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:
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.