The 2010 NBA Playoffs: Eighth Seeds Back in Contention
I was supposed to wait for all first round games to wrap-up before I go ahead with a blog post on the 2010 NBA Playoffs. But after watching these two teams winning their crucial game threes, I decided to go ahead and give you something to wet your appetite for their next square-off with their hulking opponents.
I’m talking about the Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder, the two eighth seeded teams in the NBA Playoffs, who won their first home games, after dropping the first two on the road against the two number one teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the LA Lakers.
The Bulls banked on the heroics of Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich, while the Thunder drew tremendous performances from Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook. Having lost the chance of robbing a win on the road, the Bulls built and early lead, but struggled very hard to keep it against a tough and tested Cavaliers team. Trailing the Bulls for three quarters, the Cavs, led by LeBron James, exploded for 38 fourth quarter points to try to salvage the game for them. But the early lead built by the Bulls was cushion enough for them to escape an impossible 3-0 series lead by Cleveland by two points.
As for the Thunder, they immediately tackled their opponent at the get-go of the second half. Durant and Westbrook detonated with a combined 56 points to lead all scorers for both teams. The Thunder outrebounded LA, 53-39, and had more time in the charity line than the Lakers, 34-12. James Harden was the X-factor player for the Thunder, as he contributed 18 points for the team. Kobe Bryant, who was hounded by Durant all night, led in rotating the ball, which gave the Lakers an even distribution of points among its five on the floor. The Lakers dropped 22 dimes compared to OKC’s 16.
So far, the only other game aside from these two today is the Phoenix-Portland match, which had just concluded with Phoenix blowing away Portland 108-89.