NBA Game of the Week: Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards

Brian Babineau/Getty Images. image source. 
Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards 
5/16/17 - TD Garden

Disclaimer: It's my intention to bring back weekly content for Games of the Week, as well as Tidal Wave Wednesdays to #TheSkyBoxSuite, but I know I really have to work on consistency in that department. Perhaps, it will be a little easier to focus on one thing at a time as summer approaches and NBA finals begin, but we'll see how it goes.

What a whirlwind of a playoff season it's been thus far...

First, let's start with last night's thriller Game 7 match up, which was Boston Celtics literally coming up against the Washington Wizards. Just as predicted in last week's preview of game 7, it was yet another home court victory for Boston. Although John Wall didn't show up with the same energy and obnoxious attitude he carried in Game 6, their loss last night didn't happen without a fight from both sides. Wizards' end was lead by Bradley Beal with 28 points, 24 of which were shot in the second half. The final score of 115-105 {BOS} reflected the fierce competition that was absolutely there, despite what other key scorers failed to do this time around.

Surprisingly enough, it wasn't solely Isaiah Thomas who ultimately stole the show and received all the praise on Boston's side. Instead, Kelly Olynyk's stellar off bench performance was the highlight of this game and he was able to shine in all his unexpected glory. Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown had a pretty tough run as well. 

Both teams had incredible seasons leading up to this point. John Wall and Bradley Beal, by far my favorite on court duo since the Durant-Westbrook era, have equally proven to not be underdogs anymore, a category that I placed them in not too long ago. As hard as it's been to choose a solid playoff team to root for, simply because it really would've been great to see Washington get that opportunity to move on to the next round since they haven't in a while, I really do believe this is Isaiah's golden moment and it's going to be really difficult to take that from him at this point.

As mentioned before, these athletes only have one, maybe two shots, to confirm or invalidate themselves and what they are capable of. If they miss, they never live to see the day that particular moment isn't brought up. Thomas has played such a key role post season, averaging at least 30 points every game, and coming in clutch at the most pivotal moments, which most of the time, occurs in the fourth. The jersey no.4 is super fitting for him, as he is deemed Mr. King of the Fourth for a reason. 

The show is still going. Tomorrow night, for the first time since 2012 when Doc Rivers was still head coach in Boston, the Celtics are now on their way to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they will face the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden, 8:30pm ET. Everyone seems to think it will be a 4 game sweep in favor of the Cavs, which-as much as I hate to admit it-is a pretty fair calculation, considering what the climate looked like the last time these two met up. Despite what looks good on paper, my faith is still standing firm on the Celtics to at least push to a Game 6, because #ItsNotLuck...it truly isn't...and I'm wishing them success moving forward.

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NBA Game of the Week | San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets // 03.06

 San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets 
3/6/17 -  AT&T Center

Kawhi Leonard is incredibly clutch! 

I could end the post there-if I'm being perfectly honest-but before we venture there, let's get into a few game highlights, shall we? 

The Rockets' visit to San Antonio was the team's fourth time this season playing against the Spurs, as well as the final meeting between 2/3 of the top 3 teams in the West.  Although their last few wins were close, Spurs have really been balling out lately and last night was no different, putting them at 8 consecutive wins right before they welcome the Sacramento Kings to home court Wednesday night. 

Photo Credit: Soobum Im - USA TODAY Sports
Not only was this one of the most important games for the Houston Rockets, this game was another opportunity for them to show how they're maintaining after the Lou Williams trade last month. NBA trades tend to give me anxiety, so I don't personally like to follow trade rumors and all that, but according to reports, he's what the Rockets have been missing. Some fans would certainly question that, but to his defense, right off the plane Lou was able to prove himself to be an asset, scoring 27 points his first time ever wearing a Rockets' jersey without a single practice with his new team.

Up 39-23 in the first quarter and James Harden going 6-7 from field, with 18 points in and 6 assist, Houston mostly lead by double digits early on. Throughout the first quarter, the Rockets were able to efficiently double up on the Spurs, conquering the lead role in most of the first half. However in true Spurs Nation form, Spurs responded with new found ambition in the second half and that's when the game became a different competition. It was the perfect storm.

By third quarter, Rockets were still in the lead at 57-47 following Harden's 3 point jump shot. Eventually, Spurs heal the 10 point deficit cloud hovering over them with a 3 point shot by Danny Green, followed by 2 more consecutive 3 point shots by Tony Parker. David Lee dunks and San Antonio has caught up with their rivals, maintaining that 2 point difference the remainder of the game. Both teams switched places a few times when it came to who took the lead, especially in the fourth.

Fast forward to fourth quarter, Eric Gordon secures a 3 point shot, tying the game at 107. Watching this game, I just knew it would go into overtime, considering there was less than 2 minutes left. After a few plays and a couple missed chances to seal the deal, James Harden's 1 out of 2 free throws places his team back in the lead at 108, probably thinking it would be enough to secure a win, but Leonard dismissed that fantasy with a quickness with his game winning 3 point dagger to the heart. Kawhi Leonard is incredibly clutch! The crowd went bananas! Those are the kind of climatic moments sports' fans live for.

It was already over at that point, but with high hopes, Harden drove the ball full speed up court, but Leonard was not having it. blocked. Nene caught the rebound, but Lamarcus Aldridge wasn't playing either. blocked again. Basically, all Houston's attempts to utilize the final 26 seconds to their advantage, were literally knocked down and Spurs walk away in victory.

Key players were obviously Leonard and Harden, both putting up 30 + points for their respective teams and both in question for MVP. Other double digit scorers were LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker for the Spurs; Patrick Beverly and Trevor Ariza for Houston.
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NBA Game of the Week | Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Washington Wizards

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Washington Wizards
2/6/17 - Verizon Center


Photo cred. Associated Press
Monday night's game in Washington, D.C. was an instant classic. It was a battle between two of the best teams in the Eastern conference, one full of climatic moments and high energy from the crowd. It really was the perfect storm. 

On Cleveland's side, King James obviously took the lead and remained a consistent factor throughout the game. This man, Lebron, was on fire, shooting 6/8 from the 3 point line, scoring 32 points as well a career-high 17 assist. And did you get a chance to witness just how smooth and elegant those 3 back-to-back three's during the final minutes of regulation? Sensational.



Kyrie Irving, who was low-key most of the game, yet persistent and managed to add 23 points to the scoreboard. Together, they all made it look easy, breezy, beautiful

On Washington's side, there was Bradley Beal, scoring an astonishing 41 points within a 16/28 fraction and 8 assist and John Wall, totaling out at 22 points and 12 assist. It's fitting to mention Otto Porter, who finished with 25 points, including 5 out of 7 three pointer attempts, and 12 assist. Kevin Love was also effective with 39 points in 11/17 shooting and 12 rebounds. 

For the second time in the game, Lebron lead the Tye at 133-133 in OT, which was broken by Kyrie with 35 seconds remaining. Bradley missed the opportunity to reset the tie under a 5 sec. pressure weight on him; that's when Kevin Love caught the rebound and saved the day with 2 free throws. 

The game concluded in an OT win for Cleveland, as the Cavaliers brought the Wizards' 17 home game winning streak and 7th overall, to an end and both teams walking away in good spirits regardless, according to post-game interviews.

Photo cred. Ken Blaze - USA Today Sports
This game was like being on the best roller coaster at an amusement park for the first time; not only was it a thrill and an adrenaline rush, but it definitely lived up to the hype.
 
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NBA Game of the Week: Golden State Warriors vs. OKC Thunder

The intensity and high-emotion of last night's game between the Golden State Warriors vs. OKC Thunder inspired me to start up Game of the Week series, which is an idea I've been brewing since I started this blog. Honestly, I can't even take full credit for it, so thanks to my boy, B.Braxton for planting the seed in my head. What it basically is is a short and sweet recap of my favorite games from the week, of course not limited to just basketball.

image source via ESPN.com

So let's get into it...

Is it just me, or does K.D. perform 10x's better under pressure? How else can you explain accomplishing yet another season-high of 40 pts facing a former team. Westbrook, despite the travel incident (and how many turnovers??), came with the heat too, with 27 pts, 15 rebounds, and 13 assist.  And can we take a moment to reflect on Durant's unforgettable reverse pass dunk combination in the 3rd? Wowzers

However, I did recognize that something was a little off balance about Westbrook, who was out there making rookie mistakes; don't know what it was, but it was far from subtle. Being that OKC hasn't won a game on Warrior's hardwood since 2014, he might want to respectfully keep that in mind when his team has home court advantage in the next couple of months. 

Aside from the Brody vs. Durant show, both teams did their thing last night. Steph Curry came with his A game per usual; so did Draymond Green and Klay Thomas. Thunder's center, Enes Kanter, added 22 pts and 9 rebounds off the bench, but c'mon...we all know who took center stage in this game, easily, so no point in trying to take away the stars of the show. I mean, did anyone else even play? 

In conclusion, it's always a damn good match up when Westbrook and K.D. are on the court together, even when they're playing on separate teams. It drives me a little insane that I don't always know how to let the past go sometimes and as much as it still kills me to not see them in the same uniform, all being fair in love + basketball, only one team takes home the win. Warriors dominated with a final score of 121-100.
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