Lillard’s buzzer-beater sends Rockets crashing out of playoffs

(The Sports Exchange) Brooklyn Nets set up a Game Seven decider in their Eastern Conference quarter-final series with a wire-to-wire 97-83 victory over the Toronto Raptors Friday night.

Williams helped the Nets ensure that lack of energy was not an issue as he made 8-of-16 shots from the field after scoring 23 on 8-of-20 shooting from the floor in the previous two games.

Williams’ biggest shot was a three-pointer with 1:13 remaining after Toronto seemed likely to cut the lead below double digits for the first time since the first quarter.

Nets forward Joe Johnson contributed 17 points while constantly facing double teams and effectively passing out of them.

Kevin Garnett added 13 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes after playing just 12 minutes in Game Five.

Paul Pierce chipped in 12 points and six rebounds as the Nets dominated the paint by a 48-32 margin and shot 46.8 percent from the field.

DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 28 points.

The Nets played about as flawless of an opening half as a team facing elimination could taking a 60-41 lead to halftime.


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Mavericks 113, Spurs 111

Monta Ellis would not let the Dallas Mavericks’ season come to an end.

An electrifying second half that included 12 points in a come-from-behind fourth quarter set up a Game Seven decider after the revitalized Mavs edged the top-seeded and reigning Western Conference champions San Antonio Spurs 113-111.

The Spurs led 81-76 after three quarters and were seemingly on their way to methodically putting the series to bed until Dallas switched the momentum with a 16-4 charge to lead 102-94 with 2:55 left in the game.

Trailing 108-105 with less than 30 seconds to go, Spurs point guard Tony Parker, who had an otherwise brilliant fourth quarter with 13 of his 22 points, had his interior pass stolen by former Spurs center DeJuan Blair.

Blair hit one of two free throws to make it a four-point lead and then grabbed his 14th rebound on Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard’s missed jumper.

Spurs guards Danny Green and Patty Mills both hit three-pointers, the last with seven seconds left, to keep their faint hope alive at 113-111.

The Spurs got the ball back with 1.3 seconds left under the Dallas basket after Ellis inexplicably chucked it out of bounds while fleeing Spurs defenders attempting to foul him.

The inbounds pass was deflected out near the Spurs bench and Mills’ desperation heave from the top of the arc did not draw iron.

Blair returned to the lineup after being suspended for Game Five and he haunted San Antonio with a hustling 10 points, 14 rebounds and four steals.

Dirk Nowitzki finished with 22 points while Ellis poured in 29 for the second time in this series.

The Spurs trailed by as many as 11 points early on, but six points from 38-year-old forward Tim Duncan in the opening three minutes of the second half quickly erased the Mavs’ six-point halftime lead and took an 81-76 lead into the final quarter.


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Trail Blazers 99, Rockets 98

Guard Damian Lillard’s three-pointer at the buzzer gave the Trail Blazers a 99-98 victory over the Houston Rockets to send Portland into the Western Conference semi-finals.

Forward LaMarcus Aldridge collected 30 points and 13 rebounds and Lillard added 25 points as the Blazers closed out the Rockets 4-2 in the best-of-seven series.

Portland will face the winner of the San Antonio-Dallas series, which stands tied at 3-3.

Guard James Harden scored 34 points and center Dwight Howard contributed 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets.

Lillard’s game-winner came after forward Chandler Parsons had given Houston a 98-97 lead on a put-back with 0.9 of a second remaining.

Harden had scored 24 points to stake Houston to a two-point halftime lead while Aldridge had 21 points and seven rebounds at the break for the Blazers.

The Rockets started the third quarter on an 8-2 tear to go ahead 66-58. The Blazers gradually chiseled away at the lead, Houston taking a 79-78 edge into the final period.

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