The NBA Playoffs are still rolling. We’ve seen yet another sweep, a comeback, and a couple of series that might go the distance.
Let’s get to it, and all the stories around the NBA during the Conference Semis.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS – OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER:
It just goes to show, that no matter how good a team is, if you have two of the 10 best players in the world, you’ll always have a chance.
Oklahoma City is now one win away from advancing to the Western Conference Finals, thanks in part to Kevin Durant’s 40 point performance in Game 4, and Russell Westbrook’s 35 point effort in Game 5. The San Antonio Spurs failed to score in the dying minutes of a hotly contested game, and eventually falls to the Thunder, who goes back home to Chesapeake Energy Arena and try an close out the series.
The Thunder’s game plan is simple, give it to the superstars, and let them take us to the top, as they did with KD exploding in Game 4, and Rus taking his turn in Game 5 with a near triple-double performance. It has worked for two game in a row now, and Game 6 should be no different.
But Game 5 didn’t end without controversy, mainly due to, once again, bad officiating…
THE REFS DECIDED THE GAME, AGAIN:
As if the basketball world haven’t moved on from the Game 2 blunder the NBA officials had, they are in store for yet another one.
In the dying seconds of Game 5, as Russell Westbrook drives to the baseline, an obvious foul was committed by San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, who got beat, but had enough arms to wrap around Westbrook and stop the clock.
Everyone saw it, except for the three referees who are officiating the game, apparently. The Spurs are down by 1, with about 9 seconds left in the clock, are obviously going for the foul, and they did. How the referees not only didn’t figure that out, but to fail to call the Leonard intentional is just as bad as how they missed a Dion Waiters offensive foul in Game 2.
The missed call ended up an And-1 for Rus, and eventually putting the Thunder up by 4.
Now granted, Westbrook could have made both FT’s if the foul was called, and the Spurs would need a 3 to tie the game and force overtime, and LaMarcus Aldridge should have not fouled him as he is getting to the cup, but it still isn’t enough of an excuse to miss what turned out to be a pivotal call.
(The NBA has no response as of yet, personally, I’m dying to see how they are going to deal with it. This is twice now.)
DWYANE WADE TURNED BACK THE CLOCK:
Willing his Miami Heat to an overtime win vs the Toronto Raptors, Dwyane Wade has turned into Classic Flash Monday night, scoring dropping 30 and flat out taking over, in the most Dwyane Wade possible.
He was near unstoppable getting to the rim, and to force overtime, he did what he does best his entire career.
Game 5 will be on Wednesday night, and with Wade dropping a combined 68 points in Games 3 and 4, expect more fireworks from good old Flash.
CLEVELAND IS MAKING IT LOOK EASY:
Tough defense and a barrage of 3 pointers, it’s the new Cleveland Cavaliers’ way.
By sweeping the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland is back to the Eastern Conference Finals, and is looking like a juggernaut, winning convincingly vs the Hawks in 3 of the 4 games.
The Cavs are averaging 16 3PT shots made per game this post season, making them a much more potent and deadly offense capable of just ran sacking anyone, with Kyrie Irving leading the barrage, averaging 24 points per playoff contest with a blistering hot 53% from 3PT on 6 attempts per game.
The Cavs are now, once again, waiting. They may have to wait a little bit more, and it remains to be seen if the long days off would cool them down. But so far, they are making it look easy.
STEPH CURRY IS BACK:
Steph Curry should have only played 25 minutes in Game 4 vs the Portland Trail Blazers, but a Shaun Livingston ejection prompted a performance of the ages.
Scoring 17 points in overtime, an NBA record in both regular AND playoff season, Steph Curry puts his Golden State Warriors one win away from a return trip to the Western Conference Finals. He came out cold and rusty, but as the 4th quarter went down the wire, the world has seen why he was, for the second time, in a row, the MVP of the league, silencing the MODA Center crowd, dropping jaws in the process.
Game 5 will be Wednesday night, a chance to close the series in which it look like it would take a Game 3 Damian Lillard performance to be extended.
OUTSIDE THE PLAYOFFS:
Two coaches have been relieved of their duties as the 2nd round of the Playoffs progressed.
The Indiana Pacers parted ways with Frank Vogel, not renewing his contract, and the Memphis Grizzlies fired Dave Joerger, with both teams being suggested that the reasonsfo letting go of their coaches is due to a change of direction moving forward.
They weren’t unemployed for long, though. Vogel takes over the Memphis Grizzlies job, which seems like a perfect fit for a defensive minded coach. Joerger on the other hand, has been handed the Sacramento Kings job, making him as, quite possibly, the hope to fix the seemingly never ending turmoil in Sacramento.
Got fired quickly, got hired quickly. Not bad.
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