Here’s a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of Atlanta in Game 2: +5 in the first, -1 in the second and -2 in the fourth. Simple math shows Atlanta wins if the game was only play in three quarters. The problem is the Hawks completely forgot how to operate on a basketball court after halftime. Paul George and the Pacers blitzed Atlanta 31-13 in what ultimately resulted in a 2K-esque 44-15 run.
Indy’s 101-85 victory behind Paul George’s big boy stat line of 27 points, 10 boards, six assists and four steals (and Luis Scola’s 20) tied the series 1-1. Why was the Game 2 win so important? Well, 0-2 doesn’t necessarily imply a series is over. But since 2007, the Pacers have a winning percentage of .133 in Atlanta, their worst against any opponent. Because strip clubs. Probably.
Game 3: Thu. April 24, Indiana at Atlanta, 7pm EST, NBA TV
Brooklyn returned to the Air Canada Center with a greedy eye for a 2-0 lead. Yet poor free throw shooting, rebounding and a no-show outing from Paul Pierce drew up a loss for Brooklyn: 100-95. The play of the game didn’t come from anyone in the game, though. Nope, your boy Drake had his lint rollers on deck as he cheered on his latest frontrunner squad from the sideline. You know LSNs can’t get caught slipping in fuzzy pants, B.
Seriously, the Raptors redemption began in the fourth quarter when DeMar DeRozan threw down a haymaker. He finished with 30 points, 17 in the frame, while the Nets couldn’t bounce back from their bench giving up a slim lead. Captain hindsight suggested Kidd got greedy with resting his starters and, despite racking up 21 turnovers, couldn’t convert or get good looks for their closers down the stretch.
Game 3: Fri. April 25, Toronto at Brooklyn, 7pm EST, ESPN2
Having engaged in a proverbial game of hot potato, the Wizards are leaving Chicago with a 2-0 road sweep, but not without having almost given the Game 2 victory back to the Bulls — not once, but twice (with a 17-point first-half lead having evaporated and a 6-point cushion late in OT nearly going the same way as well).
The Bulls had their own issues.
After being troubled by Washington’s quick transition game and overall ball movement in the first half, Chicago managed to put the clamps on the Wiz for much of the second half, essentially slowing things down to their preferred half-court game. But then Bradley Beal happened, and before you could look up to check the score, the Bulls’ 10-point fourth quarter advantage — spurred by D.J. Augustin’s playoff-career-high 25 points — had been erased.
You got the sense that the Bulls’ overtime playoff magic at home might put them over the top (they had never lost an OT playoff game at the United Center prior to tonight), but it quickly became evident that the air had been let out of their collective sails. Kirk Hinrich had a chance to tie it at the line late in OT, but even that seemed to be prolonging the inevitable.