The NBA Playoffs: Day 17: Thunder Strikes First

Kevin Durant and the Thunder crushed the
weary Lakers by 29 points
(Photo by Brett Derring/Getty Images)

#blowout #GameofRuns
The Thunder were rested and pumped up to face the tired Lakers. OKC knew what they needed to do and they executed it perfectly. The Thunder came out running and gunning and the Lakers were unable to match their pace. Scoring runs of 15-2 and 19-7 led to a deficit as high as 35 points. The Thunder were pushing the ball at every opportunity at outscored the Lakers 20-0 in transition. The Lakers had 15 turnovers while the Thunder had only 4. We all know what the Thunder can do with turnovers and they made the most out of it. The Lakers had no answer for Ty Lawson in the last round and they definitely have no answer for Russell Westbrook who blitzed them for 27 pts, 7 rebs and 9 assists. Kobe wanted to play defense on Westbrook in the second half but that did not work out too well either as the lead ballooned even more.

#revenge #GoOutLakerStyle
The best way for the Thunder and Harden to get retribution for what Artest did to him (elbow to head) was to win the game (and possibly the series). The Lakers got embarrassed and they were pounded into submission. Harden had a decent game with 17 points in 24 minutes and he had a couple of good assists that led to dunks. The last time these teams met in the playoffs two years ago, the Lakers won that series. It's a lot different this time and the Thunder are clearly the superior team. During garbage time, there was a scrum which led to Devin Ebanks being ejected. On the way out, he removed his jersey and flung it towards the hallway. It reminded me of Andrew Bynum who did the same thing last year when the Lakers got swept by the Mavericks. Is this a foreshadowing of how the Lakers will go out in this round? Another sweep?

#split #theTruthHurts
Be honest, did you expect the Sixers to split the first two games in Boston? I did not. This was an ugly game to watch with the low scoring and bad execution. But someone had to win and it was the Sixers. Unlike Game 1, the Sixers were better in the clutch, hitting all their free throws and hitting their jumpshots. The Sixers could have won both games before going to Philly for 2 games. Paul Pierce aka the Truth had a terrible game with 7 pts (2-9 shooting) and 5 turnovers. He also missed a jumper in the last 2 minutes. The Celtics only shot 7-9 free throws for the whole game, a product of their jumper based offense. That did not bode well for the Celtics since they only shot 42% for the game while the Sixers shot poorer but they had 15-21 on free throws.

#illegalScreen #RightCall
With less than 20 seconds left and Celtics had the ball down by 3, Kevin Garnett was called for an illegal screen while trying to free up Ray Allen. The Sixers got the ball back and finished the game with free throws. The big question, was it an illegal screen or not? It was the right call because KG was definitely moving while setting the screen and he even held Iguodala back by a little bit which allowed Allen to get free. This sequence happened right in front of a referee and he decided to call it against KG. It was the right call but it was surprising to see that it got whistled at that time. More often than not, officials wont call the illegal screen and just let the play happen. If the play continued, maybe Allen would make the three and overtime would happen and the Sixers could have lost the game. I just hope that referees will always call a foul or illegal screen all the time regardless of time, score and possession.

#Tweet/Quote of the Night
"Devin Ebanks does know he's Devin Ebanks, right? Why's he acting like Andrew Bynum?" -Jim Rome @jimrome after seeing Ebanks remove his jersey when he got ejected

#News #stats
  • Sixers won a playoff game in Boston for the first time since 1982
  • Durant, Westbrook and Harden combined for 69 points; Lakers starters had 64
  • Chris Bosh has an abdominal strain and will be out indefinitely 
  • Celtics scored 11 points in the 3rd quarter (10 is their playoff record)
  • Thunder 29 point win is biggest of the season (27 vs Bobcats in regular season)
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