Smack / Apr 23, 2010 / 3:33 am

Chicago and Oklahoma City win two for the underdogs

Russell Westbrook, Dime #43

The timing was just too perfect to be a coincidence. On the same night when they’d have to compete with the NFL Draft for ratings, the NBA just happened to roll out a schedule with Kobe and LeBron both in playoff action — the first time that had happened this postseason. Too bad the superstars failed to deliver their end of the c-o-n-spiracy, dropping road games to respective 8-seeds OKC and Chicago to make each series interesting again … You can’t watch a Thunder home game without hearing “college-type atmosphere” in the first 10 minutes. But in the franchise’s first-ever playoff game in OKC, the Lakers took the crowd out of it immediately, scoring the first 10 points after tip-off and forcing them to play catch-up for the next three quarters … After Kevin Durant (29 pts, 19 rebs) tied it up in the final minute of the third quarter with a casual 28-footer, the fourth was like a contest between KD and Russell Westbrook to see who could hit the craziest shots, and who could make the crowd explode louder. And guess whose life Westbrook was making miserable? Yeah, Derek Fisher. Seriously, the kid was deuceing on D-Fish like Danny Glover did Tracy Morgan in Death at a Funeral, and one time Russ (27 pts) blew past him before crowning Lamar Odom something vicious … From the 10-minute mark until literally the last second of the game, Durant and Westbrook scored all of OKC’s points, as they led by as much as eight in the quarter. Kobe (24 pts, 8 asts, 10-29 FG) got a tough layup in traffic to cut the lead to two with about 13 seconds left, but Durant made his free throws on the other end, and Ron Artest and Jordan Farmar missed treys on L.A.’s last chance … Those who argue Scott Brooks really earned his Coach of the Year and did more than just mind the store while Durant and Westbrook blew up will point to the Thunder defense in this game. If they can get L.A. to shoot 31 threes every night, they have a real chance to win. And is Phil Jackson serious, questioning the free-throw differential? Phil, your team only shot 12 FT’s because they took THIRTY-ONE threes! … The Bulls were destroying the Cavs for most of their game until Cleveland rallied and got within single digits late in the fourth. You assumed it would be LeBron Time from then on, but LBJ was strangely passive and too unselfish. You wouldn’t know it from the 39-point, 10-rebound, 8-assist stat line, but LeBron didn’t dominate this game. We already know he can take Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, James Johnson or whoever else to the rack whenever he wants to — or when he’s feeling it, bury jumpers in their eye — but down the stretch LeBron passed up several open shots and opportunities to go to the hoop, putting a lot on the shoulders of Mo Williams (21 pts), Anthony Parker and Antawn Jamison (19 pts, 11 rebs). When LeBron did decide to attack with about two minutes left, it was almost too late. The Cavs cut the lead to two, but Deng and Derrick Rose answered with back-to-back shots in the lane, and the Cavs killed themselves with some huge turnovers in the end … Adding to the strangeness was the way the refs called the game for LeBron. He got whistled for an offensive foul in the fourth that was jaw-dropping only because you never see LeBron on the wrong end of that call in that situation; and later ‘Bron was going for an offensive rebound on a free throw when Joakim Noah mugged him Brooklyn-style with no whistle … Meanwhile, Hinrich was playing out of his mind. He put up 27 points, 5 boards and 5 dimes on a ridiculously efficient 9-for-12 from the field and made all four of his threes. Hinrich was also key in the defensive effort against LeBron. D-Rose added 31 points. This was a lot like that late-season home game Chicago had to win against Boston, where the backcourt just owned it … This Suns/Blazers series is starting to look like the dog of the first round. For the second game in a row, Phoenix just thoroughly outplayed a depleted Portland squad from start to finish. Jason Richardson dropped 42 points (8-12 3PA) to go with 8 boards and 3 steals, including 12 points in the first quarter when the Suns were already knocking on a 20-piecing. By halftime the Suns were up 30, and while the Blazers tried to make it respectable in the fourth quarter, it seemed Richardson or Amar’e Stoudemire (20 pts) was always there to kill the momentum … If you’re anywhere near Connecticut tonight, swing by the Mohegan Sun Casino’s “Ultra 88″ club, where none other than Dennis Rodman will be on the 1’s and 2’s. No joke. Now we’re not promising Rodman will actually show up, but he is scheduled to appear. You can ask his “Celebrity Apprentice” teammates how reliable that is … We’re out like sweeps …

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  • http://www.myspace.com/carlifrancis5 quest???

    great great game by the thunder. In a few years when they have experience under their belt and ibaka learns to control his add, they will be almost unstoppable.

  • http://www.getbuckets.anywhere.com Chicagorilla

    I was at the Bulls game right by the Bulls tunnel and that place was jumping the entire 4th quarter it seemed. Great game. Oh and Watching Noah live…you get a greater appreciation for what he brings to the team. But I watched him and hour before the game and I am not exaggerating… hit twenty 15ft jumpers in a row. then he did it again and again and again. first shot of the game though…CLANK. The side spin he has on the ball is just hideous! but he was making all the right plays last night.

    Oh and in person…Shaq is freaking huge. Lebron is even faster in person, so is Derrick Rose. i cant imagine anyone faster than LBJ in the L. I would love to see it though.

  • control

    Derek Rose just keeps impressing the fuck out of me. The guy has one of the most brutal cross overs in the league, I don’t think I’ve seen a guy make so many baskets with the other team’s defense not even looking in his direction.

    Joakim should NEVER try to put the ball on the floor, he had a possession where he dribbled once, stumbled over the free throw line, flopped and fumbled the ball out to the 3 point line where someone got an open 3. Probably the least deserved assist in history. Does he always have to look uglier than fuck and scream during EVERY play? Even ones he isn’t involved in?

    Without getting into a huge discussion about Andy “the gina”, can we all just agree that he should never try to post up, ever? Guy gets completely beasted by guys who are 6’6, almost loses dribble twice, while being pushed 2 steps from basket and just tosses up ANOTHER fadeaway hook shot that was over 6ft from hitting rim.

    For some reason, whenever I watch Deng I am disappointed. Even when he has a good game, I just feel let down watching him play. I have no reason why I feel that way watching him.

    Wasn’t feeling Kobe’s shot selection, or Durant’s at the beginning.

    Watching Westbrook and Rose…it’s amazing how EXPLOSIVE some of the new point guards are. I still prefer watching an amazing play maker like Nash…but if there were a way to combine a play maker and dynomite pg, it would be beautiful.

  • http://Www.dimemag.com Smitty

    Cavs n lakers win in 5 . Lebron best player in the league !!!!!

  • BRUCE

    I expect Lebron and Kobe to deliver in Game 3!

  • lucky

    Kobe jacked so many threes. THAT’S why the lakers lost. I hate the fact that some people are still giving him credit for being a great all around player when he is always going to be a part time teammate. He desn’t put any confidence in his teammates and he’s a glory hog too. Damn you kobeeeeee!

  • sh!tfaced

    Game 3?! Typo or sarcastic humor or…? Sometimes you can never tell with bruce…

    Bulls are in dire need of someone with a resemblance of a low post game. Cavs keep getting away with a small lineup featuring LeBron or Jamison at center…

    That “push shot” by Rose. Damn. Kid has really mastered it now. Kinda expecting that to be the next craze in the gym, if it isn’t already.

  • Atom

    “and later ‘Bron was going for an offensive rebound on a free throw when Joakim Noah mugged him Brooklyn-style with no whistle”

    Good no call by the official. Watch the play and see how Lebron pushed Noah first to go around him and get right under the basket (pretty nifty move, used Noah’s momentum to push him right into Gibson). After swallowing his whistle there, was the ref supposed to call Noah for what possibly was a tie up? They need to be consistent, at least right there with that rebound realistically pushing the game into overtime the refs let both teams go at it.

    Hear what your saying about that offensive foul call on Lebron though. Pretty surprising it wasnt a blocking foul or no call at least.

  • Josh Tha roc

    Carn the thunder!!!!!!!!
    Get these home games, steal one away and we’re flyin.

    Seriously though great to see them get that first post season victory.

    Phil and the free throws i think can be explained by phil being an old dude. I mean phil is an excellent coach but I think sometimes these old fellas get a bit too much credit for playing mind games, when really old dudes just say stupid sh#t sometimes.

  • control

    BTW, Marv Albert should be banned from TV, everyone he tries to interview just mocks him and laughs in his face (Phil for example). Reggie Miller should have his ass banned as well (or killed), his “heading into commercial” spots make my ears bleed, and my sanity wane.

  • http://bt.davka.info/ SparkyJay23

    Can’t believe then finally made that head down and charge call on LeBron lol

    But man did Chitown try HARD to lose this

  • Atom

    I could b wong but I don’t think head down is the standard. They usually look at lowering the shoulder, which I did not see lebron do on that possesion.

    Reggie was in rare form. I think he said he wanted to walk down a dark alley with James Johnson. What he is planning to do in that alley is anybodies guess. Why he feels the need to yell into every commercial break is beyond me.

  • RC

    Both games are amazing, but I enjoyed watching the Thunder vs Lakers game more. What a crowd they got! I like how Durant shut down Kobe in the fourth and give credit to the OKC bigs for not backing down and playing amazing defense on Bynum and Gasol. Of course my man Russell Westbrook destroyed the Lakers point guard rotation as expected. The question is are they gonna play with the same intensity in game 4? Because if not twin towers are gonna destroy them again like in the first two games. I love when Kobe gets shut down by a single defender!

  • http://facebook.com/Mr.Brogden Mr. Brogden

    Bulls
    Rose and Hinrich at it again like Starsky n Hutch.
    They was murderin’ Mo and AP.

    Cavs
    Their defense took a step back this year, that much was obvious in this game.
    That last shot by Mo, GEESH!
    I swore I heard 20,000 heartbeats in the UNITED CENTER.
    It was THAT quiet.

    OKC
    All I gotta say is WOW.
    Westbrook and Durant did what they had to do.
    But Harden was the freakin’ MAN last night.
    And IBAKA is DAT BOL. I’ma call him IBLOCKA.

    Westbrook was like Lionel Richie last.
    He gave Fish da bizness All Night Long.

    Durant was SOOOOO not gettin’ buckets and then all of sudden he was SOOOOOO getting’ buckets. 8 for 24 shots is NOT efficient but this dude finished with 29 points!!!!!!
    That’s pretty good given how crappy he was from the field.

    Crazy, Crazy, Crazy sequence that showed the Thunder’s RESILIENCY.
    Umm, bottom of 3rd :
    Westbrook hit a jumper (he’s ridiculously FAST by the way)
    BANG
    Harden hit a 3 (down by 3 now)
    BANG
    Fish jacks a long one. Durant grabs it. Transition, comes down maybe an inch past half court, YAWNS and PICKS THE BOOGIES OUT OF HIS EYES then casually launches a 3.
    BANG.

    Tied Game. I said to myself, “These N****s is DA BOMB!!”

    LA
    Too much Kobe in this one. Too many 3s.
    Can’t blame him, ’cause I saw Pau defer wayyyyyy too many times. Stop being a scary dude and shoot that s***. Even though that TEAR DROP was a thing of beauty, he’s gotta step it up.

    Harden was the SOLE REASON OKC hung in there in the 2nd.
    He was ABUSING Kobe. Yeah, he was. And Kobe tryna go tit for tat with the youngin didn’t help LA’s cause. Talkin’ MAD S*** didn’t neither.

    He just kept getting to the line, it just was amazing to see this rookie being a GROWN AZZ MAN out there.

    PHX
    What’s taking so long?

    Portland
    My nose is flaring.

    So after I saw my Eagles grab a smallish pass rusher and try to make him to be the next Reggie White…then I heard Barkely whom I starting to believe may need a muzzle, dead pan about how going to Boston Garden was fun “’cause you knew the refs were gonna cheat”…to seeing Tebow with matching MINT GREEN shirts with some other fella get picked in the 1st round after my cousin SWORE to me he wouldn’t get drafted (told ya cuzzo)…this is what I know:

    I’m officially a fan of Durant, Westbrook, Harden, and Ibaka.

    Kobe hits some crazy tough shots and that’s just crazy.

    Rose and Hinrich play basketball the RIGHT way.

    Jason Richardson still HAS it.

    The look on Derek Fisher’s after Westbrook’s last And-1 was PRICELESS.

    It said: Damn! This Some Bulls***! This n**** is DESTROYING me and I can’t do nothin’ about it.

    **My bad y’all if the post was too long, just scroll down past it and keep it moving.

  • http://dimemag.com/2010/01/daily-fantasy-diagnosis-1-20/#more-30658 Mike

    Bulls Cavs going at least 6

  • LAballer

    that behind the back dribble that deng did to fake out lebron was sick..too bad it’ll never happen again..the bulls eeked out a great win there..almost folded though..i think thats their 1 win in that series..

    i think phil talking about the FT’s was more about how many the thunder got and not about how little the lakers got..granted the lakers should not have gotten many as yeah they were jacking some horrible shots and not moving the ball well at all in the second half..but some of those touch fouls..i dont know..

    like lakeshow says..both teams played hard haha..

    that crowd is RIDICULOUS..

    cant wait for game 4s!!

  • jackass

    russ wes should donate half his contract to d.fish for making him look this goddamn good. i mean he is good. but he ain’t the greatest to play this game.

  • http://dimemag.com/2010/01/daily-fantasy-diagnosis-1-20/#more-30658 Mike

    -If Mike Brown is a good coach why didn’t he call a timeout at the end of the game?
    -Deng is decent when he attacks the rim
    -OKC will be contenders starting next year & win probably 2-3 rings
    -I think the Suns will beat the Spurs in round 2
    -We know Fisher can’t guard Westbrook so why is he playing in the 4rt, try Brown
    -Pau & Bynum need 2 step up
    -Rose is a BEAST I’m glad I live in Chi-town, he’ll be tearing up the league 4 a long time

  • JAY

    Where’s Lakeshow?? I remember he was saying Kobe was a 3-pt shooter. Let’s resurrect the argument. Lol

  • JAY

    Watching last night’s Bulls game, I really really hope Wade is considering Chicago. If Lebron stays in Clv like I think he will, Chi-Mia could be the biggest rivalry in the league for 5 or more years.

  • JAY

    i meant Chi-Clv

    my bad… boss walked by

  • rick773

    @ Mike I agree Mike brown is a Horrible coach……But the reason he didn’t call a TO was because they were out…I’m hoping Chi can win game 4 and really make it interesting

  • Tom

    It’s pretty well established that the NBA refs do everything they can to extend playoff series to make the league more money. I didn’t watch OKC/LA, but Chicago/Cleveland was a pretty clear example of that.

  • LakeShow84

    @ JAY

    lol resurrect that arguement huh?? no THANKS!

    But consider we resurrecting what 2 monthst later?? thats how long it took huh??

    Also consider the following Laker game after our arguement Kobe went 3FG% capped with ANOTHER game winning trey.. i would say anything u got to say at this point would be, ummmmmmmmmmm, MOOT lol

    But i feel yas on the Dwade going to CHI.. If he goes there DRose and Dwade in the backcourt would be the sickest backcourt for the next 5,6,7 years..

    A lot of teams will have the chance to turn into CONTENDERS this offseason based on the variety of talent on the market..

  • LakeShow84

    In anycase big ups to the Thunder who played they hearts out last night..

    Clearly we were lulling that game.. Way too many 3’s for ANY Lakers fans liking..

  • http://www.getbuckets.anywhere.com Chicagorilla

    @Control…
    man i was there like an hour early and Noah was the only Bull still shooting around. Dude even had a shooting coach with him. Yet he was still shooting that sidewinder. fine, he just needs to become Marcus Camby and focus on that part of his game.

    As for Deng, I hate to admit this but as a UNC fan I should be shot. I actually reached over the railing and gave Deng some dap as he came down the tunnel. dude made some nice plays so i had to give it up to him. My Chitown roots outweighed my UNC love. I will send a letter of apology to Dean Smith later today. on the other hand, his Dookieness was in full swing as he was getting wore the eff out on defense by LBJ. And Dengs behind the back move is his signature move. hell…it’s his ONLY move. He does it all the time.

    At one point some Clev fan stood up and tried popping his LBJ jersey when Bron had a dunk… then someone threw a bloon at him and he sat his ass down…hilarious!!!

  • QQ

    So fun watching the Thunder play fearlessly against the champs. You’ll never get the feeling that they’ll mess it up in the last minute because of their recklessness, but daamn they proved me wrong. They’re reckless YET in control when it really comes down to it. Props.

    Seeing the Cavs Hype Machine lose made me smile, proving a bunch of bandwagon retards that they are NOT invincible.

  • D.I. Dollar

    It’s always easier to win at home than on the road and the Thunder and Bulls both proved that yesterday. Both games could have just as easily gone the other way but the home crowd played a good 13th man and allowed the 8’s to prevail.

    Kobe is the sole reason why the Lakers lost that game and he knows it. It’ll be a different story in game 4. I hate when he guards the young up and coming stars of the league. He tries so hard to show that he is top dog that it sometimes backfires on him. It is very reminicent of MJ when Kobe was coming up. He hated to let Kobe show him up and it took him out of his game. Same thing is going on with him and Durant. And Fish…poor poor Fisher. Phil needs to let him start and then play him sparingly because he exposes our biggest weakness. He can’t guard anyone anymore. If he isn’t hitting the big open jumpers and he can’t play defense he shouldn’t be on the floor.

    I know nobody thought the Lakers were going to go undefeated throughout the playoffs, the West is just way too tough. Now, the Cavs on the other hand have the easiest path to the Finals and there is no reason they should have lost yesterday. But just like last year, they are suspect and they just don’t know how to kill. Yeah, they had the best record in the League in a cakewalk season, but the playoffs are different animal and if they don’t figure out how to smash inferior teams, they are in for a wake up call in the Eastern Conference Finals and maybe the Finals if they can get past Orlando.

  • samk

    uhh the Phil Jackson free throw commetn was not a complaint. If you saw the interview or read the papers you would’ve seen that he said it was a byproduct of shooting 31 3 pointers

  • K Dizzle

    Great game by Durant. 19 boards is bananas….but you ain’t just gonna block Kobe’s shot and not get the business in game 4 lol
    Announcers were proppin Kobe’s 4 assists in the 4th, but he shoulda had about 8 if he wasn’t jackin them quick 3s. Lamar hit a huge 3, Pau was hittin and Ron “I can’t keep my toes off the line” was hittin, Fish was hittin. Not worried about the Thunder as long as they don’t get Green involved. Dude looked like they lost the game walkin down the tunnel after the game. If they gonna try to compete with Russ and KD and hope Harden keeps hittin, then it’ll be a short series

  • http://www.getbuckets.anywhere.com Chicagorilla

    ” It is very reminicent of MJ when Kobe was coming up. He hated to let Kobe show him up and it took him out of his game”

    D.I. dollar, I know we not supposed to say this to eachother as black men (assuming you are black),
    but N!&&@ have you lost yo damn mind? young Kobe taking MJ out his game? got sit on a cue stick.

  • D.I. Dollar

    Sit on a cue stick??? For voicing my opinon?
    Ninjas are super sensitive nowadays.

    @ Chicagorilla
    Nobody was a bigger Bulls fan than me. It was only a few years ago that I even acknowledged Kobe deserved to be mentioned in the same sentence as MJ and I remember clearly how pissed off I would get at Mike for being pulled into a pissing match with the Kid Kobe. Never did I say he got the best of him, never did I say he was better, I just said he did things that were out of character when Kobe was on the opposite side of the ball. I see that same thing happening with Kobe and Durant. Kobe has a competitive side rivaling Mikes and it sometimes makes him act like the old Kobe, jacking up contested or uncontested bad shots just to prove that he can hit them and get that little bit of extra glory. In my opinion Kobe just like Mike is better when he takes shots in the flow the game instead of forcing things. When he is forcing shots and commiting stupid fouls he being taken out of his game.

  • bery

    The Bulls go as Hinrich goes; it’s always like that for the past 6 yrs including last 2 yrs (don’t believe it, just check the Bulls record for the past 2 yr without Hinrich). That’s why the Bulls FO is so afraid of trading Hinrich away, which also shows the FO does NOT have enough confidence in their #1 pick Rose. A lot of Bulls fans criticized Hinrich for not providing enough offensive productivity, but how could he score, when Rose hogs the ball so much??? Check how many more shots Rose took than did Hinrich. I’m not saying Rose is not good; it’s just that he has NOT proven that he can lead this team to playoff with Hinrich. Hinrich did without Rose, despite Rose has better teammates than Hinrich ever had (eg., Hinrich didn’t have helps from Noah playing at a high level and from a tall all-around SG like Salmons; mostly Hinrich didn’t have helps from an all-around backcourtmate like Hinrich).