The second day of round two was exciting as ever. We had a huge upset in Milwaukee and the Warriors snuck away with a home win.
I am loving these Semi-Conference finals already!
Milwaukee Bucks (0-1) v Boston Celtics (1-0): 90-112
Today, Al Horford activated playoff mode.
He reminded the world who he is: a premier defender, who can stop pretty much anyone, offensively efficient and spaces the floor.
Today was his day.
Horford had the toughest job on the court, stop Giannis Antetokounmpo. A task that has been near impossible all season. Giannis is likely to be the league MVP, so when he is held to 22 points from 7-21 shooting, you would think: okay he just had an off night. But if you watched this game and watched Al Horford, you would see that there is a different story.
Horford stopped him from driving to the rim, altered his shots and blocked Giannis all over the place (please see below).
It didn’t help that Jaylen Brown destroyed Giannis with a poster in the game. Horford managed to contain and humble Giannis (at least in Game 1).
In fairness, it wasn’t just Horford who was cooking for the Celtics.
Kyrie had a great game with a near triple double, (26 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds), Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Marcus Morris (who got the start) all shot very efficiently, and the Celtics had 11 blocks (three each from Morris, Horford and Jason Tatum).
The game was tied with about 10 minutes left in the third and then the Celtics just ran away with it, outscoring the Bucks 60-40 in the second half. Brad Stevens obviously said the right words at half time…
The Celtics did what nobody thought they could: Win, against the bucks, in an away game and score over 100 points.
The Bucks on the other hand looked to be in shambles.
They shot 35% from the floor, and their starters were 15-50…. Brook Lopez, Eric Bledsoe and Sterling Brown hit three shots between them, the only person who could make a basket was Nikola Mirotic.
The Bucks need to bounce back and pronto.
I think the Bucks will dominate the second game and show
this series will be more than a Celtics sweep!
Next game @ bucks: Wednesday (1/5) at 10am.
Golden State Warriors (1-0) v Houston Rockets (0-1): 104 to 100
This is the series that everyone expected to be in the Conference finals to start the year but we got an early playoff gift: a round two matchup between two of the best teams in the league.
The rematch of the seven-game thriller of 2018.
KD v the Beard
Shimmy Steph v a healthy CP3
Klay v Gordon (I guess?)
Well you get my point. It was set to be an exciting series and the first game delivered.
Kevin Durant continued his streaky playoff ways with a huge 35 point game. Steve Kerr even compared his current performance to his former teammate: Michael Jordan. Draymond Green (14 points, 9 rebounds and assists) and Andre Iguodala (14 points from 6-7 shooting) had very efficient shooting nights. The Warriors were unsure about Steph Curry and Klay Thompson playing and you could see Klay was not his usual self and yet Steph still scored 18 points and Thompson 13. Also today’s NBA slate was really a block party….
Starting with their death line up (no traditional centre) was the perfect move for Kerr. Ironically it was the questionable and slightly injured Steph Curry who got the shot to win the game for the Warriors. With 25 seconds to go, Steph drains a three to give the Warriors a three-point lead. He even gave a little shimmy to celebrate.
Can we talk about that play for one second: in what world do you allow Nene Hilario to play iso defence on Stephen for the second last play of the game. That is not a switch defence that you want…ever.
This defence was not the only issue for the Rockets.
Harden and Eric Gordon combined for 8-29 from Three-point land and besides Nene, the Rockets had no help off the bench. Clint Capela took two shots (ONLY TWO!) and Chris Paul got ejected for his second technical with 4.4 seconds to play.
However, the Rockets think that there was one main issue throughout the whole game: the referees.
Watching this game, you saw a handful of contested threes, where the Warriors defender connected with the Rockets shooter and had their feet or body in the landing space of the Rockets player (please see Zaza Pachulia v Kawhi Leonard in 2017) and yet no foul was called. It was enough to get Chris Paul a technical foul (and Mike D’Antoni as well). The Rockets were not happy about these calls and rightly so. If they had a fee more free throws, they would have won the game BUT you can’t blame the refs alone.
Next game takes us back to Oracle arena and I think the Rockets will come out punching (maybe the Referees…)
This series is going to be down to the wire and I can’t wait.
Next Game @ Warriors: Wednesday (1/5) at 12:30pm