EDITOR'S NOTE: The moment avid Filipino basketball fans have been waiting for has finally arrived: NBA Playoffs. Kami.com.ph features "The Hard Court Reports" by Eman-Reza Kazemi to capture the highlights of the NBA playoffs. It will share up-to-date game summaries and notable happenings of teams locked in the playoff race.
Toronto Raptors 83-101 Indiana Pacers [Series Tied 3-3]
Looking to keep their championship aspirations alive, the pressure of forcing a game 7 might have affected the Pacers early on as they shot an abysmal 33% from the field as a team. Things began to start clicking on all cylinders for the pacers after stumbling out the gates early on as Indiana held an 11 point lead entering the pivotal 4 quarter. The pacers were led the way by Paul George and George Hill’s combined 24 points in the 2 half to help the Pacers pull away with a 101-83 victory over the Raptors. Toronto tried to rally back in the 4 quarter but essentially waved the white flag with 3:08 left in the final quarter of game 6 when the starters were recalled to the bench in preparation for game 7 in Toronto. Indiana was led the way by Paul George 21 points, 11 assists, 6 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. This is the 9 career playoff game for George wherein he finished with at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists. Toronto were led the way behind DeMarre Carroll and Corey Joseph’s 15 points. The star studded starting back court of DeRozan and Lowry finished for a combined 18 points in the whole game for the Raptors squad. Whether the higher seeded Raptors will be able to get their 1 series win since 2001 will be seen in game 7 in the Raptor’s home court a couple of days from now.
Miami Heat 97-90 Charlotte Hornets [Series Tied 3-3]
The Charlotte franchise entered game 6 looking to close out their first series in 14 years against the battle tested Miami Heat squad. Charlotte looked to be on the right course at the start of the 1 quarter but were later rallied by the heat with a 7-0 run led by Luol Deng who finished the 1 quarter with 11 big points. Hassan Whiteside held a block party during the 1 half and all the Charlotte players were invited. Whiteside had 4 spectacular blocks in the 2 quarter alone which helped give Miami a 9 point lead entering the 2 half. Deng and Wade led Miami’s 1 half efforts with 16 and 13 points respectively. Charlotte however mustered an epic performance from Kemba Walker who finished the game with 37 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds. This is the 2 time in the series wherein Walker set a playoff career (and franchise record) for points in the playoffs. Right when Miami needed a hero to carry them, wade was there to answer the call. Wade had a vintage performance in the 4 quarter as he scored 10 of his 23 points in the clutch. He also had a pivotal block against a Kemba Walker drive with 15 seconds left to go in the game, with Miami up only 5 points. Wade finished the game with 23 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks (most by any guard in the NBA in the playoffs). Luol Deng helped keep Miami alive behind his 21 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks. This is the 1 time in 56 games wherein Dwayne Wade hit a 3-pointer. The basketball world is in store for 2 big game 7’s in the coming days.
L.A Clippers 1033-106 Portland Trailblazers
In what can be held as one of the least expected upsets this year, the Portland Trailblazers upset the higher seed L.A Clippers to close out the series in 6 games. The Trailblazers were not even considered to get into the playoffs, let alone finish at the 5 seed in the highly competitive western conference. Not when 3 of the 4 starters from last season are now playing in a different uniform, but here we are. Most favored the Clippers winning the series against the Trailblazers easily because of the supposed depth and star power of L.A. Things all changed when Chris Paul fractured his hand and Blake Griffin could no longer play due to a quad injury. The Clippers did not go down easy though as the game went down to the final possession with Crawford attempting to tie the game with 3 seconds left, but it was no good. Daimian Lillard led his team with 28 points, 7assists, and 1 steal while reigning .MIP of the year C.J. McCollum finished the game with 20 points on 2-3 shooting from down town. The Clippers were led behind reining 6 man of the year awardee Jamal Crawford’s 32 points and 3 steals. Starting guard Austin Rivers finished with 21 points and 8 assists for the Clippers. The blazers will now face the Golden State Warriors in the 2 round. Schedules to be announced soon.