The march to the NBA Finals continues as all four conference semifinal series have officially tipped off. So that’s good. Unfortunately, last night’s games followed the previous night’s script almost to a T. We had an ugly, physical grinder that was close, but not really all that fun, followed by a game that seemed like it might be competitive that devolved into a full-on blowout. The Clippers at least did a better job making things semi-respectable than the lakers, but still. These playoffs have not been nearly as much fun as they seemed like they should be. Ah well. Let’s get to it then.
Indiana Pacers 78, Miami Heat 75: Series tied 1-1
The Heat have now played one game without Chris Bosh, and the reviews are pretty negative. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade did their thing, but, uh, pretty much nobody else on the Heat did. LeBron had 28 points, Wade had 24 and the rest of the team combined for just 23. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Heat lost, even if they were at home. That being said, they still almost won. Wade missed a fairly open layup that would have tied it at 77 with about 15 seconds left, and then Mario Chalmers missed a pretty good look at a game-tying three with two seconds left to seal their fate. LeBron also missed a pair of free throws immediately after Paul George did the same thing for Indiana. The narrative will focus on LBJ’s missed free throws and the fact that Wade and Chalmers were the ones shooting in the closing seconds, but I wish it wouldn’t. Wade had a matchup advantage and got a layup out of it (and missed it, but the point stands) and Chalmers is a substantially better shooter than either LeBron or Wade (especially Wade, who was borderline awful from three this year) and also got a good look. So please, let’s not spend the next two days obsessing over LeBron’s supposed failings in the clutch. Instead, focus on Indiana’s depth advantage and the Heat’s complete lack of anything approaching a competent big man outside of LeBron. I know you won’t, but you should.
San Antonio Spurs 108, Los Angeles Clippers 92: Spurs lead 1-0
Well, the first half was fun. The Spurs led by eight at the half, but it still felt like the Clippers were in it. Then the Spurs came out and started bombing threes and it was pretty much over. LA did make a decent run towards the beginning of the fourth quarter to cut it to single digits, but San Antonio quickly responded and that was that. Tim Duncan turned back the clock and slapped up 26 and 10 plus two blocks and two steals, while Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Boris Diaw stepped up to support him. Manu Ginobili did his thing off the bench with 22 points and three assists.
On the other side, Eric Bledsoe, Nick Young and Caron Butler did what they could to keep the Clips in it, but to no avail. Bledsoe threw up a 23-5-4 with three steals and was easily the best player on the team. Chris Paul struggled to find his shot, going 3/6 in the first quarter and then 0/7 in the next three quarters. Blake Griffin had a couple of nice highlights but didn’t totally look like himself. If he’s healthy and Chris Paul finally finds his shot, though, there’s no reason the Clippers can’t make this a series.
May 16th, 2012:
Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Game 3, 6 PM CDT, TNT
Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder Game 2, 8:30 CDT, TNT