It was a pretty full schedule in the NBA Playoffs last night, and all four games had the potential to be series enders. Only one team couldn't stay alive, as the Orlando Magic's tumultuous season mercifully came to an end.
Indiana 105 - Orlando 87
After a surprising win in game one, Orlando managed to lose the next four and see their ugly season finally come to an end. Indiana, led by Danny Granger with 25 points, won their first playoff series since 2005. Orlando, who had a roller coaster ride of a season, probably couldn't have won this series even with injured center Dwight Howard, who was out after back surgery. Indiana now waits for Miami to finish off New York.
Atlanta 87 - Boston 86
Al Horford played for the first time since January and went nuts with 19 points, 11 boards, and 3 each of blocks, assists and steals. Still, Atlanta barely survived, thanks to Rajon Rondo losing the ball with just seconds to play before Boston could get up a potential game winning shot. The series shifts back to Boston for game six, and you can bet that arena will be hostile for Atlanta. All the Hawks starters scored at least 13 points, Boston was led by Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who both netted 16 in the loss.
You can get a lot of words to describe a game like this one; 'gritty,' 'hard-fought,' 'defensive battle' but in reality what it really should be called is 'ugly.' I can't stand seeing NBA teams score under 90, really don't like it when they can't get 80, and if you can't break 70? That's just embarrassing. Either way, the East's number one seed, Chicago, pulled off a win to stay alive, and force game six back in Philadelphia tomorrow night. Luol Deng led the Bulls with 24.
Denver 102 - Los Angeles Lakers 99
Javale McGee was a beast in this game, dunking all over the Lakers on his way to 21 points. The fact that the Lakers couldn't close out the series at home says a lot for their chance to win the title this year; they don't have much of one. Kobe Bryant did everything he could to will his team to the win, scoring 43 and taking over the down the stretch but the Lakers had dug themselves into too much of a hole. Denver went up by 15 with about five minutes left, and were able to hang on and force game six back in the Mile High City tomorrow night.
Here's McGee simply out-hustling the Lakers and then dunking on them. Sums up the game rather well, actually.
Article by Eric Gray