How about that collapse by the Indiana Pacers Tuesday night? How about we come back to that fiasco in a few minutes.
If you’re anyone associated with the Los Angeles Clippers, well … we can forget about the Clippers.
If you’re anyone associated with the Portland TrailBlazers you’re likely relishing the thought of playing a 7-game series against the Golden State Warriors with Stephen Curry wearing fine street clothes while every game is being played.
It’s too bad that a potential championship repeat by the Warriors is seriously jeporadized due to the right knee injury suffered by Curry, but, as has been said many times, those are the breaks of the game.
And despite the loss of last season’s league MVP and the darling of professional basketball, Golden State still has enough overall talent and experience to win the Western Conference title and compete for their second-consecutive championship.
However, if Curry is out of the lineup for at least two weeks as predicted by doctors, and some rustiness occurs as expected, the Warriors excellent, record-setting season likely will end much sooner than anyone anticipated.
Clippers officials and fans have to be reeling from the double whammy the team was whacked with Monday when point guard Chris Paul suffered a fracture of the third metacarpal bone in his right hand during Game 4 against Portland, and forward Blake Griffin re-injured his left quadriceps tendon, an injury that sidelined him for nearly half of the regular season.
Paul underwent surgery Tuesday and will be out “indefinitely,” meaning he won’t play until the 2016-17 regular season begins in October. Same for Griffin, according to the Clippers.
Paul was averaging 23.8 points, 7.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals against the TrailBlazers.
Now, how about that Pacers collapse? The 102-99 loss to Toronto in Game 5 Tuesday was a stinger for the team and its fans, considering Indiana completely discombobulated in the final quarter, going scoreless for 3:24 with Paul George resting on the bench, allowing the Raptors to go on a 15-2 run and missing 11-of-15 shots during the stanza.
Solomon Hill’s game-tying 3-pointer at the end being wiped out because the ball was still touching his fingers as the buzzer sounded was somewhat fitting for Indiana, which was outscored, 25-9, in the final 12 minutes.
While George put up superb numbers — 39 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists — his comments during the postgame press conference are somewhat unsettling to some in Pacerland.
“I think our guys individually know that they have to bring it,” George said. “I’m not about putting guys down, putting teammates down, but individually, everybody has to bring it. … It’s awful to have a chance to win on the road, go up 3-2 and come back home, but once again we failed to live up to that moment.”
Indiana will have to play better defense against Raptors All-Star DeMar DeRozan, who scored 34 points on 10-of-22 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers in 4 tries.
George said the Pacers always plan on DeRozan scoring 30 to 40 points. “We just have to make it tough for him,” he said.
Game 6 is Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (7 p.m., NBA TV).
Finally … Michael Powell of the New York Times makes a case that the first round of the NBA playoffs return to the long gone best-of-3 games format.
What do you think?
Statistics and some information in this story via NBA.com.
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