The NBA Playoffs: Day 9

Carmelo Anthony shoots the Knicks into an
impressive win versus the Heat to avoid the sweep
(Photo by the Associated Press)
#BeatTheHeat #MeloTime
There will be no sweep for the Heat. Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire made sure that the crowd at MSG would witness a win for the Knicks after 13 consecutive playoff losses. The Big 2 combined for 61 points and 16 rebounds while the Heat 3 came with 66 points and 16 rebounds. Clearly, the best players of the Knicks played extremely well while the Heat sputtered at the finish. Every now and then, Melo-ball can win a game by himself and Game 4 was a perfect example. Melo nailed clutch jumpers including a tough trey  while Dwyane Wade forced a fadeaway trey at the buzzer which missed badly. Give the Knicks credit for playing with passion and heart even after seeing Baron Davis leave the game (and series) due to a dislocated kneecap. Meanwhile, I wonder about the play call by Coach Spo at the end to use LeBron as a decoy. I dont like isolation plays at the end when you have two of the best players in the game. Another baffling strategy was leaving Battier on Melo instead of using James. Melo owned Battier all game long including getting a foul call on a three-point shot. The pressure is on the Heat to close the series on Game 5. 

I am certain that NOT a lot of people gave the Sixers a chance against the Bulls even after Rose went down with an injury. Most people still believed that the Bulls were a better team and would still win the series even without Rose. I had the same feelings. But with Joakim Noah possibly out for the series, the Bulls are in big trouble especially on the defensive side. Noah's absence has coincided with Stephen Hawes having magnificent games in Game 3 and Game 4 (22 pts, 8 rebs, 3 blocks). Hawes has been able to operate more in the post and have open jumpers due to Noah not guarding him. Jrue Holiday had a bad shooting game (7 of 23) but he made clutch plays at the end to preserve the Sixers' win and a 3-1 lead. The Bulls are facing elimination but they will have Game 5 in Chicago. 

#RondoIsAMachine #WelcomeBack
The Atlanta Hawks welcomed back Josh Smith and Al Horford from injuries. Rajon Rondo and the Celtics welcomed them with a blowout. Rondo continued his dominance over the Hawks with a masterful game (20 pts, 16 assts) and Paul Pierce was a recipient of those assists often. Pierce scored 24 points in only 18 minutes because he tweaked his ankle. There was no need for Pierce to play more because the game went out of reach early with the Hawks trailing by 23 at halftime. There was no comeback for the Hawks as the lead went as high as 37 points. The only positive thing that the Hawks can take from this loss was that Smith and Horford finished the game healthy. 

#IllegalScreen #Flop
The crucial play of the game involved Danilo Gallinari and Pau Gasol. With under a minute left in the game, Gasol set a screen for Kobe who was guarded by Gallinari. Pau gave Gallo a shoulder bump with the screen and Gallinari went down immediately. Someone rotated towards Kobe which left Ramon Sessions open for a trey which he made to give the Lakers the lead. The Nuggets were not able to recover from that screen and now they are down 3-1. I think that Gallinari flopped on that screen and exaggerated the contact too much which resulted in an open shot for the Lakers. Gallo tried to sell the call by lying on the floor but the referees did not bite. Bynum and Gasol dominated the frontline while Faried and McGee were not as effective like in Game 3. The Nuggets played a small lineup often and that did not work as the Lakers grabbed 10 more rebounds and Gasol, Jordan Hill and Bynum combined for 44 points and 27 rebounds. 

#Tweet/Quote of the Night
"It was a tough pick, you've got to expect that in the playoffs. I've got to be ready and play defense. Unfortunately, they hit a big shot out of that." - Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets

#RandomStuff #stats
  • If Sixers win the series, they will be the fifth 8th seed team to beat a number one seed
  • Rondo has gotten 10 or more assists in 27 straight games (John Stockton has the record at 29 games)
  • Ron Artest has 2 more games left on his suspension
  • A female fan went into the court during the Lakers-Nuggets game and she was charged with trespassing
  • Jeremy Lin might be available for Game 5 on Wednesday
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