Three more games in the NBA Playoffs on Thursday night, and we’ve got the recaps and video highlights that you need for all three games here. You can check it all out below. Recaps courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
Indiana Pacers 95 – Atlanta Hawks 88 (SI Link)
Series tied 3-3
The Indiana Pacers have changed who they are, going to a different style in hopes of surviving the opening round of the playoffs.
No matter what, they can always count on David West.
With the top-seeded Pacers poised for an early summer, West fearlessly led a 16-4 run to end the game, extending the season with a 95-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.
”He’s our rock,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. ”There’s no other way to put it.”
Trailing 3-2 after losing at home for the second time in the best-of-seven series, Indiana was in big trouble when the Hawks pushed out to an 84-79 lead with just over 3 minutes remaining, cheered on by a raucous crowd that barely sat down in the second half.
But, for the fourth time in this back-and-forth affair, the road team won.
West seemed to make every big play down the stretch, scoring four straight points and forcing a huge turnover to begin the turnaround. He hit two more baskets in the final minute to wrap things up, finishing with 24 points.
Game 7 is Saturday in Indianapolis.
”When a team is making runs like that, an eight seed trying to knock off a one seed in their building and the place is erupting on every play, we have a guy with the composure to settle everyone down,” Vogel said.
Paul George also scored 24 points for the Pacers, making four straight free throws to help fend off a team that was trying to become only the sixth No. 8 seed to win a playoff series.
The Pacers went with a smaller-than-usual lineup much of the game, hoping to match up better with Atlanta spreading the court and shooting a bunch of 3-pointers. Roy Hibbert remained the starting center, but played only about 12 minutes for the second game in a row. Ian Mahinmi played nearly twice as long, giving Indiana more mobility in the lane, while C.J. Watson and Chris Copeland also got extensive minutes.
It worked. Atlanta bogged down offensively and made only 9-of-35 from beyond the arc.
”We tried some different lineups,” West said. ”Coach rolled the dice.”
West came up big all over the court, also leading the Pacers with 11 rebounds and six assists, not to mention a couple of steals.
”I told the guys, “If worse comes to worse, we’ve got to play park basketball,”’ he said.
Atlanta, playing perhaps its biggest home playoff game since the 1980s, looked as if it was on the verge of a huge celebration when the defense sagged and Jeff Teague knocked down a jumper with 3:16 to go.
But, led by West, the Pacers showed some of the resolve they’ve lacked in a late-season swoon. After swishing a pair of free throws, he hustled back to swat the ball away from Atlanta’s Pero Antic. Making sure Indiana took advantage of the turnover, West calmly made a jumper from the top of the key.
Antic tied it for the final time, 85-all, on a free throw with 1:24 remaining. But that was it for the Hawks.
West hit another jumper to put the Pacers ahead for good. Then, coming off a timeout, Lou Williams drove under the basket and tried to throw an outlet pass to Teague; instead, the ball went right to George. He was immediately fouled, made both free throws, and Teague missed again for the Hawks after a brilliant night to seal it for the Pacers.
Teague scored 29 points, nearly pulling out a victory on a night when Atlanta shot just under 36 percent.
”Nobody’s going to lay down and just allow their season to be over with,” Williams said. ”Especially with the type of basketball team that they are. I think they just did a great job of just fighting at that three-minute mark and made the plays that we didn’t.”
The bruising series nearly turned ugly near the end of the first half. Scott doled out an elbow to Hill, and the Pacers guard responded with a shove. The refs jumped in quickly and no punches were thrown. After initially calling a foul on Hill, the officials got together and changed it to Scott. The crowd booed lustily, but it appeared to be the correct call.
Replays appeared to show a couple of Indiana players stepping beyond the bench area, but they didn’t get involved and Vogel said he didn’t expect any discipline from the league for Game 7.
Notes: Millsap and Williams were the only other Atlanta players in double figures, both with 16 points. … Lance Stephenson scored 21 points for the Pacers. … Millsap had 18 rebounds.
Oklahoma City Thunder 104 – Memphis Grizzlies 84 (SI Link)
Series tied 3-3
Kevin Durant insisted the Thunder facing elimination was all the motivation he needed.
Thanks to the NBA’s best scorer, the Thunder remain alive and can finish off the Memphis Grizzlies back in Oklahoma City.
Durant scored 36 points to break out of a slump, and the Thunder routed the Grizzlies 104-84 on Thursday night to force a deciding seventh game in the first-round Western Conference series. His performance came on a day where the hometown newspaper questioned his struggles with a headline calling him ”Mr. Unreliable.”
”We needed to win this game,” Durant said. ”That’s more motivation than anything, so our team responded. We’ve got to do an even better job in Game 7.”
Russell Westbrook added 25 points for the Thunder, who haven’t been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs since 2010. They took control early with Durant scoring 14 points in the first quarter, led by 15 at halftime and never let Memphis get that close again in the second half in the first game in the series that didn’t go to overtime since the opener.
”You don’t get to his level as an NBA player and a great player as he is to have other people motivate you,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. ”He’s self-motivated. He’s a tremendous kid and does everything for his team, for our organization. We’re proud of him because he gives everything he has. That was the only focus for tonight’s game.”
Durant also had 10 rebounds and made 14 of 15 free throws. Reggie Jackson had 16 points off the bench for the Thunder, who will host Game 7 on Saturday night.
Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said the Thunder simply wanted the game more and called the loss embarrassing in front of a sellout crowd.
”Now, we’ve shot ourselves in the foot, and we have to go to a hostile environment now and pretty much show where our heart is at,” Allen said.
Marc Gasol had 17 points and Zach Randolph 16 for Memphis. Guard Mike Conley strained his right hamstring, briefly returned and left for good with 8:48 left. Conley went down in the third quarter near midcourt dribbling when Kendrick Perkins reached in for a steal. The Memphis guard returned briefly, but Conley was limping noticeably.
With the Thunder in control, Conley went to the locker room again and didn’t return.
Nick Calathes currently is suspended for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy, leaving Memphis with only Beno Udrih at point guard. Memphis coach Dave Joerger said Udrih will play a lot of minutes if Conley can’t. Conley said he will be re-evaluated Friday and receive as much treatment as possible before tipoff Saturday.
”I plan on playing,” Conley said.
Durant had to answer questions after the shootaround Thursday about that headline in The Oklahoman newspaper. Durant said he had no problem with the headline and that he just needed to hit shots and be more aggressive.
Smiling just before tipoff, Durant did just that. The man who led the NBA scoring 32 points a game during the regular season opened by hitting five of his first seven and finished 11 of 23 from the floor. He continued to struggle outside the arc where he missed all six of his attempts.
The Grizzlies had a chance to advance to their third semifinal in four years on their own floor. Yet they couldn’t shoot well or match the Thunder’s intensity with a sloppy performance in front of a sellout crowd that tried to energize the Grizzlies. Oklahoma City outrebounded Memphis 47-36 and easily outshot them 49.3 percent (37 of 75) to 37.3 percent (31 of 83).
”We knew sooner or later our shots would fall,” Brooks said.
”This is why you play the game to prove doubters wrong, and adversity builds character,” Butler said. ”This team has a strong character and a will.”
Memphis last led 6-4. A team that thrives off defense, the Grizzlies couldn’t knock down shots even when they managed to get consecutive stops.
The Grizzlies got to 42-37 with 3:08 left on a steal and fast-break layup by Conley. The Thunder finished the half with a 14-4 run for a 56-41 lead. The Grizzlies missed their first six shots to open the third quarter, finishing any hopes of a comeback.
James Johnson scored 15 points off the bench for Memphis, and Allen added 13.
Notes: This will be the second Game 7 between the teams in four years. Oklahoma City beat Memphis in seven in the 2011 conference semifinals. … The Grizzlies are 4-1 with a chance to close out a series. … Steven Adams blocked a career-high five shots off the bench for the Thunder.
Golden State Warriors 100 – Los Angeles Clippers 99 (SI Link)
Series tied 3-3
After a first-round series filled with drama on the court and off it, the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers will put the focus back on basketball in the biggest way possible.
Next up: Game 7.
Stephen Curry scored 24 points and dished out nine assists, and the Warriors forced a winner-take-all series finale by outlasting the Clippers 100-99 Thursday night.
”We are going to a Game 7 despite all the sideline music, and I like my chances because I’ve got a group of guys that want to do whatever it takes to win,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.
Andre Iguodala added 15 points, and Draymond Green had 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Warriors, handing Los Angeles one more obstacle to overcome in a week full of them after Clippers owner Donald Sterling earned a lifetime ban from the NBA for his racist remarks.
Game 7 is Saturday night in Los Angeles, where an inspired Clippers crowd rallying behind the motto ”We Are One” will be on hand at Staples Center.
”It’s exciting. A lot of guys in the locker room haven’t been in a Game 7,” said Curry, who shot 9 of 24.
The Warriors limited big men Blake Griffin (17 points, nine rebounds) and DeAndre Jordan (19 rebounds, nine points) even after center Jermaine O’Neal left with a sprained right knee in the second quarter. The Clippers simply ran out of time in the closing minute, missing three shots before Matt Barnes made a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds to play.
Los Angeles fouled Curry, who missed both free throws. Green grabbed the rebound as the buzzer sounded, touching off a confetti-filled celebration throughout the gold-shirt wearing sellout crowd of 19,596, which packed an unusually warm Oracle Arena that rocked and roared throughout.
”It was one of those hustle games. Give them credit. I thought they came up with just enough plays to beat us,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
Jamal Crawford scored 19 points, and Barnes had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers, who are trying to win just their third playoff series since Sterling bought the franchise in 1981.
Clippers point guard Chris Paul appeared hampered by the strained left hamstring that has bothered him all series. He crouched down and held his knees during stoppages, often wincing in pain, and trainers also worked on his left hand. He finished with nine points, eight assists and five rebounds.
Golden State shot 39.3 percent, while the Clippers were held to 36.8 percent.
”We understand the journey,” Crawford said. ”It won’t be easy, but we feel like we’re in a good position. We’re at home and we’ll be ready.”
With the stakes higher than they’ve been all season, the teams traded blows in a fast and physical game that often featured more fouls than flamboyant plays.
O’Neal appeared to take the worst one, spraining his right knee when Glen ”Big Baby” Davis lowered his shoulder and crashed into him while going for a rebound in the second quarter. O’Neal lay in pain until he limped to the locker with the help of teammates.
O’Neal, who is scheduled to have an MRI exam, hopes to play in Game 7.
”Anything short of God coming back and rapture, anything short of that, I will play,” he said.
Green filled the void for a Warriors front line already missing two centers, including starter Andrew Bogut, who has sat out the series with a fractured right rib. Green’s physical play inside highlighted a game that officials had to constantly control.
The teams kept things just as close on the scoreboard as on the court. Los Angeles led 51-48 at the half, while the Warriors went up 70-67 through three quarters.
The Warriors began to pull away when Iguodala hit a corner 3-pointer in front of the Clippers bench, falling to the floor after drawing Griffin’s sixth foul with 2:31 to play. Iguodala strutted down court and gave a low-hand slap to Green as the crowd roared to its feet with Golden State up 96-89, but the celebration would have to wait.
The Clippers came back quickly, cutting Golden State’s lead to two on a 3-pointer by Crawford and a layup by Barnes. Both teams missed several shots in the final minute, especially Los Angeles.
The Clippers missed three straight shots – and corralled three rebounds – before Barnes hit the 3 with 1.1 seconds remaining to trim Golden State’s lead to one. Los Angeles had no time left for one more shot, forcing a much-anticipated finale between rising Pacific Division rivals.
The Clippers and Warriors have played 10 games this season. Each team has won five.
NOTES: The Warriors had lost seven straight elimination games. … The Warriors have won 17 of their past 20 home games against Los Angeles. … Clippers reserve F Hedo Turkoglu sat out with a lower back injury suffered in Game 5. He is day to day.