May 21, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) reacts to a play against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half in game five of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Roundhouse: May 21st, 2012


Another day, another Los Angeles team to bid adieu. This time it’s the Lakers, who ran into the business end of Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir, in Oklahoma City. (Haha, get it? Thunder, Thor? I’m sorry, I’m a nerd.)

But seriously, we’ve almost made it to the conference finals. Spurs-Thunder will begin on Sunday, May 27th, and the Eastern finals will start…whenever the hell the semifinals actually end. No later than the 28th, I’d imagine. Anyway, we might as well get to tonight’s action, I guess.

Boston Celtics 101, Philadelphia 76ers 85: Celtics lead series 3-2

May 21, 2012; Boston, MA USA; Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett (5) is congratulated by power forward Brandon Bass (30) after a basket in the fourth quarter of game five in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the TD Garden. The Boston Celtics won 101-85. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

It seems the Sixers are who we thought they were, and I cannot tell you how painful it is to think about how they would have been eviscerated by a healthy Bulls team. Sigh. After a solid first half that made it seem like they could clinch the series in Philly on Wednesday, the offense disappeared, the defense softened and the 76ers turned into a pumpkin. Or something. Not really sure where I was going with that.

Anyway, Brandon Bass decided to go bonkers on Philly’s collective behind, actually outscoring their entire team by himself in the third quarter, 18 to 16. I’m not making that up, I promise. He finished with 27 to lead all scorers and somehow did it on just 13 shots, making 9 of them, plus going 9/10 at the foul line. Heck of a performance.

Kevin Garnett continued being good for no apparent reason with 20 points, and Rajon Rondo had 13 points and 14 assists. Meanwhile, Elton Brand and Lavoy Allen combined for 31 points on 14/19 from the field, but pretty much everyone else on the Sixers was so-s0 at best. Not a recipe for playoff success. It’ll be interesting to see if the Sixers can b0unce back at home in game six to force a game seven.

(Note: if they do force a game seven, I refuse to watch it. I have precisely zero interest in it.)

Oklahoma City Thunder 106, Los Angeles Lakers 90: Thunder win series 4-1

May 21, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) handles the ball against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha (2) during the first half in game five of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Well, after keeping it close for the better part of three quarters, you kind of knew it was Oklahoma City’s night when this happened and the roof nearly blew off the arena. Then Mike Brown decided he should really keep Kobe on the bench to start the fourth quarter and suddenly the Thunder were up 15 and that was that. Once again, the Lakers had absolutely no answer for Russell Westbrook once he got going. Add that to the fact that LA got pounded on the boards and that Andrew Bynum couldn’t be bothered to care at all about what was going on (something tells me those two things are related) and it wasn’t overly surprising to see the Lakers go down easily.

Kobe did have a vintage performance, throwing down a surprising number of dunks on his way to 42 points, but he had zero assists and messed with the Lakers offensive flow a bit at times. Pau Gasol had 14 points and 16 rebounds in what was most likely his last game as a Laker and Ron Artest scored 11 on 4/5 from the field. The rest of the team didn’t do much of anything.

So now we get the first legitimate marquee matchup of the playoffs: Spurs vs. Thunder. I guess I’d go with Spurs in 6 or 7, but I really just hope it is a great series, which it should be. Can’t wait.

May 22nd, 2012:

Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat Game 5, 7 PM CDT, TNT