OH IT’S ON.
The NBA post-season lived up to it’s billing as it got underway this weekend.
Ray Allen hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 12 seconds left, Paul Pierce shut down Carmelo Anthony and the Boston Celtics rallied to beat the New York Knicks 87-85 in their playoff opener last night.
The Knicks led 85-84 before Anthony was called for an offensive foul for pushing Pierce with 21 seconds remaining. Allen, who led the Celtics with 24 points, sank the decisive basket from beyond the left arc.
The Knicks then rushed downcourt and Anthony missed a long three-point attempt with two seconds left. The superstar forward went one for 11 from the field in the second half.
Amare Stoudemire had 28 points and 11 rebounds for New York, and Anthony finished with 15.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is set for tomorrow night in Boston. Here’s a nice wrap-up of the game. It doesn’t include New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick tipping his cap to the crowd when shown on the big screen during the second quarter, sadly.
Elsewhere, the Lakers were stung by the Hornets.
Chris Paul and a few teammates sneaked across the street from their hotel to Staples Center the night before the New Orleans Hornets began the postseason, eagerly hoisting up a few shots in the shadows of the Lakers’ imposing championship banners.
With their tumultuous regular season finally a memory, Paul said the Hornets were almost unbearably eager for the playoffs to start.
Maybe that’s why New Orleans got the drop on the defending champs in a stunning series opener.
Paul had 33 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds, flawlessly leading the Hornets down the stretch of a 109-100 victory Sunday.
Carl Landry scored 17 points and Jarrett Jack added 15 for the seventh-seeded Hornets, who overcame Los Angeles’ major size advantage with cagey defense and a disciplined offensive approach that led to just three turnovers, tying an NBA playoff record.
“I’ve struggled all season long, trying to figure out where to pick my spots,” said Paul, who inscribed his sneakers with the No. 30 of injured teammate David West, New Orleans’ leading scorer. “It’s the playoffs. It’s a whole other energy.”
Game 2 is Wednesday at Staples Center – the Lakers will be determined to wake up to the playoffs.
“I’m disappointed, yeah. Stunned, surprised,” Pau Gasol said.
“But we were the ones responsible for that to happen, so we have to own up to that and come back to work in the next couple of days and get the series where we want it to be.”
Tonight, the star-studded Miami Heat take on The Philadelphia Sixers in Game 2 of their series. They’re confident one of their three go-to guys, will be on the court.
Dwayne Wade did not practice yesterday because of symptoms of a migraine, a problem that has plagued him for years and kept him out of a game earlier this season.
“He’ll be here,” predicted Heat forward LeBron James.
Coach Erik Spoelstra didn’t go out on that limb, saying that it’s “too soon” to know if the 2006 NBA finals MVP will be available when Miami gathers for practice Monday morning to complete preparations for Game 2.
Wade told the team that he felt a headache coming on Saturday afternoon before Miami’s 97-89 victory, playing 35 minutes without any obvious discomfort. Wade scored 17 points in that game, five of them in the final 1:34 as the Heat held off a huge comeback attempt by the 76ers.
“We’ll have to see how he feels at the end of the day,” Spoelstra said. “We really wanted to be proactive right now and keep him rested and take medicine and we’ll go from there.”
A real spectacle
If Wade cannot go this evening, the Sixers obviously catch a huge break. And if Wade does play, he may have to wear goggles again to protect his eyes from bright lights — one major migraine trigger.
Wade wore goggles with an orange tint when Miami faced the New York Knicks on Jan. 27, around the time of his last known fight with migraines. He made 13 straight shots from the field during one stretch of that game, finishing with 34 points in a 93-88 loss.
The Heat have clearance from the NBA if Wade has to wear the goggles Monday.
Even with Wade in the lineup, Philadelphia held all three of Miami’s stars to under 50% shooting Saturday, with James going 4 for 14 and Bosh 8 for 17. James and Bosh did combine for 25 rebounds and a 22-for-25 showing at the foul line.
James acknowledged that if he has to do more tonight, that’s fine.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” James said.
- additional reporting AP