NBA Playoff Recap: May 9th, 2010

1st-seed Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 4th-seed Boston Celtics (87-97)

Well, the Cavs had a lot of momentum after taking home-court advantage back in Game 3. But, a point guard from Kentucky would change all of that. More details of that later. The Celtics were a little bit sloppy at first, but energy and some transition plays helped them out. The Cavs had significant help from no other than LeBron James, who finished 22 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. Shaq, another factor for the Cavs, had 17 points in the game. The other Cavaliers weren’t really producing at their level, shooting a mere 36%. Rajon Rondo scored 19 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists to end the 1st half. He would later end with 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists. (I’m not lying on the 18 rebounds. And he’s a featherweight – 170 pounds.)

2nd-half story, the Cavs made up for their 1st-half plays by coming back with a 27-20 point ratio during the 3rd, reducing the lead to two. The Celtics and the Cavs swapped runs during the 4th. Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett both scored 18 points. Paul Pierce still plays cold, shooting 3/8 from the field, ending with 9 points. In the end, the story is still Rondo. Celtics tie the series at 2 games apiece. If Rondo keeps this up, the Celtics should’nt worry about their future. Go Celtics!

3rd-seed Phoenix Suns vs. 7th-seed San Antonio Spurs (107-101)

The Spurs find themselves on a not too common “Do or Die” situation with the Phoenix Suns. Tony Parker has finally started for the Spurs in Game 4 and became productive during the 1st half. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker were going down low at the paint, combining for a 10/14 during the 2nd quarter. The Suns‘ bench on the other hand, made some key threes and timely buckets to cut the Spurs lead. Channing Frye, Goran Dragic and Jared Dudley to name a few.

Steve Nash rocking the “Cyclopse” look.

And as always, this series is physical. So, the SunsSteve Nash (pictured) receives an elbow from the SpursTim Duncan. He went back to the locker room and acquired 6 stitches before returning to the game. Speaking of Tim Duncan, he finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Manu Ginobili scored 15 points but he made up for it with 5 steals. Despite the injury, Steve Nash would still score on floaters and would pass to Amar’e Stoudemire for some key jumpers. But, the Spurs still never gave up. George Hill gets the hoop plus the harm for a 4-point play that would cut the lead to 2. The Spurs would need to foul now. They find Grant Hill, unfortunately for the Spurs, he would make both free throws. Manu Ginobili misses a three at the other end, and the Suns taste the sweetest revenge against the Spurs.

PHOTO CREDITS:

1) Elsa/Getty Images

2) Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

3) Ronald Martinez/NBAE/Getty Images

4) D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images

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Spurs versus Suns | What To Expect In This Classic NBA Series

Ever since the Spurs and the Suns advanced to the 2nd-Round, I’ve been thinking about the Phoenix Suns‘ causes against the San Antonio Spurs. So, yesterday I thought deeply though about it. And it came to conlusion that I said, “The Suns have their biggest chance of beating the Spurs this year.” But, the Spurs won’t give up without a fight. They are force to reckon with since they’ve turned the Mavs from Contenders to Upsets. This Spurs and Suns match-up is a must-see for all basketball fans. I’m not lying. Analyses are coming up.

Here are some analyses for the Suns and the Spurs:

Phoenix Suns

Here we start with the Suns. First of all, they have never won a 7-game series against the Spurs since the 2000 NBA Playoffs, which gives the Spurs much more confidence to win. But, let me say this, “This might be the year where the Suns finally dispose the Spurs to the fishing grounds.” Why? They’re defense has slightly improve and their Run N Gun offense can easily tire the Spurs’ veterans, which is very exceptional. If the Suns want to win this series, they need Amar’e Stoudemire to play a more decent game since he’s matching-up with one of the all-time greats, Tim Duncan. He has to snatch those boards, whether offensive or defensive, in order to win the glass. Plus, he’s shotblocking skills is pretty much needed since Suns’ defensive shotblocker Robin Lopez is out with a back injury. But the pressure on him is that he has to outwork Duncan on the floor. Steve Nash is a factor too, mainly because he handles the Suns’ offense. If he is able to distribute the ball well in this series, then the Suns will not miss a single beat. Their bench has to become more ecstatic too since the Spurs’ bench produces effectively in a nightly-basis. Lastly, Grant Hill is the X-Factor for this Suns’ team. His defense should be able to slow-down the all-star play of Spurs’ guard Manu Ginobili. And this veteran knows how to play well, he can shoot, he can drive down the lane and he can rebound too. The Phoenix Suns are in for a physical 7-game series. We just hope nobody gets SUSPENDED nor gets INJURED in the match-up.

San Antonio Spurs

We all know the Spurs, they are one of the oldest teams in the NBA. And if you’re old you aren’t fast enough and you prone to tire more often. So, if I was Greg Popovich I will tell my players not to go with the flow of the Suns’ Run-N-Gun offense. Defense will be big for them since the Spurs don’t have that presence down low, aside from Duncan (And Tim can’t be there always, right?). Tim Duncan may not be young now, but he’s still the main reason why the Spurs here in the postseason. His sidekicks, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, are lethal for their causes to win. If Manu Ginobili continues his all-star play and Tony Parker continues to strive in his 6th-man role then I think the Spurs will knock this Phoenix team to the fishing-grounds. X-Factor is George Hill, why? He is the present starting point guard for the San Antonio Spurs, which was preceded by Tony Parker. He has the ability to take advantage of Steve Nash with his speed. And he can shoot deadly too. His defense is quite remarkable too, since he often defends the number 1 scorer of the opposing team. No giving up on this Spurs team. They have a big chance to win, I just have that feeling.

The final verdict, the Spurs in 7. Sorry, Suns. This Spur team is  better than you. You might be fun to watch with your Run N Gun offense, but defense always sets the tone to win. This Spur team has it all, Defense and Offense. If you prove me wrong, then i’ll give the money. Series starts Monday.

And yeah, I need your comments down low.

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No Regretting On Spurs’ George Hill

In a series where we should’ve seen the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker seize control, it was the 3rd-year player from IUPUIGeorge Hill, who did the damage for the Spurs against their in-state-rival, the Dallas Mavericks.

George Hill averaged 14.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, appearing in all 6 games. He also made 32 out of 64 shots, thus scoring 86 points in the 1st-Round. Incredible performance for a 3rd-year player. Hill finished in the Top 5 of Most Improved Player Voting in the NBA too, which is very special.

Many now call him the X-Factor for the Spurs, and they are right about that. Why? In that series, Jason Kidd defended him quite well, but he managed to use his quickness and agility on the court in order to take advantage of Kidd. Dirk also defended him in the perimeter, but hey he made three-pointer in the face of the German. The only problem is that he’s kinda inconsistent, but it’s never too late. He can still work on that.  I do believe he is the future of this team, I can see a DeJuan Blair-George Hill tandem coming up in a few years already.

Let me end by saying this, the Spurs have a bright future with George Hill around. Remember, he has started for Tony Parker, when TP was out with injuries this season. Now that he has the starting role for himself, he has gained the keys to that Spurs’ offense. Not to mention, that he’s getting the tricks of the trade with Tony Parker, since they play on the same backcourt. This player has a bright-future in the NBA, that’s true.

Follow Mark Locsin on Twitter:

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And yeah, I need your comments down low.