NBA Game Recaps for April 25, 2017
Rockets Best Thunder for Series-Clinching Win, 105-99
By Juan Carlos Blanco
The Houston Rockets defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 105-99, at Toyota Center on Tuesday evening in Game 5 of the Western Conference first-round playoffs. The Rockets move on to the conference semifinals after winning the series, 4-1.
The Thunder (1-4) came into Tuesday with their proverbial backs against the wall, which meant the Russell Westbrook would very likely play an even larger role than at any other point in the series. The extremely top-heavy nature of the Oklahoma City offense was a recurring theme all season, and one ultimately helped lead to their downfall. As stellar as Westbrook unsurprisingly was with 47 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, he was forced to play a whopping 42 minutes and was only 2-for-9 from the floor in the fourth quarter, with fatigue potentially coming into play. The Rockets (4-1) enjoyed a bit more balance, although James Harden was naturally the focal point of the offense in his own right. He contributed 34 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks. However, he had more help than his superstar counterpart across the floor, as Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley and Nene Hilario all scored at least 14 points. The Thunder kept it close until the closing seconds, but an Alex Abrines made basket with six seconds remaining that was initially ruled a three-pointer was eventually overturned to a two-point bucket, and Harden sank two subsequent free throws at the four-second mark to help clinch the series.
Jerami Grant and Abrines were distant second fiddles behind Westbrook with each contributing 11 points off the bench. Grant added five rebounds and one assist while Abrines provided three boards. Victor Oladipo and Andre Roberson compiled matching 10-point tallies, with the former also posting six rebounds and one steal and the latter registering eight boards. Steven Adams mustered just seven points but posted nine rebounds, one assist, four blocks and two steals.
Williams checked in behind Harden with 22 points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal in 33 minutes off the bench. Beverley tallied 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and one steal. Hilario chipped in with 14 points, seven rebounds and one steal. Clint Capela generated a modest but full stat line of eight points, nine rebounds, four blocks and one steal. Eric Gordon matched Capela's point total in 35 minutes off the bench and complemented it with six rebounds and two assists.
The Rockets now await the winner of the Spurs-Grizzlies series.
Posted on April 25, 2017 at 11:46 PM ET
By Juan Carlos Blanco
Russell Westbrook provided 47 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists but was forced to play 42 minutes. He was only 2-for-9 in the fourth quarter, with fatigue potentially coming into play. Jerami Grant and Abrines were distant second fiddles with matching 11-point totals off the bench. Victor Oladipo and Andre Roberson compiled 10-point tallies. Steven Adams mustered just seven points but posted nine rebounds.
The Rockets' James Harden managed 34 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks. Lou Williams provided 22 points in 33 minutes off the bench. Patrick Beverley tallied 15 points and eight rebounds. Hilario chipped in with 14 points. Clint Capela generated a modest but full stat line of eight points, nine rebounds, four blocks and one steal. Eric Gordon matched Capela's point total in 35 minutes off the bench.
Posted on April 25, 2017 at 11:51 PM ET
Spurs Defeat Grizzlies, 116-103, Take 3-2 Series Lead
By Joel Bartilotta
The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 116-103, in Game 5 of the Western Conference first-round playoffs at AT&T Center on Tuesday.
This final scoreline is unfair to Memphis, as it was much closer than the 13-point margin would indicate. In fact, San Antonio went on a 13-0 run with five minutes left to eventually pull away and win. The Spurs offense was unstoppable, as they shot 53 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point range and 81 percent from the free-throw line. Bench production was also key for San Antonio, as they outscored the Memphis bench, 46-30. While the Spurs didn't dominate any particular stat, they won nearly every category, leading in shooting, rebounds, assists, blocks, turnovers, fastbreak points and points in the paint.
The Grizzlies (2-3) have struggled in San Antonio throughout the season, as they are now 0-5 in AT&T Center this season. Mike Conley was a bright spot, as he tallied 26 points, two rebounds, six assists and four steals. Marc Gasol finished with 17 points, five rebounds and seven assists. JaMychal Green led the bench with 11 points and three rebounds. Vince Carter accumulated 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.
The Spurs (3-2) are now just one win away from a second-round berth, as they have two opportunities to achieve that goal. Kawhi Leonard led the way once again, as he collected 28 points and six assists. Patty Mills was huge off the bench, as he dropped 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting in just 21 minutes. Tony Parker accrued 16 points, two rebounds and six assists. David Lee got a rare start and totaled 11 points and eight rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge amassed 12 points and nine rebounds.
Game 6 will be back in Memphis on Thursday. The home team has won all nine games between these teams this season.
Posted on April 25, 2017 at 11:42 PM ET
Updated on April 25, 2017 at 11:47 PM ET
By Joel Bartilotta
The home team has now prevailed in all nine game between these teams this season, as San Antonio is now one win away from advancing to the next round. A 13-0 run with five minutes left in the fourth quarter was key, as that extended the Spurs lead from five to 18. San Antonio's offense was extremely efficient, as they shot 53 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range.
Mike Conley carried the Grizzlies, as he collected 26 points, two rebounds, six assists and four steals. Marc Gasol accrued 17 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Vince Carter amassed 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Kawhi Leonard was the player of the game, as he accumulated 28 points and six assists. Patty Mills was huge off the bench, dropping a playoff career-high 20 points in 21 minutes. Tony Parker tallied 16 points and six assists.
Posted on April 25, 2017 at 11:56 PM ET
Jazz Hold Off Clippers 96-92 in Game 5
By Nick Brazzoni
The Utah Jazz defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 96-92 Tuesday in Game 5 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series at Staples Center.
Tuesday's game was ugly with plenty of miss shots through the first three quarters, but the game remained tight as the teams continued to exchange punches. Every time it looked like the Jazz (3-2) were going to pull away, the Clippers (2-3) had an answer, and this escalated to a new level in the final quarter, where the teams combined to score 66 points in what was a back-and-forth affair. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, they had no answer to Utah's final punch: a step-back jumper from Joe Johnson that put the Jazz up five with just under 20 seconds remaining in the contest. The shot left Utah well on their way to taking a 3-2 lead in the series. Johnson hit plenty of big shots once again and finished with 14 points off the bench, but the star for the Jazz was Gordon Hayward, who was forced to leave Game 4 early while battling food poisoning. Hayward finished with a team-high 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field in 41 minutes. In all, despite it not being the team's prettiest performance, six Jazz players managed to finish in double figures in the winning effort.
As for the Clippers, star point guard Chris Paul did all he could to carry his team to a crucial Game 5 victory, finishing with a game-high 28 points and nine assists on 10-of-19 shooting in 38 minutes. J.J. Redick wasn't too far behind, as after scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter, Redick finished with 26 points of his own in 34 minutes. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, DeAndre Jordan, with 14 points and 12 rebounds, was the only other Clippers player to score in double figures, with the other eight players who saw the floor Tuesday combining to score just 24 points total. Overall, it was a very sloppy performance from the home team, as they recorded 13 turnovers while managing to reach just 16 total assists as a unit.
Now, the teams will return to Salt Lake City with two days of rest in what will be an elimination game for the Clippers on Friday.
Posted on April 26, 2017 at 1:42 AM ET
Updated on April 26, 2017 at 1:58 AM ET
By Nick Brazzoni
In Tuesday's Game 5 loss to the Utah, the Clippers' J.J. Redick finally broke out of a shooting slump. Through the first four games of the series, Redick had shot just 26.7 percent from behind the arc and 34.5 percent from the field overall, and he was averaging just 7.8 points per game. Tuesday, Redick nearly matched his scoring through the first four games (31 points) all in one contest, as he scored 26 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field in 34 minutes. It was his seventh performance of the season with at least 25 points, and before Tuesday's crucial loss, the Clippers had won five straight games when Redick had scored 25 points or more. The team is, however, still 5-2 this season when he reaches that milestone and 11-3 over the last two seasons when the shooting guard hits that 25-point mark.
Posted on April 26, 2017 at 1:51 AM ET