Post Up: All Even

by May 09, 2013

Heat 115, Bulls 78 (Series tied 1-1)

By beating the Heat in their own building in Game 1, the Chicago Bulls had the Heat’s attention. What they didn’t have, was their respect.

The Heat didn’t bother to say they would win Game 2 on Wednesday night. They made their statement on the court, handing the Bulls their worst Playoff loss in franchise history.

The game was close for the first 20 minutes, but the Heat did not back down to Chicago’s rough play. Miami pushed the tempo and noticeably turned up their level of basketball as the game wore on. The Heat finished the half on a 13-3 run, fueled by two dead-eye triples from Norris Cole (18 points) and back-to-back flushes by Dwyane Wade (15 points, 5 assists).

After being held to just two first-half points in Game 1, LeBron James, who wore a t-shirt that said “Up To Me” before the game, went 6-6 in the first quarter. LeMVP (19 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds) didn’t score in the second half, but continued to control every aspect of the game. He dropped 5 dimes in the third quarter alone, as the Heat extended their lead to 31. The game quickly turned into an embarrassment for the Bulls, who missed all but four of its shots in the third.

With the game already out of reach, the Bulls did not try to hide their disdain for their opponent.

Joakim Noah (12 and 6) and Taj Gibson (8 points) were ejected in the fourth quarter. Gibson could be facing a suspension for arguing with the official, and the Bulls’ six technicals were the most by any team since 2005. The Heat were T’d up a season-high three times.

Miami kept a close eye on the explosive Nate Robinson from the jump, holding Chicago’s Game 1 hero to just 11 points on the night.

From points in the paint to the transition game to smothering defense, the Heat thoroughly dominated en route to setting a franchise record for largest Playoff margin of victory. Revenge may not always be pretty, but it sure is sweet.—Ryne Nelson /@slaman10

Warriors 100, Spurs 91 (Series tied 1-1)

When Klay Thompson channeled Eric “Sleepy” Floyd’s soul for a half performance of the ages with 29 points (including 7 threes) in the first half, I just wondered when he’d officially have his heat check moment. I mean, the man was shooting absurd threes. Letting loose early in the shot clock, letting loose with a defender in his face, letting loose whatever he damn well pleased, and they were falling for Thompson. Head coach Mark Jackson said later that Thompson’s performance was one of the best first-half performances in playoff history, and it seemed that the Golden State Warriors would be able to coast into an easy Game 2 victory as the Dubs were up 19 points on the San Antonio Spurs. Oh, and Stephen Curry hit a one-legged three-pointer. Why? Because Stephen Curry.

Then the Spurs went all Spurs-y on Golden State…again.

Here came the Spurs, with wave after wave of increased offensive efficiency and defensive intensity, the lead kept getting smaller and smaller. With every Tim Duncan jumper or Tony Parker lay-in, Manu Ginobili three or Kawhi Leonard finish at the rim, the comeback seemed inevitable, the wheels were going to fall off again, and Golden State was going to have to picked themselves off the canvas and find another way to recover yet again.

Then Klay Thompson went all Klay Thompson-y..again.

Klay’s pull-up three at the end of the third quarter secured an 11-point lead to go into the last period of the game. Yes, the Spurs did more Spurs-like things and kept getting closer and closer, but then the Warriors would find their way. Thompson finished with 34 points and 14 rebounds and Curry backed up his fellow fair-skinned brother with a 22 point performance, including a clutch jumper late to put the game out of reach.

If the Spurs don’t go into NBA Jam “Computer Assistance” mode late in the fourth quarter in Game 1, then San Antonio could be facing an 0-2 deficit heading into Oakland instead of the series being even. Its a fortunate situation to be in, but the reality is that with Curry and Thompson proving that they’re capable of getting off at any moment, Parker and Ginobili must crank up their production to keep up the scoring pace. The Warriors backcourt was relentless, even with a relatively quiet night from their sixth man Jarrett Jack putting up just 8 points.

So the Spurs leave their precious Alamo and will take their talents to the East Bay for Game 3. Its the Warriors turn to defend, the Oracle, that is. Because the Oracle Arena is undefeated thus far in the NBA playoffs, and the Spurs will need all hands on deck to pull out a victory (or two) in Oakland in these next two games. Maybe Gregg Popovich will put in Tracy McGr….okay, maybe not.–Eduardo Maisonet, III / @edthesportsfan