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Thursday, May 28th

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NBA Playoffs: Grizzlies take it to Game 7 with a 2 point win over the Clippers

The Staples Center witnessed a roller coaster Game 6 between the LA Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies which saw visiting Memphis tie the series 3 - 3 with a 90 - 88 victory. Contributions came from all over both teams with neither side ever really having complete control. The game had a fair share of lead swapping with ridiculous runs on both ends of the court ensuring that leads were always slender and almost always cancelled out, until the very end. The game may have begun as an eye sore for those in need for an endless game of enthralling basketball but it turned out to be very dramatic and almost gut wrenching by the end.

Both teams started nervously from the beginning of the first quarter with neither the Clippers nor the Grizzlies registering points for over 90 seconds into the game. Jordan Alley got the board ticking with his alley oop dunk after Blake Griffin held onto an offensive rebound from his 2nd missed free throw. The game had a slow start with a slew of missed jumpers on both ends of the court until the Grizzlies decided to take matter into their own hands. Two separate 7 - 0 runs within the space of 3 minutes saw them create a sizeable lead against the Clippers at the end of the first quarter. Marc Gasol and Rudy Gay combined for 13 of the 25 points with the Grizzlies pulling away from the Clippers by an impressive 9 points. Griffin had an interesting first quarter scoring 6 points for the Clippers with a particularly impressive fade away jump shot that caught the eye.


NBA Playoffs: Chicago exit, Celtics go through while the Lakers go to Game 7

The 1st round of this year's NBA playoffs is all but over and in hindsight, one can safely say that it gave all stakeholders involved everything they asked for and so much more. We witnessed some massive upsets, some rugged battles and a fair share of clean sweeps to make it an all encompassing first glimpse to this year's post season. And Thursday night was of a similar hue, with the Chicago Bulls becoming the biggest casualty of this year's topsy-turvy season as the 76ers ended the chances of them winning their first ring since the Phil Jackson - Michael Jordan era. The Lakers led by a feeble Kobe Bryant surrendered the slender hold they had on their playoff series allowing opponents Denver Nuggets to tie it all up with just the one game to go. And finally, Boston just barely edged past their brave and uncompromising opponents the Atlanta Hawks to book a place in the Conference Semi-Finals.

Chicago Bulls 78 - 79 Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the post season by beating the best team of the regular season, the Chicago Bulls 4 - 2. This made them only the 5th team in the history of the league to qualify for the second round despite being seeded 8th at the end of the regular season. Game 6 was a close affair in which the hosts clinched the victory and the series thanks to a free throw from Andre Iguodala in the dying seconds of the 4th quarter. Iguodala had a game high 20 points and was aided by a combined 28 points from Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams as the 76ers qualified for round 2 for the first time in 9 seasons. The Bulls performed to best of their ability but things just didn't seem to work out for them. A sentiment shared by their coach at the end as well. Richard Hamilton and Luol Deng joint top scored for the visiting side with 19 points a piece but it just wasn't enough. In the absence of Derek Rose, the Bulls have lacked a star player who can balance their strong defence with a solid offence and that's a factor that seems to have made all the difference for the 6 time NBA Champions.

Atlanta Hawks 80 - 83 Boston Celtics

The Celtics finally conquered their opponents the Atlanta Hawks to make it through to the semi-finals of the Eastern Conference. The two teams were neck to neck throughout the game but the difference came from former MVP Kevin Garnett who scored a game high 28 points, giving the fans a real glimpse of his erstwhile genius. KG also dominated on the defensive end, grabbing onto 14 rebounds, the highest number in the game again. Celtics captain Paul Pierce was on the floor despite a sprained left MCL, contributing with a crucial 18 points on the night. The veterans on the home team, who won the NBA title in 2010, played like there was no tomorrow. Pierce spoke of this spirit after game, "We're playing like this is it. This could be out last chance together, so we're going to give it one last run and then see what happens." The Hawks fought valiantly throughout the series matching their opponents every step of the way. Josh Smith who had a team high 18 points for the Hawks displayed the effects of his sore knee when it really mattered as he missed 7 of his final 8 shots, missing a crucial attempt right at the end of the game that gave Celtics the opportunity to close the series out.

LA Lakers 96 - 113 Denver Nuggets

A strong third quarter in Game 6 saw the Denver Nuggets crawl back into their playoff series against the Lakers and tie it up at 3 - 3. Ty Lawson was the man of the hour shooting a ridiculous 13 of 18 from the field including 5 of 6 from beyond the arc. Lawson spoke, after the game, on how it all came down for him, "That's all I needed, a little bit of confidence. I hit my first shot, then I hit another and I was going to shoot until I missed." Kobe Bryant who overcame a stomach problem to manage a team high 31 points said his hotel room resembled a scene from the exorcist. Not a very pleasant image in the head that one. But the hotel horror didn't stop the former MVP to try his all to get his team past their opponents and into round 2. The Lakers were definitely hampered by the low fitness levels of their star man as they never got it together to even take the lead in the game. Not one for tact, Coach Mike Brown put it altogether very bluntly at the end,"Kobe, being dehydrated, sick as a dog and trying to will us to a win, it's disappointing to watch him give that kind of effort and we don't get it from everybody. Our second and third best players are Drew and Pau and both those guys have to play better in order for us to win."

With the Bulls out of the playoffs, the Miami Heat look firm favourites to finally capture the NBA title and hand King James' his first taste of glory. But these are early times in the league and there still exist a number of teams who possess the goods to go all the way. Boston and Philadelphia will lock horns in the Semis and while it's an unexpected matchup, one is sure that sparks will fly. The Lakers will hope that their talisman Kobe Bryant recovers in time to lead them out of this abyss they seem to be free falling into. The likes of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol will do well to extend a helping hand as coach Mike Brown pointed out as the Nuggets grow in confidence.

Game(s) on Friday night

Memphis Grizzlies vs. LA Clippers

NBA playoffs Wrap: Chicago rally back, Pacers advance, Nuggets shock Lakers & Hawks edge Celtics

Things are heating up in the NBA playoffs as we enter into the final stages of round 1 of the post season. The big name franchises had another dismal outing on Tuesday night and a season whcih started with a mega mess involving players and franchise owners, looks likely to end up being remembered for all the giant killing action instead. Thirty three championship rings between them, but both the LA Lakers and Boston Celtics found themselves beaten by the Denver Nuggets and the Atlanta Hawks respectively. The Indiana Pacers continued their domination of opponents the Orlando Magic, finally putting them out of their misery, sending them packing in their first round playoff series. But the major performance came in Chicago, where the Bulls, the best team in the regular season, rallied back to give themselves a fighting chance to move forth in the NBA playoffs.

Orlando Magic 87 - 105 Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers outperformed the Orlando Magic with relative ease thanks to a collective effort from the team which helped them advance to the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs. Darren Collison and George Hill, the two point guards, combined for a total of 34 points while Danny Granger had his 3rd successive 20+ points game and this collective effort helped them win their first playoff round in 7 years. Collison had a lot to say about his team's unity and togetherness at the end of the game, "Our relationship amongst each other has been growing every single day and I think it really started from day one of training camp. We saw how good we could become down the stretch, throughout the season, we knew we were going to make a deep run in the playoffs. I can't be any more proud of our teammates, our chemistry. That's why we're winning games, because of our chemistry on and off the court."


NBA Playoffs: Defending champions Dallas out of the playoffs; Spurs, Pacers & Clippers pick up wins

Four games took place on Saturday night in the NBA playoffs with the likes of San Antonio Spurs, defending champions Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic in action. The big news of the night came from the American Airlines Centre as defending champions Dallas Mavericks were knocked out from the playoffs by Oklahoma City Thunder. The Jazz were pushed closer to a similar fate by perennial favourites San Antonio Spurs as they fell 3 - 0 down in their 1st round playoff series. In the other two games, the LA Clippers and the Indiana Pacers pulled off last minute victories against their opponents to make significant ground in their bid to move forward in the post season.

Indiana Pacers 101 - 99 Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic tried all they could to stop the Pacers from taking a 3 - 1 lead, cutting down a 19 point lead within the 4th quarter to take the game to OT but their effort fizzled out at the end. David West led the scoring for the Pacers with 26 points, scoring most of those in a third quarter that helped the visitors pull away. Glen Davis and Jason Richardson combined for 49 points, giving Orlando hope of tieing the series 2 - 2, but George Hill's free throws in the final seconds of OT turned out to be the difference between the two teams. Pacers forward Danny Granger summed up in the end, "I think our team showed a lot of resilience with just the fact that (the Magic) were down 19 and they had a lot of momentum late in the fourth quarter and going into overtime. We withstood it and made shots down the stretch and got out of it."


NBA Playoffs: Chicago and LA lose ground, Boston grind it out in OT

It was a night for the underdogs as both LA Lakers and regular season bullies, Chicago, found themselves losing to their not so illustrious opponents. The Bulls genuinely missed Derek Rose in their defeat today as they found noone to lead the offensive against a gritty and courageous Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers found themselves outplayed and considerably frazzled by a Denver Nuggets team who attended in confidence with the support of the crowd behind them. Boston were the third major franchise in action, and they too were given a run for their money by a solid Atlanta Hawks team but a tight overtime performance from the veterans turned out to be the difference in the end.

Atlanta Hawks 84 - 90 Boston Celtics

A series between the 4th and the 5th best team in the playoffs is always expected to be a touch and go affair and this face off between the Hawks and the Celtics is no different. After gaining home advantage in Game 2 with a win in Atlanta, it was back to the Garden for the 17 time NBA Champions and thanks to a fantastic triple double from Rajon Rondo the hosts were able to go 2 - 1 up in the first round of the Eastern Conference play-offs.


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