It was a history making evening in the playoffs Saturday night with one team recording their first home playoff wins in franchise history, another their first road win in the playoffs and a third staging one of the greatest comebacks in playoff history.
The Spurs-Grizzlies series headed over to Memphis with the series tied at 1-1 and both teams eager to take a lead. The Spurs wanting to win back home court advantage and the Grizzlies to continue their history making ways by following up their first away win in franchise playoff history to win their first home game in playoff history. It was Zach Randolph who came up big and hit a key three with 41.9 seconds left to clinch the victory and put further pressure on the Western Conference’s top seed. Randolph finished with 25 points and Marc Gasol added 17points and 9 rebounds, Ginobili scored 23 for the Spurs. Memphis leads the series 2-1.
OKC and Denver also played their game three. With the Thunder in control most of the game, the Nuggets made a late run behind a couple J.R Smith threes in the closing seconds of the game which brought them within a point. Serge Ibaka got a breakaway dunk on the inbounds following the play giving Oklahoma City a 3 point advantage with 10 seconds left. On the Nuggets next inbounds OKC made all the right switches on defence, they managed to get the ball in to Smith but James Harden contested his three point attempt which made it fall short. Smith was furious leaving the court however on the replay it showed that Harden played straight up. Ibaka played big in this game ending with 22 points and 16 boards, Kevin Durant had a game high 26 points and Russell Westbrooke came close to a triple-double with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. Oklahoma City leads the series 3-0.
Game 4 of the Dallas-Portland was played at the Rose Garden. The Blazers needed a win to even out the series 2-2. Falling to 1-3 would not be ideal going back to Dallas for Game 5. However Portland didn’t just get the win but they got WINNING from their all-star Brandon Roy, down by 23 during the third quarter and 18 at the final break it seemed as though someone had injected Charlie Sheen into those unstable knees of his. Roy went off in the fourth with 18 points in the period as the Trail Blazers stormed back to get the win 84-82, making them the third team in the shot clock era to come back with a 18 point or more deficit going into the fourth quarter. Roy top scored with 24 points in 24 minutes of play, Dirk Nowitzki added 20 points for the Mavs.
In a non-history making affair the Indiana Pacers got a consolation victory against the Bulls 89-84. Rose turned his ankle early in the game but he was able to recover however unable to produce his regular brilliance shooting 6 for 22 from the field. Danny Granger was the game high scorer with 24, he also had 10 rebounds.
Finally for the Aussie basketball fans Game 2 of the NBL final was played between the Cairns Taipans and the New Zealand Breakers. It was the first finals and playoffs game in NBL history to go into double overtime. The Breakers were down 3 in regulation and guard CJ Bruton hit a three with 3 seconds left which sent it into overtime. In the first overtime period, Cairns looked in control up by 2 late, Breakers guard Kevin Braswell knocked down back to back threes and put them up 71-67 with 12.6 seconds. What followed was a great sequence governed by the Taipan’s Ron Dorsey who hit a three cutting the lead to one. After the Breakers made both free throws Dorsey took Bruton off the dribble and hit a second straight three with time expiring. It was all Cairns in the second overtime, pulling out an 85-81 victory. The series is now tied at 1-1 with the deciding game to be played next Friday in New Zealand.
Until next time..
As the Dallas Mavericks did in the first two games, the Portland Trail Blazers went into their home building and took care of business. I wish I could say the same thing about the Pacers and 76ers however they were both over powered by their respective opponents and are now down 0-3 in their series. I would love to be proved wrong but as no team in NBA history has come back from a 0-3 deficit, the Pacers and 76ers seasons will be ending in the coming week.
The Blazers on the other hand are still alive, cutting Dallas’ series lead to 2-1. Portland started the game firing, with Matthews hitting four 3 pointers in the first quarter, Aldridge having his usual impact on the game and Roy putting what he said about his playing time aside, came to hoop. The momentum seemed to be with the Blazers throughout the first half but the Mavs found a way to stick around with the help of Terry and Dirk making the scores 54-52 at the main break.
The second half was different tale, Dallas came out and grabbed an early lead and things seemed to be going their way until the fourth quarter. The Blazers went on a 12-2 run in the first three and a half minutes of the final period to stretch their lead to 87-74. The Mavericks chipped away at the lead but poor foul shooting and Jason Kidd three that was counted as a 2 late in the game gave Portland the edge and eventually the win.
Game 4 is on April 23 at 5pm eastern, I hope you tune in.
Until next time..