During the 1st round of the NHL playoffs they gave us two quality Game 7’s. After last night it’s the NBA’s turn to try and give us two quality Game 7’s. There where three NBA playoff series played last night that all could’ve ended. Two of them are going to a Game 7 on Sunday while just one of them came to a conclusion.
Game 1 featured the Toronto Raptors trying to close out the Indiana Pacers. It was a tight game early on. Toronto had a 2 point lead after the 1st quarter 22-20 and was able to extend that lead to 4 points going into half time at 44-40. The 2nd half belong to the Pacers. Indiana outscored Toronto 31-20 in the 3rd quarter to take a 71-64 lead. There was no 4th quarter comeback by the Raptors like in Game 5 as the Pacers kept the pressure on and put up 30 points in the 4th quarter to just 19 points for Toronto yo get us t the 101-83 final and force a Game 7 Sunday in Toronto Air Canada Centre.
Every starter for the Pacers scored put up double digit points led by Paul George with 21. George also led the Pacers in rebounds with 11 and assists in 6. Myles Turner had 15 points, Monta Ellis scored 14 points while George Hill and Ian Mahinmi each scored 12 points for Indiana. DeMarre Carroll and Corey Joseph (off the bench) led Toronto in scoring with 15 points apiece. Jonas Valanciunas with 14 points and Kyle Lowry with 10 points where the other two Raptors to score in double figures. Lowry also led Toronto with 10 assists while Bismack Biyombo came off the Toronto bench to lead the team with 10 rebounds.
In the 2nd game of the night it was the Miami Heat’s turn to force a Game 7 as they picked up a 97-90 victory over the Charlotte Hornets. Now the series returns to Miami’s American Airlines Arena for Sunday’s Game 7. It was a tight game most of the way as Miami managed to take a 3 point lead 27-24 after the 1st quarter. They where able to extend the lead to 59-50 going into halftime by outscoring Charlotte 32-26 in the 2nd quarter. The Hornets where able to cut into the Miami lead in the 3rd quarter by 4 points. Charlotte outscored Miami 20-16 in the 3rd quarter and went into the 4th quarter trailing 75-70. The Heat went on to use a 22-20 scoring advantage in the 4th quarter to pull out the 97-90 victory and force that Game 7.
All of Miami’s starters scored in double figures led by Dwayne Wade wit 23 points. Wade also led the Heat in assists with 4. Luol Deng had 21 points, Goran Dragic had 14 points, Hasan Whiteside had 12 points and Joe Johnson added 11 points for Miami. Whiteside, Dragic and Udonis Haslem (off the bench) each grabbed 7 rebounds to tie for the team lead. Whiteside also blocked 4 shots in the game. Only three Hornets players scored in double figures in the game. Kemba Walker had a team high and game high 37 points and added a team leading 5 assists. Al Jefferson added 18 points and a team leading 9 rebounds while Cody Zeller came off the Hornets bench to add 12 points.
The Charlotte/Miami is scheduled to tip off Sunday’s NBA action at Noon while the Indiana/Toronto game is the third game of the night and is schedule t tip off at 7:00 p.m. While these 1st round series are wrapping up a couple of 2nd round series will be getting underway. The Oklahoma City Thunder visit the San Antonio Spurs to start Round 2 of the playoffs and on Sunday the Portland Trail Blazers are at the Golden State Warriors (Sunday at 2:30 pm) to get their series started.
Speaking of the Trail Blazers. They had a hard fought 106-103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers to advance to the 2nd round of the playoffs. Even missing there top two players the Clippers held tough. The game was tied at 24 after the 1st quarter and at the half Portland had just a 2 point lead 50-48. It was the Clippers who came out in the 3rd quarter and took the lead outscoring the Trail Blazers 34-30 and went into the 4th quarter with there own 2 point lead 82-80. The Trail Blazers appeared to pull away when C.J. McCollum’s 3-pointer made it 98-91 with 4:49 left, but the Clippers came back. Los Angeles had cut the lead to 98-95 before McCollum hit another 3-pointer to make it 101-95 with about 2 minutes to play. The Clippers again came back and tied the game on a pair of Jamal Crawford free throws at 103. It was Mason Plumlee putting the game away for the Trail Blazers hitting 3 of the 4 free throws he took and when a 42 foot Austin Rivers last second shot was off the mark Portland was leaded to the 2nd round.
Damian Lillard led Portland in scoring with 28 points and a team high 7 assists while McCollum added 20 points. Three other Trail Blazers scored in double digits. Maurice Harkless had 14 points, Allen Crabbe came off the bench t add 13 points and Al-Farouq Aminu added 10 points. Plumlee not only hit those late free throws, but he grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the team. Jamal Crawford showed everyone why he was the NBA’s 6th man of the year as he had a game high 32 points off the bench to lead the Clippers. Austin Rivers scored 21 points and had a team high 8 assists. J.J. Reddick and DeAndre Jordan added 15 points with Jordan grabbing a game high 20 rebounds before spraining his ankle and having to leave the game. Jeff Green also scored 11 points for the Clippers.
Dee Gordon was suspended 80 games this week for testing positive for multiple performance enhancing drugs. Gordon tested positive for two anabolic steroids, exogenous testosterone and clostebol. This is known as a “Stack” but these two drugs aren’t commonly used in a “Stack”. Clostebol is described as a simple testosterone derivative, adding one molecule to the standard hormone, so rather than adding different properties in, it’s essentially doubling the dose. The testosterone that Gordon had in his system was cypionate. You may have actually seen that name before in the ads for “Low T” as it’s the commonly prescribed drug for that. It seems odd looking at Gordon’s body type that he would test positive for PED’s. He issued a statement apologizing for the positive test while going on to say he didn’t knowingly ingest the banned substances. Knowingly or not the positive test is going to cost Gordon 80 games away from the 11-11 Miami Marlins and it will also cost him about $1.3 million dollars this season.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup series moves the the Talladega Superspeedway for the Geico 500 on Sunday. Qualifying will be held today for the pole position. Chris Olmstead from Beyond the Flag will join the Sunday podcast to preview the race. Every week Chris will also give you his 3 drivers to look for in victory lane. Last week Chris went with Matt Kenseth (7th), Joey Logano (8th) and Chase Elliott (12th); who does Chris have this week? Tune in tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. and listen to The Podcast to hear Chris and find out who he’s picking.
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