NBA wRap: Hawks, Griz go up 2-0; Spurs tie Clips

Naveen Ganglani
NBA wRap: Hawks, Griz go up 2-0; Spurs tie Clips
Atlanta fends off Brooklyn, Memphis claw down bang-up Griz, and a milestone night for San Antonio's Tim Duncan

MANILA, Philippines – An action-packed, three-game schedule had many NBA fans glued to their TV screens on Thursday, April 23. For everything that transpired in day five of the NBA playoffs, check out below:

Atlanta Hawks 96 – 91 Brooklyn Nets

The Hawks swept both games on their home floor, but game two wasn’t a convincing win, nor does it resemble the dominance we’ve grown accustomed to watching from Mike Budenholzer’s club. Jarrett Jack and the Nets kept the game close all throughout, but Atlanta came up with enough stops and shots down the stretch to seal the victory.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 20 points points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks to lead the Nets. Jack finished with 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Deron Williams was invisible for most of the game, putting up only 2 points but he did have 10 rebounds and 8 dimes.

Five Hawks scored in double-figures led by Paul Millsap, who shook off a bad game one and came up with 19 points plus 7 boards on Thursday. Kyle Korver was superb once again with 17 points and 3 triples, while Al Horford was dominant all-around: 14 points, 13 boards, 7 assists, and 2 blocks.

While Rajon Rondo is all but killing any chance of getting a lucrative deal during free agency, Atlanta’s German Rondo is doing this:

Memphis Grizzlies 97 – 82 Portland Trail Blazers

It wasn’t the prettiest game, but that’s how exactly Memphis usually wins.

Portland stayed close for 12 minutes, but the Grizzlies used a 31-18 second quarter to build a lead and run away with the victory. Marc Gasol had 15 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks, while Courtney Lee and Mike Conley each put up 18 points in the win.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard had 24 and 18 points, respectively, but shot only a combined 12-of-36 from the field. Injuries have derailed the Trail Blazers’ season; it looks like it will do the same for their playoffs chances.

Tony Allen is simply the best:

San Antonio Spurs 111 – 107 Los Angeles Clippers

As expected, game two of the most competitive series of the first round went down the wire.

The Spurs were up 10 midway through the final quarter thanks to a Kawhi jumper and then started utilizing the Hack-a-Jordan strategy. It backfired, as Los Angeles then went on a 16-4 run to take a two-point lead with 50.2 seconds to go following a pair of Chris Paul free throws.

The Clippers got a stop, but Blake Griffin fumbled the basketball on the next possession. With under 10 seconds to go, Patty Mills was fouled and hit both free throws to tie the match. Paul had an opportunity to seal the win, but missed his game-winner at the end of regulation.

In OT, the Spurs went ahead 103-101 following a falling jumper by Duncan.

After getting a stop, Mills was left wide open on the break and hit an easy layup to put his team up four. After another stop, the Spurs went to Leonard, who put his team up 107-101.

Paul hit a 3-pointer to trim the deficit to three. Los Angeles got the ball back after forcing a wild Duncan attempt, but JJ Reddick missed a game-tying long-ball in transition. San Antonio then closed the game out at the foul line.

Duncan was tremendous, finishing with 28 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in his team’s most important game of the year.

“The Big Fundamentals” also hot a milestone becoming only the 5th player to score at least 5,000 playoff points. 

NBA Royalty. Tim Duncan joins Michael Jordan. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant & Shaquille O' Neal as the only players to reach 5,000 points in the playoffs.

Posted by NBA on ESPN on Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mills put up 18 points – all needed as Tony Parker scored just 1 point and went 0-of-6 from the field. Parker also left the game in the fourth period with a sore right achilles.

Manu Ginobili went 2-of-6 from the field and had 9 points. Blake Griffin led Los Angeles with a triple-double: 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 dimes.

Check out highlights of the game:

Brooks out as coach of Thunder

Scott Brooks has stepped down as coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the National Basketball Association team announced Wednesday, April 22 (Thursday in Manila).

Brooks went 338-207 over 7 seasons with the Thunder and was named the league’s 2009-10 coach of the year.

“This is an extremely difficult decision on many levels. Scott helped establish the identity of the Thunder and has earned his rightful place in the history of our organization through his 7 years as a valued leader and team member,” said GM Sam Presti in a statement.

Oklahoma City missed the playoffs on the final day of the regular season this year, the first time they failed to make the post-season since 2008-09.

The Thunder finished 45-37 with superstar Kevin Durant out for the majority of the season. Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka also missed some time.

– with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

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