Three more fantastic games tonight in the NBA Playoffs. We were thinking we might see another first round series wrap up, however, a gutty performance forces a game six. We’ve got video highlights and recaps for all three match ups. You can check them out below. Recaps courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
San Antonio Spurs 109 – Dallas Mavericks 103 (SI Link)
Spurs lead series 3-2
Tony Parker was nursing a sprained left ankle and playing a critical playoff game on no sleep only hours after the birth of his first child.
It was the perfect formula for a resurgent performance from the San Antonio Spurs point guard.
Parker had 23 points and five assists and San Antonio never trailed in a 109-103 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night, taking a 3-2 lead in the first-round series.
”Coming into the game I told him this is perfect for you,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. ”This is what he does in situations like this where he doesn’t get a lot of sleep or is in a stressful situation. He always seems to play better. I somewhat expected it from him.
”He was really excited before the game. Obviously, he was really excited to have his son here and wanted to get this game really badly not only for his son but for the situation and the timing of it. He was really focused and it was good for us.”
Parker’s rebirth put San Antonio on the verge of closing out a tense series against its intrastate rival with Game 6 set for Friday in Dallas.
Vince Carter scored 28 points on 10-for-16 shooting for the Mavericks.
Carter’s 3-pointer with 3 minutes left pulled Dallas within 98-94 but Parker followed a minute later with his only 3-pointer of the game for a 101-94 advantage, punctuating the shot with a loud scream.
His son Josh was born early in the morning to his fiancee Axelle Francine.
”It was crazy, “cause it happened last night, late,” Parker said. ”I didn’t sleep. I basically didn’t sleep the whole night and just played on adrenaline today.
”I’m a happy man right now.”
After shooting 5 for 14 in scoring just 10 points in San Antonio’s Game 4 victory, Parker responded with a frantic start. He mixed in three driving layups and two mid-range jumpers to start the game making 5 of his first 7 shots.
Parker’s drives helped the Spurs’ struggling offense maintain a consistent rhythm for the first time in the series.
Manu Ginobili had 19 points and Tiago Splitter added 17 points and 12 rebounds as San Antonio regained home-court advantage. Duncan added 16 points and 12 rebounds and Kawhi Leonard had 15 points for the Spurs.
After averaging 16 points in the series’ first four games, Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki found the stroke in scoring 26 points on 10-for-20 shooting. But it wasn’t enough to overcome Parker and the Spurs returning to form.
”Vince shot the ball incredibly, Dirk found his rhythm and really made some tough shots,” Duncan said. ”But we were able to counter that offensively by moving the ball, hitting the glass, getting into the paint and getting some easy stuff for ourselves and loosen it up.”
San Antonio took its largest lead of the game at 24-11 6 minutes into the first quarter as Ginobili hit a 3-pointer seconds after entering the game.
The Spurs rediscovered the aggressive defense, long-range shooting and fluid ball movement that fueled them to the league’s best record.
San Antonio was 8 for 16 from 3-point range and had 24 assists while committing just six turnovers. The Spurs finished with 54 points in the paint while shooting 47 percent overall from the field.
”I think they moved the ball well and, of course, they got a lot of layups, so that’s most of it,” Carter said. ”They did a great job of just moving the ball and making the right decisions, keeping us on our heels. I think we just have to go back to the drawing board and let it all hang out.”
Danny Green hit a 3-pointer to give San Antonio a 67-57 lead with 7:22 remaining in the third quarter after starting a fast break by tipping the ball from behind on a driving Ellis.
Splitter threw a bounce pass into the lane to feed a cutting Parker for a layup with 7 minutes remaining in the game for a 91-81 lead.
Splitter had nine points, six rebounds and four assists in the fourth quarter.
The Mavericks were within four points with 3 minutes remaining. Nowitzki had an opportunity to pull Dallas closer but upfaked Splitter and dribbled out of a clean look at a 3-point attempt only to miss a 17-foot jumper with 2:35 remaining.
”I would obviously like to have that one back there on the wing when I faked Splitter, to make it a two-point game,” Nowitzki said. ”That was a big shot. I have to make that one.”
NOTES: After initially stating that an ouster of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was a ”slippery slope,” Dallas’ Mark Cuban refused to comment after NBA commissioner Adam Silver did just that Tuesday. ”I’m going to tell you exactly what I did,” Cuban said. ”I went and looked at a picture of my house since I’m on the road and I saw that it was made out of a whole lot of glass, so I decided I don’t have anything more to say on the whole topic. That’s my statement.”… Dallas’ Samuel Dalembert had to be helped off the court after twisting his left ankle while getting tied up with Green on a rebound. Dalembert returned in the second quarter and finished with two points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes.
Toronto Raptors 115 – Brooklyn Nets 113 (SI Link)
Raptors lead series 3-2
Kyle Lowry‘s prolific offense carried the Toronto Raptors to a big lead, and his defensive smarts saved the game.
Lowry scored a career playoff-high 36 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer after Toronto had blown a 26-point lead, and the Raptors beat the Brooklyn Nets 115-113 to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round series.
”He was definitely carrying them in the first half,” Nets guard Deron Williams said. ”He’s just tough to guard when he gets like that. He’s got a lot of confidence right now.”
Joe Johnson scored 30 points and Mirza Teletovic had 17 for the Nets, who scored 44 points in the fourth quarter but lost their final chance when Andray Blatche fired a pass well over Deron Williams’ head into the backcourt for a turnover.
Blatche said Lowry’s defensive pressure on the play led to the decisive mistake.
”Shaun (Livingston) made a great play to keep the ball alive,” Blatche said. ”I tried to get the ball out to (Williams) so he could get the 3 and take the game home. (Lowry) ran out and was forcing me to make a tougher pass and I threw it in the backcourt.”
Nets coach Jason Kidd said Lowry is someone who is ”never going to stop playing.”
”Tonight he made some big shots plays and made some big shots down the stretch,” Kidd said.
DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, Jonas Valanciunas scored 16 and Greivis Vasquez added 15 for the Raptors, who would advance to face Miami in the second round with a victory in Game 6 on Friday in Brooklyn.
The Nets, meanwhile, are facing elimination after consecutive losses.
”We’ve just got to play with a sense of urgency,” Williams said. ”We have to now. If we lose, we’re done.”
Game 7, if necessary, would be Sunday in Toronto.
”I think we’ll play better on Friday at home and we’ll see them back here Sunday,” Nets forward Paul Pierce said.
Toronto led 94-72 on a 3-pointer by Vasquez with 11:23 remaining, but Brooklyn scored 15 of the next 18 points, including a four-point play by Alan Anderson, to make it 97-87 with 7:15 remaining.
”Every mistake you could think about, we made in the fourth quarter,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
Johnson later converted a three-point play, then made a 3 to tie it at 101 with 3:16 left.
Lowry put Toronto back on top with a pair of free throws, and a 3 by Vasquez gave the Raptors a five-point lead with 2:46 left.
Two free throws by Blatche and a 3 by Teletovic tied it at 106 with 1:23 left, but Lowry made a 3, then followed a layup by Blatche with a driving hook shot, putting the Raptors up 111-108 with 27 seconds remaining.
Johnson missed a jumper and DeRozan was fouled after grabbing the rebound, making both to put Toronto up by five, but Amir Johnson fouled out on Anderson’s corner 3. Anderson’s free throw made it 113-112 with less than 10 seconds left.
”They got stagnant and kind of got tight” Livingston said. ”We were playing a little bit loose and free.”
DeRozan, who finished 12 of 13 at the line, added two more free throws to give Toronto a 115-112 lead with 6 seconds left. After a timeout, Blatche was fouled and made the first free throw but missed the second. Blatche grabbed the rebound and tried to pass it to Williams but the ball sailed into the backcourt for a turnover, sealing victory for Toronto.
Brooklyn led 23-18 on a 3 by Anderson with just over two minutes left in the first, but the Raptors reeled off seven straight points, including a 3 by Lowry, to take the lead. Lowry hit another 3 before the quarter ended and Amir Johnson scored nine points in the first as Toronto led 28-25 after one.
The Raptors used another huge surge to widen their lead in the second quarter. A three-point play by Marcus Thornton put the Nets up 40-36 with 5:26 left in the half, but Lowry scored five points in a 13-0 run to give Toronto a 49-40 lead, causing the Nets to call timeout.
Pierce stopped the run with a driving basket, but the Raptors scored the final eight points of the half, including a buzzer-beating 3 by Lowry that went in off the glass. Toronto led 62-44 at halftime, setting a playoff record for points in a half.
Joe Johnson scored 18 points in the third for Brooklyn, but the Raptors pulled further away thanks to eight points from Valanciunas and seven by Lowry, taking a 91-69 edge into the fourth.
NOTES: The Raptors scored 61 points in the first half of Game 3 in their first round series against Orlando on Apr. 24, 2008. … Rapper 50 Cent attended the game, as did former Raptors player Morris Peterson.
Houston Rockets 108 – Portland Trail Blazers 98 (SI Link)
Blazers lead series 3-2
Dwight Howard had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and Jeremy Lin came off the bench to score 21 points and help the Houston Rockets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 108-98 on Wednesday night to avoid elimination.
The Trail Blazers lead the first-round series 3-2 entering Game 6 on Friday in Portland.
A basket by Damian Lillard got the Trail Blazers within two points before James Harden stepped back and swished a 3-pointer to make it 103-98 with about three minutes left. The shot brought the crowd, which was clad almost completely in red shirts emblazoned with the words ”Clutch City” on them, to its feet.
That started a 12-0 Houston run to close it out. Harden finished with 17 points and seven assists.
Houston finally slowed down LaMarcus Aldridge, limiting him to eight points, after he averaged 35.3 points in the first four games. Wesley Matthews led the Blazers with 27 points and Lillard added 26.
Lin got extended minutes on Wednesday night with Pat Beverley dealing with an illness. Beverley had five points in 21 minutes.
The Rockets led by as many as 17 points in the first half. Portland cut it to one point three times in the fourth quarter, but never went back on top.
Terrence Jones added a basket for Houston after the big 3 by Harden before Howard got after Aldridge on the other end. He blocked his short jump shot, sending it out of bounds. Portland got the ball back and Aldridge got the ball again, but he badly missed a shot with Howard in his face as the shot clock expired, leaving Aldridge yelling for a foul.
The Rockets were up by nine early in the fourth quarter after four quick points from Lin before Portland used an 8-0 run, with the first four points from Nicolas Batum, to cut the lead to 91-90 with 7:39 remaining.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Matthews cut Houston’s lead to 62-58 early in the third quarter. He added 12 more points in the period to finish with 18 of Portland’s 29 points.
Howard and Lin carried the Rockets in the third, combining for 18 points. Howard had 10 and Lin scored the rest, including a long two as the shot clock expired with Lillard right in his face.
Matthews, who was 4 for 5 from long range in the third, made two 3-pointers within 20 seconds late in the quarter to cut Houston’s lead to two points. But Lin finished off the quarter with a three-point play to make it 82-77 entering the fourth.
Robin Lopez received a flagrant-1 foul when he fouled Howard in the air while fighting for a rebound and pulled him to the ground by the shoulders on the way down. Howard made one of two free throws to stretch Houston’s lead to 74-68 with three minutes left in the quarter.
Houston led by three after one and used an 11-0 run to start the second quarter and go up 41-27. Jones scored the first four points in that span and rookie Troy Daniels capped it with a 3-pointer.
The Trail Blazers had six turnovers while the Rockets built the lead and didn’t score until a pair of free throws by Aldridge with about nine minutes left until halftime.
Howard picked up his third foul soon after that and went to the bench.
Portland scored the next five points to get within seven but the Rockets used a 10-0 spurt to push the lead to 51-34. Lin had a reverse layup and a 3-pointer during that run.
The Trail Blazers ended the first half with a 14-5 run, with eight points from Lillard, to cut the lead to 56-48 at halftime.
Aldridge had just six points at halftime after sitting out about half of the first quarter after getting his second foul.
NOTES: The Trail Blazers wore patches on their jerseys to honor Hall of Famer Jack Ramsay, who died on Monday at 89. Ramsay coached the team to an NBA title in 1977. The plaid patch has the words ”Dr. Jack” and a ”77” to honor the championship team. The Blazers will wear the patch for the remainder of the postseason. … Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon watched from a courtside seat. … Chandler Parsons added 20 points for Houston.
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