Last night’s NBA playoff action showed three teams advance by winning their game 6s. The most surprising victor of a first round series was the Atlanta Hawks. I wrote them off as an easy sweep for the Dwight Howard-led Orlando Magic, but I was wrong. The Hawks won four games (3 at home) by 10 points or less and managed to pull of the upset of the NBA playoffs. Atlanta was led by 6th man, Jamal Crawford who averaged 19.0 points over the 6-game series, while Al Horford mopped up on the glass averaging 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Magic, on the other hand, were led by Dwight Howard who averaged 27 ppg and 15.5 rpg. The big man dominated the paint for Orlando, including a 46 point, 19 rebound performance in a game 1 loss. The only game where he didn’t show up big was game 5 (8 and 8), but he was not needed as his teammates actually shot well and scored buckets. The Magic were not good enough, nor consistent enough to pull out four wins and will have a lot of work to do in the offseason. Meanwhile. Atlanta moves on to take on the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in what should be an interesting series.
In the western conference, the Lakers put an end to the Chris Paul-scare and ended the Hornets season by beating them 98-80 in New Orleans. Kobe Bryant led the way throughout the series averaging 22 ppg to go along with 3.7 rpg and 3.8 apg. In addition to Bryant, Lakers center, Andrew Bynum had a good series (15.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg). For the Hornets, Paul played his heart out every single night averaging 22.5 ppg, 11.5 apg, 6.6 rpg. The point god did not let his team down and did all he could for New Orleans, who were playing without their best post player, David West. The Hornets will now have to resign Chris Paul to a long-term contract to have any hope of improving next year.
The Lakers will move on to the second round and play the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs beat out the Blazers in game 6, 103-96. This series was an exciting one to watch as the Blazers threw everything they had at the Mavericks. Game 4 featured a Brandon Roy-led comeback that will always be remembered by Blazers fan. The Mavericks were led by Dirk Nowitzki who had 27.3 ppg and 7.8 rpg over the course of the series, including 33 and 11 in the series-clinching game 6.
Check out tonight’s game 6 matchup between the Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs, as the Grizz look to finish up the series at home and pull off the shocking first round upset. 756sports will have more NBA playoff coverage over the weekend so be sure to check back in for game recaps and second round series previews.