Tag:2011 First Round
Posted on: April 24, 2011 11:26 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 11:33 pm

Chris Paul crosses up Kobe Bryant video

New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul hit Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant with a mean crossover during Game 4 of their Western Conference playoff series. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Just before halftime of Game 4 between the New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Lakers, Hornets point guard Chris Paul added Lakers guard Kobe Bryant to his crossover victims list, nailing him with a vicious left-to-right cross at the top of the key before getting to the basket to finish an uncontested lay-up. 

Paul methodically dribbled near the three-point line, setting Bryant up with a behind-the-back dribble from his right to the left. As Bryant leaned in, Paul unleashed the beast, crossing back over to his strong hand and leaving Bryant in cement shoes. A few power steps and Paul was near the rim, where he kissed in the lay-up as he crashed into the baseline crowd.

Here's a look at the video.

The obvious comparison is Allen Iverson's immortal crossover of Michael Jordan, in which he set it up with a similar back-and-forth rocking motion. Bryant was left grasping at air just like Jordan was, although Iverson settled for hitting a pull-up jumper rather than attacking the basket. 

In case you haven't watched an NBA game in the last 15 years, here's video of Iverson working Jordan courtesy of YouTube user vanessama.

Iverson's cross is seen as a stepping stone in Jordan's aging process and the heralding of a new generation of players. Paul's doesn't carry that kind of weight. Bryant is still near the top of his game, and the Lakers remain atop of the NBA. 

Still, sick.
Posted on: April 24, 2011 10:13 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 10:13 pm

Derrick Rose's MRI on ankle negative

Posted by Royce Young

Not that you shoud've been worried, but rest easy Bulls fans. Derrick Rose is fine.

The result of the MRI on his left ankle were negative as expected. (Here's the play Rose sprained it on.)

Rose rolled his ankle pretty good in the second quarter of Game 4 versus the Pacers. He briefly went to the locker room but returned and finished the game. He's been wearing a walking boot on the foot for "precautionary" reasons.

As for his status for Game 5, I'm sure Rose is likely to start and play his normal amount of minutes. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau definitely isn't concerned.

"He's fine," Thibodeau told the Chicago Tribune. "He's going to have his ankle checked and hopefully he'll be ready. When we ask him, he says he's fine. (Athletic trainer) Fred (Tedeschi) said he has a little soreness. But Derrick said he's fine. He said the swelling isn't bad."
Posted on: April 24, 2011 5:48 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 6:09 pm

NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: Die another day

The Sixers stave off elimination and the Heat choke away another game. Does either mean anything in the long run?
Posted by Matt Moore

First, it was certain the Sixers were going to save themselves some pride. Then, it was certain the Sixers were going to blow it again. And in the end, the world gets to celebrate another blown Heat lead, a blocked LeBron shot, and the Sixers live to die another day

The Heat ran off a 22-2 run in the second quarter and lost. The Sixers shot 41 percent and won. And the leading scorer for Philadelphia was Evan Turner, who didn't even play in the first two games of this series. Meanwhile, the Heat's offense wilted and died in the face of a much improved Philadelphia defense. Elton Brand played physical for the first time in this series, and the result was a 5-12 performance from Chris Bosh, who had averaged just under 22 points through the first three games. 

There's two ways to look at this game. 

On the one hand: This series is still over, right? The Heat have a significant lead down the stretch, and it takes a Lou Williams 3-pointer (granted, he's shooting 60 percent from the arc in this series, but still) to stave off elimination at home. The Heat ran off a 22-2 run and had they started with any level of consistency or effort, this would have been a blowout. Sweeping teams in the NBA is remarkably difficult (if you're not the Celtics, apparently), and the Heat giving up a game isn't the end of the world. They've been in control for 13 of the 16 quarters in this series, the chances of the Sixers climbing back in are extremely low. The talent gap is just too great. 

On the other hand: Isn't this how it starts? The Heat fail to close out a bad team in an elimination game. Spirits get down, emotions drop. Then the Sixers use the momentum to steal one in Miami, where the Heat don't have a great homecourt advantage with an apathetic crowd. All of a sudden, it's a 3-2 game going back to Philadelphia, and the Heat are questioning themselves. This sounds like science fiction. But it's what we've come to expect. Until the Heat prove they can commit to closing out a team with force, there will be doubt in people's minds about their ability. They gave this one up. So the model is there for Philadelphia, sans that second quarter disaster. The Sixers aren't dead, because the Heat haven't ended them yet. Until they do, that excitement about the possibility of a Sixers comeback will linger. 

Miami thought they had taken all the pressure off of themselves. They thought they would coast into the second round. But, as much of an advantage as they've had, they still couldn't get it done. The Sixers live to die another die. 
Posted on: April 24, 2011 3:32 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 7:06 pm

Derrick Rose in walking boot, to have MRI

Derrick Rose to get an MRI after ankle injury, in walking boot at practice. 
Posted by Matt Moore and Ben Golliver.

Derrick Rose sprained his ankle in Game 4 versus the Pacers on Saturday. On Sunday at practice, Rose didn't participate, and via ESPN Chicago, was in a walking boot at practice. 


Rose is getting an MRI this afternoon, and will be re-evaluated by team doctors after that. Now, the walking boot is likely precautionary. It's not a sign of significant injury, it's usually just used to stabilize the ankle and foot. It's not a good thing, but it's not a terribly bad thing, either. X-Rays were negative, which is the biggest concern. 

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau downplayed the severity of the injury to the Chicago Tribune.
"He's fine," Thibodeau said. "He's going to have his ankle checked and hopefully he'll be ready. When we ask him, he says he's fine. (Athletic trainer) Fred (Tedeschi) said he has a little soreness. But Derrick said he's fine. He said the swelling isn't bad."
Assuming, and again, that's an assumption the MRI clears, Rose should be good for Game 5. But the next couple of hours will be tense for Bulls fans. We'll keep you updated on his status.  

It should be noted that after the injury, Rose's game went down the tubes, and he was unable to close the game out. He had a huge dunk off a blown Dahntay Jones defensive assignment, but his explosion was limited and his jumper was off, moreso than it has been this series. The ankle clearly affected him, even though the Bulls still almost won the game and Rose's key steal and dunk were part of that comeback. It simply should be noted that Rose was not at full capacity after the injury. 

Here's video of the injury. 

Posted on: April 24, 2011 2:48 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 3:05 pm

Series Reset: How much do the Lakers care?

We reset the Hornets-Lakers series with Game 4 set to tip Sunday night. Posted by Ben Golliver. 

The Narrative: 

We've learned a few things through the first three games of this series. First, Los Angeles has a clear, readily-exploitable size advantage over New Orleans, a gap so significant that the Hornets have no available adjustments. They just have to hope that Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum (preferably both) decide not to dominate. Second, the Hornets need a monster night from Chris Paul to create an environment for their role players to succeed. If Paul isn't going off, the other Hornets wings haven't proven capable of generating their own offense on a consistent basis. Third, we've learned that Los Angeles approaches these games with varying degrees of intensity. 

In Game 1, the Lakers were surprised by an all-round gem from Paul and were too stunned to recover. In Games 2 and 3, they committed more energy and thought on the defensive end, and New Orleans looked like it was drowning. Game 4, then, comes down to how focused the Lakers decide to be. They've regained home court advantage in the series, and could easily treat this as a coast game. New Orleans, on the other hand, clearly sees this as a must-win. Will that gap in motivation be enough to overcome L.A.'s talent gap? Or will the Lakers handle this one professionally so they can close this thing down in Game 5 at Staples Center? 

The Hook: 

Chris Paul has been lauded for years for his competitiveness, and rightfully so. After going for 33 points and 14 assists in Game 1, he's been limited to 20 and nine in Game 2, then 22 and eight in Game 3. Those numbers are still solid but, unfortunately, insufficient. As a team, the Hornets scored just 78 points in Game 2 and 86 points in Game 3. Paul's output (scoring plus assists) represents roughly half of their offense in both contests. New Orleans simply needs more from him. Game 4 will be a referendum on Paul's ability as a one-man show. Yes, he'll get some help from Carl Landry, who has steadily produced 17.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in this series. Landry only has the potential to hold his match-up even, though. Paul has the ability and raw to make match-ups irrelevant. He'll need to be gigantic if New Orleans wants to have a chance to play another home game in this series. 

The Adjustment: 

"Shoot the ball better" might not qualify as an adjustment, but it's a change that's necessary for the Hornets, who hit just two of their 13 shots from outside in Game 3. When you're as badly outmatched in the interior as the Hornets are, the best remedy is to space the floor well, put your shooters in their high-efficiency areas and move the ball quickly to find open shots. Then, of course, knock them down. If New Orleans can get hot from outside, the Lakers will likely turn to a slightly smaller lineup to compensate and that could make life a little easier on the glass for the Hornets. But if those shots aren't falling? Same old story. 

The X-Factor: 

Before Game 3 we tried to pin New Orleans' hope on either Willie Green or Jarrett Jack, but the combination promptly went out and combined to shoot 1-10 and score just two points in the loss. Rather than repeat that mistake, let's just say that ANY Hornets player under 6'7" not named Chris Paul needs to score in volume in Game 4. Whether that's Marco Belinelli making up for his 1-7 shooting from outside, Trevor Ariza shocking everyone with some nice scoring output or Green and/or Jack finally deciding to show up, the Hornets need a third weapon to complement Paul and Landry. And, to offset Kobe Bryant, who outscored Paul, Belinelli, Green and Jack combined in Game 3. 

The Sticking Point: 

Even if New Orleans does everything right -- competes on the boards, knocks down their outside shots, gets a huge night from Paul -- there's still the Kobe Bryant factor to contend with. Bryant hit for 30 in Game 3, including some back-breaking three-pointers that kept New Orleans at bay. His individual performance forces the Hornets to commit so much defensive attention to him that life for Ron Artest, Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher is just that much easier. All three of those guys shot 50% or better from the field in Game 3 and should have plenty of clean looks in Game 4 as well. It's a pick-your-poison type of situation for the Hornets, who we know won't go down without a fight. 

Still, this one is far less about their effort level and far more about L.A.'s. If the Lakers show up, this series will be entering its final chapter. 
Posted on: April 24, 2011 2:33 am
Edited on: April 24, 2011 3:22 am

OKC survives late scare from Nuggets to go up 3-0

Posted by Royce Young

The Thunder’s up three games to none over Denver. They walked into an incredibly hostile place and pulled out an unbelievably gritty win to put themselves in an excellent position to finish this series and move on to the second round.

But, whoa boy, it did not come easy.

(Remember, the Thunder won the game. They’re up 3-0. Remember that.)

Oklahoma City did a pretty admirable job of withstanding a barrage of Denver free throws in the third quarter which left the Nuggets with a 73-71 lead heading into the fourth. The Nuggets had every drop of momentum at that point, and looked to be charging their way to a big, series-lengthening win.

The Thunder didn’t execute by any means, but behind four straight stops and holding Denver without a bucket for almost five minutes, OKC stretched out to a comfortable lead late in the game. Russell Westbrook dropped a big shot. The Thunder dominated the glass. It was a textbook close for a team on the road.

And then Kendrick Perkins decided he wanted to throw a pretty stupid pass.

With 40 seconds left and the Thunder ahead by eight, Perk attempted to find Serge Ibaka with a full-court heave that fell innocently out of bounds. The Nuggets had life. After a couple missed free throws and a couple J.R. Smith 3-pointers, the Thunder found themselves only ahead by three, 97-94, with 10.5 seconds left and the Nuggets in possession.

Whoa. Boy. It all happened in such a whirl that it was almost like it didn't happen. How did a game go from 10 to three just like that? Could the Thunder really erase all that hard work in just a few seconds?

The ball would find Smith once again, and he tried to get James Harden to bite on a pump before going up for the shot. I'm sure, depending on which way your colors fall, you saw the play a different way. Smith clearly wanted the foul. The 20,000 people in the Pepsi Center were looking for it. But ref Derrick Stafford was having none of it. (You be the judge on it .)

Point is, the Thunder tried to completely crap away an incredible playoff win. They didn’t though. They’re still up 3-0 and in position to close this out Monday night. And the reasons they're winning are stops and rebounding. They've executed those two things superbly.

Offensively, both Westbrook and Kevin Durant never got entirely on track; going a combined 13-37 for 49 points. Much like Game 2, though, the Thunder found life in one of the oft overlooked role players. This time it was Serge Ibaka stepping up with 22 huge points, 16 even huger rebounds and four bigger than huge blocks. 

The Nuggets shot just 37 percent, but OKC was actually worse, shooting 36 percent. The game came down to free throws, where Denver blew 15 of them. What reared its ugly head again for the Nuggets, though, was the lack of a go-to scorer late in the game. They went five minutes without a basket late in the fourth and looked entirely lost. A fair bit of that can be credited to the Thunder's ability to guard, though.

Sans the last 40 seconds, OKC’s defense in the fourth quarter was pretty much unreal. The Nuggets had no idea where to go with the ball and couldn’t find even an inch of open floor for a clean look. The Thunder weren’t scoring much either, but it was a point here, a basket there and before you knew it, OKC had taken a two point lead to eight. And, so we thought, locked up the game.

Obviously, OKC didn’t get the memo this morning that NBA games do, in fact, last 48 minutes and not 47. I think the Thunder mentally checked out with 45 seconds left and started the party a bit early.

All that doesn’t matter, though. In the end, all it changes is how people like me have to recap the game. Because the Thunder’s up three games to none. They could’ve won 2-0 on a Kendrick Perkins’ fadeaway jumper and all that matters is that they had more points than Denver. In the NBA Playoffs, it’s about surviving these situations, and the Thunder stepped up in a scary moment, at a scary place, and against a completely desperate team.

The Nuggets knew Saturday night was pretty much do or die. They were the wounded dog trying to fight for it's life. That’s a tough environment to win in, especially for a young group that had never done such a thing. But OKC rose to the challenge and put the Nuggets away, and maybe the series, with defense.

Posted on: April 24, 2011 2:24 am
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:54 am

Series Reset: Sixers' last stand

Can the Sixers take a game? Can anything stop the Heat? Or will the Miami team that failed in key situations in the regular season show its ugly head?
Posted by Matt Moore

The Narrative: This is the end, my only friend, the end. The Sixers have been overwhelmed in Games 1-3. In first-round defined by intensity, close games, and upsets, the Sixers are the one team that didn't show up to the party. They've been outmatched in this series and have shown no ability to figure out a solution to the Heat's Big 3. When Chris Bosh is owning you, you're in trouble. This isn't the same as Pacers-Bulls, where the Pacers have held leads for long stretches. The Sixers have held a lead now and then, but eventually the Heat run them out of the building. This thing's over. Maimi may slack off and let the Sixers get one in, but it'll be a gentleman's sweep (a sweep with a win thrown in to be polite to the other team). For the Heat, this is now about getting rest and continuing to build the sense of team definition they've been struggling to find all season.

The Hook: Chris Bosh was dominant in Game 1, LeBron James in Game 2, Dwyane Wade in Game 3. Who's going to take over in Game 4? Zydrunas Ilgauskas? Mario Chalmers? Mike Bibby? Joel Anthony? Probably not. The most likely scenario is the Big 3 each putting in contributions, the Sixers folding up the tents and this thing ending in a grind-it-out style like most of the series have been. It's true that the Triad has been in rare form in this series, but it's really been the Heat's defense which has done the work. They've shut down Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young, frustrating each with matchups and hard switches. They've looked consistent, communicative and smooth. There's just not much you can see in the way of an adjustment that the Sixers could make. Unless...

The Adjustment: It's time for the zone. It can't hurt, right? Making the Heat into jump-shooters is a much preferable end than watching them slice and dice through anyone and everything in their way. The Sixers might as well throw this out there. Sure, it's one step short of the full-court trap in the gimmick department, but the Heat do have a penchant for settling for jumpers when things get tough. They've been nailing them in this series, but again, what does Philadelphia have to lose? They've got to play with pride, but they also need to commit to stopping the Heat from spinning their heads around. Aggressive doubles on Bosh in the post, and hard fouls on LeBron would help, but in reality, the only thing that looks to stop the Heat right now are the Heat. Zone will at least induce them to think about doing what will trip them up. 

The X-Factor: The wounded animal syndrome. The Pacers fought through about 70 bad breaks to beat a very good Chicago team. There's no reason the Sixers can't take one, especially at home. It'll take a monumental amount of pride and some fiery coaching from Doug Collins, but we've seen crazier things. Hey, the Spurs are down 2-1 to Memphis. Surely the Sixers can get one at home. 

The Sticking Point: The Heat look like the best team in the East right now. But it's just the first round. They could use the rest, and they could us the mental edge of taking out a team that can't challenge in a sweep. Will we see the killer instinct? That seems like the only thing between Philadelphia and the brooms. 
Posted on: April 24, 2011 1:33 am
Edited on: April 24, 2011 1:37 am

Did James Harden foul J.R. Smith to end Game 3?

Posted by Royce Young

Oklahoma City ahead 97-94 with a couple seconds left. Ball finds J.R. Smith for 3, James Harden tightly defending him. You make the call -- did Harden foul Smith on the shot?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com