3 games were played in the NBA play-offs last night and while two of the games ended their respective first round series one game’s outcome ensured a 7th game decider. First up we’ll look at the formers and least exciting. In Philadelphia the 76ers needed to win to send this series to a 7th game and luckily they had home court advantage to help them. Unfortunately however, they only had 3 players that turned up in the actual game. Andre Miller led the Sixers with 24 points and Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams (coming off the bench) had 20 and 17 respectively but apart from that Philly didn’t have any point scorer. If you compared this to the Orlando Magic you’d see why the Magic are going through to face Cleveland in the Semi Finals. Without Courtney Lee and Dwight Howard playing due to injury every Orlando starter managed to get into double figures with Rashard Lewis leading with 29. Then came Rafer Alston with 21 points and 10 assists for a double double and J.J Redick with 15 points. This was a real team effort by the Magic, when faced with a difficult situation they came out firing as every player that started shot over 50 percent along with two double doubles, I’ve already mentioned Alston’s but center Marcin Gortat competently filled Howard’s shoes by scoring 11 points and grabbing 15 rebounds for his double double. Orlando will look forward to their Semi with Cleveland and will hope to give the Cavs a sterner test than the one they faced against Detroit.
In Houston the Rockets also advanced to their Western Conference Semi-Finals where they’ll play Denver after a 92-76 win over the Portland Trail Blazers to win the series 4-2. Yao Ming scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for a double double while Ron Artest lead the points scoring with 27 shooting 11 of 21 on the night with most of the missing coming from his hopeful 3 of 11 3 point shooting. On the other side Portland’s scoring looked much worse, LaMarcus Aldridge led with 26 points while Brandon Roy was just behind him with 22 but apart from that there wasn’t much to speak of. The other 3 starters recorded scores of 2, 3 and 2, in short the Houston defense was sharp. It’ll have to be even sharper if the Rockets want to stop Denver’s high calibre offense in the next few weeks.
Finally the best game of the night again came from the Boston – Chicago series where after 3 periods of overtime the Chicago Bulls triumphed at home to take the tie back to Boston for a 7th game decider. The Bulls won this one 127-128 despite an amazing Ray Allen performance for the Celtics, Allen scored 51 points on the night shooting 18 of 32 and 9 of 18 from behind the arc while Glen Davis scored 23 and Paul Pierce 22. The Bulls had their own heavy hitters though with John Salmons leading with 35 while Derrick Rose scored 28 and Brad Miller came off the bench for 23 and 10 rebounds for a double double. When the Bulls haven’t won the games in this series they’ve come mightily close and they’ll hope to squeeze the Celtics again in Boston, whatever happens this series will go down in history as one of the best first round series ever.
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