ATLANTA HAWKS vs INDIANA PACERS
The real Indiana Pacers finally stood up. It may have taken seven games, but the Pacers finally shook the pesky Atlanta Hawks (who led the series 3-2 at one point).
For the first time in team history, the Pacers finally hosted a Game 7 on their court. After a 92-80 nothing-to-see-here win over the Hawks, the Pacers will now face the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Indiana closed the first half on an 18-4 run and took an 11-point lead into halftime. They never trailed again.
Four of Indiana’s five starters scored in double figures. And no, the one was not Roy Hibbert (shockingly). David West had an off night offensively and was limited to 1-for-7 shooting and four points. Though, he did snag 13 rebounds and blocked six shots. Lance Stephenson scored 19 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and dished five helpers. Hibbert reemerged with the best game of the series, and finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and five blocks. He also logged 31 minutes, after only playing a combined 24 in games five and six.
The Pacers advance, just like we all expected — even if it did take seven games.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES VS OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
It was as if the Thunder were finally facing a seventh seed.
Zach Randolph was suspended for Game 7, Tony Allen was battling an eye issue and Mike Conley was trying to play through a hamstring injury. Nevertheless, the Grizzlies played to their mantra and nearly grit and grinded their way to an upset. In the end, the NBA MVP (which will be officially announced next week) Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook was just too much. The duo combined for 60 points on 22-of-34 shooting.
Durant scored 33 points on just 18 shots. He was insanely efficient, unlike the Grizzlies were on defense.
For Memphis, Marc Gasol scored 13 of his 24 points in the first quarter on his way to leading the Grizzlies to a nine-point first frame lead. That success, however, was short-lived. In the second quarter, the Thunder outscored Memphis by 12 points and took a 61-58 lead into intermission.
They never looked back. OKC advances by taming the Grizz 120-109. Their prize? The Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Semifinals.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS vs LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
The series that we never wanted to end, finally did. In a Game 7.
The Los Angeles Clippers finally put the Golden State Warriors away, for good, after a 126-121 win at the Staples Center. LA had four different players finish with at least 20 points — Blake Griffin (24 points), J.J. Redick (20 points), Chris Paul (20 points) and Jamal Crawford (22 points). In addition, DeAndre Jordan scored 15 points and erupted for 18 rebounds and three blocks.
In the loss, Stephen Curry scored 33 points (16-for-16 from the free throw line), grabbed five rebounds and dropped nine assists. Draymond Green hit five 3’s and finished with 24 points and seven rebounds.
The Warriors go home; the Clippers move on. It’s bittersweet, but the better team won.
Clippers vs Thunder is going to be insanely good. Athleticism all over the court. Set your DVRs now.