Two games, one of which mercifully ended a disappointing team and the other peaks our intrigue heading into game 6. First up, disappointment.
Milwaukee Bucks (4-1) vs Boston Celtics (1-4): 116 to 91
I’m giving myself one paragraph to rant about the Celtics and then I will not write a word about them for the rest of the postseason. That rant is the paragraph below and you are welcome to skip it, but I gotta get some stuff off my chest about the most infuriating team I’ve ever seen.
The Celtics are a perpetual disappointment, as a team that was touted to be a 60 winner woefully underachieved all year long. The entire organisation told us that something was wrong with this team and that they would fix it. Then we were told that Kyrie was a playoff guy, who told us to judge them based on what they do in the postseason. They beat a Pacers team 4-0 without Oladipo and rolled over in the last three games of their season. But it’s more about how they rolled over. The iso ball, the bad contested shots, the not fighting through screens, the pointing fingers and the cryptic media messaging doomed what could have been a great season for the Cs. So Kyrie is now a free agent and can go wherever he wants and take his 25/83 shooting in the last three games of his 2019 playoff run with him. I say good riddance and who cares, because it has become abundantly clear that he doesn’t.
But as Khris Middleton said a few days ago, this is about the Bucks. Although Giannis only finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists (only lol), he was able to expose every single angle on offer against a lazy competition (those who shall not be named).
When six people not named Giannis score in double digits, the Bucks win. Particularly when their east coast playoff opponents (I promised I wouldn’t say their name) only have 4 players finish in double digits and are held as a team to a horrifying 31% shooting performance.
The Bucks just looked to be on another level in this series and it will be interesting to see them actually tested in the next round.
Golden State Warriors (3-2) vs Houston Rockets (2-3): 104 to 99
Let’s make one thing clear: Houston should have won this game and they blew it.
Even before KD left the game with a calf injury at the end of the third quarter, the Warriors were begging the Rockets to take the game away from them. There were multiple defensive possessions where the reigning champs gave up multiple offensive rebounds. Multiple offensive possessions where they committed turnovers more befitting the Knicks than the Warriors. Empty trips, bad passes, lazy defence, the whole deal.
Houston did really well to make the game close at the end of the third, even taking a lead late in the third.
But they blew it.
When KD went down in the third, Oracle sounded more like the library from the Battle of Winterfell episode of Game of Thrones than a basketball arena at playoff time. Houston were rolling and were given free and ample opportunity to close the game.
But the Houston offence fumbled the opportunity, missing open layups, throwing awful passes and (most criminally) NOT PLAYING THROUGH JAMES HARDEN.
Chris Paul got way too much of the basketball in the fourth quarter. He was the primary playmaker for a team that has James Harden on it. But it appeared as tho PJ Tucker, Eric Gordon and Clint Capela got more opportunities to create than Harden.
If you finish a game and Harden has 31 points and 8 assists on 10/16 shooting and you lose, there should be a royal commission on what the heck happened.
Mike D’Antoni has a lot to answer for here, as the Rockets didn’t seem to really get Harden the ball at any point in the half court in a good position to make plays. He also put in Austin Rivers and Iman Shumpert at the end of the third in the middle of Houston’s best run of the game and at point when they could have really built a lead over Golden State.
So naturally, the Splash Brothers took over the game. Curry snapped out of his shooting slump finishing with 25 on 9/23 shooting, most of which came in the fourth. Klay finished with 27 on 11/20 shooting, Draymond had a flashback to 2015 Draymond when he was a world eater and the Warriors very casually rolled over a puzzling Houston team.
I guarantee this will be reported as a great Splash Brothers game, but it’s really a monumental failure on Houston’s part to get this game and avoid playing an elimination game in Houston.
Depending on Durant’s injury, Houston could recover to win the next two but game 5 wasn’t particularly inspiring in terms of effort.
Next game @ Houston: Saturday (11/5) at 11am AEST