Thursday, April 30, 2009

NBA Playoffs '09: Bulls and Celts Set for Game 7

The Bulls vs. Celtics first round match up has been the most exciting by a considerable margin. It took the Bulls three overtimes to defeat the Celtics in Chicago, thus forcing game 7 in Boston this Saturday. The Bulls won the battle of endurance and made two huge plays in the waning moments of the third overtime to win at home.

The first play, which swung momentum back in favor of the Bulls, came in OT3 with the game tied and Celtics (Boston Celtics Schedule) with possession of the ball. Paul Pierce tried to make a pass as Joakim Noah jumped the passing lane, stole the ball, and took it back for a dunk. On the breakaway dunk, Noah was fouled by Pierce, his sixth foul. Noah completed the three point play to give his team the lead and got Pierce out of the game.

The second play was the defensive effort by Derick Rose that sealed the win for the Bulls (Chicago Bulls Schedule). After Kirk Heinrich botched a lay-in, (that may have been goal tending by Rondo) Rose had the opportunity to put his team up by three points by nailing two clutch free throws. He rimmed out on both and it was the only moment he actually looked like a rookie this series. Rondo led the Celts down the floor with chance to win the game. With the shot clock turned off, Rondo tried to take Rose one on one for the final shot. He drove in, leaned, stopped, pivoted back on a Steve Nash type move only to have Rose patiently anticipate the fade away and cleanly block the shot, atoning for the free throws and delivering for Chicago. Da Bulls!!!

While the overtime excitement dominated TNT's attention, there was another game happening down in Houston, where the Rockets were looking to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1997. TNT really messed up in covering this game. By the time they got to coverage, there were nine minutes left in the third quarter. The game was close before halftime, with the Blazers (Portland Trail Blazers Schedule) leading by twelve at one point. TNT showed one little highlight of Yao Ming falling on his hip, providing no other highlights, yet had plenty of time to air commercial garbage.

The NBA is a corporate, money first business that doesn't put the game first. March Madness still has to please sponsors, but at least they put basketball above all else and show the fans what the hell is happening in each game...

The Nuggets swept the Mavs in the regular season. Will the results be similar or are the Mavs playing their best ball all year? The Lakers swept the Rockets 4-0 all season, will Yao be able to handle two seven footers? The answers next time, on the Rundown...

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