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.

But the Clippers are deep with talent and Chris Paul has the ability to take over a game like very few players do. And this series is destined to go seven games.  They went seven last year and they had the exact same record this year.  So basketball gods, I'm asking you, please extend this series for all of our sake.  

May 1, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) handles the ball against Houston Rockets forward Francisco Garcia (32) during the first half in game five of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY SportsThunder-Rockets:  Do the Rockets have any magic left?  Can the Thunder supporting cast finally support their star player?  It seems like Houston may have used up their good luck in game 5 and Vegas probably wouldn't like their chances too much if it went back to OKC for a game 7, but this game is in Houston so it should be a coin toss.

Jeremy Lin is coming back for tonight's game and the Toyota Center is going to be rocking.  But all of that will be for naught if Oklahoma City's role players step up.  Kevin Durant had 36-7-7 the other night (and only made one three pointer) but the Thunder need more out of Kevin Martin.  The former Rocket had three points in game five, shooting 1 of 10 from the field and missing on all five three point attempts.

I don't care who wins these games tonight and I can't wait to watch all four teams that are facing elimination fight for their seasons.  Someone's going to step up tonight and either save their team or put the nail in the coffin and I can't wait to find out who.
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