The Clippers bit the dust yesterday and now, the conference semi finals match ups are firmed up. I caught both games yesterday and here are my thoughts:
Celtics v Wizards: I started watching this one in the second quarter and apparently, the Wizards got off to a 16 – 0 lead. When I started watching, the lead had dwindled down to maybe 2 or 3. The Wizards let a big lead slip against the Hawks on Friday but they held their composure and didn’t let the Hawks back in. I have to say the Hawks missed some clutch shots and let their heads fall after that. There was no danger of the Celtics making the same mistakes. They chipped at the lead and hit big shot after big shot and played some scrappy defence on the Wizards. In the third quarter alone, I stopped counting after they forced the 7th turn over. They also had big contributions from different areas. Rozier had 8 rebounds, Jae Crowder hit 6 3’s Isaiah Thomas dropped 33 and he lost a tooth early on! Al Horford was 1 rebound a way from a triple double.
The Wizards faded badly in the second half. I could count a few things that were responsible. Gortat was a beast in the first half but was a non factor in the second. Markief Morris badly rolled his ankle and while Kelly Oubre tried his best, he is undersized at the position. You don’t want to rely on Jason Smith for too much in the playoffs. John Wall and Bradley Beal did okay but weren’t good enough when it mattered. I trust the Wizards to hold down their home court but they need to win a game on the road to have a chance and I hope they didn’t blow their big chance in game 1. I don’t see the Celtics being as slack when they start game 2. Were the hell is Ian Mahimi by the way? What kind of bad luck has he had? Anyway, the bright side of all this is that the Celtics are playing like Number 1 seeds.
Utah v Clippers: You know how the Clippers have made me feel so far. From the start of the game, it seemed to me like they felt the pressure much more than the Jazz. Everything always felt rushed. The Jazz on the other hand were very methodic. They moved the ball with more confidence and got into their sets before they executed. It’s not hard to see why the Clippers felt the weight of the occasion. Everyone thinks they should blow the team up after this run. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin can be free agents this summer. By many accounts, JJ Reddick will leave (He was terrible in the playoffs by the way) and there is a chance that this was the last game of lob city as we know it. If we have learned anything from Doc the GM though, it is that he is not a GM and will probably not take any big risks. Why don’t they just hire a real GM. It will be interesting to see where they go from here. How will they solve their problem at the 3? Will Austin Rivers become a full time starter, will they make a big trade? We will find out during free agency and that’s why free agency is my second favourite time of the year after the playoffs.
Massive shout out to Paul Pierce by the way. He’s in my top 10 favourite players and I have him to thank for being a Wizards fan. He’s calling it a day after 19 years in the league.
As for the Jazz, lets not pretend like their season won’t end in the next round when they face Golden State.
Happy Workers Day by the Way
Also, MASSIVE thank you to both Manchester Clubs for dropping points yesterday and putting Liverpool in pole position for the Champions League. Common you Reds, don’t cock this up!