Archive for April, 2011

Spurs Upset by Grizzlies

These Memphis Grizzlies just keep making NBA history — and believers.

Zach Randolph had 31 points and 11 rebounds and the Grizzlies advanced to their first Western Conference semifinals and made NBA history in knocking off the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs 99-91 on Friday night.

Memphis had been the franchise best known for empty seats and the unenviable NBA mark for playoff futility at 0-12 after being swept in its first three appearances. This time, a third straight sellout crowd cheered every basket with a couple of signs begging the Grizzlies to “Finish Them” in a town desperately needing a hero.

The Grizzlies needed 10 seasons in Memphis, but they have become just that as only the second No. 8 seed to upset a No. 1 seed since the NBA expanded the opening series to a best-of-seven.

Now Memphis coach Lionel Hollins sees a great opportunity for the Grizzlies to do something really special.

“Not a lot of people knew about us coming in, but we certainly have made some noise and turned some heads and got some attention that probably wouldn’t have been given to us if we’d lost this series,” Hollins said. “We’d just be another eight seed losing to the No. 1 seed.”

They will open the second round in Oklahoma City on Sunday.

Marc Gasol had 12 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis. Tony Allen added 11 points, and rookie Greivis Vasquez had 11 off the bench playing 24 minutes with Mike Conley in foul trouble most of the game.

Tony Parker led San Antonio with 23 points, Manu Ginobili had 16, Tim Duncan 12 and Antonio McDyess 10.

The Spurs led only twice at 2-0 and again at 80-79 when McDyess hit a 15-footer with 4:41 left.

That’s when Randolph, the man cast off and unwanted before he arrived in Memphis in the summer of 2009, took over and scored 17 of the Grizzlies’ 29 points in the fourth quarter.

“From a pick-me-up perspective, we just got on his back, and we rode him like he was an English warhorse,” Hollins said. “He was really carrying us, We were just hanging on.”

Randolph scored 10 of the next 14 for Memphis, with his hook putting Memphis ahead to stay at 81-80. Conley added a jumper, then Randolph hit a fallaway jumper, two free throws and another fallaway jumper for an 89-82 lead with 1:55 left. Randolph went to the bench to a huge cheer with 3.4 seconds left.

“Emotion is high, not just for the Memphis Grizzlies but for the whole city of Memphis and the fans,” Randolph said. “It’s something. It’s a great accomplishment. We’ve got to be happy. We should be happy. But it’s a quick turnaround. We’ve got a game Sunday, and we have to get ready.”

The Spurs, winners of 61 games in the regular season and the dynasty with four NBA titles with Duncan, turned the ball over three straight times while Randolph was putting away this franchise’s biggest win. One desperate pass from Ginobili went right off Parker’s hands.

“We played well all season long,” Parker said. “As you know, it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t play well in the playoffs, and overall Memphis played better than us. Have to give them credit. Had a chance at the end, up one, 5 minutes to go. We didn’t make the plays we needed to play.”

San Antonio had gotten a reprieve with Gary Neal‘s clutch 3 getting the Spurs to overtime as they staved off elimination Wednesday night. But the Spurs talked of how lucky they were to pull out a game when they had their bags packed for the offseason.

“We were hoping at some point that they would fold under the pressure, make some mistakes through that pressure and they didn’t,” Duncan said. “They did the exact opposite. They made every play they needed to make, they took care of the ball, they got the shots they wanted to get, and their guys made the shots when they needed to.”

Ginobili also had a big shot to help the Spurs stay alive. This game, he had an even more amazing shot, beating the buzzer at the end of the third quarter as he tossed up the ball from half court off balance and trying to beat the clock. He had been 3 of 10 from the floor before that lucky attempt pulled the Spurs to 70-66.

Forward Shane Battier called it a perfect team effort by the Grizzlies against a team in the Spurs that never quit.

“Those guys are like vampires. We’re trying to kill them, but they kept getting up. We kept missing the heart,” Battier said. “When (Matt) Bonner is hitting bank 3s and Ginobili is hitting a halfcourt shot at halftime, `You’re saying, `Gosh, go away. Please go away.”

It just wasn’t enough for a team that couldn’t beat the Grizzlies in Memphis during the regular season and or the postseason. The Spurs ended this season dropping nine of the last 10 on the road and 16 of the last 19 in the postseason away from San Antonio.

Asked if this was a big upset, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich defended the strength of the Western Conference.

“It doesn’t matter what your seeding is in the West. As has been evidenced year after year, we all know that everybody’s basically as good as everybody else,” Popovich said.

The Grizzlies were criticized for ending the regular season with two losses. Hollins rested Randolph and Allen with critics accusing them of trying to avoid the Lakers and draw the Spurs.

Popovich credited Memphis’ athleticism with really hurt a team that had been the NBA’s best 3-point shooters. The Spurs shot only 31 percent through the first five games and were just 5-of-22 Friday night.

“They closed out really well, sagged in the paint and were still able to close out on shooters, and it’s a credit to them,” Popovich said.

Parker opened the game with a pair of free throws, then the Grizzlies took over. Allen scored on a floater in the lane, Randolph tipped in the ball as the start of 10 straight points by the Grizzlies. That prompted Popovich to scream at a referee for a timeout. But Vasquez and Allen scored for a 14-0 spurt before Parker finally answered with a layup.

For Memphis, it was almost as dominant as the third quarter of Game 4 when the Grizzlies outscored the Spurs 30-15. This time, the Spurs didn’t score from the floor for the first five minutes as the Grizzlies opened with a 28-16 lead after the first 12 minutes and led by as much as 14. The Spurs had six turnovers in the period.

Duncan, who turned 35 on Monday, looked every bit of those years early as he almost stumbled trying to drive to the basket. He later added an emphatic dunk that pulled the Spurs within 46-43 at halftime.

Game notes
Memphis hadn’t scored more than 44 points in the paint in the series until Friday night. The Grizzlies outscored San Antonio 62-38 in the paint and outrebounded them 43-32. … The Grizzlies even had a big edge at the free throw line, 22 of 30, compared to 12 of 14 for the Spurs.

Spurs in it to win it

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 04:  Guard Gary Neal #14 of the San Antonio Spurs takes a shot against LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat at AT&T Center on March 4, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Yhe Spurs were  down four with just ticks remaining on regulation, the Spurs showed the world why they should never be doubted on a basketball court. Manu Ginobili and Gary Neal delivered clutch shots that allowed the game to stretch into overtime. In the extra five minutes, Tony Parker took over the game offensively while Tim Duncan played great defense on Marc Gasol. Coming into this series, nobody expected Memphis to win. Some analysts expected San Antonio to easily sweep the Grizzlies while other gave Memphis one or two victories in the series. Against all odds, Memphis was able to take a commanding 3-1 lead over the Western Conference top seed. Every game had been close except their last outing in Memphis, where San Antonio suffered a blowout loss. The Spurs started the game on fire, with Tim Duncan easily having the best start to a game in the entire series. Duncan scored 11 points in the first quarter. He would go on to finish with 13. The Spurs were carried offensively all night by Manu Ginobili. Ginobili filled up the stat sheet with 33 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals. For the Memphis Grizzlies, they basically stayed with the game plan that has proven to be successful all series long. They went inside to Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, who combined for 37 points and 28 rebounds. Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images Both teams were about even in every statistical category possible. The only area where San Antonio had the clear edge was three-point shooting. San Antonio was plus-12 from behind the arc. Even though they only shot 32 percent from deep, it was their last three by Gary Neal what saved the season for San Antonio. With only 1.7 seconds left, Gary Neal made a three-pointer off an inbound pass that beat the buzzer cleanly. The Memphis Grizzlies once again played an excellent game and took the game down to the wire. Game 6 will be back in Memphis where they beat the Spurs by 18 the last time the teams met in that arena. San Antonio will live to fight another day. Do they have enough energy left to pull off another clutch performance like tonight but in Memphis? Time will surely tell.113235166_crop_340x234

Them Dam Celtics! LOL

Nick Laham/Getty ImagesGlen Davis and the Celtics kept their eyes on the prize Sunday.
NEW YORK — Rapid reaction after the Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 101-89 in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinals series Sunday at Madison Square Garden to complete a 4-0 series sweep.

Kevin Garnett scored 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting, while grabbing 16 rebounds, and Rajon Rondo scored 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting with 12 assists to fuel Boston to the four-game sweep. Glen Davis added 14 points and the bench provided its best effort of the postseason. New York’s Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 32 points on 10-of-24 shooting, while Amare Stoudemire kicked in 19 points (despite 5-of-20 shooting woes) and 12 rebounds.

The Celtics led by as much as 23 in the third quarter before New York made a feverish charge hoping to prolong its season. The Knicks trimmed their deficit to 10 by the end of the frame, then got it as low as four with 7:33 to play. That’s when Celtics coach Doc Rivers called timeout, put in his full starting unit and Boston embarked on an 11-5 run, Rondo and Garnett capping the dash with back-to-back jumpers that put the Celtics back on top by double digits, 95-85, with 4:11 remaining.

After a brilliant and dominating first half in which the Knicks were 11-of-47 (23.4 percent) for 38 points, the Celtics left their defensive intensity in the locker room at intermission. New York more than doubled its field goal output in the third quarter, scoring 12 buckets for 34 points to fuel the rally.

Jermaine O’Neal labored through foul trouble that limited him to 21 minutes, but he quietly grabbed six rebounds and provided stellar defense the entire time he was on the court.

Previously a mere 8-11 in closeout games during the Big Three era, the Celtics completed their first best-of-seven series sweep since dispatching Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference finals in 1986 (before going on to win a world title that year). Boston could have made it a little easier on itself without fumbling away its big lead. But the starters tightened up over the final seven minutes, preventing the need for the late-game heroics of the first two games of the series. Despite Miami’s stumble against Philadelphia, it seems inevitable that the Celtics and Heat will clash in the conference semifinals. Boston will enjoy as much as a full week off before that series starts (depending on how quickly the Heat close out — unless of course Philly pulls off an unprecedented rally from a 3-0 hole).

reposted by kaspakapaz


Boston Celtics 101, New York Knicks 89

Well, that’s 4 down, 12 to go.

The Knicks didn’t go quietly. While the last minute was pretty anti-climatic, the Knicks played hard in the second half. I seriously considered calling the game recap “Hey Mister Carter, Tell Me Where Have You Been?” in honor of Anthony Carter‘s absolutely inspired play in the late 3rd, early 4th quarters.

But, the game was a blowout by halftime, and it ended just as uncompetitively. 20 points in the second half for Kevin Garnett (26 points, 10 rebs, 10-16 shooting on the game) earns him the game ball, and the Celtics sweep the Knicks while Miami has to win one more against Philadelphia.

Some things we learned this round:

1) Rajon Rondo is still actually Rajon Rondo: Nobody wants to talk about what happened after the trade deadline, but we’re happy it’s not happening anymore. Rondo averaged 19 points and 12 assists over these past 4 games, and it has been a joy to watch.

2) Ray Allen Went To Sniper School: Ray Allen was shooting 75% from 3pt land coming into tonight’s game. SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT. He only shot 2-6 from range tonight, but considering the slump he was coming into the playoffs with, that is great news. Ray Allen is making teams pay and making us smile.

3) The Starters Can Still Carry This Celtics Team, But The Bench..Not So Much: Coming into today’s game, the ‘Big 4’ were accounting for 80 points per contest. The rest of the team? Around 18. Glen Davis had a very important 14 points tonight on an efficient 6-8 shooting, but over the other 3 games in the series he was shooting 31% from the field and averaging under 4ppg. This has to change, because teams will start getting better and deeper (well okay, Miami ain’t that deep) as the playoffs go on.

4) Jermaine O’Neal Was An Absolute Bargain…A 6.5 MILLION DOLLAR BARGAIN!: I don’t care about the regular season. Jermaine O’Neal was the biggest difference maker on the defensive end for the Celtics in this Knicks series. Sure, Amar’e went off Game 1 (and was injured in Game 3), but Jermaine O’Neal we just absolutely a menace to any Knick in the paint, and when he wasn’t blocking shots he wasn’t scared to foul hard. O’Neal even showed us some offensive skills, proving that he can still hit a 7ft jumper (and shooting 62% from the field doing it).

5) Paul Pierce Is Still The Man: Today was the perfect example. Whenever the Knicks would start to make a run, Pierce would make a bucket to shut them up. Last game he had 38 points, and even though he only had 13 today (on a miserable 5-18 shooting), all 13 points were big ones that pushed the Celtics ahead or helped them keep the lead. The Captain is in rare form. Can’t wait to see what he does against LeBron.

Happy Easter, and Get Well Soon, Shaq!

reposted by kaspakapaz

After playing sluggish and sloppy basketball in Boston until they needed it most, the Boston Celtics came up with a rousing performance in their 113-96 dismantling of the New York Knicks. Contrarily, after a gutsy performance in Game Two, the New York Knicks were lifeless in their return to Madison Square Garden. No surprise then that the Celtics romped in a coast-to-coast victory.
Here are the particulars:

What The Celtics Did Right

The Celtics made it a point of emphasis to get more motion in their offense, often running a set called “floppy action.” This often resulted in a pin down for Ray Allen on one side of the floor, followed by a pin down for Pierce on the other side as opposed to the bevy of screen/rolls and isolations ran in Boston.
Partially as a result of these precise pindowns, Allen was simply remarkable when given a sliver of daylight—8-11 3FG, 32 PTS, continuing his torrid shooting in the series.
Pierce’s successes mostly came in transition, broken plays, and because the Knicks switched nearly every screen involving him, on screen/rolls. And successful Pierce was—14-19 FG, 6-8 3FG, 38 PTS, though 13 of those points did come in a fourth quarter of extended garbage time.
After getting his head served on a platter by
Carmelo Anthony in Game Two, Pierce was better able to crowd ‘Melo in Game Three rendering him largely ineffective.
Kevin Garnett was only a marginal scoring threat, and while he had several porous defensive possessions against the Knicks’ second unit, Garnett dominated the Knicks’ starting frontcourt on the glass, and set sturdy screens which freed up Allen and Pierce.
Garnett and Jermaine O’Neal provided excellent interior rotations.
Rajon Rondo hit a few jumpers, completed some tricky layups, and helped out on the glass, but mostly he just stayed at the top of the key, hit the correct open teammate in stride, and watched his assist total rise for a prodigious 20 dimes en route to a triple-double.
Jeff Green played his most assertive game of the series, with several smart cuts and tough layups to his ledger.
Nenad Kristic made a couple of excellent close outs.

When the Knicks showed hard to take away Allen’s curls to the three-point line, the Celtics screen-setters would alertly cut and find themselves open at the basket.

The Celtics simply played much, much harder than the Knicks.
The Celtics screens were effective.
The Celtics offense executed at will, and their defensive rotations were precise. Though they had some great individual performances, their win wasn’t a matter of bludgeoning the Knicks with great individual plays, but dissecting the Knicks with the power of perfect execution.
What The Knicks Did Wrong

Try as he might, Amar’e Stoudemire was limited by his back and tragically turned in a mute performance—2-8 FG, 3 REB, 7 PTS.
Give Amar’e credit for trying to push aside his pain and perform, but after an ineffective first half, and after a last ditch effort to remove his back brace didn’t improve matters, Stoudemire should’ve sat out the majority of the second half. There’s no shame in being too injured to play, but there’s no benefit in being too unhealthy to be effective.
Without Amar’e opening up a second offensive front, the Knicks needed another explosion from Anthony to remain competitive. Unfortunately for the Knicks, after his brilliant Game Two, ‘Melo turned in a bogus Game Three—4-16 FG, 15 PTS.
With the Celtics interior help defense much more precise than in Game Two, and with Pierce much more effective at crowding and challenging ‘Melo’s perimeter shots, Anthony was forced to jack up contested jumpers with the hope they’d go in. He did an adequate job of moving the ball—6 AST, 5 TO, and was again active on the glass—11 REB, but his jumper stayed in Boston.
Much worse than his stalled offense was his putrid defense. Anthony had some success in Boston when isolated by Pierce and on several help defensive scenarios—and continued this trend early in the game by getting back in transition and making several on-point defensive rotations.
However, Anthony was too timid to fight through any screens, switching whenever one was presented him. This allowed Pierce to be matched up with smaller Knicks guards which he either pulverized on drives or shot over with limited defensive pressure.
Also, Anthony’s inability to fight through pindowns allowed the Celtics bigs to post Anthony. The Knicks would immediately double, the secondary rotations would be AWOL, and the Celtics would end up with wide open perimeter jumpers.
Anthony failed to be alert and tag Celtics three-point shooters in transition, failed to communicate switches, and was an outright defensive liability.
That’s one superstar performance and two disasters unbecoming of a superstar for the series scorebook.
Landry Fields looks overwhelmed by the magnitude of the playoffs. Not only is he not making shots, but he’s been airballing jumpers and bobbling passes all series.
Fields also was given a rude lesson in defending screens. Perpetually beaten by Allen’s initial cuts and subtle pushes, Fields was constantly trailing Allen’s screens. Without coordinated shows by the Knicks bigs, the Knicks weren’t able to provide any pressure on Allen’s threes.
Toney Douglas made wrong decisions for most of the night, and was likewise burned by Allen when defending him.
Ronnie Turiaf provided nothing on the glass—0 REB.
Bill Walker threw away an awful entry pass and misplayed several screens into open shots.
Mike D’Antoni didn’t make any adjustments to his Anthony auto-switch defense, and by the time he decided to blitz Allen’s screen/rolls, it was midway through the third quarter and the backside rotations were absent. D’Antoni’s players appeared completely befuddled and overwhelmed by Boston’s offensive execution, and suffered almost systemic defensive breakdowns that have plagued the Knicks down the stretch of the first two games in Boston, and in Game Three. In other words,
Doc Rivers badly out-coached D’Antoni.
Of course it wasn’t all bad. New York’s secondary players had some nice performances.
Jared Jeffries was his usual busy self on defense and the offensive glass, and even posted Garnett for a layup.
While Walker made some mistakes, his effort was strong and he made plays on both sides of the ball, creating jumpers for himself on offense, and making several successful contests on defense.
Shawne Williams spaced the floor with his range shooting, and provided the only good shows on Allen curls all night.
But aside from small token victories here and there, Game Three was a massacre—some parts of which can be excused (the injuries), and much which cannot (the effort, the breakdowns, the lack of adjustments).
Expect the Celtics habit of stepping off the gas pedal when comfortable to rear itself in Game Three, and expect an embarrassed, angry Knicks team to come out with focus and precision in a Game Four win.
But for all intents and purposes, this series is over.

Celtics-Knicks Game Three: Celtics’ Execution Dissects Knicks’ Heart
Erick Blasco
Sat, 23 Apr 2011 07:05:13 GMT

reposted by Kaspakapaz

C’s escape despite bench, & KG’s shining minute

The steal.

It was a win that Celtics players and coaches are certainly happy to get, but more relieved to get than anything else.

Going into the game, reports were that Knicks starting point guard Chauncey Billups wouldn’t play – he didn’t. But even so, Toney Douglass was thought of to be a suitable replacement. Douglas, who leads the league since the All-Star Break in three-pointers made, had a sub-par night.

He scored 14, but his defense on Rajon Rondo – especially in the first quarter – was nonexistent. It’s obvious the game plan was to sag off Rondo, but boy did Douglas take that literally.

Hey Toney, it might be a good idea to step up on him once he gets in the paint – give him that much respect anyways.

In Douglas’ defense, Rondo was a piece of work tonight. Jeff Clark put it best: “To say that Rajon Rondo was “aggressive” to start the game would be a vast understatement. He was a predator and he smelled blood and kept going after the soft underbelly of the Knicks defense.”

That was fun to watch, sparking the Celtics and opening up a nice lead – that is until their bench came in and ruined it for everyone.

The bench got a pass in Game 1 for their rather uninspiring play, but there will be no such pass allowed after Tuesday night’s showing. Do not pass go, and do not collect the thousands of dollars you made Tuesday night, because quite frankly, it wasn’t earned.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers elected to go with Delonte West, Ray Allen, Jeff Green, Glen Davis, and Nenad Krstic for the remaining three minutes of the first quarter. A Ray Allen three-pointer built the C’s lead to ten points. They proceeded to let the Knicks score the next eight points, and only led 23-21 when the second quarter started. Carmelo Anthony netted a pair of three-point plays, and Anthony Carter banked one in too.

That didn’t make the captain happy, who watched it all unfold from the sidelines and was forced back into the game at the start of the second quarter, the lead he helped build – gone.


“[The bench has] to understand that it has to come with the defense,” Pierce said. “Sometimes I think guys are worried about getting up points and getting the ball. The main focus should be on the defensive end and things will happen for them. They have to be our energy group out there causing turnovers, rebounding, running the ball. So hopefully we can get them to understand that and they’ll be better as the series goes along.

The time when the lack of bench production was blamed on “getting comfortable around each other” is over.

“It’s about effort truthfully,” Pierce said. “That group, if they can go out and just play hard, rebound, scrap, play defense, and maintain the lead when we get it, that’s really what it’s all about. We can’t have a ten-point lead [then the] bench comes in and squanders it right away. Hopefully they can withstand that. You know what’s at stake, it’s the playoffs, so every possession is big.

The bench combined to go minus-32 tonight. It’s something that needs to be fixed, and fixed before Friday’s game in New York. No doubt the Knicks will be hungry for a win, and playing in front of the home crowd will only make them better. Pierce and Allen can’t play 48 minutes – they need help.

“The whole team I think needs to obviously assess each other’s play,” Kevin Garnett said. “I think we need to assess it from a personal [standpoint] and I think all of us need to play better. I think we have the ability to play better.”

KG’s minute

Take a look at Garnett’s stat line; there’s nothing sexy about it: 6-16 from the field for 12 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists (ok, the assists stand out). But the truth is, Garnett won this game for the C’s in the final minute.

Down one point, Rondo inbounded the ball to Garnett – not Allen or Pierce. One-on-one with Jared Jeffries, Garnett backed him down into the paint, turned, and hooked his shot over the reaching Jeffries. Swish.

“Fortunately that was a play that we drew up this morning,” Pierce said. “That’s all about paying attention to the X’s and O’s and concentrating and executing down the stretch.”

Because the Knicks were pressing hard on Pierce and Allen, that left Garnett as the guy who was going to get the call.

“It was interesting,” Allen recalled. “The play wasn’t even for Kevin the way we ran it. But we threw it to him – Rondo threw it to him – and I’m glad he did because that proves big for us even going into the next game.”

“Most of our plays have several different options in them, but it involved me, Paul, and Kevin at some point. Tonight they didn’t double Kevin. We had a game plan where they’re doubling him and we try to stay spaced and I think we kind of had to readjust to how they played him.”

The basket made it 94-93 Celtics, but the Knicks still had 13.3 seconds to win it – way too much time, especially with a guy like Anthony as hot as he was (42 points).

The Celtics found a way to shut down Amar’e Stoudemire in the closing minutes by clamping down on him and denying him the ball. They prevented Anthony from scoring in the final 2:37 by double-teaming him and making sure he didn’t have any clean looks.

This wasn’t more apparent than the final shot of the game. Guarded by Pierce, Anthony received the ball at the three-point line. Immediately, Glen Davis left his man, Jeffries, and ran out to double Anthony.

“It was interesting because we had to wonder if we went at him was he going to give the ball up and was there going to be somebody open,” Allen said. “So with the three guys behind the ball it’s almost like you got to guess, and you have to anticipate. So it’s like me being low on [Ronnie] Turiaf but getting out to [Roger] Mason so he doesn’t shoot a three.

As he should have done, Anthony got it to Jeffries.

That’s where Kevin Garnett came in.

Garnett got up in Jeffries under the hoop and got a hand on the pass that Jeffries intended for Bill Walker. Once that happened, Garnett pounced on it, calling timeout and essentially sealing the deal for Boston.

“What’s crazy is I don’t remember anything about tonight,” Garnett said. “I just know I had the steal and at that point I’m just reacting more than anything to be honest-nothing more, nothing less than that.”

You dont have to go home, but you cant stay here cause its closing time!

Rondo carried us and KG shut the door.

More coming soon.

To say that Rajon Rondo was “aggressive” to start the game would be a vast understatement. He was a predator and he smelled blood and kept going after the soft underbelly of the Knicks defense. The Knicks countered with a whole lot of Carmelo Anthony and some inspired play from Toney Douglas and (of all people) Jared Jeffries.

In the end, everyone was wondering who’s number Doc would call. Would it be Pierce? Back to Ray? Or maybe go with Rondo’s hot hand? Instead, it was Kevin Garnett who backed Jeffries down for the go ahead bucket and it was KG who shut the door with a game saving steal.

This one shouldn’t have been anywhere near that close with Billups already out and Amare Stoudamire leaving the game early with back spasms. The Celtics are a few clutch plays away from being 0-2 but because they are the Celtics and they (usually) make those plays when they matter most, we’re sitting on a 2-0 lead headed to New York.

KG The Closer Shuts The Door
Jeff Clark
Wed, 20 Apr 2011 01:44:25 GMT

>Music | Latest and Hottest Albums and Downloads

Hip Hop



by David Cassilo / @dcassilo

The game itself may not have been memorable, but what Kemba Walker and Connecticut did this season will be hard to forget. The Huskies defeated Butler 53-41 on Monday to win their third NCAA title since 1999.

Just one year after missing the NCAA tournament all together, UConn’s improbable run this season will be remembered for two people: Walkerand Jim Calhoun.

Walker first captivated the country with his performance at the Maui Invitational and brought our attention back to the Huskies when they won five games in five days to capture the Big East tournament crown. In the NCAA tournament he has been equally as exciting and wrapped up the season with 16 points and 9 rebounds in the title game, winning the Most Outstanding Player.

For Calhoun, a season that was full of controversy due to recruiting violations now also ends with his third NCAA title. He is the oldest coach to win an NCAA title and shares the distinction of being one of only five coaches with three championships, along with John Wooden, Bob Knight, Adolph Rupp and Mike Krzyzewski.

The difference for UConn on Monday and perhaps the reason the team was able to get to the next level, though, was Jeremy Lamb. After his team trailed 22-19 at the half, Lamb sparked a Husky rally by scoring all 12 of his points in the second half.

For Butler, there was no perfect ending to its two-year storybook run. An ugly offensive showing left the Bulldogs just 12-for-64 from the field, including 3-for-31 inside the arc. Their 41 points were the lowest scored by a team in the championship since 1946. Butler also becomes the first team since Michigan in 1992 and 1993 to lose consecutive title games.

But while Butler’s run will be talked about for years, UConn’s is even more impressive. What started the season as an unranked, one-man team slowly grew into the nation’s best. Even as recent as a month ago, few thought the Huskies, who finished ninth in the Big East, could make any noise in March.

As the dust finally settles on UConn, we are left with a team that did not lose a game out of conference and won all three tournaments it played in. Improbable? Yes, but at this point we should have expected a win on Monday.

In the middle of it all, of course, was a man named Kemba. Not since Danny Manning and Kansas in 1988 has one player willed his team to a title like Walker. His career in Storrs is likely over, but his legend in college basketball lore is only beginning….

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)

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