The Phoenix Suns will host an outdoor preseason game for the third year in a row. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com, the Suns will host the Dallas Mavericks in a game that will take place on October 9th in Indian Wells, California. The Suns have yet to win an outdoor game, having lost to the Nuggets last year and the Golden State Warriors the year before that.
“Purple shirt man, have a seat.”
Dwyane Wade was his vintage self through the closing minutes of Miami’s season-saving victory over Charlotte Friday night, with eight points and a key block in the final four minutes as Miami hung on for the victory.
Through the very end, “purple shirt man” would not back down, heckling Wade through the end. Not smart. Don’t make Wade angry, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. ESPN’s Michael Wallace asked Wade about it.
“He was over there telling me I should retire,” Wade, 34, told ESPN.com in the locker room. “I’m like, ‘Whatever. Not yet.’ But he was on me.”
Wade had the final word.
Well, for that game, thanks to Wade the Heat and Hornets will be playing one more.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 28 points and the Portland Trail Blazers advanced to the Western Conference semifinals by beating the resilient Los Angeles Clippers 106-103 on Friday night to claim the first-round playoff series 4-2.
Portland will open the second round against the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
CJ McCollum added 20 points for the Blazers, who became the first team to overcome a 2-0 deficit since Memphis came back against the Clippers in the first round in 2013.
Jamal Crawford had 32 points and Austin Rivers added 21 points and eight assists despite having 11 stitches above his left eye from a collision in the first quarter. But the Clippers could not recover from injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in Game 4 of the series.
Los Angeles didn’t surrender easily in the final game, never allowing Portland a double-digit lead.
“We didn’t panic when they put up a fight,” Lillard said.
The Blazers appeared to pull away when McCollum’s 3-pointer made it 98-91 with 4:49 left, but the Clippers persisted. Already plagued by injuries, the Clippers lost DeAndre Jordan to what looked like a sprained right ankle before Los Angeles closed to 98-95 on J.J. Redick‘s jumper.
McCollum’s 3-pointer put Portland up 101-95 with 2:16 left. Again the Clippers clawed back, pulling within 103-101 on Redick’s layup with just under a minute left. Crawford tied it with free throws but Mason Plumlee was fouled by Jeff Green under the basket for free throws to make it 105-103.
Crawford missed a 6-foot jumper and Plumlee made the second of two free throws with 1.5 seconds left for the final margin. Rivers’ 42-foot hurl at the buzzer fell short.
“It’s mixed emotions right now,” Rivers said, his left eye swollen shut. “I’m very sad, I’m very disappointed, but I’m also very proud.”
Portland will face a Golden State team that is dealing with its own injury issue: Reigning MVP Stephen Curry continues to rehab his sprained right knee. There is no official word on when he might return.
The Clippers were ultimately doomed by untimely injuries to their top two scorers.
Paul broke a bone in his right hand in the third quarter of the Clippers’ Game 4 loss at Portland. The Clippers’ nine-time All-Star was averaging 23.8 points and 7.3 assists in the series before he was hurt. He had surgery the next day and the Clippers declared him out indefinitely.
In the same game, Blake aggravated the left quad injury that sidelined him for 41 games this season. He was averaging 15 points, 8.8 rebounds and four assists in the playoffs.
After dropping the first two, the Blazers took a 3-2 lead with a 108-98 victory at the Staples Center on Wednesday night. Clippers coach Doc Rivers tinkered with his starting lineup in the absence of Paul and Griffin, inserting Crawford, Rivers and Paul Pierce.
On Friday, he started Luc Mbah a Moute and Jeff Green, while Crawford and Pierce went to the bench.
“This team had more heart than any other team I’ve coached,” the elder Rivers said.
The Clippers got another scare midway through the first quarter when Austin Rivers sustained a cut above his left eye in a collision with Portland’s Al-Farouq Aminu midway through the first quarter. Rivers returned before the end of the half after getting 11 stitches.
Crawford picked up the slack in his absence and had 22 points in the half. But Lillard and McCollum countered with a combined 25 and the Blazers led 50-48 at the break.
Redick hit a 3-pointer that put the Clippers up 58-53 early in the third. Aminu and Lillard countered with 3s and neither team could push the margin to more than five points.
Rivers’ 3-pointer put the Clippers ahead 77-75 late in the third, but the lead was short-lived when Lillard hit a 3 for Portland. Crawford’s jumper and Jordan’s dunk gave Los Angeles an 81-78 lead.
Clippers: Redick started all six games despite a heel injury that has reportedly bothered him throughout the series.
Trail Blazers: Pro golfer Peter Jacobsen, a Portland native, made three straight free throws for a contest during a first-half timeout. … Toronto FC and U.S. national team forward Jozy Altidore was among the fans at the game.
That was nasty.
Rivers required 11 stitches, and after the game looked like Glass Joe after a rough day.
But you have to be impressed — Rivers came back into the game. He finished with 21 points and played hard, but the Clippers fell to the Trail Blazers 106-103 and were eliminated from the playoffs.
That will be played Sunday in Toronto, and the winner will advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Indiana scored 18 straight points in the second half to pull away from the second-seeded Raptors, who haven’t won a postseason series since the first round in 2001.
Kyle Lowry (4 for 14) and DeMar DeRozan (3 for 13) struggled again, and now the Raptors will head home and hear again about their troubled playoff problems: a Game 7 loss at home to Brooklyn in 2014, Washington’s four-game sweep last season and no series wins in a seven-game series. And there 15-year victory drought is the longest active streak in the league.
Indiana trailed by as much as 12 early, never led until early in the third quarter and had to fend off a late third-quarter charge from the Raptors before blowing it open in the fourth.
After Toronto cut the deficit to 65-64, Indiana responded by scoring the last six points of the third and the first 12 of the fourth to take an 83-64 lead.
The Raptors never recovered.
For Indiana, it was a dramatic turnabout.
Three days after blowing a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead, they came out flat. The Pacers struggled to make baskets, struggled to defend and played catch-up the entire first half after Toronto took an 18-6 lead just 6 1/2 minutes into the game.
But once the Pacers got righted, they took control and pulled away.
Indiana rebounded from a 44-40 halftime deficit with a 10-2 run to take its first lead, 49-48 on Ian Mahinmi‘s tip-in with 9:33 left. They extended the lead to 63-55 before Toronto charged back to get within 65-64 in the final two minutes of the quarter.
Indiana scored the next 18 points to seal it.
Indiana handed out gold T-shirts to fans at the game and it caused a bit of a stir because the wording on the shirts read: United State of Basketball, We The Gold. It was a twist on Toronto’s motto – We The North. Raptors coach Dwane Casey didn’t seem to mind that Indiana stole the idea. “I know that they have a great home court. You know you’re in Pacers territory because of all the gold shirts,” he said. “But what happens between the lines for 48 minutes is what I’m concerned about.”
Raptors: The Raptors wound up getting outrebounded 44-40 after dominating the post in the first half. … Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points, Lowry had 10 and DeRozan finished with eight. … Bismack Biyombo grabbed 10 rebounds. … Toronto gave up 20 points on 17 turnovers. … The last time the Raptors led a series 3-2 was in 2014 against Brooklyn. But the Nets won 97-83 on their home court before clinching the series with a 104-103 victory in Game 7 at Toronto.
Pacers: Turner blocked four shots, giving him 19 in the series to break Antonio Davis’ previous franchise rookie record in a six-game series. … Indiana started the second half by making five of its first seven shots. … Actor-comedian Mike Epps, who lives in Indy, attended the game. … The Pacers have won four straight elimination games on their home court.