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Sunday, April 29th, 2012 at 10:26 am  |  35 responses

Post Up: Showtime

KD saves the day and the Heat get busy in South Beach.

Bulls 103, Sixers 91

The Bulls earned themselves a huge Game One victory but lost reigning MVP Derrick Rose for the rest of the Playoffs to an ACL tear suffered during the fourth quarter. The loss of Rose puts an aura of doubt around Chicago as they play on, but fortunately for them, this is a team who played without their unequivocal leader for much of the second half of the season en route to a 50-16 record and the number one seed in the East. While their chances of making it to the NBA Finals seem unlikely after such a devastating injury, the Bulls will continue to play hard and give it all they got every time they lace ‘em up.

The Bulls, who were led by Rose’s 23 points, 9 assists and 9 boards, let an 11-point half time lead slip to five early in the third before going on a 9-0 run that pushed the lead to 14. After the run, Philadelphia never got within single-digits again. Along with DRose, five Chicago players scored in double figures including Rip Hamilton who finished with 19 and Luol Deng who chipped in with 17 and 6 boards. The Sixers were led by Elton Brand’s 19 and 7 boards and Jrue Holiday’s 16 points and 7 rebounds. Game Two is scheduled for Tuesday.—Peter Walsh (@goinginsquad)

Heat 100, Knicks 67

Miami came out swinging and made a statement with a 33-point drubbing of the Knicks in Game One. New York kept in close in the first quarter, thanks to a ten-point effort from Baron Davis, but  the wheels fell off in the second quarter and the Heat blew the game wide open. During the second act, the Heat went on a game-deciding 24-2 run capped by an offensive flurry from LeBron to end the half.

Play was certainly physical in the first half as each team tried to assert their dominance early and the refs definitely did not swallow their whistles. In the first 24 minutes alone, the Knicks were called for 21 fouls allowing the Heat to take a 28-5 free throw advantage over their opponent. While the refs made a few very questionable foul calls against the Knicks, the Heat were without question the better team on the floor.

In the second half, it was more of the same as Miami continued to dominate and push the lead to over 30. New York was dealt a serious blow when Iman Shumpert went down with a knee injury that will keep him out for the rest of the series. By the end of the third quarter, Miami led the Knicks 81-47 making the fourth quarter more of a formality than a competitive 12 minutes of basketball.

LeBron James certainly made me look foolish for calling his matchup with Carmelo Anthony a “push” by going off for 32 points and dominating on the defensive end. The Heat completely neutralized Melo by fronting him in the post and exposing the Knicks lack of guard play as much of their offense consisted of passing the ball around the perimeter and taking a bad shot late in the shot clock. Melo finished with 11 points on 3-15 shooting.

Miami forced the Knicks into 27 turnovers, converting them into a franchise Playoff record 38 fast break points. Dwyane Wade added 19 points and Mario Chalmers scored 11 points while dropping 9 dimes. J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 17 points while STAT was a no-show with 9 points and 5 boards. Game two is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m.—Peter Walsh (@goinginsquad)

Magic 81, Pacers 77.

Let’s paint the picture here. Ryan Anderson, the Magic’s leading scorer without Dwight, scored 5 points. The Magic scored 13 points in the third quarter and 30 in the second half. They shot 39% from the field and only made 8 free throws. Would anyone think this string of sentences resembles anything close to a win, much less a playoff win, on the road, against a top three seed in the Eastern Conference?

It wasn’t pretty, flashy, or impressive, but the Magic pulled off a huge win in Indianapolis to get their playoff season started on the right foot. Jason Richardson channeled his inner Reggie Miller and poured in five threes (not a typo) en route to a team leading 17 points. Jameer Nelson also tied Richardson with 17 points and came one assist shy of a double-double. “With the group of guys we have now, we’re playing harder,” explained Nelson. “We’re trying to cut down on mistakes. We’re playing without our best player in Dwight Howard, who usually cleans up our mistakes.”

This Magic team may not have the firepower they have with Howard on the floor, but they are hungry. Much hungrier than before. In the series preview, we explained how this team will not go down without a fight. They have too much pride, too much anger built up inside them. Glen Davis, who chipped in 16 points and hit some key mid range shots down the stretch, summed up their attitude perfectly. “We all we got,” Davis proclaimed about the current roster. “We’re not trying to impress the doubters or make them believe in us. We believe in ourselves. We’ve been through a lot this year, both mentally and physically, and we have been able to overcome it.”

Call it an offensive struggle by the Pacers or a defensive masterpiece by the Magic, the Pacers shot a poor 34.5% from the field and never truly found their rhythm in the home opener. The whole game, from Ryan Anderson only attempting 7 shots to Paul George not touching the rock for huge stretches at a time, felt weird. Granger started off firing and connected on three of his first four shots. He then went 3-16 from the field for the remainder of the game. Roy Hibbert, in what Frank Vogel called “his best game as a pro defensively”, swatted 9 shots and grabbed 13 rebounds, putting together the Pacers only complete game. The players and Vogel all believe their lack of offensive rhythm will not be a concern going forward and already began thinking about game two. “We understand it’s a series, not the NCAA. We have a chance to respond.”—Dave Spahn (@DaveSpahn)

Thunder 99, Mavericks 98

A shooter’s credo: “When you’re on, keep shooting. When you’re off, keep shooting until you’re on.”

Scorers are told this from the very first day. That initial moment when their talent for putting the ball in the hoop was accepted as public knowledge. Regardless of age, players that can “throw it in” from anywhere on the court have always been encouraged to ignore the self-doubt, that feeling when the player remembers the past. Those previous few minutes where the one skill that has set you apart from the others suddenly is broken.

Last night, we saw two instances, both crucial to the flow and ultimate conclusion of a game. Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder started tonight’s Game One of their first-round series with the Dallas Mavericks missing his first four shots. His team struggled to find flow and relied on the one-and-one capabilities of point guard Russell Westbrook to stay within reach early. But with just over a minute left in the first, just as Westbrook exited the game in favor of veteran pick-up Derek Fisher, KD put the poor offensive start aside, and made his next three shots. Seven points to keep the locals at the Chesapeake Energy Arena content and the Dallas lead to just four, a score that would seemingly be the difference for most of the night.

KD made just six of his next 19 attempts, but still there was never any eye-batting. Despite off-shooting nights by two of the game’s greatest (KD-8-27; Dirk 8-18), the game blossomed into an exciting affair that was always in doubt. It could be said that no team was ever in complete control and only Dallas had a solitary chance to take a double-digit lead (missed 3-pointer by Jason Kidd up seven with 2:56 left) at any point in the game.

The visitors especially played with energy from the opening bell. They played with bounce, hunger and a certain confidence that was worthy of a defending champion, regardless of how fractured this roster became in comparison to the same one last year.

Jason Terry was phenomenal, Vince Carter attacked the rim and Brendan Haywood and Ian Mahinmi protected the one on the other end of the court. But in the same first half, the Thunder got great contributions by their big four of Durant, Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and James Harden. On cue, the Mavs led at half by three or four or five….

But this was still a story about shooters and one in particular. This is a story of their ability to look at every scoring opportunity in a vacuum. Their minds erased and reprogrammed.

‘I’m open; I’m shooting.’

Ignore the conscience.

Late in the fourth, the always-attacking, programmed Nowitzki had just given the Mavs a 98-97 lead after another two free throws. Forty-seven minutes and fifty-one seconds of enthralling theater and majestic basketball concluded with the Thunder owning the ball, those nine seconds and a chance. Ibaka, Harden and Westbrook all had great games (Russ was especially exquisite in the third), but the ball belonged to Durant. It was One-on-Five.

“When you’re on, keep shooting. When you’re off, keep shooting until you’re on.”

It wasn’t pretty. Durant was off but ended on. A great Game One to the home team.—Cub Buenning (@cubbuenning)

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Dagger

    This is why you don’t call a matchup between a relatively one-dimensional volume scorer and the best all-around player in the league a push. As for the other series: the reason Chicago’s championship hopes are dashed without Rose is the same reason that Indy lost last night: without a true superstar you’re helpless when the offense bogs down and you aren’t making shots. Inevitable in a playoff series against a sound defensive team. Oh, and that Thunder/Mavs series looks like it’ll be a classic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    Yeah, Thunder/Mavs is officially a must-watch series for me, along with Lakers/Nuggets.

  • LA Huey

    co-sign Dagger on Thunder v Mavs.
    Also, anyone else left in awe of that incredible pass Kidd made after recovering from the Harden’s near steal? Cross court pass off his butt. Sad that he decided to inbound it to Marion after the KD game-winner

  • Mack

    The Knicks-Heat series is gonna be epic when the scene shifts to New York!

  • Andrew Woods

    I highly doubt the Knicks will make a series of it. All the hype was pretty unfounded. Melo might go off but they would still need two other players to have a great game at the same time to win. And with miami’s defense I just dont see it happening, esp with Lebron being the most efficient player in the league.
    The Rose injury is tragic but I always feared the celtics more than the bulls in yhe playoffs anyways. A one against three fight is never exciting and thats what a bulls vs heat series would b imo

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    Can’t believe Rose tore his ACL, now the only team that can really challenge the Heat in the East are the Celtics…f*cking bummer

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    Almost didn’t watch the Mavs-Thunder after a long day, but so glad I did. Can’t wait for Boston’s first game! Devastating about Rose and Shumpert though, this places a heavy burden on J.R. Smith to step up.

  • eyal

    I wouldn’t count out the knicks yet. They have nothing to lose, Bosh has been playing bad all year, Amare still has time to take advantage of the matchup, Chandler won’t play that badly again soon, and if melo and JR both go off in the same game, it can still be close…

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    Memphis LAC will be an intresting series

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    1 down…

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJcN_4-3J8Y Datkid

    eyal I would. especially after a loss like that. and honestly amare does not have an advantage in that matchup.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    OKC vs. Dallas might be one of the best first round series’ ever… It’s on the level of last year’s WCF. I have a feeling Dallas will win it, though. The coaching disparity is too big to ignore. We’ll see though, ’cause I want to see what OKC can do beyond the pest that is Dallas.

  • eyal

    @datkid, normally i would agree, but the Heat love to rest on the laurels and take it easy when things are looking sunny. nothing is a done deal. I remember when they also ‘dismantled’ the mavs in game 1 last year.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    Man, Lebron must have paid the refs off. I’m just saying, 28 free-trows by halftime? If the refs call it evenly, that’s series could be more competitive, the knicks have to stop the TO’s as well but the refs definitely got to their heads. good game refs

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJcN_4-3J8Y Datkid

    eyal… there’s a BIG difference between the mavs and the knicks. like a colossal difference. plus nobody on the knicks roster can even pretend to guard the big 3.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Uhm if the refs weren’t do terrible last night the Knicks would have lost by what, 18? lolol like the refs are why New York lost by 33! Lol please – refs don’t miss shots.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    Blaming refs is hilarious. On another note the Knicks need to take care of the ball and make shots period. It’s easy to blame others instead of looking yourself in the mirror.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    Yeah whatever, 28 FT’s by halftime is ridiculous and I didnt just blame the refs, I clearly stated the knicks need to take care of the ball as well to keep the pace from being favorable to miami.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    Slic you can’t sit here and tell me that Miami qanat the aggressor. I will agree with you on the fact that LeBron did a good job acting on some calls but the majority were good calls.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    the refs did suck @ss though, that’s undeniable.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    no they were not, the flagrant foul on Tyson Chandler was a joke. For one.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    So the refs are out to make Miami beat the Knicks right? If the refs make bad calls against the Heat in MSG I hope you have the same attitude.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    you bet I will. It’s not hard to admit that the refs suck. If it’s in the Knicks’ favor I will be happier, sure, but I won’t be delusional about it. I highly doubt that the refs will favor New York over its two biggest superstars though. Go Youtube Tyson’s flagrant foul and tell me with a straight face (figuratively, lol) that the refs weren’t favoring the Heat.

  • A.

    People getting their draws in a bunch over two or three questionable calls for LeBron in game are just plain stupid. So those few questionable calls made the Knicks lose the ball TWENTY SEVEN times? And in turn put an extra 37 points on the board for the Heat? I guess LeBron shut Melo down by flopping all game right? He flopped Melo into missing 12 shots, into Chandler losing the ball 7 times, into Amaré scoring just 9 points and I’m sure LeBron’s flop contributed to Shumpert’s ACL injury. Might as well blame Rose and Dwight’s injuries on LeBron’s flops! Give me a break. Man up and give credit where it’s due. Miami kicked NY’s butt and sent them to the showers with their tails between their legs. Now NY has to try and hit back in Game 2. Don’t blame a 33 point loss on a couple questionable calls.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    I think we can all agree that the refs were absolutely not the reason that the Knicks lost last night. That much is obvious. However, we can also agree that, on average, the calls were skewed one way.

  • A.

    @Caboose: Like at the majority of home games according to fans of the visiting team. This is nothing new. But I guess hating the Heat is still très chic.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    No Teddy we both can agree that the Tyson flagrant wasn’t even bad. LeBron did a good job acting on that one.

  • LA Huey

    The refs did suck. The Knicks are underdogs in this series. Heat shouldn’t have trouble with them even with the help of the refs. But for Knick fans, with that kind of officiating, the Knicks have NO hope. I can understand where they’re coming from.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    CLIP SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY BATMAN THAT WAS SOME CRAZY SH!T!!

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    I might have turned my TV off when there was 6 minutes left…I hate myself.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Literally within a minute of the run starting I let my girl take over the tv. I. Am. A. Failure.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    LOL at you two. I very nearly left myself… Phew.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Nick Young is a baaad mofo.

  • Justin G.

    Perhaps seeing the Clippers come back like that proves what Thibs was saying about why he left Rose in the game?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I didn’t think the refs were cheating for the Heat. New York was slow on its rotations and reaching a lot on defense. Go back and watch the tape.
    The refs were too amped up to prevent a fight though. That’s why you had so many touch fouls and random technicals and flagrants.

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