Tag Archives: playoffs

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
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Spurs are back in the Western Conference Finals.

In a battle of youth vs experience. Experience got the better of this match-up as the second seeded San Antonio Spurs are heading back to the Western Conference Finals as they defeat the sixth seeded Golden State Warriors in six gamesas the Spurs are in the West Finals for a second straight season.

Photos ©NBA
The Warriors, after pulling of a major upset of the third seeded Denver Nuggets in six games, they came in as the lowest seeded team to come out of the first round and these young players led by sweet shooting Stephen Curry battled against a tested veteran team and gave it their all in this series. They manage to win two games in the series including one on the road. However, the more experienced Spurs team came out and delivered when it all mattered the most. Fueled by a frenzied fanbase which pack up their home floor dressed in yellow and pecking the decibel meter up to the roofs every single home game. These young bloods have achieved a nice run with players surrounding Curry like Klay Thompson, David Lee, Harrison Barnes, Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack to name a nice lineup the Warriors had. However, their playoff run comes to an end this time around.
 
As for the Spurs, they came into the series well rested after sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. The extra rest they got proved to be beneficial especially on a veteran core that they have on the line up. Their experience proved to be a factor in their series as shown by their poise in an thrilling Game 1 victory at home as well as picking up two wins in front of a raucous “Roaracle” Arena crowd in Oakland. Their triumvirate of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have delivered when it all mattered for the Spurs. Now their quest back to glory will continue as they look to have another shot at an NBA championship as these three men are winding down their decorated NBA careers.
 
The Spurs will now face the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals. In a rematch of their first round matchup from 2011 when the then eight-seeded Grizzlies knocked off the then top seeded Spurs in six games. Despite having to go through personnel changes over the two years since they last met in the playoffs, expect the same old ballgame that we saw from both teams two years back.
 
As for the Warriors, their remarkable season comes to an end. This young team will be a team to fear for many years to come. The players on their roster still have a ton of growth ahead of them and this deep playoff experience they had will make them better for even deeper playoff runs when their time comes.
 
Here are the scores from all games of the series:
 
GAME 1 @ San Antonio: Warriors 127-129 Spurs (2OT)
 
Warriors leaders:
Points: Curry 44, Thompson 19, Barnes 19
Rebounds: Bogut 15, Barnes 12, Dr. Green 7
Assists: Curry 11, Bogut 4, Thompson 3
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Parker 28, Da. Green 22, Duncan 19
Rebounds: Duncan 11, Leonard 9, Parker 8
Assists: Ginobili 11, Parker 8, Leonard 3
 
GAME 2 @ San Antonio: Warriors 100-91 Spurs
 
Warriors leaders:
Points: Thompson 34, Curry 22, Barnes 13
Rebounds: Thompson 14, Bogut 11, Landry 8
Assists: Dr. Green 5, Curry 4, Jack 4
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Duncan 23, Parker 20, Ginobili 12
Rebounds: Leonard 12, Duncan 9, Parker 6, Da. Green 6
Assists: Ginobili 4, Parker 3
 
GAME 3 @ Golden State: Spurs 102-92 Warriors
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Parker 32, Duncan 23, Leonard 15
Rebounds: Duncan 10, Leonard 9, Parker 5, Ginobili 5
Assists: Parker 5, Ginobili 4, Duncan 3, Da. Green 3
 
Warriors leaders:
Points: Thompson 17, Curry 16, Landry 14
Rebounds: Bogut 12, Thompson 8, Barnes 8
Assists: Curry 8, Landry 4, Thompson 2, Barnes 2
 
GAME 4 @ Golden State: Spurs 87-97 Warriors (OT)
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Ginobili 21, Duncan 19, Parker 17
Rebounds: Duncan 16, Leonard 8, Da. Green 7
Assists: Ginobili 3, Parker 3, Diaw 3, Splitter 3
Warriors leaders:
Points: Barnes 26, Jack 24, Curry 22
Rebounds: Bogut 18, Barnes 10, Jack 7
Assists: Curry 4, Jack 4, Landry 4
 
GAME 5 @ San Antonio: Warriors 91-109 Spurs
 
Warriors leaders:
Points: Barnes 25, Jack 20, Landry 16
Rebounds: Barnes 7, Landry 6, Bogut 6
Assists: Curry 8, Landry 2, Bogut 2, Jack 2
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Parker 25, Leonard 17, Da. Green 16
Rebounds: Duncan 11, Leonard 7, Splitter 6
Assists: Parker 10, Ginobili 5
 
GAME 6 @ Golden State: Spurs 94-82 Warriors
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Duncan 19, Leonard 16, Splitter 14
Rebounds: Leonard 10, Duncan 6, Ginobili 6, Diaw 6
Assists: Ginobili 11, Parker 8, Diaw 4
 
Warriors leaders:
Points: Curry 22, Jack 15, Landry 11
Rebounds: Bogut 7, Ezeli 7, Landry 6
Assists: Curry 6, Thompson 3, Lee 2
 
Spurs win series 4-2

K-Smoove

Grizzlies dethrone the Kings of the West.

These two teams battled each other two years ago and fought a nail-biting seven game second round series. This year, the fifth seeded Memphis Grizzlies get their retribution as the knock off the top seed in the West as well as the reigning Western Conference Champions, the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. The Grizzlies also avengetheir loss in 2011 against the Thunder in empathic fashion taking four straight wins after dropping Game 1 on the road.

 Photos ©NBA
 
The Thunder who rode out the loss of their All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook in their first round series against the Houston Rockets managed to get into the second round after defeating the Rockets in six games. The Thunder had to rely more on Kevin Durant to score the basketball with Westbrook out for the rest of the playoffs. They managed to win Game 1 on their home floor with a clutch jumper by Kevin Durant. Unfortunately, it ended up as their only win of the series as the Grizzlies took the next four games including two games on their own home floor in Loud City. Their quest for redemption comes to a bitter and early end.
 
As for the Grizzlies, after getting redemption against the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round. They continued to play their style of Grit ‘n Grind in their series against the Thunder as they continued to play physical for the entire course of the series. After dropping Game 1 on the road, they responded emphatically as they won the next four games on their way to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. They also kept themselves undefeatedat “The Grindhouse” FedEx Forum as they are 5-0 at home in the NBA Playoffs. With a mix of defensive stalwarts like DPOY Marc Gasol, Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince as well as an offensive boost from Zach Randolph, Mike Conley and Jerryd Bayless to name a few. These guys play great defense, and as quoted by Bruce Bowen once “Defense wins championships.” Now, the road to the championship continues for this team that loves to grind and play tough defense.
 
The Grizzlies will face the winner of the series between the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors. The Spurs currently have a 3-2 series lead over the Warriors and they got a shot of winning the series tomorrow.
 
As for the Thunder, their quest to return to the NBA Finals comes to an end. They will have Russell Westbrook back healthy next season. However, this team could undergo personnel changes along the way, as an eery silence will loom in Loud City as their off-season begins earlier than most people expect.
 
Here are the scores from all games of the series:
 
GAME 1 @ Oklahoma City: Grizzlies 91-93 Thunder
 
Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Gasol 20, Randolph 18, Conley 13, Pondexter 13
Rebounds: Gasol 10, Randolph 10, Conley 5, Pondexter 5, Prince 5
Assists: Gasol 3, Conley 3, Pondexter 3
 
Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 35, Martin 25, Jackson 12
Rebounds: Durant 15, Martin 7, Perkins 7
Assists: Durant 6, Perkins 3, Jackson 2
 
GAME 2 @ Oklahoma City: Grizzlies 99-93 Thunder
 
Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Conley 26, Gasol 24, Randolph 15
Rebounds: Conley 10, Randolph 8, Allen 7
Assists: Conley 9, Gasol 5, Randolph 3
 
Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 36, Fisher 19, Ibaka 11
Rebounds: Durant 11, Perkins 6, Ibaka 5, Jackson 5
Assists: Durant 9, Sefolosha 3, Jackson 2
 
GAME 3 @ Memphis: Thunder 81-87 Grizzlies
 
Thunder leaders: 
Points: Durant 25, Jackson 16, Ibaka 13, Martin 13
Rebounds: Durant 11, Ibaka 10, Jackson 10
Assists: Durant 5, Jackson 2, Sefolosha 2

Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Gasol 20, Conley 14, Allen 14
Rebounds: Randolph 10, Gasol 9, Conley 7
Assists: Conley 6, Gasol 4, Randolph 2, Bayless 2
 
GAME 4 @ Memphis: Thunder 97-103 (OT)
 
Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 27, Martin 18, Ibaka 17
Rebounds: Ibaka 14, Durant 7, Martin 5, Sefolosha 5
Assists: Jackson 8, Durant 7
 
Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Conley 24, Randolph 23, Gasol 23
Rebounds: Randolph 12, Gasol 11, Allen 6
Assists: Conley 5, Prince 5, Randolph 3, Bayless 3
 
GAME 5 @ Oklahoma City: Grizzlies 88-84 Thunder 
 
Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Randolph 28, Conley 13, Allen 11
Rebounds: Randolph 14, Conley 7, Gasol 7
Assists: Conley 11, Randolph 2, Allen 2, Bayless 2
 
Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 21, Ibaka 17, Jackson 16
Rebounds: Jackson 9, Durant 8, Ibaka 8
Assists: Durant 6, Jackson 5, Fisher 3
 
Grizzlies win series 4-1
 
K-Smoove

The Champs return to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The reigning NBA Champions Miami Heat pulled off the same feat they did in 2011 as they knocked off the fifth seeded Chicago Bulls in five games in the second round to advance to their third straight Eastern Conference Finals. After losing Game 1 at home, the responded by winning four straight games to book their ticket to the Conference Finals.

Photos ©NBA
 
The Bulls, coming off a seven game series in the first round against the Brooklyn Nets came in to the second round battered with a ton of injuries from Derrick Rose who has missed the entire season recovering from the torn ACL injury he suffered in last year’s Playoffs, as well as players like Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich who are vital to the Bulls run in this year’s playoffs. They were able to steal a game in Miami with an impressive Game 1 victory. Unfortunately for them, it would only be their only win of the series. They were unable to defend their homecourt against the reigning NBA champions and eventually suffers from four straight losses that ended their playoff run.

As for the Heat, after sweeping the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. They were well rested coming into the second round. LeBron James was crowned his fourth season Most Valuable Player award (his second back-to-back MVP seasons). They were heavily favored in this series. They dropped Game 1 on their home floor, however the Heat responded with a vengeance as they blew out the Bulls in Game 2, taking the next two in Chicago with empathic wins and they came back in Game 5 to wrap their series up and move on to the Eastern Conference Finals as their run for the repeat will continue.
 
The Heat will face the winner of the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers, in which as of this moment of writing, the Pacers have a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Knicks.
 
As for the Bulls, “The Return” of Derrick Rose may not have happened this season, but with the extra downtine for him, he’ll be back come next season. If he does return, expect the Bulls to come back to the elite of the Eastern Conference. To Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich, get well soon as well. Chi-town will have better days come next season.
 
Here are the scores from all games of the series:

GAME 1 @ Miami: Bulls 93-86 Heat

Bulls leaders:
Points: Robinson 27, Butler 21, Noah 13

Rebounds: Butler 14, Noah 11, Boozer 7, Belinelli 7
Assists: Robinson 9, Noah 4, Butler 3

Heat leaders:
Points: James 24, Wade 14, Bosh 9, Allen 9

Rebounds: James 8, Bosh 6, Battier 4
Assists: James 7, Chalmers 7, Wade 4

GAME 2 @ Miami: Bulls 78-115 Heat

Bulls leaders:
Points: Belinelli 13, Noah 12, Robinson 11

Rebounds: Noah 6, Boozer 4
Assists: Belinelli 6, Teague 3, Noah 2, Robinson 2

Heat leaders:
Points: Allen 21, James 19, Cole 18
Rebounds: Cole 6, James 5, Bosh 5

Assists: James 9, Wade 5, Chalmers 4

GAME 3 @ Chicago: Heat 104-94 Bulls

Heat leaders:
Points: James 25, Bosh 20, Cole 18
Rebounds: Bosh 19, James 8, Wade 4, Andersen 4

Assists: James 7, Wade 5, Bosh 4

Bulls leaders:
Points: Boozer 21, Robinson 17, Butler 17
Rebounds: Noah 11, Robinson 6, Butler 5, Gibson 5
Assists: Robinson 7, Belinelli 6, Noah 4

GAME 4 @ Chicago: Heat 88-65 Bulls

Heat leaders:
Points: James 27, Bosh 14, Andersen 9
Rebounds: James 7, Haslem 7, Bosh 6
Assists: James 8, Wade 4, Cole 4

Bulls leaders:
Points: Boozer 14, Butler 12, Hamilton 11
Rebounds: Boozer 12, Noah 9, Gibson 9
Assists: Robinson 4, Hamilton 4, Teague 3

GAME 5 @ Miami: Bulls 91-94 Heat

Bulls leaders:

Points: Boozer 26, Robinson 21, Butler 19
Rebounds: Boozer 14, Noah 9, Robinson 5, Butler 5
Assists: Robinson 6, Butler 4, Noah 2

Heat leaders:
Points: James 23, Wade 18, Bosh 12

Rebounds: James 7, Bosh 7, Wade 5
Assists: James 8, Wade 6, Allen 2, Chalmers 2

Heat win series 4-1

K-Smoove

Bulls survive Nets comeback push.

In the only first round series that went to seven games, the fifth seeded Chicago Bulls survive a comeback run by the fourth seeded Brooklyn Nets. Thisafter the Bulls go up 3-1 in the series, they allowed the Nets to come back and force a 7th game on the Nets’ home floor. However, the Bulls sealed the series on the road to advance to the second round.

 Photos ©NBA
 
The Nets had a great first season since they moved from the Garden State of New Jersey to the New York City borough despite going through a coaching change during the middle of the season as Avery Johnson who led the Nets to a great start, faltered afterwards and was fired thus opening the door to PJ Carlesimo to call the shots for the Nets for the rest of the season. Brook Lopez had an All-Star year for the Nets, this despite Deron Williams having a rough season. Also helping the Nets cause are Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson, Kris Humphries, CJ Watson and Andray Blatche to name some. The Nets took the opening game of the series. They lost the next three, but fought back to even the series and force a 7th game on their home floor. But their comeback bid came up short as their first season in Brooklyn ends in a tough home defeat.
 
As for the Bulls, they played all season long without their superstar Derrick Rose who was cleared by his doctors to play as early as January after his rehabilitation from the torn ACL he suffered in last year’s playoffs. Despite not having Rose on the floor, the Bulls kept themselves competitive led by All-Stars Luol Deng and Joakim Noah as well as Carlos Boozer. Outside of the frontcourt trio, they have Nate Robinson, Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Marco Belinelli to name some. They survived a comeback bid in this round as they went up 3-1 but lost the next two to set up a seventh and decisive game which they won on the road. It is still unclear if Rose will come to play in the next series, but the Bulls need to push themselves more in order to keep their playoff push alive.
 
The Bulls will face the defending NBA champions Miami Heat in the second round who are well rested after their sweep of the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.
 
As for the Nets, they will look back on this series and the question on whether their head coach PJ Carlesimo will be back full time to call the shots next season, but as they say pro sports in Brooklyn is back.
 
Here are the scores from all games of the series:
 
Game 1 @ Brooklyn: Bulls 89-106 Nets
 
Bulls leaders:
Points: Boozer 25, Robinson 17, Butler 13, Belinelli 13
Rebounds: Boozer 8, Gibson 7, Noah 5
Assists: Boozer 4, Deng 3
 
Nets leaders:
Points: Williams 22, Lopez 21, Johnson 16
Rebounds: Evans 13, Wallace 6, Lopez 5
Assists: Williams 7, Johnson 4

Game 2 @ Brooklyn: Bulls 90-82 Nets

Bulls leaders:

Points: Deng 15, Boozer 13, Hinrich 13
Rebounds: Boozer 12, Deng 10, Noah 10
Assists: Hinrich 5, Deng 4, Noah 3
 
Nets leaders:
Points: Lopez 21, Johnson 17, Watson 10
Rebounds: Evans 8, Blatche 7, Lopez 5, Humphries 5
Assists: Williams 10, Watson 5, Johnson 4

Game 3 @ Chicago: Nets 76-79 Bulls

Nets leaders:
Points: Lopez 22, Williams 18, Johnson 15
Rebounds: Evans 12, Lopez 9, Wallace 4
Assists: Williams 4, Johnson 3, Watson 3

Bulls leaders:
Points: Boozer 22, Deng 21, Hinrich 12
Rebounds: Boozer 16, Deng 10, Noah 8

Assists: Boozer 3, Deng 3

Game 4 @ Chicago: Nets 134-142 Bulls (3OT)

Nets leaders:
Points: Williams 32, Lopez 26, Johnson 22
Rebounds: Evans 13, Lopez 11, Wallace 9

Assists: Williams 10, Wallace 4, Blatche 3, Watson 3

Bulls leaders:
Points: Robinson 34, Boozer 21, Hinrich 18
Rebounds: Noah 13, Boozer 8, Deng 8
Assists: Hinrich 14, Deng 6, Robinson 4

Game 5 @ Brooklyn: Bulls 91-110 Nets

Bulls leaders:
Points: Robinson 20, Butler 18, Deng 12

Rebounds: Boozer 10, Deng 8, Noah 4, Mohammed 4
Assists: Robinson 8, Butler 3, Deng 3

Nets leaders:
Points: Lopez 28, Williams 23, Blatche 13
Rebounds: Evans 12, Lopez 10, Humphries 6

Assists: Williams 10, Wallace 3, Lopez 2

Game 6 @ Chicago: Nets 95-92 Bulls

Nets leaders:
Points: Lopez 17, Johnson 17, Williams 17
Rebounds: Evans 15, Blatche 7, Humphries 4
Assists: Williams 11, Johnson 4, Wallace 3

Bulls leaders:
Points: Belinelli 22, Robinson 18, Butler 17
Rebounds: Noah 15, Boozer 13, Butler 7
Assists: Belinelli 7, Butler 6, Noah 5

Game 7 @ Brooklyn: Bulls 99-93 Nets

Bulls leaders:
Points: Noah 24, Belinelli 24, Boozer 17
Rebounds: Noah 14, Boozer 7, Belinelli 6
Assists: Butler 4, Robinson 4, Teague 3, Cook 3

Nets leaders:
Points: Williams 24, Lopez 21, Wallace 19
Rebounds: Evans 13, Lopez 9, Williams 6
Assists: Williams 7, Wallace 5, Blatche 4

Bulls win series 4-3

K-Smoove

West champs survive Rockets scare.

Two of the youngest teams in the NBA went to war as the top seed in the West and the reigning Western Conference Champions Oklahoma City Thunder survive a late push by the eight seeded Houston Rockets after a series which saw the Thunder up 3-0, the Rockets winning two straight before the Thunder wrapped them up in six games on the road.

Photos ©NBA
 
The Rockets came into the season as the youngest team in the NBA with the players averaging 25 years of age. They also underwent a major roster overhaul during the off-season and during the regular season itself. Coming into the playoffs, Only two players remained from the Rockets roster last year. Chandler Parsons who have stepped up big during his sophomore campaign this season and Greg Smith who have become servicable throughout the season. Talking more about the major overhaul, they brought in a big fish in James Harden who has turned himself from a sixth man in Oklahoma City to the face of the Rockets franchise. They also brought in Jeremy Lin coming off from his Linsanity days in New York. As well as other players like Omer Asik, Carlos Delfino, Francisco Garcia, Aaron Brooks (Brooks, a relic from the Rockets’ last playoff run in 2009) and Patrick Beverley. Down 0-3 in the series, everyone else thought it would end in a sweep. However, they pushed the series to six games before bowing out at home in Game 6.
 
As for the Thunder, who are gunning for a season of redemption after losing to the Heat in the NBA Finals last season, their road back to the Finals hit a roadblock during this series as their spark plug All-Star point guard in Russell Westbrook went down with an injury after Game 2 that put him out of commission for the rest of the playoffs. Now, the focus is now on Kevin Durant who scored well in the series and is the leading scorer in this year’s playoffs so far. But Durant can’t do it alone, he must find other options on offense. Players like Serge Ibaka, Kevin Martin, Reggie Jackson and Derek Fisher should step up offensively if the Thunder would have a shot on winning the championship. Aside from the usual defensive presence of Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefolosha and Nick Collison. The Thunder may have survived this series, but their road to redemption will get tougher with each game that come along.
 
The Thunder will face the fifth seeded Memphis Grizzlies who stunned the Los Angeles Clippers in six games setting up a rematch between the two teams in the second round who last fought in 2011.
 
As for the Rockets, though their season ended in a bitter defeat, with a lot of cap space this off-season, the future looks bright for these “Youngbloods” as they will look to catch another big fish come the off-season, and work on the development of their young but already potent team. Watch out for them to make a ton of noise come next season.

Now here are the scores from all games of the series:

Game 1 @ Oklahoma City: Rockets 91-120 Thunder

Rockets leaders:

Points: Harden 20, Beverley 11, Delfino 10
Rebounds: Jones 8, Asik 7, Harden 6
Assists: Lin 4, Beverley 4, Brooks 3

Thunder leaders:

Points: Durant 24, Westbrook 19, Ibaka 17
Rebounds: Westbrook 8, Ibaka 7, Durant 6
Assists: Westbrook 10, Durant 4, Jackson 4, Collison 4

Game 2 @ Oklahoma City: Rockets 102-105 Thunder

Rockets leaders:

Points: Harden 36, Parsons 17, Beverley 16
Rebounds: Asik 14, Beverley 12, Harden 11
Assists:Harden 6, Beverley 6, Lin 3

Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 29, Westbrook 29, Ibaka 12

Rebounds: Ibaka 11, Sefolosha 7, Perkins 6
Assists: Durant 9, Westbrook 4, Jackson 3
 
Game 3 @ Houston: Thunder 104-101 Rockets

Thunder leaders:

Points: Durant 41, Ibaka 17, Jackson 14
Rebounds: Durant 14, Ibaka 11, Sefolosha 9
Assists: Durant 4, Jackson 3, Martin 3

Rockets leaders:

Points: Harden 30, Parsons 21, Garcia 18
Rebounds: Harden 8, Asik 8, Parsons 7, Jones 7
Assists: Parsons 7, Harden 6, Delfino 4
 
Game 4 @ Houston: Thunder 103-105 Rockets
 
Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 38, Jackson 18, Martin 16
Rebounds: Durant 8, Collison 6, Ibaka 5, Liggins 5
Assists: Durant 6, Jackson 3

Rockets leaders:

Points: Parsons 27, Asik 17, Beverley 16
Rebounds: Asik 14, Parsons 10, Beverley 4, Delfino 4
Assists: Parsons 8, Harden 3, Beverley 3, Delfino 3
 
Game 5 @ Oklahoma City: Rockets 107-100 Thunder

Rockets leaders:
Points: Harden 31, Asik 21, Garcia 18
Rebounds: Asik 11, Harden 8, Beverley 8
Assists: Parsons 4, Garcia 3, Harden 3, Brooks 3
 
Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 36, Jackson 20, Ibaka 14
Rebounds: Ibaka 9, Sefolosha 8, Durant 7
Assists: Durant 7, Sefolosha 6, Jackson 3
 
Game 6 @ Houston: Thunder 103-94 Rockets
 
Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 27, Martin 25, Jackson 17
Rebounds: Collison 9, Durant 8, Jackson 7, Ibaka 7
Assists: Jackson 8, Durant 6, Martin 3

Rockets leaders:

Points: Harden 26, Parsons 25, Asik 13
Rebounds: Asik 13, Parsons 7, Harden 6, Garcia 6
Assists: Harden 7, Garcia 5, Parsons 3
 
Thunder win series 4-2
 
K-Smoove

Grizzlies "Grit-n-Grind" themselves to Round 2.

In a battle of two contrasting styles, the “Grit-n-Grind” fifth seeded Memphis Grizzlies advance to the second round after knocking out the team that knocked them out of the first round last season, the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers as a second team playing at the Staples Center bows out of the first round this season.

Photos ©NBA
 
The Clippers finished a franchise season as they won the Pacific Division title for the first time in franchise history and had their best winning season in franchise history. Led by the Lob City duo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers were poised on following up their nice playoff run from last season. Joining the duo are Jamal Crawford, DeAndre Jordan, Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups, Matt Barnes, Ryan Hollins and Eric Bledsoe to name some. The Clippers looked good when they won the first two games at home including a Paul game winner in Game 2. However, the series went down for them afterwards as they lost the next four games (including one at home) to drop the series and ending a promising season for these men from Lob City.

The Grizzlies haven’t missed a beat, even after trading away their star forward in Rudy Gay to the Raptors during the season. In fact, they have played better without Gay as the main focus went to their big men in Zach Randolph who had an All-Star worthy season for the Grizzlies and Marc Gasol who won the Defensive Player of the Year this season and putting up All-star numbers. They also had a big spark from Mike Conley who has been vital in running the “Grit-n-Grind” offense. The players the got in the Gay trade like veteran Tayshaun Prince and Ed Davis made their impact on this Grizzlies team. As well as players like Tony Allen, Jerryd Bayless, Darrell Arthur and Quincy Pondexter. Now, these “Grit-n’-Grind” Grizzlies continue their chase for a shot at the championship this season.
 
The Grizzlies will face the top seeded team in the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder who survived against the eight seeded Houston Rockets after being up 3-0 in the series and allowing the Rockets to take two games afterwards before the Thunder finally wrapped them up in six games. Thus, it sets up a rematch of their 2nd round battle in 2011.
 
As for the Clippers, it was a bitter finish to a promising year. In one of those seasons where they came up better than their Staples co-tentants. The spotlight will be on their head coach Vinny del Negro, whether or not he’ll continue to coach the Clippers or someone else would come and coach these men from Lob City.
 
Here are the scores from all games of the series:
 
Game 1 @ Los Angeles: Grizzlies 91-112 Clippers

Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Bayless 19, Gasol 16, Randolph 13
Rebounds: Davis 6, Randolph 4, Prince 4
Assists: Gasol 7, Conley 5, Bayless 3, Prince 3
 
Clippers leaders:
Points: Paul 23, Billups 14, Crawford 13, Butler 13
Rebounds: Jordan 8, Butler 7, Odom 7, Griffin 5
Assists: Paul 7, Bledsoe 4, Griffin 3, Odom 3

Game 2 @ Los Angeles: Grizzlies 91-93 Clippers

Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Conley 28, Gasol 17, Allen 16
Rebounds: Allen 10, Randolph 8, Gasol 7
Assists: Conley 9, Gasol 2, Bayless 2
 
Clippers leaders:
Points: Paul 24, Griffin 21, Crawford 15
Rebounds: Griffin 8, Jordan 8, Odom 5
Assists: Paul 9, Griffin 4, Odom 2
 
Game 3 @ Memphis: Clippers 82-94 Grizzlies
 
Clippers leaders:
Points: Griffin 16, Barnes 12, Billups 11
Rebounds: Jordan 8, Paul 6, Hollins 4
Assists: Paul 4, Crawford 3, Bledsoe 3

Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Randolph 27, Gasol 16, Allen 13, Pondexter 13

Rebounds: Randolph 11, Allen 9, Gasol 8
Assists: Conley 10, Randolph 2, Gasol 2
 
Game 4 @ Memphis: Clippers 83-104 Grizzlies

Clippers leaders:

Points: Paul 19, Griffin 19, Crawford 12
Rebounds: Griffin 10, Odom 3
Assists: Paul 6, Bledsoe 5, Griffin 2

Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Randolph 24, Gasol 24, Prince 15, Conley 15

Rebounds: Gasol 13, Randolph 9, Prince 6
Assists: Conley 13, Gasol 4, Prince 3

Game 5 @ Los Angeles: Grizzlies 103-93 Clippers

Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Randolph 25, Gasol 21, Conley 20

Rebounds: Randolph 11, Gasol 8, Allen 8
Assists: Conley 6, Allen 4, Gasol 4
 
Clippers leaders:
Points: Paul 35, Crawford 15, Bledsoe 7
Rebounds: Barnes 9, Jordan 8, Paul 5
Assists: Griffin 5, Paul 4, Crawford 3
 
Game 6 @ Memphis: Clippers 105-118 Grizzlies
 
Clippers leaders:
Points: Barnes 30, Paul 28, Butler 14
Rebounds: Barnes 10, Jordan 4, Paul 4, Hill 4
Assists: Paul 8, Bledsoe 3
 
Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Randolph 23, Conley 23, Allen 19
Rebounds: Gasol 7, Allen 7, Prince 6
Assists: Conley 7, Allen 6, Prince 5

Grizzlies win series 4-2

K-Smoove