Aside from an exciting 4th quarter in Boston, it was an off night for the NBA Playoffs. Here’s what you didn’t miss. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
76ers win Game 2 in ugly fashion
First things first, the 76ers deserved to win Game 2. Despite an awful offensive performance, they outworked the Celtics for 48 minutes. The 76ers aren’t as talented or as experienced as Boston, but after two games, they’ve proven they have more heart. They’re fearless, too. Jrue Holiday’s step back three to give the 76ers a two point lead with 1:57 left in the 4th quarter was Kobe-esque. For a franchise starving for a real star, Holiday’s swagger and confidence to bounce back after a dismal performance in Game 1 to take such a huge shot is a promising sign.
Philadelphia should also be encouraged that the two future building blocks of their franchise were the ones carrying the 76ers in those closing minutes. The aforementioned Holiday three gave the 76ers a lead after Boston fought back to regain it. Then, two possessions after a Ray Allen three gave Boston back the lead, Evan Turner darted in the lane for a pretty finish to give a one point advantage back the 76ers. From there, Philadelphia played excellent defense and closed out the win by going 6/6 from the free throw line.
In Game 1, the 76ers struggled to execute in crunch time. In Game 2, they hit big shots, sunk free throws, and suffocated the Celtics on the defensive end. Most importantly, the young 76ers didn’t back down. They didn’t panic. They didn’t fold. Holiday and Turner stood up to the big, bad Celtics and now go home tied at one with a realistic chance of winning the series.
As for Boston; what a joke. I’ve always liked this Celtics team, but their 2012 playoff performance has been disappointing. Other than the Lakers, no other playoff team takes as many nights off as the Celtics. In Game 1, they lollygagged around and waited until the 4th quarter to finish off the 76ers. In Game 2, they jumped on the young 76ers early and then relaxed until midway through the 4th quarter. Only this time, the 76ers fought back. For every right the Celtics landed, the 76ers came back with a left. Philadelphia wouldn’t go away.
Boston, in their arrogance, thought they could just finish off the 76ers when the time came. They were wrong. If the Celtics want to reach the conference finals, they’ll need to play more than a quarter of inspired basketball. If they need a model of how to play, they can look out on the floor. The 76ers have going all out down pat.
Thunder crush Lakers
Where are the Denver Nuggets? Is it too late to re-instate them back into the playoffs? How many more nights are the Lakers going to take off before the organization starts docking their pay?
The Lakers should be embarrassed. Sure, the Thunder played extremely well, but the Lakers also checked out. And what about Matt Barnes? Does he still play or did he retire? If this is how this series is going to play out, Mike Brown deserves to be fired, Andrew Bynum deserves a kick to the groin from Kobe, and Pau Gasol deserves a pay cut.
I mean seriously, were the Lakers even going to try to disrupt the Thunder offense? Maybe get a little physical? Force the Thunder to put the ball on the floor? Perhaps attack them on the defensive end? Are the Lakers headed for their second consecutive 2nd round sweep? That’s a lot of questions. Let’s hope most of them get answered. I’d like an interesting series.
Also, the Thunder is really good.