|04.27.09 at 10:00 am ET|
It’s a good thing the NBA had Game 4 of the Cavs-Pistons scheduled directly after the epic Celtics-Bulls clash, because after watching Ben Gordon and Ray Allen play UConn H-O-R-S-E we all needed a breather and nobody has sucked the air out of the playoff balloon quite like the Detroit Pistons.
That gave us a second to prepare for Game 4 of the Magic-Sixers series, which should be of slight interest to Celtics followers. If the C’s and Bulls represent the best of the first round of the playoffs and the Cavs and Pistons are the worst, Philly and Orlando lie somewhere in between.
The games in that series have been mostly competitive, but nowhere near the breakneck pace of Boston-Chicago. Three of the four games have come down to last-second shots and Philly has won two of those, further proof for most that Orlando just isn’t ready for prime time. If Hedo Turkoglu doesn’t knock down his contested 3-pointer in Game 4, the Magic would be in serious trouble right now.
But he did and they are back in control of the series, although warily. The problem for Orlando remains that its best player is not the go-to guy down the stretch. From the outside looking in, I’m still not sure how Stan Van Gundy’s team can deliberately go away from feeding Dwight Howard, even with his troubles at the free throw line.
It’s worth remembering that on the final day of the regular season the first round matchups looked like they would have Chicago playing Orlando and Philly playing Boston. If the Bulls hadn’t inexplicably lost to Toronto–and Cleveland hadn’t rested its most important players against Philly–we would be looking at entirely different scenarios right now.
But they did and here we are. The survivor of the Boston-Chicago series won’t have a lot of time to lick their wounds, but whoever it winds up being has to feel good about its chances in the second round.
One other odd note from the first round thus far. Homecourt advantage in the East hasn’t meant a whole lot, where the home teams are just 8-7. But in the West, the home team has gone 12-3. Indirect evidence that the East is a whole lot more competitive than people have given it credit for?
|04.26.09 at 4:38 pm ET|
The late game heroics game to an end for the Celtics in Game 4. The Celtics lost 121-118 to the Bulls in double overtime.
The Cs were scoreless in the first two minutes of double OT, allowing the Bulls to take control of the final five minutes. Despite cutting the lead to one off a Pierce trey, he fell short on an attempted game-winner.
The series is tied 2-2. Game 5 will be played on Tuesday in Boston.
|04.26.09 at 4:12 pm ET|
Ben Gordon drained a three-pointer over Paul Pierce to send Game 4 into overtime, 110-110. Rajon Rondo passed on a drive to the basket and missed an attempted game-winning jumper. Kendrick Perkins, Brian Scalabrine, and Brad Miller have fouled out.
|04.26.09 at 3:46 pm ET|
Ray Allen played the hero again, sending Game 4 into overtime tied at 96 apiece. Allen drained a three-pointer with seconds left in regulation. The Celtics fended off a Derrick Rose attack on the Bulls last possession.
|04.26.09 at 2:55 pm ET|
After three, the Celtics have a 70-65 lead. Following two breathtaking games in Boston, and a blowout in Chicago, the Celtics and Bulls have settled in for a grind-it-out playoff game. No one is shooting the ball well, but the Celtics have been doing a good job on the defensive glass and limiting Chicago’s second-half points.
The C’s started the second half slowly, but picked it up at the end of the quarter with Paul Pierce scoring the final seven points of the quarter. Rajon Rondo continued his torrid play. He has 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Kendrick Perkins has also had a strong game with 15 points and seven rebounds. Perk’s play has made up for Big Baby Davis who is just 1-for-8 from the floor.
This is make or break time for the Bulls, and for the Celtics it’s a chance to take command of the series.
|04.26.09 at 2:17 pm ET|
During halftime of Game 4 between the Celtics and Bulls, ABC revealed Paul Pierce’s favorite five players to watch growing up:
Click here to see Ray Allen’s favorite five shooters of all-time.
|04.26.09 at 2:14 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins are proving just how much they have learned from playing with the Big Three. Once considered a supporting cast, Rondo and Perkins were the driving force behind the Celtics to a 46-45 first half lead over the Bulls.
Rondo is on pace for another triple-double with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Perkins, often left alone to fight at the basket, posted 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
The Bulls kicked off the second quarter with a 16-2 run, stemming back to the first quarter. But Paul Pierce broke out of his offensive slump, scoring his first points of the game during an 8-0 by the Celtics. He finished the half with 7 points and 5 rebounds.
While it is still anyone’s game at this point, the Bulls have to be concerned about second half surge from the Celtics. Glen Davis (1-6 FG, 2 points) has yet to get going and Pierce seems to just be warming up.
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