NBA Playoff Nightcap: April 19th Edition

Andre PWND the ORNG (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

I don't know about you, but after a Suns loss like last night I just don't feel reading any major media outlet as I'm quite certain they are hitting all the big Suns talking points - (1) can't win in the playoffs, (2) something about defense, and (3) something infuriating about physical play.  I'll take a big ol' pass on all of that.  

Sunday April 18th Playoff Games:

Los Angeles Lakers 87 Oklahoma City Thunder 79 (Recap) -OKC got off to a rough start, trailing 27-13 after the first quarter, and couldn't really recover in their first playoff game since moving to Oklahoma.  NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant struggled from the field - shooting just 7/24, including 1/8 from three - and seemed generally frustrated all day.  Kobe led the Lakers in scoring with 21 but took 22 shots to get there so the Lakers relied on a 19/13 performance from Pau Gasol to get the win.

Orlando Magicians 98 Charlotte Bobcats 89 (Recap) - Orlando led by as many as 22 in the 2nd half and held off a furious rally from Charlotte to open up a 1-0 series lead.  Stephen Jackson hyper-extended his left knee in the first half but returned in the second and still put up 18 points.  Dwight Howard blocked 9 shots but the real story for the Magicians was 32 points from Jameer Nelson and 43% shooting from three (13/30).  In a fun Suns angle, Boris Diaw contributed very little - scoring just 6 points in 43 minutes and coming up with only 4 rebounds.  Nice work.

Dallas Mavericks 100 San Antonio Spurs 94 (Recap) -In the first game of what seems to be the annual playoff tradition of Mavs/Spurs series'  - Dallas got 36 from Dirk Nowitzki on scalding hot 12/14 shooting to get the win. The Spurs big three all had strong performances (Duncan 27, GInobili 26, Parker 18) but nobody else really showed up.  Richard Jefferson scored just 4 and George Hill played 18 ineffective minutes (only 2:31 in the 2nd half).  San Antonio is going to need something out of a 4th option if they plan on winning this series.

Portland Trail Blazers 105 Phoenix Suns 100 (Recap) -Sure was nice of Steve Nash to show up.  As for the rest of the Suns?  Not so much.  Grant Hill put on a performance that makes me wonder if he actually wants to get out of the first round (4 points on 2/9 shooting) and Jason Richardson shot just 4/12 (he did have 10 rebounds).  The real story of the game was the Suns inability to stop Andre Miller or Jerryd Bayless as they got to the rim seemingly at will and combined for 49 points (31 Miller, 18 Bayless).  The Suns were the only team to lose at home in Game 1.  I'm not pushing the panic button but I'll probably bring it to the game on Tuesday.

Series Standings:

(1) Lakers v. (8) Thunder: 1-0 Lakers

(2) Mavericks v. (7) Spurs:  1-0 Mavericks

(3) Suns v. (6) Trail Blazers: 1-0 Blazers

(4) Nuggets v. (5) Jazz:  1-0 Nuggets

(1) Cavaliers v. (8) Bulls:  1-0 Cavs

(2) Magic v. (7) Bobcats: 1-0 Magic

(3) Hawks v. (6) Bucks:  1-0 Hawks

(4) Celtics v. (5) Heat:  1-0 Celtics

Monday April 19th Playoff Games:

Game 2 - Bulls @ Cavaliers: Don't worry Chicago, only three games left in your season.

Game 2 - Jazz @ Nuggets: Before the series I really liked Utah to take down the Nuggets, but now that Mehmet Okur is out for the season I'm not sure they've got the fire power.  Tough to bet against Jerry Sloan when he's matching wits with Adrian Dantley though.

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