Big night in the NBA playoffs

5/3/13 in NBA   |   droth   |   127 respect

Last night's Golden State-Denver game was a textbook example of why it's hard to close out a first round series.  The other team will fight, scratch, and claw to stay alive.  The Nuggets took risks to force turnovers and the young Warriors were not composed and let Denver right back into the game.

That's why the NBA Playoffs are great.  This year, we have a pretty good idea which teams are serious contenders, but watching teams fight to the bitter end is what makes the first few rounds special and tonight is going to give us all the "nothing to lose" and "leaving it all out there" that we can handle.  

The Knicks-Celtics and Pacers-Hawks are just starting now followed by Clippers-Grizzlies and Thunder-Rockets at 9:30 and no one has any clue what's going to happen.  It's great.

Knicks-Celtics: The Knicks are looking to close out the series after making fools out of themselves by wearing
May 1, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler (6) dunks over Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett (5) during the second half in game five of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Celtics won the game 92-86. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sportsblack and declaring that game 5 would be the Celtics funeral.  And, naturally, the '04 Red Sox comparisons are stirring.  

For the record, I think that narrative is preposterous.  Comparing the Yankees of the early 2000's to a Knicks team that hasn't won a playoff series in 13 years and this Celtics team -- a team that won a championship a few years ago with the same coach and two of the same core players -- to the magical Red Sox teams that inspired a city  and ended a prolonged curse is lazy and unoriginal.   But that's besides the point.

The game is in Boston and you know Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are going to do everything in their power to make sure this era of Celtics basketball doesn't end tonight.   In order to make that happen, it's going to come down to what it usually comes down to with the Knicks, will Carmelo make his shots?  We know he's going to take his shots and if he gets hot that will be all she wrote for Boston.

May 1, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Atlanta Hawks Jeff Teague (0), Devin Harris (34), Al Horford (15), Ivan Johnson (44) and Kyle Korver (26) huddle up as a team in a game against the Indiana Pacers in game five of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Atlanta 106-83. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY SportsPacers-Hawks: the Hawks are attempting to stave off elimination after losing game 5 by 23 points.  

Every game of this series has been won by the home team and none have been particularly close.  While that isn't particularly attractive early on in a series, it does tantalize an NBA fan with the notion that this one might finally get wild and we could see them really go at each other for the first time.  

The Pacers are trying to show the league that they're a force to be reckoned with in the East and they need to show up to do that.  A statement road win to close out a series is exactly how you make your presence known when the rest of the country has forgotten about you.

Clippers-Grizzlies: The big question here is:will Blake play?  The Clippers
Apr 30, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA;  Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) reacts to a foul from Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (not pictured) in the first half of game five of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
 forward hasn't dominated in the series but he has held his own with the Memphis bigs and once he left the game in game 5, the Clippers didn't have an answer for Gasol and Z-Bo down low.
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