Marco Belinelli forces overtime, but Al Horford too much as Celtics win, go up 3-0 – ProBasketballTalk

05/16/2018

— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 16, 2018

The NBA prides itself on making sure players aren’t making dangerous plays toward each other, especially in the playoffs. The league made an entire rule about landing space after Zaza Pachulia injured Kawhi Leonard in the playoffs.

At home, the Sixers were energized and had runs, but once again the Celtics controlled the tempo and ground the game down to a halt, reducing Philly’s athletic advantage — this game had 94 possessions including overtime (the average NBA game this year was at 100 possessions in regulation). The young Sixers are just learning how to adapt and adjust to the NBA game that way, and Embiid and Simmons are learning just how hard and smart you have to play to win in the postseason.

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Now those Suns face an interesting choice: They just hired Igor Kokoskov, the long-time NBA assistant coach (most recently with Utah) as their head coach; he is also the Serbian national team coach and has an excellent relationship with and scouting report on Doncic. That said, Ayton is the guy on top of most team’s draft boards and he attended the University of Arizona just down the I 10.

Remaining Draft Order:

For Boston it was another team effort, with Jaylen Brown leading the way with 23 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Horford posted a double-double of 15 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists. All five Celtics starters scored in double figures.

Ty Lue didn't like the questions about Rodney Hood much pic.twitter.com/KXzkbwmof4

Big bucket from AL! pic.twitter.com/fmAogQhI8v

The Atlanta Hawks moved up one spot — they had the fourth best odds and will be picking third as they add to their rebuild efforts.

A couple of free throws later, the Celtics had the win.

Celtics fans chant "F**k You JR" pic.twitter.com/okMAWsldpf

“I was just trying to press up on Joell, he’s such a tough cover,” Horford said of the steal. “I just tried to press up, the pass was there, so I just tipped it and got the ball.”

"We have each other's backs," says Al Horford.

James was under the basket when he collided with Tatum, whose shoulder hit James squarely in the jaw. James was shown rubbing his chin, and then he went to the locker room.

And yet, it was the Celtics and their steady approach that turned the tide during the final two quarters.

It’s considered a top-heavy draft class in 2018 with potential franchise players at the top, and the Phoenix Suns will have their pick of all of them.

Game 3 is in Cleveland on Saturday. LeBron will have some time to think about what the Cavaliers can do to get back in this series. Theres not much else The King can enact himself. He needs a better tactical approach by Ty Lue and execution from his supporting cast.

Meanwhile, the Celtics let James go nuts and still won. Now, Boston has a 2-0 series lead heading back to Ohio.

“Totally. Brad is a genius, man,” Horford said.

(via @clippittv) pic.twitter.com/rSwioj47tU

That caused Marcus Smart to get in Smith’s face, with the two pushing until they were separated.

BOSTON (AP) Cavaliers forward LeBron James left Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night and went to the Cleveland locker room in the second quarter after colliding with Boston’s Jayson Tatum under the basket.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: NBA officials made a questionable call regarding a player ejection in a meaningful playoff game.

It worked like a charm.

A flagrant foul-penalty (2) is unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent. It is an unsportsmanlike act and the offender is ejected immediately.

The Sacramento Kings moved up to the No. 2 slot from what was the seventh best lottery odds — the Kings had just a 6 percent chance of landing the second pick. They will be able to put someone out there to play with last year’s rookies D’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

It was a dramatic end to a dramatic game — one where the Celtics almost won it in regulation with a steal and bucket with 1.7 seconds left, when Simmons and J.J. Redick got on different pages and Terry Rozier made the play to Jaylen Brown.

Here are the full Draft Lottery results, and the draft order: 

Ben Simmons was more involved. Joel Embiid had 22 points and 19 rebounds. The Sixers were home and their defense was more engaged.

A post shared by NBA (@nba) on May 5, 2018 at 4:37pm PDT

Deandre Ayton. Marvin Bagley III. Luka Doncic. Jaren Jackson Jr. Mohamed Bamba.

After that shot a Sixers fan threw confetti in the air and on the court, celebrating like the rest of the building thinking it was a three for the win. However, Belinelli’s foot was clearly on the line.

In Game 2 on Tuesday night, Boston showed they were the stronger team yet again by following a strict gameplan: switch on LeBron and do the best you can, then rotate out on Cleveland’s shooters to neutralize the rest of the Cavaliers roster. Brad Stevens even said as much during an interview during the broadcast, so it wasn’t a surprise when that appeared to be Boston’s approach.

First, in OT Horford hit what proved to be the game-winner on a brilliantly designed inbounds play that forced Embiid to switch and left the smaller Robert Covington to handle Horford in the post on a clear out. He couldn’t.

— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) May 16, 2018

Al Horford's HUGE defensive stop! #CUsRise #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/z5cjVXRuuS

Boston had another big night from their rookie, Jayson Tatum, who had 24 points to lead the Celtics. Terry Rozier kept on rolling with 18 points, while Jaylen Brown had 16.

Terry Rozier went off, Marcus Smart out-hustled everyone on the floor, and Marcus Morris came up big as Boston outscored Cleveland, 36-22, in the third quarter. That allowed for a swing not only on the scoreboard, but in momentum. LeBron, perhaps slowed by his neck getting dinged up or just from carrying the Cavaliers franchise for a decade, seemed off the rest of the game. His fadeaways clanged off the side of the iron, and his 3-point attempts started coming up short.

James would finish the game with a triple-double of 42 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds. Kevin Love added 22 points and 15 rebounds, but only Kyle Korver scored in double figures for the Cavaliers.

The Sixers still had time to get the win, but Horford showed his defensive anticipation with a steal that essentially ended the game, one of three critical turnovers for the Sixers at the end of regulation and then in overtime.

“It’s the thing that I see and feel the most, and internally hear the loudest, that our young guys, at times, look young,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said after the game. “We’re going to have to find places in this experience and learn from it.”

Marcus Smart had his back tonight