For those of you that are interested, the player ratings for every projected starter in the league in NBA 2K11 were released today. With all of the appropriate disclaimers about how video basketball is different from actual basketball, here are some interesting notes about the ratings.
The Washington Wizards dropped Game 1 of their semi final round against the Boston Celtics on Sunday. A big part of that loss was the absence of Markieff Morris, who turned his ankle with just a few minutes to go in the first quarter.
Morris was shooting a jumper from the left elbow extended with Boston’s Al Horford contesting. Horford didn’t give Morris enough of a chance to land, and a foul was called.
The video of Morris’ ankle turning is pretty gross, especially if you’re a basketball player, so just be forewarned.
After the game Wizards coach Scott Brooks said he did not have an update on Morris’ status but that they would see how he was feeling on Monday.
Morris, meanwhile, said he initially thought he had broken his ankle.
Speaking to MassLive.com, Morris said as much:
“This was my worst one,” Morris said. “I kind of twist my ankles like this, that’s my injury, an ankle twist. But this was by far the worst one. I honestly thought it was broke. They got the swelling to go down a whole lot, but it almost was like the size of a softball.”
Game 2 of the series is in Boston on Tuesday.
This ended up being a series — and a Game 7 — about depth.
Without Blake Griffin, the Clippers depth was tested and faltered, particularly on the offensive end. The Clippers scored just 15 points in the third quarter of Game 7 as the Jazz took a comfortable lead. Los Angeles shot 6-of-25 (24 percent) from three in Game 7. J.J. Redick was a non-factor. A Los Angeles offense that averaged 110.3 points per 100 possessions during the season was at 94.7 in Game 7 and 107.7 for the entire postseason
Utah, on the other hand, had their star center Rudy Gobert in foul trouble all game — he played 5 minutes in the first half, 13:26 for the game, and finished with just one point. Gordon Hayward, Utah’s leading scorer on the season, started the game 4-of-14 through three quarters (but played a strong fourth and finished with 26 points).
The difference was Utah got a huge Game 7 from Derrick Favors, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds, that made up for what the Jazz lost with Gobert. George Hill added 17 points at the point for Utah, which had seven players in double figures. They found ways to get offense from sources other than their brightest stars.
Combine that depth with the fantastic defense the Jazz played all season and the result was an impressive 104-91 win in Game 7 on the road. Utah beat the Clippers three out of four games in Staples Center this series (and Los Angeles picked up one in Utah).
The win advances the Jazz to take on the Warriors starting Tuesday night in Oakland.
The game was also the final one in an amazing 19-year career for Paul Pierce. The Clipper forward said he would retire at the end of the season, and he is bound for the Hall of Fame.
However, this series was more about depth and how the teams handled adversity due to it.
Utah struggled with injuries all season — their preferred starting five played in just 13 games together in the regular season due to injuries. That led to guys learning new roles, learning how to adapt, and play in different combinations — all things that mattered against the Clippers and in Game 7.
“It was a battle, the whole series was a battle,” Gordon Hayward said after Game 7. “Tonight was no different. It was fun out there, though. Especially competing with my teammates, with what we’ve been through this year with injuries and everything, it’s just a great win for us.”
The Clippers lost one of their big three when Blake Griffin went down with a foot injury that required surgery. Los Angeles has a top-heavy (and expensive) roster that lacked the depth to make up for it or adjust to Griffin being out.
“Not having Blake is a major wound. Obviously, you take your best scorer, your second best rebounder, your second best passer off a team,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said postgame. “But give Utah credit, they won this series.”
For the Clippers, the entire series became about Chris Paul needing to do everything — and he almost did. The Jazz were aggressive defensively trying to take the ball out of CP3’s hands Sunday, and he still had 13 points and 9 assists in Game 7, he pushed his team as far as he could, but he was 1-of-7 from three and the other Clippers shooters did not step up.
“They trapped him a lot, the same thing they did last game, to be honest,” Rivers said. “We just didn’t move the ball great as a whole group. I thought CP was great overall, he got a little tired, I thought a couple guys did… we just had such a short rotation it was very difficult. But I thought they did a great job trapping and I didn’t think we did a very good job of, after CP got rid of the ball, attacking back. I thought we lost our trust a little bit, we’d catch it and throw it back to CP instead of attacking.”
Paul was blunter in his assessment of himself.
“I’ve got to be better, especially in a Game 7 like this,” Paul said.
To be fair, Paul tweaked his ankle in the third quarter, and while he played through it he was never quite the same after.
This loss leads to an interesting offseason for the Clippers where Griffin and Paul are expected to opt out of their contracts and become free agents, joining J.J. Redick, Marreese Speights, and Luc Mbah a Moute. The Clippers are expected to bring back Paul on a five-year max contract, but this loss could be the one that has management thinking it’s time for something new — does Clipper owner Steve Ballmer want to foot the luxury tax bill that would come with one of the highest payrolls in the league to run this back?
“We’ve been reading our obituary for three months,” Rivers said.
For the Jazz, it’s just another step up the ladder for an improving young team. Now they get to test themselves against the best in the league, starting Tuesday night at Oracle.
Look, nobody is expecting an NBA player of Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s length to have a pretty golf swing. He’s the kind of tall that I wonder if golf science is even able to make clubs long enough for him that are still mechanically sound.
But that didn’t stop the Milwaukee Bucks star from hitting the driving range recently, and boy is his swing bad. Like, Charles Barkley bad.
Watch at your own risk, it is not pretty.
That’s cool, at least Antetokounmpo knows the deal.
That’s the thing about golf anyway. It’s not about how good you are, it’s about realizing at what level you suck at it.
BOSTON (AP) Isaiah Thomas had 33 points and nine assists, and the Boston Celtics made 19 3-pointers to beat the Washington Wizards 123-111 Sunday and take a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal matchup.
Thomas played just a day after attending the funeral for his sister, who died in a car accident earlier this month outside of Tacoma, Washington.
The Wizards were more energetic at the outset, jumping out to a 16-0 advantage and leading by as many as 17 points. But the Celtics rallied in the second quarter with Thomas briefly sidelined after getting one of his two front teeth knocked out.
Washington starter Markieff Morris played just 11 minutes before leaving with a sprained left ankle in the second quarter.
A rivalry has been simmering between the teams since last year, when Boston swept the season series.
They split their four regular-season matchups this season, but each included intense moments.
Sunday’s matchup was played at just as high a level, with a frenzied pace at times and physical play underneath the basket.
After the Wizards’ early scoring flurry, Thomas lost his tooth in a collision, and initially played through it. He found his tooth during a timeout, but started the second quarter on the bench while getting it repositioned in the locker room.
His teammates went on a 13-2 run without him to cut into Washington’s lead.
Boston led by 15 at the end of the third before a 9-0 spurt by the Wizards to start the final period closed the gap.
Thomas arrived back in Boston early Sunday. It was the second cross-country trip for him since Chyna Thomas died in a car accident last month, the day before the Celtics opened their first-round series against Chicago.
The Celtics star flew with Boston president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and assistant coach Jerome Allen.
During player introductions, Thomas pointed to the TD Garden rafters when his name was called.
Wizards: Shot 10 of 23 from 3-point line. … Morris turned his left ankle after landing on Horford’s foot after a made jumper. He stayed in the game to complete his three-point play, then checked out. … Washington shot 62 percent (16 for 26) in the first quarter. … Grabbed the first 12 rebounds of the game.
Celtics: Didn’t score their first field goal until 6:42 remained in the first quarter, on a layup by Avery Bradley. … Didn’t register their first rebound of the game until the 5:57 mark. …Kelly Olynyk has scored in double figures in three of his last four games, after doing so just twice in his first 11 career playoff games.
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