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2016 NBA Playoffs: Spurs and Hawks take 2-0 lead with dominating home wins

Yash Matange
FEATURED WRITER
20 Apr 2016, 11:46 IST
Al Horford and Kyle Korver were the biggest contributors to the Hawks’ Game 2 win over the Celtics.

[4] Atlanta Hawks 89-72 [5] Boston Celtics

Fifth seeded Boston Celtics lost a really close Game 1 (101-102) to the fourth seeded Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night. However, there was reason for them to not remain confident heading into Game 2 of the series. They were set to miss Avery Bradley, their best defender and second most efficient three point shooter, for the rest of the series and the impact of his absence was quite evident in Game 2.

Boston Celtics scored just 7 points in the first quarter, trailing by 17 points even before the second quarter began and unlike Game 1, the Celtics never seemed poised to make a run at the lead. Thier seven points in the first 12 minutes are the fewest points scored in any quarter of a playoff game in the shot clock era. Everything was going wrong for the C’s, their offense wasn’t functioning and the Hawks were dominating defensively. Here’s are a couple of tweets that show just that:

While their defense, the best in the league since January 2016, was taking care of business, the Hawks were carried on offense by Kyle Korver’s lights out shooting. Korver had 12 of his 17 points in the first quarter, shooting 6 of 9 from the field (5 of 7 from three point range), to along with his 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Center Al Horford also came up big with his 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.

Although the Hawks eventually won by a big margin, they would still considering themselves lucky to have won given the horrid shooting game their Power Forward Paul Millsap was having. Millsap scored just 4 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and blocked four shots but on a terrible shooting percentage of 8.33% (1 of 12). 

Game 3 will be played at the TD Garden in Boston on Friday.

[2] San Antonio Spurs 94-68 [7] Memphis Grizzlies

Kawhi Leonard
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Every one of the 13 San Antonio Spurs that were declared active for Game 2 of their first round series with the Memphis Grizzlies played at least six minutes and registered at least two points in the team’s 26 point blowout win. Off the bench Patty Mills scored a game high 16 points, Kawhi Leonard had 13 points and LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in with 10 points and 4 blocked shots.

Tim Duncan had an all round game of 9 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a block in 26 minutes but set a dubius first for his Playoff career:

After the debacle in Game 1, the depleted Memphis Grizzlies needed some spark, some energy to even be competitive. In this game, they fell behind by 11 points in the first quarter itself and never looked like a threat. 

"We're coming to a gunfight with some spoons," Memphis forward Matt Barnes said. "We've got to do something to try to switch this up at home next game."

Barnes sums up the Spurs-Grizzlies first round match-up. While the 67 win San Antonio team are fully rested and are playing a full squad, Memphis is playing without it’s two best players in Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. Injuries have been the story of the season for the Grizzlies. They have used as many as 28 players during the regular season, a NBA record. 

So replacing Gasol and Conley with cheaper and inexperienced players isn’t going to help the team’s cause. The below tweet sums up how bad the Grizz have been in the series so far:

Zach Randolph led Memphis with his 11 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists effort. Game 3 will be played at the FedEx Forum in Memphis on Friday.

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