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On a day where playoff basketball was an after-thought, three games took place on Tuesday night.
Washington Wizards vs Chicago Bulls, (Washington up 3-1 going into) Game 5
The Chicago Bulls entered “must-win mode” once the Washington Wizards took a 3-1 series lead with their 101-99 win in Game 4. Going into halftime, the Wizards and the Bulls are tied 41-41 (images courtesy of NBA.com).
|Wizards 1st half stats|
|Bulls 1st half stats|
As seen by the first half numbers, Chicago got more production from their bench, while Washington got more production from their starters. Washington‘s players have a +/- closer to 0, which means the Wizards played a balanced first half. Chicago‘s players had a range of players in larger +/- ranges, which means substitutions occurred more often. The Wizards shot 47.1% from the field compared to the Bulls 34.9%, but Chicago was 33.3% from 3-point range (3-9) compared to Washington‘s 20.0% (1-5). The Wizards were a perfect 8-8 from the free-throw line while the Bulls were 8-10. Chicago won the turnover battle with only 1 turnover to Washington‘s 8 in the first half.
In the 2nd half, Chicago started to play sloppier basketball, turning over the ball 9 times compared to Washington’s 3. Marcin Gortat had 3 key offensive rebounds in the final 2 minutes on one offensive drive for Washington to eliminate chances for Chicago to equalize immediately. The Wizards could not capitalize on Gortat‘s efforts by turning the ball over out of bounds; Chicago missed their next shot and Washington had a 24 second violation with 22.4 seconds remaining. The Bulls miss an open layup and foul immediately to slow the game down (Kirk Hinrich fouls out).
The Washington Wizards defeat the Chicago Bulls 75-69 to win the series 4 games to 1. The Bulls turned the ball over 10 times in the second half, compared to the Wizards‘ 5, which made the difference.
Andre Miller advances past the first round for the first time in his career.
Memphis Grizzlies vs Oklahoma City Thunder, (Series tied 2-2 going into) Game 5
The inside-out warmup jersey protest of Donald Sterling was in effect for these teams.
The Memphis Grizzlies would hold home-court advantage with a win in Oklahoma City, who wanted to have a 3-2 lead going into Memphis. This game included everything you want to see in a Game 5: three point field goals, offensive rebounds, importance of free throws, and even a late-second review.
Memphis started the game shooting 60% from the field, but the lead was only 5 after the first quarter 30-25. At halftime, Memphis led 55-43 on 55% shooting from the field. The Grizzlies bench outscored OKC‘s 23-14 at half. Zach Randolph was a perfect 6 of 6 from the field for 13 points and 6 rebounds at the intermission.
Memphis prepared for a matchup against the Thunder when they signed Mike Miller, former piece of the back-to-back Miami Heat championships that beat Oklahoma City in the Finals. At half, Miller was 3 of 4 from 3-point range with 11 points.
18 of Oklahoma City‘s 43 first half points were from 3-point field goals (6 of 9) but the Thunder scored 18 points from inside the arc (9 of 34). Russell Westbrook had 16 points in the first half but did so on 5-15 shooting, Kevin Durant had only 7 points, shooting 3-10 from the field. In the 3rd quarter, Oklahoma City trimmed down a 20 point deficit to 6 and in the 4th quarter the two teams were back and forth with the lead.
With under 4 minutes left, Memphis was up 5 when the Thunder‘s Caron Butler was fouled on a made 3 point field goal, which cut the lead to 1 after the made free throw. After each team scores on their next possessions, Mike Conley Jr. steals the ball from Kevin Durant during the final minute of regulation. Tony Allen was fouled, making the first free throw but Marc Gasol caught the rebound on the missed second free throw with 20.3 seconds left in the 4th. With a 2 point lead, Russell Westbrook steals the ball from Mike Conley and ties the game at 90. Memphis was unable to get a clean look at a shot before regulation ends and these two teams become the first to play 4 straight overtime games (NBA on TNT).
In a close overtime period, Memphis led 100-99 with the ball. Mike Miller misses a 3-point field goal and Oklahoma City calls a timeout after rebounding the shot. Kevin Durant missed a 3-point field goal attempt and Serge Ibaka was a couple milliseconds late on a putback that would have won the game for OKC.
Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Clippers (Series tied 2-2 going into) Game 5
This game was not at the forefront of people’s minds heading into the afternoon on Tuesday. The ruling by Adam Silver on Donald Sterling and its effects headlined the media. Silver‘s ruling allowed the playoffs to continue and a great night of basketball occurred, even in Los Angeles, where the Clippers won 113-103.
The Clippers‘ center DeAndre Jordan became the first person since Tim Duncan to score 25 points, have 18 rebounds, and 4 blocks in a game since 2008. When Chris Paul had to leave the game at points, Blake Griffin, Jamaal Crawford, and Darren Collison all stepped up to contribute. Klay Thompson and David Lee shot over 50%, Steph Curry had 17 points, but he only had 4 assists and 8 turnovers, a playoff high.
8 OT games in 1st round,
4 straight OT games (MEM/OKC),
21 road wins