Post Up: Grind Time

The Grizzlies finished off the Blazers, and the Hawks fended off the Nets on Wednesday.
by April 30, 2015

Nets 97, Hawks 107 (Hawks lead 3-2)

The fourth quarter was about as good as it gets last night. Atlanta entered the period with an 82-70 edge—and a Game 5 win seemingly in hand—before Brooklyn caught fire.

In a series without a superstar, Jarrett Jack decided to take over the game, and pulled the Nets to within four with four to play. A Joe Johnson triple later cut the deficit to two with 2:19 remaining, but Brooklyn ran out of gas from there. It didn’t help that the Hawks refused to stop scoring.

Each of Atlanta’s five starters hit big shots in the fourth—beautiful stuff. Al Horford had his jumper working, and finished with 24 points (10/17) and 15 boards. He was flying all over the place on the offensive glass. Jeff Teague added 20 and 8, Kyle Korver hit 5 threes on his way to 17 and Paul Millsap added 10. In pure Hawks fashion, though, it was DeMarre Carroll who led the team in scoring, with 24.

I’m not sure how many other teams could have answered Brooklyn’s fourth-quarter attack.

Jack was unreal in the fourth (though he did commit a pair of brutal late turnovers), where Johnson and rookie Bojan Bogdanovic stepped up as well. In all, Jack shot 7/13 off the bench and finished with 18. We’ve seen the clutch act before from Jack, most recently in the 2013 Playoffs with Golden State, but it’s easy to forget about his late-game chops. Dude doesn’t shy away from big shots.

Meanwhile, fellow reserve Alan Anderson was huge, too, hitting 9/11 shots for 23 points, and Johnson added 18. The Nets needed more out of Brook Lopez (4/13) and Deron Williams (2/8) in the first half—falling behind early ultimately did them in.

Once again these teams looked evenly matched, and what was pegged as a sleeper of a series has quickly become a thriller. The Hawks may now be gaining steam, but the Nets are here to play. Game 6 is in Brooklyn on Friday night.

Leo Sepkowitz

Blazers 93, Grizzlies 99 (Grizzlies win series 4-1)

After five games between the Western Conference’s No. 4 and 5 match-up, congratulations are due to none other than the Memphis Grizzlies.

Marc Gasol (26 points, 14 rebounds) and his Grizz took care of things at the Grindhouse last night, putting away CJ McCollum (career-high 33 points) and the Portland Trail Blazers for good.

The home team opened the game 15-3 before Damian Lillard (22 points, 6 assists) and the Blazers ended the first quarter on a 12-2 run to tie the score at 20. The second quarter saw a vintage Vince Carter—and we get to call him vintage VC enough times that I sometimes feel like this is simply regular VC, just a little aged—but anyway, the man lifted off on more than one occasion:

After leading by 7 at halftime, the Grizz widened the gap to their largest lead of the night—13—in the third quarter, opening the second half on a 6-0 run. But McCollum exploded for 16 points in the quarter, including 4-5 from beyond the arc to keep Portland in it. Memphis’ lead was down to 2 by the start of the fourth.

In the final period, the visiting team managed to tie the game but were unable to take the lead. The home team was feeling it in front of their fans and star guard, Mike Conley, who watched from the stands after undergoing facial surgery.

Now that they’ve sent LaMarcus Aldridge (14 points, 9 rebounds) and his Blazers fishin’, Gasol, Randolph, Courtney Lee (20 points), and the rest of the gang can prepare for Round 2, against the top team in the NBA—the Golden State Warriors. The series is set to tip off this weekend, Sunday at 3:30 EST. Offensive prowess paired up with gritty defense…should be fun to watch this one play out.

Habeeba Husain