Hawks, Grizzlies, Clippers Winners, McRoberts Fined, Playoffs Continue

Thearon W. Henderson

Playoffs, playoffs, playoffs. Some notes for your Friday. Happy Friday.

The Hawks won game three at home against the Pacers, finally making some threes in the 2nd half to pull away. Pacers looked inept offensively through most of the game, managing only 37% from the field, headlined by Paul George, Roy Hibbert, and George Hill combining to shoot 5-31 for the ballgame.

All of a sudden, the Hawks look like they might actually win this thing, while the Pacers at times look like the would rather be just about anywhere else.

The Grizzlies built a big 2nd half lead, which they saw evaporate when Russel Westbrook took over, and the game wound up in overtime, where the Grizz hung on to take a 2-1 series lead. Westbrook and Kevin Durant each scored 30, but it took them 26 and 27 shots respectively to get there, as the Grizz defense forced a lot of poor shots. This was a tale of bench, as Memphis got 34 points from their reserves, headlined by Beno Udrih (12) and Tony Allen (16), who also had nine rebounds. The Thunder were only able to get 9 points from their bench, whic proved decisive.

The Clippers also hung on after a big lead got trimmed to one late, as Steph Curry missed a contested (fouled?) three pointer at the buzzer and the Clips emerged with a 98-96 win in Oakland to reclaim home court advantage.  Blake Griffin appears to be the difference maker in this series, as once again he rampaged through the Warriors interior defense for 32 points. The Warriors primary weapon-the three point shot-was not working for them tonight as they made only six of 31 attempts. Despite that, they had a chance to win at the end thanks to some Curry shot making late and lots of missed Clippers free throws.  Nevertheless, the Clippers take a 2-1 series lead with game four scheduled for Sunday in Oakland.

Was Jesus fined for turning water into wine? Was Frodo Baggins fined when he ended the reign of Sauron? No and no. And yet, Charlotte Bobcats star and all around hero Josh McBob McRoberts was fined by the NBA because LeBron James ran into his forearm.  Can McBob help it if his forearm is like steel?  A travesty of justice.

Three more game threes tonight:

Raptors at Nets
6:00 pm Central
ESPN2

The series is tied at one as things move to Brooklyn for games three and four. In truth, the Nets have looked like the better team, I think ,and have the chance to take control of the series at home, with their depth and experience. I liked Toronto coming into the series, and it wouldn't shock me to see them win it still, but I wouldn't bet on them at this point.

Bulls at Wizards
7:00 pm Central
ESPN

The Wizards took both games in Chicago and can put a hammerlock on things tonight. They have to be wary about easing up at home after winning two road games. The Bulls are tough and have been through a lot of this; I don't think they will make it easy no matter how bad they looked for stretches in Chicago. Still, Wizards have looked like the younger, quicker team that they are, and the Bulls have had trouble finding much in the way of consistent offense.

Rockets at Blazers
9:30 Central
ESPN

Can LaMarcus Aldridge put 40+ on the Rockets dubious defense for a third game in a row? Can James Harden have a break out game in this series? Can the Rockets get back into this series at the Rose Garden after failing miserably at home?  These questions will be answered tonight from Portland. Really, as much as Aldridge, what's killing Houston is Harden shooting under 30% for the first two games, and their overall three point shooting sitting at 21%. Three pointers are central to Houston's attack, as they led the league in attempts this year.  They have to make more of them to have a chance to get back into this series.

On the coaching front, someone linked this ESPN piece yesterday, but if you missed it, here is some stuff on potential head coaches that executives around the league like. Some assistants (Easy Ed Pinckney!) and a couple of college guys. Anyone interested?

Today in History

1719: Daniel Defoe publishes Robinson Crusoe
1829: Charles Freemantle claims Australia for the UK. 
1862: Union army captures New Orleans
1926: Puccini's opera Turandot premieres in Milan
1933: U.S. drops the gold standard
1945: U.S. and Soviet forces meet at the Elbe River
1953: DNA is identified for the first time
1979: Peace treaty between Egypt and Israel takes effect

Today's musical birthday is Ella Fitzgerald, born in 1917 (d. 1996).


Enjoy your Friday.

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