Four games in the NBA Playoffs on Saturday. We have video highlights and recaps for all four games. Check them all out below. Recaps courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
Indiana Pacers 91 – Atlanta Hawks 88 (SI Link)
Series tied 2-2
The Indiana Pacers knew what they were up against. This was a game they had to have.
George and West hit key 3-pointers down the closing minutes, and top-seeded Indiana held off the Atlanta Hawks 91-88 to even the opening-round series at two wins apiece Saturday.
Finally, the Pacers showed some grit and resilience, regaining the home-court edge that slipped away when they were stunned by the No. 8-seeded Hawks in Game 1.
”We were just in desperation mode,” West said. ”You just can’t go down two games in a playoff series. The odds are against you.”
George put the Pacers ahead 86-85 with a jumper beyond the arc, and West hit another trey with 1:33 remaining.
Atlanta had a chance after Kyle Korver was fouled in the corner and knocked down three free throws, taking advantage of a do-over after the Pacers were called for a lane violation. But George gave the Pacers two chances at the other hand, scrambling for an offensive rebound after Lance Stephenson missed a 3. George Hill took advantage by scooping one in off a drive with 56 seconds left.
That would be the final points. The Hawks whiffed on their last three possessions; Pero Antic missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime after the Pacers made sure Korver, the long-range specialist, didn’t get his hands on the ball.
Game 5 is Monday in Indianapolis.
After questioning his team’s toughness, George scored 24 points and added 10 rebounds for his fourth straight double-double. West added 18 points.
”My number was called,” George said. ”I had to deliver.”
Unfortunately for the Hawks, Paul Millsap couldn’t provide the matching punch.
Even though he led the Hawks with 29 points, the All-Star forward turned it over with a bad pass with 33 seconds to go. Then, after Stephenson lost the ball and the Hawks gained possession off a jump, Millsap missed a spinning shot in the lane as Atlanta passed on going for a tying 3-pointer.
”We’re still a confident group,” Millsap said. ”We let one slip away, but we showed we can go out and compete in the games up there. That’s where our mindset is now. We’ve got to let this one go and get ready for Monday.”
Indiana left the door open by missing its final four free throws, including a pair by George with 7.5 seconds left when only one would have been enough to seal the victory. But the Pacers buckled down at the defensive end, forcing Antic to throw up a desperation shot that clanked off the rim.
The Pacers decided against benching Roy Hibbert to go with a smaller lineup against the Hawks, who have taken the 7-foot-2 center out of his comfort zone by spreading the court with their big men. Hibbert continued to struggle, managing just six points and three rebounds in a little less than 25 minutes. But he did have his first two blocks of the series.
George and West took care of the rest.
Cheered on by a raucous crowd at Philips Arena, where they even took down a curtain that normally covers part of the upper deck, the Hawks looked as though they were headed for a commanding lead in the series as they pushed out to their biggest lead, 54-44, early in the third quarter.
But Millsap picked up two fouls just 7 seconds apart, giving him four in the game and forcing him to the bench for much of the period. The Pacers took advantage of the Atlanta star’s absence, whittling the deficit down to 59-56 by the time he returned.
”Getting him on his heels, putting him in a tough spot, obviously it changes who they are,” West said. ”The game was getting away from us. He goes to the bench, we closed the gap somewhat.”
It was tight all the way in the fourth, and things really got heated down the stretch.
With about 5 1/2 minutes remaining, Millsap stumbled trying to drive to the basket and two Pacers piled on him trying to snatch the ball away.
Tempers flared, Hill gave Atlanta’s Mike Scott a little shove, and both players were assessed technical fouls. After sorting things out, the officials ruled it a jump ball.
”In the fourth quarter, we just made enough plays,” West said. ”The season was on the line.”
Notes: The Hawks gave a lot more attention to Indiana F Luis Scola, who had scored 37 points in the two previous games. He managed only 4 Saturday. … Scott had 12 points off the Atlanta bench, but went just 4 of 15 from the field. … Evan Turner gave the Pacers a boost early on, scoring seven straight points. He finished with 11. … All five Indiana starters blocked at least one shot. … Korver had a career playoff high with nine rebounds.
Dallas Mavericks 109 – San Antonio Spurs 108 (SI Link)
Mavericks lead series 2-1
Vince Carter knew right away the exact date of the last time he had a buzzer-beating try in a playoff game – 13 years ago.
It’s seared in the memory of the 16-year veteran because he missed that one. He was on target Saturday.
Carter hit a double-pump 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Dallas Mavericks a 109-108 victory in Game 3 and a first-round series lead over the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs.
With 1.7 seconds left, Carter took an inbound pass from Jose Calderon in the left corner. After a quick pump fake got Manu Ginobili in the air – moments after the Argentine guard had given the Spurs the lead – Carter released the ball just in time.
He strutted stone-faced toward Dirk Nowitzki, who was waving his arms wildly as he jumped on Carter. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban joined the celebration on the court before the automatic review confirmed the obvious: The shot was good.
And it’s one Carter said he practiced.
”May 20th, Game 7,” said Carter, referring to an 88-87 loss to Philadelphia in the 2001 Eastern Conference finals when he was he was the dunking sensation known as ”Vinsanity” with Toronto. Carter had graduated from North Carolina earlier that day before flying on a private plane to Philadelphia.
”I don’t mind taking the game-winning shot,” said Carter, who otherwise had a rough day before finishing with 11 points. ”I don’t mind missing them, and dealing with it. So I think having that mentality helps me.”
Monta Ellis kept the eighth-seeded Mavericks close in the fourth quarter and finished with 29 points.
Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 22 points.
Game 4 is Monday night in Dallas.
Ginobili, who scored 12 points, dribbled out most of the last 24 seconds before going around Duncan and scoring over Samuel Dalembert for a 108-106 lead. His go-ahead shot spun around the rim and almost came out before falling in.
”You never think it’s over, especially in here,” Ginobili said. ”We’ve got experience on that. As long as you don’t see “zero zero’ over there, it’s not over.”
The Mavericks kept the home-court advantage they earned by taking Game 2 in San Antonio to snap a 10-game losing streak against the Spurs.
And Dallas won despite the Spurs holding Nowitzki under 20 points in a third straight playoff game for the first time since they did it to him in his first postseason in 2001. The big German finished with 18.
Dallas still had a chance in the closing seconds because of Ellis, who had a playoff career high that included 12 fourth-quarter points. He tied the score twice in the final 1:10, first with a three-point play on a floater after he was fouled by Boris Diaw.
After Diaw put the Spurs back in front with a baseline jumper, Ellis hit another high floater in the lane with 24.9 seconds left, setting up Ginobili’s dramatic shot.
Tony Parker had 19 points, but just two after halftime for the Spurs. Tiago Splitter had 14 points and 13 rebounds and Kawhi Leonard awoke from a series-long slumber with 17 points, including a big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.
”In the second half, I didn’t play,” Parker said. ”They were doing the same thing.”
Dalembert did most of his damage in the first half but still made his presence felt after halftime, finished 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks and making two free throws for a 104-all tie after rebounding a Nowitzki miss.
The 32-year-old journeyman center dove for a loose ball to get the crowd on its feet, and then knocked Leonard to the floor when the San Antonio forward was driving for a dunk. After the play, he shook his head as if to say ”don’t bring that in here.”
Referees originally called Dalembert for a flagrant foul, but reversed it on replay. Leonard missed both free throws.
”When his activity is like this, he’s rebounding it and he’s got a presence at the rim it makes such a big difference for us,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.
Calderon had 16 points, including 10 during a fast Dallas start in the first quarter. He also had nine assists.
NOTES: Marion went to Chicago immediately after Dallas’ Game 2 win in San Antonio for the birth of his first child, a boy. He celebrated a little early with 20 points against the Spurs, the most for him in the playoffs since the 2011 NBA Finals. … Splitter’s double-double was the first of his playoff career.
Miami Heat 98 – Charlotte Bobcats 85 (SI Link)
Heat lead series 3-0
LeBron James stripped the ball at midcourt, raced the length of the floor and lifted off for a powerful one-handed dunk.
Bobcats owner Michael Jordan, seated on the Charlotte bench, could only look on helplessly.
James was taking over and the Miami Heat, well, they were starting to look like the Miami Heat of the past two seasons. Unlike the first two games of the series, James made sure this game wouldn’t be close.
James had 30 points and 10 rebounds, and the Heat easily defeated the Bobcats 98-85 Saturday night to take a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference first round. Dwyane Wade added 17 points for the Heat, who can close out the best-of-seven series Monday night.
”We were locked in on what needs to be done and our keys to win this game,” James said.
James went 10 of 18 from the field and pushed his record to 18-0 against the Bobcats since joining the Heat in 2010. Miami has won 19 straight overall against Charlotte.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said his players took a ”professional approach” following a 101-97 win Game 2 that came down the wire, dedicating themselves to fixing their mistakes rather than being satisfied with the win.
Now he said the challenge is closing out the Bobcats.
”You don’t want a series to go longer than it needs to,” Spoelstra said.
Al Jefferson finished with 20 points – 15 in the first quarter – for the Bobcats, who are still searching for the first postseason win in franchise history.
After trailing most of the first half, the Heat took control in the final four minutes of the second quarter.
Miami made 8 of their first 11 3-pointers.
The half, which had started with so much energy and promise for the Bobcats, ended with a colossal mistake by guard Gerald Henderson. With the clock winding down, he turned the ball over in the backcourt with 2 seconds left and then fouled James while the Miami forward was attempting a 3-pointer. James made the Bobcats pay by sinking three free throws with 0.2 left on the clock to give the Heat a 58-46 advantage at the break.
”We butchered the last three-and-a-half minutes of the first half,” Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said.
Said James: ”I put it on my shoulders tonight to close out the quarter the right way. And I think that resulted in the way we started the third quarter.”
The second half was all Miami.
James, who was booed loudly almost every time he touched the ball, hit a key 3-pointer and had the breakaway dunk off a steal from Josh McRoberts in the third quarter to help push the lead to 26 midway through the third.
The Bobcats never mounted a series challenge after that point.
James has never lost a first-round series with his teams in Cleveland and Miami going a combined 8-0.
There was some intrigue entering the game.
James was outspoken on Friday after taking an elbow to the throat from McRoberts in Game 2, although no flagrant foul was called on the floor.
The two made contact early in the first quarter when James drove baseline and McRoberts attempted to take a charge, but officials called a blocking foul. James made the shot but missed the ensuing free throw. McRoberts walked away after the foul clapping his hands, refusing to get upset by a call that could have easily gone the other way.
Slowing down Jefferson was crucial for the Heat.
He hit 7 of 9 shots to start the game helped Charlotte take a 27-23 lead after the first quarter. By the middle of the second quarter, Bobcats fans, wearing all white, began chanting ”M-V-P M-V-P” as Jefferson shot free throws.
But Charlotte’s enthusiasm was short-lived as James and the Heat began flexing its muscles. Jefferson was held to just five points the final three quarters in large part due to Chris Bosh.
”They just got up in the passing lanes and made it hard for us to get Al the ball,” Clifford said. ”You’ve got to give them credit. Their defense was terrific.”
The Heat also turned up the pressure on point guard Kemba Walker, trapping him out near half court. The Heat forced 14 turnovers.
NOTES: The soldout crowd of 19,633 was the largest ever to see a Bobcats game at Time Warner Cable Arena. … Bobcats owner Michael Jordan took in the game from the end of the bench. … James has scored at least 20 points in all three playoff games … The Heat are 19-7 in the playoffs over the past two seasons
Oklahoma City Thunder 92 – Memphis Grizzlies 89 (OT) (SI Link)
Series tied 2-2
Reggie Jackson came off the bench and outscored teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook by himself. The Oklahoma City Thunder needed every point from their top reserve to win yet another overtime game against Memphis.
Jackson scored a personal playoff-best 32 points, and the Thunder beat the Grizzlies 92-89 Saturday night, tying up their first-round Western Conference series at two apiece.
”Reggie played an outstanding basketball game,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. ”He was able to attack and finish around the rim like he’s done all year, and I knew he would bounce back … He’s done a great job of coming in and giving us that lift offensively when we needed it as a sixth man.”
The Thunder sure needed him to avoid going back home in a 3-1 hole after three straight overtime games.
Jackson had only scored 15 points combined in this series, but the guard shook off his shooting woes by hitting 11 of 16. Durant and Russell Westbrook, who struggled through their worst scoring game of the series with a combined 11 of 45 and 15 points apiece.
He said a few made layups finally got him going. Jackson said Durant and Westbrook were allowing him to play.
”They told me to just keep going and be aggressive,” Jackson said.
The Thunder blew a 14-point lead with Memphis, and the Grizzlies blew a third straight fourth-quarter lead themselves. Jackson tied up Memphis with five straight points in the final minute of regulation, and he hit all six free throws in overtime as the Thunder survived an extra period with seven lead changes.
”They’re running plays for him with Durant and Westbrooks spaced out,” Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. ”If you’re going down, my hat’s off to them, both guys did a great job, and Reggie Jackson did a great job just being in attack mode.”
Durant’s two free throws with 1:02 left in overtime put the Thunder ahead to stay.
”One of the things I was pleased about was the way Russ and KD took a backseat tonight and let Reggie take over,” Thunder center Kendrick Perkins said. ”That says a lot about them also.”
Game 5 is Tuesday night back in Oklahoma City.
Mike Conley missed a 26-footer just before the buzzer that could have forced a second extra period. Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka also blocked a Tony Allen shot with 2.7 seconds left in regulation to keep the Thunder alive for overtime.
The Thunder won for only the second time in seven playoff games in Memphis, and this was just their second in eight overtimes with the Grizzlies since the start of the 2010-11 season. Oklahoma City also snapped Memphis’ franchise-record 15-game winning streak.
Ibaka added 12 points for Oklahoma City. The Thunder outrebounded Memphis 58-49 and got 12 offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter and overtime combined.
Gasol said he expects the Grizzlies will be more aggressive with Jackson in the next game. But he also noted they have to do better against the likes of Ibaka and Caron Butler.
”Those are the guys that are going to be the difference in the series,” Gasol said.
The Grizzlies blew a fourth-quarter lead for a third straight game. They last led 87-86 after Conley hit a step-back jumper. Then Duran hit two free throws with 1:02 left to put the Thunder ahead to stay, and Jackson sealed it with four free throws in the final 12.2 seconds.
With NBA commissioner Adam Silver and former Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer on hand, the Thunder got back to passing the ball and shooting better with the exception of Durant and Westbrook.
Oklahoma City took its biggest lead of the game at 64-50 on a layup by Durant with 26.3 seconds left in the third. Then the Grizzlies put together their best stretch with a 15-5 spurt with Memphis coach Dave Joerger going with a small group of shooters including Mike Miller, Beno Udrih and Conley.
Miller hit a 3-pointer that brought fans to their feet, and Allen’s layup off his own miss with 3:55 gave the Grizzlies their first lead since 20-18 early in the second quarter. But they couldn’t hold the lead on a day where former owner Michael Heisley died at the age of 77.
After Allen and Gasol hit jumpers pushing Memphis’ lead to 80-75, Jackson hit a 3 and then drove the lane to tie it up at 80 with 30.6 seconds to go.
Notes: Derek Fisher played in his 244th career playoff game, tying him with Robert Horry for most postseason appearances in NBA history. … Heisley was remembered with a moment of silence before tipoff. … Oklahoma City last won a playoff game in Memphis on May 9, 2011 needing three overtimes. That also was Game 4, and the Thunder won that semifinal series in seven.