High Hoops

TOSS ME THE ROCK
Los Angeles Lakers 91-102 San Antonio Spurs
Spurs lead series 2-0
Tony Parker scored 24 of his 28 points in the second half to ensure an improved team scoring performance from the Lakers came to nothing and the Spurs doubled their series advantage. Parker’s shooting was matched by Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard, who both notched 16, to produce yet another dominant display against Los Angeles. The Lakers’ began well off the clutch shooting of Dwight Howard in the key but San Antonio hit a 12-3 run in the closing minutes of the 1st to take their lead to five at the close. The Spurs then hit another run at the end of the half with 13-4, Leonard reaching 14 points, to take the game away from Los Angeles at 56-48 on the buzzer. The visitors’ cause was hurt further when Howard was first called for a loose ball foul in the 3rd and then an offensive foul to take his total to four and sit out the rest of the quarter while Parker began a scoring tip that would see him reach 24 in the second half and push the Spurs to a 2-0 lead as they head to the Staples Center.

Los Angeles Lakers 91-102 San Antonio Spurs

Spurs lead series 2-0

Tony Parker scored 24 of his 28 points in the second half to ensure an improved team scoring performance from the Lakers came to nothing and the Spurs doubled their series advantage. Parker’s shooting was matched by Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard, who both notched 16, to produce yet another dominant display against Los Angeles. The Lakers’ began well off the clutch shooting of Dwight Howard in the key but San Antonio hit a 12-3 run in the closing minutes of the 1st to take their lead to five at the close. The Spurs then hit another run at the end of the half with 13-4, Leonard reaching 14 points, to take the game away from Los Angeles at 56-48 on the buzzer. The visitors’ cause was hurt further when Howard was first called for a loose ball foul in the 3rd and then an offensive foul to take his total to four and sit out the rest of the quarter while Parker began a scoring tip that would see him reach 24 in the second half and push the Spurs to a 2-0 lead as they head to the Staples Center.

Atlanta Hawks 98-113 Indiana Pacers
Pacers lead series 2-0
Paul George proved his worth as the NBA’s Most Improved Player as the Pacers were once again too strong for the Hawks. George went 11-21 from the floor as he struck 27 points in a match that saw bench scoring decide proceedings in the first half. Roy Hibbert and Gerald Green provided highlight dunks in the 2nd but it was the Pacers’ reserves who outscored their opponents’ 24-6 and took Indiana to 59-50 at the half. Indiana’s aerial strength was obvious again in the second half with George completing a stunning alley-oop early in the 3rd and Gerald Green finishing a full-court pass from David West with 0.1 second left in the same quarter to stretch the Pacers’ advantage to 12 points and turn the 4th into a formality and lead the series 2-0.

Atlanta Hawks 98-113 Indiana Pacers

Pacers lead series 2-0

Paul George proved his worth as the NBA’s Most Improved Player as the Pacers were once again too strong for the Hawks. George went 11-21 from the floor as he struck 27 points in a match that saw bench scoring decide proceedings in the first half. Roy Hibbert and Gerald Green provided highlight dunks in the 2nd but it was the Pacers’ reserves who outscored their opponents’ 24-6 and took Indiana to 59-50 at the half. Indiana’s aerial strength was obvious again in the second half with George completing a stunning alley-oop early in the 3rd and Gerald Green finishing a full-court pass from David West with 0.1 second left in the same quarter to stretch the Pacers’ advantage to 12 points and turn the 4th into a formality and lead the series 2-0.

Houston Rockets 102-105 Oklahoma City Thunder
Thunder lead series 2-0
Kevin Durant lead the scoring with 29 as the Thunder overcame a tougher second test against the Houston Rockets. Durant’s point total was matched by team-mate Russell Westbrook to ensure OKC survived a huge 4th quarter Houston fightback at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Rockets started well with James Harden shooting 17 points in the first half to ensure the Thunder’s lead at the break was kept at two. However, the visitors’ efforts looked set to be derailed when Jeremy Lin was withdrawn at the half for a bruised chest and did not return, with doubts over his ability to play in Game Three. Lin’s disappearance did appear to affect the Rockets as they slipped to a 15-point deficit in the 4th before Houston hit a huge 21-2 run to take the lead with three minutes to go. But Serge Ibaka, Durant and Westbrook went 4 for 5 from the field in the closing stages to push through a vital win as the two teams head to Texas.

Houston Rockets 102-105 Oklahoma City Thunder

Thunder lead series 2-0

Kevin Durant lead the scoring with 29 as the Thunder overcame a tougher second test against the Houston Rockets. Durant’s point total was matched by team-mate Russell Westbrook to ensure OKC survived a huge 4th quarter Houston fightback at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Rockets started well with James Harden shooting 17 points in the first half to ensure the Thunder’s lead at the break was kept at two. However, the visitors’ efforts looked set to be derailed when Jeremy Lin was withdrawn at the half for a bruised chest and did not return, with doubts over his ability to play in Game Three. Lin’s disappearance did appear to affect the Rockets as they slipped to a 15-point deficit in the 4th before Houston hit a huge 21-2 run to take the lead with three minutes to go. But Serge Ibaka, Durant and Westbrook went 4 for 5 from the field in the closing stages to push through a vital win as the two teams head to Texas.

Golden State Warriors 131-117 Denver Nuggets
Series tied at 1-1
Stephen Curry swept away memories of a shaky first game by leading his team to victory with 30 points in a match that saw four of the Warriors starters hit 20+. Andre Iguodala looked to lead the Nuggets’ scoring and the forward went 5 for 6 in the opening quarter to record 12 points. But Iguodala fell away in the 2nd as he failed to score and Curry had taken his total to 17 and his team to a 61-53 lead at the half. The high scoring continued after the break and Denver were powerless to cope with a Golden State side who finished on 64.6% from the floor and 56% (14-25) from behind the arc. Curry had breached the 20 point barrier early in the 3rd and was joined by David Lee replacement Jarrett Jack, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes in the 4th as the Warriors tied the series heading back to Oakland.

Golden State Warriors 131-117 Denver Nuggets

Series tied at 1-1

Stephen Curry swept away memories of a shaky first game by leading his team to victory with 30 points in a match that saw four of the Warriors starters hit 20+. Andre Iguodala looked to lead the Nuggets’ scoring and the forward went 5 for 6 in the opening quarter to record 12 points. But Iguodala fell away in the 2nd as he failed to score and Curry had taken his total to 17 and his team to a 61-53 lead at the half. The high scoring continued after the break and Denver were powerless to cope with a Golden State side who finished on 64.6% from the floor and 56% (14-25) from behind the arc. Curry had breached the 20 point barrier early in the 3rd and was joined by David Lee replacement Jarrett Jack, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes in the 4th as the Warriors tied the series heading back to Oakland.

Boston Celtics 71-87 New York Knicks
Knicks lead series 2-0
Carmelo Anthony took his postseason points total to 70 as he drained 34 points in a demolition of the Celtics at Madison Square Garden. Anthony went 11-24 in a commanding offensive display that simply blew Boston away. Everything seemed in the Knicks’ favour from the off, with Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith finishing a stunning long-range three-point buzzer beater at the end of the 1st to take New York to a six point lead. The Celtics fought back in the 2nd through Paul Pierce who went 3 for 4 in the quarter to take his total to 10. But it was in the second half that New York truly came to life. Their energy on defense kept Boston to just 23 points in the half while Carmelo proved unguardable and hit shot after shot to register 19 points in the final two quarters to ensure his side breezed into a two-game series lead and headed for an emotional Boston with their advantage doubled.

Boston Celtics 71-87 New York Knicks

Knicks lead series 2-0

Carmelo Anthony took his postseason points total to 70 as he drained 34 points in a demolition of the Celtics at Madison Square Garden. Anthony went 11-24 in a commanding offensive display that simply blew Boston away. Everything seemed in the Knicks’ favour from the off, with Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith finishing a stunning long-range three-point buzzer beater at the end of the 1st to take New York to a six point lead. The Celtics fought back in the 2nd through Paul Pierce who went 3 for 4 in the quarter to take his total to 10. But it was in the second half that New York truly came to life. Their energy on defense kept Boston to just 23 points in the half while Carmelo proved unguardable and hit shot after shot to register 19 points in the final two quarters to ensure his side breezed into a two-game series lead and headed for an emotional Boston with their advantage doubled.

Milwaukee Bucks 86-98 Miami Heat
Heat lead series 2-0
Dwyane Wade was at the forefront of a sturdy Heat win against a resilient Milwaukee Bucks. Wade netted 21 points to lead the Miami scoring in a game that was tight until the 4th. The Bucks started well as they kept pace with the top-seeded offense on the East Coast, Ersan Ilyasova shooting 12 points in the 1st quarter. Despite Wade shooting 12 and LeBron James on 15 at the half, Milwaukee only trailed by four at the break. That lead was reduced to three at the end of the 3rd but the Heat hit a 12-0 run at the start of the 4th to take the game away from the visitors and, with Wade and James reaching 21 and 19 respectively, the Miami offense proved too strong yet again and the defending champions head to Wisconsin having doubled their series lead.

Milwaukee Bucks 86-98 Miami Heat

Heat lead series 2-0

Dwyane Wade was at the forefront of a sturdy Heat win against a resilient Milwaukee Bucks. Wade netted 21 points to lead the Miami scoring in a game that was tight until the 4th. The Bucks started well as they kept pace with the top-seeded offense on the East Coast, Ersan Ilyasova shooting 12 points in the 1st quarter. Despite Wade shooting 12 and LeBron James on 15 at the half, Milwaukee only trailed by four at the break. That lead was reduced to three at the end of the 3rd but the Heat hit a 12-0 run at the start of the 4th to take the game away from the visitors and, with Wade and James reaching 21 and 19 respectively, the Miami offense proved too strong yet again and the defending champions head to Wisconsin having doubled their series lead.

Memphis Grizzlies 91-93 Los Angeles Clippers
Clippers lead series 2-0
Chris Paul hit a game winner with 0.1 seconds left to see off a much-improved Memphis Grizzlies at the Staples Center. Paul drove past Tony Allen to push the game’s final shot towards the basket and the ball slipped through the hoop just before the buzzer to send the California crowd crazy. Memphis had started the game strongly as they looked to improve on their defeat at the weekend. Marc Gasol dominated the key and facilitated a stunning first half performance from Michael Conley who hit 16 points in the first two quarters. The Clippers’ offense rose to the challenge, however, with Blake Griffin hitting 13 in the 1st quarter alone to finish with 15 at the half. The second half belonged to Paul and he went from 5 points at the half to 16 at the beginning of the 4th to drive Los Angeles to a 12 point lead. But sloppy half-court defense allowed Memphis back in and saw Conley reach 28 points to complete a storming night for the guard and set up Marc Gasol to tie the match at 91-91 with 13.9 seconds to go. But Paul had the last say and his shot doubled his team’s lead in the series as the teams head to Tennessee.

Memphis Grizzlies 91-93 Los Angeles Clippers

Clippers lead series 2-0

Chris Paul hit a game winner with 0.1 seconds left to see off a much-improved Memphis Grizzlies at the Staples Center. Paul drove past Tony Allen to push the game’s final shot towards the basket and the ball slipped through the hoop just before the buzzer to send the California crowd crazy. Memphis had started the game strongly as they looked to improve on their defeat at the weekend. Marc Gasol dominated the key and facilitated a stunning first half performance from Michael Conley who hit 16 points in the first two quarters. The Clippers’ offense rose to the challenge, however, with Blake Griffin hitting 13 in the 1st quarter alone to finish with 15 at the half. The second half belonged to Paul and he went from 5 points at the half to 16 at the beginning of the 4th to drive Los Angeles to a 12 point lead. But sloppy half-court defense allowed Memphis back in and saw Conley reach 28 points to complete a storming night for the guard and set up Marc Gasol to tie the match at 91-91 with 13.9 seconds to go. But Paul had the last say and his shot doubled his team’s lead in the series as the teams head to Tennessee.

Chicago Bulls 90-82 Brooklyn Nets
Series tied at 1-1
The Chicago Bulls took Game Two of the series after a dedicated, aggressive performance on defense saw them block seven shots and keep the Nets’ shooting at 35.4%. Joakim Noah, playing with an injured foot, was at the forefront of that. He facilitated an impressive Bulls on both offense and defense with passionate play and an unrelenting work rate, a 4th quarter block on Brook Lopez followed by a cathartic scream typifying his night. The Nets offense was out of sorts with Deron Williams only making 1-9. The Bulls soon took the incentive with dynamic forward play from Luol Deng, who finished with 15, and Nate Robinson, 11 from the bench, sending them into 12 point lead in the 4th. That lead was cut to four following two three-pointers from a quiet Joe Johnson but Chicago did not let up and powered through the remainder of the match to tie the series.

Chicago Bulls 90-82 Brooklyn Nets

Series tied at 1-1

The Chicago Bulls took Game Two of the series after a dedicated, aggressive performance on defense saw them block seven shots and keep the Nets’ shooting at 35.4%. Joakim Noah, playing with an injured foot, was at the forefront of that. He facilitated an impressive Bulls on both offense and defense with passionate play and an unrelenting work rate, a 4th quarter block on Brook Lopez followed by a cathartic scream typifying his night. The Nets offense was out of sorts with Deron Williams only making 1-9. The Bulls soon took the incentive with dynamic forward play from Luol Deng, who finished with 15, and Nate Robinson, 11 from the bench, sending them into 12 point lead in the 4th. That lead was cut to four following two three-pointers from a quiet Joe Johnson but Chicago did not let up and powered through the remainder of the match to tie the series.

J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks is named NBA Sixth Man of the Year after posting 18.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 2.7 APG in the regular season.

J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks is named NBA Sixth Man of the Year after posting 18.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 2.7 APG in the regular season.

Houston Rockets 91-120 Oklahoma City Thunder
Thunder lead series 1-0
Regular season leading points scorer Kevin Durant drained 24 as the Thunder scored the most first round team points of the postseason in a victory over the Rockets. Houston guard James Harden was returning to Oklahoma City for the first postseason since helping the Thunder to a Western Conference championship last season and he soon saw his side slip to a 13-2 deficit when Serge Ibaka swatted away only his second field goal attempt with five minutes gone. The Rockets soon found their feet in the 2nd to tie the game at 40-40 before the Thunder hit a 20-5 run to head into half-time at 60-45. The OKC lead remained at double digits for the rest of the fixture with a stern defense reducing Houston to 36.3% shooting from the field and only 3 turnovers. The Thunder offense continued to tear their way through the Rockets, Russell Westbrook just short of a triple-double with 19 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds on top of 17 points from Serge Ibaka and 16 from Harden-replacement Kevin Martin rolled the Western top seeds to a deserved 29 point win.

Houston Rockets 91-120 Oklahoma City Thunder

Thunder lead series 1-0

Regular season leading points scorer Kevin Durant drained 24 as the Thunder scored the most first round team points of the postseason in a victory over the Rockets. Houston guard James Harden was returning to Oklahoma City for the first postseason since helping the Thunder to a Western Conference championship last season and he soon saw his side slip to a 13-2 deficit when Serge Ibaka swatted away only his second field goal attempt with five minutes gone. The Rockets soon found their feet in the 2nd to tie the game at 40-40 before the Thunder hit a 20-5 run to head into half-time at 60-45. The OKC lead remained at double digits for the rest of the fixture with a stern defense reducing Houston to 36.3% shooting from the field and only 3 turnovers. The Thunder offense continued to tear their way through the Rockets, Russell Westbrook just short of a triple-double with 19 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds on top of 17 points from Serge Ibaka and 16 from Harden-replacement Kevin Martin rolled the Western top seeds to a deserved 29 point win.