NBA Playoff Recap 5/25: LA-Phoenix Series Gets More Interesting; All tied at 2

GAME FOUR

1st-seed Los Angeles Lakers vs. 3rd-seed Phoenix Suns

(106-115)

Both teams started off sluggish. Like Game 2, Alvin Gentry’s zone defense was seen early in the game. And as always, the Lakers would try to make it look futile. The Lakers went to the paint mercilessly using their height to their advantage. They were also hoisting jumpers. Ron Artest leads the Lakers with 6 points in the 1st. Kobe Bryant played facilitator, with some 3 assists. The Suns defense was a bit useless, but their offense was perfect. Grant Hill had 6 points, followed by Jason Richardson with 5 points. Channing Frye still continued his icy-slump in the 1st. We’ll talk more about him later. Both teams were locked at 23 apiece after the 1st Quarter.

The 2nd Quarter was like a bonanza for the Suns. Their explosive bench, went out fiery. And when I say bench, I mean the likes of Jared Dudley, Louis Amundson, Leandro Barbosa, Goran Dragic and Channing Frye. Jared Dudley starts the 2nd, with a three at 11:43. Leandro Barbosa comes next, Louis Amundson follows and then Goran Dragic. Finally, the main story is all about Channing Frye. He broke out from his icy-slump. On the other hand, Kobe Bryant fried some of his Kobe Beef on the court. He scored 15 points in the Quarter alone. The Suns dominated the 2nd Quarter with 41 points. Mostly coming from the 5 bench producers mentioned above. The Lakers would trail after 2 Quarters with a 64-55 Suns lead.

As always, Kobe Bryant will deliver anytime for the Lakers. He scored 16 3rd Quarter points. Only 2 players from the Suns’ team had field goals.Namely, Robin Lopez and Amar’e Stoudemire. Robin Lopez made 2 tip shots. And Amar’e pretty much was everywhere. He was shooting on different angles on the court. Steve Nash and Goran Dragic also contributed in the free throw line. The Lakers would make the game alot more interesting after 3.

The Suns’ bench was inevitable for the Lakers, both on defense and on offense. Their defense was quite great, and their production went to another level. They scored a combine 54 points throughout the game. The Suns would later orchestrate an 18-6 run. Behind, Jared Dudley’s and Leandro Barbosa’s back-to-back threes. At the end of the game, the Lakers would lose all hope. The Suns tie the series with a 115-106 victory.

Kobe Bryant garnered some attention with his 38 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists performance. For some reason, he has been dishing out the ball more often now. Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom followed Kobe’s performance with 15 points apiece. As mentioned earlier, the Second Five or the Phoenix Suns’ bench combined for a 54-point performance. Amar’e Stoudemire, who had a 42 point, 11 rebound performance during Game 3, finished with 21 points and 8 rebounds. Steve Nash had 15 points and 8 assists.

The series now heads back to the City of the Angelic. Game 5 is set on Thursday. Don’t miss it!

PHOTO CREDITS:

1) Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

2) Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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NBA Playoff Recap 5/24: Magic Avoid Broom Service.

GAME FOUR

2nd-seed Orlando Magic vs. 4th-seed Boston Celtics

(96-92)

The Magic and the Celtics started off hot, and I mean scorching hot. Both teams made shots back-and-forth. The Magic were pretty balanced in scoring with Matt Barnes leading the way. He made 2 threes in the 1st Quarter alone, plus 1 deuce, ending with 8 points. Jameer Nelson had 7 points and 3 assists. Dwight Howard with 6 points. The Truth, Paul Pierce scored 12 1st Quarter points. I have nothing to say about the 2nd Quarter, since most of the happenings happened in the other half. Magic lead 51-47 after 2 Quarters.

3rd Quarter starts Matt Barnes makes the 1st bucket of the 2nd half with 11:20 ticks in the clock. A scuffle between Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard ensued. Only KG was given a technical. Celtics’ fans didn’t like it one bit. But, they were fired up. The crowd shouted chants of ‘Defense!’. The Celtics put it in their mindsets. Results were Defense turning into Offense. Kevin Garnett had his game-face on and he looked motivated. Sadly, he went 0/7 until the end of the game. Ray Allen scored 7 points in the 3rd Quarter alone. Dwight Howard also scored 6 , with some 3 rebounds.

The 4th Quarter was one hell of a quarter in the last few minutes, Glen Davis contributed alot and the Celtics thought they could win the game. Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard worked together, and they seem to know what the other was doing. They take an 85-78 lead after the combined effort. Paul Pierce would rally the crowd for one last time, with a strong flush to the basket. It followed with a Ray Allen three, and an And-1 from the Truth. Game was again tied. Rajon Rondo, who was pretty quiet in the game, stealed the orange away from Jameer Nelson. And Celtics’ fans knew the game-winning shot would go to the hands of Paul Pierce. Ray Allen found an open shot. Sadly, Paul Pierce wanted an isolation play. Magic doubles him, he loses the handle and we head to Overtime–the 1st Overtime of the 2010 NBA Playoffs.

Overtime, no one scores after 2:18 minutes. Until, Jameer Nelson made back-to-back threes. Ray Allen would release his skills from his arsenal, shooting 2 threes too. In the end, Dwight Howard was too much. He would ice the game at 96-92 with an And-1. Paul Pierce also was nothing in that OT. In the end, the Magic celebrate a well-deserved win. Game 5 is on Wednesday.

PHOTO CREDITS

1) Elsa/Getty Images

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NBA Playoff Recap 5/23: Suns avoid 0-3 series — Lakers lose.

GAME THREE

1st-seed Los Angeles Lakers vs. 3rd-seed Phoenix Suns

(109-118)

Both teams started fiery. The Suns looked for Amar’e to score easy points. And he used Andrew Bynum’s fouls to his advantage. STAT finished with 9 points and 3 rebounds in the 1st Quarter alone. Kobe Bryant pretty much did his work, scoring 15 points in the 1st alone. The Lakers and the Suns were playing ball like it was UNO, a back-and-forth battle. Alvin Gentry adjusted the Suns’ defense, making them execute zone defense more often. And it was successful. The Suns end the 1st half with a 15-2 run, with a 54-47 lead.

The 3rd Quarter starts, Derek Fisher becomes unstoppable. He scores 11 points in the 3rd alone. Ironically, the Suns’ players were just willingly driving down the basket, with Bynum in foul trouble. The other Laker bigs were not playing like they used to, particularly Lamar Odom. Pau Gasol only made 1 block. Kobe still was doing business, Ron Artest was helping out. The Lakers trimmed the lead down to two after three quarters.

Amar’e Stoudemire went on a tear the whole game, scoring 42 points and hauling 11 rebounds. He was too much for the Lakers to handle. He went inside willingly, and he converted he’s oppurtunities. The Suns’ 42 FT’s compared to the Lakers’ 20 FT’s helped the Suns’ causes as well. The Lakers lead the turnover ratio, having 17:7 turnovers against the Suns. The Phoenix Suns might’ve been blessed by the Basketball Gods to win this.

Amar’e Stoudemire, who scored 42 points and had 11 rebounds, lead the Suns in scoring and in rebounding. Meanwhile, Steve Nash, who averaged 14.0 assists/game coming to the game, had 15 assists and 17 points. Kobe Bryant had 36 points. And yes, he played facilitator again with 11 assists. Pau Gasol added 23 points and 9 rebounds. Oops! I almost forgot, Robin Lopez scored 20 points and had a block. Adam Morrison, DND-CD — why’d I even say this? Nevermind!

Lakers lead series 2-1. Planet Orange hosts Game 4 on Tuesday. And they need to win it so badly. Stay tuned for updates, here in HHC.

PHOTO CREDITS:

1) AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

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NBA Playoff Recap 5/19: Lakers seize 2-0 lead over Suns.

GAME TWO

3rd-seed Phoenix Suns vs. 1st-seed Los Angeles Lakers

(112-124)

After losing Game 1 to the Lakers, the Phoenix Suns had their minds set to win Game 2. A win could boost their momentum plus they could head home more light-headed. The Lakers on the other hand are trying to win their 8th-straight playoff win and grab a commanding 2-0 series lead. Let’s see what happened during the course of the game.

The 1st Quarter saw the Suns turn the ball over alot. And when I say alot, I mean 7 times in the 1st Quarter alone. The Lakers were pretty much using it to their advantage. Ron Artest always had open-looks throughout the 1st. Ron Artest scored 10 of his 18 points in the 1st Quarter, which includes a three at the buzzer. Kobe Bryant scored 9 in that Quarter with 6 assists. The Suns looked for Amar’e throughout the 1st; he ended with 8 points.The Lakers won the starting quarter with a 34-22 lead.

The 2nd Quarter featured the Suns’ bench. Their bench was scorching hot. Everyone made it a priority to contribute. The Suns’ Jared Dudley was pretty much the main catalyst for his team’s bench; scoring 15 points, shooting a perfect 5/5 behind-the-arc and snatching 3 steals. Anyways, this bench made an unexpected 11-0 run. The Lakers would then put their starters back. The effect would quickly come in as the Laker starters would stretch the lead to 11 after 2 Quarters.

The Suns’ Jason Richardson scored 12 points in the 3rd alone, finishing with 27 points. Meanwhile Grant Hill scored 14 during the 3rd, despite being cold during the 1st 2 Quarters. Hill would later end up with 23 points. Both of them combine for 26 points of the Phoenix Suns’ 34 3rd Quarter points. After the 3rd Quarter, The Suns see themsleves tied with the Lakers.

Now, the 4th Quarter begins. The Suns put their productive bench in while the Laker starters played much of the 4th’s duration. The Suns lost due to the fact that they’re undersized. Not only that, but also because of their lack of defense. In the end, Kobe Bryant, who played facilitator in the game, scored some key buckets to finish off the Phoenix Suns. The Black Mamba scored 21 points and had a career-playoff-high 13 assists. Pau Gasol ended with 29 points while hauling in 9 rebounds. The Phoenix Suns’ captain Steve Nash finished with 11 points with 15 assists. Amar’e Stoudemire scored 18 points and some 6 rebounds.

Even though the Suns lost, Planet Orange still ain’t giving up. Why? Here’s some fact. At some point of the game, the Lakers lead by 16. Then the Suns showed some life. Tying the game at 90 apiece after 3 Quarters. This is still a long series, we still don’t know what else is gonna happen, but hey, we’ll keep you updated here in HHC. Game 3 is on Sunsday, errr, Sunday.

PHOTO CREDITS:

1) Harry How/Getty Images

2) Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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NBA Playoff Recap: May 11th, 2010

4th-seed Boston Celtics vs. 1st-seed Cleveland Cavaliers (120-88)

(Boston leads 3-2)

The Cavs went into this game seeking a 3-2 lead in the series. And, so were the Celtics. Many eyebrows were raised during Game 4 due to issues concerning the Cavs‘ play, with headlines striking the Internet like “LeBron James should guard Rajon Rondo.” and “Shaq should play more minutes.” Ironically, the Cavs didn’t manage to give answers for the news during Game 5. Shaq played 26 minutes, but ended with 21 points as the Cavs leading scorer. If he could’ve played more minutes the game would’ve been close. LeBron James was able to defend Rondo for some part in the game, but it was Mo Williams defending him mostly in the game.

Early on, the Cavs looked for Shaq down the post, where he scored 7 early points. His presence down low took him to the free throw line too, converting 3/3 free throws. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who has received a couple of DNP-CD‘s, played back-up for Shaq.

Celtics again played magnificent defense, they were able to make the Cavs force shots with the shot clock expiring. Their offense was perkulating too. The Big Three lead the way, scoring 64 of their team’s 120. The Celtics ended the 2nd-half with a 50-44 lead.

The 3rd quarter belonged to the Boston Celtics. They outscored the Cavaliers 30-19 in the 3rd quarter alone. It started with Ray Allen threes that lead to Rajon Rondo drives. Speaking of Ray Allen, he finished with 25 points. Rajon Rondo ended with 16 points and 7 assists. Kevin Garnett also hoisted some jumpers too. The 3rd quarter would end in the favor of the Celtics with a 80-63.

The Cavs lost all hope in the 4th Quarter. Again, they were dominated by the Celtics with a 40:25 point ratio. Cavs hope to even the series and avoid elimination while the Celtics look to close them out on Thursday.

PHOTO CREDITS:

1) Gregory Shamus/NBAE via Getty Images

2) Gregory Shamus/NBAE via Getty Images

3) Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

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NBA Playoff Recap: May 10th, 2010

Yes, two teams taste the Conference Finals and two teams earn an unpleasant downfall..

1st-seed Los Angeles Lakers vs. 5th-seed Utah Jazz (111-96)

Lakers played Game 4 with a purpose. The Lakers, which Deron Williams dubbed as a championship-team, ended the 1st half with a 17-point lead. The Jazz made the game much more interesting cutting the lead to 5 during the 3rd with Carlos Boozer‘s lay-up. The reigning champions would play some excellent ball and would finally close-out the Jazz in the 2nd-round.

With this win, the Lakers clinch another appearance in the Western Conference Finals, their 3rd-straight. The Lakers were lead by Pau Gasol, who had 33 points and 14  rebounds. Kobe Bryant ended with 32 points. Utah Jazz Forward Carlos Boozer went cold, he shot 4/11 from the field, ending with 10 points and 14 rebounds. The Los Angeles Lakers now earn a 6-day rest. They meet the Phoenix Suns in the Conference Finals.

2nd-seed Orlando Magic vs. 3rd-seed Atlanta Hawks (98-84)

For the 4th-time in this series, the Magic blowout the Hawks. The Magic started tremendously ending the 1st Quarter with a 34-23 lead. And the Magic would continue from there. They shot 55.4% as a team. Vince Carter lead the way with 22 points and Jameer Nelson would add 16 points and 9 assists. Dwight Howard had 13 points while grabbing 8 rebounds and swatting away 4 shots. Atlanta Hawks Forward Josh Smith scored 16 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. Jamal Crawford lead all the Hawks in scoring with 18 points. The Magic are now enjoying another early rest as they await who there next competitor will be, the Boston Celtics or The Cleveland Cavaliers.

PHOTO CREDITS:

1) Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

2) Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

3) Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

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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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NBA Playoff Recap: May 6th, 2010

3rd-seed Atlanta Hawks vs. 2nd-seed Orlando Magic (98-112)

The 1st Quarter belonged to the Orlando Magic, as Dwight Howard, who ended the night with 29 points, 17 rebounds and a block, played significant. The Magic had a 5-point lead after time expired in the 1st. But, it will all change during the 2nd Qtr, as the Hawks went to Al Horford, who scored 14 of his 24 points in the 2nd Quarter. Jamal Crawford played well in the 2nd Quarter; He later ended with 23 points. The Hawks finished the 2nd Quarter with a 30:17 point ratio. Joe Johnson was quiet during the game, but he surprisingly scored 19 points, 7 came from the FT line.

The 2nd half continued in Magicland. And the Magic will not stop playing GREAT. Vince Carter lead all scorers during the 2nd half with 20 points, despite being cold in the 1st half. Jameer Nelson, also a main contributor during the game ended with a 20-point performance, which includes the buzzer-beating floater bank shot. (What a Word!)

In the end, the Magic went on a tear from a long-distance, and would put the Hawks away on another blowout. Series now shifts to the ATL. Go Magic!

The Magic now have a 2-0 lead in the Conference Semifinals.

PHOTO CREDITS:

Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

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NBA Playoff Recap: May 5th, 2010

7th-seed San Antonio Spurs vs. 3rd-seed Phoenix Suns (102-110)

The Bear and the Widowed Wife fighting over a loose-ball.

The San Antonio Spurs started pretty well on both defense and offense. They had fast hands, they avoided fouling, and they were making shots. The Spurs ended the opening-quarter with 30-21 lead over the Suns. During the 2nd Quarter, the Suns had significant help from their second-unit. Jared Dudley, Channing Frye and Goran Dragic to name a few. The Suns shocked the Spurs in the 2nd, as they tied the score to 41 apiece.

During the 2nd half, Channing Frye went HOT. He shot 5/6 3-pointers. But, Tim Duncan had a decent night, he scored 29 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. Tony Parker, who I think should’ve started the game, ended up with 20 points and 7 assists. Manu Ginobili struggled from the field, shooting 2/8 from close and 2/5 from far, but he dished out 11 assists to be the leading passer in the game.

But the Phoenix Suns won’t give-up. They gave it all they got to have a 2-0 series lead during the 4th-Qtr. At the end, Amar’e Stoudemire scored 23 points and taking 11 rebounds with the help of Steve Nash and Jason Richardson, who scored 19 points apiece. Add 6 assists for Steve Nash. And Grant Hill also gave some help to his team with a score of 18 points.

Phoenix gains a 2-0 series lead , dammit! I say Spurs are winning the series.

PHOTO CREDITS:

Barry Gosage/NBAE via Getty Images

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NBA Playoff Recap: May 3rd, 2010

4th-seed Boston Celtics vs. 1st-seed Cleveland Cavaliers (104-86)

In Game 2, “The Big Three” scored a combined 54 points with the help of Rajon Rondo, who had 13 points and 19 assists. Lebron James helped the Cavs causes with 24 points. As the game progressed, it became more physical. Anderson Varejao and Kendrick Perkins had a scuffle, both had T’s as punishment. Cavs made an unbelivable run, it started with Lebron James floater with 8:03 seconds in the fourth, cutting the lead to 10, which was 23 before the run started. But, the Celtics had an 11-3 run to end the quarter, to snatch the much-needed victory in Game 2. Momentum is now theirs.

Additional note: Lebron James presented his MVP award to the Cleveland crowd before the game started. Fans gave a well-deserved applause for his repeat.

7th-seed San Antonio Spurs vs. 3rd-seed Phoenix Suns (102-111)

In Game 1, Steve Nash started strong in the game, scoring 17 points in the 1st Quarter alone. He later ended with 33 points and 10 assists with the help of Jason Richardson, who scored 27 points. For the Spurs,  Manu Ginobili scored 27 points to lead San Antonio. Tony Parker had 26 points in a loss. Tim Duncan had 20 points and 11 boards, but it was not enough as the Suns win Game 1 of their classic NBA series. As I end, I would like to say Go Spurs Go! (I’m a Spurs fan!)

Don’t forget we have one more game tomorrow. (UTA/LAL)

PHOTO CREDITS:

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Christian Petersen via Getty Images

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Tim Lacson