The Toronto Raptors avoided a looming sweep and the Los Angeles Clippers flexed their might in NBA semifinal playoff games Thursday in Orlando.
The Raptors avoided a 3-0 hole that would have ended their title retention hopes with a win over the Boston Celtics in their Eastern Conference semis matchup.
The Celtics had a two-point lead with 0.5 seconds left.
OG Anunoby caught a pass from Kyle Lowry over the 7’5’’ Tacko Fall and drilled a three at the left flank as time expired to lift the Raptors past the Celtics 104-103.
Lowry led the Raptors with 31 points, eight assists, and six rebounds while Fred VanVleet scored 25 points, Pascal Siakam had 16, and Anunoby 12.
The Celtics were paced by Kemba Walker with 29 points. Jaylen Brown added 19 points and 12 rebounds while Jayson Tatum finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, and six assists for the Celtics who still lead the series 2-1.
The Denver Nuggets failed to sustain their momentum from a Game 7 victory over the Utah Jazz and crashed in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points for the Clippers in a 120-97 victory over the Nuggets. Paul George and Marcus Morris Sr. added 19 and 18 points respectively for the Clippers.
Shooting woes hounded the Nuggets in the game, making only 42 percent of their attempts.
Jamal Murray who waxed hot against the Jazz only had 12 points on 5-for-15 shooting. Nikola Jokic paced the Nuggets with 15.
The Clippers shot well from the field with 57 percent.
The game was tied in the first quarter but the Clippers surged in the second period to take a 69-51 lead. The Clippers sustained momentum, leading by as much as 29 points, en route to victory.
The Brooklyn Nets have hired Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash as their next head coach.
Kevin Durant is believed to have input in the hiring of Nash, who worked for Golden State as player development consultant when Durant played for the Warriors.
Jacque Vaughn, who stood in for head coach Kenny Atkinson when he was fired last March and guided the team in this season’s playoffs, remains on Brooklyn as the two-time league MVP’s lead assistant.
Nash, who signed a four-year contract, is the second Hall of Fame point guard and former player without any coaching experience the Nets have hired following Jason Kidd in 2013.
Nash is expected to handle a team that would have Kyrie Irving and Durant next season.
During his playing days, Nash was the playmaker of the Phoenix Suns which had an offense similar to what team are running today.
He had tried to convince long time pal and Dallas teammate Dirk Nowitzki to join him as a deputy but he declined, saying it is too early in his retirement to rejoin basketball.
Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies was unanimously named NBA Rookie of the Year for the 2019-2020 season.
Morant got 99 of out 100 first-place votes from sportswriters, outdistancing Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans who had the other one.
Kendrick Nunn of the Miami Heat was second, Williamson was third, and Grizzlies’ Brandon Clarke was fourth in the voting.
Morant, who averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 assists per game this season, is the first Grizzlies to win the award since Pau Gasol in the 2001-2002 season. (Compiled by Tristan Lozano)