|Is it hot in this room? Or is it just me?|
I know that technically Sunday precedes Monday, but for some odd reason I felt like starting with this game...
Are these Bulls beginning to like playing the Heat? It feels that way to me. First they broke Miami's winning streak 6 games shy of history, and now they've halted their playoff ascension mid-victory lap.
How've they done it? Simple. They gave 40 minutes a piece to Jimmy Butler, Nate Robinson, and Marco Belinelli. Chaos. The Heat simply aren't prepared for that explosive mixture of unstable elements.
So far in the playoffs, the Heat have distinguished themselves by being able to take control of games in the 4th quarter. They led this one at home by 6 points with 6 minutes left, then the three-headed hell hound of Nate-But-inelli was released. The hellacious hound combined for 22 points over those last 6 minutes, and assisted on several others. When the spray of blood cleared, the Heat were down 0-1, and the Bulls had a 7 point victory.
Stay tuned for the Heats' unholy revenge.
Since Westbrook went down, the conventional wisdom has been that we're destined for a Spurs-Heat finals match-up. Wouldn't it be fitting then, if on the same night that the Bulls beat the odds, the similarly beleaguered Warriors managed to do the same? And wouldn't it be extra amazing if Steph Curry scored 44 points and the game went to double-overtime? So close, so very close. Instead, the Spurs made up 16 points in 4 minutes to send the game into overtime, and the Warriors lost in San Antonio for the 30th consecutive time.
Perhaps you've met this man. Manu Ginobili?
Warning: This video might be hazardous to your health if you've had traumatic experiences with Manu Ginobli in the past. Viewer discretion is advised.
The Warriors got close, but we must remember, nobody kills dreams in this business better than the Spurs. The Heat are still relatively new to our nightmares. The Spurs have been doing this shit for over a decade now.
Still, as the poet Keats said, a thing of beauty is a joy forever.
I don't normally reprint box-scores but I think Curry's deserves it. 57 minutes and 56 seconds, 18-35, 6 of 14 from deep, 44 points, 11 assists, and 6 turnovers. It might not be the world's most efficient box-score, parts of it are sloppy and perhaps overly ambitious. But it's a thing of beauty, grandiose and unabashed, full of longing for something even greater; the Warriors continue their search tonight, we have only to watch.
|The Knicks spent a lot of time looking up at Hibbert|
According to the box score Melo only got blocked 4 times, but it felt like twice that. Perhaps, they weren't counting deflections or the time Hibbert forced him into a jump ball. Hibbert was a potent obstacle to the Knicks, as he blocked 5 shots and altered many others.
Like many teams this season, the Knicks have experienced the benefits of playing a natural wing as a power forward; this works against most teams in today's NBA, but the Pacers have one of the largest frontcourts in the league. As a result, Carmelo found himself guarding David West most of the game. Carmelo's erratic shooting could've been a result of this, or perhaps it was simply a byproduct of taking so many difficult shots against an elite defense. Either way, the result was a loss for the Knicks and some critical tweets from Bernard King's soon to be deleted Twitter account.
Like other large market teams we know, the Knicks can rarely simply lose a game with dignity. The Bernard King angle is sad and strange. We've heard all season long about how Melo grew up idolizing him, we've seen commercials with Spike Lee drawing parallels between the two, and we've watched as Carmelo chased down some of King's scoring records. Yet now, when the Knicks are facing adversity again, the dysfunction returns. What was posted on King's account wasn't particularly objectionable, and it was more or less accurate. The strange thing is that King afterwards claimed he never wrote it at all and his account was being used by someone else
As always, a loss is never just a loss for the Knicks.
A win for the Knicks however, is just a win. Home court advantage is already out the window, but the Knicks made a difficult climb to the Eastern Finals seem possible again with a late scoring burst. With three minutes to go in the third quarter, the game was tied at 64. Less than 10 minutes later, the Knicks had added 30 points to that total, while the Pacers had added....2.
The Knicks ended up winning by 26.
This Grizzlies team is beginning to remind me of playing against Joe Frazier in Fight Night. You may think you're winning at first, but by the end of the match those body blows take their toll.
The Grizzlies ended up getting twice as many offensive rebounds as their opponent. There were several possessions where the Thunder would play decent defense, but their efforts would be rendered useless by Memphis grabbing 3 offensive rebounds in a row. It's very difficult to win that way, and the Thunder demonstrated as much, losing home court advantage in the process.