NBA Playoffs Update, Lynx Open Pre-Season

Ronald Martinez

Much like the first round began, road teams were successful in both round two series openers last night. The Wizards and Clippers both took control early in their games and stayed out front throughout. The other two series get underway tonight.

The Wizards got off to a strong start in Indiana last night, and more or less controlled the game the entire way. Much like their series against the Bulls, they looked quicker then the Pacers all night.  Bullet points on this one:

  • On the one hand, the Pacers can take some comfort that the Wizards are unlikely to go 10-16 from three again. Trevor Ariza is shooting it well, but 6-6 from three probably won't happen.
  • On the other hand, the Wizards dominated the offensive glass, 17-6. Drew Gooden was especially effective, grabbing seven offensive boards. But the Wizards were just quicker to the ball, and their bigs seemed too much for Indy to handle on the glass.
  • Roy Hibbert was unplayable.
  • The Pacers offense looks best when they are running pick and roll/pop with David West or Luis Scola, but they absolutely need Paul George to be a star.  He had a poor game one.
  • Bradley Beal's jump shot is pretty.
The Los Angeles Clippers were hot from the start in Oklahoma City, led by Chris Paul, who went 6-6 from three and had 22 points. In the first half. And it wasn't just Paul, and the Clippers looked incredibly crisp from the start, moving the ball and finding open shots everywhere they looked en route to 69 first half points and a 17 point lead, despite Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combining for 32 first half points.

The Clippers assault continued in the third quarter, as Chris Paul remained hot, making two more threes and finishing the quarter with 32 points overall on 14 shots and incredibly, zero free throws. The Thunder were so desperate to disrupt the Clippers offense that they went to hack-a-Jordan at one point in the third, fouling him on four straight possessions. It worked, as he went 1-8 from the line, but the Thunder were unable to cut into the lead, which eventually ballooned to 26 at the end of the quarter.

At that point it was over, and the Clippers cruised from there. Paul and Blake Griffin sat out the entire fourth quarter, as the Thunder were able to make the final score look somewhat more respectable.

  • The Clippers turned it over only 8 times to the Thunder 17, and had only 4 TOs through three quarters.
  • They also finished 15-29 from three and shot 55% from the field. It was a comprehensive offensive display.
  • The Thunder's main reserves really struggled, as Reggie Jackson and Caron Butler wound up shooting 2-15 on the night. Only a few late baskets by Perry Jones and Jeremy Lamb made the bench output look respectable.
The other two second round series start tonight:

Nets at Heat
6:00 pm Central
TNT

The Heat have been resting following their sweep of the Bobcats, while the Nets took seven games to get by the Raptors. The Nets actually swept the Heat during the regular season; I wouldn't expect that to matter much. Still, if the Nets are going to get one on the road, it might be game one if the Heat are a bit rusty.

Trail Blazers at Spurs
8:30 pm Central
TNT

The Spurs put everything together in game seven against the Mavericks, and looked unbeatable. The rest of the series, however, showed us that they are beatable. Still, they are the clear favorites against the Blazers, who looked impressive in taking out the Rockets.  LaMarcus Aldridge had dominant games, and Damian Lillard played fantastic basketball throughout.

Notes:
  • The Lynx won their pre-season opener against the Australian National Team last night at Target Center. Since, you know, there was no Wolves playoff game.
  • Dwane Casey re-upped with the Raptors for three years. Well deserved.
  • Here is a link to an unofficial list of Combine invitees.
Today in history

1527: Rome sacked by German and Spanish troops
1626: Peter Minuit "buys" Manhattan Island
1682: Louis XIV moves court to Versailles
1861: Arkansas and Tennessee secede from Union
1882: Chinese Exclusion Act: Congress puts end to Chinese immigration
1910: George V becomes King of England
1968: 1000 injured in Paris clash between students and troops
1994: Nelson Mandela and the ANC declared winners of South African elections

Today's musical birthday is soprano Margeurite Piazza, born in 1926 (d. 2012).



Wide open.











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