Post Up: Spurs Rolling
San Antonio stomps on Utah (again), the Pacers roll and Memphis evens its series with LAC.
Spurs 114, Jazz 83 (SAS leads 2-0)
San Antonio continued to roll in Game 2 of the first round matchup between the Spurs and Jazz.
San Antonio controlled the game from the start, opening the game with a 10-2 run, putting the young Jazz team on their heels. Unlike Game 1, the Jazz could not rebound and turn this into a close game at any point.
Utah was held to just 23.4 percent shooting over the first 24 minutes while also turning the ball over 9 times, which resulted in 14 early transition points for San Antonio. San Antonio shot the ball amazing throughout the contest, shooting 57 percent from the floor and knocking down 10 three-pointers in the game.
Tony Parker scored 18 points and dished out 9 dimes for the Spurs. Tim Duncan had a double double in the contest, adding 12 points and 13 rebounds. “I thought we moved the ball great and our shooters were making shots,” said Parker. “Defensively, I thought we did a good job controlling the boards.”
Josh Howard and Al Jefferson scored 10 points apiece to lead the Jazz, who shot just 34.4 percent from the field for the game. “Is this series over? “Of course not,” said Jazz point guard Devin Harris in regards to the Playoff series. “We’ve had our struggles on the road. We were one of the better teams at home. We look forward to playing on our home floor. They won the first two games. They’re supposed to, they’re a good team.”
Look for the Jazz to rebound in Game 3 in Salt Lake City as they attempt to defend home court. The Jazz were one of the best teams at home in the regular season this year, posting a 25-8 record when in the confines of the Delta Center. “We have been great at home and we need to continue that,” Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin said. “They’re going to come in a try and jump us early. We have to try and prepare for that.” —Christian Mordi (@mordi_thecomeup)
Pacers 97, Magic 74 (IND leads 2-1)
Finally, finally, Frank Vogel may have found the way to get the message of shot selection through the brains of his players. After the first two games of, uh, “poor” shot selection from the Pacers (the team shot 34.5 percent from the field in the first game, and Danny Granger and David West shot a combined 12-35 in Game 2), coach Vogel addressed the problem outright. “We’ve been forcing up too much stuff in the paint,” explained Vogel in pre-game. “We’re not seeing the second side well enough; we’re not recognizing opportunities for a second drive and kick. I mentioned that about a hundred times since Game 2.”
In a collective scoring outing where five players reached double figures, the Pacers brought a balanced attack on the offensive end for another high scoring output. Granger poured in a game-high 26 points including 5-9 from beyond the arc. Roy Hibbert crossed into double figures for the first time this series with 18 points, and his 10 rebounds made him the only Pacer player to record a double-double. George Hill continued his effective offensive production with 15, and birthday boy Paul George (22 years old) finished with 12 points and a team-high 4 assists.
The Magic, however, continue their offensive blues. They’ve failed to score over 81 points in any game this series and average just under 78 points per game over the three games. Glen Davis led the way offensively with 22 points. Only two other guys, Jameer Nelson and J.J Redick, even cracked the double-digit mark for the Magic. They shot a decent 42 percent from the field but shot 50 percent (9-18) from the foul line. A struggling offensive team needs to convert from the charity stripe.
Game 3 completely changed the feeling of the series. After the first game, the Pacers felt like a boxer who caught an unexpected right hook to the mouth. The Magic were on cloud nine about starting the series 1-0 on the road. The second game leveled the playing field and brought both teams back to reality. However, last night’s game set the tone for the Pacers. They got up after the initial blow to the face and struck back hard. Their 23-point drumming of the Magic showed they aren’t playing around anymore. Their offensive struggles seem to be in the rearview mirror now. The Magic are searching for anything to hold onto to regain momentum heading into what very well may be their final home game of the 2011-2012 season. After an offensive drought as bad as a summer without rainfall, the Magic are a misstep or two away from the first Dwight Howard off-season rumor of the year. —Dave Spahn (@DaveSpahn)
Grizzlies 105, Clippers 98 (Series tied 1-1)
The problem with sequels is everything.
The Clippers couldn’t do that thing again where they forced you to call your friends and family to see if you were actually awake that whole time. They lost to a very, very composed Grizzlies team, 105-98.
Oh, there were a few seconds when it felt like the Clippers were going to pull off something out of a bad Disney movie again. They were down 13 with 3:50 to play. Memphis was due for a TV timeout. The Clippers regrouped, then came out with five points in 50 seconds. They decided they were going to start pressuring jumpshooters 44 minutes into the game.
But it was too late. That would be two acts of God in a row. Even Tim Tebow would consider that a little greedy.
Chris Paul went off. This is going to happen, by the way. He’s going to maneuver to whatever spot he wants, set up a nice cozy area to build a sturdy little embankment out of stones and grass, and gently drop in jumpshots all night. Then he’ll look at his teammates and give them the “Hey, you guys want in on this?” look, and their answer will be, “No.”
This happens all the time with Chris Paul and I’m starting to get a little upset for him. To be a leader in the NBA in 2012, it’s apparently not enough to simply be unexplainably good.
Paul had 29. Blake Griffin had 22, but four in the last two minutes. Bobby Simmons, who didn’t play in Game 1 and was in the D-League in February, started and finished the game.
You can’t pull that kind of thing off against the Grizzlies, who were stolid communal rocks amongst fallen debris. If you survive the coming apocalypse, they are who to call. They can make it work.
Man, this team has it together. Their first quarter was intensely flat. Usually after fireball losses like that, teams are aimless bats out of hell, then fall under their own weight by the middle of the fourth quarter. (See: Game 1.)
Not this team. The pace was methodical and structured and boring as hell. And it worked.
DeAndre Jordan had a Dunk-of-the-Year-candidate oop in the fourth. He made Tony Allen look like a ball of sadness. Next bucket? Rudy Gay on a turnaround deep in the shotclock.
It was methodical and structured and boring as hell and it’s probably good enough to go to the Western Conference Finals.
And is Chris Paul better than that all by himself? Yep, probably. Somebody should tell the rest of the Clippers. —Ben Collins