More conference semifinals stuff!
#4 BOSTON CELTICS 107 @ #8 PHILADELPHIA 76ERS 91
EAST Semifinals * Game 3 * Celtics lead series, 2-1
I wondered if it was the food eaten in Philly or what. The Celtics and the Sixers acted like the Warriors and the Suns with their scoring in the first period. It was 33-28, Sixers, after the first quarter.
And then Kevin Garnett was summoned once again. He went to work in the second quarter, scoring 13 points there. The Sixers were held to 16 points in the second. Then in the third, Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo broke the game open. It was a 25-point-lead that the Sixers couldn’t overcome. (We’re saying it like this nowadays after what the Clippers did against Memphis.)
KG finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Paul Pierce had 24 points and 12 rebounds. And Rajon Rondo finished with 23-6-14. The Sixers were led by Thad Young with 22 points.
#3 LOS ANGELES LAKERS 75 @ #2 OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER 77
WEST Semifinals * Game 2 * Thunder lead series, 2-0
The Lakers and Thunder kept it close in the first half… and then the Lakers completely pounded the ball and slooooooooooooooowed the tempo. The Kobe isolations and post play nearly drained the whole shotclock each time. And then they would play great defense at the other end.
The game was in their grasp. The Lakers led, 75-68, after Andrew Bynum made a lay-up with 2:08 left.
And then a myriad of bad plays followed the Lakers. A bad Kobe pass that led to a dunk. A bad Steve Blake pass. A blocked shot. A forced three-pointer. And then Durant made everyone in L.A. download Doodle Jump after he made a floater that punctuated an 8-0 run by the Thunder. The Thunder led, 76-75, with five seconds left. Ron Artest/MWP on the next out-of-bounds play, alertly passed the ball to Blake, who was wide open on the right corner. Blake missed the 3 and that was pretty much game as the Lakers had no more timeouts after.
People are stupidly blaming Blake for losing the game when there were a lot of bad things that happened in the last two minutes. All you can ask for in that situation is a chance; you make some, you miss some. Everybody has missed shots at the last second, including Kobe, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, etc.
But this loss was heartbreaking for the Lakers because they played their pace and STILL lost. You gotta give the Thunder credit for hanging in there the entire time. It’s not the kind of game they wanted to play but they kept it close and willed their way in their last two minutes.
Bynum finished with 20 points. Kobe finished with 20 as well (on 25 shots). Kevin Durant shot well and had 22 points, including the go-ahead bucket. The Lakers may have been doomed by their porous three-point shooting (2 for 15).
Let’s go see the other two series tomorrow.
PHOTO CREDIT: 1) Drew Hallowell/Getty Images. 2) Sue Ogrocki/AP (photos edited by Payton Wales).