NEW ORLEANS, LA
In game 3, the Pelicans looked like they’d found a way to beat Golden State, or at least make the series competitive. If that was what New Orleans was thinking after their game-3 victory, the Warriors quickly crushed those dreams with a blowout win in game-4. Golden State made it their business to show the Pelicans that they are not in the same weight class as the big boys. Golden State now leads their series over New Orleans 3-1. Houston leads their series over Utah 3-1. Cleveland leads their series over the Raptors 3-1. And Boston leads their series over Philly 3-1. If things continue to play out in the way they’re currently going, we will see the final four that we all expected at the beginning of the season…..won’t we? I mean, we all had hopes and dreams for our teams, but in reality we all knew it was coming down to this. Houston-Golden State in the West. And Cleveland-Boston in the East.
Golden State took control of yesterday’s game early, and never really looked to be in trouble…..to me. It’s hard to beat this Golden State team once. Asking a team to beat the Warriors four games out of seven will be a tough task for any team in the NBA. The Pelicans tried though. Jrue Holiday had another solid outing on his way to a 19 pts. 7 reb. performance. Anthony Davis dropped 26 pts and 12 rebounds. And Etwaun Moore added 20 pts. for the Pelicans. The Warriors were led by all star Forward Kevin Durant who had 38 pts, and 9 reb. Steph Curry scored 23 points. And Draymond Green damn near dropped a triple double (8pts. 9ast. 9reb.). Check out some of the highlights from yesterday’s game below:
Video courtesy: MLG Highlights
It ain’t over until the fat lady sings right? I’m still holding onto hope, but I gotta admit, things are looking very bleak for the home town right about now. I can’t even attempt to sit here and fake it. The Boston Celtics are a better team than the Philadelphia 76ers……this year. I honestly can’t see the 76ers beating these Celtics four games in a row. I’m sorry my fellow Philadelphians, but I think this is where the road ends for the 76ers…..this year. BUT, on the bright side……The Eagles won the Super Bowl! That joy can never be taken away from us!
It would be easy to sit here and blame everything on Ben Simmons. The young man has quickly gone from hero to scapegoat for everything that’s wrong with the team, in the blink of an eye. I’m not going to take that route. I’m going to look at what Boston has that the Sixers don’t. 1) Boston is a very well coached team: Not taking anything away from Brett Brown, but Celtics coach Brad Stevens is playing playoff Chess as compared to Brown’s playoff Checkers. I don’t know how long it will take for Brown to see that Robert Covington is a defensive liability. Every time Stevens sees Covington out there he runs plays for the player Covington is guarding. Remember that inbound play in overtime when Horford got that easy bucket down low to give Boston the lead? That was no coincidence. Covington was guarding Horford. 2) The young Celtics players are not afraid of the bright lights of the playoff atmosphere: Rozier, Tatum, and Jaylen Brown were out there ballin’ like they were playing in a pickup game on Sunday morning at the neighborhood park. They seemed to be completely unaware of the pressure and the “must score” theme that played out in front of them as the close game wound down. The Sixers on the other hand, clearly looked like a team that had the “playoff jitters” as the game went down the stretch. That can be overcome with more experience though. 3) The Celtics are really good: Boston has amazingly managed to figure out a way to get the most out of every player on the team. These are not big name players. We’re talking about a bunch of no-frills role players….and they’re ballin! And it’s working. Marcus Morris, Al Horford, and Marcus Smart have been thorns in the 76ers asses all series. The minute you get fortunate enough to stop or contain Brown, Rozier, or Tatum, here come these three out of nowhere. This was just an all around bad matchup for this 76ers team…..this year. But the 76ers are a young squad who WILL get better with time. Making the playoffs wasn’t the final step of the process. There’s a few more steps left to be made before the 76ers reach the final step of the process and bring an NBA Championship to the city. The future is bright….as for right now? You might as well chalk this series. It’s over. I just hope the 76ers can find a way to win at least one game against this team.
The Celtics were once again led by Tatum, Rozier, Jaylen Brown, and Al Horford. Marcus Morris had a nice game coming off the bench. He dropped 9 points and added 7 rebounds. It looked like he did much more damage than that as I watched the game in real time. Rozier remained a thorn in the 76ers backside. He added 18 pts. to go along with 7 ast. And an unsung hero for the Celtics was Aaron Baynes. Most people only noticed Embiid putting his dumb ass in a coffin on that vicious facial dunk, but Baynes played an important role that most people didn’t take notice of. He wore Embiid down. That was his job. Just put a body on Embiid all game and wear him down. Baynes did that job to perfection. He did his job so well that Embiid was the happiest person in the building when Baynes fouled out. The 76ers were led by Joel Embiid who had another dominant performance on his way to a 22 pts 19 reb. night. Ben Simmons bounced back from his 1-point effort in game-2……statistically. Ben had 16 pts. 8 reb. and 8 ast. Really good looking numbers on paper. But watching the game, the reality was that Ben Simmons still looks unsure of himself out there. Ben Simmons seems to be running away from the ball instead of running to it in the big moments. Like I said earlier, I won’t pile on to the criticism being thrown in the youngins’ direction, but Ben is going to really need to have a long conversation with himself in the offseason and ask “what is it about this Celtics team that makes me unsure about myself and my abilities?” That is a question only Ben Simmons knows the answers to. Sharpshooter J.J. Reddick added 18 pts in 41 minutes to round out the top scorers for the home team. On a side note. Robert Covington had 1-point 2 reb. and 1 ast in 25 minutes on the floor. He was also a defensive liability in every one of those 25 minutes he was out there. This is unacceptable. Check out some of the highlights (or lowlights) from game-3 below:
Video Courtesy: Rapid Highlights
After watching the Rockets steamroll the Jazz in game 1, I assumed that there was no way that Utah would even win one game in this series. I was wrong. I was really wrong. I know it was just one game, but the Jazz has everything working in their favor as they head to Utah for game-3. Stealing a game in Houston means that if the Jazz take care of business in these next two games at home, the homecourt advantage suddenly goes to the Jazz. Before we jump the gun on that though, let’s take into account that Houston shot the ball pretty badly last night, I honestly doubt that will happen again. But, the Jazz win last night does now make this series interesting. The Rockets are under a little pressure for the first time in these playoffs, it should be interesting to see how they respond.
Led by 27 points from Forward, Joe Ingles, the Jazz provided some balanced scoring to help even the series up. They had six players score in double figures last night, including 17 points, 11 assist, and 5 rebounds from rookie sensation Donavan Mitchell. The Rockets once again were led by James Harden who dropped 32, 11, 6. Big man Clint Capela added 21 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. Check out some of the highlights from last night’s game below:
Video Courtesy: MLG Highlights
At some point it starts to go beyond having a team’s number. I think we’ve arrived at that point. The Cleveland Cavs are in the Raptors head. Lebron James and crew are taking up residence in the heads of every Raptors player and are not even paying them rent.
In a game that Toronto lead all the way through until overtime arrived, LBJ and crew found a way to pull out a victory on the Raptors home court. It would be hard for me to say that the Raptors choked, or that the team didn’t play well. They got a solid 22 points out of Demar Derozan, 18 and 10 assist from Kyle Lowry, and 21 points to go along with 21 boards from big man, Jonas Valanciunas. On paper, this seems like a game that the Raptors should have won. They had solid games from their two stars, led the ball game most of the way through, and had a rocking hometown crowd behind their backs. All of that still wasn’t enough to help the Raptors defeat Cleveland last night. Too much “Playoff Bron.” Lebron James was a shining star once again last night as he dropped a triple double (26pts. 13 ast. 11reb). This time he got some help from the rest of the squad. 20 points from J.R. Smith, 19 from Kyle Korver, and 14 points and 12 boards from Tristan Thompson. TRISTAN THOMPSON? Where the f*ck did he come from?? Getting caught cheating on his baby momma Khloe may have been the best thing to ever happen to him! I know we’re only 1 game in, but Toronto is in trouble already. Losing that game on their home-court was big. Especially since that was a game that they were looking like they were going to win. The Raptors just can’t shake that fear….or dread of facing Lebron James and Cleveland. At times that uncertainty showed last night. Unless the Raptors find a way to get rid of the thought that “we just can’t beat the Cavs” out of their heads, Toronto doesn’t stand a chance in this series. Check out some of the highlights from last night’s game below:
Video courtesy: NBA