NBA Finals Game 5: Ginobili, Green hit every shot it seems, Spurs win 114-104

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SAN ANTONIO — All season long, when the Heat would crank up their defense and make a run, other teams wilted.

San Antonio stood up the the runs, executed, hit open shots and a lot of tough ones, and won 114-104 to take a 3-2 series lead. San Antonio will have two chances on the Heat’s home court to win one game and get a fifth banner for the AT&T Center.

Tony Parker had 26 points on 14 shots, Manu Ginobili started the game and came back to life with 24, and Danny Green also had 24 including six threes. Green is now the all-time three point leader for the NBA finals.

Game 6 is Tuesday night.

END OF FOURTH QUARTER: 114-104 Spurs win, they take a 3-2 series lead back to Miami. They can win one there, they couldn’t have done two.

:10 Fourth Quarter: Spurs fans mock the Heat fans a little with a Seven Nations Army chant.

1:06 Fourth Quarter: Heat got the lead down to single digits but a big driving layup from Tony Parker and another Green three and it is 114-101 Spurs. That three was your dagger.

2:32 Fourth Quarter: Heat make a run to cut the lead down to 11, really pressuring on defense, but Spurs still hitting tough shots. 109-98 Spurs. (Sorry for the slow updates, some serious wifi issues here, lost a couple updates because of it.)

5:18 Fourth Quarter: Tony Parker gets M-V-P chants at the free throw line. Spurs lead still 15.

6:24 Fourth Quarter: Much more active Heat defense, but that can’t stop the Duncan bank and the Manu fadeaway. 102-87 Spurs.

7:23 Fourth Quarter: Chris Bosh dunks and cuts the Spurs’ lead to 13. Pop calls a timeout because there is a whole lot of game left.

8:07 Fourth Quarter: Danny Green driving layup puts lead up to 18, but a Heat three makes it 15.

9:31 Fourth Quarter: No mascot does more costume changes than the Spurs Coyote. I’m not sure Quick Change does this many costume changes.

9:31 Fourth Quarter: Spurs are just executing at both ends brilliantly. 19 point lead and another blowout.

10:31 Fourth Quarter: Haslem is -20 in this game, why not try Birdman in that role? Meanwhile the Spurs just keep executing and have a 17-point lead.

10:31 Fourth Quarter: The commitment to going small by the Heat has meant no Birdman to protect the rim, they are paying a price for that tonight.

10:45 Fourth Quarter: Spurs defense has Heat settling in the midrange again. And they continue to miss. San Antonio just outplaying Heat everywhere. 89-75 Spurs.

END OF THE THIRD QUARTER: All season long the Heat have went on runs and just melted the opponent away. The Spurs do not go away and are standing tough. Heat resorting to a lot of isolation ball.

END OF THE THIRD QUARTER: San Antonio went on 12-1 run to end the quarter, not coincidentally they stopped turning the ball over.

END OF THE THIRD QUARTER: 87-75 Spurs, Manu Ginobili just torched Norris Cole again.

1:01 Third Quarter: Tiago Splitter reverse layup makes it an 11 point Spurs lead.

2:21 Third Quarter: Manu Ginobili with the and-1 on Ray Allen. The Spurs are playing good defense and after another Manu bucket it is 83-74 Spurs.

3:01 Third Quarter: It’s a one-point game on an interesting and-1 Wade hit a midrange and somehow Ginobili got called for a foul when Battier set an illegal screen on him. Green answered with a three 78-74 Spurs.

3:53 Third Quarter: It just feels like there is one more big Heat run left and the question is will the Spurs stand up to it like they have the others?

4:35 Third Quarter: LeBron settles for a three, Tony Parker takes the outlet and goes coast to coast for a layup. 75-69 Spurs.

5:09 Third Quarter: LeBron now blocked on a transition bucket by Danny Green, the Heat are getting the turnovers and shots they want, but not converting. That may well haunt them. 73-67 Spurs.

7:11 Third Quarter: Chalmers picks up his fourth foul. Heat are just losing guys on defense and the Spurs exploit that stuff. Plus Wade just missed a transition layup.

7:47 Third Quarter: Chalmers hits a three, 70-65 Spurs.

9:02 Third Quarter: Danny Green is human, he missed a wide open one.

9:39 Third Quarter: With that 23rd three of this series, Danny Green now holds the NBA Finals record. Early in the third quarter of Game 5. Ridiculous.

9:39 Third Quarter: LeBron and Wade try to close out on a Danny Green three. It doesn’t matter. Green is money. 66-59 Spurs.

10:55 Third Quarter: Heat open second half with LeBron three, LeBron steal leads to Chalmers three, Mike Miller steal to LeBron for foul in transition and suddenly it is 61-59 Spurs. And we have a game.

HALFTIME: Miami Heat shoot 10-15 in the restricted area, 3-14 from the midrange, 4-10 from three. The Spurs were just hot from everywhere.

HALFTIME: Heat shooting 42.2 percent, take LeBron out of that equation and it drops to 38.2 percent. LeBron James has 16 points, Dwyane Wade has 14, Chris Bosh 10.

HALFTIME: Spurs shoot 61.8 percent for the half. Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard have 13 points each, Tony Parker 11, Manu Ginobili 11 and 6 assits.

HALFTIME: 61-52 Spurs. Half ends with Tony Parker attacking off the dribble, getting all the way to the rim with nobody contesting him. Fitting.

1:15 Second Quarter: Duncan didn’t get a call when he was fouled, LeBron didn’t get a call when he was fouled. Things even out like that. Shane Battier just made a stupid foul on Ginobili (Manu sold that a little but there was contact when there shouldn’t have been). 57-47 Spurs.

2:14 Second Quarter: Teams kind of trading buckets for a stretch, but Spurs ran horns then got LeBron on the block against Green. LeBron winst that matchup. 52-47 Spurs.

3:24 Second Quarter: Heat made this little run with a point guard-less lineup. Wade and LeBron the ball handlers. LeBron on Parker 49-42 Spurs.

5:08 Second Quarter: Parker fouls Ray Allen on a made three. Four point play makes it 47-40 Spurs, crowd getting restless here.

5:45 Second Quarter: According to scouting service Synergy sports, Danny Green is making 74% of his catch-and-shoot 3s in the finals.

5:45 Second Quarter: The music played in the two arenas is dramatically different, let’s say. Haven’t heard Def Leopard at a game in a long time… didn’t miss it either.

5:45 Second Quarter: Quick 6-0 Heat run and it is 47-36 Spurs and Pop calls a timeout. Key play was a Bosh block on Dunan.

6:41 Second Quarter: Danny Green’s last three tied the record of 22 made threes in a Finals series. That was a beauty, a catch-and-release right over Ray Allen (ironically). 47-30 Spurs.

7:30 Second Quarter: Heat trying to drive and dish out for open looks, but that only works if you hit them. The Heat are not, Spurs are packing the paint.

7:30 Second Quarter: Another Danny Green three and it is 42-26 Spurs. That is 16 points for those of you not good at math.

8:35 Second Quarter: Great Spurs ball movement to a Danny Green three. 39-24 Spurs

8:59 Second Quarter: Live Mariachi band music between quarters… and they are dang good.

8:59 Second Quarter: Spurs doing it with balance — Duncan, Parker, Ginobili all with 7, Leonard with 9.

9:38 Second Quarter: Spurs are very active on defense, sticking with the shooters at the arc but cutting off driving lanes. Best game they have played this series so far. 36-22 Spurs.

11:05 Second Quarter: Tiago Splitter with a dunk at one end, then a block at the other. Then he fumbled one out of bounds. 34-22 Spurs.

START OF SECOND QUARTER: Looking at the shot chart, Miami took seven midrange shots in the first quarter, hit one of them.

END OF FIRST QUARTER: Spurs hit 12-of-19 in the first quarter, the Heat just 6-of-20. You can measure the Heat by how good their defense on any given night, and the Spurs are destroying them.

END OF FIRST QUARTER: A Kawhi Leonard three makes it 32-19 after one.

1:01 First Quarter: Borris Diaw with the offensive rebound — he beat Chalmers to a loose ball — and a dish to Leonard for the dunk makes it a 12-point Spurs lead. So much for weathering the storm, Miami.

2:29 First Quarter: Spurs on 10-0 run, and 8 of that is Tony Parker just attacking Norris Cole. Spurs also packing paint and Heat settling. 27-17 Spurs.

3:17 First Quarter: Last three Spurs possessions Parker just attacked. Last two LeBron possessions he settled for pullups. 23-17 Spurs.

3:46 First Quarter: Heat open shooting 5-of-13. They are getting points by attacking and fouls but not shooting well. Spurs 8-of-14 to start.

3:46 First Quarter: Parker just blows by Cole again — and there is no help rotations behind Cole, either. 21-17 Spurs.

4:09 First Quarter: Norris Cole comes in and just gets his ankles broken by Tony Parker, then bricks a three. 19-17 Spurs.

4:40 First Quarter: Heat offensive rebound leads to a LeBron three and we are tied 17-17.

5:56 First Quarter: Danny Green in for Ginobili. Great start for a guy who struggled in the playoffs.

6:43 First Quarter: After review Ginobili’s first three, it is a two, he was on the line. 15-12 Spurs.

6:43 First Quarter: This small ball is so much fun to watch — fast paced, guys attacking and others knocking down three. Why does everybody think this is a fad again? You can win this way if you have talent.

6:43 First Quarter: If you’re the Heat, you say that you have withstood the the Spurs initial charge and are only down 16-12 midway through the first.

7:11 First Quarter: That Popovich guy is smart, another Manu three. 16-10 Spurs.

8:54 First Quarter: Ginobili with five points and three assits so far, 13-8 Spurs.

9:57 First Quarter: After a pair of Ginobili free throws, LeBron got the ball and just put his head down and drove the lane. He’s motivated. But then he blew a dunk in transition. 9-6 Spurs.

10:45 First Quarter: Duncan with a nice dunk. Wade has all Miami’s points 7-4 Spurs.

11:36 First Quarter: Ginobili opens the game with a three over Leonard. That might get him going.

12:00 First Quarter: Mike Miller has a pregame ritual of jumping up and grabbing the rim in a dunk like motion where he pulls himself up. Probably will not see that during the game.

12:00 First Quarter: Crowd just goes nuts for Ginobili.

12:00 First Quarter: Darius Rucker — Hootie himself — sings the national anthem. Pretty good version.

12:00 First Quarter: When you hang out in San Antonio and walk around for a week, what you see are more Ginobili 20 jerseys than anything. More than Parker, more than Duncan, more than anyone. This city loves Manu.

12:00 First Quarter: Shirt for the night here in San Antonio is a black shirt with a big Spur on it.

12:00 First Quarter: It’s official, Manu Ginobili will start for the Spurs. Gregg Popovich had said the Spurs were concerned about the Heat’s small ball lineup, looks like this is his answer.

12:00 First Quarter: This is not official, but according to the stats monitors in house here Manu Ginobili is starting for the Spurs tonight. We will see.

12:00 First Quarter: We are still waiting on word of the Spurs starting lineup for tonight and if they change it up to match the Heat, who will again start Mike Miller over Udonis Haslem.

SAN ANTONIO — Welcome to the PBT Live Blog for Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The series is 2-2 and it just feels like the winner of this game is going to take the whole thing. 

First — happy Father’s Day to all my fellow dads out there. Give your kids a hug, then grab the adult beverage of your choice and settle in for what should be a great Game 5. I’m Kurt, your host, and I’m going to be updating you throughout on the score, strategy, what is going on here in the arena and making some snide remarks. Let’s have some fun.

Pelicans look to pull off sweep of Trail Blazers

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Before the 2017-18 regular season began, any conversation regarding the New Orleans Pelicans and brooms had something to do with the possibility the team would clean house.

That would have meant parting ways with coach Alvin Gentry and general manager Dell Demps if the Pelicans missed the playoffs for a third consecutive year despite having one of the NBA’s best players in Anthony Davis.

But now, the broom means something very different.

Energized on both ends of the court, the Pelicans have the broom ready Saturday at the Smoothie King Center to sweep the faltering Portland Trail Blazers out of the Western Conference playoffs with a fourth consecutive victory in the first-round series.

With a win Saturday, the Pelicans would become the first playoff team seeded sixth or lower to sweep a first-round playoff series since the 2001 Charlotte Hornets swept the Miami Heat 3-0 in a best-of-five series.

“Closeout games are the hardest,” said New Orleans guard Rajon Rondo, a 32-year-old veteran who is the Pelicans’ second-oldest player, someone who has served as an on-court coach to his younger teammates. “That’s what I’m going to try to explain to these guys. The first three might have been tough, but this last one is going to be very tough.”

In routing the Blazers 119-102 on Thursday to take a 3-0 series lead, the Pelicans fed off a raucous sellout crowd and led by as many as 33 points in the second half, allowing Gentry to rest his starters. Davis finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds while nursing a sore left thumb, and forward Nikola Mirotic, acquired after center DeMarcus Cousins went down in late January with a season-ending Achilles injury, scored a career-playoff-high 30 points, with 14 in the first quarter.

Even though Portland’s normally potent guard tandem of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum had their best game of the series — combining for 42 of the Blazers’ 102 points — Lillard had trouble shaking free of the Pelicans’ trapping defense, which forced the ball out of his hands. Lillard made just 5 of 14 shots, including 3 of 9 from 3-point range.

“They whooped our butt,” said McCollum. “They beat us in every facet of the game: loose balls, rebounds, free-throw line, energy plays, 3-pointers in transition. … You name it, and they did it.”

The Pelicans have made a conscious decision to swarm Lillard and McCollum at every opportunity, daring other Blazers to beat them. Portland hasn’t adjusted properly to the strategy. Lillard has shot 32.7 percent in the three losses.

“I don’t think (defensive assistant coach) Darren Erman has gotten the credit that he deserves,” Gentry said. “He put together a great defensive game plan. It was him that brought the game plan to me and said, ‘This is what I want to do against them.'”

“You have to continue to mix it up and give them different looks,” Gentry added. “Even doing that, those guys got some shots off and made some real difficult shots. We’ve just got to make sure that we stay locked in and not let them get into one of those zones when it starts to go in and it doesn’t matter what kind of shot they’re shooting that it’s going to go in.”

Making matters worse for the Blazers is their injury status. Both Moe Harkless (left knee) and Evan Turner (right toe) are questionable for Game 4.

Portland coach Terry Stotts said the Pelicans have been tough to handle because a different player each night has shredded the Blazers’ defense.

“Going into the series, those four guys (Davis, Jrue Holiday, Mirotic and Rondo) have played extremely well,” Stotts said. “(Mirotic) is the third different guy who’s had a 30-point night. He’s very efficient, and he made a lot of smart basketball plays as well.”

Heat’s Justise Winslow fined $15,000 for stepping on Embiid’s mask

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NEW YORK (AP) Miami’s Justise Winslow has been fined $15,000 by the NBA for attempting to damage Philadelphia center Joel Embiid‘s facemask during Game 3 of their playoff series.

Winslow intentionally stepped on Embiid’s mask after it had fallen onto the court with 7:51 remaining in the second quarter of the 76ers’ 128-108 victory on Thursday night.

The NBA cited Winslow for unsportsmanlike conduct in announcing the penalty Friday.

Embiid was wearing the mask for the first time after returning from a 10-game absence caused by a broken orbital bone around his left eye.

Philadelphia leads the series 2-1. Game 4 is Saturday.

Defense found: Bucks overwhelm Celtics for 116-92 win

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Khris Middleton scored 23 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 19 and the Milwaukee Bucks used a dominating first half to overwhelm the Boston Celtics 116-92 on Friday night, narrowing their deficit in the first-round playoff series to 2-1.

Eric Bledsoe and Jabari Parker each added 17 for the energized Bucks, who held the Celtics without a field goal for nearly an 11-minute stretch of the first half.

Milwaukee found its defense after a disheartening 14-point loss in Game 2, getting contributions from up and down the roster.

Backup center Thon Maker scored 14 points and had five of the Bucks’ 12 blocks. Pesky guard Matthew Dellavedova, a veteran of a championship run with the Cleveland Cavaliers, helped hold young Celtics point guard Terry Rozier to nine points on 2-of-7 shooting.

“The activity, if you take the stat sheet out of it, the activity and the energy that we brought … as you go through the game, that’s what you need, is the energy first,” coach Joe Prunty said.

Al Horford scored 16 for the Celtics, who fell behind by 23 at halftime and got no closer than 76-62 with 3:06 left in the third quarter on Jayson Tatum‘s 3-pointer.

The game was so well in hand that the Bucks closed out the victory even with Antetokounmpo on the bench for much of the fourth quarter with five fouls. Middleton had eight points in the fourth.

Game 4 is Sunday in Milwaukee. The Celtics will need to get off to a much better start if they want to avoid going home for Game 5 with a 2-2 series tie.

“We got into a hole. This is new for our group,” Horford said. “They had it going … and we really didn’t have an answer for them tonight.”

Milwaukee hustled for loose balls and stayed active around the paint, used its length to get deflections and disrupt Boston in the lane.

The 7-foot-1 Maker, in particular, provided a huge boost to help Milwaukee counter what had been a decisive edge off the bench for the Celtics. Maker got extended minutes only because starting center John Henson missed the game with a sore back.

Nearly everything else went Milwaukee’s way, too.

Parker, who voiced displeasure this week after playing just 24 minutes over the first two games, was 7 of 12 from the field and played 30 minutes. Bledsoe, outplayed by Rozier in the first two games, shot 8 of 13.

“Good win, lots of positives tonight. Quick turnaround … so we’ll have to do it again on Sunday,” Prunty said.

 

Wizards show some fight, top Raps 122-103, get series to 2-1

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WASHINGTON (AP) — All of about 2 1/2 minutes into the game, Washington forward Markieff Morris and Toronto’s OG Anunoby needed to be separated after a near-fight that drew in other players.

Early in the third quarter Friday night, Raptors guard Kyle Lowry was called for a flagrant foul when he swiped a hand across Bradley Beal‘s forehead as the Wizards guard went in for a breakaway layup. Later in that period, things really came close to spiraling out of control, but John Wall‘s bodyguard interceded when Washington’s All-Star jawed with Toronto’s Serge Ibaka.

As that scene unfolded on the court, spectators directed “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chants at the opponents from Canada, and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” blared over the arena’s speakers. Amid all the ruckus, Beal and Wall kept their heads and helped the Wizards pull further and further away for a 122-103 victory.

What was once a dull, lopsided series is suddenly quite interesting.

Beal heeded his coach’s plea to “do his job” by scoring 21 of his 28 points in the first half, Wall delivered 28 points and 14 assists, and the eighth-seeded Wizards cut their Eastern Conference first-round playoff deficit to 2-1.

“We’re not going out to try to box every game,” Beal said, before describing Morris as “a bully with a smile.”

Added Beal: “We came out tonight with an edge about ourselves.”

After letting the Raptors grab the first 2-0 series lead in franchise history, the Wizards came home and checked off every box coach Scott Brooks presented. They got Beal more involved after he made only three shots in Game 2; they actually led after the first quarter, 30-29; they produced 19 turnovers that led to 28 points.

“They came out and punched us,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. “And we allowed them to.”

He meant that figuratively, of course, but the choice of words sure seemed apt.

The Raptors did appear to take the worse of the physical nature of the game.

DeMar DeRozan, who led Toronto with 23 points, wore a Band-Aid under his right eye afterward. Reserve Pascal Siakam held a bag of ice over a cut on his lip that required three stitches.

“Ain’t nobody fighting out here,” said Lowry, who had 19 points and eight assists. “I mean, it got physical, but ain’t nobody fighting. It’s a heated moment, but that’s the game of basketball.”

Each team boasts a pair of elite, All-Star guards. This time, Washington’s pair came out on top.

The start initially had the look of “Here we go again,” as Toronto moved ahead 27-18. The Raptors, after all, outscored Washington by an average of 11 points in the first period over Games 1 and 2. But this time, Washington responded with a 12-point run capped by Beal’s 3 with under a minute left.

Beal scored 12 in the quarter a day after he, Wall and Brooks met to discuss ways to get Beal more involved in the offense. Entering Friday, Beal was averaging only 14 points in the playoffs, well below his 22.6 average during the regular season.

“We need both our guys to step up,” Brooks said about Beal and Wall. “It was good tonight.”