NBA Playoffs: Pacers Clinch But Celtics, 76ers And Lakers Fall

The Pacers punched their ticket to the second round, but the Celtics, 76ers and Lakers must wait at least one more game.

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Al Horford's Return From Injury Makes Atlanta Hawks Relevant Again In NBA Playoffs

Al Horford started for the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night for the time since early January. The All-Star center made his impact felt immediately, helping the Hawks to stave off elimination for at least one more game in their first round NBA Playoffs series against the Boston Celtics.


Kobe Bryant Is Not A Unicorn, And The Lakers Are Not From Oz

Kobe Bryant is not the mythical creature that the highlight reels make him out to be, and the Lakers are not above the immutable laws of basketball.


JaVale McGee And Andrew Bynum: A Tale Of Two Centers

JaVale McGee and Andrew Bynum are alike in many ways; they're long, athletic, talented -- and immature. Tuesday night McGee outplayed Bynum to help the Nuggets stave off elimination in Game 5 of their series with the Lakers.


NBA Playoffs 2012 Scores And More: Pacers Knocked Out Magic, But 3 Teams Staved Off Elimination

There was a possibility that four teams would advance to the second round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs on Tuesday night, but that was apparently easier said than done. The Indiana Pacers were able to eliminate the Orlando Magic, but three other teams were able to force a Game 6 in their series.

The game between the Pacers and Orlando began the night's action in Indiana, as the Magic tried to force another game in the series. But without Dwight Howard, that was a rather tall task. Danny Granger and Darren Collison both stepped up big to eliminate the Magic on the way to a 105-87 final score as Jameer Nelson's 27 points in defeat just weren't enough to overcome the odds.

The Atlanta Hawks were more successful in their endeavor to stay alive, mostly due to the fact that their All-Star center returned to the starting lineup after a long injury layoff -- though they nearly blew it in the waning seconds. Al Horford scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, though, to keep the Hawks alive with an 87-86 victory. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett scored 16 points apiece in the Boston Celtics' loss, but the offense sputtered too much at inopportune times for their contributions to make too much of a difference.

Chicago was the site of the night's worst game, aesthetically speaking, as the Chicago Bulls staved off elimination with a 77-69 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. The Bulls played without Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, but Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer combined for 38 points to force a sixth game in the seven-game series. Jrue Holiday scored 16 points to lead the Sixers in the loss.

Tuesday evening's nightcap gave the Los Angeles Lakers a chance to eliminate the Denver Nuggets, but JaVale McGee was just too much (no, I didn't think I'd ever type that sentence in a playoff recap either) as Denver forced a Game 6 after pulling out a 102-99 victory. McGee scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds after beginning the game on the bench, fellow reserve Andre Miller scored a team-high 24 and Kobe Bryant's impressive 43 points were all for naught.

For more on Tuesday night's action, be sure to visit this StoryStream for all of the gifs, recaps and reaction from around the internet.


Lakers Vs. Nuggets, NBA Playoffs 2012 Game 5 Final Score: Kobe Bryant Scores 43 But Denver Wins, 102-99

The Denver Nuggets played strong against the Los Angeles Lakers and pulled out a 102-99 victory on Tuesday night. With the win, the Nuggets are only at a 3-2 series disadvantage and will head home to the Pepsi Center for Thursday night's Game 6.

Kobe Bryant was almost unstoppable during the final minutes of the game, hitting key three after key three, but he never could quite hit that shot to tie the game. Still, the Nuggets successfully fended off the Lakers in a game that saw Bryant score 43 points.

Andrew Bynum scored 16 points and grabbed 11 boards, but he was the only other starter to score in double digits. Matt Barnes had 11 points off the bench.

The Nuggets wouldn't have been able to claim the win had it not been for JaVale McGee, who came up with 21 points and 14 rebounds. More than that, McGee channeled Wilt Chamberlain among his scoring plays and came up with two blocks. Also playing a key role off the bench was Andre Miller, who scored 24 points and dished the ball out for eight assists.

Arron Afflalo led Nuggets starters with 19 points while Kenneth Faried fell a rebound short of a double-double, finishing with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Will the Nuggets be able to even this series on Thursday night?

For more on the Lakers, check out Silver Screen and Roll and SB Nation Los Angeles. For more on the Nuggets, head over to Denver Stiffs and SB Nation Denver.

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Bulls Vs. 76ers, NBA Playoffs 2012 Game 5 Final Score: Chicago Survives Following 77-69 Victory

The Chicago Bulls still have the breath of life in them during the 2012 NBA Playoffs following a 77-69 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. The Bulls are now one game away from tying this series at three games apiece, but they will need to do that in Philadelphia on Thursday.

Luol Deng turned in a strong effort, hitting mid- to long-range shots throughout the second half. When the final buzzer went off, Deng had a game-high 24 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He was 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, sinking all but one of the team's threes. Carlos Boozer added 19 points and 13 rebounds. No other scorer reached double digits, but Taj Gibson was solid with eight points and seven rebounds. He overcame a rolled ankle and played on adrenaline during the final quarter.

The Sixers had a terrible night shooting the ball, sinking just 32.1 percent of their shots. Had that shooting improved at some point, it would have gone a long way in helping the free throw advantage the team had. The Sixers went 17-of-24 from the line while the Bulls were just 4-of-11. Spencer Hawes put in a double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds. Jrue Holiday had a team-high 16 points.

Without Derrick Rose, the Bulls finally picked up a victory. Can they make it two on Thursday?

For all news and information regarding the Chicago Bulls, please visit Blog a Bull or check out SB Nation Chicago. For updates and perspective on the Philadelphia 76ers, head on over to Liberty Ballers or stop by SB Nation Philadelphia.


Celtics Vs. Hawks, NBA Playoffs 2012 Game 5 Final Score: Atlanta Staves Off Elimination With 87-86 Victory

The Atlanta Hawks' postseason will continue for at least one more game after defeating the Boston Celtics, 87-86, in Game 5 on Tuesday night. The Celtics now hold a 3-2 series advantage as things shift back to Boston on Thursday.

Boston's Paul Pierce nearly played the hero in this series once again when he took a potential go-ahead shot with 15 seconds left in the game. However, he came up five feet short. And Rajon Rondo stole an inbounds pass in the final seconds, only to not even attempt a shot. It was a tough break for a team that was so close to finishing off this series.

Pierce tied for the team lead in points with Kevin Garnett at 16 each while Rondo put in 13 points and 12 assists. Ray Allen led the bench with 15 points. Fourteen turnovers and 13 personal fouls hurt the team, but so did Atlanta hurt itself with 18 turnovers and 19 personal fouls.

Atlanta relied on five scorers in double-digit points, led by Al Horford's 19 points and 11 rebounds. Josh Smith also put in a double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds. He also dished the ball out for six assists. Jeff Teague and Marvin Williams contributed 16 and 15 points, respectively.

Will the Hawks be able to pick up a road victory on Thursday?

For more on the Celtics, head over to CelticsBlog and SB Nation Boston. For more on the Hawks, check out Peachtree Hoops and SB Nation Atlanta.


VIDEO: The Crazy Final 10 Seconds Of The Celtics-Hawks Game

In a game full of bad offense, bad shooting and mistakes, the Atlanta Hawks held on to defeat the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of their 2012 NBA Playoffs first-round series only after a crazy sequence to end things. Up one point and with the ball with just over 10 seconds left, the Hawks only needed to inbound the ball to feel good about themselves. Instead, Josh Smith's inbounds pass was picked off by Rajon Rondo, and the Celtics had a chance.

With no timeouts, Rondo advanced the ball into the frontcourt. In the end, Rondo dribbled the ball off his foot and the Celtics didn't even get a shot off.

Now, it's easy to get on Rondo for this, and to a certain extent, he deserves it. However, I hope more people realize just how great a play Al Horford made here. When the clock dips under five seconds, coaches tell players to switch every screen, but it's really hard for a big man to do that and slide his feet enough to stay with a speedster like Rondo. Horford not only expertly executed a switch with Josh Smith, but he crowded Rondo enough to prevent him from seeing the pass to Kevin Garnett, then stayed with Rondo as he tried to cross over.

It was an unbelievable play by a guy who came up with an unbelievable game in his second contest since early January.

For more on the Celtics, head over to CelticsBlog and SB Nation Boston. For more on the Hawks, check out Peachtree Hoops and SB Nation Atlanta.


Pacers Vs. Magic, NBA Playoffs 2012 Game 5: Final Score, Indiana Advances With 105-87 Win

Jameer Nelson did his best to try to keep the Orlando Magic in the NBA Playoffs for at least one more game in the first three quarters of their game against the Indiana Pacers, but in the fourth quarter, his offense dried up. As his offense dried up, so did the rest of the Magic's, and their defense wasn't any better. A close game through three quarters turned into a blowout in the fourth quarter, as the Pacers won 105-87 to win the series 4-1.

The Pacers exploded for 36 points in the fourth quarter, with Darren Collison turning in an absolutely dominating period of play. He finished the night with 19 points on 9-10 shooting. Danny Granger led the Pacers with 25 points, while all Pacers starters but Paul George finished the game scoring in double figures.

Orlando was never expected to beat the Pacers without Dwight Howard, but the way in which they lost the series wasn't a good look. Allowing 36 points in your last quarter in the playoffs is just a terrible way to go out.

For more on the Pacers, check out Indy Cornrows and SB Nation Indiana. For more on the Magic, head over to Orlando Pinstriped Post and SB Nation Tampa Bay.


Jameer Nelson Is Having A Career Night; His Teammates Are Average

Through three quarters of play in Game 5 between the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic, Jameer Nelson has 25 points and he's 5-6 from behind the arc. He's having a career game, stepping up huge when his team needs him the most.

The Magic aren't exactly a team with superior talent, but when Dwight Howard is in the lineup, their good players can look great. He draws double teams and creates easy shots for his teammates. Without Howard, nothing has come easy, which is exactly why Nelson's third quarter was so impressive. The way he made space for himself in the lane on the two layups here and on the first three-pointer entirely by himself are things that just weren't happening for him in the first four games of the series.

Unfortunately for Nelson, his teammates didn't get the memo that you're supposed to bring your best when you're up against elimination on the road. No one else has been impressive offensively for the Magic. If they're going to avoid elimination, he's going to have to carry them, or someone else is going to have to start making shots. As a whole, the Magic look bad, but this game is interesting because Nelson's been so spectacular.

For more on the Pacers, check out Indy Cornrows and SB Nation Indiana. For more on the Magic, head over to Orlando Pinstriped Post and SB Nation Tampa Bay.


PHOTO: Rajon Rondo Passed Here

Nobody likes layups tonight, apparently.



Magic Vs. Sixers, 2012 NBA Playoffs: Halftime, Indiana Leads 50-47

The Indiana Pacers looked like they were well on their way to clinching the series with their play in the first quarter on Tuesday night, but they turned the ball over frequently in the second quarter, letting the Orlando Magic back into the game. Indiana led by as many as nine points, but only leads Orlando 50-47 at halftime.

Orlando has looked overmatched most of the game, and they only have the Pacers' turnovers to thank for the close score. They're shooting just 43 percent from the floor and Indiana is winning the rebounding battle, 23-17. Louis Amundson has been a surprise impact player, scoring six points in just four minutes.

Danny Granger leads the Pacers in scoring, but is only 3-9 from the floor. David West started the game well, but was less effective in the second quarter after taking an unfortunate shot to the groin that may or may not have affected his performance. Orlando's Glen Davis leads all scorers with 11 points.

For more on the Pacers, check out Indy Cornrows and SB Nation Indiana. For more on the Magic, head over to Orlando Pinstriped Post and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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