Just twice has Boston managed to score 25 points or fewer in the second half of a playoff game, both of which have come in just the past three days at the hands of a New York Knicks team that has pressured the Celtics into bad decisions and rushed shots regularly in each of the latter halves at MSG.
When Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets played their first game on Saturday in Game 1 of the opening round of the playoffs, most expected a high-scoring game between two of the better offensive teams in the league.
The final score of the contest? 97-95. Not exactly what we had in mind.
Both teams suffered from what appeared to be a case of the butterflies, and the Warriors actually did a better job of keeping the tempo of the game in their favor, given the circumstances (playing in Denver against the most potent offensive team in the league).
Still, a lot went wrong (if you are a Warriors fan), from Mark Jackson’s decision-making on the defensive end, Klay Thompson’s inability to finish layups (this has been an ongoing issue throughout the season for him) despite his solid overall play, Stephen Curry’s inability to be more aggressive to Jarrett Jack getting annihilated by the 37-year-old Andre Miller. And of course, the team lost David Lee for the season.
Last season, the creaky Boston Celtics entered the Eastern Conference playoffs as the fourth seed, having gone 39-27 over the NBA’s lockout truncated season. They ended up just three games better than the 36-30 New York Knicks, who ended up the conference’s seventh seed.
Because you can only put two forwards on the All-NBA First Team, and as I explained at length in my column detailing my ballot choices, I have Carmelo Anthony 2nd on my MVP ballot.
And since that other forward spot on First Team All-NBA is being occupied by LeBron James, who should be a unanimous MVP pick, there’s only so much room at the inn. As I say in this interview with CineSport’s Noah Coslov: “Kevin Durant isn’t second-team anything.”
The Evening News: Phil Jackson itching to return; Anthony will win scoring title; Marcus Smart returning to school
Hello and welcome to the Evening News. (Apologies to those of you in Oz).
As the NBA regular season dies down and the playoff races heat up, we’ll keep you updated every evening. What’s happening today?
Here’s the latest news around the league: