Second Round Recap and Big Shot Bob (Rob) Tournament Update

J-Smoove with the Smoove J

J-Smoove with the Smoove J

After a first round that lacked momentum outside of the Clippers-Spurs series, NBA fans were treated to a second round that featured four close series, several buzzer beaters, and unthinkable comebacks.

We’ll get into the nitty gritty in a second, but first, a look at the BSB(R) standings:

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The Rockets shook everything up–both in the association and in the BSB(R). Let me break it down for ya:

  • The Rockets gave our group a sore reminder that they are a two-seed, a fact which shan’t be neglected. Only 4/36 had them making it to the WCF, and it’s likely that one of those four folks will win our lil’ tourney.
  • With the Rockets’ victory over the Clips, the previous BSB(R) leaders (Abe and Rosie) appear to be out of contention. The previous third place–Dave Attewell–was savvy enough to have the Rockets advancing, and now he stands firmly in first place.
  • Dave, Issei, and Grandpa Bernie were the lone three contestants to correctly guess all four conference finalists. Predicting the future is hard. Well done, dudes.
  • Our top five scores: Dave (70), Issei (65), Rosie (65), Andrew (60), Lars (60).

Moving back to the NBA…

Eastern Conference Semifinals 

Hawks-Wizards: This series was about pain. The pain of a broken hand, the pain of buzzer-beaters, and pain of being late by a tenth of a second. Game 1 saw John Wall suffer a broken hand/wrist, but Wall played through it and led the Wiz to an unlikely win. uWall was ruled out indefinitely following formal diagnosis, and his absence helped the Hawks tie up the series 1-1. Back in Washington, Pierce provided the best moment of the playoffs thus far–a banked-shot buzzer beater followed by the now famous quote, “I called GAME!” The Hawks won a close Game 4 that ended on a missed Pierce 3. Wall miraculously returned for Game 5 and nearly led the Wiz to victory. Pierce hit a corner three to go up one point with 8 seconds left and Wall blocked Dennis Schroder’s attempt at a game-winning layup, but Al Horford willed his way to an offensive board and layup to seal the game and take a 3-2 series lead. Keeping with the theme of the series, Game 6 once again saw a close game, Wall playing well through pain, and a Paul Pierce buzzer-beater…that was a fraction of a second too late. Oh, the pain.

  • Hero: Al Horford
  • Goat: Broken hands/wrists; Nene
  • Line of the series: Beal took over in Game 4, going for 34 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals and 1 block.

Cavs-Bulls: The series everyone was waiting for didn’t disappoint. Flying tempers, buzzer-beaters galore, and a LeBron James vs. Jimmy Butler matchup made for fantastic entertainment. The Bulls stole Game 1 in Cleveland, and the Cavs promptly responded to lock up the series at 1-1. Back in Chicago, the Bulls regained the momentum by going up 2-1 on Derrick Rose’s insane buzzer-beater bank-shot three. The Bulls seemed poised to go up 3-1 with another game at home, but then LeBron came up with a buzzer-beater of his own to save the series. From there, it was all Cavs, who wrapped up the final two games to take the series in six.

  • Hero: LeBron James; Buzzer-beaters
  • Goat: Bulls’ big men, who couldn’t put it all together
  • Line of the series: LBJ went for 38 points (12-24 FG), 12 boards, 6 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks and no turnovers in a decisive Game 5.

Western Conference Semifinals 

Warriors-Grizzlies: Memphis lost Game 1 playing without the injured Mike Conley, but Conley returned for Games 2 and 3, and the Grizzlies won both. Playing at home to take a 3-1 lead against the championship favorites, Memphis fell victim to a Tony Allen hamstring injury and the MVP version of Steph Curry, who finally found his shooting stroke. The Warriors decisively won that game and each after, making a once interesting series one-sided, ultimately putting away the Grizz 4-2.

  • Hero: Steph Curry
  • Goat: Grizzly three-pointers (27.2%)
  • Line of the series: Chef Curry did it all in Game 6, scoring 32 points (8-13 3pt), 10 assists, and 6 boards in the closeout game.

Rockets-Clippers: The second round’s only seven game series came down to one fateful quarter. The series started out just as each other series of this round did: the lower-seeded team (here, the Clippers) managed to go up 2-1 with the chance to go up 3-1 on their home court. Unlike, the others however, the Clippers won that game, going up 3-1. Furthermore, they had been utterly dominant to that point. Their three wins were of margins by 16, 25, and 33; their sole loss had been by 6. The Rockets responded with a home win in Game 5. Playing at home in Game 6, the Clippers knew they had to close out the series, and for three quarters, they played like it, going up 13 heading into the fourth quarter. But the Rockets made that lead look like nothing–they won the quarter 40-15 in a crazy stretch of minutes that saw James Harden ride the bench, Josh Smith and Corey Brewer score 29 points on step-back threes, and Blake Grffin and Chris Paul combine for 2-12 FG. The Clippers mojo was gone by the time Game 7 came around in Houston, and the Rockets advanced to the WCF in a wild comeback of a series.

  • Hero: Kevin McHale, because benching Harden to secure the series is absurd.
  • Goat: The Clippers in that fourth quarter…yeesh.
  • Line of the series: Blake provided a monster triple-double of 26 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists in a Game 1 win.

 

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First Round Recap and Big Shot Bob (Rob) Tournament Update

CP3 FTW VS. LAC G7 RD1

CP3 FTW VS LAC G7 RD1 OMG GTFO

The most anticipated first round series lived up to the hype, punctuated by Chris Paul’s historic game-winner over Tim Duncan in Game 7. Before we recap the first round of the NBA playoffs, let’s take a look at the BSB(R) standings (click to enlarge).

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Overwhelming visuals, but manageable with a little help. Here are some BSB(R) first round highlights:

  • We have three contestants who predicted every series winner correctly: Abe Morrison (46 points), Rosie Morrison (46), and Dave Attewell (44). Unsurprising, these three are also the tops in points. For those of you wondering, Abe and Rosie are indeed siblings. Somewhere, Annie and Theo are doing tequila shots.
  • Our collective pulse about the Wizards, Grizzlies, and Rockets were spot on. As I suspected, however, we underrated the Clips (whose series victory I’ll cover below).
  • Last year’s winner, Joe Boob-face (32), won’t be a threat this year. Two-time champ Dan Leifer, however, is one among three people with 43 points despite guessing a series wrong (the others being Issei Nino and Andrew Wise).
  • Our current last place is Ralph (20). Considering his Duke Blue Devils won this year’s NCAA tournament, I have no sympathy.

As for the first round of the NBA Playoffs…

First Round: East

Hawks-Nets: The Nets pushed the Hawks a bit more than most anticipated by winning two games. Whether that says more about the Hawks or the Nets is an open question. Either way, the Hawks pulled their act together in their series-clinching rout of the Nets.

  • Hero: DeMarre Carroll
  • Goat: Thaddeus Young
  • Line of the series: Deron Williams dropped 35 points (7-11 3pt), 7 assists, 5 boards, and 3 steals in their Game 4 win over the Hawks

Raptors-Wizards: The only first round series in the East projected to be close was anything but. On the road up North, the Wizards won in overtime to steal Game 1, and the momentum picked up from there. The Wiz swept the Raps, culminating in a Game 4 shellacking of the Raptors. Somewhere along the way, Washington learned how to run a 2015 NBA offense, Paul Pierce became Ned Stark, and Drake entered therapy.

  • Hero: John Wall
  • Goat: Kyle Lowry
  • Line of the series: Wall went for 26 points and 17 assists in their Game 2 win in Toronto.

Cavs-Celtics: Watching LeBron come back to play in the Garden is always fun, but unfortunately the only thing we’ll remember from this four-game sweep was J.R. Smith’s blind fist to Jae Crowder and Love’s devastating shoulder injury. The sweep shouldn’t cause the Celtics to lose sleep–nearly all of the C’s are youngins and they figure to be an improving team in coming years.

  • Hero: LeBron James
  • Goat: J.R. Smith
  • Line of the series: In his return to Boston, James scored 31 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, got 4 steals.

Bulls-Bucks: A surprisingly fun series, the Bucks gave the Bulls a run for their money after falling into an 0-3 hole. The best moment of the series was Jerryd Bayless’s crazy game-winner in Game 4, but the story coming out of it was the Bulls coalescing at the right time, as evidenced by their series-clinching 120-66 point victory in Game 6. (Crazy stat: In that Game 6, the Bulls leading scorer was Dunleavy with 20 points, and only four others scored in double figures. Meanwhile, no one on the Bucks scored 10+.) Like the Celtics, the Bucks have a bright future–especially with the return of Jabari Parker.

  • Hero: Jimmy Butler
  • Goat: Ersan Ilyasova
  • Line of the series: D-Rose went for 34 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals a double-OT Game 3 win over the Bucks.

First Round: West

Warriors-Pelicans: It was fun while it lasted, which felt like the amount of time Curry takes to run down the court and pop a three. The Warriors swept the Pelicans, continuing their dominant play from the regular season. In the process, Steph Curry added to his legend with this absurd buzzer-beater to push Game 3 into overtime. The bright spot for the Pelicans: Anthony Davis looked like the best player in the series.

  • Hero: Anthony Davis
  • Goat: All other Pelicans
  • Line of the series: In the series-clincher, Curry dropped a hyper-efficient 39 points on 20 shots, to go with 9 assists and 8 rebounds.

Blazers-Grizz: Earlier in the season, this series would have seemed like a first round treat. Instead, the Grizzlies suffocated an injury-riddled Blazers and made quick work of them in a five game series. In the process, Mike Conley suffered a nasty face injury that will leave him doubtful for Round 2. Young guns C.J. McCollum and Meyers Leonard were bright spots for the Blazers, but questions loom large around LaMarcus Aldridge’s free agency.

  • Hero: Marc Gasol
  • Goat: Arron Afflalo
  • Line of the series: Gasol ended the series in style, going for 26-14-3 on 9-15 shooting from the field.

Rockets-Mavs: Not unlike the series above, injuries played a major role in this series–Chandler Parsons went down with a series ending injury, the Rockets missed key players, and Rondo became ill (either physically or mentally, the jury is still out). The Rockets took advantage of the Mavs’ turmoil and knocked them out before they had a chance in five games.

  • Hero: James Harden
  • Goat: Rajon Rondo
  • Line of the series: Harden went bonkers, dropping 42 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds on 15-24 shooting.

Clippers-Spurs: Best for last. In a series that felt like the NBA Finals, the Clippers took down the defending champs in seven games. The series featured Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan dunks, Chris Paul crossovers, vintage Duncan blocks, and Kawhi Leonard dominance. Nothing was more special, though, than watching a hobbled CP3 hit an impossible game-winner over an outstretched Duncan in Game 7. That shot will go down in the history books (and when I say history, I mean US history).

  • Hero: Chris Paul and Blake Griffin
  • Goat: Tony Parker and Hack-a-Shaq
  • Line of the series: It’s almost impossible to choose a single performance, so instead I’ll choose Blake’s absurd series stats: 24.1 points, 13.1 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.4 blocks.

And finally, a handy-dandy first-round Top 10:

What to look for in Round 2

  • Can the Wiz upset the Hawks after winning Game 1 in ATL?
  • What will happen between the Love-less Cavs and the physical Bulls?
  • Will Chris Paul’s hamstring heal in time for his matchup with the Rockets?
  • Will Golden State lose a game this entire playoffs?

Check back in a couple weeks to see how the second round plays out and where you stand in the BSB(R) Tourney. Meanwhile, do me a favor and do the John Wall to help lift the Wiz to Round 2.

Who are your picks to win, both the playoffs and the BSB(R) tourney? Comment on the article or email us at AGRbasketball (at) gmail (dot) com. Don’t forget to follow @AGRbasketball on Twitter and to like us on Facebook

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The Frank Reynolds Trashman Team: 2014-15 Edition

Head Coach: Frank Reynolds

Head Coach: Frank Reynolds

The NBA is a fast changing league. When Coach Reynolds agreed to coach the team back in the 2010-2011 season, LeBron was beginning his first season as a Heatle, SportVU looked like a typo, and RPM was a term reserved for cars and bikes.

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AGR’s 6th Annual “Big Shot Bob (Rob)” Playoff Tournament

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FTW

Welcome back, folks! I got shivers just writing that sentence, because goddamn, the playoffs are fun. And one of the best parts of the playoffs? The wonderful, weird tradition that is this tournament. My shivering is quickly shifting to nostalgia, so before I start tearing up, let’s look ahead instead at what figures to be an epic playoffs and BSB(R) tourney.

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The Frank Reynolds Trashman Team: 2013-14 Edition

Head Coach: Frank Reynolds

Head Coach: Frank Reynolds

During the Wizards’ series-clinching Game 5 over the Bulls, TNT announcer Steve Kerr declared Trevor Booker his new favorite player. “Cook Book,” as he’s affectionately referred to on Twitter by his fans, is a little-known, undersized, hoops grimester of a power forward who has played crucial minutes for DC all season along.  Continue reading

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AGR’s 2013-2014 All-Slamma-Jamma Teams: This Season’s Top Dunkers

2014 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest

Dunking is the most culturally pervasive gift basketball has to offer. We teach our children to do it as soon as they are old enough to throw away their dirty napkins. We put posters of our favorite dunks on bedroom walls as much as those of our most beloved athletes. It’s an action whose power has inspired a hundred synonyms–jamming, slamming, yamming, stuffing, flushing, crushing, and crunching, among others.

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NBA Finals Recap and 2014 Big Shot Bob (Rob) Tourney Conclusion

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The NBA Finals ended on Sunday, June 15th with the Spurs capping off a shocking five game beat-down of the Heat. It was a victory so dominant that it took until now to overcome the shock and rationally write about the series. Kawhi Leonard took home Finals MVP behind three incredible games to finish the series, a stretch during which he arguably outplayed LeBron James.

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