Page added on April 21, 2011
For a nice change, the players on the court decided the playoff games and not the bad calls from the officials. The NBA should have followed the precedent that was set by the World Cup and FIFA. The referees that made the bad calls should be removed from the rest of the playoffs. The players were back on the stage and were left to decide the outcomes. Here are some of my thoughts on the second games of the first round.
The Miami Heat did not waste any time against the Philadelphia 76ers in their second game of the series as they disposed of the punch less 76ers 93-74. When the Heat wants to play defense they are the best stop unit in the league. The 76ers were limited to 34.2% shooting from the floor and were out rebounded 46-40 on the boards. The Heat hit 47.2% of their shots and converted on 22 of their 29 free throws. The Heat did misfire from beyond the arc hitting on just three of 15 shots. Andre Iguodola continues to struggle in the series scoring just 5 points on 2-8 shooting. The 76ers have failed to cover the spread in seven of their last eight games including four games at home. Only one 76ers starter scored double figures in the loss.
The Chicago Bulls have struggled against the young Pacers but are up 2-0 in the series. The Pacers have not only covered the spread in both games, they actually had the lead in the second half of both games. MVP Candidate Derrick Rose had 36 points in the 96-90 come from behind victory. The Bulls came to play defense limiting the Pacers to 41.6% shooting from the floor and crushed them on the backboards 57-33. The Pacers were up by nine points before Darren Collison fell to the ground with in the ankle injury on the second quarter. Collison is doubtful for the pacers in Game 3.
The Boston Celtics are 2-0 but they are just a mere shell of the team that won the NBA title just a few seasons ago. The Celtics finished both games in big fashion. Kevin Garnett scored the go-ahead basket with just 14 seconds to go in the game and stole the ball to seal the victory. Amare Stoudemire did not play in the second half due to a back injury. Rajon Rondo scored a playoff career high 30 points, 14 coming in the first quarter. As expected, Carmelo Anthony bounced back by scoring 42 points and snatching 17 rebounds. The Knicks shot a miserable 36% from the floor. The Knicks did out rebound the Celtics 53-37, including 20 offensive rebounds.
The Dallas Mavericks are not letting playoff history repeat itself. The Mavericks won and covered both of their home games against the Portland Trailblazers in their first round series. The Mavericks have gone to their veteran players, Dirk Notwitzki, Peja Stojakovic and Jason Kidd, and their bench depth to beat the tough-minded Trailblazers. Notwitzki has carried the Mavericks in the fourth quarter again scoring 14 points in the Mavericks 101-89 victory with They tied a franchise playoff-best with just six turnovers. Both teams had 20+ turnovers and battled to a tie on the boards.
The Orlando Magic evened out the series behind 33 points from Dwight Howard. The Magic had an 11-point lead in the fourth despite shooting just 34% from the floor and only nine assists. The Hawks scored 82 points after scoring, 1 game after becoming the first team to score 100 points in 16 straight playoff games. The Magic continue to struggle from the 3-point line hitting just 5-23 attempts. Orlando shot 36 free throws to just 17 for the Hawks. Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 25 points. The Magic wiped the Hawks on the glass be grabbing 52-39. Kirk Hindrich had only one assists in 30 minutes of play.
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