Another day, another trio of game two’s. Actually the last three game two’s left to be played.
The Thunder pound the Nuggets 106-89. Oklahoma City leads series 2-0.
I was somewhat disappointed in this game. My expectations were based on the first game which was hard fought scrap that was entertaining all the way to the finish. This game however was a woodshed beating that was essentially over in the first quarter. OKC outscored Denver 31-15 in the first and then the two teams had pretty much ever scoring after that. Which of course didn’t do the Nuggets any good. Denver never led in this game. While Denver went with their balanced attack, moving the ball around to find the open man and not settling for stupid jumpers, J.R. Smith started the game in a funk. There were a few possessions early before the game got out of hand where J.R. pulled up for long two point shots early in the shot clock. Wilson Chandler for Denver was also ice cold. He made no shots out of the six that he took and scored four points shooting free throws.
The Thunder who won in game one because Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook went for a combined 72 points had a little surprise for Denver. They have a balanced attack as well. Durant and Westbrook once again scored more points than everyone else on their team. This time though the Thunder got help from their bench and role players. James Harden was especially going to need to step up to at least give the Thunder a third scorer that they could rely on. Harden had 18 points on 5 of 9 shooting and was a perfect 6 of 6 from the free throw line. Durant and Westbrook combined for 45 points. I still think this series can go seven games, unless the Thunder are able to split in Denver, in which case it’s going six.
The Spurs pull the Grizzlies back down to earth with a 93-87 victory. Series is tied 1-1.
After losing to Memphis last game San Antonio needed to make some adjustments. There was no bigger adjustment that they could have made than the return of all star guard Manu Ginobili’s return from his elbow injury. Ginobili still had to wear his elbow brace but that didn’t appear to be a factor at all. Manu played fast and furious from beginning to end. It didn’t seem that Memphis knew what to do with him exactly. He made a number of plays that wowed the crowd and kept the Spurs afloat. It is also important to notice that when the Spurs got the lead late in the game they could rely on Manu not to blow the lead. Manu lead all Spurs with 17 points on 5 of 13 shooting, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals. The leading Grizzly was small forward Sam Young who ended with 17 points on 7 of 13 shooting. An unlikely source to be sure but, we all knew Marc Gasol wasn’t going to go for 25 two games in a row. He hasn’t developed his game there yet.
This series is turning out to be pretty intriguing.
The Lakers hush their doubters and the Hornets winning 87-78. Series is tied 1-1.
The Los Angeles Lakers may finally be in playoff mode. Better late than never I suppose. Chris Paul who torched them for 33 points in game one still scored. Paul had 20 points shooting 5 of 11 and 9 assists on a night where his team shot just 39 percent from the field. But he worked for everything he had. Steve Blake made things tough on him as did Kobe and occasionally Ron Artest who guarded him a few times. I won’t say Chris was a non-factor but wasn’t able to do anywhere near the damage he did to L.A in game one. Kobe had a bad shooting night with just 11 points shooting 3 of 10 from the field. The refs were letting both sides play last night and as such Kobe wasn’t getting any foul calls. Not really.
Another key factor in game was that Lamar Odom who was the sixth man of the year proved he deserved his award by coming off of the bench and pouring in 16 points shooting 8 of 12, 7 rebounds, and a block into the winning effort. The Lakers also used their size and took the main advantage that they should have had back from New Orleans, points in the paint. After being outscored in the paint by the Hornets 52-34 in game one, the main game two adjustment they made was aggression in the paint. They outscored the Hornets 50-32 in the paint. Andrew Bynum protected that area with an intensity he hasn’t played with all season and he has been pretty intense all season so that’s saying a lot.
The Lakers and the Spurs got back on track. The Thunder gave themselves an advantage in what is sure to be a tough series.
- Pacers v. Bulls 7PM ET
- 76ers v. Heat 8PM ET
- Trailblazers v. Mavericks 10PM ET