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Games of the Week 4/19 - 4/25 
Posted on April 26, 2014 at 09:59 AM.
Here we go, with another week in sports going by. The NBA playoffs are living up to the hype, and the NHL Playoffs are picking up intensity. The top story this week, however, is this:

Anyway, here's this week's countdown:

5. April 22: Eastern Conference First Round Game 2 (Wizards lead 1-0): Washington Wizards 101, Chicago Bulls 99 (F/OT)
United Center, Chicago, Illinois

What are the Wizards doing in the playoffs? Forget the fact that they lead the series. The Bulls came out steaming after their game 1 loss at home, and looked like they had control of this game. Down 10 in the 4th, the Wizards charged back led by the efforts of 2012 1st round pick Bradley Beal, who scored 26 in the game. After forcing OT, it was time for Nene to come out. Locked up by defensive player of the year Joakim Noah for all of regulation, Nene came out and scored the Wizards' first 6 points in OT, and they held that lead, unlike the 17 point lead they blew in the first quarter.*

*The Wizards proceeded to lose game 3 at home, but still hold a 2-1 lead in the series.

4. April 25: Chicago White Sox 9, Tampa Bay Rays 6
US Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois

What a Chicago themed countdown, which by the way, is not done. Chicago's other team, the Cubs, got most of the attention this week, with Wrigley Field turning 100 years old. But it was the White Sox who provided the fireworks. After the Rays scored 4 quick runs in the second to take a 4-1 lead, the White Sox chipped away off young Rays gem Chris Archer, with a Jose Abreu home run in the third (he wasn't done) and a two run single by Tyler Flowers in the 4th. Things remained tied until the ninth, when Evan Longoria hit a two run home run to put the Rays on top 6-4. In the bottom half, after the White Sox had already scored one, Jose Abreu, a rookie who seems like anything but, came to the plate with the sacks full against Rays closer Grant Balfour. The pitch he sent over the fence in right to give the White Sox a 9-6 win set a record. He set the rookie record with 9 HR in April. Big week for Chicago.

3. April 25: Western Conference First Round (Series Tied 2-2): Chicago Blackhawks 3, St. Louis Blues 2 (F/OT)
Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri

These two again? It seems like every game they played has been back and forth and ended in at least one overtime. Game 5 was no different. The defending champs had a 1-0 at the end of 1 off of a Marian Hossa goal. In the second, TJ Oshie got the equalizer, which was quickly followed by an answer by Chicago. Early in the third, Alex Pietrangelo, tied it up again, and they headed back into OT. This time however, it was the Blackhawks who took the OT game in St. Louis. Who else but Jonathan Toews? The Chicago star got one past Ryan Miller 7:36 into overtime, and the Blackhawks took the lead in the series.

2. April 24: Western Conference First Round Game 3 (Series Tied 1-1): Memphis Grizzlies 98, Oklahoma City Thunder 95 (F/OT)
FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee

The Grizzlies just can't stop blowing 4th quarter leads, against the Thunder, who are really only getting production from Durant and Westbrook. They had a 17 point lead with just under 8 minutes to go, but the Thunderbuddies for life led the comeback with a 17-0 run, topped off by a 4 point play from Russell Westbrook that tied the game. But that was the apex of momentum for OKC. After the game went into OT, it was all Grizzlies, especially the "bull in a china shop" Zach Randolph and Mike Conley. Together they dismantled the Thunder and took the series lead.

1. April 25: Western Conference First Round Game 3 (Trailblazers lead 2-0): Houston Rockets 121, Portland Trailblazers 116 (F/OT)
Moda Center, Portland, Oregon

Taken from
James Harden snapped out of his slump. Omer Asik stopped LaMarcus Aldridge. But it was rookie Troy Daniels who made all the difference for the Houston Rockets.

Daniels, who spent time in the D-League this season and didn't make his pro debut until March 5, hit a 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds left to lift the Rockets to a 121-116 overtime victory over the Trail Blazers on Friday night and narrow Portland's first-round playoff advantage to 2-1.

Harden finished with a career playoff-best 37 points, and Dwight Howard added 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets.

Aldridge had more than 40 points in each of Portland's victories in the first two games in Houston. But Asik did a good job of shutting him down in Game 3, holding the All-Star forward to 23 points. The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard with 30 points.

Portland trailed by as many as 11 points in the final quarter, but Nicolas Batum hit a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left to tie the game at 110. Harden missed a half-court shot at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

Lillard's layup gave Portland a 116-112 lead with 3:08 left in the extra period. Jeremy Lin hit a jumper from the top of the key before Harden's fadeaway tied it with 1:51 to go.

Aldridge missed a jumper over Howard but Lin missed a 3-pointer on the other end before Daniels nailed his 3-pointer.

Daniels finished with nine points in the game, all 3s.

Before the game, coach Kevin McHale told Daniels to "be ready," the undrafted signee out of Virginia Commonwealth said.

"He competes," McHale said. "He dives on the floor for balls. He's a tough kid."

Batum missed a 3 with 4.9 seconds left, and Harden made free throws for the final margin.

Only three teams have come back to win after losing the first two games of a seven-game series at home. The last was the 2004-05 Mavericks, who came back against the Rockets. Houston is 0-7 overall when falling behind 2-0 in the first round since the 1983-84 expansion.

Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday at the Moda Center.

"We haven't done anything yet," McHale said. "We've won one game. But it feels a lot better than losing."

The Blazers hadn't opened a playoff series 2-0 since 1977, when they got the early jump on the Lakers en route to the Western Conference title. Portland went on to beat Philadelphia for its lone NBA championship.

That's it for this week. Come back next Saturday for another countdown.

Think I missed a game? Let me know!
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