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International basketball will never be the same.

Yesterday, basketball fans from all over the world we’re watching the Blue vs White exhibition game of the United States’ basketball team that will compete in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. The game which was played at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas featured players who look to earn a slot to represent their country as the US defends it’s title in August. The game had it’s highlights. Derrick Rose who missed majority of the previous NBA season showing his explosiveness that basketball fans missed during his time on the shelf. Damian Lillard lobbing up a 70 foot buzzer beater. As well as many more highlights.

But, in one instant what was supposed to be a showcase turned into a nightmare. There are videos and photos of the incident scattered around the internet. However, due to the graphic nature of the injury. It will not be shown in this entry.

James Harden was running for a fast break attempt, behind him was Paul George who was looking to make the defensive play. Disaster strikes when George after he tried to block Harden’s attempt landed on the hoop stanchions causing his right foot bend like a pretzel. In a similar fashion to Anderson Silva’s kick during his second battle with Chris Weidman to cap off 2013 in UFC. Immediately, the Thomas & Mack Center went silent. The players, coaches and fans were in disbelief. Tears ran down among those who witnessed the terrible injury. Harden was down to his knees, Kyrie Irving was crying on his father’s shoulders, Derrick Rose had thoughts on what he went through in recent years. The game was eventually called off, George was escorted to hospital on a stretcher. Both squads huddled up in arms for George.

Immediately after the injury, which caused a stream on social media as people remember similar freak injuries that have happened in recent years. From Anderson Silva to Kevin Ware’s Elite Eight injury last season to Shaun Livingston’s injury from years ago. Fellow NBA players, athletes, coaches, team executives and fans from all over the world sent their thoughts and prayers to George for a speedy recovery immediately after the news broke out. George underwent successful surgery but would “likely miss” the entire 2014-15 NBA season.

The injury also gave a deep hole not only to the NBA and the USA basketball program, but also to international basketball as a whole. It was 22 years ago, the USA basketball program allowed NBA players to play for their country in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics after competing with players from the collegiate level. Since the famed “Dream Team”, the USA has won gold in 6 of the last 7 Summer Olympics and 2 FIBA Basketball World Cup tournaments (1994 and 2010). In turn, it allowed other countries to catch up with the sports. Notable examples were Spain, Argentina, France and Brazil who have NBA players play for their respective countries. With Argentina winning gold in the 2004 Athens Olympics, and Spain winning the 2006 FIBA World Championship and finishing silver in the last two Summer Olympics.

Only time will tell if whether or not the NBA will continue to send their players to international competition or will this be the end of an era in international basketball. But early into this story, it can be said that international basketball will never ever be the same again. We’ll be on watch on what will happen next.

On a personal note, this has been sad. Especially for a guy like me who loves the sport and plays it on a casual level. Some people may call people like me who pay attention to this more than anything else happening in the world “you care less for other things”. It’s true there are other things worth paying attention to than this. But, this means something to me on a personal level. So if you have friends or family members who feel the same way that I do, please do bear with them. Nobody wants to see a terrible injury like this in any sport.

So for Paul George who happens to be one of my favorite NBA players not in a red and white Rockets uniform. I wish you a speedy recovery. Hope you can come back better than ever. We hope to see you again on the hard court. This ain’t the end for you. It’s only the beginning.

Photo © Basketball Forever


#PrayForPaulGeorge
K-Smoove

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A dream is finally realized. The NBA Global Games/Red Nation experience.

I’ve been a member of Red Nation for 11 years now and I have embraced everything about the Houston Rockets ever since. Then one day in February of this year, the dream got closer as the NBA announced that the team alongside the Indiana Pacers will play the very first NBA preseason game in the Philippines. I made my move, saving up and working to get money for the ticket. Then a couple of months later, I went in and purchased my ticket on the very first day it came out to the public. I also got freebies that came along with the ticket and loaded myself with Rockets gear for the big game since it was a perfect time to buy since their gear are plentiful in anticipation of the game.

Finally, on one rainy Thursday afternoon, the dream was realized as the NBA Global Games Philippines 2013 finally came along at the Mall of Asia Arena to grace one of the most passionate countries in the world when it comes to basketball.

I arrived at the arena as soon as gates opened just after 4pm. Then, once inside, I finally got to roam around the arena for the first time in the three times I’ve been at a venue to witness a basketball game. I was with my then schoolmate, once my brother’s classmate and Red Nation buddy Ronny who I haven’t seen in 8 years when were just young kids at school. Then we loaded up with gear to buy, before going to our seats and wait for the game to start.

90 minutes until tipoff
Photo ©Karl Carandang


Some of the players were already practicing once we got in and the arena was loaded with white shirts containing “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” since the Department of Tourism stepped in in and supported the event. Along the way I saw some players from the UAAP near the spot where I was sitting. Then moments before tip-off, the Rockets Launch Crew alongside Clutch the Rockets Bear and Boomer came in for their performances. So yeah, I got to see some great mascots around especially Clutch who is one of the best mascots around the world. Then with less than 20 minutes until tip-off, both teams came out of the tunnel for their pregame warmups.

Rockets Launch Crew

 

Clutch and Boomer
 
 Rockets and Pacers go with their pregame warmups
Photos ©Karl Carandang


As the buzzer sounded, the teams lined up and the starting lineups were introduced as both the Rockets and Pacers played pregame videos alongside the introduction of the starting lineups. After the introductions, the Commissioner himself David Stern was also in Manila to grace the event and gave his gratitude to the crowd in attendance. Then after a few moments, we have tipoff!

Rockets pregame video

 

Pacers pregame video
(I loved the fact they added a local flare in their message for the crowd at hand.)

 

NBA Commissioner David Stern addresses the crowd at the arena
 
We have tipoff from Manila!
Photos ©Karl Carandang
 
As for the game itself, well it was pretty much a one-sided affair as the Rockets never trailed in the game despite comeback bids by the Pacers all game long, as they come up with the win by 20 points 116-96.
 
James Harden led the Rockets with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals on 6-12 FG shooting. Isareli swingman Omri Casspi added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Lithuanian big man Donatas Motiejunas chipped in 16 points. Chandler Parsons had 15 points, while Jeremy Lin added 14 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Patrick Beverley added 12 points and Dwight Howard only scored 9 points. 
 
Paul George led the Pacers with 17 points, while David West added 14. Orlando Johnson scored 11. While George Hill and Luis Scola added 10 each. Danny Granger only scored 9 points alongside CJ Watson while big man Roy Hibbert was only limited to 6 points.
 
The final score. Rockets 116-96 Pacers
Photo ©Karl Carandang
 
Box scores:
Houston Rockets (116) – Harden 21, Casspi 17, Motiejunas 16, Parsons 15, Lin 14, Beverley 12, Howard 9, Brooks 5, Jones 5, Brewer 2, Canaan 0, Covington 0
 
Indiana Pacers (96) – George 17, West 14, Johnson 11, G. Hill 10, Scola 10, Granger 9, Watson 9, Hibbert 6, Stephenson 4, Armstrong 4, Copeland 2, S. Hill 0, Sloan 0, Butler 0, Mahinmi 0
 
Every timeout, there were performances by Clutch, Boomer, the Rockets Launch Crew and the Pacemates. As well as the fact they were handing out free t-shirts even Clutch gave his Clutch dolls amongst the crowd. There were also fan contests throughout. In addition, they honored NBA legends Clyde Drexler, Robert Horry, Ron Harper and Jalen Rose who graced the country for the series of events that transpired over the past couple of days. As the final buzzer sounded, the players came out to hand in some freebies to the crowd in attendance.
 
The Indiana Pacemates doing a dance for the crowd.
 
NBA legends Clyde Drexler, Robert Horry, Ron Harper and Jalen Rose.
 
Clutch and Boomer up with their crazy antics during the timeout.
 
Rockets Launch Crew wowing the crowd.
 
Air Clutch and Air Boomer with the Rockets Launch Crew and the Pacemates.
Photos ©Karl Carandang
 
The game also gave me an opportunity to see the players and legends I only see on television live in person. At the same time see both teams play their brand of basketball right before my eyes. From the Rockets players like James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons to the Pacers players like Paul George, Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, George Hill and Luis Scola. At the same time, seeing coaches Kevin McHale and Frank Vogel. Even Rockets GM Daryl Morey and Pacers President Larry Bird.
 
James Harden at the line
 
Dwight Howard taking free throws
 
Jeremy Lin at the line
Photos ©Karl Carandang
 
As for the crowd atmosphere, well it’s a different sight. As for most of the game. Filipino basketball fans were not as rabid and wild as if it were a college basketball or PBA game. The crowd was very attentive to every play, every basket, every block, every three pointer that came along during the course of the game. You can even hear the coaches give instructions on their players. I even saw fans of the Pacers who came all the way from Indiana to see their team play here. There was one guy who came to the game with the sign “I Love the Pacers” and at the back “Mahal ko ang Pacers”. An irony about the fan reaction during the the game, there were cheers when Jeremy Lin gets a basket or touches the ball and he was given a nice ovation when his night on the floor was done. While Dwight Howard got jeers whenever he has the ball or takes free throws, when he got his fifth foul, the crowd just went crazy. The Mall of Asia Arena also wasn’t filled to capacity as only around 15,000 were in attendance to watch the game. One factor could be the ticket prices as well as the bad weather around the area. The fans were wearing either Rockets or Pacers gear as well as NBA gear from other teams.
 
Well, the Global Games/Red Nation experience was all worth it. Not only because the Rockets won the game which I would say was a bonus, but the experience of seeing my favorite players and legends from both teams at the same time the once in a blue moon experience of an authentic NBA game on Philippine soil. Well, I would say it would have been better if a Filipino was on an NBA roster and the fans will come out with their all-out support. Similar to what Yao Ming experienced when the NBA came over to China in 2005 and what will Jeremy Lin experience up in Taiwan as both the Rockets and Pacers made their second stop in their NBA Global Games trip. At the same time, they can improve on ticket prices to make the experience affordable to every Filipino, the next time the league decides to come back and play on Philippine soil once again which I believe will happen sooner than many people expect.

To wrap up this entry I would like to thank the NBA and NBA Philippines for bringing the Global Games here in the Philippines. I hope it’s not the last time they will do this on our shores and I always believe that one day, a Filipino player will shine bright in the league. Someday, I will get to watch the NBA in the United States.

 
From a member of Red Nation in the Philippines,
K-Smoove
 
P.S. Is the NBA Cafe at SM Aura in Fort Bonifacio open already?

The monsoon gave me a chance to catch up on things.

This is my 200th blog entry since I opened this blog over a year ago. It’s been almost two months since I last wrote an entry here. Never did I think, that I’m writing this one in the middle of the monsoon rains that is caused by the typhoon up north in Taiwan. Well, the rains caused suspension of classes which opened up time for me to write this one. So yeah, as the title goes, it’s time for me to catch up on some of the things that happened from the time I wrote my last entry almost 6 weeks ago.

We start back on the week after the retreat, least did I expect that the lessons I got from the retreat would not kick in right away. I was hoping to come out swinging afterwards. But it wasn’t easy and I still had difficulty in catching up with things. But yeah, I was reminded that “storms” in our life will come after the retreat and so I calmed down and re-channel my attention on the important matters.

Then later in the week, another competition came along for me, the first one for the year which was the NLEX Tara Na Sa Norte Quiz Bee at the Atrium in Robinson’s Place Ermita Manila. I competed with a pair, which was my recruit from the third year Chamille. 9 schools competed in the competition. Well, it took awhile to finish the competition as there were a lot of controversies with regards with the questions. Despite that, it was a tightly contested battle. In the end however, we came out as champions by a mere solitary point. So we took home the cash prize of P5,000 which we later split as well as a certificate at the same time we had a celebratory meal at Yellow Cab. Then a couple of days later, our victory got put on a tarpaulin outside of our building.

Photo ©Karl Carandang
 
Driven by the recent victory, I slowly made my comeback bid a reality as I was able to find comfort in doing all the necessary schoolwork that I need to accomplish and I was able to contribute better in each project and homework that we have as the days progressed well until the end of the preliminary period of the semester. We also continued with our thesis work within the past couple of weeks. At the same time, my training continued as we prepared for the biggest competition in the semester and the most difficult and challenging quiz bee for the year which is the PHILTOA Quiz Bee exam, so it was me, Chamille and we were joined by Miah who was also a third year student. Then on August 7, we competed at the campus of Lyceum of the Philippines University in Intramuros. Just like the story last year, we all made it through the semi-finals. However, this version of the story had a change from last year. With my back against the wall, I was able to make it through withing the inch of my life to the Final Round on September 7 at the SMX Convention Center because I sat 9th out of the Top 10 that made it through to the Final Round. Unfortunately, my two other teammates were unable to make it through. Yet despite that, they gained experience in competing. We got something special coming up especially with more competitions lined up in the next semester.
 
Meanwhile outside of the life at school, as one of the many hoop junkies in this country, at the start of August, Filipino basketball fans were in for a great treat as the FIBA Asia Championship was held here in the country as three spots were on the line to represent Asia in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014 in Spain. It was also an opportunity for Filipinos to come out with their full support for the national team which is famously known as Gilas Pilipinas. Filipino basketball fans were not left disappointed as Gilas was able to gain the silver medal which marked the first time the Philippines finished at the podium of the FIBA Asia Championship and secure a ticket to the Basketball World Cup for the first time since 1978 when the country hosted the event. From the early heartbreaking setback against Chinese Taipei, to the chants of “Puso”, “Laban Pilipinas” and “Gary” (David) that rained down at the Mall of Asia Arena, to the emotional semi-final victory against long time archrival-tormentor in South Korea, and giving the eventual champions Iran a good fight for the gold. This tournament will always be remembered by a lot of Filipino basketball fans of this generation.
 
Photo ©Yahoo! Sports
 
Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to watch a single game live at the Mall of Asia Arena during the duration of the tournament, at the same time I have yet to watch a UST game this season. I also made it a point that I won’t watch an UST-Ateneo game again this season as three of the four games I’ve watched live were this matchup. Also, the Philippines was visited by NBA players from LeBron James in July to Kobe Bryant in August. However, there was one event that I was able to come to and that was the NBA 3X event at the Mall of Asia Music Hall where I saw James Harden and Eric Gordon in person. Fortunately, I was wearing an adidas shoe at the venue, and I was able to get a photo signed by Eric Gordon. Even though I didn’t end up with an autograph of Harden, I walked away happy and at least I got a photo of him.
 
Photos ©Karl Carandang
 
Well, there are still a lot of events coming up, from Derrick Rose coming over to Manila this September to promote for Adidas. As well as the anticipated NBA Global Games Philippines at the Mall of Asia Arena on October 10 as my favorite team the Houston Rockets will battle Eastern Conference finalists the Indiana Pacers in a fun match-up between teams that have loaded up their roster in the off-season as James Harden, Dwight Howard, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and the rest of the Rockets will battle the likes of Paul George, Roy Hibbert, George Hill, David West, Danny Granger and the rest of the Pacers. I’m fortunate that I’ll bear witness to history in the making as this is the first NBA pre-season game to be held in the country.
 
As of this moment, our preliminary examinations has yet to come to an end due to the fact that classes have been suspended due to the inclement weather across Metro Manila and nearby provinces. We’ve already finished four days of exams which also included our mock defense for our Thesis. While some are already done with their exams like my younger brother also in UST, I still have to take two more exams. With every suspension, a day is lost in the preparation time for the competition I’ll be competing in next month, at the same time my fear that there will be classes come October 10 could come true.
But then again, safety is above anything else and the fact that we should look after those that were affected by the widespread flooding. We’ll get through this tragic moment with our heads up high and the sun will rise again. Of course, I send my prayers to those who were gravely affected by the heavy flooding as well as the sinking of a passenger vessel in Cebu almost a week ago.
In the meantime, I’ll do something a Filipino is well know for which is finding happiness in tragic moments by looking back at the Claretian Dictionary from my days in my high school Alma Mater as I write on this Throwback Thursday. Well, the title states that it was time for me to catch up on things and now I did. I hope y’all stay safe and I take a line from the movie 3 Idiots “Aal izz well!”
Laban Pilipinas! Puso!
We will rise again.
K-Smoove

The Heat are once again back in the NBA Finals.

This Eastern Conference Finals went the distance for the second straight year, but in the end the Miami Heat prevailed as the defending champions advance to the NBA Finals for the third straight season as they defeat the Indiana Pacers in seven games.

 Photos ©NBA
The Pacers made it to the Eastern Conference Finals after stunning their old rivals in the New York Knicks in 6 games. Led by their All-Star frontcourt of Paul George, David West and Roy Hibbert as well as players like George Hill and Lance Stephenson. The Pacers pushed the defending champions to the limit in a series to remember in this year’s playoffs. Unfortunately, they lost their “Gold Swagger” in Game 7 as the Heat took them out of the building to end their bid to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since Pacer great Reggie Miller led the franchise to their lone trip back in 2000. They played their hearts out in this series, but they were unable to blow the knockout punch that would dethrone the champions out.
 
The Heat returned to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third straight year after dispatching the Chicago Bulls in 5 games. They were pushed to their very limits, but managed to keep their composure and dealt the knockout punch of the series. MVP LeBron James in this series showed his play during his days as with the Cleveland Cavaliers carrying the champions when they need it the most. Despite the struggles of his Big 3 companions in Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. The Heat managed to stave off the momentum the Pacers came into Game 7. Now, they’ll have a shot to get back-to-back championships.
 
The Heat will now face the Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals who dispatched the Memphis Grizzlies in a four game sweep in the Western Conference Finals.
As for the Pacers, their impressive run in the NBA Playoffs comes to a heartbreaking end. They will learn from this series, especially with a team stacked with young talent. They have proven that they are one of the elite teams the Eastern Conference has to offer. I cannot wait to see the Pacers play with my team the Houston Rockets this October 10 when the NBA comes to the Philippines and play a pre-season game here.
 
Now here are the scores from all games of the series:

GAME 1 @ Miami: Pacers 102-103 Heat (OT)

 
Pacers leaders:
Points: George 27, West 26, Hibbert 19
Rebounds: Stephenson 12, Hibbert 9, T. Hansbrough 6
Assists: Hill 7, George 5, Stephenson 3
 
Heat leaders:
Points: James 30, Wade 19, Bosh 17
Rebounds: James 10, Haslem 7, Wade 6
Assists: James 10, Wade 5, Cole 4
 
GAME 2 @ Miami: Pacers 97-93 Heat
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: Hibbert 29, George 22, Hill 18
Rebounds: Hibbert 10, Stephenson 8, West 7
Assists: George 6, Stephenson 5, Hill 3, West 3
 
Heat leaders:
Points: James 36, Bosh 17, Wade 14
Rebounds: James 8, Wade 6, Bosh 5
Assists: Wade 5, Chalmers 5, James 3
 
GAME 3 @ Indiana: Heat 114-96 Pacers
 
Heat leaders:
Points: James 22, Wade 18, Haslem 17
Rebounds: Haslem 6, Andersen 6, James 4
Assists: Wade 8, Chalmers 4, James 3
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: West 21, Hibbert 20, Hill 19
Rebounds: Hibbert 17, West 10, T. Hansbrough 5
Assists: George 8, Hill 2, Stephenson 2
 
GAME 4 @ Indiana: Heat 92-99 Pacers
 
Heat leaders:
Points: James 24, Chalmers 20, Wade 16
Rebounds: Allen 7, James 6
Assists: Wade 6, James 5
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: Hibbert 23, Stephenson 20, Hill 19
Rebounds: Hibbert 12, West 12, Young 6
Assists: Hill 6, George 3, Augustin 3
 
GAME 5 @ Miami: Pacers 79-90 Heat
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: George 27, Hibbert 22, West 17
Rebounds: George 11, West 8, Hibbert 6
Assists: George 5, Hill 4, Stephenson 2
 
Heat leaders:
Points: James 30, Haslem 16, Chalmers 12
Rebounds: James 8, Wade 6, Bosh 5
Assists: James 6, Chalmers 6, Wade 4
 
GAME 6 @ Indiana: Heat 77-91 Pacers
 
Heat leaders:
Points: James 29, Wade 10, Chalmers 10
Rebounds: Anthony 8, James 7, Bosh 4
Assists: James 6, Cole 2
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: George 28, Hibbert 24, Hill 16
Rebounds: West 14, Stephenson 12, Hibbert 11
Assists: Hill 6, George 5, West 4, Stephenson 4
 
GAME 7 @ Miami: Pacers 76-99 Heat
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: Hibbert 18, West 14, Hill 13
Rebounds: Hibbert 8, George 7, West 6, Stephenson 6
Assists: Stephenson 5, George 4
 
Heat leaders:
Points: James 32, Wade 21, Allen 10
Rebounds: Wade 9, James 8, Bosh 8
Assists: James 4, Cole 4
 
Heat win series 4-3
 
K-Smoove

Pacers make trip back to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Remember when Reggie Miller scorched the Knicks to become the “Knick Killer”? or when Larry Johnson knocked in a four point playto propel the then 8th seeded Knicks to stun the Pacers? Well, in a rebirth of a classic rivalry from the 1990s, the third seeded Indiana Pacers came out as the better team, as they defeat the second seeded New York Knicks to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2004.

Photos ©NBA
 
The Knicks came into the playoffs as one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference. They won the Atlantic Division title for the first time since 1994 and won a playoff series for the first time since 2000 when they knocked off their Atlantic division rival Boston Celtics in six games. Led by scoring champion Carmelo Anthony and joined with this year’s Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith, last year’s Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler, Raymond Feltion, Iman Shumpert and Pablo Prigioni to name a few. The Knicks looked poised to take their playoff run further deep. Unfortunately, their title run ends in the second round. They were unable to beat the Pacers on the road and allowed them to take Game 1 on their home floor. It was a bitter finish to their remarkable season and a season where they rejoined the elite of the East.
 
As for the Pacers, after knocking out the Atlanta Hawks in Round 1, they right away stole Game 1 at MSG which is the turning point of the series as the Pacers maintained a perfect home record at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the 2013 Playoffs which stands at 6-0. Led by Most Improved Player award winner Paul George and joined by George Hill, Roy Hibbert, David West, Lance Stephenson, D.J. Augustin and Tyler Hansbrough to name a few. These Pacers have put everyone on notice as for most of the season, they were under the radar. Now they have a shot of getting back to the NBA Finals for since Reggie Miller led the Pacers to their lone trip in franchise history in 2000.
 
The Pacers will now face the defending NBA champions the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals setting up a rematch from last year’s second round series which the Heat won in 6 games.
 
As for the Knicks, their impressive run to the East elite comes to a bitter end. A lot of uncertainty will now bloom in the Big Apple as their offseason begins now.
 
Here are the scores from all games of the series:
 
GAME 1 @ New York: Pacers 102-95 Knicks
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: West 20, George 19, Augustin 16
Rebounds: Stephenson 13, Hibbert 8, Hill 7
Assists: Hill 6, George 4, Hibbert 4
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 27, Felton 18, Smith 17
Rebounds: Anthony 11, Smith 5, Shumpert 4
Assists: Prigioni 6, Felton 3, Smith 2
 
GAME 2 @ New York: Pacers 79-105 Knicks
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: George 20, West 13, Hill 12
Rebounds: Hibbert 12, West 6, George 4, Stephenson 4
Assists: Hill 7, West 4, Stephenson 2, B. Hansbrough 2
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 32, Shumpert 15, Felton 14
Rebounds: Anthony 9, Shumpert 6, Smith 6
Assists: Prigioni 4, Kidd 4
 
GAME 3 @ Indiana: Knicks 71-82 Pacers
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 21, Chandler 9, Smith 9
Rebounds: Shumpert 10, Martin 7, Kidd 6
Assists: Prigioni 4, Felton 2, Shumpert 2
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: Hibbert 24, Hill 17, George 14
Rebounds: Hibbert 12, West 12, George 8
Assists: George 8, Stephenson 3
 
GAME 4 @ Indiana: Knicks 82-93 Pacers
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 24, Smith 19, Felton 14
Rebounds: Chandler 10, Anthony 9, Martin 5
Assists: Felton 6, Kidd 3, Martin 3
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: Hill 26, George 18, Stephenson 13
Rebounds: George 14, Hibbert 11, West 10
Assists: George 7, Hill 4, West 3
 
GAME 5 @ New York: Pacers 75-85 Knicks
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: George 23, West 17, Augustin 12
Rebounds: West 10, Stephenson 8, Hibbert 7
Assists: George 6, West 2, Stephenson 2
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 28, Smith 13, Copeland 13
Rebounds: Chandler 8, Anthony 6, Shumpert 6, Smith 6
Assists: Felton 4, Prigioni 3, Smith 2
 
GAME 6 @ Indiana: Knicks 99-106 Pacers
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 39, Shumpert 19, Smith 15
Rebounds: Smith 10, Anthony 7, Chandler 6
Assists: Felton 6, Prigioni 6, Smith 3
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: Stephenson 25, George 23, Hibbert 21
Rebounds: Hibbert 12, Stephenson 10
Assists: George 4, Hill 4, West 4
 
Pacers win series 4-2
K-Smoove

Pacers advance to Round 2 for 2nd straight year.

In a series full of double-digit victories, the third seeded Indiana Pacers wrapped up the sixth seeded Atlanta Hawks in six gamesto advance to the second round for the second straight season.

Photos ©NBA
 
The Hawks returned to the playoffs for the sixth straight season, that is after they lost one of their main men in Joe Johnson through a trade with the Nets. They were led by Josh Smith who should have been an All-Star this season if not for his off-court troubles. Al Horford had another great season in a Hawks uniform. While Jeff Teague had a career year. They also got help from Kyle Korver, Deshawn Stevenson, Ivan Johnson to name some. They fought their hearts out especially coming back in Game 6 from a huge deficit, but they eventually came up short on their home floor.
 
As for the Pacers, they won the Central Division title for the first time since 2004 despite losing their main man from their last playoff run Danny Granger to injuries which kept him out for most of the season. With Granger’s absence, Paul George stepped up his game leading to a All-Star season for him. Together with David West, George Hill, Roy Hibbert, Lance Stephenson and DJ Augustin. The Pacers turned around a bad start to their season as they were able to get back in third place in the Eastern Conference standings. Now, they’ll be back in the second round as their playoff run to prove continues.
 
The Pacers will now face the second seeded New York Knicks who wrapped up the seventh seeded Boston Celtics in similar fashion as the Pacers setting up a rebirth between these two fierce rivals from the 1990’s.
 
As for the Hawks, the spotlight is now on Josh Smith who is a free agent this offseason, will he stay in his hometown team or move to another team for next season? A lot of uncertainty lies in “The Highlight Factory” this off-season.
 
Now here are the scores from all games of the series:
 
Game 1 @ Indiana: Hawks 90-107 Pacers
 
Hawks leaders:
Points: Teague 21, Smith 15, Horford 14
Rebounds: Smith 8, Horford 6, Johnson 5
Assists: Teague 7, Smith 5, Horford 3, Mack 3
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: George 23, Hill 18, Hibbert 16
Rebounds: George 11, West 9, Hibbert 8
Assists: George 12, Stephenson 4
 
Game 2 @ Indiana: Hawks 98-113 Pacers
 
Hawks leaders:
Points: Harris 17, Smith 16, Teague 16
Rebounds: Horford 10, Smith 6, Stevenson 5
Assists: Horford 5, Teague 5, Harris 4
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: George 27, Hill 22, Hibbert 15, Green 15
Rebounds: Hibbert 9, George 8, Pendergraph 7
Assists: George 3, West 3, Hibbert 3, Hill 3, Augustin 3
 
Game 3 @ Atlanta: Pacers 69-90 Hawks

Pacers leaders:
Points: West 18, George 16, Green 10
Rebounds: George 9, Hibbert 9, Hansbrough 9
Assists: Hill 3, Stephenson 2, West 2
 
Hawks leaders:
Points: Horford 26, Smith 14, Teague 13
Rebounds: Horford 16, Johnson 7, Smith 6, Teague 6
Assists: Smith 6, Teague 5, Harris 4
 
Game 4 @ Atlanta: Pacers 91-102 Hawks
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: George 21, West 15, Hibbert 14
Rebounds: George 12, Stephenson 9, Hibbert 7
Assists: Stephenson 8, Hill 6
 
Hawks leaders:
Points: Smith 29, Korver 19, Horford 18
Rebounds: Smith 11, Petro 8, Horford 5, Harris 5, Korver 5, Johnson 5
Assists: Teague 6, Harris 6, Smith 4, Horford 4
 
Game 5 @ Indiana: Hawks 83-106 Pacers
 
Hawks leaders:
Points: Smith 14, Horford 14, Harris 13
Rebounds: Horford 9, Smith 5, Korver 5
Assists: Teague 5, Harris 3, Horford 2
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: West 24, George 21, Hibbert 18
Rebounds: Stephenson 12, George 10, Hibbert 9
Assists: Hill 10, George 5, Stephenson 4
 
Game 6 @ Atlanta: Pacers 81-73 Hawks
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: West 21, Hill 21, Hibbert 17
Rebounds: Hibbert 11, Stephenson 11, West 8
Assists: George 7, Stephenson 6
 
Hawks leaders:
Points: Horford 15, Smith 14, Harris 14
Rebounds: Smith 9, Horford 7, Petro 6
Assists: Smith 3, Horford 3, Teague 3
 
Pacers win series 4-2
 
K-Smoove

Smacked in the middle of my favorite month of the year.

Well, it‘s the 15th of April. We‘re right in the middle of my favorite month of the year and the weather just keeps getting hotter with each day that pass bywhich means we’re right in the middle of the summer vacation. Well, I’ve been into a lot of places along the way from places within the Metro like Makati and SM North EDSA to hang out with the family, and to places outside of it like Batangas and Los Baños to grab some fresh air and relax. I also got my salary for the sideline job I did at the start of the month, and I’m happy I got more than what we bargained for in this job as I’m saving up for the upcoming NBA preseason game between my favorite team the Houston Rocketsand the Indiana Pacers here in the Philippines this October 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena. I’ve been waiting to see the Rockets play a game since I became a member of Red Nation in 2002 when Yao Ming came to Houston. This is a chance to see them play without having to leave the country and go to Texas to watch a Rockets home game (I’ll still be aiming for it soon.) To see guys like James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsonsand Omer Asik to name some will be worth all the marbles.

Photo ©NBA Philippines
 
Speaking of the NBA, watch out for my regular season ending blog coming up on the final day of the 2012-13 NBA regular season this Thursday as we also prepare you for the upcoming 2013 NBA Playoffs. We know that the 8 playoff teams out East are complete with the defending champions Heat, together with the Knicks, Pacers, Nets, Hawks, Bulls, Celtics & Bucks. While the Lakers and Jazz are fighting for the last spot out West to join the Thunder, Spurs, Nuggets, Clippers, Grizzlies, Rockets & Warriors in the 2013 NBA Playoffs. Yes! My team, the Rockets are back in the Playoffs since 2009. I hope they’ll have a nice playoff run especially these are still young guns.
 
Also, I got to watch WrestleMania 29 on television. Unlike last year at WrestleMania XXVIII, where there was a free screening at TriNoma in Quezon City on the day itself. We had to settle for the delayed telecast on Studio 23.
 
Photo ©WWE
 
Well as more of a member of Cenation than Team Bring It. I was happy that John Cena defeated The Rock in their rematch for Rock’s WWE Championship where we saw a ton of finishers from the Rock Bottom (Cena himself pulled off one of his own), the Attitude Adjustment, The People’s Elbow, the STF, the Sharpshooter. Though Cena would suffer from the wrath of Ryback on the Raw afterwards. Also Triple H saved his career by defeating Brock Lesnar in a No Holds Barred match. While The Undertaker goes 21-0 at WrestleMania after beating CM Punk. Alberto del Rio retaining the World Heavyweight Championship against Jack Swagger (Del Rio would lose it to Dolph Ziggler who cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Raw). Fandango shocking the world by beating Chris Jericho and leaving fans crazy on his theme song. Team Hell No retaining their Tag Team titles against Ziggler and Big E Langston as the crowd chanted “Yes! Yes! Yes!” on their victory. Mark Henry beating Ryback, but Ryback had the last laugh. As well The Shield beating Sheamus, Randy Orton and The Big Show, afterwards Show turned against Orton and Sheamus knocking them both out.
 
Yes, we’re halfway into my favorite month of the year, and we’re closing in on my favorite day of the year where I’ll grow old a bit more. I still don’t have any plans for that day. But I’ll figure something out soon. As I write some more with the planner I have as well as adding songs to my music playlist, look for our camera which has been lost for more than a month right now, write when our internet connection just came back, looking back at some of the great memories of a lifetime, saying you miss a ton of people along the way, and look for someone to play basketball with. Let us be remind ourselves to savor each moment that comes into our lives.
 
On one final note which has been long overdue. Once again, Congratulations to the CTHM Batch 2013 on their graduation last April 4, especially to my very talented and very smart quiz bee teammates Ate Marian Buenaventura who finished Magna Cum Laude and Ate Kriskyn Cabrera who finished Summa Cum Laude and the best student of the batch. I’ll miss you a ton as teammates but you both will leave a legacy which I will continue together with the team we’ll form next school year.
 
Taking life, one day at a time.
K-Smoove