We are down to the final eight teams in the NFL playoffs. You can call it the divisional playoffs or the conference semifinals as I like to say. Last week was pretty cool with three good games and the Bengals not showing up against the Chargers (at least their offense didn't show up). That Chiefs/Colts game was one of the most memorable playoff games ever with the Colts coming back from a 38-10 defeat to win 45-44. This week we have to figure out if the teams that played week still have their momentum or if the teams that were off last week will be able to win at home.
This is my favorite weekend of the NFL year. Four games. The top eight teams (usually). Bring on the fun.
The New York Knicks have now won 4 out of their last 5 games after defeating the Miami Heat, 102-92, on Thursday evening. Raymond Felton (season-high 14 assists) was the spark plug that the Knicks have been looking for, as his aggressiveness on offense fueled New York to shoot 54% from the field. Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani combined to shoot 21-37 for 48 points. J.R. Smith did not take part in this contest, as he was benched by coach Mike Woodson for his most recent showing of immaturity. The Heat were without two starters, Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier, which forced a bigger offensive role on LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Although James and Wade combined for 55, Bosh had an extremely mediocre outing, posting just 6 points on 3-10 FG. Amar'e Stoudemire had a big game off the bench with 14 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes of action.
Oklahoma City shot just 35% from the field as they got steamrolled by the Denver Nuggets in the late game last night. Ty Lawson was phenomenal with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 14 assists, and 3 steals. Randy Foye caught fire from three point range, as he hit 6 of his 9 shots from downtown, for a total of 24 points. Wilson Chandler sat this game out with a hip injury, allowing Evan Fournier to pick up some of the scoring slack with 19 points. In a losing effort, Kevin Durant put up 30 points (7-18 FG, 15-16 FT). OKC's main bench scorer Jeremy Lamb shot 1-12 FG in 26 minutes. Reggie Jackson and Serge Ibaka combined for just 21 points. Denver had 24 assists compared to just 11 for the Thunder.
Syracuse will get its first crack at one of the true ACC legends, as the Tar Heels visit the Orange. North Carolina has without a doubt been one of the most puzzling teams of the year boasting wins over Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky, but also having losses against Belmont, UAB, and Wake Forest. With top scorer P.J. Hairston now out for the season, Marcus Paige and James Michael McAdoo have stepped up to lead the team in scoring at 17.6 and 14.6 points per game respectively. Overall, Carolina does have five players scoring over 10 points a game, but they have struggled at times shooting the ball and come into this game at 46% as a team on the year.