If there were any casual NBA fans who happened to be watching last night's games I would like to apologize for the quality of hoops exhibited from the Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies. When Boston only managed to put up seven points in the first quarter in there 89-72 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, I had a feeling that it may be a long night.
Kyle Korver came out of the gates blazing, scoring 15 points in the first half on 5-6 from 3pt land. When Korver is lighting it up from downtown the Hawks become a much more dangerous squad. Just the threat of him getting hot is enough to open up better driving lanes for Teague, Schroder and Bazemore. Jeff Teague continued to run the show for Atlanta, creating good looks for his teammates and getting to wherever he wanted to be on the court with nasty crossovers. The bigs for Atlanta both showed up. Paul Millsap was blocking shots right and left, while Al Horford found his range, knocking down 3-4 shots from deep.
The Celtics, who were down Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk last night could not find a viable option on offense. Isaiah Thomas was shut down on almost every drive, and could not buy a three. Jae Crowder continues to be in a deep freeze, shooting 1-9 from the field and 0-4 from three. A lot of people were counting on Marcus Smart to have a bigger role in the Celtics offense with Bradley out for the series but his 1-11 night was a bad omen for how the rest of this series is going to pan out.
Besides Korver's hot start that was not a lot to get excited about in this game. No one from either side scored more than 20, and besides the usual suspects for Atlanta no one stood out. This game further illustrates what Boston has been sorely missing all year, a player who can create his own shot when the offense isn't flowing as usual. The Celtics are a team that can execute for days, but it would appear that we have reached the ceiling for what this team can achieve with its current roster.
After sitting through the Hawks/Celtics it was tough to stay awake for the Spurs 94-68 thumping of the Zombie Grizzlies. I think Matt Barnes aptly described this series when he told a reporter after the loss in game two, "We're coming to a gunfight with some spoons."
The Grizz have no good options on offense, in most part because the Spurs are doubling and tripling up on Zach Randolph. Randolph finished game two with 11 points on a painful 5-17 from the field. Memphis could not buy a three pointer, going 2-14 from range. When Tony Allen is the only other player on your team to score double figures things are going very poorly indeed.
The Grizzlies are a team that should not have made the playoffs without their two main offensive weapons Michael Conley and Marc Gasol. For them to have to play one of the dominant defenses of the last 20 years just seems like cruel and unusual punishment.
If you were looking for offensive fireworks from San Antonio then you were once again disappointed. Patty Mills was the top scorer for the Spurs, hitting 4-6 from deep. The dynamic duo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard scored a combined 23 points on 9-21 shooting. When you look at the box score it's hard to see how San Antonio won this game by 26 points, but it was death by a thousand cuts. Every Spur who played in the game scored, and the defense was stifling to the bitter end.
If this is truly the death of the Grit and Grind Grizzlies, let's hope that Coach Popavich and crew make it a quick one.
The best thing to come out of the hoops scene yesterday was this amazing art project by Sherman Winfield and Andrew Weiss. These crying meme Jordan's are the internet come to life. If anyone is looking for that perfect gift for my birthday next week, look no further.
I think this shoe accurately symbolizes how the first round the NBA Playoffs has gone so far. Hopefully the games tonight will make Jordan and the rest of us hoop heads not feel like crying.