Derozan, Raptors Survives Late Run by Antetokounmpo and the Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks did not survive their do-or-die game against the Toronto Raptors as they fell short, 92-89, and were eliminated in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series on Thursday night. 
Giannis Antetokounmpo started off scoring the first 8 points for the Bucks but it was the only bright spot for Milwaukee in the first half. They looked lifeless and even trailed by 25 points before fourth quarter. 
However, it ended with a nail-biter as they had a good run in the remaining minutes of the game. Milwaukee forced turnovers leading to great plays for Middleton and Jason Terry who gave the Bucks the lead in some point of time during the closing minutes. The Milwaukee Bucks outscored the Toronto Raptors, 28-18,  but It wasn’t enough as the Raptors still came up on top.
Demar Derozan led the Raptors, scoring 32 points in 12-24 shooting and added a defensive effort of 5 steals while Lowry had 13 points. Jonas Valanciunas was a plus-15 at halftime while playing just 13 minutes. He excelled as the screener on the pick-and-roll with DeMar DeRozan.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored his playoff-high 34 points and played for 46 minutes in the game however, Antetokounmpo struggled in the foul line as he shot 7-13. Khris Middleton added 19 points and five assists.

The Raptors advance to conference semis and will face the defending champions, Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Game 1 of Cavaliers and Raptors series is on Monday night in Cleveland at 7 EST.

Wall, Wizards Takes Pivotal Game 5

John Wall had the game high 14 assists and added 20 points on the board to take the pivotal game 5 against the Atlanta Hawks. Streaky shooting from Wizards forward Otto Porter and guard Bradley Beal was also a huge factor against the Atlanta Hawks. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 27 points on an 11 shots made out of 22 he attempted while Otto Porter had the hot hands, contributing 17 points while shooting 75% field goals percentage.
Dennis Schroder lead the Hawks with 29 points and 11 assists while Paul Millsap scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. However it wasn’t enough for the Atlanta Hawks and some turnovers cost them during the crunch time. Atlanta had 11 turnovers in the game while Washington only had 7. The Hawks also shot poorly at the free-throw line making only 14 shots out of 21.
Washington Wizards finished the game with a score of 103-99 against the Atlanta Hawks to take a commanding 3-2 series lead with Game 6 set for Atlanta on Friday.

(courtesy: Rapid Highlights)

Best Chase Down Block in NBA Playoff History: LeBron James or Tayshaun Prince?

Who has the best Chase Down Block in the NBA Playoff history? 

Best Chase Down Block in NBA PLayoff

Last game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, we saw a very tough match between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. One of the highlights of the game was the big block by the King LeBron James to Andre Iguodala who was in fastbreak for a game leading lay-up with 1:52 in the 4th quarter.

Many people said that this was LeBron’s greatest block of his career. Some people also said that this is the greatest block in the NBA Playoffs. But there’s also people who disagreed with this statement.
Some said that Tayshaun Prince’s chase down block was the greatest.

Leading by 2 points in game 2 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals, 69 – 67, Detroit Pistons’ Tayshaun Prince chases down Indiana Pacers’ Reggie Miller in fastbreak for a game tying lay-up with 18 seconds left in the 4th quarter. That Block also the Detroit’s 19th Block of the game. The Pistons would go on to win game 2 and eventually the series. Detroit would then defeat the Los Angeles Lakers in 5 games to win their first NBA championship in 14 years. 

Lets take a look and compare two greatest blocks in the NBA Playoffs:

LeBron James Chase Down block on Andre Iguodala

Tayshaun Prince huge block on Reggie Miller

Who do you think has the best block of the NBA Playoffs? LeBron or Tayshaun?


Prediction: Western Conference Finals featuring Warriors vs. Thunders

Warriors swept their season match up against Oklahoma City, 3-0 including a heartbreaking overtime loss in their own home court. But it is back to zero, they are looking to bounce back against Warriors.

Coming from a challenging 4-2 series victory over a tough and talent laden San Antonio Spurs. They will try to ride on this momentum to beat the defending champions. They will lean on to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to take the cudgels for them in offensive side and Roberson, Ibaka and Adam will be the key for them on the defensive side. Of course they also have Kanter, Waiters and Foye who will be coming of the bench to help their starting line up.

While the defending champions, Golden State Warriors are coming off a 4-1 series victory over the pesky Portland Trailblazers. Finally, the MVP is back for them, who helped them to win the last two games against Portland. They really need a 100% healthy Stephen Curry to win against OKC or else Thompson, Green and other need to step up big in the series.

One of the key factors that I’m seeing in this match up is the 3 point shooting and the bench support. It is important that OKC to defend well beyond the arc and they need to outplay the bench players of the Warriors to have a chance to win this series.

Prediction: Every game will be a close one but I’m giving it to Warriors in 5 games.

Eastern Conference Finals Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors

(1) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (2) Toronto Raptors

Cleveland Cavaliers in 6

The Toronto Raptors reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time and it might end sooner than they expected. The Cleveland Cavaliers dominated the Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks without dropping any single game against both of those teams, while the Toronto Raptors’ series against the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat both went to a game 7, but luckily for the Raptors, both game 7 from those series were on their homecourt. 
The Toronto Raptors won their regular season bouts 2-1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that does not mean that their chances to win this series will increase because the Cavaliers have been superb all throughout the playoffs having played only 8 games in almost 5 weeks, and with Jonas Valanciunas on the sideline, the Raptors should step up big every game, but most importantly, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan needs to consistent for them to be able to go toe to toe against the Cavs. 

Western Conference Finals Preview: Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (3) Oklahoma City Thunder

Golden State Warriors vs Oklahoma City Thunder: Live Score, Highlights, Reaction. via Bleacherreport

Golden State Warriors in 6

The Golden State Warriors swept (3-0) the Oklahoma City Thunder in the regular season bouts. That being said, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and the Thunders seem to have a hard time against Golden State when all their games in the regular season against Golden State they had the lead heading into the fourth quarter and blew it all up, including the match where Stephen Curry shot from halfcourt to win the game in OT. Although Oklahoma lost all their match against Golden State, they still have the chance to turn this series around since they have been playing huge in the postseason after eliminating the San Antonio Spurs which was a huge boost to their momentum and confidence. But after the record breaking 73-9 regular season, the Golden State Warriors will play their hearts out each and every game to win the NBA Title twice in a row. Golden State Warriors vs Oklahoma City Thunder will be a classic matchup since both teams are putting everything on the line everytime they play against each other. This will surely be one exciting series and will put the fans at the edge of their seat the entire series.

But two things are for sure, the Oklahoma City Thunder will be hungry, they know they lost all their games against Golden State in the regular season, so they will not be go down without a fight and the Golden State Warriors will not let their record breaking regular season go down as one of the biggest disappointments in NBA history as they try to pour their hearts out to defend their title.

Back with a BANG!!! Curry helps Warrior to take a commanding 3-1 lead over Portland

After being down for most part of the game. Golden State Warriors finds a way to recover just in time by the help of the reigining MVP, Stephen Curry.

Curry collected 40 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. Before the game Warrior’s Coach, Steve Kerr told the media that Curry was still questionable to play but after playing some 3 on 3 before the actual game, they listed him as active for today’s game.

At the start of the game, Curry was very rusty, shooting 0-9 from deep. But when the game got closer in the 4th quarter, he finally takes over the game. And he also set a playoff record by scoring 17 points in overtime.

He got some help from Thompson and Green who had 23 and 21 points respectively. Portland was led by Lillard and McCollum who combined for 60 points. Game 5 will be done in Oracle Arena in Oakland on Thursday.

NBA Semifinals Prediction: Cleveland vs. Atlanta

Finally, the cast is complete and let’s take a look of the following match up and let’s predict what will be the result of their respective series.

Cleveland vs. Atlanta

A rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals and this time Cleveland has the home court advantage. This is very interesting match up because Cleveland can explode anytime and Atlanta is known for their defense this season. 

Bench Depth: Atlanta will be having an edge on this, having Dennis Schroder off the bench is gointg to be a big help.

Starters Scoring: Cleveland, having Irving, James, Love and Smith on your starting five…… Ohhh what a privilege for Coach Tyrone Lue.

Key Stats to look for: 3 point shooting, Cleveland is having a sweet shooting playoff run so far/ they led all teams in playoff for most 3 point field goal per game.

Match up to look for:

Lebron James and Paul Millsap – This is going to be a grit and grind series for this both players, Lebron definitely can do it all but with the emergence of Millsap’s Defense, this is going to be a fun match up.

Prediction: Cleveland winning it in 6 games

Noisy Rip City!!

Rip City: How the Portland Trail Blazers got their calling card

Portland Trail Blazers are back in the second round of the NBA Playoffs!
The Trail Blazers aka Rip city started the series with 0-2 deficit but managed to pull off a 4 game winning streak that ended the 2015-2016 campaign of the L.A. Clippers.

The “BEAT L.A” chant originator will face the no.1 seeded Golden States Warriors in the second round.

It’s definitely a tall order for Damian Lillard  and CJ McCollum, good thing  Mason Plumlee seems to be having a basketball series of his life.

Can the Portland Trail Blazers pull off the biggest upset of the year against number 1 team; Golden States Warriors?  Let’s all wait and see! in the mean time check out the highlights below.

                                                              Game 6 highlights!

Curry injured his knee but Warriors blew past Rockets to take a 3-1 series lead

Curry leaves the game due to strained knee and the Warriors draw inspiration from it and blew past the Rockets, 121 – 94.

Warriors tally a new playoff record, 21 3 – pointers made and used a 41 point 3rd quarter to take control of the game. Curry will set to have an MRI tomorrow to determine further his injury.

Thompson led the Warriors with 23 points with 7 3 – point shots made followed by Iguodala with 22 points of the bench. Curry finished with 6 points before leaving the game.

Western Conference Playoff Preview: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Portland Trail Blazers

(4) Los Angeles Clippers VS. (5) Portland Trail Blazers

LAC in 6

This series is expected to be the most even series in the Western Conference, but since Blake Griffin is expected to be back in action for the Clippers, the Los Angeles Clippers can close this series out in six games. The Portland Trail Blazers’ backcourt led by Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum can pretty much matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers’ backcourt led by Chris Paul and JJ Redick, but the Portland Trail Blazers’ frontcourt led by Mason Plumlee and Meyers Leonard are not as dominant as the Los Angeles Clippers’ frontcourt led by DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin. The Portland Trail Blazers had an amazing season even with them losing four of their starters last season, and they still managed to get the 5th seed in the Western Conference, but the Portland Trail Blazers seem to have no answer to the Los Angeles Clippers having lost their series against the Los Angeles Clippers 3-1, and if Blake Griffin will indeed be back in action for the Los Angeles Clippers, the Portland Trail Blazers will be having another problem to deal with. But who knows, if Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Ed Davis, and the rest of the boys in red-blue-black step their games up to the next level, the Portland Trailblazers could very well win against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Los Angeles Clippers’ frontcourt will be too much for the Portland Trail Blazers to handle, but no matter what the results will be in this series, this will be the most exciting series to watch due to it being the most even matchup in the 1st round in the Western Conference.

Western Conference Playoff Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies

(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (7) Memphis Grizzlies

San Antonio Spurs in 4

Even though the Memphis Grizzlies made it into the playoffs, their run could very well end sooner than they thought. The injury-stricken Memphis Grizzlies lost their season series against the San Antonio Spurs by 4-0, and without their stars Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, the Memphis Grizzlies has no chance in winning a 7 game series against the San Antonio Spurs, and even if they have Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, it may still be not enough for them to upset the San Antonio Spurs. The San Antonio Spurs made a huge move before the season started by adding LaMarcus Aldridge and veteran David West, and it seemed like they are not yet contented with their roster and decided to sign Kevin Martin and another veteran, Andre Miller while the Memphis Grizzlies lost two of their cores and their chances of advancing to the 2nd round is pretty much impossible.

With Marc Gasol and Mike Conley sidelined, the Memphis Grizzlies has a very slim chance of winning against the very disciplined backcourt and the very dominant frontcourt of the San Antonio Spurs. The Memphis Grizzlies may win a game or two, but that’s very much all of it. The San Antonio Spurs already had most of their key players well rested even before the playoffs started. It will probably be one of the biggest upsets in NBA history if the Memphis Grizzlies manage to eliminate the San Antonio Spurs.

NBA to seed playoff teams by record

The NBA will now seed playoff teams solely by their record, throwing out the top-four protection for teams who win their divisions.

The expected change was unanimously approved Tuesday by the league’s Board of Governors. Teams in each conference will be seeded from one to eight by their won-loss record.

Previously, division winners were guaranteed no worse than the No. 4 seed, a rule that became heavily criticized last season when Portland ended up No. 4 in the powerful Western Conference despite the sixth-best record in the conference.

The league also changed the tiebreaker procedures, making head-to-head results the first tiebreaker for seeding and home-court advantage, and whether a team won its division second. A division winner previously got the home-court advantage if it met a team with the same record in the playoffs.

NBA Western Conference Finals – Golden State Warriors vs Houston Rockets

After a long wait its finally set . The showdown between Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors and James Harden’s Houston Rockets. Golden state swept regular season vs Houston 4-0 
1/21/2015 Houston Rockets @ Golden State Warriors 113 126 Warriors won
1/17/2015 Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors 106 131 Warriors won
12/10/2014 Houston Rockets @ Golden State Warriors 93 105 Warriors won
11/8/2014 Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors 87 98 Warriors won

(1) Golden State vs. (2)Houston
Game 1 — Tue. May 19, Houston at Golden State, 9 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 — Thu. May 21, Houston at Golden State, 9 p.m., ESPN
Game 3 — Sat. May 23, Golden State at Houston, 9 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 — Mon. May 25, Golden State at Houston, 9 p.m., ESPN
Game 5 * — Wed. May 27, Houston at Golden State 9 p.m., ESPN
Game 6 * — Fri. May 29, Golden State at Houston, 9 p.m., ESPN
Game 7 * — Sun. May 31 Houston at Golden State, 9 p.m., ESPN
* = if necessary 
All times are Eastern 
A lot of people would think that the Rockets has the momentum since they rallied from 1-3 down against Clippers and this might carry on to the finals. It would be exciting because this would really a proving ground for Curry and Harden. 

No Thunder can stop the Mavs and the Matrix

Dirk and Shawn combined 52 points and 17 rebounds ousted the crumbling Thunders yet again in another four quarter meltdown.

The youngster could not hold on to the pressure and the much more compose veteran took over the game when it matters most.

Dirk and the Mavericks will be given another chance to win the most coveted NBA Championship. ( box score)

Dirk and the Mavs rally to win from behind!

Dirk Nowitzki is nothing less but unstoppable tonight as they defeat the Oklahoma thunder via comeback win.
Dirk registered 40 big points while he gets some defensive help late in the quarter by his team mates Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd. The Thunders who led all the way until the last few minutes are stunned by the resilient Mavericks. Durant and Westbrook could not make a good play late in the game. some of the crowd left and didn’t even finish the game as Mavericks shows a defensive stop after another. Harden who fouled out late in the fourth quarter could have changed the complexity of the game for the Thunders as they now trail 1 – 3 in the series. source

What slur did Joakim Noah said?

Video inside
Chicago Bulls lost at Miami with a score of 96 -85, it was a very intense night for the players especially Joakim Noah. He was very frustrated during their defeat in Miami and said something he shouldn’t have. This remind me of the same incident with Kobi Bryant where he was fined $100,000 by the NBA.

See what Joakim Noah said?

Go Home | Download my toolbar

like the site on Facebook

tags:Joakim Noah slur

Old-but-rested Mavs await rapidly maturing Thunder

By JAIME ARON, AP Sports Write
DALLAS – Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan have been through so many playoff series, they would be good sources to discuss the prevailing themes in the Western Conference finals, like how valuable experience is at this stage and whether there’s such thing as too much rest between rounds.

Only, Bryant and Duncan aren’t around. For just the second time since 1998, neither the Lakers nor the Spurs will represent the West in the NBA finals.

Instead, it’ll either be Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and the aging-but-rested Dallas Mavericks, or Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the rapidly maturing Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Mavericks are a collection of 30-somethings bonded by a collective pursuit of their first championship. They have plenty of guys who’ve come close to a title, including a few holdovers from the 2006 team that interrupted the collection of conference titles piled up by the Spurs and Lakers.
With strong defense and so many scoring options they never know who’ll share top billing with Nowitzki, Dallas swept the two-time defending champion Lakers in the second round. The reward was a nine-day wait for Game 1 on Tuesday night.
Or maybe that was a punishment.
“That’s a looong layoff,” Mavs center Tyson Chandler said Monday. “Yesterday, the scrimmage got a little chippy, so it was obvious we were ready to play somebody else.”

Dallas had to keep waiting because the Thunder had its hands full with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Oklahoma City went the full seven games and then some, playing three overtimes in one game and one extra period in another. While most clubs would’ve wanted some down time, the Thunder might be the exception. With their age and exuberance, a lone day off between series may have felt like an eternity.
“We have a young, energetic, athletic team that loves to play and wants to play every night,” coach Scott Brooks said. “We’re excited about being in the position that we are in. We’re not ‘just happy to be here’ and just ‘whatever happens happens.'”
Without the Lakers, and with the Eastern Conference finals featuring the newly crowned MVP and newly crowned Coach of the Year against the glitzy guys from South Beach, this series could be considered the undercard. Having clubs located 200 miles apart in the south, central part of the country certainly doesn’t bode well for television ratings.
Maybe Mavs owner Mark Cuban will break his recent self-imposed silence and take shots at Oklahoma. He’s lived in Texas long enough to know the enmity between Longhorns and Sooners. It’s worth noting he was one of two owners to vote against the SuperSonics moving from Seattle to Oklahoma City.
Then again, the battle of headliners Dirk and Durant could be enough to drive this series.
If not, there are plenty of other good story lines.
• Age, experience vs. youth, inexperience
The contrast in age will be talked about a lot and for good reason.
The top four scorers on the Thunder are 23 or younger. The Mavs only have two guys who are 23 or younger and neither has played this postseason.
Dallas relies on seven players in their 30s. Oklahoma City has only two guys in their 30s and both are backups.
Although no Mavericks have won a title, nearly all of them have deep reservoirs of big-game experience. The Thunder have few guys who’ve ever been this close to a title, but they have two guys with rings: center Kendrick Perkins (2008, Boston) and his backup, Nazr Mohammed (’05, Spurs).
“We’ve got to put them in position they haven’t been in to be able to use that wisdom,” Kidd said. “If you don’t, they’re just as talented as any team left in the playoffs.”
• Rest vs. rust?
Before they were put on hiatus, the Mavs had won a franchise-record six straight postseason games. It remains to be seen whether they can pick up where they left off.
In the shot-clock era, teams that have gone at least nine days between series are 9-9 in Game 1s, and 11-7 in the next round, according to research by STATS LLC.
Among the teams to win Game 1 and the series was the 2004 Pacers, coached by Rick Carlisle, who is now Dallas’ coach.
“I like what we’ve done and I know guys are ready to play,” he said.
• Revenge
In February 2009, Chandler was driving to the airport, bound for Oklahoma City to join the Thunder, when his phone rang. He was told to head home. Oklahoma City said he failed a physical and rescinded the deal.
He hasn’t forgotten.
In three games against the Thunder this season, he had among his best scoring averages (12.7 points) and easily his most rebounds (15.3) against any team.
“You really don’t need any extra incentives,” he said, “but I’ve got some extra ones.”
• Matchups
These teams hardly know each other.
Dallas won two of the three regular-season meetings, but that’s pretty meaningless. The Mavs had Caron Butler for the first two games and didn’t have Nowitzki for 1 1/2 of those games. Butler has since gone down for the season and Peja Stojakovic has arrived. The Thunder shored up its interior by adding Perkins.
All eyes will be on how each team covers the other’s superstar.
Shawn Marion will start against Durant, the league’s two-time reigning scoring champion, and will get help from Nowitzki and others — perhaps even Kidd, who often covered Bryant last round. Carlisle won’t expect Kidd to stay with the speedy Westbrook.
“We’ve got to build a wall on him,” Chandler said. “It’s not about one guy stopping him. It’s about our team slowing him down.”
Oklahoma City will start Serge Ibaka against Nowitzki, with Perkins, Mohammed, Durant, Nick Collison and James Harden among those who also may take turns against the big German.
“We have our work cut out for us,” Durant said, “but it should be fun.”

Go Home | Download my toolbar

like the site on Facebook

tags: Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma Thunder, OKC

Grizzlies see playoff run as preview of future

The Memphis Grizzlies see their amazing playoff run as a painful building block. They have good cause for optimism too.

Memphis went further than any other No. 8 seed in the Western Conference ever had — and the Grizzlies did it without Rudy Gay, their second-leading scorer.

Zach Randolph says expectations will be higher now the Grizzlies laid a foundation with seven playoff wins. Memphis knocked off the No. 1 seeded San Antonio Spurs and pushed Oklahoma City to seven games before falling short Sunday with a 105-90 loss in the semifinals.
The Grizzlies aren’t making excuses for not reaching the West finals. But guard Tony Allen says Memphis will be a bigger threat with a healthy Gay.

Go Home | Download my toolbar

like the site on Facebook

tags:Grizzlies , Memphis Grizzlies , Rudy Gay, OJ Mayo, Mike Conley, Mark Gasol

Bulls beat Heat in 1st game of Eastern Conference Finals


CHICAGO – Chicago drew first blood in their Eastern Conference finals series with the Miami Heat, easily winning Sunday’s opening game 103-82.

Chicago’s MVP Derrick Rose scored 28 points but it was the Bulls’ defense that really stood up, strangling Miami’s scorers.

Chris Bosh managed a game high 30 points for the Heat, but Dwyane Wade got just 18 and LeBron James only 15.

The two teams meet in the second game of the best of seven series on Wednesday. — Reuters

Go Home | Download my toolbar

like the site on Facebook

tags: Chicago bulls vs Miami Heat, Chicago bulls vs Miami Heat highlights, Chicago bulls vs Miami Heat video

Thunder beat Grizzlies to reach Western Finals


OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies 105-90 on Sunday to seal their place in the National Basketball Association (NBA) Western Conference finals.

The Thunder rebounded from their 13-point loss in Memphis two days ago to easily win the deciding seventh game at home, with forward Kevin Durant leading the way with 39 points and nine rebounds.

Oklahoma’s 4-3 series win saw them advance to the best-of-seven Western Conference finals
against the Dallas Mavericks, starting in Texas Tuesday.

Like his team, Durant recovered quickly from Friday’s below-par display. In that game, the 22-year-old Durant managed only 11 points on 3-for-14 shooting, but he was back to his best against the Grizzlies.

“(I was going to) be aggressive no matter if I was shooting 10 for 30,” Durant told reporters after Sunday’s win.

“My teammates kept pushing, kept getting me the ball and I was able to get some good shots.”

Memphis got 18 points from Mike Conley along with 17 and 10 rebounds from Zach Randolph,
but the visitors were unable to catch the Thunder, who came out fast and built an 11-point lead in the second quarter then led by eight at the half.

The Grizzlies clawed to within 52-49 late in the third, but Oklahoma City exploded for a 14-2 run that established a 66-51 lead with 1:23 left in the quarter.

It marks the first time Oklahoma have reached the Conference Final. The franchise was previously localed in Seattle until moving in 2008.

The loss ended the magical playoff ride for the eighth-seeded Grizzlies, who upset the San Antonio Spurs in the first round before pushing Oklahoma City to the limit.

Memphis had never won a playoff game before this year and their unexpected charge provided a source of inspiration to a city devastated by floods. — Reuters

Go Home | Download my toolbar

like the site on Facebook

tags:Thunder vs Grizzlies, Thunder vs Grizzlies videos, Thunder vs Grizzlies highlights

Grizzlies push Thunder back to OKC for Game 7

By TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer 
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Just keep counting Zach Randolph and the Memphis Grizzlies out. They revel in that underdog status.
Now the team few outside of Memphis ever noticed before this postseason has provided the NBA with the first Game 7 of these playoffs.
Randolph had 30 points and 13 rebounds, and the Grizzlies avoided elimination by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 95-83 Friday night to push their Western Conference semifinal to a deciding game.

“We just have to go out and do it again,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “I know all of the pundits think it’s over. They’ve been saying we would win tonight, and Oklahoma City would win in seven, but it’s not over yet. We have to go win that game, and I’m looking forward to it.”
The Grizzlies had never won a game before when facing elimination, but that was back in 2004, 2005 and 2006, when they were swept out of the postseason each of those years. These Grizzlies are having not only the best playoff run in franchise history, but they now have won more games this postseason than any other No. 8 seed from the West.
Game 7 will be Sunday in Oklahoma City, with the winner advancing to play the well-rested Dallas Mavericks.
“This is where we want to be playing, Game 7, that one game to get to the Western Conference finals,” Randolph said. “It’s important. I feel good, but the job ain’t done yet. We know it’s going to be tough going to Oklahoma trying to win that game. We believe we can do it, and we’re committed.”
O.J. Mayo, who started in place of Sam Young, scored 16 points for Memphis. Mike Conley had 11 points and a franchise playoff-record 12 assists, and Tony Allen added 10 points as the Grizzlies improved to 5-1 on their home court this postseason, with a sellout crowd standing for the entire second half cheering to keep this stunning run going at least one more game.
“We like people betting against us,” Conley said. “It motivates us. We know a lot of people don’t believe other than in the city of Memphis that we can get this done. We believe we can. That’s all that matters.”
Memphis outscored the Thunder 51-29 in the second half and 46-38 in the paint overall.
Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 27 points, and James Harden had 14. Kevin Durant, the NBA’s leading scorer in the regular season, was held to a postseason-low 11 points on 3 of 14 shooting. He was 1 of 9 from beyond the arc.
“It’s going to be a tough Game 7 at our place,” Durant said. “I’m looking forward to it. I started the game off like I did … After that, it goes downhill. It’s frustrating.”
Westbrook refused to call this a blown opportunity.
“We got one more game, and we’ve got to be able to close it out,” he said.
Randolph had been limited to just 19.8 points and 31.9 percent shooting since he scored a career playoff-best 34 points in Game 1. He had been the focus of the Thunder’s defense and had just nine points on 3 of 9 shooting in Game 5. Hollins credited the difference to having 48 more hours to recover from their triple-overtime loss Monday.
“Obviously, we’ve been a team that’s been able to come from behind all year long, and we did it again tonight,” Hollins said.
The power forward, named to the All-NBA’s third team on Friday, scored 12 in the fourth to preserve Memphis’ lead. Randolph scored six straight points, capped by a 12-foot fallaway jumper that sent the fans into a frenzy chanting his nickname.
“He was making jump shots, and he was making contested jump shots,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “He’s third-team All-NBA for a reason. That guy is a player, and when he gets it going, you only can do what you can do and that is contest his shot and force him to take tough shots and he made some tough shots tonight.”
Randolph said Mayo’s addition to the starting lineup helped give him more space with the Thunder forced to honor the guard. Hollins told Mayo he would be starting before the morning shootaround but called Randolph unbelievable.
“He never fails,” Mayo said. “You can live when he has a bad game because he plays so many incredible games, and down the stretch he carries us so much that when he has a bad game, you’re like ‘OK, he’s a little human.’ But pretty much, he never fails us.”
Oklahoma City just couldn’t get to the basket or sink shots in the second half. The Thunder had a fast break with Westbrook driving to the basket, but he just couldn’t finish the shot. Randolph came up with the rebound, then Mayo hit a 19-footer to push the Grizzlies’ lead to 88-79 with 3:11 left.
The Thunder had their biggest lead at 54-41 just before halftime and looked ready to blow out Memphis, just as they did in Game 5 on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.
But Shane Battier ended the first half with a 3-pointer, and the Grizzlies used that as the start of an 18-5 run into the third. Randolph’s bucket with 5:19 left in the third tied it at 59, Gasol tied it again at 65, and Mayo’s three-point play put Memphis ahead to stay at 68-65 with 2:10 left.
Durant picked up his second personal on a questionable offensive foul with 7:37 left in the first quarter and sat for the rest of the period. With Battier defending him most of the night, Durant went 1 of 10 from the floor in the second half. Hollins downplayed anything the Grizzlies did defending Durant.

“He saved himself for Sunday,” Hollins quipped.
The Thunder used a 20-7 spurt during which Westbrook scored seven, and Harden capped it with back-to-back 3-pointers for a 52-39 lead with 1:03 remaining in the second quarter. Unlike Game 5, they couldn’t build on this lead.
NOTES: Young had a tough day Friday. He found his car had been stolen after the morning shootaround. It was retrieved 15 minutes or so later, and he credited OnStar for the recovery. … The Denver Nuggets won six postseason games as a No. 8 seed in 1994. … The stats crew struggled, counting a travel by James Harden late in the first quarter as a bucket and showing a tie at 23-23 at the end of the quarter. They didn’t get it corrected until 8:24 left in the second quarter, a span of more than five minutes. The public address announcer noted the score change. … The Thunder hit 11 of 20 in the second quarter when they outscored Memphis 30-21.
(This version CORRECTS Grizzlies 95, Thunder 83. Corrects 17th paragraph to show Randolph had 12 points, not 11 in fourth quarter.)

Go Home | Download my toolbar

like the site on Facebook

tags: Memphis Grizzlies

Rose leads Bulls past Hawks 95-83

CHICAGO – (AP)Derrick Rose scored 33 points, Luol Deng added 23 and the Chicago Bulls beat the Atlanta Hawks 95-83 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead.

Taj Gibson had 11 points — all in the fourth quarter. Rose also scored 11 in the fourth, and the Bulls pounded the Hawks 26-15 in the quarter.
“Taj, man, he just doesn’t know how good he is right now,” Rose said. “Still young, still trying to learn the game, but he came in and did what he’s supposed to do.”
Game 6 is Thursday in Atlanta, and Chicago is one win from its first conference finals appearance since 1998, when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen wrapped up their second championship three-peat.
“Play defense,” Rose said of what the Bulls need to do in Game 6. “That’s our whole game plan is playing defense. Our offense will be there, but if we continue to help each other, rebound the ball and run, I think that we should be in good shape.”
Rose showed why he is the league’s youngest MVP, hitting 11 of 24 shots and finishing with nine assists. It was a big improvement over Game 4 when he needed 32 shots to score 34 points.
That was enough to offset another strong performance by Atlanta’s Jeff Teague. Filling in for the injured Kirk Hinrich, he delivered his third 21-point game of the series.
Josh Smith scored 16 points for the Hawks, while Joe Johnson had 15 and Al Horford added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
It hasn’t been an easy postseason for the Bulls after they stormed to a league-leading 62 wins. They got pushed by Indiana in the first round and are getting all they can handle from the Hawks, yet they are in a good position thanks to a strong fourth quarter.
“Just playing together,” Rose said of Chicago’s fourth-quarter defense. “Making sure there’s help-side defense. Making everything tough on them, and some of the people that came off the bench, they played tremendous for us.”
The Bulls led by as many as 15 points in the first quarter but were trailing 70-69 early in the fourth when they went on a 9-0 run.
Rose started it when he drove to his left for a layup, fed Gibson a no-look pass in transition for a three-point play and added a layup that made it 78-70.
Then, midway through the fourth, he drove for a three-point play that made it 85-76. Fans were screeching “MVP! MVP!” as he buried the free throw, and after Atlanta pulled within six, Chicago reeled eight straight to make it 93-79, with six points coming from Gibson.
“Just going hard,” Rose said of how he went at Atlanta’s defense. “My teammates, they set good screens. I was just trying to attack the basket, get fouled, shoot floaters, and tonight they were going in.”
The late run aside, it wasn’t an easy night for the Bulls.
Considering Chicago got 15 points each from Rose and Deng in the first half and led by as many as 15, the Hawks were probably glad to be trailing 48-42 at halftime. They kept coming at the Bulls in the third quarter.
Things got particularly tense after a two-handed dunk by Smith cut Chicago’s lead to 61-60 with just over 4 minutes left in the period. He hung on the rim and Boozer gave him a forearm to the face, leading to a retaliatory shove from Smith and technical fouls for both players.
Smith gave the Hawks their first lead of the game when he nailed a jumper that made it 64-63 with 1:45 remaining. Deng answered with a jumper and hit two free throws after Horford scored to make it 67-66.
Pachulia then hit an 11-footer with 9.8 seconds left before Gibson drove upcourt and fed Ronnie Brewer to give Chicago a 69-68 lead going into the fourth.
The Bulls were in sync in the early going. They moved the ball and it paid off in drives or open jumpers, with Chicago hitting 13 of 23 shots to build a 32-21 lead.

Deng scored 11 in the quarter, including Chicago’s first seven points.
Rose had nine points with four assists, and Keith Bogans provided a spark, scoring eight in the period. He hit two 3-pointers, drove for a reverse layup and took an offensive foul against Jamal Crawford in just over a 2-minute span late in the first quarter as Chicago increased its lead to 32-17.
Notes: The Hawks went big again, with coach Larry Drew sticking with the lineup that helped them win Game 4. Jason Collins starting at center, Horford at power forward and Smith at small forward, with Marvin Williams in a reserve role. … Bogans, who sprained his right ankle in Game 4, was limited to shooting free throws at the morning shootaround for precautionary reasons. … Coach Tom Thibodeau was encouraged by what he saw from Boozer in Game 4 and thought the 18-point performance could be a turning point. “I think he’s getting healthier, and we need his low-post scoring and his rebounding,” Thibodeau said. “As he’s feeling better, I think he’ll play better.”
<a href=””>advertising</a&gt;


Kobe Bryant crying…

The rest of the NBA are making fun of Kobe and the Lakers…
<a href=””>advertising</a&gt;


Grizzlies rally from 16 down, go up 2-1 on Thunder

By TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Memphis Grizzlies are finding a little desperation can carry them a long way.
How far? That remains to be seen, but they sure keep finding ways to win.

Zach Randolph had 21 points and a franchise-record 21 rebounds, and the Grizzlies rallied from a 16-point deficit to stun the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-93 in overtime Saturday and grab a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal.
The Grizzlies are trying to do something no NBA team has done in climbing from the No. 8 seed all the way to the Western Conference finals. They moved two wins away from that by remaining undefeated on their home court this postseason.
Memphis coach Lionel Hollins knows his Grizzlies were fortunate, but says that’s the NBA playoffs.
“In order to go further, you always have to be in games where you’ve got to do something miraculous in order to win the game,” Hollins said. “I thought this was miraculous the way we fought back after being down 16, and it was a super win. And like I said, by the grace of God we were fortunate to come out on top.”
The Grizzlies did it with an amazing comeback in a game they couldn’t have looked more out of synch or rusty early, but scored the first six points of overtime to finish off the victory. Guard Mike Conley said the Grizzlies just didn’t come with effort the first three quarters.

“I think once we looked up at the clock and saw how many points we were down, a little bit of desperation hit,” Conley said. “We were like, ‘Man, we cannot lose this game.’ And guys amped up their game, made some changes here and there, and we were able to just be scrappy and play our game, and fortunately we got the win.”
Kevin Durant, the NBA’s scoring leader in the regular season and these playoffs, took only three shots in overtime and missed them all. He finished with 22 points, his lowest this postseason after averaging 31.6 points coming in. He also attempted only one free throw, which he missed. Durant groaned heavily as he walked away after talking with reporters.
“This is a tough loss,” Durant said. “I’m trying to stay positive, but it was tough. This was tough. We were up 13 going into the fourth, had a good roll going. It was tough.”
O.J. Mayo had 18 points off the bench. Conley also scored 18, Marc Gasol had 16 and Tony Allen 10.
Russell Westbrook had 23 points and 12 assists, but committed five of his seven turnovers after the third quarter before fouling out late in overtime for the Thunder. Serge Ibaka had 14 points and James Harden 12.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks said the Thunder played the way they wanted for three quarters.
“And we stopped doing it,” Brooks said. “The last seven or eight minutes, we just stopped doing it, and we gave into their play. I give them credit. They really stepped up and got into us and made us take tough shots.”
Some of the credit for the Memphis comeback can go to Hollins switching to a small lineup in the second half, trying something different with Oklahoma City packing the paint to contain Randolph and Gasol. Hollins told his smaller Grizzlies that those big men had carried them to this point and that the time had come for the perimeter players to step up.
Hollins went with Shane Battier, Allen, Mayo, Conley and Darrell Arthur for a stretch with Randolph and Gasol on the bench.
“Our guards took that challenge and were just aggressive,” Mayo said.
Mayo switched onto Westbrook, who hit 5 of 16 after halftime, and gave Conley the chance to rest a bit defensively. Mayo knows Westbrook well from having played against him for several years and also working out together in the offseason. Mayo was able to keep Westbrook off some of his favorite shooting spots on the floor.

“I just wanted to use my size and my strength a little bit, and whenever he rose up to shoot the jumper, just contest…,” Mayo said. “I just made it a little difficult for him.
Conley said that gave him more energy and strength in his legs for offense. The guard had 10 points after the third quarter.
Randolph said every time he touched the ball in the first half, he found three defenders on him. He credits Mayo as the player of the game.
“The guy did great on Westbrook. He took it upon himself to guard Westbrook, and he did a great job,” Randolph said
Oklahoma City was up 70-54 on Kendrick Perkins’ tip-in with 3:53 left in the third and seemed in control with Westbrook scoring 13 points in the period.
Memphis erased that lead with a 13-2 run and outscored Oklahoma City 23-10 in the fourth quarter, then 15-7 in overtime. The Thunder hit just 3 of 12 in the extra period.
With the score tied at 86, both teams had a chance to win in regulation.
Brooks took a timeout with 18 seconds to go, having to holler to get referee Ken Mauer’s attention in the roaring FedExForum. Durant missed a 20-footer off the back rim as the shot clock buzzer sounded with 4 seconds left, but Randolph’s own 3 for the win clanked off the rim at the buzzer.
Memphis took over in overtime. First, Allen drove for a layup, then Conley scored on a layup. Allen then hit two free throws for a 92-86 lead with 2:56 left. The Grizzlies polished the win off at the free throw line, hitting 9 of 12.
That left the Thunder thinking of what could have been.
“We controlled that whole game,” Thunder guard James Harden said. “We just let one slip away.”
Now their focus turns to Game 4 on Monday night.
“The quicker we can get over it and realize that we need to win one game here and we can still do that the better,” Thunder forward Nick Collison said. “If we win Game 4, then we’ll still be in good shape. As disappointing as it is, we need to get over it quickly and be ready to play in Game 4.”
The Grizzlies, coming off a three-day layoff that was their longest break in a couple weeks, didn’t give their sellout crowd much to cheer until late.
Oklahoma City scored the first five points, and the Thunder did what worked so well Tuesday night by collapsing whenever Memphis tried to pass the ball into the paint.
Memphis led 28-24 when the Thunder went on a 16-3 run and grabbed a 40-31 lead on a pair of free throws by Westbrook. Oklahoma City outscored Memphis 31-21 in the quarter and led 51-43 at halftime.
Conley didn’t score until 4:45 left in the first half on a fast-break layup.
NOTES: The Grizzlies had played in May only twice previously, and they were eliminated from the postseason in both games. Phoenix handled the honors May 1, 2005, and Dallas ended the Grizzlies’ season May 1, 2006. … The Grizzlies were 2-5 in overtime games in the regular season and now are 1-1 this postseason. … Memphis won despite shooting under 40 percent (37.8 percent) for the first time since Dec. 13, 2010, against Portland. … This was Memphis’ 11th come from behind victory this season and second in the playoffs trailing by 10 or more points in the second half.
<a href=””>advertising</a&gt;