NBA Playoffs – Day 26

The Raptors and Heat struggle for control, and the valiant Blazers put up one last fight.

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Tonight, we’ve got a couple of Game 5s, starting with the Raptors hosting the Heat, and ending with the Trail Blazers visiting the Warriors. In the early game, the Raptors and Heat will battle for a 3-2 lead in what’s been a close, but ugly series. Each of the first four games have come down to the wire, with three of them going into Overtime. They haven’t been the prettiest basketball games, but I’m also up for a closely contested series, even if it’s a little ugly. Both teams will be missing their starting centers tonight, and we’ll see which role players step up in their absence.

In the late game, the Warriors look to close out the Trail Blazers. Despite a valiant Portland effort throughout the series, they find themselves down 3-1, and Golden State’s Draymond Green thinks that they’re done. It’s not like Draymond is going to go into the game tonight thinking his Warriors aren’t going to win, but the Blazers have proven to be a worthy opponent, and the Warriors needed a legendary and record setting performance from Steph Curry to defeat them in Game 4. I think we’re in for a good night, with two teams fighting for control of their series, one looking to move on to the Conference Finals, and one battling to stay alive.

8:00 pm – We’re here on TNT for a pair of Game 5s! Ian Eagle and Brent Barry welcome us to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto as the Raptors get set to take on the Heat. Both teams have struggled to score in this series, so we could be in for a low scoring affair to start us off tonight.

8:02 – The Raptors win the opening tip, and this one is underway!

8:04 – Kyle Lowry hits a pair of free throws for the game’s first points. It puts Toronto ahead, 2-0.

8:08 – The Heat turn the ball over, and DeMar DeRozan takes it all the way for a layup, and it leads to a time out with the score Toronto 9, Miami 0 with 8:53 left in the first quarter. Obviously, this is not the start the Heat were hoping for, and they’re shooting 0-5 and have turned the ball over twice.

8:13 – Josh McRoberts hits a jumper to finally get the Heat on the board. They’re down 9-2.

8:24 – Kyle Lowry nails a three, and the Raptors continue to enjoy themselves here at the start of the game. It’s Toronto 23, Miami 8 with 3:05 left in the first quarter. The Heat have committed more fouls (8) and turnovers (5) than they have made baskets (4).

8:25 – Jeff Ament and Eddie Vedder sightings! They’re taking this game in from the stands, after last night’s Pearl Jam concert in Toronto.

8:27 – We have another time out with the score Toronto 26, Miami 10 with 2:01 left in the first quarter. So far, the Pearl Jam sighting has been the most exciting part of the game.

8:35 – We’ve made it to the end of the first quarter with the score Toronto 28, Miami 18. DeMar DeRozan has ten to lead the Raptors. Meanwhile the Heat shot just 6-22, but they did pick it up a bit by ending the quarter on an 8-2 run.

8:40 – Joe Johnson knocks down a three, his first of the series, for the first points of the second quarter, cutting the Raptors lead to 28-21.

8:46 – We’ve got a time out as the Raptors have been able to maintain their ten point lead so far. It’s Toronto 37, Miami 27 with 8:18 left until halftime.

9:01 – Another time out with the score Toronto 55, Miami 37 with 3:08 remaining in the first half. Bismack Biyombo has sparked the Raptors with several dunks, and he’s already got 10 points and 5 rebounds. The Raptors have also scored the most points they have in a half during these Playoffs.

9:09 – Well, the Heat close out the second quarter on a 10-0 run, and at halftime, the score’s Toronto 55, Miami 45. Kyle Lowry’s been great tonight for the Raptors, with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Bismack Biyombo, filling in for the injured Jonas Valanciunas, has 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks. DeMar DeRozan has also scored ten for Toronto. Goran Dragic leads the Heat with 10 points, and he sparked their run to close out the half. Can they keep the momentum going after halftime, or are they in too much of a hole here in Game 5?

9:14 – It’s time for our first episode of Today in NBA Playoff History, brought to you by the good folks over at Basketball-Reference!

May 11, 2001 was a great moment in Toronto Raptors history. After Allen Iverson torched them for 54 points in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Raptors bounced back with a 102-78 victory over the 76ers in Game 3, taking a 2-1 series lead. Vince Carter went for 50 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists for Toronto, and Antonio Davis contributed 20 points and 14 rebounds. Chris Childs added 16 points, 5 rebounds and 10 assists in the runaway Raptors victory. Allen Iverson scored 23 points and dished out 8 assists for the Sixers, but it was the Raptors turn for a win in this memorable series that would go all seven games, and was a battle throughout.

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9:29 – Dwyane Wade cans a three, and the Heat score first in the third to cut the Raptors lead to 55-48. The Heat are now on a 13-0 run.

9:37 – DeMar DeRozan gets a friendly bounce on a jumper, and the Raptors have their lead back up to double digits with the score Toronto 66, Miami 55 with 6:05 left in the third quarter. The Raptors have gotten back on the ball after that 13-0 run from Miami. Let’s see if they can continue to build their lead back up.

9:43 – Luol Deng just went to Miami’s locker room. I’m not sure if he got hurt somehow, but I do know that he’s struggling from the field, shooting a yucky 0-8 so far, so maybe some sort of injury is bothering him.

9:46 – We’ve got a time out and the Raptors haven’t been able to build their lead, but they have been able to maintain it. The score’s Toronto 70, Miami 60 with 2:56 left in the third quarter.

9:54 – DeMarre Carroll is on the floor and in pain after going into Goran Dragic on a layup attempt. The team trainer is standing over him and Carroll’s not getting up. To add insult to injury, Carroll was called for an offensive foul. We’ll see if he’s okay after we come back from a time out with the score Toronto 73, Miami 62 with 1:16 left in the third quarter.

9:56 – And Carroll’s off to the locker room. The good news is, he was walking on his own, the bad news is, he seems to have hurt his wrist. Hopefully he’ll be able to return.

9:59 – We’ve reached the end of the third quarter with the score Toronto 75, Miami 62. The Heat could not keep things going after their 13-0 run cut their deficit down to seven.

10:02 – Terrence Ross gets to the hoop for a layup, and the Raptors have the first points of the fourth quarter, extending their lead to 77-62.

10:03 – Oh dear…

10:09 – We’ve got a time out with the score Toronto 79, Miami 69 with 8:41 left in the game. As they have all night, the Raptors have been able to keep their lead right around ten as the Heat haven’t been able to put together any moves towards the lead.

10:10 – Maaaan…

…both teams were already without their starting centers, and now they’ll carry on without their starting small forwards for at least the rest of this game.

10:13 – Good grief, now DeMar DeRozan is off to the locker room after doing something to aggravate the thumb injury that has been bothering him since Game 1. He’s the Raptors leading scorer tonight with 23 points, so hopefully it’s nothing too serious.

10:16 – We have a time out as the Heat seem to finally be making their move. It’s Toronto 84, Miami 77 with 5:39 left in the ball game.

10:24 – Joe Johnson gets to the hoop for a layup, and we have a time out with the score Toronto 88, Miami 83 with three minutes to go. The Heat are threatening as the Raptors seem to be losing steam. The good news for them is, DeMar DeRozan has returned to the game, and not a moment too soon, with the Heat breathing down their neck.

10:27 – Dwayne Wade hits a jumper, and we have a one possession game on our hands with the Heat trailing, 88-85.

10:28 – Wade misses a jumper, but a late whistle is called, and he’ll get to the line. Didn’t look like much of a foul to me, or the crowd at the Air Canada Centre. Wade knocks down his free throws, and the Heat have this down to a one point game, trailing 88-87. They’re on a 13-4 run.

10:30 – DeMar DeRozan knocks down a pair of free throws, and the Raptors lead is back up to three at 90-87 as we go under 1:30 left on the clock.

10:31 – Kyle Lowry knocks down a deep three! The fans erupt as the Heat have to take a time out with the score Toronto 93, Miami 87 with just 52.5 seconds left on the clock!

10:33 – Dwyane Wade hits another jumper, and the Heat trail, 93-89.

10:34 – Kyle Lowry responds with his own jumper, and the Heat have to take another time out! The score’s Toronto 95, Miami 89 with 23.7 seconds to go!

10:35 – Bismack Biyombo goaltends a layup attempt from Dwayne Wade, and the Heat cut the Raptors lead to 95-91.

10:39 – DeMar DeRozan is sent to the line with a foul to stop the clock. He hits both of his free throws, putting the Raptors up, 97-91 with 21.3 seconds left.

10:40 – Dwyane Wade misses a three, and the Raptors secure the rebound! DeMar DeRozan is once again fouled with nine seconds on the clock, and that might do it for this one.

10:41 – DeRozan hits his free throws, and the Raptors pretty much have this one in the bag.

10:42 – This game comes to an end with a final score of Toronto 99, Miami 91. DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 34 points, and Kyle Lowry went for 25, 10 rebounds and 6 assists, not to mention a couple of big shots down the stretch. Dwyane Wade scored 20 for the Heat, but they couldn’t overcome the deficit they faced for most of the game.

With the win, the Raptors go up 3-2 in the series, and are one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals. This game stayed true to the theme of the series, it was sloppy and not easy to watch, but somebody had to win.

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10:43 – We’re whisked immediately to the Oracle Arena, where Steph Curry is receiving his MVP award prior to Game 5 between his Warriors and the Trail Blazers. By now, you know that he’s won his second consecutive MVP award, and has become the first player to win it unanimously. Anyway, congratulations to Steph Curry!

10:54 – The Warriors win the opening tip, and we’re underway at The Oracle! Can the Blazers extend the series, or will the Warriors punch their ticket to the Western Conference Finals? Brian Anderson and Steve Smith will narrate the action and let us know.

10:55 – Draymond Green hits a pair of free throws, and the Warriors score the first points of the game. Al-Farouq Aminu answers with a basket, and this game starts off tied at two.

11:00 – Maurice Harkless knocks down a three, and the Blazers are off to a good start, prompting the Warriors to take a time out with the score Portland 12, Golden State 8 with 8:11 left in the first quarter. Apparently, it’s Harkless’ 23rd birthday, in case you were wondering.

11:10 – Steph Curry knocks down a three from the corner, after saving the ball from going out of bounds, and the Warriors are on a 7-0 run, cutting down a ten point Blazers lead. The score’s Portland 20, Golden State 17 with 4:37 left in the first quarter.

11:23 – We’ve reached the end of a good first quarter with the score Portland 30, Golden State 27. Damian Lillard has 12 points for the Blazers, who are certainly not going down without a fight tonight. This one’s already off to a more lively start than our first game, which seemed strangely listless for a game that was interesting in the fourth quarter.

11:27 – Ed Davis knocks down a pair of free throws, and the Blazers get the first points of the second quarter, to extend their lead to 32-27.

11:30 – Maurice Harkless gets himself a basket and the Warriors take a time out as the Blazers continue to remain in front. The score’s Portland 35, Golden State 27 with 10:05 left in the first half, and the Blazers are on a 10-0 run.

11:38 – Klay Thompson nails a three, and the Warriors have closed the gap down to three with the score Portland 41, Golden State 38 with 7:01 left in the second quarter.

11:50 – Thompson hits a jumper, and once again, after the Blazers built their lead up, the Warriors are right back behind them with the score Portland 51, Golden State 47 with 3:31 left until halftime.

11:52 – Technical foul on Draymond Green! Damian Lillard hits the free throw after Green was upset over a foul call. The Blazers lead, 54-47. The foul Green was angry about was his third, and he’ll head to the bench. Can the Blazers take advantage of his absence over the last couple of minutes of the first half?

11:53 – Another time out, this time with the score Portland 56, Golden State 47 with 2:31 left in the first half. This game is reminding me of Game 2, in which the Blazers stayed out in front and answered every run the Warriors went on, until the fourth quarter when the Warriors pulled ahead and prevailed. We might be in for a similar experience tonight.

12:04 am – We’re here at halftime with the score Portland 63, Golden State 58. The Blazers have had a halftime lead in every game this series, except Game 1, so we know they can hang with the Warriors, but closing them out is a different story. Damian Lillard is doing his part for Portland, with 21 points already. Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless have each contributed ten points as the Blazers try to stave off elimination. Klay Thompson caught fire in the second quarter, and leads Golden State with 17 points. Steph Curry has followed up his MVP presentation with 7 points and 6 assists thus far. Draymond Green, who said that he thinks the Blazers are done, has 6 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. They’re definitely not done yet, and both teams are into this game, each with a strong goal in mind. We should be in for another great second half from these two teams, one trying to stay alive, and one looking to move on to the next round.

12:08 – I think it’s time for another episode of Today in NBA Playoff History!

We’re after midnight, but we’re sticking with May 11th, and this time, we’re heading back to 1975 to see the Washington Bullets advance to the Finals with a 98-92 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, winning the series, 4-2. Phil Chenier scored 24 to lead the Bullets, and Kevin Porter added 21. Dave Cowens led the Celtics with 23, but the Bullets would be the team to represent the East in the 1975 Finals, where they would end up getting swept by the Golden State Warriors.

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12:23 – Aww man…

12:24 – Festus Ezeli, filling in for the injured Bogut, gets his shot blocked, but Harrison Barnes is there to grab the ball and put it in the hoop. Maurice Harkless then answers with a three pointer, and the second half is underway with the Blazers leading, 66-60.

12:28 – Draymond Green knocks down a three and the Warriors make this a one possession game. They trail, 70-67.

12:29 – Al-Farouq Aminu goes 1-2 from the line, extending the Blazers lead to 71-67 until Klay Thompson hits a shot from around the free throw line, and the Warriors are down 71-69.

12:30 – After a slew of offensive rebounds, CJ McCollum gets an easy basket, but Klay Thompson goes in for a layup, plus he’s fouled! He hits the free throw, and it’s now a one point game with Golden State behind, 73-72.

12:31 – Steph Curry nails a three! The Blazers need to take a time out with the score now Golden State 75, Portland 73 with seven minutes left in the third quarter. We’re about to enter an important stretch of the ball game. Will the Blazers be able to respond, or are the Warriors about to put them away?

12:35 – Al-Farouq Aminu knocks down a long two pointer, and we’re tied up at 75.

12:36 – Alan Crabbe hits a three, and the Warriors take a time out as the Blazers have their lead back. It’s Portland 78, Golden State 75 with 5:18 left in the third quarter. Seems like the Blazers aren’t ready to go away.

12:40 – Klay Thompson knocks down a jumper, and the Warriors inch a little closer, trailing 78-77. Al-Farouq Aminu answers right back with a three, but Klay Thompson matches him, and the Warriors trail, 81-80.

12:41 – Alan Crabbe cans a three, but once again, so does Klay Thompson! He’s up to 30 points, and the Warriors keep this a one point game, trailing 84-83.

12:42 – The Blazers get a steal, and Alan Crabbe takes it all the way in for a layup, putting the Blazers up, 86-83. Anderson Varejao then scores a bucket, and it remains a one point game with the Warriors behind, 86-85.

12:44 – Damian Lillard hits a tough shot, extending the Blazers lead to 88-85. He may have gotten away with a travel on the play, but the basket counts nonetheless.

12:45 – Draymond Green hits a couple of free throws, cutting the Warriors deficit to 88-87. Green’s limping a bit after he was fouled, but he’ll remain in the game.

12:46 – Brian Roberts hits a jumper, and the Blazers go up, 90-87, but Klay Thompson knocks down another three to tie us at 90! He has 33 points, 16 of which have come here in the third quarter.

12:47 – Draymond Green now heads to the bench as we approach the end of the third quarter.

12:48 – Brian Roberts goes 1-2 from the free throw line, putting the Blazers up, 91-90.

12:49 – Steph Curry knocks down a three! Alan Crabbe then misses a half court shot at the buzzer, and the third quarter comes to an end with the score Golden State 93, Portland 91. That was a great third quarter, and both teams hit a lot of big shots. It’s all going to come down to the next twelve minutes, as the Blazers look to stay alive, and the Warriors look to get themselves into the Western Conference Finals.

12:53 – Shawn Livingston hits a jumper for the first points of the fourth, and the Warriors lead is up to 95-91.

12:54 – Alan Crabbe knocks down a three! It’s a one point game again, and the Trail Blazers trail, 95-94.

12:55 – CJ McCollum goes in for a lefty layup, and the lead returns to Portland at 96-95.

12:56 – Leandro Barbossa hits a pair of free throws, and the Warriors take the lead at 97-96.

12:58 – Marresse Speights gets a layup, and the Warriors lead is up to 99-96. CJ McCollum then gets himself open and hits a jumper, and the Blazers are down, 99-98.

12:59 – Speights hits a three! The Blazers call a time out with the score Golden State 102, Portland 98 with 8:32 left in the game.

1:03 – Ed Davis goes 1-2 from the line, and it chisels a point off of the Blazers deficit, as they trail, 102-99.

1:04 – Shawn Livingston knocks down a jumper, and the Warriors have their lead up to 104-99.

1:05 – Steph Curry spins around CJ McCollum at the three point line, and goes all the way in for a lefty scoop shot! The Blazers have to take a time out with the score Golden State 106, Portland 99 with 6:54 remaining and the Warriors looking like they’re about ready to put this game away. They’re on an 11-3 run, and they’ve taken their largest lead of the night.

1:12 – We have a delay as referee Ken Mauer was accidentally hit by Draymond Green during one of Green’s emphatic reaction. Draymond appears to have sliced open Mauer’s hand with his nails, so the Warriors training staff is attempting to patch the wound.

1:15 – Ed Davis blocks a Draymond Green attempt at the hoop, and it leads to a CJ McCollum layup at the other end, plus he’s fouled! He hits the free throw, and the Blazers are right back into this one, trailing 110-109 after a 7-0 run.

1:16 – Andre Iguodala hits a three from the corner, and the Warriors lead expands to 113-109.

1:17 – We’ve got a time out with the score Golden State 118, Portland 114 with 2:10 left in the game. CJ McCollum is doing his best to keep the Blazers in there, with 15 points in the quarter, but the Warriors have had been able to answer every big basket from the Blazers as they try to fend them off.

1:22 – Ed Davis goes 1-2 from the line, and the Blazers are down 118-115 as we go under two minutes remaining.

1:23 – CJ McCollum also goes 1-2 from the line, and the Blazers now trail by two, at 118-116.

1:24 – We have a time out with the score still Golden State 118, Portland 116 with 1:09 left in the ball game. The Warriors will have the ball when we come back.

1:27 – Steph Curry knocks down a three, and he might have just knocked out the Blazers. It’s Golden State 121, Portland 116 with 24.9 seconds left in the game.

1:29 – Brian Roberts misses a three, but Alan Crabbe gets the offensive rebound and the put back. Unfortunately, the Blazers are stuck having to foul Steph Curry to stop the clock and send him to the line with 18.2 seconds left and the Blazers trailing, 121-118.

1:30 – Curry hits his first free throw…and hits the second one as well, putting the Warriors up, 123-118. Damian Lillard then goes up to shoot a three…and he’s fouled by Klay Thompson! It stops the clock and gives Lillard three free throws with 10.9 seconds left.

1:31 – Lillard hits the first free throw…the second…and the third! It cuts the Blazers deficit to 123-121. The Blazers then have to foul Curry again with 10.5 seconds left.

1:32 – Curry makes the first free throw…and he’s good on the second one, and the Blazers take their final time out with the score Golden State 125, Portland 121 with just 10.5 left on the clock.

1:34 – Damian Lillard misses a three, and that’s going to do it. Steph Curry grabs the board and dribbles it out, and this game comes to an end with a final score of Golden State 125, Portland 121.

That does it for this series, as the Warriors have closed it out for a 4-1 win. Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 33 points, and Steph Curry followed up his MVP award with 29 points, 5 rebounds and 11 assists. Draymond Green chipped in with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Damian Lillard went for 28 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. He shot just 7-24 from the floor, but made up for it a bit by going 12-12 from the line. CJ McCollum scored 27, grabbed 8 rebounds passed out 5 assists, and hit a bunch of big shots down the stretch for Portland. Alan Crabbe hit plenty of big shots as well, coming off the bench for 20 points, but it just wasn’t enough to stay alive against the defending champs, and the MVP.

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I feel particularly bummed out about the demise of the Trail Blazers. They weren’t even supposed to come close to make the Playoffs this year, after losing four of their starters from last year. Instead, their young group gelled together, and they got themselves into the second round. I’m a sucker for a valiant effort in the face of insurmountable odds, and it doesn’t get much more insurmountable than the Golden State Warriors. The Blazers gave them all they had, and the result was a great series that was much closer than it will look in the future, when people look back and see the Warriors won it in five. Those of us who were here to see it will know the truth. The Blazers will be back next year, and have a very bright future, but as for now, they’ll be missed.

As for the Warriors, they’re back in the Western Conference Finals as their championship defense continues. Steph Curry’s back and is definitely in MVP form. After facing the worthy Trail Blazers, their path to the Finals is about to get even harder, with either the Thunder or Spurs joining them in the next round. That’s something we can all look forward to.

Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

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