The players, both past and present, were rejoicing after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced the ban on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling after his racist remarks. The league gave a fitting punishment to the real estate mogul charging 2.5 million dollars, the most allowed under the NBA Constitution.
But the games were on and extremely competitive on Tuesday night. Here’s a summary of all games as another team clinched it’s semi-final spot in the East.
Washington Wizards vs Chicago Bulls (Wizards won 75-69, advance to the Conference Semi-finals)
In what was a highly defensive game, the Washington Wizards came away with their third consecutive road win in the Playoffs to seal their ticket to the next round, their first appearance in the Conference Semifinals since 2005. Led by the guard duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards led throughout the game and never let the Bulls get ahead in their own gym. Wall had 24 points to go with 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Nene had a good outing in his return after a one game suspension, scoring 20 points, grabbing 7 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists.
Meanwhile for the Bulls a productive season, but one also filled with anguish without former MVP Derrick Rose and the trade of Luol Deng, came to an end. There were many positives to be taken away from this season – Joakim Noah won the Defensive Player of the Year and Taj Gibson is well placed to win the Sixth Man of the Year award. However, their chances of enjoying a long post-season were always a long shot without a go-to-offensive-player like Rose.
The Wizards join the Miami Heat as the only two teams to make it to the second round so far and await the winner of the series between the Atlanta Hawks and the Indiana Pacers in the Conference Semis.
John Wall’s highlights from Game 5:
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Memphis Grizzlies (Grizzlies won 100-99 in OT, lead series 3-2)
It was a record breaking night as the pivotal Game 5 between the Grizzlies and the Thunder came down to the wire. Savy veteran Derek Fisher became the leader in the most post-season games played in the history of the league and the extra time needed in this game to obtain a result was the fourth consecutive one of the series, a record in Playoffs history.
But these records didn’t shake the Grizzlies, a team that punched their ticket to the post-season only in the final week of the regular season, as they held their nerve to take Game 5 in Oklahoma and take a 3-2 lead in the series against the 2 seed Thunder with a chance to advance to the next round in Game 6 in Memphis.
Russell Westbrook’s triple double of 30 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds went in vain as the Grizzlies were led to victory in another nail-biter of a contest behind Marc Gasol (11 points, 15 rebounds) and Zach Randolph’s (20 points and 10 rebounds) double-doubles. Serge Ibaka, who also had a double-double of his own with 15 points and 12 rebounds, fell agonizingly short with a put-back attempt on the last play which could have won the game for the Thunder. The crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena erupted in joy along with the players as they went to hug Ibaka, but the referees after examining the video declared that the shot wouldn’t count, leaving the Grizzlies with the win.
Los Angeles Clippers vs Golden State Warriors (Clippers won 113-103, lead series 3-2)
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan became the first player since Tim Duncan in 2008 to record 25 points, 18 rebounds and 4 block shots in a Playoff game. His monstrous numbers led the Clippers to victory over the Warriors in an emotional contest. Almost every game in this series has been hit by foul trouble to key stars leaving them with restricted minutes.
After a sensational Game 4, Chris Paul this time managed to keep hot-shooting Stephen Curry quiet, making him uncomfortable and not giving him room, thus putting the Warriors’ leading offensive player off rhythm.
83 percent of the time, the team winning Game 5 has gone on to clinch the series, but don’t count the Warriors out yet who are still competitive with a starting line-up which is sharing the ball well and beating the Clippers when under no foul trouble. Game 6 will be huge for both teams as the Warriors will look to extend the series while the Clippers will look to close this series out and advance to the next round.
Top 5 plays of the Tuesday night