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Updated: 50 weeks 4 days ago
Tim Duncan doesn't care about 62-win San Antonio pushed to a Game 7 by the upstart Dallas Mavericks in a first-round series that looks a lot like the other time these Texas rivals played a full set. The only concern for the four-time champion is the NBA's best team in the regular season getting a tougher-than-expected series win Sunday at home. ''It doesn't matter how many games it takes,'' Duncan said after the Spurs' 113-111 loss in Dallas on Friday night. ''We're not worried or disappointed.'' San Antonio is going the distance in a second straight playoff series after losing Game 7 of the NBA Finals in Miami last June.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey ditched his car and rode the subway to Sunday's Game 7 against the Brooklyn Nets. With traffic snarled due to road closures related to Sunday's Toronto marathon, Casey got stuck in traffic soon after leaving his midtown home. ''I didn't think anybody would recognize me but I guess the shirt gave me away,'' Casey said, tugging on his black Raptors logo warm-up shirt.
When the final buzzer sounded on the longest week of the Los Angeles Clippers' careers, they felt more exhaustion than elation. While coach Doc Rivers high-fived fans and pumped his fist at the crowd, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul quietly congratulated each other. A franchise that once redefined losing was a winner despite it all - and there's no telling how much farther these new Clippers can go. Griffin scored 24 points, Paul had 22 points and 14 assists, and the Clippers outlasted the Golden State Warriors 126-121 in Game 7 on Saturday night to win their first-round playoff series.
Indiana salvaged its season Saturday by reverting to form: its first-half form. Paul George scored a career playoff-high 30 points, Lance Stephenson added 19 and Roy Hibbert finally came up big against the more nimble Atlanta Hawks as the Pacers survived a first-round scare with a 92-80 victory in the decisive seventh game. Two days after staving off elimination in Atlanta, the top-seeded Pacers did it again and advanced to a second-round series against Washington that starts Monday in Indiana. Though they have a quick turnaround, at least the Pacers get a brief respite from the problems and distractions that lingered during the series.
Kevin Durant got back to playing like he's used to against a Memphis team that had to change things up at the worst possible time. Durant scored 33 points, Russell Westbrook had a triple-double, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Grizzlies 120-109 on Saturday night in Game 7 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series. Durant looked like his usual self after struggling against Memphis' rugged defense for much of the series. And I knew if I just put the work in for my team, the results would show.'' With top scorer Zach Randolph suspended, the Grizzlies shook things up and traded their grind-it-out style for Oklahoma City's faster pace.
The NBA said Saturday it will appoint a chief executive officer to supervise the Los Angeles Clippers' operations after banning owner Donald Sterling from the league for life. The league announced its decision a few hours before the Clippers faced the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series. On Tuesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for racist comments made on an audio recording, fined him $2.5 million and urged league owners to force him to sell the team. ''The best way to ensure the stability of the team during this difficult situation is to move quickly and install a CEO to oversee the Clippers organization,'' Mike Bass, the NBA executive vice president of communications, said in a statement.
Paul George scored a playoff career-high 30 points and Roy Hibbert finally came up big to lead the Indiana Pacers past the Atlanta Hawks, 92-80 on Saturday night in Game 7. Indiana staved off elimination for the second time in three days. It's the first time since mid-March the Pacers' regular starters have won back-to-back games. Instead of becoming the sixth top seed to lose in the first round of the current 16-team playoff format, the Pacers will be back on their home floor Monday night against Washington in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Andray Blatche is confident the Brooklyn Nets have found the ''recipe'' they need to beat the Toronto Raptors. Riding high after a big win in Game 6, Blatche cooked up controversy by guaranteeing the Nets will win their first-round series with a Game 7 victory in Toronto on Sunday. The Nets, who nearly overturned a 26-point deficit with a 44-point fourth quarter in Game 5, carried that momentum into Friday night's must-win meeting in Brooklyn, staving off elimination by jumping out to a 34-19 lead and limiting the Raptors to a series-low 83 points. That had Blatche boasting that Brooklyn would soon be settling into a second-round series against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.
Memphis faces an enormous task Saturday night in Game 7 against the Thunder, with top scorer Zach Randolph suspended and point guard Mike Conley nursing a strained right hamstring. However, the Grizzlies remain confident. They've won three of the four overtime games in the series, and their gritty play has forced scorers Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook out of their comfort zones. Memphis has built its reputation on toughness, and the Grizzlies will depend on it to try to overcome the odds.
Monta Ellis is headed to his first Game 7, and DeJuan Blair gets a chance to play his old team in San Antonio one more time after all. Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki will return to the site of one of the best moments of his stellar career. Ellis scored 12 of his 29 points to lead a fourth-quarter comeback that also got an energetic boost from Blair in his return after getting suspended, and the Mavericks forced a deciding game in their first-round series with top-seeded San Antonio, beating the Spurs 113-111 on Friday night. Tony Parker matched Nowitzki with 22 points to lead the heavily favored Spurs, who are stuck in a tossup series after they won all four games against the Mavericks during the regular season and had a 10-game winning streak against them after taking the opener.
Damian Lillard couldn't believe when he got a clear look at the rim. ''I got my feet squared up and it felt real good leaving my hands,'' Portland's point guard said. ''Once I saw it on line, I said, 'That's got a chance.''' Lillard's shot fell and the Trail Blazers stunned the Houston Rockets 99-98 to take their playoff series in six games and advance to the Western Conference semifinals for the first time in 14 years. In the frenzied postgame celebration, Lillard took the public address microphone and shouted ''Rip City!'' The hometown crowd roared.
V. Stiviano says Donald Sterling's racist comments on an audio recording leaked to the public were not the first by the Los Angeles Clippers owner in conversations with her. ''There's been a number of occasions where Mr. Sterling and I had conversations just like this one. This was one of very many,'' Stiviano told Barbara Walters on ABC's ''20/20'' in an interview that aired Friday night. There's a number of other hours that the world doesn't know.'' Sterling told Stiviano in the recording that she should not post online photos of herself with black people, including basketball great Magic Johnson, or bring black people to Clippers' games.
The Memphis Grizzlies might have all summer to think about their dismal effort Thursday night. The Grizzlies could have closed out the Thunder at home, but Oklahoma City jumped on them from the start and rolled to a 20-point victory. Now, Memphis must play Game 7 on the road Saturday without scoring leader Zach Randolph and possibly point guard Mike Conley. Randolph was suspended for punching Steven Adams in the jaw late in Game 6.
Deron Williams had the Brooklyn Nets speeding toward a Game 7 when suddenly everything stopped. Kevin Garnett waved for help, and Williams slowly began limping back toward the bench. For all the big names and big salaries on the Nets, Williams knows they aren't going anywhere unless he leads them. Williams shook off his second-half injury to score 23 points and Brooklyn forced a seventh game in its first-round series by beating the Toronto Raptors 97-83 on Friday night.
Doc Rivers couldn't begin the Los Angeles Clippers' only day of preparation for Game 7 in the film room or on the practice court. The coach was downtown at the Clippers' team offices Friday, meeting with an angry roomful of ticket-sellers and marketers still outraged by owner Donald Sterling's racist comments. We're still trying to put this thing together.'' For both the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors, basketball has been secondary for much of this extraordinary series. But after the most tumultuous week in Clippers history, the first round is finally down to its grand finale.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said employees on the team's business side considered not working for the franchise after owner Donald Sterling's racist comments were exposed a week ago. Rivers met with team employees who were still upset and angry Friday morning, several days after Sterling was banned for life from the NBA. ''What I witnessed today, you realize this thing has touched a lot of people,'' Rivers said hours later at the Clippers' training complex in Playa Vista. ''The people that didn't do anything are being harmed by this, and I wish we could find the right solution, and I don't have it.'' Rivers made the trip downtown at the request of other top executives with the Clippers, who will play the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series Saturday night.
Bulls center Joakim Noah is recovering after undergoing arthroscopic left knee surgery. It was performed by team physician Dr. Brian Cole. The team says Noah will rehab his knee for eight to 12 weeks. Noah is coming off his best season with the Bulls, when he was the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
Paul George spent much of Friday worried about whether he'd be suspended for Game 7 against Atlanta. Less than an hour after wrapping up practice, an NBA spokesman confirmed in an email to The Associated Press that league officials reviewed the tapes from Thursday night's altercation and determined none of the players who stepped onto the court would be punished for the decisive game of this first-round series. It was no surprise to the Pacers. ''We're planning for him to be here until we're told he's not going to be in there,'' coach Frank Vogel said shortly before the decision was made public.