Two teams had their backs against the wall at home and one succeeded under pressure, while the other rolled over and died.
One told us to believe and played real basketball.
The other told us directly not to care.
Lets get the lame ducks out of the way first.
Milwaukee Bucks (3-1) vs Boston Celtics (1-3): 113 to 101
When Paul Pierce said the series was over after Game 1 after the Celtics got the win on the road, everyone (rightly so) scoffed at the idea you could call a series so early. To discount a team so casually that had excelled all year, featured a MVP candidate who is the most physically dominate player since Shaq and is coached by Mike Budenholser is criminal analyst hackery. I say this as an avid worshipper at the temple of the 2008 Boston Celtics team and a Celtics fan.
The Celtics are 0-3 since that bold and foolish statement, and the series may now be in fact over. We could jump into the stats but it won’t do the game a lot of justice. It’s a better summation to tell you that Giannis was incredible again (39 points, 16 rebounds and 4 assists) and that the Celtics don’t try hard.
They don’t. They haven’t all year. And Kyrie may be on his way out of Boston (hopefully) after two abysmal shooting performances (19-62 in the last two games).
What was Kyrie’s response to these two performances, keeping in mind that he has said all year that we need to judge him and the Celtics based on what happens in the Playoffs.
So who cares then. Who cares if Kyrie leaves. And who cares that this team was supposed to be better than last year. Who cares that adding Kyrie to this team took them from a unified overachiever and made them an underwhelming disappointment.
The Celtics have the talent to force a game 6 and even 7, but at this point there is no reason to believe that they will even put up a good fight under the supposedly great leadership of a player who belittles his young teammates, gets pouty in big moments, disrupts an effective offensive system by insisting on contested iso mid range jump shots and has the nerve to tell reporters not to care when he sucks in the playoffs.
So when Celtics fans think about Kyrie leaving this offseason, they should think only one thing and be done with it.
Next game @Bucks: Thursday (9/5) at 10am AEST
Houston Rockets (2-2) vs Golden State Warriors (2-2): 112 to 108
Thank god we had this to watch after that appalling Celtics game.
The Rockets stood in front of the Warriors like the man standing in front of the tank in Tiananmen square in 1989. They said you have to kill me to move me, and the Warriors couldn’t do it.
Harden was brilliant throughout this game with a 38 and 10 performance at home to spark a Rockets attack that was able to hold the Warriors at bay for just long enough to get the pivotal game 4 win. He was crafty all game, managing to expose angles of vulnerability through counter moves and intelligent off-ball wizardry.
Eric Gordon’s 20 also helped the the Houston cause, while CP3 and PJ Tucker’s defensive performances helped keep Steph from shooting over 50% and neutered Klay Thompson. It was exactly the game the Rockets could win, where they push their own star to the highest level he could go on offence, while holding the Splash brothers either to a low efficiency 30 points (Steph was 12/25 and 4/14 from three) or a low point total altogether (11 points on 5/15 shooting isn’t a good enough Klay performance to beat Houston when they’re clicking).
Draymond was solid with a 15 and 10, playing the support man to an incredible 34-7-5 performance from Durant. But it’s not enough and the Warriors need to get the win in game 5 at home or risk going under the waves of a Houston tsunami in game 6.
Houston are in control here. And the Warriors need a win to wrestle it back.
Next game @ Warriors: Thursday (9/5) at 12:30pm AEST