Miami Heat 98 – Milwaukee 86
Insane, hectic, chaotic, and weird were a few words you can come up with when watching the reigning champs struggle in one of their worst games of the season. The pace was wild to start, and Miami just looked rush. They were trying to take care of business early and it did more bad than good. The Bucks are not a bad team and when you turn the ball over at the rate the Heat was in the first half, they can make it a game. Milwaukee played them close through all 3 quarters, holding LeBron to one of his worse shooting nights, with only 19 points on 6 of 14 shooting, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Of course with one superstar down, another one steps up. Dwyane Wade had 21 on 8 of 14 and 7 boards, you can’t stop them all. The momentum shifted in the 4th quarter, and the Heat, in a blink of an eye, went on a 12-0 run in the opening minutes, creating margin that the Bucks never recovered from. It also helped that the back court of the Bucks combined for 5 of 21 from the field for 15 points. They were just throwing prayers up mid way through the 4th. Only three Milwaukee players were in double digits. Ersan Ilyasova led the way with 21 (9 of 14) and 6 boards. This series is done. Let’s move on.
New York Knicks 87 – Boston Celtics 71
The Celtics looked old. Their age has always been an area of concern, but they have fought back from way too many battles for us to merely dismiss them. Last night, however, told a different narrative. Boston was absolutely gassed by the 4th quarter. The defense that heavily relied on Kevin Garnett crumbled when he got in foul trouble. It took them nearly 24 seconds to get a shot up in every possession and nothing went in. Everything they worked for in the first half went to waste. The sad part was that, they had the Knicks. They outworked them, forced turnovers, caught them sleeping in transition, and got actual bench contribution. An upset was seemingly possible in the second half, and then this happened.
23 points on 19.4 percent shooting from the floor, the lowest field goal percentage in any half over the last 15 seasons. Make no mistake, the Knicks did up their defense in the second half, but it was in no way that effective. The Celtics just couldn’t hit anything. Their offensive sets were a mess. The Knicks’ sets weren’t much better, relying on large doses of ISO. But they have Carmelo Anthony, who is capable of going off for 34 points (11 of 24) and 4 rebounds. The Celtics, have a shell of Paul Pierce, 18 points (8 of 19), 6 rebounds and 6 assists on a minute restriction. The next game will be played at the TD Garden in Boston, hopefully things will turn around as the Celtics pray to even the series at home.
Golden State Warriors 131 – Denver Nuggets 117
I know the final score suggests a high scoring game, but that’s not all the case..SIKE. It was a shootout in mile high city and there was something special about watching the Warriors shoot OVER 9000% (sorry, I had to) from the field to tie the series up at 1 game a piece.
Game notes: Andre Iguodala went off early, with 12 points in the first quarter, and then he completely disappeared on both ends of the floor, finishing with a total 18 points, and 7 assists.
With the injury to David Lee, the Warriors went super small, starting Jarrett Jack, who seemed more content to draw fouls then passing it to the hot hand (Stephen Curry). Jack is great for this team, but he has to show control. Tunnel vision is not going to help you advance to the next round.
Also Harrison Barnes looked great at the 4. 24 points (9 of 14), and 6 boards is a pretty good indicator of his abilities. His speed and athleticism absolutely destroyed his opposition.
Kenneth Faried’s return lacked the usual motor. Dude is definitely hurt and should have sat this one out.
After a slow first quarter, Stephen Curry went NOVA for the next three quarters, hitting everything in sight. Especially shots off of those nasty Andrew Bogut screens. He finished with 30 points (13 of 23), 5 rebounds, 13 dimes, 3 steals and one turnover. His back court partner, Klay Thompson, had 21 on 8 of 11 shooting.
This Warriors’ win snaps Denver’s 24 game home winning streak. The Nuggets have not lost in the Pepsi Center for 3 months until yesterday.
Final note – Golden State shot 65 percent from the field, and 56 from three, something that has never been done in a NBA playoff history. Cool.