Three great games in the NBA Playoffs on Thursday night. We’ve got video highlights and a recap for all three games. Check them all out below. Recaps courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
Atlanta Hawks 98 – Indiana Pacers 85 (SI Link)
Hawks lead series 2-1
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Atlanta Hawks celebrated and their fans serenaded the Indiana Pacers with chants of ”Overrated!”
Game 3 did nothing to change that perception.
The top-seeded Pacers are on the ropes again at the hands of the eighth-seeded Hawks, who finished six games below .500 during the regular season but truly believe they can pull off a major upset in the opening round of the playoffs.
Atlanta is playing with confidence and swagger – and even got a crucial call to go its way.
Jeff Teague flung in a wild 3-pointer after the officials missed him stepping out of bounds, and Kyle Korver finished off Indiana from beyond the arc to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 98-85 victory Thursday night and another lead in the series.
The Hawks took control in the third quarter – the decisive period in all three games – and held off the Pacers to go up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Game 4 is Saturday in Atlanta.
The Hawks were up 84-78 with the shot clock running down when Teague launched a running shot from the wing – after his foot clipped the line.
”I knew it was a 3,” Teague said. ”Hopefully they just count it.”
They did, even after a video review. Referee Tony Brothers explained that officials took another look at the play merely to determine if Teague was behind the 3-point line when he shot. There wasn’t any doubt about that, and under NBA rules the only other thing they could look at was the position of Teague’s feet when the ball left his hand. He was clearly in bounds when he shot.
Korver clinched the victory with the last of his four treys, putting Atlanta up 92-80 with 1:41 remaining. That was only appropriate, since the Hawks made 10 3s in the second half.
”In the second half, we came out and made some big shots,” Teague said. ”Everybody played well.”
Teague scored 22 points and Korver added 20 to lead the Hawks, who are having their way with an Indiana team that struggled down the stretch and is still scrambling to regain the form it showed much of the season.
Lance Stephenson led the Pacers with 21 points, and Luis Scola added 17 in another stellar performance off the bench. But Paul George was held to 12 points on 3-of-11 shooting, George Hill made only 1-of-11 from the field, and Roy Hibbert continually missed shots close to the hoop.
”We have a dream of winning it all,” George said. ”We’ve got be much more tougher than that. I don’t think it’s there. Our toughness is questionable right now.”
Hibbert is having an especially rough time, scoring only 18 points in the first three games on 7-of-25 shooting. Coach Frank Vogel was asked if he planned on making a lineup change, especially given the Pacers had more success with their 7-footer on the bench.
”We’re going to look at everything,” Vogel said. ”He has not played well in the series to this point. But we still have confidence in Roy Hibbert.”
Teague made the biggest shot of all for the Hawks. Looking up to see the clock running down, he dribbled to his left and threw it up with Scola in his face. Nothing but net. Teague smiled and shrugged his shoulders on the way back down the court, as surprised as anyone that it went in.
”A lot of times those plays that you draw up don’t work the way that you want them to,” Korver said. ”You improvise and sometimes you throw stuff up as the shot clock’s coming down and it goes in. I’m glad that it happened for us and not for them.”
The Hawks stunned the Pacers in Game 1 at Indianapolis and led by as many as 11 in the first half of Game 2, before the Pacers finally looked like the top seed in the East with a dominant third quarter that evened the series.
This time, the Hawks gained the upper hand in the third – just as they did in the series opener. Korver knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner off a fast break, prompting the Pacers to call a timeout. They needed another after Teague soared for a thunderous dunk off an Indiana turnover, pushing Atlanta to a 10-point lead, matching its biggest of the game to that point.
The Hawks went to the final quarter riding a wave of momentum when Lou Williams stepped back and swished a 3 with just 1.2 seconds left in the third, pushing Atlanta ahead 67-58.
Notes: The Hawks improved to 15-2 against Indiana at Philips Arena since December 2006. … Both teams shot under 40 percent from the field. … DeMarre Carroll scored 18 points for Atlanta. … Stephenson had a double-double with 13 rebounds. … Scola got into it with Atlanta’s Mike Scott midway through the second quarter. They were quickly separated and assessed technical fouls.
Memphis Grizzlies 98 – Oklahoma City Thunder 95 (OT) (SI Link)
Grizzlies lead series 2-1
The Grizzlies know they have to stop blowing fourth-quarter leads. Consecutive overtime wins makes the needed corrections much easier for Memphis.
Mike Conley scored five of his 20 points in overtime, and the Grizzlies beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 98-95 Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round Western Conference series.
”Obviously, we’re happy with the win but disappointed at the way we handled that last quarter,” Conley said. ”We knew they were going to make runs. We knew they’d keep fighting because that’s what they do, and it’s the playoffs. They’re going to make runs. They’re going to make plays. They have two of the best players in the league.”
Still, the Grizzlies won their second straight overtime game this time after leading by 17 before going cold for most of the final 7:43 of regulation. Courtney Lee clinched the win, hitting three of four free throws in the final 10.9 seconds of OT.
Game 4 is Saturday night in Memphis. The Thunder, who had the NBA’s second-best record in the regular season, have to figure out how to shoot better against the team that ousted them in the conference semifinals in five games last year.
”We just got to stay together, and we will do that,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. ”We’re down right now in the series 1-2, but just got to focus all of our attention after tomorrow’s review of the film together as a group and take it all to the next game and do our best to tie it up and take it home 2-2.”
NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each scored 30 for the Thunder, who even got another four-point play in the final minute to force overtime. This time, it was Westbrook’s turn with 26.6 seconds left.
But Durant missed all eight 3-point attempts and was 10 of 27. Westbrook was 9 of 26, though he grabbed 13 rebounds. The Thunder hit only 3 of 12 overall in overtime.
”Kevin is really prideful,” Brooks said. ”He loves what he does and loves doing it with the guys that he’s playing with. He was frustrated a few times with himself missing shots he normally makes in his sleep.”
Durant said they have to get easier shots and will figure it out for the next game.
”Personally, I think we missed a lot of good looks, some open 3s, some lay-ins, some I wish I could take back,” Durant said.
Zach Randolph scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds for Memphis, which now has won 15 straight at home.
Tony Allen, who scored 16 points for Memphis, gave the Thunder one final chance at an improbable play to keep the game alive. After Lee split his free throws with 1.7 seconds left, Westbrook was racing up the right sideline trying to get a shot off before the buzzer.
Allen tripped Westbrook, sending him to the line for three attempts. Westbrook hit the first, missed the second and then clanked the third off the rim on purpose. But Ed Davis tipped away the ball to seal the win for Memphis.
Serge Ibaka had 12 points for the Thunder, which went 5 of 28 beyond the arc.
The Thunder trailed 81-64 in the fourth quarter. Then they scored 17 straight with Westbrook’s 3-pointer in the left corner tying it up with 57.3 seconds left, and setting up yet another thrilling finish between these teams.
”We got to be better down the stretch is the thing that sticks out,” Allen said.
Memphis couldn’t protect its lead by going completely cold after a hook shot by Kosta Koufos with 7:43 left. The Grizzlies didn’t score again until Allen’s baseline dunk with 57.3 seconds to go. He then scored on a layup after stealing the ball from Westbrook for an 85-81 lead.
But Westbrook made up for his turnover on the next trip down the court. He hit a 3-pointer and dropped to the floor on a hard foul by Allen. His free throw tied it at 85 with 26.6 seconds left.
Memphis tried to hold for the late shot, but Conley’s one-handed layup clanked twice on the rim before rolling off. Durant’s 3-pointer for the win missed harmlessly off the backboard, sending these teams into their second straight overtime.
In overtime, the Thunder took their first lead since 9-8 on a three-point play by Durant for an 88-85 lead.
Notes: Mike Miller checked in with 1:06 left in the first quarter for his first playoff game in Memphis since May 1, 2006, in his first stint with the Grizzlies. … Memphis last lost at home Feb. 5 to Dallas. … Memphis now is 6-1 in overtime games against the Thunder since the start of the 2010-11 season. … The Grizzlies went 10-4 in games decided by three points or less during the regular season.
Los Angeles Clippers 98 – Golden State Warriors 96
Clippers lead series 2-1
Blake Griffin scored 32 points and grabbed eight rebounds, DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 22 rebounds and the Los Angeles Clippers outlasted the Golden State Warriors 98-96 on Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.
The frontcourt tandem bullied and bruised the Warriors inside to power the Clippers ahead by 18 points in the third quarter. And they did just enough late to silence a rocking, gold-shirt wearing sellout crowd of 19,596 to regain home-court advantage.
Klay Thompson scored 26 points, and Stephen Curry had 16 points and 15 assists to rally the Warriors back. But Curry forced a contested, step-back 3-pointer over Chris Paul in the final seconds to seal the Clippers’ victory.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Sunday in Oakland.
The Clippers held the Warriors to 6-of-31 shooting from 3-point range and 41.6 percent shooting overall. Los Angeles also forced 17 turnovers.
Golden State’s streaky backcourt duo still gave the Clippers quite a scare in the closing moments.
Curry made his first 3-pointer, and Thompson made another from long range before hitting a turnaround jumper to bring the Warriors within 87-86 with 4:24 to play.
Paul capped a quick 7-0 spurt for the Clippers with a deep 3-pointer. He pounded his chest and skipped down court after Warriors coach Mark Jackson called timeout.
Thompson hit a jumper and Curry connected from beyond the arc to trim Los Angeles’ lead to 96-93 with 49 seconds left. But reserve Draymond Green fouled out when officials called him for a block against Griffin, who made 1 of 2 free throws.
Curry hit another 3-pointer with 11 seconds left. Paul missed 1 of 2 free throws, giving Golden State the ball with 8.6 seconds remaining.
Jordan intentionally fouled Curry off the inbound to make Golden State inbound the ball again. And the Warriors ran the same play to Curry, whose 3-pointer sailed short.
Jordan grabbed the rebound, and tossed it out to Paul as time expired.
The victory was another big step for the third-seeded Clippers after they lost homecourt advantage by losing Game 1 in Los Angeles. They regrouped to rout Golden State 138-98 in Game 2 in Los Angeles on Monday night.
But they still had to win on the road and at Oracle Arena – both of which had been tough obstacles to overcome.
The Clippers had lost 15 of their previous 17 games in Oakland, including five in a row. Los Angeles also had lost five consecutive road playoff games.
With the amped-up fans screaming at full throat, the teams returned to the fast and physical style that had been the theme in their regular-season meetings.
Officials called a flagrant foul on Clippers forward Matt Barnes for shoving Andre Iguodala to the floor by the back of his head as the two jostled for position under the basket in the first quarter. A few possessions later, David Lee leveled Paul to the ground on a blind-side screen.
All the while, Griffin and Jordan just dominated the paint against an undersized Warriors team playing without center Andrew Bogut, who is out indefinitely with a fractured right rib. The Clippers also kept trapping and double-teaming Curry, forcing him to pass or attempt difficult shots on the perimeter.
Tensions started to escalate again when Warriors reserve Green swung his arm and fouled Griffin under the basket, drawing a flagrant foul. Fans serenaded Griffin with chants of ”Flopp-er! Flopp-er!”
Green sparked a brief scoring surge with a driving dunk and a 3-pointer to bring the Warriors within eight. But Jamal Crawford quieted the crowd once more with three straight jumpers, sending the Clippers to the fourth quarter with a 75-64 lead – providing just enough separation to hold off the Warriors’ final rally.
NOTES: The Clippers had not won at Golden State since Dec. 25, 2011. … The last time the Warriors won a playoff series when they lost a home game was in 1977 to Detroit. … Former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and Sacramento Mayor and former NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson were among those in attendance
Be sure to check out all the rest of our playoff coverage here at Purple and Blues, and be sure to check back with us tomorrow, as we recap all of Friday night’s games. Also, for the latest Utah Jazz news, be sure to check out our daily segment, the “Morning Jazz”, for your latest Jazz fix.