Ray Allen's Three-Point Marksmanship In Milwaukee
Want some sort of perspective? Including Game 3, the Heat have won 40 of their last 42 while the Bucks have won 38 of their last 85. Yeah. On a night where Dwyane Wade was battling a bruised right knee, Miami was highly blessed and highly favored by Jesus Shuttlesworth. Ray Allen not only led the Heat in scoring with 23, he also leapfrogged Reggie Miller once again. This time on the all-time playoff three pointers list with 322.
Following first quarter where Milwaukee led by nine, Steve Kerr noted it felt as Miami was just hanging around and whenever they felt like cutting it on, there wasn't much the Bucks could do. Turns out he was right. With Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis combining for another lackluster shooting night (7-24), Miami went into one of those modes where rotations on defense were crisp (bad for a Bucks team who was already one of the poorer shooting teams in the league) and shots started falling from all parts of the court.
The first three games of the series have had more of a regular season feel than playoffs and LeBron hasn't even launched into Bryan Mills-mode yet, going for a casual 22-5-6 last night. Chris Bosh's 16 points and 14 rebounds paced Miami, too. Another good sign for South Beach? The energy from both Chris "Birdman" Andersen and Norris Cole has been infectious.
And despite the total domination shown in Games 1-3, I'm still not mad at Brandon Jennings for his "Bucks in 6" comment prior to the series. Even the captain of the Titantic went down with the ship.
Next Game: Sunday, April 28 (3:30 EST, ABC)
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The Good Nets & The Bad Nets
It was all good a few days ago for the Nets. Now, after two horrible shooting nights, the Bulls sit in the driver's seat with a 2-1 series lead over Brooklyn. Deron and co. shot 22% during a first half stretch. Meanwhile, the Bulls made hustle plays and thrived off of another God-body performance from Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah's one-footed motor and Sudanese King Luol Deng's high volume shooting. Kris Humphries also lived up to his running punchline schtick by being on the wrong end of Taj Gibson's tomahawk.
Then the Nets remembered basketball's main objective is to actually score more points than the other team. A late game run made an otherwise ugly match up more interesting but Brooklyn ultimately fell short 79-76.
The scoreline may be slim but the coaching disparity remains large between Tom Thibodeau and Pajamas Carlesimo. Thibs had his team's defense well organized up until the final five minutes while the Nets' talent finally woke up in spite of a game's worth of predictable isos and other broken-down plays.
This is Chicago's series to win if Brooklyn keeps giving zero f*cks for quarters at a time. Let's see if Nets play Jekyll or Hyde come Game 4.
Next Game: Saturday, April 27 (2:00 EST, TNT)
Clippers Couldn't Match The Grizzlies Energy
I've said it before, but Clippers/Grizzlies is one of the league's best rivalries. The teams absolutely hate each other, evident in the Chris Paul/Tony Allen and Blake Griffin/Zach Randolph slap boxing matches that occur every game. And you have to believe Chris Paul doing that first-team All-NBA thing of his at the end of Game 2 resulted in a sleepless 48 hours for Memphis. The Grizz came right out the gate and snatched Game 3 by the balls. Los Angeles was never able to match the intensity, losing 94-82.
As a team, the Clippers shot 39% from the field, including an uncharacteristic eight points and five turnovers from CP3. Give credit to Memphis though. They punched the Clips in the mouth taking a game they absolutely needed to win. It was Allen who was all but attached to Chris' hip for large chunks of the game.
Plagued by foul trouble back in the Staples Center, Zach Randolph was happy to return to his home court posting 27 points and 11 rebounds. Yet, the biggest contribution came from Quincy Pondexter who gave the Grizz 13 points off the bench.
And now we're in the delicate middle ground of the series. If Memphis wins Game 4, we're going the distance with these two squads for the second consecutive year. If the Clippers win, they're closing this in five back in L.A.
Next Game: Saturday, April 27 (4:30 EST, TNT)