Two teams took care of business and one team opened the door back up.
The Bulls stave off the Pacers for a third time 88-84. Chicago lead the series 4-0.
I always feel like every time I right about the Bulls I must mention Derrick Rose. Try as he might his shot was not falling. Rose shot 4 of 18 from the field and scored 23 points. He attacked the basket and drew fouls for point production. This game more so than the other two was a scrap. It was intense and it was edgy. Indiana would not let Rose into the paint without some kind of shove. Jeff Foster played the role of enforcer. He had two hard fouls on Derrick including one elbow to the head which seemed like it would cause an altercation. The next time up the floor Chicago fouled Foster back with a shot to the head. It’ s been an intense NBA playoffs this season and I certainly think that the league is better for it.
Like the previous two games this game came down to the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. Darren Collison returned from his injury and seemed to be moving pretty well. The Pacers though opted to rely on Danny Granger to close out the game. Granger whose late game heroics all season long earned him the right to take the last shot. Darren Collison scored a bucket when Granger was denied the ball and the next time up the floor Granger tied the game up. There was a stretch at the end of the game where the Bulls were being out hustled and out played. I thought Chicago settled for far too many jump shots. With the game tied up the Pacers tried to get Granger the ball but when he got it he ended up shooting a long awkward looking shot. The Bulls got the ball off of the rebound and with the clock ticking down Derrick Rose drove to the basket amidst four Pacers and made a difficult left handed lay up.
The Bulls relied on Luol Deng and Kyle Korver for points. Deng had 21 points on 8 of 19 shooting and Korver had 12 points shooting 5 of 6 from the field and 2 of 3 three point shooting. 10 of Korver’s 12 points came in the fourth quarter. For Indiana practically every Pacer that played scored, though only Granger and Dahntay Jones scored efficiently.
The Bulls pulled out the victory in spite of the Indiana double team which seemed to really bother Derrick Rose in the half court set. Chicago is certainly going to win this series but if they sweep it will look like Indiana got beat down when, in fact they were in every game to the very end.
The Heat rally to take down the 76ers 100-94. Miami leads the series 3-0.
Philadelphia seems incapable of scoring in the paint and in front of the rim. They’re too small inside and they don’t space the floor really well. They were outscored in the paint 48-34. The most consistent teams work inside out. They go to their big man and get some high percentage shots around the basket. Philadelphia lacks consistency because Miam won’t let them inside. The Sixers are then relegated to working their way outside in. They shoot first which stretches the defense and they they use the space to get to the basket. However when their shots aren’t falling, Miami packs the paint and then Philadelphia is simply too small to get to the bucket against the Heat. Chris Bosh had three blocks in the game and has been defending the paint well as of late. So the Sixers took a lead early and coughed it all back up as Wade and James combined for 56 points. Miami has an insanely tough defense when they get to it and once they force a turnover and get out in transition forget it. You’re not catching anybody in a black jersey.
Miami did what they were supposed to do. Philadelphia took a lead but just lacked the size and talent to hold Miami off. Miami easily caught the Sixers when they needed to and Philadelphia just seemed powerless to stop them.
The Blazers edge out the Mavericks for their first win of the series 97-92. Dallas leads the series 2-1.
The Trailblazers capitalize on their home court advantage and get their first win of this series. This game like all the other games in this series came down to the wire but, when the game was on the line it was Portland who executed. The Trailblazers are one of those teams where anybody can give you production on any given night. Last night it was Wesley Matthews who scored 25 points shooting 8 of 12 and 5 of 6 from behind the arc. Jason Kidd didn’t have his terrific shooting night that he had in the first two games and even Peja Stojakovic seemed to slow down. An interesting thing to note is that Dirk struggled in the fourth quarter. He missed five shots in a row. Another something to note that’s probably more important than Dirk failing to close the game is that Dallas left a lot of points on the free throw line. The Mavericks shot 56 percent from the charity stripe. The were 13 of 23 from the line. They missed ten free throws and lost by five points. You do the math.
Tyson Chandler got into foul trouble early and wasn’t nearly as effective as he could have been. He would eventually foul out. LaMarcus Aldridge had his usual impact on the game scoring 20 points shooting a relatively inefficient 9 of 21 from the field. Brandon Roy made an appearance in the game. He added 16 points to the winning effort.
Chicago and Miami handled their business though Chicago had to scrap to get it. Dallas let the Trailblazers back into the series with another game to be played at the Rose Garden up in Portland.
- Knicks v. Celtics 7:00PM EST
- Hawks v. Magic 8:00PM EST
- Hornets v. Lakers 9:30PM EST