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NBA Playoffs: First Round Hits and Misses

Here are the highlights I have drawn from the first round, if you think I’ve missed anything please add it in the comments section.

Hits

Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies were written off before the playoffs even started and they are now in the second round. They are not the team we thought they would be!

Dwight Howard

This man did everything he could to keep the Magic in the playoffs, if his team mates did the same Howard wouldn’t have to be killing the rumors about being traded or free agency.

CP3

Chris Paul showed the world that he is well and truly back. If the All-Star point guard carries this form into next season I’m sure his name will be mentioned in the MVP conversation.

Brandon Roy

Those unstable knees of his didn’t keep him grounded for too long. B-Roy came up big in Game 4 and made it clear that the Blazers could still depend on him.

Kevin Durant

Always a beast on offense, averaging 32.4 points in the series, including two 41 point performances. No one can guard KD.

Serge Ibaka

More like Serge I-Blocka! He had 9 blocks in Game 5… 9! And averaging 4.8 in the series, Ibaka is turning into a key player within that OKC defense.

Miami’s Big Three

I’ll have to that this was expected, playoffs are the time for stars to shine and that’s exactly what Miami’s Big Three did, proving to be too much for the 76ers.

Boston’s Big Four

Boston was the only team to sweep in the first round. The old guys look very fresh and will be trouble for the Heat in the next round.

Indiana Pacers

The 8th seeded Pacers showed a lot of fight against the Bulls, they showed that they weren’t going to be a push over like any regular eight seed. Interim coach Frank Vogel can take all of the credit for getting these guys to come out and compete every night.

Misses

San Antonio Spurs

They had the best regular season record but this meant nothing to their first round opponents. The Spurs looked old and battered, Z-Bo had his way with their bigs and Manu wasn’t Manu after that elbow injury. It’s rebuilding time for the Spurs this offseason, happy fishing!

New York Knicks

It would be very optimistic to say that the Knicks had a chance to beat the Celtics in this series. But getting swept is very disappointing, I thought they had at least two wins in them. It will be a very eventful offseason for them too.

Pau Gasol

I think his parents fed all the tough pills to Marc when they were little. Pau struggled against the New Orleans big men, his numbers were way down from what they were during the season.

Any Orlando Magic player not named Dwight Howard

If your name is not Dwight Howard and you play for the Orlando Magic watch out because the guys upstairs will do anything to keep Dwight happy. After their performance these playoffs I don’t think anyone’s job is safe within Orlando.

Hit and Miss

Russell Westbrook

He is an NBA All-Star and one of the leaders on that team. But if you have Kevin Durant on your team you can’t be taking more shots than the best scorer in the game. Westbrook will have to make better decisions when it comes to the next round.

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Historic Saturday in the Playoffs – NBA and Australia!

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..

D.B.