NBA Playoffs: San Antonio Spurs 4-2 Golden State Warriors

Job Well Done: Parker and Duncan fire Spurs to win

Job Well Done: Parker and Duncan fire Spurs to win

In a series that every neutral wanted to go the distance, San Antonio came through in 6 to advance to the Conference Finals yet again. The Spurs swept the Lakers in the first round while Golden State upset 3rd seeds Denver 4-2 with Steph Curry lighting up the series to set up an exciting duel between the two.

GAME 1: Golden State 127-129 San Antonio (2OT) @ AT&T Centre

A thrilling start to the series saw Manu Ginobili sink a game-winning three in the dying seconds of the second period of overtime. The Warriors led by as many as 18 before being pegged back and falling short despite the heroics of a 44 point haul from Curry. It was the visitors who edged a fast-paced first half 53-49 before they broke clear in the third following another dynamic 3rd quarter display from the ‘Human Torch’. Curry netted an incredible 22 points including four 3-pointers as Golden State opened up a 90-82 advantage. Despite letting up 39 points, the hosts still scored 31 of their own to remain within reach as Danny Green connected with a trio of triples during the third. The 25 year old’s precision from downtown proved vital in the fourth as Green sent the game into overtime with 20 seconds left as the Spurs fought back from a 98-82 deficit with 9:00 left on the clock. The teams could not be separated in the first and it looked as if GSW were going to steal a win on the road with a 6-0 run in the final minute of the second period beyond regulation until Ginobili‘s killer three saved the hosts. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 28 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists while Tim Duncan (19p/11r) and Ginobili (16p/11a) added double-doubles and Green netted 6-9 from beyond the arc on his way to 22 points.

San Antonio lead the best-of-7-series 1-0.

GAME 2: Golden State 100-91 San Antonio @ AT&T Centre

Golden State tied the series with a dominant second quarter while Klay Thompson had a career-high night with 34 points and 14 rebounds to hand the Warriors home court advantage. Curry set the tone early on with two triples opening the scoring for the visitors but it was to be the other member of the ‘Splash Brothers’ duo who carried on the damage with a devastating first half dispaly. Thompson netted FIVE 3-pointers in a 17 point second quarter to take his tally to 29 at the half, where GSW led 62-43. San Antonio did their best to reduce the deficit and closed to within seven after consecutive three’s from Green and Gary Neal but Thompson struck his 8th trey at the end of the third to make it 83-72. The Spurs trailed by six at 95-89 but were unable to produce another comeback as Curry scored the next five points as the hosts were held to just 2 points in the final 4 minutes. Curry added 22 points to Thompson‘s impressive haul while Duncan and Parker combined for 43 points for San Antonio, who were restricted to below 40% from the field as the series was levelled at 1-1.

Series tied at 1-1.

GAME 3: San Antonio 102-92 Golden State @ Oracle Arena

Tony Parker led the Spurs to a win on the road as they bounced back from a loss at home in Game 2 while the Warriors were left concerned about Curry‘s ankle injury. TP9 exploded for 25 points in the opening half before finishing with a game-high 32 while Duncan added a 23-10 double-double. San Antonio were down 19-14 midway through the first before producing an 18-4 close to lead 32-23. Golden State enjoyed a better second quarter until the final minute when a 6-0 close to the half saw the Spurs maintain their nine point advantage at 57-48. The Warriors tied the game at 65 on a Curry three but then went scoreless for the next five minutes as the visitors opened up a double-digit lead and when Kawhi Leonard netted a three to the end the third, they led 79-69. Once again a GSW run was followed by an immediate response from the Spurs as Green and Parker netted triples to spark an 11-1 burst after a 9-0 start to the 4th from the Warriors. The home side closed to within five points but it was too little, too late as San Antonio held on to claim victory.

San Antonio lead the best-of-7-series 2-1.

GAME 4: San Antonio 87-97 Golden State (OT) @ Oracle Arena

Golden State levelled the series at 2-2 after an overtime victory as the Spurs capitulated during the extra period. Harrison Barnes produced a career-high 26 points while Jarett Jack had 24 off the bench and Andrew Bogut managed to grab 18 rebounds despite getting himself into foul trouble early on. Curry netted two triples early on but Ginobili took over the quarter with 11 late points including three 3-pointers to give the visitors a 26-19 advantage. A fourth followed in the second and San Antonio were soon ahead by 10 which became 8 at the half. Curry scored twice more from beyond the arc in a pivotal 18-4 run for the home side as they took the lead at 55-51. Parker would hand the Spurs back the initiative by the end of the third as his basket made it 62-60 to the visitors. GSW compiled a 10-2 run through Jack and Thompson to tie the game at 82 in the final minute. Both teams made baskets before missing the chance to take the game as they headed into overtime. San Antonio would miss their first seven shots from the field and the Warriors capitalised with nine points during their opponents’ baron spell. Green finally struck from 3-point range but the game was up and the series was heading back to Texas all-square.

Series tied at 2-2.

GAME 5: Golden State 91-109 San Antonio @ AT&T Centre

San Antonio took care of home court in style to put the pressure back on Golden State after taking a 3-2 series lead. Parker led the way for the Spurs with his first double-double of the series with 25 points and 10 assists with Duncan (14-10) adding one of his own, Leonard making 7-8 from the field for 17 points while the ‘Splash Brothers’ were less effective with a combined 13 points on 6-22 shooting for the visiting Warriors. The hosts made a strong start and Duncan had 10 first quarter points as the Spurs opened up a 37-28 advantage and they never looked back. Golden State threatened to take the lead when Curry made it a one point game but they were kept at bay by an efficient San Antonio offence, which built a 54-51 advantage at the interval. The third was more comfortable for the hosts who used a 7-0 run to break clear and by the end of the third, they led 83-72. There was to be no comebacks in this game as San Antonio saw the game out with ease as Gregg Popovich was able to rest his starters and Australian Patty Mills netted a late three off the bench to complete a satisfying performance for the home side.

San Antonio lead the best-of-7-series 3-2.

GAME 6 San Antonio 94-82 Golden State @ Oracle Arena

San Antonio closed out the series on the road to progress to the Western Conference Finals, where they will take on the Memphis Grizzlies. Curry‘s game-high 22 points were in vain for the Warriors as the Spurs had all five starters in double figures, led by Duncan‘s 19 points. The visitors edged a tight first quarter 21-19 before taking a 47-40 lead into the locker rooms courtesy of a 10-0 run at the start of the second. San Antonio remained in control throughout the third before a late rally from GSW as they took inspiration from the crowd to again trail by seven, heading into the fourth. Thompson made it a three point game but Green soon pushed the lead back up to seven with a 3-pointer of his own. The home side cut the gap to just a single basket as they hoped to extend the series but Leonard and Parker nailed dagger three’s before the French international sealed the win at the foul line, scoring 10 of his 13 points in the final quarter.

San Antonio win the best-of-7-series 4-2.

                                    Top 5 players

  1. Tony Parker 22.5 ppg; 6.2 apg; 4.7 rpg
  2. Tim Duncan 19.5 ppg; 10.3 rpg
  3. Steph Curry 22.5 ppg; 6.8 apg; 19 3PM
  4. Kawhi Leonard 14.7 ppg; 9.2 rpg; 56% FG
  5. Harrison Barnes 17.3 ppg; 7.3 rpg

Game Night! ft. NY Knicks @ OKC Thunder

Melo continues hot streak for Knicks while the Lakers faulter in play-off charge

Carmelo Anthony took his points total to 177 in his last four games with another 36 in New York’s 12th straight victory after beating OKC (56-21) 125-120. The Knicks 50-26) had a productive second quarter to inspire a 50th win this season with JR Smith netting some huge shots late on. Russell Westbrook had an impressive all-round performance for the Thunder with 37-11-8 although Oklahoma missed out on the chance to return to the top of the Western standings.

Knicks‘ centre Tyson Chandler (15pts) was delighted with the win:

“This was huge for us, it’s very hard to come into this building and get a win, I’m really proud of the way we kept fighting”

Serge Ibaka came out firing in the first quarter and had 9 points, 3 rebounds and 4 blocks after the opening 12 minutes as OKC opened up a slender 31-30 advantage. Chris Copeland came off the bench to score 11 points alongside Anthony in a dominant second quarter for the Knicks as they took control to lead 65-56 at the interval. OKC battled back and closed to within a point before Melo struck two triples late in the quarter and New York led 96-89 after three.

The hosts compiled a 13-4 burst in the final quarter capped by a Durant jumper as the Thunder took the lead at 105-104. Jason Kidd responded with his fourth 3-pointer of the game before soon after Westbrook took his tally to 30 points as OKC went up by one with 4:00 left. However, the visitors kept their streak alive with an 11-2 spell over the next three and a half minutes with Smith adding five points in quick succession before Melo sealed the win.

Anthony has now taken over as the leading scorer in the league with an average of 28.4 points per game

The Lakers (40-37) dropped outside of the play-off places after a 109-95 defeat against their LA rivals. CP3 (24pts/12as) and Blake Griffin (24pts/12rbs) both recorded double-doubles as the Clippers (51-26)completed a 4-0 sweep over the Lakers and won the Pacific Division title for the first time. Kobe Bryant did his best to lead his side to victory with 25 points and 10 assists while Dwight Howard matched his points haul in the absence of Steve Nash and Ron Artest.

Utah Jazz (41-37) capitalised on the Lakers’ defeat with a 97-90 win on the road against fellow play-off hopefuls, Golden State (44-33). Mo Williams led the way with 25 points while Steph Curry had 22 points for the Warriors as they missed out on a victory which would have secured their post-season spot. One team, in the West, already in the play-offs are Memphis and the Grizzlies (52-25) ground out a tough 89-87 on the road against Sacramento (27-50) after Marc Gasol (15p-10r) produced a late block to secure the win.

Dallas (38-39) kept alive their fading play-off hopes with a 97-91 victory against Portland (33-44), who launched a late fightback before falling short. The Mavericks were led by Chris Kaman’s double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds while Will Barton had a 22p-13r double-double for the Trail Blazers, who are already out of post-season contention following EIGHT straight defeats. Anthony Davis led the New Orleans Hornets (27-50) to a 95-92 win in Phoenix (23-54) with a 20 point haul.

Detroit (26-52) snapped an 18-game losing streak against the Chicago Bulls (42-34) with a 99-85 victory despite Carlos Boozer‘s 21p-10r double-double. The Bulls‘ defeat handed the Central Division title to the Indiana Pacers. Cleveland (24-52) used a strong final quarter to defeat Orlando Magic (19-59) 91-85 while the return of Paul Pierce inspired a 107-96 win for Boston (40-37) over the Washington Wizards (29-48).

Game Night! ft. OKC @ Memphis

STUNNING COMEBACK KEEPS STREAK GOING; MEMPHIS EDGE OUT OKC & LOPEZ LEADS NETS TO WIN ON ESPN

Memphis Grizzlies (46-21) kept up their chances of catching OKC (50-19) after beating their Western rivals 90-89 in an overtime battle. The home side looked in control during the first half before the Thunder fought back to take the lead and it needed a late triple from to force the game beyond regulation.

During the extra period, it was the visitors who edged ahead once more before Marc Gasol snatched the victory with the tip-in just before the final buzzer. The Spaniard and All-Star team-mate Zach Randolph combined for 29 points and 33 rebounds in the win with Mike Conley top scoring with 24 points while Kevin Durant had a game-high 32.

Conley: “It’s always good to win a game like that especially against one of the best teams in the league! This says a lot about our confidence as a team; believing we can win regardless.”

Miami Heat (53-14) pulled off an unbelievable comeback from 27 points down to take their win streak to 24 games after beating Cleveland (22-46) 98-95. LeBron James continues to demonstrate his MVP potential with a vital triple-double with 25 points, 12 rebounds and ten assists and had a personal 8-0 run to give Miami the lead at the start of the fourth while Mario Chalmers contributed a further 17 points as the visitors netted TWELVE triples during the win.

The Cavs (still without Kyrie Irving) used a 19-0 run in the second quarter to assert their authority and opened up a commanding lead at 67-40 in the third quarter. Shane Battier nailed two three’s in the middle of a 15-1 burst before Daniel Gibson‘s late triple gave the hosts a 77-68 lead going into the fourth,where Miami took over. However, despite the nine-point lead being reversed, the home side kept battling and closed to within a point in the final minute after seven unanswered points before James sunk two crucial free throws and Miami held on.

LeBron: “It was one of the best comebacks I’ve been a part of. The streak wasn’t on my mind but getting blown out was!”

The New York Knicks (40-26) closed in on second place in the East after a comfortable 106-94 win at home to Orlando (18-51) as Carmelo Anthony added 21 points and 8 rebounds on his return to the team. Anthony Davis tipped in the game winner in New Orleans as the Hornets (23-46) recorded a narrow 87-86 victory over the Boston Celtics (36-31) despite a 28 point haul from Paul Pierce. Brook Lopez led Brooklyn (40-28) to a 113-96 win over Dallas (32-36) after an impressive 38 points and 11 rebounds while Deron Williams added 31 in the ESPN fixture and Reggie Evans pulled down 22 boards.

San Antonio (52-16) used a dominant second quarter display to propel them to a 104-93 success at home to the Golden State Warriors (39-31) with Tim Duncan stepping up with 25 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. LA Clippers (47-22) eased to a 101-72 victory against Philadelphia (26-41) while Washington (24-43) collected an 88-79 win on the road against the Phoenix Suns (23-46).

Houston Rockets (37-31) earned a vital win in a play-off battle at home to Utah Jazz (34-34) with James Harden‘s 29 points leading the way. Atlanta Hawks (38-30) were guided to a 98-90 win against the Milwaukee Bucks (34-33) by Jeff Teague‘s double-double of 27 points and 11 assists. In the final game, the Charlotte Bobcats (16-52) defeated the Toronto Raptors (26-42) 107-101 for their second win in a row.

Check-out highlights of Miami‘s historic win in Cleveland (NBA):

Game Night! ft. Miami @ Boston

LEBRON LEADS HEAT TO WIN 23; KNICKS SNAP LOSING RUN & LAKERS FALL IN PHOENIX

Miami Heat (52-14) made it 23 straight victories with a 105-103 win on the road against the Boston Celtics (36-20). LeBron James netted the game-winner to reach 37 points, consisting of a huge dunk on Jason Terry whilst being accompanied by 12 assists on the stat-sheet. Jeff Green’s monster 43 point haul proved in vain for the Celtics, who were missing Kevin Garnett, as they saw a 17 point lead wiped out

Meanwhile, their Eastern rivals both recorded wins on the road to close in on clinching their play-off spots. Indiana Pacers (41-26) remain second following a 111-90 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers (22-45) using a strong second quarter as a platform for their triumph. New York (39-26) were without Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire in Utah (34-33 but still prevailed in a 90-83 success. JR Smith took on the responsibility and top scored with 20 points while Gordon Hayward had 17 for the Jazz.

Memphis (45-21) continued their strong run of form with a 92-77 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves (23-42) while there was a 93-72 success for the Golden State Warriors (39-30) over New Orleans (22-46) after a 30 point haul from Stephen Curry. Denver Nuggets (46-22) took their win streak to TWELVE after a 119-118 overtime success against the Chicago Bulls (36-30). Wilson Chandler had a game high 35 points for the visitors while Nate Robinson had 34 for the home side.

The Lakers (36-33) missed out on the chance to leapfrog Houston in the Western conference after a 99-76 defeat in Phoenix against the Suns (23-45). Goran Dragic dished out 10 dimes during the game for the hosts including an assist through-the-legs of Steve Nash, who top scored for the Lakers with 19 points in the absene of Kobe Bryant. Dallas Mavericks (32-35) kept up their play-off hopes with a 127-114 win on the road against Atlanta (37-30) while Brooklyn (39-28) eased to a 119-82 win against Detroit (23-46) on the back of Deron Williams’ 31 points.

Gerald Henderson led the Charlotte Bobcats (15-52) to a 119-114 victory at home to the Washington Wizards (23-43) with a 27 point haul. Philadelphia (26-40) held off a fourth quarter comeback from Portland (31-35) to record their second win in a row after a 101-100 success. LaMarcus Aldridge top scored for the Trail Blazers with 32 points while Damian Lillard continued his great form with an additional 27 but it was Jrue Holiday’s contribution for the 76ers which inspired the victory.

LeBron James with the monster dunk on Jason Terry (NBA):

Game Night! ft. Oklahoma @ San Antonio

SPURS STAY TOP OF THE WEST; KNICKS MAULED ON MELO’S RETURN & THE SIXERS END LOSING RUN

San Antonio (49-15) remained in top spot in the Western conference after a strong second quarter spell lifted them to a 105-93 over Oklahoma City Thunder (47-17). Tiago Splitter had 21 points on 9-11 from the field whilst grabbing 10 boards with Kawhi Leonard (17p) and Danny Green (16p) adding valuable contributions. Kevin Durant had a game-high 26 points for the Thunder while Russell Westbrook had 25 despite putting up 14 extra shots.

A 16-2 run had put the visitors in control early on as they led 32-22 at the end of the first. The advantage peaked at 13 points and Gregg Popovich soon called a time-out with his side down 40-29 and the game changed. The Spurs compiled a 20-4 run to take the lead with Green nailing two triples and Leonard adding nine points including a spectacular play to give the home side a 53-46 advantage at the break.

Westbrook had 11 second half points which helped bring OKC within a single point on the back of a 9-1 run but the Spurs regained the control and didn’t let their opponents get close again for the rest of the game. Manu Ginobili finished the third with five points as the Western leaders took an 83-74 advantage into the final period. The game was effectively sealed at the start of the fourth as the Spurs went 9-0 in the first three minutes. Green netted another triple late on to finish 4-4 from 3-PT range.

Golden State (36-29) inflicted a painful 92-63 loss on the New York Knicks (38-23) after another strong showing from Steph Curry. The Warriors guard had 26 points in the victory while Klay Thompson added 23 as the duo went 10-17 from downtown with David Lee adding 21 points, ten rebounds and EIGHT assists. Carmelo Anthony added 14 points and 10 rebounds on his return but the Knicks were restricted to just 27% shooting from the field. Utah Jazz (33-31) eased to a 103-90 win over the Detroit Pistons (23-43) despite a third quarter scare as they moved back level with the Lakers in 8th spot in the West.

Denver (43-22) claimed their NINTH straight win after beating the Phoenix Suns (22-42) 108-93 on the road with Kosta Koufos leading the way with a 22-10 double-double.  The game was evenly poised before the Nuggets stormed clear in the final quarter. Philadelphia 76ers (24-39) ended their losing streak with a 106-97 home win against the Brooklyn Nets (37-27) as Spencer Hawes (24p/10r) and Jrue Holiday (15p/11a) starred with double-doubles.

The night was a momentous one for Deron Williams as he completed an NBA milestone:

Here’s the top play of the day featuring Kawhi Leonard (NBA):