Exciting Night in Basketball
They might not be the teams you support and they might not be the teams you want to watch, but there is no denying how exciting the two NBA playoff games were last night. Basketball fundamentals are what won the games last night with foul shots and defense playing major roles. First, there were the Boston Celtics proving that age does matter against the much younger and faster 76ers. That was followed with Kobe being Kobe and completely taking over the fourth quarter of an intense and important game against the Thunder. Both home teams ended up winning close games in the waning minutes with support from their emotional fans.
In the opening minutes of the game, the Celtics came out firing on all cylinders while Philadelphia struggled to hit a shot. Rajon Rondo was getting his teammates the ball with the same efficiency he did in the regular season that led to him leading the NBA in APG. It didn’t look like Philly stood a chance when the game reached halftime and they were trailing 46-31. Well, whatever coach Collins said to his team at halftime seemed to work. Boston quickly extended their lead to 18 and looked like they were going to pull away with a 3-1 series advantage when something seemed to click in the minds of all the Philadelphia players. Shots started to fall and Philly quickly shrank the deficit and tied the game late in the fourth quarter. That’s when they turned to their most inconsistent offensive player, but team captain, Andre Iguodala. With less then 90 seconds left and the game tied at 83, Iguodala pulled back and drained a jumper over Ray Allen. After a defensive stop, Lou Williams drove down the court and found a wide open Iguodala at the 3-point line and…swish!
“That’s not the first time he found me in that same exact spot,” Iguodala said. “Just not as big a platform as it was tonight. But it worked out for us.”
It worked out and more. The comeback victory was the biggest blown lead in the Boston Celtics playoff history. Now the series is tied 2-2 going back to Boston and it seems like the momentum is on the side of the 8th seeded 76ers.
If there was still a question as to who is the most clutch player in the game is it was answered last night. Kobe Bryant proved why he will be a first ballot hall of fame inductee and why he will go down as one of the greatest players of all time. The Lakers shot a collective 41 of 42 from the foul line, which is the second best free throw shooting performance with at least 30 attempts in playoff history, behind the Mavericks shooting 49 of 50 back in 2003 against the Spurs. Two nights prior, the Lakers blew a 7 point lead in the final 2 minutes in Oklahoma to fall behind the Thunder 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. In this game, the Lakers trailed by 5 with 3 minutes left and depended on clutch play from Kobe to finish out the game with a win. Bryant finished the game 18-18 from the line and 36 points total while leading his team to a 99-96 victory. The two teams meet again tonight in the Lakers first back-to-back playoff games since the last strike-shortened season back in 1999-00.Lets hope that every playoff game from here on out are just as exciting as these two were.