Looks like George Karl picked the wrong night for his back-to-back resting of Kenyon Martin. As I write this, it’s 49-25 Celtics with a 14-5 rebounding edge. Martin has two of those boards after not playing in Tuesday’s loss in New York. Bob Cousy is nice to listen to but I want to see some competitive hoops so on to the second half of Clippers-Pacers it is but before we get there let’s see if the Hawks can build on their ei lead over Phoenix.
This is the battle between the two 3-0 teams that many didn’t think would be that type of team and it’s tight, 58-55 Pacers and it’s go time.
Clippers bring it up Cassell fakes and draws the contact in the elbow three fouls for Tinsley. Al Thornton is getting major time as Mobley is injured, 58-57.
Cassell in the thick of it as a double team strips Granger and turns into a Kaman hoop, A Granger miss from three and Thomas rebounds and Cassell hits, 61-58 Clippers. Spacing creates an open look for Thornton but he misses and a nice entry pass becomes a turnaround flip by Jeff Foster, 61-60. And now a block on Dunleavy Jr and replays show he probably has position. Thornton makes them both and it’s 63-60. And another turnover – Granger turns it over, Maggette lays it in. Timeout Indiana.
Meanwhile two channels up, Atlanta is up by five over the Suns with five minutes remaining.
Back to the unbeaten action, Corey Maggette gets called for the offensive foul and is down on his back. This looks really painful and while we wait that out, it’s a three-point game in Atlanta. Shawn Marion dunks in transition after reading the play well and it’s 68-67 but Marvin Williams hits the mid-range jumper for a three-point lead, all of which is happening as Joe Johnson sits on seven points. Nash hits a jumper and Williams misses, Bell gets the rebound and Nash drives no foul and a three-pointer for “The Sniper” (Salim Stoudemire). But Marion dunks it back and it’s 73-71.
Another three for Stoudemire whose nickname is being shouted by the Atlanta announcer. Nash spins in gets a righthanded leaner and Marvin Williams fouls him, 76-73.
Back to Indiana, Kaman bounce pass to Cassell, they work it around but a shot-clock violation. In a halfcourt set, the Pacers pull off a backdoor play for Dunleavy who hits both at the line for a 65-65 tie.
Tim Thomas gets the spacing and leans into a three, 68-65 but Dunleavy is heating up with that one, 68-67. Bounce pass for Thornton who misses the up and under, but the Clippers get a third chance and now run an entry into the post for Kaman who is fouled.
Kaman does his throwing motion and hits the first and takes more practice motion and it does not work, 69-67 with 5:58 remaining.
Kaman grabs the board off a Dunleavy miss three and Cassell is blocked by Harrison. A Clippers tells Thornton to help up Cassell and he makes both, 71-67.
A Murphy miss allows the Clippers to set up and an airball by Thomas but a putback for Kaman and his fourth straight double-double. Harrison makes a dangerous pass and rebounds a Tinsley missed three but turns it over.
Cassell high off the glass and he has 26 and i’m moving up two channels for the fourth quarter in Atlanta, where it’s 80-76 Hawks.
Childress gets blocked but hustle guy Mario West gets the rebound, Hawks hit one and Grant Hill is at the line and it’s 81-79. Quiet crowd doing the wave, Salim kicks to Childress and it’s Bottoms (a three according to the announcer).
Barbosa bounce into Grant Hill and West fronts him for out of bounds West’s feet were planted and he takes a sea. Childress steals and Bell does the same thing on Josh Smith. Reset and Marion blocks it from behind, 12 seconds on the 24. Inbounds goes to Johnson over Bell for the brick but Childress with the putback, 86-78.
Hill draws the contact and Childress picks up his fourth foul. Hill misses the first and hits the second, 86-79.
Still on the perimeter with less than 10 and Dick Bavetta spots Al Horford making an illegal screen. Is this a repeat of Detroit from Sunday?
Barbosa misses the runner, gets the board and it goes 86-81.
Steal by Bell and Smith fouls him, kind of gets his hand on the chin while going for the ball. May or may not have been a foul but it’s time to keep the composure for the Hawks, Barbosa misses, second chance for the Suns, Hill gets it deflected out of bounds with 8:50 remaining and it looks like I made the right call as the Clippers have a 13-point lead late in the third and meanwhile Boston has a 77-38 lead at halftime.
And after a trip to the concession stand, the Hawks have opened a 90-81 lead and we take a timeout. And now we’re moving into take care of business mode, can they get it done?
Inbounds to Johnson, sets up back in to Smith for three, way off and Marion brings it up. Nash to Bell back to Marion back to Nash and a deflection kick to Barbosa, who runs, hangs and drops it in. 90-83.
Law to Johnson tough leaner won’t go and the rebounds goes out of bounds to Phoenix. Nash lob to Marion kick to Barbosa and the miss becomes Horford’s 15th board. 90-83.
Open look for Johnson and it’s short, Nash brings it up to Hill and Horford fouls him. At this point, it’s 3-for-15 for Johnson, who played with the Suns after being a Celtic and before being a Hawk. Hill hits both and it’s 90-85.
Johnson touches to Childress back to Johnson to Law, three is in and out and Nash swings to Marion Nash drives on Childress and puts in a reverse layup 90-87. Pensive crowd now perhaps waiting for the shoe the drop and Johnson crashes on Raja Bell for his fourth foul with 4:21 left.
Bell airballs a long two, Williams rebounds and hits with some imploring by the play-by-play guy (Come on Marvin), 92-87.
Nash pulls up over Smith for his 31st, 92-89.
Johnson back to Marvin Williams for a jumper from the elbow, 94-89.
Nash loses the dribble to Josh Smith and a loose ball foul on Nash. Smith pokes it away with his right hand and the fans want a clear-path foul on Nash.
johnson dribbles, fakes twice and draws a foul on Marion, timeout and free throws 96-89 with under three.
Nash to Bell, Diaw posts up and is fronted by Johnson brick off the glass. Childress swings around the perimeter, Smith drives spins into a double and Nash gets the rebound, right corner three for Bell is no good and Johnson gets the rebound. Law to Smith bounce into Johnson gets the seperation and misses, and Smith goes up with the third chance lay-in and foul 99-89 1:50.
Marion drops it in on a lot of bounces, 99-91. Clock management is working now as Smith swings it to Johnson for a missed three. Diaw rebounds to Nash and Marion off the glass, 99-93. Law is fouled by Nash and both are missed.
Nash loses the dribble to Smith. Johnson gets it after Smith pokes it away with the left hand again. Johnson goes to the line for two and hits it, 101-93 and now the crowd likes it with 45.3 seconds remaining.
Once this resolves, we’ll get our visa and head to Toronto where as Bill Walton used to say on those league pass commercials, the action is as hot as can be.
Inbounds goes to Barbosa, two chances and a miss, Smith to Childress, who is fouled by Nash going for the dunk. Nash hits a three and it’s 103-93, a mere formality at this point. Johnson goes to the line for two and the Hawks win it 105-96. Cue up Kool and the Gang, it’s time for a celebration!