his best game ever with 16 points and 10 rebounds and the Warriors were able to stop the Nuggets who kept on throwing more plays at them. Despite the 11 points and 11 rebounds from Kenneth Faried and the 11 points from Wilson Chandler who couldn’t just turn this one around.
The Warriors make it to the second round for the first time since the 2007 season when they also upset the Dallas Mavericks in 6 games of the first round. Now, they have to get back on track and face a very rough opponent in the third round. Let´s not forget that the Warriors will now face the San Antonio Spurs in round two starting this Monday. Let´s see what these guys can throw against Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.
For a moment there, the Oklahoma City Thunder were about to do something that no other team had done since early April: defeat the San Antonio Spurs. With a brilliant performance from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in the third quarter, the Thunder came out to the last quarter with a beefy 9-point lead. Truth is that in the third quarter alone, a solid defense by Oklahoma City had held the Spurs to only 16 points in the quarter. Things were looking well for the Thunder and the scenario for a possible upset on game one of the Western Conference Finals at San Antonio seemed to be only 12 minutes away. Little did the Oklahoma City Thunder knew that things were about to get nasty. The San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich came out and told his team early in the fourth quarter: “I want some nasty”. And Nasty he got from his veteran players.
In the postgame press conference Popovich tried not to make too much of a deal about it. He asked the press if he had really told his team he wanted some nasty. Well, we all heard it over national television. Still, the somewhat vociferous head coach kept it low-key and said that it was all part of the pressure of playing in the Playoffs. “The heat of the game, stuff comes up,” Popovich said. “So I talked to them about they’ve got to get a little bit uglier, get a little more nasty, play with more fiber and take it to these guys. Meaning you have to drive it, you have to shoot it.” He got plenty of fiber. The Thunder were younger and perhaps faster and more athletic. There is just one big and fundamental difference between these two squads: the Spurs have been here and have done that, twice.
But perhaps the biggest surprise of the night came via the Argentinean Manu Ginobili. He wasn’t part of the starting 5 for the Spurs but somehow playing from the bench Manu played 34:03 during the whole game, getting very little rest, and still been the most productive player for San Antonio. Let’s not forget that Manu missed at least half of the regular season with a series of injuries that made it doubtful, to say the least, if he was going to be a factor at all once the postseason got underway. Well, he was. He finished the night with 26 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. That was enough to give the Spurs their 19th consecutive win, tying an NBA record for longest winning streak kept alive in the playoffs.
The young and restless Oklahoma City Thunder were lead by Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 27 points. Russell Westbrook had 17. They had a good overall game. Defensively, the Thunder managed to hold the San Antonio Spurs to only16 third-quarter points. But everything went south once San Antonio got going in the fourth. At the end, when the game was on the line, the Spurs scored 39 points in the fourth quarter to take the lead and never look back.
The LA Clippers had to battle it out until the very last minute against the Memphis Grizzlies but with a 82-72 win, the Clippers are moving to the second round for the second time since they moved to California, and the first playoffs series win since 2006. So it’s official, both the Lakers and the Clippers took a win at the Staples Center and they are now moving on to the second round. But it was not up to the two Clippers stars, Chris Paul or Blake Griffin, to take the win. The Clippers bench would be the one making the difference. Just consider for a moment that Clippers’ bench outscored the Memphis reserves 41-11 overall. And many of those points came via Kenyon Martin who scored 11 points in the fourth quarter to round things up.
But the Grizzlies didn’t walk out of the series without giving one heck of a fight. They really put a lot into this series, and we can’t forget that we are talking about a team that was coming down from a 3-1 deficit. There have only been 8 teams in the NBA Playoffs to be able to win under these same circumstances. But it seems that the ghosts of the past caught up with this squad. Let’s not forget that the Grizzlies lost last year in the second round to the Thunder in game 6 in Oklahoma. And even though this was a round earlier, they still were the underdog. So yes, the Grizzlies deserve a little love. Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol each had 19 on Game 7. Zach Randolph finished with 9 points and had a game-high 12 rebounds.
“That’s why it’s seven games,” said Kenyon Martin in the postgame conference. “If you don’t do it before, you get another chance. So they did what they had to do, they came and stole home court back on our floor. … We had a chance to close it out. We knew we let it go, an opportunity get away.” It’s quite unusual to see Martin in the spot, but he sure shined and the Clippers are going to need the reserves to step up in the second round if they hope to keep on rolling. The Clippers are going to get very little rest before they have to face the San Antonio Spurs on the road on Tuesday.
Hopefully Chris Paul is going to have some time to recover from a strained right hip flexor. Perhaps that’s what kept his numbers a little under the radar on his last game. Still, he finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds in game 7. Blake Griffin had only 8 points and 4 rebounds on the game. He has been having some issues with his sprained left knee, that certainly made him look a little too-careful on game 7. The Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said Griffin’s knee tightened up on him as the game went on, and Griffin played only 1:39 of the fourth quarter. Not that it mattered the way the Clippers’ bench came through. Still, the Spurs are an 11½ point favorite on game one of their series against the Clippers. And at -1900 for the money line, they are a clear favorite for the series. Let’s wait and see what round 2 holds for this squad.