We were one shot and less then a second away from having six first round series go to seven games. But, Damian Lillard. Oh well, we'll have to settle for five game sevens this weekend.
Last night began with a Nets rout of the Raptors in Brooklyn. The Raps offense looked inept, as time and time again they were running sloppy actions that led to contested jump shots. The Nets, meanwhile, were getting into the paint on pick and rolls, and finding openings at the rim. The Nets ran out to a 34-19 lead after the first quarter, and the Raptors were never able to get it close. Brooklyn now has five straight quarters of domination heading back to Toronto for game seven on Sunday.
The Mavericks. Wow. That was a monster, gutty fourth quarter to stay alive against the best team in the league. Down seven early in the quarter, the Mavs fought back behind a huge stretch by Monta Ellis, who was determined to put the ball in the basket. Some inspired defense helped, and so did big plays at both ends by former Spur Dajuan Blair. It looked over with the Mavs up seven late, but consecutive threes by Danny Green and Patty Mills kept the Sprus close, and they actually had a chance to win it at the end, but were unable to get off a shot.
A terrific playoff game in which both teams executed their offense well, shot over 50% from the floor, and just provided great, great entertainment. Rick Carlisle is a terrific coach. So good at running stuff to get his key guys good looks. The arena was loud, and this game really told the story of the whole playoffs so far. Close, exciting, upsets. Great stuff. Back to San Antonio for game seven Sunday.
Houston was one second away from making it a clean sweep of trailing teams winning game sixes after Chandler Parsons scored to break a tie in a game that had been close all night. But the Rockets somehow lost Damian Lillard on the ensuing possession, and he got a clean look at a three. Goodnight, Houston. The Trailblazers move on behind their 2nd year point guard, who is playing just phenomenal basketball, and LaMarcus Aldridge, who went for 30 last night. James Harden finally had a big night, scoring 34 on 15 shots, but it wasn't enough, as the Rockets lacked the necessary discipline, especially on defense, to win this series. Portland gets the winner of Spurs-Mavs.
Three game sevens today:
Pacers might have escaped when they won late in Atlanta on Thursday. I expect they will move on tonight. Will be interesting to see whether Roy Hibbert starts, or indeed plays at all. The Hawks are so reliant on the three in this series that they always have a chance to get hot.
The Thunder finally won in convincing fashion in game six after four straight overtime tilts. This game has lost much of its luster due to the suspension of Grizzlies star Zach Randolph, for "punching" Steven Adams. Unlike Key Dae, who defended it on the Canis twitter feed yesterday, I thought this was a poor decision by the league. I thought it was a shove, not a punch. Look, it isn't as if the league is rampant with fights and violence right now. Why make an example of ZBo? It isn't necessary. All it does is have a negative effect on this spectacular series.
Back to L.A. for game seven after the Warriors hung on at home in game six. This has been an emotional tumult that finally reaches its end tonight. This has been a battle of the Warriors perimeter shooting prowess against the Clippers advantage inside, especially without Andrew Bogut available to the Ws. Winner tonight gets winner of Thunder-Grizzlies.
This is an open thread, and will likely be the only thread today. It's a weekend. Kid has to be driven around.
Have a great day. Enjoy the games. It should be fun.