On Houston's Blown Opportunity
We all figured it was coming; the reason we clamored for Oklahoma City and Houston to square off in the first place. You know, the possibility of a breakthrough performance by James Harden against the squad he was helped lead to the Finals this time last year. And we damn near got that mythical game, too.
The Beard finished with 36 points, 11 rebounds and six assists (1-7 from three, too, ugh), but the Rockets ended up falling short 105-102. What makes the loss an even tougher pill to swallow is the fact Houston scratched and clawed their way back from a 15-point hole, including a 21-2 run which occurred without Jeremy Lin who was sidelined with a chest injury.
Now, the Rockets head back home down 0-2. Game 2 was their opportunity to turn the series on its head all things considered. Plus, it's not as if Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are going to shot a combined 20-51 from the floor too often. The fact of the matter is, we still may be in line for another offensive explosion from Harden. But if it doesn't happen in Game 3, it may be too little, too late for H-Town.
Next Game: Saturday, April 27 (9:30 EST, ESPN)
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Pacers Take Down The Hawks
Pacers/Hawks, heading into the playoffs, was hands down the series only 32 people in the country were eagerly anticipating. Indy's making sure we were all right on our assumptions, too. On the same day he walked away with a well-deserved Most Improved Player award, Paul George followed up his Game 1 triple-double by posting 27 points, eight rebounds and four steals Wednesday night in a 113-98 win over Atlanta.
Unless the Hawks discover a way to lock Indy in Magic City, it's hard to fault anyone already looking forward to their next round matchup against presumably the Knicks (who still have to officially finish off Boston) and the impending death brawl between David West and Kenyon Martin. Had the Hawks been any other team in the postseason, saying they're returning home for two games in attempts to even the series would be the diplomatic response.
Then, we all remember the Hawks are heading back home. For what it's worth though, the Pacers have lost 11 straight in Atlanta. Blame Waffle House.
Next Game: Saturday, April 27 (7:00 EST, ESPN)
Tony Parker Leads San Antonio To 2-0 Series Lead
It was one thing to beat the Spurs at the end of the regular season sans Kobe. It's something totally different attempting to do so in the playoffs where the Spurs actually give a damn. Similar to Houston, Hollywood's biggest detriment in Game 2 was their inability to get a stop when cutting the lead to six or eight. That and their season-long phobia of defending the point guard position stood out like Ray J at a speed dating contest; Tony Parker's 28 points and seven assists led the Spurs to a Game 2 victory. And speaking of Lakers point guards, if Steve Blake is forced to miss any time with his newly-minted strained right hamstring, expect those numbers to be even more gaudy and actual bloodshed to occur in Game 3.
Maybe being under the lights of Staples inspires LA to make this series competitive. Maybe Dwight gets more than 12 shots (three attempts a quarter?!) and actually imposes his will on Tiago Splitter and Matt Bonner. Then again, maybe the writing is already in the sand and this chaotic roller coaster/Real Husbands Of Hollywood of a season is eight quarters away from coming to a close.
Whatever the future holds, the world patiently awaits Kobe's first tweet once the Lakers are eliminated. My vote is he employs the Scarface from Half Baked tactic giving us one of the top 10 Twitter moments, and maybe Top 25 in the history of everything digital.
Next Game: Friday, April 26 (10:30 EST, ESPN)