Sunday, April 30, 2023

NBA Playoffs

Was the Warriors/Kings series the best first-round series since the NBA started having 16 teams in the playoffs?  I don't know, but it certainly felt like it to me.  Here were the scores (home teams listed first):

04/15/23:  Sacramento 126 - 123 Golden St.
04/17/23:  Sacramento 114 - 106 Golden St.
04/20/23:  Golden St. 114 - 97 Sacramento
04/23/23:  Golden St. 126 - 125 Sacramento
04/26/23:  Sacramento 116 - 123 Golden St.
04/28/23:  Golden St. 99 - 118 Sacramento
04/30/23:  Sacramento 100 - 120 Golden St.

Trailing 58-56 at the half, Golden St. blitzed Sacramento in the second half, outscoring the Kings 64 - 42 to win the game and the series.  Stephen Curry scored 50 points -- something he had never before done in a playoff game -- to put the Kings away.  What more can we fans ask for?

So the first round of the playoffs finished like this (higher seeds listed first):

Milwaukee 1 - 4 Miami
Cleveland 1 - 4 New York
Philadelphia 4 - 0 Brooklyn
Boston 4 - 2 Atlanta
Denver 4 - 1 Minnesota
Phoenix 4 - 1 L.A. Clippers
Sacramento 3 - 4 Golden St.
Memphis 2 - 4 L.A. Lakers

So the Warriors will once again meet LeBron -- this time in the quarter-finals, not the finals.  Here are the quarter-final matchups, with the higher-seeded team listed first:

New York 0 - 1 Miami
Boston 0 - 0 Philadelphia
Denver 1 - 0 Phoenix
Golden St. 0 - 0 Los Angeles

Right now, here are the odds of winning the NBA Championship, according to FanDuel:

Boston: 13 to 10
Golden St.: 5 to 1
Denver: 6 to 1
Phoenix: 6 to 1
Los Angeles: 10 to 1
Philadelphia:  11 to 1
Miami:  20 to 1
New York:  24 to 1

I'm surprised to see that Boston is such a heavy favorite, given that Golden State handled them in six games last year.  Of course, part of that is that Golden State has a much more difficult path to the final.  My plan is to watch Golden State and the Lakers, and then I'll check in on the other series after they've played three games.


  1. The regular Celtics uniforms are among the best in all of professional sports, but the Celtics insist on wearing dreadful alternative uniforms. Today, at home, they are wearing black uniforms with green numerals, and they look ridiculous.

  2. Without Joel Embiid, the Sixers go on the road and take Game One at Boston, 119 to 115, in large part due to a spectacular performance by James Harden.

  3. Harden had 45 points. Heartbreaker for the Bruins last night. Heartbreaker for the Celtics tonight.

  4. You know, I spent about 20,000 words this winter trying to figure out the Wizards and the NBA. And since then, the Wizards fired their GM, and I've pretty much decided that the best way to succeed in the NBA is to have Steph Curry, LeBron James or some other great basketball player.

    1. The theory here in DC is that Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Wizards, won't let the team get bad enough so that it could win the lottery. Also, the Wizards' draft picks are almost always terrible.

  5. Behind 30 points and 23 rebounds from Anthony Davis, the best UK player I've ever seen, the Lakers went to San Francisco and beat Golden State 117-112 to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

  6. So the quarter-finals now look like this:

    New York 1 - 1 Miami
    Boston 0 - 1 Philadelphia
    Denver 2 - 0 Phoenix
    Golden St. 0 - 1 Los Angeles

  7. I'm now rooting for Golden State and Phoenix out of the West so that it's a repeat of the NBA76 Western Conference finals, which I'm also following (Warriors lead, 1-0).

    I'm not rooting for the Celtics, however.

  8. Update:

    New York 2 - 3 Miami
    Boston 2 - 3 Philadelphia
    Denver 3 - 2 Phoenix
    Golden St. 2 - 3 Los Angeles

    Anthony Davis appeared to suffer an injury in last night's game. If he can't go in Game Six, the Lakers could really be in trouble.

  9. Down 3-2, the Celtics are fighting for their lives in Philadelphia. Tonight, the Celtics are finally wearing their classic white uniforms. I don't know why we had to wait until their were on the verge of elimination to see these uniforms, or why they are wearing white uniforms on the road. But at least, if they get eliminated tonight, they won't look silly.

  10. Inspired by the classic uniforms, Boston leads 29-22 after one quarter.

  11. This has been a great series. Here are the results so far (home team listed first):

    Game 1: Boston 115 - 119 Philadelphia
    Game 2: Boston 121 - 87 Philadelphia
    Game 3: Philadelphia 102 - 114 Boston
    Game 4: Philadelphia 116 - 115 Boston (OT)
    Game 5: Boston 103 - 115 Philadelphia

  12. With 6:09 left in the first half, Boston has blown out to a 42-28 lead.

  13. With 2:21 left in the first half, Boston leads 48-36. Philly is only 4-17 from 3-point range, and only 9-24 from 2-point range. James Harden has only 6 points.

  14. A late spurt by the Sixers makes the score Boston 50, Philly 43 at the half.

  15. That seemed like a pretty normal schedule until Washington had to play four road games in 18 days. That stretch should pretty much finish them off.

  16. Here is the Dolphins' schedule:

    9/10: at San Diego
    9/17: at New England
    9/24: DENVER
    10/1: at Buffalo
    10/8: N.Y. GIANTS
    10/15: CAROLINA
    10/22: at Philadelphia
    10/29: NEW ENGLAND
    11/5: Kansas City (in Frankfurt, Germany)
    11/19: OAKLAND
    11/24: at N.Y. Jets
    12/3: at Washington
    12/11: TENNESSEE
    12/17: N.Y. JETS
    12/24: DALLAS
    12/31: at Baltimore
    1/6 or 1/7: BUFFALO

    1. The Dolphins only have to play seven true road games, but they also have to play both of the Super Bowl teams away from home. Those late home games should give them a lot of momentum down the stretch.

    2. Let's hope. I think Schedule has been trying to help out the Dolphins the last couple of years, and I appreciate that this year it gave us at New England and at Buffalo in the warmth of September and maybe before Tua is injured. But I do think Schedule is challenging this team to be better than 3-3 after six games and on their way to Philadelphia. If the Eagles beat them there and the Dolphins are sub-.500, then I think Schedule will say, "Well, I did what I could do, and you are who you are."

  17. Ah, correction. That October 22 game is at the Giants, and the November 19 game is home to the Giants. That makes a lot more sense.

  18. So this is the real schedule:

    9/10: ARIZONA
    9/17: at Denver
    9/24: BUFFALO
    10/1: at Philadelphia
    10/5: CHICAGO
    10/15: at Atlanta
    10/22: at N.Y. Giants
    11/5: at New England
    11/12: at Seattle
    11/19: N.Y. GIANTS
    11/23: at Dallas
    12/3: MIAMI
    12/17: at Los Angeles
    12/24: at N.Y. Jets
    12/31: SAN FRANCISCO
    1/6 or 1/7: DALLAS

  19. That makes more sense, and that seems like a pretty fair schedule to me.

  20. Meanwhile, Philly has closed to within 60-55 with 7:14 left in the 3d quarter.

  21. With 5:29 left in the 3d, Boston leads by only 62-60. Philly is going nuts, and the Celtics call time.

  22. Tyrese Maxey, who is one of my favorite UK Wildcats, leads all Sixers with 19 points. He is 3-5 from three, 4-7 from two, and 2-2 at the line.

  23. The Celtics have won the last five post-season meetings between these teams, eliminating Philly in 1985, 2002, 2012, 2018, and 2020. Philly hasn't eliminated Boston since 1982. But with 4:37 left in the 3d, Philly leads 64-62.

  24. With one quarter left, Philly leads 73-71. I have a feeling that whoever is ahead at the end of this quarter will win the Eastern Conference.

    1. That's a terrific comment, and I'll bet you're right. By the way, I didn't get to see this basketball game because I had my own basketball game to play last night (first night in new sneakers!). But then I couldn't sleep because my shins and calves kept cramping up, and I ended up tuning in to the replay at this very point where you were.

  25. With 8 minutes left, Philly leads 77-76.

  26. The ESPN TV announcers are incredibly bad, so I'm relying on ESPN Radio down the stretch. We're tied at 79 with 7:10 left. Boston calls time after a Maxey dunk to tie the game.

    1. I ran across one of the early NBA75 Finals clips yesterday in which Oscar Robertson was calling the game with Brent Musberger. It reminded me how much I enjoyed listening to him and how I really felt like he came along as an announcer about 15 years too early. Robertson really did sound so different than the other color commentators of his day, and he just got clobbered in newspaper commentary on that sort of thing. But by the late 1980s and early 1990s, when Dick Vitale had retrained our ears, I think Robertson would've been beloved as a color commentator.

  27. With the game tied at 81, Maxey STEALS THE BALL. Jayson Tatum fouls him in an obvious effort to prevent what would have been a slam dunk. The officials are now deciding what to do.

  28. With 5:57 left, Tatum is called for a "Clear Path" foul. So Philly gets two free throws and the ball. Embiid makes the FT's, and Philly leads 83-81.

  29. Embiid missed a hook shot, so Boston got the ball down 83-81. Then Embiid blocked a shot at the other end, and the officials are trying to decide who gets the ball next. 5:25 left in the game.

  30. Tatum is 0-6 from three, and 1-8 from two, and 5-5 from the line, in this game. The Celtics are minus seven with him in the game.

  31. Philly has the ball and an 83-81 lead with 5:25 left.

  32. Wait a minute. Now the official is telling us that the two FT's made by Embiid on the Clear Path Foul didn't count, and that Maxey has to shoot the fouls. Maxey hits the first, and then he hits the second, and Philly again leads 83-81.

  33. Maxey misses a three. Horford misses a three. 4:39 left. Still 83-81.

  34. Harden misses a three. Tatum makes a three. Boston leads 84-83 with 4:08 left.

  35. Embiid misses a foul line jumper. Tatum, who was 1-14 just a few seconds ago, makes another three point shot. And Boston leads 87-83 with 3:34 left. Philly calls time.

  36. Tatum is now 2-8 from three, 1-8 from two, and 5-5 from the line. But those two threes were both enormous.

  37. Maxey misses a three. Boston ball with 3 minutes left.

  38. Tatum, still feeling it, drives against the whole Philly team. That doesn't work, and Philly gets a runout going the other way. Maxey is fouled. He misses the first FT. He makes the second. Boston leads 87-84 with 2:50 left.

  39. Marcus Smart makes a two-point shot to put Boston up 89-84. Philly's offense has now fallen apart -- they haven't made a shot from the floor in about four minutes of game time. With 2:11 left, Horford appeared to foul Harden, but Boston challenged and the foul was overturned. Philly has the ball, but there's only 1.7 seconds left on the clock.

  40. Philly can't score, and Boston has the ball -- and a 5-point lead -- with two minutes to go.

  41. Tatum makes ANOTHER THREE, and Boston is going to win this game. After falling behind 83-81, Tatum has led Boston to a 11-1 run, and they are going to play Game Seven at home.

  42. Just a terrible, heart-breaking result for Philly, which had to win this game.

  43. Here's the bottom line. With 5:25 left in the game, Philly had an 83-81 lead -- and the ball. From that point, Boston scored 14 points -- including four three-pointers by Jayson Tatum. Philadelphia scored only 3 points. Boston wins 95-86, and if you are a Sixer fan, that's about as bad as it gets.

  44. I'm surprised at how long it has taken for me to recover from this season's Wizards disappointment. Usually, I don't have much trouble being willing to watch the NBA again until more than four or five games after Washington's season is over, but I got too in to them there for a while. Anyway, I've appreciated keeping up with things via your coverage, and I think I'm going to be ready to get into this round's game 7s and the conference finals.

  45. After the first five games were each won by the home team, the Suns were obliterated at home last night, losing 125-100 after trailing 81-51 (!) at the half. So Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been eliminated, and Harden is just hanging on with the Sixers.

  46. New York 2 - 3 Miami
    Boston 3 - 3 Philadelphia
    Denver 4 - 2 Phoenix
    Golden St. 2 - 3 Los Angeles

  47. Denver is 8-3 so far in the playoffs, which is very good.