Tue 23 Apr 2013
There aren’t many better players than Chris Paul. Especially in crunch time. CP3 has the uncanny ability to make difficult shots when his team needs it most. Chalk up the Clippers 93-91 Game Two win over the Grizzlies to Paul’s game clincher with 0.1 seconds left. His clutch shot gave the Clippers a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven first round rematch.
It’s by far the best series of an otherwise dull first round. Though the Knicks look to make it two straight against the Celtics later tonight at MSG. Meanwhile, the Bulls bounced back with a 90-82 win over the Nets at Barclay Center gaining a split in Brooklyn. Joakim Noah’s gritty 11 point, 10 rebound, three assist effort typified the Game Two win for Chicago after the Nets blew the doors off them Saturday. Deron Williams was held to eight after getting 22 in Brooklyn’s 106-89 Game One victory. He still dropped 10 dimes but wasn’t as effective.
Joe Johnson netted 17 including a pair of treys that helped the Nets cut a 14-point deficit to 80-76. But the Bulls clamped down. Brook Lopez paced Brooklyn with 21. Chicago placed five different scorers in double digits including Luol Deng, who led them with 15 and 10 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich had 13 and five assists while playing strong D on Williams. Carlos Boozer posted a double/double (13 & 12) and Nate Robinson added 11 off the bench. Gerald Wallace was limited to two after scoring 14 for the Nets in the first game.
Tuesday’s playoff slate features three games. Defending champ Miami hosts Milwaukee. They had no trouble winning Game One and should sweep. It’s on NBA TV at 7:30 PM. The Knicks will continue to ride Carmelo Anthony when they host Boston at 8 PM. The NBA’s leading scorer posted 36 and four steals in New York’s come from behind 85-78 win. They actually trailed by eight before storming back. The Knicks outscored the Celtics 18-8 in the fourth quarter, holding them to 25 points in the second half.
Ray Felton had 13 and six assists. Of the Knicks five starters, only three scored with Iman Shumpert adding three. Tyson Chandler was shutout in his return and Chris Copeland took the collar. The play of their bench was a big difference with them outscoring Boston 33-4. Sixth Man Of The Year J.R. Smith had 15 on 7-of-19 shooting. Not exactly his best. He clanged six of seven three’s. He must be better the rest of the series. Jason Kidd was impressive netting eight, five boards, three assists and three steals in 35 minutes. Remarkable. Speaking of which, Kidd’s former Nets teammate Kenyon Martin chipped in with 10 points, nine rebounds (five offensive) and two blocks. The vet still provides energy and has been a great addition with recently retired Rasheed Wallace unable to return.
For the Celtics, Jeff Green scored 20 of his 26 in the first half. He’s become their go to guy when old reliable Paul Pierce is off. Pierce had 21 with five boards and seven assists but was off from downtown missing six of seven. Kevin Garnett was held to eight. The ultimate warrior should respond tonight. Avery Bradley was the other Celtic in double figures with 15. If Jason Terry doesn’t shoot it from the outside, Doc Rivers has little reinforcements. That’s the Knicks’ biggest edge along with the best player in the series Anthony. Unless Boston can steal one, it could be a short series. My original pick was Knicks in six out of respect for the Celts.
The late game is Denver against Golden State. The Nuggets took Game One 97-95 thanks to another ageless vet. Andre Miller scored the winning lay-in with a tick left. He turned back the clock for 28. The Warriors got terrible news losing David Lee to a strained right hip flexor. He’s done. A shame because Mr. Double Double finally made his playoff debut after eight years. In his first game, he had 10 and 14. But now, won’t see another game until next season. Best wishes to him.
Look for more NBA Playoff coverage this week.