The NBA 2014 Playoffs: Day 12 - Northern Uprising

Kyle Lowry was "King of the North" in Game 5
(Image from: CBS Sports)
#KingoftheNorth #WetheNorth #NorthernUprising 
Not a lot of experts and critics expected the Raptors to be ahead in this series but they have a 3-2 lead and will have two chances to move to the 2nd round. Toronto built a gigantic 26-point lead that covered the 3rd and 4th quarters. However, they weren't able to maintain it because Brooklyn never gave up. The Nets actually tied the game due to Joe Johnson hitting big shots but they weren't able to contain Kyle Lowry who was spectacular. Lowry, ended up with a playoffs career-high 36 points even though he was hobbled by a knee injury. He took over in the dying minutes to give the lead back to the Raptors. Still, the Nets had a chance to escape with a win or force OT in the dying seconds of regulation. A missed FT by Blatche which was recovered by him, ended up being passed towards the back-court. Deron Williams recovered the ball and launched a half-court desperation shot as time expired. Jonas Valanciunas inexplicably interfered with the shot and could have been an easy goal-tending call. Luckily, the initial call was a back-court violation committed by the Nets and the ball went to the Raptors who used up the clock. Toronto escaped in Game 5 but this series is far from over. The Nets have the players and experience to overcome the deficit so the Raps need a lot more in Game 6.

#Linsanity #ClutchCity #FearTheBeard #WinOrGoHome
We already saw a sighting of Vinsanity in the Mavs-Spurs series, so why not the return of Linsanity for at least one game? Jeremy Lin exploded for 21 points and 4 assists in Game 5 to keep the Rockets alive for another game. Lin had couple of miraculous threes go in just before the shot clock expired and he made difficult layups in transition. His 21 points was the most he has scored in the series. That helped because James Harden was invisible for most of the game. Anyhow, Harden did make an appearance near the end of the 4th as he scored 8 points in the final 5 minutes. On the other hand, the Blazers wasted a great game from Wesley Matthews (27 points) who has been the better player in his match-up against Harden. Matthews had an 18-point 3rd quarter but his efforts weren't enough to topple the Rockets. Meanwhile, LaMarcus Aldridge had a rough game with just 8 points and 8 boards. He was averaging 35 and 11 in the first 4 games of the series. Portland needs LMA to come out strong in their next game if they want to avoid a Game 7 in Clutch City. Extra credit goes to Howard and Asik who both finished with double-doubles while combining for 32 points and 29 rebounds.

#GoSpursGo #Vinsanity #Vintage
The Spurs are back on top after winning Game 5. They exhibited a balanced attack that oozed of vintage performances from Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. Even Tiago Splitter and Kawhi Leonard combined for 32 points. In addition, Splitter's biggest contribution might have been getting kicked in the head in Game 4 by DeJuan Blair. That stupid stunt cost Blair to get suspended for this game after having a strong showing in Game 4 (12 points, 11 boards). Anyway, Tony Parker had a solid game with 23 points and 5 assists even though he was hobbled by a sprained ankle. Dallas had impressive games from Dirk, Monta and Vince Carter but the rest of the team weren't able to contribute much. Carter finished with 28 points and 7 of 9 from deep. This was another close game in this series, the fourth game decided within 6 points or less. I think this will reach 7 games with the Spurs ultimately prevailing.

#OtherNews #SixthMan #MDA 
This is a day late but I'm pleased with the NBA's decision to ban Donald Sterling for life. I do hope that they are able to force/coax him to selling the Clippers ASAP. The Clippers have been very entertaining and exciting these last couple of years and it is to every fan's advantage and enjoyment that they remain focused during these playoffs. Congratulations to Jamal Crawford for winning the Sixth Man of the Year. He had a strong season scoring although he missed a handful of games due to various injuries. He does look healthy during the playoffs and the Clippers hope that continues. Next, Coach Mike D'Antoni no longer works for the LA Lakers after he resigned today. Coach MDA has been blasted the last 2 years for not being Phil Jackson. Consequently, MDA has not won a lot of games with the Lakers so his detractors have a lot of ammunition. However, the Lakers don't have a lot of talent and injuries have killed them the last 2 years. If they had a different coach, how many more (or fewer) wins would they actually get? Finally, the Western Conference has all of their match-ups at 3-2. I wish we could stretch all of them to maybe a Best of 11 or more, right?

#Player of the Night
Kyle Lowry (Raptors) - 36 points, 6 assists and 6 threes

Highlights of the Night
Answered Prayer
VC with some D

#Tweets of the Night
James Harden outscored the Blazers over the final 6:52 of the game.

D'Antoni resigns just as Linsanity returns. The basketball gods work in mysterious ways.

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