2014 NBA Playoffs: Nets edge out Raptors, Spurs maul Mavs, to advance to second round
On the final day of first round match-ups in the post-season, there were four teams contesting for the last two available spots in the second round of the Playoffs – one in the West and one in the East.
Here’s the summary from the games on Sunday night:
(3) Toronto Raptors vs (6) Brooklyn Nets (Brooklyn won 104-103, win series 4-3, advance to Conference semis)
The Raptors had two chances to break their 13-year Playoff series win drought after winning Game 5 at home, but failed to grab their chances in both Game 6 on the road, and Game 7 at home. In a season where the Raptors broke multiple franchise records en route to claiming the third seed for the post-season, being eliminated in the first round is definitely not what they would have expected or wanted.
Anyhow, a veteran Nets team stepped up when it was needed the most, winning the final two games of the season to move on to the next round behind Joe Johnson’s 26 points, Kevin Garnett’s 86th career Playoff double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds, second only to Tim Duncan among active players, and 17 points from Marcus Thornton off the bench.
For the eliminated Raptors, Lowry led once again scoring 28 points and grabbing 7 rebounds, but was assisted by a number of other players as well. DeMar DeRozan stepped aside and took up the facilitator’s role dishing an unusually high 6 assists to go with 18 points. A fouled out Amir Johnson had a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds while Patrick Patterson came up huge off the bench with 16 points and 8 rebounds.
Leading contributions aside, it was ” The Truth”, Paul Pierce, who won the game for the Nets after blocking a Kyle Lowry shot attempt in the final couple of seconds. The block aside Pierce had 10 points and 4 rebounds in a game that went right down to the final horn.
Jason Kidd becomes the only first year Head Coach out of 19 in the history of the league to win a Game 7 on the road as the Nets advance to play the two-time defending champions, Miami Heat, who they swept in their regular season encounters.
Pierce’s late game block to seal the win:
(1) San Antonio Spurs vs (8) Dallas Mavericks (San Antonio won 119-96, win series 4-3 and advance to Conference semis)
When the time is right and the team most needs it the stars of each team start to show up. We saw that with Paul George, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Joe Johnson. For the Spurs, they don’t rely on any one star, but for the last 13 years they have had three pillars that they have depended on – Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.
Although Parker stole the limelight with his drives to the basket and the number of points he scored, the Spurs’ Big 3 came to play in Game 7 against the Dallas Mavericks. Parker scored 32 on 11 of 19 shooting along with 4 rebounds, 4 assists and +13 in the +/- column. Duncan had 15 points and 8 boards on 7 of 8 shooting from the field with a +23 in his box score. Ginobili had 20 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals on 5 of 7 shooting from the field, including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc and 8 of 9 from the charity stripe.
The Spurs dominated early in the game outscoring the Mavericks by double digits in both the first and second quarters to head to the locker room at halftime with a 22 point lead. Post halftime, just as expected, Dallas came out strong cutting the lead down to 14, but the Spurs held their nerve through the run and finally beat the eighth seed by a dominant 23 points.
For the Mavericks, not a lot was going right in this game, especially in the first half with their 9 turnovers leading to 16 San Antonio points and reliable offensive player Monta Ellis facing foul trouble and was forced to warm the bench till halftime. Nowitzki led all scorers for Dallas scoring 22 points and recording 9 rebounds. Dejuan Blair had 17 and Monta Ellis had 12 as the Mavericks came up short on both ends of the floor when it mattered the most in the series.
Danny Green getting his shooting touch back in a Playoff game atmosphere is highly motivating for the Spurs as they head to the second round to play the fifth seed Portland Trailblazers.
Tony Parker’s offensive highlights from Game 7:
Top 5 plays of the day: