NBA Playoffs – playoffs – working day 29
Coach Steve Kerr’s Golden State Warriors have a near-spotless record in Western Conference playoffs. This Wednesday they received the Lakers to life or death at the Chase Center in San Francisco, since those from Los Angeles were placed on Monday 1-3 in the tie. With their main scorers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, something of a failure, those who have managed to get through the fifth game (121-106) and, for now, the tie have been mainly Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins.
Green’s battle with Anthony Davis under the rims has been epic. In previous games, the Los Angeles center had imposed not only his talent, but also his 2.08-meter height. This Wednesday, Green has made up for the centimeter difference with a waste of energy and has been key for his team to win, with 20 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists in 30 minutes.
Along with him, Wiggins has been very successful and determined to assume a greater role, with 25 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. And Curry has also scored, no less than 27 points, because even a bad day for Curry is an extraordinary day for anyone else. He has been especially inspired in the last quarter, when he had to defend the acquired advantage.
The Warriors have been ahead throughout the game, but after the comeback in the last quarter on Monday in Los Angeles, nobody trusted that the difference would be enough. In the first quarter, the locals prevailed 32-28 and in the second they extended their lead to 70-59 at halftime. The difference of 11 points has been maintained at the end of the third quarter. Unlike Monday, the Warriors have not sunk this time in the final stretch. In fact, they have extended the advantage to the final 121-106.
For the Lakers, the top scorers have been the miraculous LeBron James, with 25 points, and Anthony Davis, with 23. Both have also grabbed 9 rebounds and given 3 assists. Those from Los Angeles now have the opportunity to decide the tie at home this Friday. If they fail, everything will be decided in the hypothetical seventh game, on Sunday.
In the other semifinal of the Western Conference, Nikola Jokic’s Denver Nuggets have the opportunity to qualify this Thursday. Jokic achieved his tenth triple double (10 or more points, rebounds and assists) in a postseason game on Tuesday, breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s record as the center who has achieved it the most times in the playoffs.
Brunson’s Big Day
In the Eastern semifinal game that was also played this Wednesday, the New York Knicks have managed to survive against the Miami Heat and leave the tie 2-3 thanks to a spectacular performance by Jalen Brunson. The New York point guard, who has been so missed this year in Dallas, had 38 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists playing the 48 minutes of the game.
Miami Heat loses (112-103) the first chance of the three they had to win the decisive game and reach the Eastern Conference final as the revelation team of the playoffs. He was the eighth seed and qualified last for the playoffs. With the current format, which starts in 1984, only the Knicks managed to reach the conference final in 1999 after starting as the eighth seed.
Miami Heat already gave the big surprise by eliminating the big favorites, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks. Now they still have two options to defeat the Knicks, the first of them this Friday playing in Miami.
The fact is that this Wednesday, the Heat started very focused on defense and managed to close the first quarter with a 14-24. However, the Knicks went on an 18-2 run early in the second quarter. At halftime, the Knicks led 50-47 and extended the lead with another powerful run (23-7) early in the third quarter. Those from Miami tried to repeat a comeback like those achieved against the Bucks, but there were only a couple of moments in which they gave the feeling of being able to achieve it.
Miami star Jimmy Butler had 19 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds. He for the first time he stays below 25 points in the playoffs this year. Bam Adebayo added 18 points and Duncan Robinson 17.
RJ Barrett had 26 points and Julius Randle 24 for the Knicks, who are still holding out hopes of reaching the conference finals for the first time since 2000.
The other place in the final is disputed by the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, with a 2-3 advantage for the latter. Those of Philadelphia have the opportunity to qualify at home this Thursday.
You can follow EL PAÍS Sports on Facebook and Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.