NBA Daily Roundup
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NBA DAILY FOR THURSDAY, MAY 23
Recaps of NBA games played Wednesday
LeBron saves Heat at buzzer of Game 1 vs Pacers -- MIAMI (AP) -- LeBron James caught the inbounds pass, changed direction and immediately attacked the rim.
There was no one in his way.
There was no stopping him, either.
James made a layup as time expired in overtime, capping a 30-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist effort as the Miami Heat found a way to outlast the Indiana Pacers 103-102 in a wildly back-and-forth Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night. There were 18 ties and 17 lead changes, the last two of those coming in the final 2.2 seconds.
''Two teams fought hard,'' James said. ''We were able to make one more play.''
If this is how this series is going to go, then get ready for a classic between teams that absolutely wanted to face the other with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line.
The AP reports:
Paul George saved the Pacers at the end of regulation with a 32-footer with 0.7 seconds left, and then made three free throws with 2.2 ticks left in overtime to give Indiana a one-point lead. George pumped his fist gently after the third free throw, then extended his index finger skyward as the teams retreated to their benches to get ready for the final play.
He just left James too much time, and the Pacers left their best shot-blocking option on the bench. Roy Hibbert wasn't on the floor for the final play, and without a 7-foot-2 barrier to contest him, James made the winner look easy.
The AP reports: Wade scored 19 points, Bosh had 17 and Chris Andersen had 16 on 7-for-7 shooting for Miami.
George scored 27 for the Pacers, who got 26 from David West and 19 from Hibbert. The Pacers have won only two series in NBA franchise history after dropping a Game 1.
''It just felt like everything was in our favor,'' George said.
The final few seconds of regulation were stunning, with Ray Allen - the sixth-best free-throw shooter in NBA history - missing one that proved big, and George making a miracle happen.
NBA.com reports: THE STAT: The Heat had five players score in double-figures, including Chris Bosh (17), Wade (19), Mario Chalmers (10) and Chris Andersen (16).
TURNING POINT: The Heat looked like they were headed toward a blowout when they started the second half with a 12-2 run. Indiana had other plans, weathering the run and turning it into a close game the rest of the way.
QUOTABLE II: "That's the dilemma they present when they have Chris Bosh at the five spot and his ability to space the floor. We put a switching lineup in with the intent to switch, keep everything in front of us and try to go into or force a challenged jumpshot. We pushed a little bit too much. LeBron was able to beat us off the bounce." ... Some called Lance Stephenson the key to the series, but that was hardly the case in Game 1. He struggled while being defended by James, finishing 2-for-10 from the field.
The Miami Herald reports: The Heat led by 101-99 with less than 10 seconds to play when Dwyane Wade fouled George, the Pacers’ young star, in the act of shooting a three-pointer. George made all three free throws to give Indiana a 102-101 lead. After a timeout, James took the inbounds pass from Battier at midcourt and sidestepped George, who overcommitted on the play. James sprinted to the basket for the points as the buzzer sounded and the arena blew its top. Battier jumped out of his shoes in celebration, pumping his fists as the Heat’s bench poured onto the court. “No way we should win this game to no way we should lose this game to what the hell just happened,” Battier said. Wade, who had just fouled out, leaped onto the court and ran to James. “I nearly jumped into his arms,” Wade said. James pulled out his mouthpiece calmly, always the regal king. “I made a layup,” James said coolly in his post-game news conference. “It’s not like I made something from half court.”
NBA DAILY FOR WEDNESDAY, MAY 22
Recaps of NBA games played Tuesday
Spurs blow late lead, beat Grizzlies 93-89 in OT -- SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- When Tony Parker started running low on masterful plays, Tim Duncan was there to take over and lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
Parker had 15 points and a career playoff-high 18 assists, Duncan scored San Antonio's first six points of overtime and the Spurs bounced back after squandering a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 93-89 on Tuesday night.
''I hate that we gave up that big of a lead in that situation,'' Duncan said. ''But we were resilient enough to go to overtime and not let it affect us.''
Duncan opened the extra period with a layup, and then made a tiebreaking putback on Parker's missed jumper. He then made a runner that bounced high of the back iron and rattled in for a 91-87 lead with 1:08 to play.
The Grizzlies had a chance to tie after Jerryd Bayless hit a jumper and Parker missed one of two free throws with 14.6 seconds left, but Bayless' 3-pointer from the left wing was off-target.
The AP reports:
Memphis has fallen behind in all three playoff series so far, including rallying from an 0-2 deficit in the first round against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Game 3 is Saturday in Memphis.
''We're in the same boat we were when we left L.A. We're down 0-2. We've got to go home and take care of business at home,'' coach Lionel Hollins said. ''It's not going to be easy, but that's where we are.''
Bayless and Mike Conley each had 18 points to lead Memphis.
Duncan had 17 points and nine rebounds, missing most of the second half with foul trouble before coming up with the key baskets in overtime - even if it wasn't by design.
NBA.com reports: Tim Duncan scored 17 points, including six in overtime when Memphis could score only four, and the San Antonio Spurs have managed a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals after a shaky 93-89 victory over the Grizzlies on Tuesday at AT&T Center.
Behind a career playoff-high 18 assists from Tony Parker, San Antonio built a lead of as much as 18 points. It was 12 heading into the fourth quarter before the Spurs missed their final eight shots from the floor in regulation and failed to score in the final 4:18 of the fourth quarter.
Jerryd Bayless came off the Memphis bench to score 18 points, but missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game with 11 seconds left in overtime. Mike Conley also added 18, but Zach Randolph had another flat shooting night. Maybe the return to home court in Memphis for Game 3 on Saturday will pull him out of his funk, because he was 6-for-18 after starting 1-for-10, and he's 7-for-26 in the series.
NBA.com reports: Despite the comeback, the game got away from the Grizzlies when they shot 24 percent in the second quarter and were outscored 31-18. Randolph went 0-for-7 and Tony Allen was 0-for-4. Memphis missed 14 straight shots to finish the half... Duncan was playing with five fouls, but he was 3-for-5 from the floor in overtime while Memphis went 2-for-12. Otherwise, Duncan was close to producing Z-Bo (Randolph) numbers; Duncan shot 6-for-14 for the game.
NBA DAILY FOR MONDAY, MAY 20
Recaps of NBA games played Sunday
Spurs rout Grizzlies 105-83 in West finals opener -- SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs opened the Western Conference finals resembling the past champions who've been there so many times before.
The Memphis Grizzlies looked like the first-timers still trying to adapt to their first conference finals appearance.
Tony Parker had 20 points and nine assists, Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points and the Spurs struck first by beating Memphis 105-83 on Sunday.
San Antonio raced out to a 17-point lead in the first quarter, then came up with a response when Memphis rallied to get within six in the second half. Both teams pulled their starters with over 5 minutes left and the Spurs leading by 21.
The AP reports: ''I can promise you this: Nobody's happy in our locker room, because we were up 2-0 (in the West finals) last year and we lost,'' Parker said. ''It's just one game. It means nothing. We still have a long way to go.'' ... The NBA's stingiest defense wasn't up to its usual standards, allowing the Spurs to hit 53 percent of their shots and a franchise postseason-record 14 3-pointers while All-Star power forward Zach Randolph struggled. Randolph had just two points, getting his only basket with 9:26 left in the game.
He had a playoff-best 28 points and 14 rebounds in his last game, as Memphis eliminated defending West champ Oklahoma City in Game 5 on Wednesday night...
The AP reports: Danny Green connected three times and scored 16, and Matt Bonner hit four of his five attempts for 12 points.
''We did a good job of moving the basketball, finding each other, trusting each other,'' Green said. ''Luckily we made some today.''
Pondexter led Memphis with 17 points, Marc Gasol scored 15 and Mike Conley had 14 points and eight assists.
NBA DAILY FOR SUNDAY, MAY 19
Recaps of NBA games played Saturday
Pacers knock out Knicks with 106-99 win in Game 6 -- INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Indiana spent the entire season perfecting its defense.
On Saturday, it produced the biggest payoff for the Pacers in nearly a decade.
Roy Hibbert's block of Carmelo Anthony's dunk attempt midway through the fourth quarter spurred an 11-2 run that rallied the Pacers to a 106-99 victory in Game 6 of their second-round series, sending them into their first Eastern Conference final since 2004.
New York native Lance Stephenson scored nine points in the run, finishing with a playoff career-high 25.
''That's why they pay me the big bucks this summer, so I have to protect the paint,'' said Hibbert, who signed a $58 million contract last summer.
The AP reports:
For Indiana, it sets up a postseason rematch with the defending NBA champs, the team that eliminated them last May after the Pacers had taken a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven semifinals. The Heat wound up winning Game 4 at Indiana and followed that with two more wins as Danny Granger struggled with a knee injury.
Indiana used the lessons from that series as motivation to improve this season and wound up beating the Heat twice at home before losing the third game of the season series at Miami. The Pacers will return to South Florida for Game 1 on Wednesday night.
With Granger missing all but five games this season because of the lingering knee injury, the Pacers put an even greater emphasis on playing defense and it showed.
The AP reports: Iman Shumpert added 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers, and J.R. Smith scored 15. Nobody else was in double figures... Hill finished with just 12 points on 2-of-10 shooting but had five rebounds and four assists, and kept the Pacers composed enough to commit only nine turnovers - 10 fewer than Thursday night's loss in New York... Paul George had 23 points, five rebounds and four assists. David West added 17 points, five rebounds and four assists, and Hibbert finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks, none bigger than the stuff on Anthony that changed the game. Stephenson had 10 rebounds and three assists in his best postseason game ever.
The Indianapolis Star reports: The team that led at halftime won every game in this series and the Pacers led 55-47 at the break on Saturday. But the Knicks look poised to break that trend when they went on a 21-9 run in the third quarter. Iman Shumpert hit four 3-pointers during the stretch, including one with 48 seconds left that tied the score 79-79. A subsequent basket by Anthony gave them their first lead since the game’s opening minute. J.R. Smith’s basket gave New York a 92-90 lead with 5:37 remaining. But Indiana’s Lance Stephenson scored the next seven points and the Pacers never trailed again. “They were definitely the aggressor,” Woodson said. “We had a chance tonight, but we put them on the line a lot of times. Right there, I thought that was a big difference tonight.” The Knicks hit all 18 of their free-throw attempts. The problem was the Pacers shot 46 of them, making 34. Anthony was brilliant for most of the game, but struggled to score when his team needed it most.
The Indianapolis Star reports: Lance Stephenson, who played miserably in Game 5 in New York, stepped to the forefront and became that cocky player who was a New York City high school legend. It was because of that attitude that the Pacers are headed back to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2004. Stephenson started out strong and came on late to help the Pacers beat the Knicks 106-99 Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Stephenson finished with a career-high 25 points to go with 10 rebounds in 34 minutes. “He was difference maker tonight,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “We gave up 25 points to Lance and that’s no knock to him. That somewhat came out of nowhere. He was aggressive how he played. We had no answer for him.”
NBA DAILY FOR FRIDAY, MAY 17
Recaps of NBA games played Thursday
Anthony has 28, Knicks beat Pacers to stay alive -- NEW YORK (AP) -- For the New York Knicks, it was about playing harder, even if not really much better.
Saving their season would be more about effort than execution.
''Tonight it was just one of them days where you just got to leave it out there on the basketball court,'' Carmelo Anthony said.
Now they have to do it two more times.
Anthony scored 28 points and the Knicks avoided elimination in the Eastern Conference semifinals with an 85-75 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 on Thursday night.
Reserves J.R. Smith and Chris Copeland each had 13 points for the Knicks, who trail 3-2 and will need a victory Saturday in Indiana to force a seventh game back here Monday. They are trying to become the ninth NBA team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series.
''I was totally impressed because we met the challenge,'' Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. ''I think as a coach you come into games like this and you want to see who's going to step up and make plays, and I thought we did that tonight. We were the better team in terms of doing that.''
Anthony, who didn't make a basket in the fourth quarter of either game in Indiana, made a jumper midway through the fourth quarter after Indiana closed within four points. He followed with two free throws, Raymond Felton made a layup, and the Knicks were never in jeopardy again.
Paul George had 23 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Pacers. They played without point guard George Hill because of a concussion and committed 19 turnovers.
''We've just got to play more solid. There's no other way to put it,'' Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.
George battled foul trouble and couldn't contain Anthony quite as well as he had while the Pacers easily won the previous two games.
The New York Post reports: “I think we played with a sense of urgency, knowing what was at stake, facing elimination on our home court,’’ Anthony said. “We played like we really wanted it. This is probably the best game we’ve played throughout the whole series as for effort. One of those nights we had to will ourselves to win and did that.’’ Anthony got hot from mid-range in the first half and in the low post in the second half. The numbers weren’t superb (12 of 28 shooting) but when the Knicks needed a big low-post basket down the stretch, he provided it. The Knicks offense still is not up to snuff. They shot 41 percent. “We can’t find our shots but we’re still going to take those shots,’’ Anthony said. “We’re still confident from that aspect. We didn’t shoot the ball very well, but we made shots at the critical times and controlled the game.’’ Smith had a hot start, and finished with 13 points, three steals, six rebounds and two assists, playing lively on both ends in a take-that-Rihanna performance. Fittingly, Smith dribbled out the final 14 seconds as the crowd roared. After a 3 of 5 first half, Smith wound up just 4 of 11.
Spurs hold off Warriors, advance to West finals -- OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Slow at the start of the series and strong at the end, the San Antonio Spurs wore out the Golden State Warriors the way they have so many other opponents.
Tim Duncan had 19 points and six rebounds, Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and 10 rebounds and the Spurs held off a furious final rally to beat the Warriors 94-82 in Game 6 on Thursday night and advance to the Western Conference finals.
''They've got great character. They're competitive. They know there's not a million chances to do this sort of thing. They wanted it,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of his squad.
Tony Parker shook off a poor start to score 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and Tiago Splitter added a career-playoff high 14 points for San Antonio, which had a 13-point lead in the third quarter dissolve to two in the final minutes.
Stephen Curry shot 10 of 25 from the floor to score 22 points on a nagging left ankle, and Jarrett Jack had 15 points as the injury-saddled Warriors finally tired. Rookie forward Harrison Barnes also suffered a head injury in the second quarter, returned in the third and was sidelined in the fourth with a headache.
The Spurs outshot Golden State 45 percent to 39 percent and outrebounded them 46 to 40.
Second-seeded San Antonio will open the conference finals at home against Memphis on Sunday. The fifth-seeded Grizzlies eliminated Oklahoma City in five games...
The Spurs became the first team to win consecutive games in the series and hand the sixth-seeded Warriors consecutive losses in the playoffs - and they did it at just the right time.
The Spurs quieted a standing-room-only crowd late in the third quarter and seemingly seized control for good. Instead, the Warriors roared back.
Klay Thompson, who had 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting, made a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter that sliced San Antonio's lead to three. Then Curry's pull-up jumper brought the Warriors within 77-75 with 4:52 to play.
The San Antonio Express-News reports: The Spurs survived despite horrendous shooting nights from Parker (3 for 16) and Ginobili (1 for 6). They made up for it late, however. Parker outscored Golden State by himself, 10-7, over the final four minutes, including the aforementioned 3s. Ginobili assisted on both, and Leonard’s late 3, and eight other baskets for a game-high total of 11... Splitter had his best outing since spraining his ankle in Game 3 of the Lakers series with 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting, four rebounds, two steals and a block. It was an indication of the trust Splitter has earned over the season that Popovich went with him, rather than Duncan, down the stretch... The final numbers for Golden State sharpshooters Stephen Curry and Thompson, who had their moments but otherwise struggled to provide consistent offense/shooting: Curry — 22.2 points per game, 40.5 percent FGs, 35.2 percent 3-pointers... Thompson — 15.7 points per game, 41.5 percent FGs, 65.0 percent 3-pointers.
NBA DAILY FOR THURSDAY, MAY 16
Recaps of NBA games played Wednesday
Heat rally past Bulls to advance, 94-91 -- MIAMI (AP) -- Knowing his team needed him at his best, Dwyane Wade retreated to the Miami Heat locker room after the third quarter for some quick treatment on his aching right knee.
When he came back, he was good as new.
And now he can rest until the Eastern Conference finals.
LeBron James scored 23 points, Wade added 18 and had a brilliant 45-second sequence that proved crucial, and the Heat clawed back from an 11-point second-half deficit to beat the Chicago Bulls 94-91 on Wednesday night and close out their second-round series in five games.
''We gave it everything we had,'' James said. ''I have no energy left.''
The Heat outscored Chicago 25-14 in the fourth quarter to escape and advance.
''I knew the fourth quarter was going to be tough so I wanted to re-tape my knee,'' said Wade, who has been battling bone bruises on his knee for several weeks. ''I knew I was going to come back into a grind. Our trainers did a great job of getting it taped it enough so I could come out and play.''
Did they ever...
''Dwyane is uncanny,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''When the competition is at its highest, and its fiercest, he finds a way.''
Carlos Boozer finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who were without Derrick Rose for the 99th straight game, as well as Kirk Hinrich (calf) and Luol Deng (illness). Robinson scored 21 points, Butler had 19, and Richard Hamilton 15 for the Bulls, who dropped the final four games of the series.
Grizzlies edge Thunder 88-84, reach 1st West final -- OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 88-84 on Wednesday night.
Zach Randolph had 28 points and 14 rebounds, Mike Conley added 13 points and 11 assists for Memphis, the fifth seed.
Kevin Durant missed a 16-foot jumper from the left wing to tie it with 6 seconds left, finishing off a miserable shooting night for the three-time NBA scoring champion.
Durant ended up with 21 points on 5-for-21 shooting, the third-worst performance of his playoff career. The Thunder, who made it to the NBA Finals last season, were eliminated in five games. The top seed in the West went 2-6 after All-Star guard Russell Westbrook went out with a knee injury that required surgery.
Serge Ibaka had 17 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 1:26 to play during a desperation comeback try for the Thunder.
Oklahoma City trailed by 12 with three minutes left before going on a 16-6 rally, with Reggie Jackson's 3-pointer cutting the deficit to 86-84 with 14.3 seconds remaining.
Randolph missed both free throws with 11.3 seconds on the clock to give the Thunder one last chance to save their season. Durant got the ball beyond the 3-point line on the left wing and navigated around Tony Allen before missing the jumper.
Allen then made two free throws to close it out.
After letting a 14-point lead get trimmed to two, the Grizzlies regained control with a 12-2 run to start the fourth quarter. It featured seven points from Randolph - five from the foul line - to go up 76-64 with 6:03 remaining.
It was just a big enough cushion to finish off a series of games that all came down to the wire. The first three games featured a go-ahead basket in the final two minutes, and Game 4 went to overtime. Memphis won the final four games.
NBA DAILY FOR WEDNESDAY, MAY 15
Recaps of NBA games played Tuesday
Pacers rout Knicks 93-82 to take 3-1 series lead -- INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indiana Pacers finally figured it out.
When given the chance to take command of a playoff series, they can't give it back. On Tuesday night, they didn't.
George Hill scored 26 points and Paul George had 18 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, leading the Pacers past the New York Knicks, 93-82 and to within one win of their first conference finals appearance since 2004.
''We wanted it,'' George said. ''For us to come out with that edge, still, after being up 2-1 and being on our floor for Game 4, for us to be up and ready and have an edge to play, it just speaks to how focused we are right now.''
It was a far cry from what Indiana experienced a week ago in New York. Or last year at home against Miami.
Last week, the Knicks rallied from a Game 1 loss, using a 30-2 run to blow out Indiana at Madison Square Garden and even the series.
A year ago, the Pacers held a 2-1 lead over Miami but gave away Game 4 and never won again. Miami went on to win the NBA crown.
So the Pacers went into Tuesday night determined not let it happen again, certainly not with former stars Reggie Miller and Rik Smits in the house watching their old team hand it to their old rivals.
''I just think that our focus has been better than it was,'' Indiana's David West said. ''We might have surprised ourselves going in there and getting Game 1. Naturally, we may have had a little letdown, but we talked about maintaining our home court and our focus in these two games and we were able to accomplish that. Our next goal is to compete hard with an opportunity for a close-out game in a tough environment.''
The Pacers were strong defensively again, had another big rebounding advantage (54-36) and never really let the Knicks challenge them in the second half. They can wrap up the series Thursday night in New York.
Desperate New York tried everything to change the script. Nothing worked.
Kenyon Martin played 29 minutes and J.R. Smith logged 31 1/2 despite missing practice Sunday and Monday because they were ill. Guard Iman Shumpert started even with a sore and swollen left knee that had the Knicks so worried they brought an orthopedic doctor to Indy to examine it Tuesday. The doctor determined there was no structural damage.
Parker leads Spurs past Warriors for 3-2 lead -- SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Gregg Popovich urged his San Antonio Spurs to raise their energy to almost maniacal levels, because winning the battle on the boards and for loose balls was critical against the athletic Golden State Warriors.
The Spurs responded to their coach's message, outworking and outmuscling Golden State to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.
Tony Parker had 25 points and 10 assists, and the Spurs held the Warriors' starting backcourt to 13 points for a 109-91 victory Tuesday night.
The Spurs outrebounded the Warriors 38-36, forced 14 turnovers and limited them to 16 second-chance points.
''Our energy was good,'' Parker said. ''We got the 50-50 ball; that was huge for us tonight. It was a tough turnaround for us in Game 4. We missed an opportunity at the end and we realize that. Tonight we played for 48 minutes.''
Kawhi Leonard added 17 points, Danny Green scored 16 and Tim Duncan had 14 points and 11 rebounds for San Antonio.
Harrison Barnes scored 25 points, Jarrett Jack added 20 and Carl Landry 16 for Golden State, but Stephen Curry was held to nine points.
''I was terrible, plain and simple,'' Curry said. ''They outplayed us as a team. Individually, I didn't have anything on either end. (I was) a step slow, my shot wasn't falling and I was trying to make plays but defensively I lost a little focus.''
Parker took advantage, going 9 for 16 and turning the ball over only twice in 34 minutes.
His energy was just as big a spark.
Parker dove over Jarrett Jack midway through the third quarter to corral a loose ball, rising to lead a fast break that resulted in a dunk by Green.