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Raptors, Spurs Move on to Second Round

Two more series ended in six games last night.

NBA: Playoffs-San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Two more first round series ended last night, with the Bucks and Grizzlies being ousted on their home floors in game sixes by the Raptors and Spurs respectively.

The Raps-Bucks game was nuts, with the Raps taking a 25 point lead deep in the third quarter before a furious run by the Bucks, fueled by stifling defense, actually saw them take a two point lead late in the game. They were exhausted, however, and could not quite finish things, and the Raps escaped 92-89. Ten missed free throws hurt the Bucks, while DeMar DeRoazan went for 32 to lead the Raps.

This brings about a second round match up between the Raptors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have been resting since dispatching the Pacers in a sweep. This is a re-match of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, which the Cavs won in six. It was not a series full of exciting games, as five of them were blowouts, and the only road win coming for the Cavs in the series clincher. LeBron James did what he does, dominating the series with averages of 26-8.5-6.7 on 62 percent shooting, and the Raps got very little out of anyone not named DeRozan or Lowry. It’s hard to see the Raps presenting a real challenge this season, but that’s why they play the games.

The Spurs made the necessary plays late to beat the Grizzlies in Memphis and move on to the second round as well. It was a back and forth affair, and at one point the Grizz took an eight point lead midway through the fourth, but the Spurs started pounding the offensive glass (featuring David Lee, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Kawhi Leonard,) and Patty Mills and Tony Parker made key jump shots late and the Spurs pushed past a grinding Grizzlies squad. Parker had a throwback game, finishing with 27 on 11-14 from the field.

The Grizz fought through to the end, and Mike Conley in particular was fantastic in this series, reminding everyone that he is a top-notch point guard, but once again Memphis heads into the summer and need to figure out what comes next. Meanwhile, the Spurs win sets up a match up with the Rockets, in what should be a fascinating series.

The Spurs took three of four from the Rockets in the regular season, but they were all close games. It’s a fast paced Rockets (third in pace) against the more deliberate Spurs (27th.) It’s a three-point slinging squad against a team among the lowest in 3Pr. The Rockets struggled from three all series in the first round but still beat the Thunder in five games—will they heat up against the Spurs top rated defense? Can the Spurs get consistent production from anyone but Kawhi Leonard? I’m really looking forward to this one.

Tonight, all three series that are still undecided are in action, with game sixes between the Hawks and Wizards, Bulls and Celtics, and Jazz and Clippers. It should be an interesting night and we’ll of course have a gamer up for that.

We’ll also have our second piece detailing this year’s draft prospects, this time featuring Dx’s 6-10 at lunch time.

Today in History

1192: Conrad of Montferrat, “King of Jerusalem,” assassinated two days after taking throne.
1253: Nichiren Buddhism expounded (and founded) by a Japanese monk of that name.
1611: Founding of the Catholic University of the Philippines, oldest existing university in Asia.
1770: Captain James Cook (on the Endeavor) lands at Botany Bay, Australia.
1788: Maryland is 7th state to ratify Constitution.
1789: Mutiny on The Bounty against Captain William Bligh.
1920: Azerbaijan SSR joins the USSR.
1923: Wembley Stadium opens with an FA Cup match between Bolton and West Ham United.
1942: Nightly “dim-out” begins on East Coast of U.S.
1951: Mohammad Mosaddegh elected Prime Minister of Iran by Parliament.
1952: Dwight Eisenhower resigns as Supreme Commander of NATO.
1956: Last French troops leave Vietnam.
1965: U.S. Marines invade the Dominican Republic.
1967: Muhammad Ali refuses induction to the army.
1969: Charles de Gaulle resigns as president of France.
1977: Andreas Baader and other members of the Baader-Meinhof Gang sentenced to life in prison.
1987: NBA announces expansion plans for Charlotte, Miami, Orlando, and Minneapolis. Our lives will never be the same.
1994: Aldrich Ames pleads guilty to spying.

Today’s Musical Birthday

Kim Gordon, best known as a founding member of Sonic Youth, born in 1953.