Tag:Pacers-Bulls
Posted on: April 18, 2011 1:47 pm
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Ranking the NBA Playoffs opening weekend games

Ranking the Game 1s in an epic opening weekend of the 2011 NBA Playoffs. 
Posted by Matt Moore




What a weekend, huh? The NBA's first round is often looked at with a "ho-hum" response most years. Not in 2011. The opening weekend we had three upsets, two near-upsets, and the other three games were close right down to the finish. It may have been the best opening weekend of the playoffs in league history. So we thought we'd look back and rank the eight Game 1s on a level of awesomeness. 

8. Miami 97 Philadelphia 89: Leave it to the Heat to give us the least interesting game of the weekend. It says a lot that the worst game of the weekend was one in which the 7th seed lead after the first quarter and made a serious run in the 4th before falling to the power of Wade. This one suffered from letdown, having to follow the Pacers-Bulls insanity of the opening game, and with the Heat grinding out a tough one against a feisty Sixers team, the playoff intensity didn't really shine through, no matter how much Chris Bosh (rightfully) yelled. 

7. Atlanta 103 Orlando 93: Again, how amazing is it when a game where Dwight Howard scores 45 points isn't even in the top half of the games? Howard was incredible, and watching the Hawks' energy was really infectious, but the game itself wasn't as compelling. The Magic's shooting, combined with the Hawks casual dominance, was enough to overcome the thrill factor of watching Howard dominate in what would have been a classic performance. This series looks like it might be mighty interesting overall, but matched up against the insanity of the top, it didn't hold. 

6. Dallas 89 Portland 81: A good game of runs, featuring a furious fourth quarter comeback by the Mavs behind a vintage Dirk Nowitzki clutch performance. The Blazers had about fifty alley-oops in this one, and the game featured a Jason Kidd 3-point barrage for crying out loud. It had everything you look for in a classic, right down to a series of questionable calls that will probably get the visiting coach fined for his post-game comments. The Mavericks hang on, but everyone has to think this is going to be a long, great series based off of Game 1. 

5. New Orleans 109 Los Angeles 100: The defending champs, the second seed in the West, falls to a seventh seed team without its second best player behind one of the best point guard performances in recent history, and it's not even in the top half. This one would have been higher if the Lakers had made any effort whatsoever. They did not. A truly pathetic defensive effort individually, systemically, categorically from the Lakers. It was exciting due to the Hornets pulling off a huge upset. But the game itself was a massive conglomeration of defensive fail by the Lakers. Now, if we're ranking top performances of the Game 1s? Paul's got a case for the top spot. 

4. Oklahoma City 107 Denver 103: Maybe the best played game of the opening weekend. It was an offensive slugfest where every time a team thought they had made the play to put the other one away, the opponent would respond. An incredible effort from Kevin Durant (41 points, 9 rebounds) who was simply unstoppable, and a heroic game from Nene, fighting off a knee injury to nearly push the Nuggets to the win. It came down to a series of tough, tough shots from the Thunder and a questionable non-call. If it weren't for the drama of the top three, this would have easily taken the top spot. 

3. Memphis 101 San Antonio 98: The 8th seed gets a win versus the top seed in the West, earning their first ever franchise win with a Shane Battier 3-pointer and a last second miss from Richard Jefferson.  The actual game featured a ton of free throws, but it also featured scrappy play, great aggression on the perimeter, vintage Tim Duncan, and brilliant interior offense from Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. The world didn't know who the Grizzlies were on Sunday morning. On Sunday afternoon they had a pretty good look. 

2. Chicago 104 Indiana 99: The team with the worst record in the playoffs leads all the way until the very end, when the presumptive MVP leads a furious 16-1 comeback run capped off by a drive-and-kick assist to the little-known crack 3-point assassin for the win, destroying what would have been one of the biggest Game 1 upsets in history. What more can you say about Derrick Rose? What more can you say about how heartbreaking the game was for the Pacers? What more can you ask for in the first game of an incredible weekend? The Bulls' defensive effort was severely lacking, the Pacers' offense was impressively on target. It had all the makings of a magical upset. And yet the cliches come a-running in. Big-time players make big-time plays. Derrick Rose made the plays. 

1. Boston 87 New York 85: I assure you this isn't big-market bias. You can check my zipcode if you want proof of that. This game had everything. The juggernaut struggling to get its feet under it. The impressive upset bid from the upstart New York team. The defending Eastern Conference champs buckling down and doing what they do best, creating opportunities for borderline calls and turnovers, then crunching down on shooting percentages. Amar'e Stoudemire takes KG to the rack. The twisting layup. Toney Douglas' step-back 3-pointer. And of course, Ray Allen, Ray Allen, Ray Allen. Throw in the dramatics of Carmelo Anthony's failures and how close the Knicks came towards that big step forward and you've got the best Game 1 in a weekend full of them. 

Let us know where we screwed up in the comments. 
Posted on: April 18, 2011 12:16 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 4:16 pm
 

NBA Playoffs Buzz 4.18.11: Wade's status and more

Posted by Matt Moore
  • Roddy Beaubois' status for Game 2 is still up in the air. He shot at practice for the Mavs Monday, but it's unknown as to if he will play. Caron Butler, who has really focused on getting back for the postseason, has expanded his workouts to more intense shooting but it's still unclear as to if he'll be able to make a return this postseason.
Posted on: April 17, 2011 1:44 pm
Edited on: April 17, 2011 6:02 pm
 

NBA Playoff Buzz 4.17.11

Posted by EOB Staff 

Continuing updates throughout the day on playoff miscelanea.  

  • The Hawks' Joe Johnson says that the Magic are a "totally different team" from when they faced them last year in the playoffs. That's true from a lot of perspectives, but that might be used as bulletin board material. They are, literally a different team in terms of roster, so, there's that. 
  • Wild sequence to end the first half in Los Angeles. Kobe went down and appeared to hit his head on a fan's knee, then Chris Paul drained a 3. THEN Ron Artest hit a halfcourt shot while everyone was looking at Kobe. Here's the video of it.
  • The Palm Beach Post reports that Mike Miller's thumb injury could be "worse than the team, or he, has been letting on." Miller only said “Not touching that” and "we'll make it through.”
  • During the first quarter of Game 1 between the Lakers and Hornets, Lisa Salters said that Kobe Bryant told her "I used to beat up a lot of kids even in high school who used to tease my friends because they were gay." This was a follow up to a recent controversy in which Bryant used an anti-gay slur in reference to a referee that drew a $100,000 fine from the NBA.
  • The Memphis Grizzlies secured their first ever franchise victory by downing the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. Here's video of a clutch Shane Battier three that pushed Memphis over the top. The win comes much to the delight of Memphis Grizzlies fans who gathered at the FedEx Forum for a viewing party. Here's a picture of the group ... that appears to number about 40 people.
  • San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, always known for his zingers, says on the TNT broadcast that Kevin McHale, working the color commentary for Spurs/Grizzlies, "doesn't know what the hell he's talking about." 
  • Grizzlies-Spurs underway without Manu, as reported yesterday. Memphis with an early lead, but it's been really physical. 
  • Tony Allen suffered a calf strain against the Spurs in the second quarter. His return is probable . The Spurs' side of the floor has seen a ton of slips by both teams. They need towels.
Posted on: April 17, 2011 2:30 am
Edited on: April 17, 2011 2:46 am
 

NBA Playoffs First Round Saturday Wrap-Up

Click on each photo for our coverage on Saturday's first-round playoff games. 





Posted on: April 16, 2011 12:51 pm
Edited on: April 16, 2011 10:40 pm
 

NBA Playoff Buzz 4.16.11

Posted by EOB Staff

Continuing updates throughout the day on playoff miscelanea.

Update 10:35 p.m. EST: Here's your nightly roundup of all our CBSSports.com Eye On Basketball coverage. 

Update 9:26 p.m. EST: Liberty Baller with an interesting note. The Sixers had a lot more attempts at rim than the Heat did in Game 1. Something to watch going forward. Some of those are accounted for by fouls drawn by the Heat. But there's still a gap there, considering the slasher talent the Heat have. 

Update 9:18 p.m.: With 10 minutes left to go in the 4th, Dwight Howard picked up his fifth foul (3 fouls in the 3rd quarter). Stan Van Gundy has left him in, with the Magic down 12. Risky move by the Magic coach. 

Update 8:47 p.m: Dwight Howard had 31 points in the first half. And the Magic are down 11 in the second half. 

Update 6:36 p.m.: It took over 10 minutes for any other Magic player to score outside of Dwight Howard. The big guy had the Magic's first 12 points before Hedo Turkoglu hit a free throw. Despite all that, the Magic are only down two to the Hawks inside of a minute. 

Update 6:24 p.m.: Danny Granger compared Derrick Rose to a "crazy, stalker ex-girlfriend." No, really

Update 5:22 p.m.: The Sixers had a great start, but as the game has worn on, the Big 3 for Miami have just pounded the hammer on them, and the Pacers are grinding down. Jrue Holiday has played well, but the defensive matchups are starting to overwhelm them. If we're not providing upsets, it's because we've fallen asleep. Sixers looking a bit overmatched right now. 

Update 4:50 p.m.: Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, who finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and a block, told the Indianapolis Star after the game: "There's no way they’re going to sweep us." That's the perfect attitude for the Pacers to possess, given that there's no pressure or expectations for them to do anything. There's nothing to lose.

Update 3:53 p.m.: Rose takes over down the stretch and finishes off the Pacers with an assist to a wide-open Korver and a great job of getting to the line. Question is, will that be the backbreaker for the Pacers or give them confidence? Have to think they have to wonder what more they could have done. Great win for the Bulls, heartbreaker for the Pacers, but the Bulls have some work to do on both ends. More analysis coming soon on CBSSports.com

Update 3:26 p.m.: Coach Rick Carlisle told reporters that Rodrigue Beaubois will miss Game 1 vs. the Blazers. That just makes the Mavericks even more thin on the perimeter where the Blazers already have the advantage. He hasn't been great since returning from injury, but it's just one more thing going against Dallas right now. 

Update 3:17 p.m.: New Orleans coach Monty Williams describes Kobe in terms of what other players don't have, the dagger mentality. 

Update 3:04 p.m.: Tyler Hansbrough got an elbow from Kurt Thomas and went down hard. Hansbrough missed almost the entirety of his rookie season with vertigo. The Pacers checked his equilibrium and he's expected to return via ESPN TV. Bulls starting to chip away at the lead.  Here's video of the hit and the scary fallout.

Update 2:47 p.m. Lionel Hollins believes Manu Ginobili will play in Game 1 vs. Memphis. 

Update 2:42 p.m.: So much for that idea, as the Pacers score 12 in the first six minutes of the third, and now lead by 12 with 6:04 to go. Danny Granger has responded from a terrible first half and Darren Collison continues to light up Rose. 

Update 2:30 p.m.:  Both teams grabbed over 40% of all available offensive rebounds.  Hibbert was big the first eight minutes, then vanished. IF he doesn't have a big second half, Pacers will run out of steam. We're calling 25-13 third quarter advantage Bulls. 

Update 2:18 p.m.: Pacers... lead at the half? Collison with 15, Hibbert with 10, A.J. Price with 6. Derrick Rose is getting anything he wants in terms of perimeter transition. Pacers are trying to outgun the Bulls which you can't believe will work. Boozer with three fouls early.

Update 2:06 p.m.: Shaq is out versus the Knicks. Glen Davis and Jermaine O'Neal better have huge games. 

Bulls making a run, have cut the lead to 4 within 2 minutes to go in the half. 

Update 12:55 p.m.: Derrick Rose can get to the rim whenever he wants. So can the Pacers point guards. Rose has 13 and 2 assists, Pacers point guards 17 and 2 assists. Here's video as Rose blocks a shot and goes coast to coast, dropping a sick 360 spin in traffic before finishing the lay-up.


Update 1:30 p.m.  After one, the Pacers... lead the Bulls? Darren Collison has 10 points despite Rose's spectacular plays. Roy Hibbert is owning the offensive glass, but Carlos Boozer is getting some work done. Not much ball movement from Chicago. 


Original post 12:30 p.m. The NBA has opened up a new stats tool which is pretty significant, called StatsCube. So we'll be peppering you with information from that all day. Here's a start. The Pacers actually shoot 10% better with Rose on the floor versus off. But then, they are also outscored by 8 points more per 48 minutes when Rose is on the floor. 

The Orlando Sentinel reports J.J. Redick reports no pain and is good to go versus the Hawks Saturday night. Redick's role in this series isn't important. He can't check Joe Johnson, and won't run point. Though him versus Kirk Hinrich could be really good and that's not a joke. Redick's rust will be something to watch. The Magic need shooters. That make them. As opposed to Gilbert Arenas, who's a shooter that doesn't. 

Pacers bloggers are not exactly confident going into this series. Not that they should be, but it shows the difference between the NBA and other sports. Fans don't have hope in the first round when they're overmatched. 

Another nice touch, the Bulls shoot 12% worse when Roy Hibbert is in, but don't lose much in rebounding.
Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:04 am
Edited on: April 15, 2011 3:18 pm
 

NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference First Round Picks

The NBA playoffs are here. We've previewed the Eastern Conference. Now here are our picks along with the rest of the CBS NBA staff for you to mock or praise. Be gentle. 




Here are the EOB picks for the Eastern Conference, with a little 'splainin. Leave your picks below. 

8 Pacers vs. 1 Bulls

Ben Golliver: If Derrick Rose can walk on water and turn water into wine, surely he can overcome an average Indiana Pacers team that has no hope of stopping him. Of all the playoff series, this one probably has the greatest sweep potential, as the Bulls enter the series fully motivated because they need to establish their post-season reputation ASAP. There’s not a single match-up that truly favors Indiana. Prediction: Bulls in four.

Royce Young: Almost every matchup favors the Bulls as well as style of play. Indiana will play them hard and probably play them pretty close, but this has sweep written all over it. The Pacers won't do any sneaking up because of Granger's bulletin board material, so their best shot at stealing a game is gone. However, I'd like to think the Pacers will be excited enough to pull one off at home, just to treat the Indy fans. Prediction: Bulls in five.

Matt Moore: This should be a sweep. It really should. On the surface it has all the makings. But with the Bulls' offense able to dry up like it can, versus a young and versatile Pacers team with a top flight center and a good point guard, I think the Bulls wind up giving them the gentleman's sweep. It's still a sweep, but you give 'em one, to be polite. Prediction: Bulls in five.

Ken Berger: Roy Hibbert can make Derrick Rose think twice before driving to the rim, but the Bulls are too good defensively to allow Indiana to mount any sort of a challenge. This will be a test of how serious Chicago is about winning a championship. A matchup like this doesn't deserve any more than their minimum time investment. They'll need to get this over with quickly and get ready for the brutal battles ahead. Prediction: Bulls in four. 

7 Sixers vs. 2 Heat

Ken Berger: If this were the timid, confused, jump-shooting Heat team we saw earlier in the season, the Sixers would have a chance to make this interesting. But the way Miami is attacking the rim and scoring in the paint, this will be a quick and relatively painless path to the second round. Two things the Sixers have going for them: Lou Williams is back, giving them a boost off the bench, and they're one of the top 3-point-defending teams in the league. So there's that. Prediction: Heat in four.

Royce Young: The Sixers are long, fast, athletic and can run. The Heat are longer, faster, more athletic and run better. Not good for Philly. There is always a chance things could happen because I think there's a sincere uncertainty about exactly how the Heat will respond to playoff basketball, but Miami just has too much talent for the Sixers. Maybe they can win a game, which I think would be a victory. Prediction: Heat in four.

Ben Golliver: The Miami Heat have been up, down and all over the map this season, but they closed strong and draw a match-up against an overachieving 76ers group whose season will still be seen as a success if they get bounced quickly. Elton Brand will be a load, but everyone else is manageable, and Philly just doesn’t have the overall offensive chops to keep up with the triad. Prediction: Heat in five. 

Matt Moore:  I flipped on this prediction six times. I started out with your standard 2-2-2 6-game set. Then I went all wacky and went to a seven game series with fans and media talking about how terrible the Heat are, and could they lose in the first round. Then I walked it back to a sweep. Then back to a six-gamer. Then I thought maybe a gentleman's sweep (5 games, you give 'em one out of being polite). But I keep coming back to that Heat team that lost to mediocre team after mediocre team this season. Except Philly. Which either means the Sixers have no chance or they're due. I have absolute faith in Miami winnning. I just have no faith in them winning comfortably. Prediction: Heat in six. 

6 Knicks vs. 3 Celtics

Matt Moore: The Knicks take two games here because stars step up in the playoffs, and both Stoudemire and Anthony are huge stars. The Celtics are much better but still finding their way. The Knicks defense will show up for 1.5 games, and that plus their offense will land them two games. Anthony is not efficient, but he's going to have a field day with Pierce's defense. Billups will have one big game and so will some other random Knick. That will give them a false sense of hope in New York going forward. Should be entertaining. Prediction: Celtics in six.

Ben Golliver: Given how much the midseason trade for Anthony compromised New York’s depth, there’s a sense that the not yet fully formed Knicks are just happy to be in the post-season for the first time since 2003-2004. The Celtics, meanwhile, aren’t playing their best basketball but they do enter the post-season with a greater urgency, given the age and mentality of their core players. The Garnett/ Pierce/ Allen/ Rondo core has defeated far better all-around teams than this year’s Knicks, and a B- or better performance from Boston should be enough to see the Celtics through to the second round and a likely dream match-up with the Miami Heat. Prediction: Celtics in five. 

Ken Berger: Paul Pierce and Carmelo Anthony cancel each other out. Kevin Garnett and Amar'e Stoudemire cancel (and curse) each other out. Boston's gaping hole at center isn't a big deal, since the Knicks don't have a center, either. So this comes down to how well Ray Allen shoots the three-ball, and the point guard matchup. Rondo torched the Knicks during the regular season (though only one of those meetings was post-trade with all the regulars playing). Despite his late-season swoon, Rondo should be in full orchestration mode against the slower, older Chauncey Billups. One caveat here: While defense trumps offense in the playoffs, Melo and Amar'e are so scary good that if either one gets on a serious roll, it would change the complexion of the series. Prediction: Celtics in five. 

Royce Young: Back when the Melo trade finally happened, most people agreed: You don't want these Knicks in the playoffs -- they're dangerous. Are they though? Are they actually dangerous enough with two elite offensive players to push the Celtics? Depends on your definition of "push." I think the Knicks can win two games, but this is Boston's series. Prediction: Celtics in six. 

5 Hawks vs. 4 Magic

Royce Young:  Everyone is picking Orlando -- myself included -- but the Hawks actually won the season series 3-1. But that's being ignored because it's hard to forget what happened last postseason between these two teams. I get the feeling the Hawks are ready for this one and want to prove a little something, but the Magic are much better than they are. I feel seven games though for some reason. Prediction: Magic in seven.

Matt Moore: This series will actually be pretty interesting.  All the matchups point towards the Hawks being able to make a run and knock off the Magic. But we've seen this kind of situation with the Celtics versus the Heat last year. You have to trust the tested playoff team that's won before. Factor in the chance that Nelson steps up and Howard's ability to take over a game every now and then and the Magic are still the favorites, if for no other reason than their defense. Prediction: Magic in six.

Ben Golliver: For a capable,versatile, athletic group, the Atlanta Hawks sure are disappointing. They strike fear in the hearts of no one considering their heartless performance last season. Their uneven, often unmotivated, play under first year coach Larry Drew doesn’t bode well for avoiding a repeat of history. This year’s Magic are good – not great – but they have more than enough offensive firepower and the best player in the series, by a mile, in Dwight Howard. Prediction: Magic in four.

Ken Berger:  Atlanta won the season series 3-1, in large part because they kept Dwight Howard's damage to a minimum on the offensive end. Of the teams Orlando played four times this season, only Miami held Dwight to a lower scoring average. The Magic are on the short end of defensive mismatches at every spot except center, and even there, Jason Collins has done as good a job on Howard as anyone. So why am I picking Orlando? Because Howard will control the paint defensively and the glass, because the Magic are better-coached, and because the Hawks have been so inconsistent lately it's hard to figure out what they are. Also, there's not much home-court advantage in the ATL, and when things start going poorly for the Hawks, they get ugly quickly. Prediction: Magic in five. 
Posted on: April 14, 2011 9:20 am
Edited on: April 14, 2011 9:27 am
 

Eastern Playoffs LiveChat today at 2 p.m. EST

We'll be chatting Eastern Conference Playoffs this afternoon at 2 p.m. EST. We'll break down each matchup and take your questions and comments. You should swing by and argue for why your team will win its series. I'm sure no one will disagree with you. Especially if you live in the Northeast. 2 p.m. EST here on EOB. 


Posted on: April 13, 2011 11:48 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 2:28 am
 

2011 NBA Playoff Matchups Set Wednesday

Final playoff positioning following Wednesday night's games. 
Posted by Matt Moore




All playoff matchups are set following Wednesday night's games. We've got our 16 teams seeded.
Eastern Conference:

The East is locked. For more analysis on the East, check out our discussion from Tuesday

1 Chicago vs. 8 Indiana
2 Miami vs. 7 Philadelphia
3 Boston vs. 6 New York
4 Orlando vs. 5 Atlanta


Western Conference

1 San Antonio vs. 8 Memphis
2 Los Angeles Lakers vs. 7 New Orleans
3 Dallas vs. 6 Portland
4 Oklahoma City vs. 5 Denver

The Mavericks' win over the Hornets locked Oklahoma City into the 4 seed, they'll face Denver. A Lakers win over Sacramento gets them the 2. The Hornets loss doesn't really matter, since it all came down to Memphis. Memphis t anked against the Clippers to get to the 8 spot. Memphis to the 8. The Hornets wind up 7th. 

Meanwhile, the Spurs' tank squad lost to Phoenix . Chicago finishes with the best overall record and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs, including the Finals should they advance that far. Again, something that could come back to bite a tanking team. 

Some quick thoughts, as our series previews start tomorrow: 

Grizzlies-Spurs: Memphis may have made a brilliant manuever or doomed themselves. Manu Ginobili was injured Wednesday night, and if he's out, the Grizzlies might push the Spurs a bit. But they also ended the season in pathetic fashion, even for a tanking team. If that carries over, this could be over quickly. 

Hornets-Lakers: This is going to be short, violent, and brutal. I'll let you figure out how. Worst matchup for the underdog. 

Blazers-Mavericks: Portland fans wanted this matchup. We'll see if it works out for them. There are some good things here for Portland. If Dallas doesn't hit another gear, they could get rolled in the first round. Again. 

Nuggets-Thunder: This does not look like a great matchup on the surface for Denver. They'll have to get together and play the series of their lives, but against an inexperienced Thunder team, there's some possibility here. 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com