EDITOR'S NOTE: The moment avid Filipino basketball fans have been waiting for has finally arrived: NBA Playoffs. Kami.com.ph features "The Hard Court Reports" by Eman-Reza Kazemi to capture the highlights of the NBA playoffs. It will share up-to-date game summaries and notable happenings of teams locked in the playoff race.
April 27, 2016 PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE
Indiana Pacers @ Toronto Raptors Game 5: 6AM NBA Premium TV
Boston Celtics @ Atlanta Hawks Game 5: 11AM bTV
Miami Heat 85-89 Charlotte Hornets [Series Tied 2-2]
From setting the NBA’s worst regular season record during the 2011-2012 NBA regular season with 7 wins and 59 loses, the Charlotte Hornets have successfully rebranded themselves as a competitive franchise once again. 5 years later and here they are playing in one of the more compelling 1 round series the eastern conference has seen in recent memory. The Hornets looked all but done in the first 2 games again the Heat, but successfully won 2 straight (home) games this postseason. A feat that has not been reached in 14 years for the franchise. The Hornets were led by the 9 overall pick from 2011, Kemba Walker. In his game 4 performance, Walker scored a playoff career high 34 points. The most points scored by a Charlotte player in post season history. Jeremy Lin played Robin to Walker’s batman with 21 points to even the series at 2 games apiece. Though the Miami Heat went on a 23-3 run in the 3 quarter to bring the game to just 2 points, the Hornets were able to contain the Heat by hitting some timely buckets of their own. Courtney Lee, the most seasoned player for the Hoornets, came up with a couple of big rebounds with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game to seal it for Charlotte. Miami were led by mid-season acquisition Joe Johnson, who had 16 points as well as 7 rebounds and 2 assists.
Oklahoma City Thunder 118-104 Dallas Mavericks [OKC Wins Series 4-1]
The Thunder close out the series against Nowitzki and the Mavericks in stunning fashion with Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook combining for 69 out of the team’s 118 points. Westbrook’s performance was 1 assist shy from another triple-double. His 36 point, 12 rebound, 9 assist performance may have partially been fueled by what Dallas Mavericks owner; Mark Cuban had to say prior to the game. When asked about Westbrook being a superstar Cuban said “You know, they got one superstar (Kevin Durant) and he plays like it. He does it, you know he’s good… I think he’s an all-star but not a superstar”. Westbrook gets the last laugh in this exchange as his team advances to the quarter-finals and will square up against another rugged Texas team in the Spurs.
L.A Clippers 84-98 Portland Trail Blazers [Series Tied 2-2]
Here is another series that saw the lower seed come from a 2 game deficit to tie the series, the Clippers-Blazers series. The Blazers were led by Aminu’s career high 30 points along with reigning M.I.P (Most Improved Player) C.J McCollum pitching in 19 points. Mason Plumlee had another impactful game defending the Modo center with his 14 rebound, 10 assist, and 2 point effort in game 4. Blake Griffin led the way for the Clippers with 17 points and 7 rebounds, while fellow teammate Chris Paul chipped in 16 points and 4 assists in the 3 quarters he played. Paul left the game in the 3 quarter due to a fractured bone in his shooting hand. The higher seeded Clippers face a challenge against the Blazers as the injury list continues to pile up after this game. With Paul (broken hand) out for the remainder of the playoffs, Griffin (sore quad) 50/50 for next game, J.J Reddick (heel) hurt, the Blazers have a chance to capitalize on the misfortunes of the L.A based squad in game 5 in the Clipper’s home court.