Forget the first quarter. Forget the DeMar DeRozan dunk and the three point shots by Kyle Lowry. Forget the second quarter and Joe Johnson on the bench and the 13-0 run by the Raptors. Forget the third quarter and the lead at 25. In the 4th quarter the score was 91-69. And then the Nets with Paul Pierce on the bench had the mother of all comebacks. It is not that shocking when you consider this is a very young playoff team. Could they finish? Did they have guts? Joe Johnson hoped not. He went to the rim. He dribbled around defenders. He hit jumpers. He played with 5 fouls. The Raptors youth showed, their nervousness, their fear. The game was tied with three minutes left. And then Kyle Lowry, their passionate, heart on his sleeve playmaker, hit a pair of huge shots down the stretch to keep the lead. DeMar DeRozan made two pressure free throws for a three point Raptors lead, six seconds left. But the Raptors fouled Andray Blatche. He made the first, missed the second, retrieved the rebound but threw the ball into the back court. Deron Williams missed a desperation three. 115-113. Raptors lead the series 3-2.
San Antonio 109 Dallas 103-The magical Vince Carter, the sensational player who never lived up to what he could have been, that guy- well he showed up in game 5 in San Antonio. He was scintillating as he hit one jumper after another. He kept the Mavs in the game. They were down by double digits in the first and third quarters. Dirk was agitated and frustrated by Boris Diaw and his big body. Monta Ellis was just okay. Devin Harris got the Mavs back in the game in the first quarter when they were down 13. As for the Spurs they were the Spurs. Great ball movement. Their defense wasn’t much to write home about as no one could guard Vince and they gave up too many threes. But the Spurs have the Tony Parker advantage and used it in the second quarter to take a 5 point lead. Kawhi Leonard benefited from Parker’s unselfishness. Ginobli was sensational in maintaining high energy and pushing the pace. In the 4th the Mavs made shots but couldn’t stop Tiago Splitter on the offensive glass. Or Duncan on the defensive glass. Or Tony Parker at the rim. But Dirk got going and Vince Carter cut the lead to 4. But Tony Parker answered with a three of his own and the lead was seven with a minute left. The Spurs, the #1 seed, exhaled. One more win to get to the second round.
Houston 108 Portland 98: You can sum up this series this way: the offense has been terrific, the defense spotty, the dramatics continual. In an elimination game for the Rockets they came out with tons of energy. They went on a 15-0 run in the second quarter. The Blazers who had been so efficient in the first four games only had 27 points. Dwight Howard picked up his third foul after only playing eleven minutes. The Blazers took advantage and went on a run. But this series is marked by scoring droughts and scoring streaks. The Rockets had their run a few minutes later. They led by 8 at the half even though Howard and James Harden were unspectacular. Patrick Beverly, playing with a flu virus, was his normal hyper energetic self, all over the court. It was a three point shooting contest in the third with Wesley Matthews and Jeremy Lin. The Rockets had struggled all series long in the 4th quarter and they had a seven point lead early. Could they hold on? Chandler Parsons hit a three. Jeremy Lin got to his spots for pull up jumpers. The Blazers looked like a team that had a cushion in the series. But then the Rockets went on one of their scoring droughts and the Blazers climbed back in with five minutes left. The Houston lead was 3. But Dwight Howard dominated on the inside, too strong for Robin Lopez. Damien Lillard kept the Blazers within striking distance. But this was one close game the Rockets were not going to blow. They took a seven point lead with two minutes left and never looked back.