On Saturday night, the NBA, after a mind numbing, yet liberating week socially where unexpectedly the league took about 100 steps forward in changing the way we think about the world around us, gave us 3 series that went all the way to game 7. Normally just having 2 in a playoff run would be awesome to see, but 3 in one day? That’s pretty much mind blowing on so many levels.
Indiana Pacers Survives Against Atlanta Hawks
The Indiana Pacers will not be winning the NBA Championship. Let’s put that out there right now. However, on Saturday evening, they were good enough to get by the vaunted, tough, seemingly insurmountable…………………Atlanta Hawks.
The Hawks, a team who went 39-43 during the regular season & pretty much fought their butts off to get into the playoffs, gave the Pacers everything they could handle & more. The only reason the Hawks didn’t win this series earlier on is because their offensive choices as a whole are pretty much terrible & reminds you of why they are 39-43.
They have great young talent on the squad, led by guard Jeff Teague, who completely exploited the average at best guard play of George Hill & Lance Stephenson with his speed & ability to get to the basket at will.
The Pacers were able to just play solid defense & almost let the Hawks shoot themselves out of the game, showing inexperience – however, that strategy may not work against the Wizards since they have two great guards in John Wall & Bradley Beal that will keep pressure constantly on Hill & Stephenson to be successful.
In Game 7, Roy Hibbert FINALLY woke up & began to play like the dominant big man that he is paid to be. He was getting his hands on the basketball often & being a strong presence in the low block. The Hawks actually had to deal with a Hibbert who was playing more like the Georgetown Roy Hibbert that was a beast than whatever this guy has been since about February of this year.
Oklahoma City Thunder Show They Are Reliable Against The Memphis Grizzlies
This was one of the greatest series in the history of the NBA Playoffs that unfortunately got overshadowed by all of the crap with Donald Sterling & his racist remarks. The Grizzlies did as good of a job as a team could be expected in frustrating star forward Kevin Durant & making the team depend strictly on Russell Westbrook to be the lone star of the team. For a few games it worked.
However, when the newspaper in Oklahoma City, The Oklahoman, released a headline in the newspaper describing Durant as “Mr. Unreliable,” it seemed to wake up Durant a bit, to the tune to two straight games with 30 or more points in game 6 & game 7. Westbrook also stepped his game up with having his second triple-double in a game 7 in his career.
The Memphis Grizzlies, let’s be honest, had no chance with Zach Randolph being suspended for throwing a punch at the Thunder’s Stephen Davis in game 6 & a less than 100 percent Mike Conley Jr. The Grizzlies fought hard for about 2.5 quarters but the lack of talent just showed its weakness & the Thunder were on a true mission to show that they are the best team in the NBA Western Conference, hands down.
Los Angeles Clippers Conquer The Golden State Warriors In a Classic
In a series that will most likely be remembered for all of the wrong reasons, the Los Angeles Clippers & the Golden State Warriors put on a great show for the crowd & left it all out on the court Saturday night.
The game was back & forth between two teams who have a genuine dislike for one another. Stephen Curry was a star. Draymond Green’s stock went higher, but if you watched his career at Michigan State, that part shouldn’t surprise anyone. Andre Iguodala & Jermaine O’Neal provided the constant leadership that the Warriors needed on the court at all times.
But, you can’t tempt fate & fate is something that the Clippers were fortunate to have. The team was playing for something that was stronger than an NBA Championship or stronger than the series. They played for each other. They played for the staff of the organization. They played for Doc Rivers, who did everything perfectly to keep the team focused on the biggest goal which was to win the series & advance in the playoffs.
Blake Griffin, Chris Paul & DeAndre Jordan played with so much cohesion all series long, very similar to a big 3 that resides in Miami, Florida. They were all leaders, they made clutch baskets & played for one another all series long.
If there is one team who could be dangerous in the next round, its the Los Angeles Clippers. They showed toughness & resolve all series & could be the type of series that can propel them possibly to the NBA Finals.
Brooklyn Nets Take Down Toronto Raptors
This game 7 was all about having great strategy. All the way through. In this game, towards the end, the Raptors didn’t make any big runs, but made shots to stay within shouting distance of the Nets, who showed NBA Championship medal from Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce & even Deron Williams.
The Brooklyn Nets played very similar to the Boston Celtics, in that they won with great defense, timely plays & just playing smart basketball.
The Nets will have a harder challenge coming up against the Miami Heat, but the Nets won’t be scared, especially due to the fact that they beat the Heat all 4 times this season & in many positions, particularly on the low block, the Nets will have an advantage.
*The Spurs/Mavs game was just so lopsided that that doesn’t even deserve my time for a review. Spurs are just a flat out machine. No other way to describe it.