The Toronto Raptors forced a Game 7 and the Los Angeles Clippers are a game away from advancing to the NBA Finals playoff games Wednesday in Orlando.
Raptors, Celtics in do-or-die
Defending champion Toronto Raptors edged the Boston Celtics in double overtime 125-122 in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series to force a winner-take-all Game 7 Friday.
Kyle Lowry scored 33 points and Norman Powell added 23 to enable the Raptors level the series 3-3 and sustain their title repeat hopes.
“Just winning,” said an exhausted Lowry who played 53 minutes. “That was two hard teams playing hard. We had to win the game. Win or go home. Get it done. Don’t matter who has to do it. Ready for Game 7.”
Jaylen Brown scored 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds; Jayson Tatum had 29 points, 14 rebounds, and nine assists, and Marcus Smart posted his second career triple-double – 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists – for Boston.
“It was a hard-played tough game. Could have gone either way,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “Great basketball game. Right now, put some ice on your legs and get ready for Friday.”
The winner of this series faces the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Clippers one win away from Western Conference Finals
The Los Angeles Clippers are one game away from the Western Conference Finals after defeating the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series.
Kawhi Leonard scored 30 points and also had 11 rebounds, nine assists, and four steals in their 96-85 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Reserves Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams added 15 and 12 points for the Clippers who now lead the best-of-seven series 3-1.
Nikola Jokic led the scoring for Denver with 26 points to go along with 11 rebounds and six assists. Jamal Murray chipped in 18 points and seven assists, Michael Porter Jr. 15, and Gary Harris 10 for the Nuggets.
Ivica Zubac had 11 points and nine rebounds, Marcus Morris Sr. also scored 11 points, and Paul George had 10 for the Clippers.
Denver was down early in the game but recovered and tied the score in the third quarter. Los Angeles had a scoring outburst and led by the 10 at the start of the fourth.
The Clippers led by 19 with six minutes left in the game but the Nuggets closed the gap by nine with two minutes left. However, the Clippers hiked the lead to 13 and never looked back.
All is not lost for Denver as it also was down 3-1 in the first round of the playoffs against the Utah Jazz before winning three straight to claim the series.
Nash defends appointment as Nets coach
New Brooklyn Nets coach and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash said his league experience, including 18 seasons as a player and two as an advisor for NBA champion Golden State Warriors clubs, made him uniquely qualified for the position.
The eight-time NBA All-Star admitted the he “did skip the line” by not serving as an NBA assistant coach before taking a top job.
He also dismissed the idea that “white privilege” played a role in his hiring as coach of the Brooklyn Nets despite no prior coaching experience.
Nash said he learned a lot from Steve Kerr who guided the Golden State Warriors to the 2017 and 2018 NBA crowns.
“It gave me an insight that was invaluable,” Nash said. “He taught me a lot whether it was with his words and actions or just spending time around him.”
NBA plans to move draft to Nov. 18
The league is planning to move the NBA Draft to Nov. 18.
The NBA Board of Governors and general managers will discuss the plan on Thursday and Friday.
The league in a memo told teams that the Nov. 18 date is based on “initial conversations with the Players Association.”
This would be the second time that the draft which was originally set for June 25 then pushed back to Oct. 16 is delayed.
The memo told teams that additional delay would also allow the league more time to conduct the pre-draft process, including a combine in some form, and allow it more time to continue the process of deciding when best to start next season.