2015 NBA Playoffs: Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets draw level in semi-finals
LeBron James, clearly the most invaluable player for the Cleveland Cavaliers made up for his lacklustre display in the first game of the Eastern Conference semi-final, by producing a stellar performance that saw his team draw level with the Chicago Bulls at 1-1 in the 2015 NBA Playoffs on Thursday
Following an unconvincing performance in the first game, the Cavaliers, eager to put the defeat as far behind them as possible, came into the second match all guns blazing and registered a thumping 106-91 win.
The almost visceral aggression with which the Cavaliers played spoke more about their performance than the result. James was at the forefront of Cavaliers’ attack, as he scored 33 points. Kyrie Irving, with 21 points, too came up with an incredible performance to see the Cavaliers home.
James seemed to be in attacking mood right from the outset and ensured that the Cavaliers, who were playing without two starters Kevin Love and J R Smith, did not sink to a 0-2 deficit in the semi-finals. Derrick Rose and Paul Gasol, who had looked unstoppable in the first game were reduced into nothing more than pale reflections of their dominant selves in the opening encounter of the semi-finals. Rose scored 14 points, while Gasol could add just 11, 10 fewer than what he accomplished in the first game.
Irving was effusive in his praise of James. "There wasn't one possession where he wasn't dominant; when he has that mindset, he's the greatest player playing our game right now”, said Irving.
The Bulls’ camp was, predictably, shattered and demoralised. "They smashed us," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Last quarter brace sees Rockets beat Clippers
At a juncture when the match seemed too close to call, James Harden of Houston Rockets produced what was a truly amazing performance to get his team across the line with an 115-109 win against Los Angeles Clippers. The win levels the score in the Western Conference semi-final at one game apiece.
In all, Harden, who came a distant second to Stephen Curry in the Most Valuable Player (MVP) contest, scored 32 points and was the anchor of Rockets’ win. He was ably supported by Dwight Howard, who chipped in with 24 points and 16 rebounds. The Rockets made 42 of their 64 free throws in a match that also saw Trevor Ariza score 15 points and come up with 13 rebounds.
Blake Griffin, who topped the scoring charts in the game with 34 points, gave the Los Angeles Clippers something to cheer for. However, he was able to score a meagre eight points in the second half, which coupled with Harden’s surge, only served o compound the Clippers’ woes.
The Western Conference semi-final between the Clippers and Rockets is now interestingly poised at one games all and both the teams will no look to nose ahead of the other in the next game.