By Elizabeth Piraino |Staff Writer|
The NBA playoffs are in full swing as teams are finishing up each of their series. The Brooklyn Nets series with the Miami Heat at American Airlines arena came to an end in a losing effort. Unfortunately for the Nets, the Heat came through with less than five minutes to play to end the game and eliminated the Nets.
Miami was down by eight points with 4:49 left in the game and came back with 12 unanswered points. The Heat put the game away for good when Ray Allen, the NBA 3-point leader, sank a three-point shot with 32-seconds to play.
The Nets came within one point of tying the game when Joe Johnson hit a three-point shot with 11 seconds left to the game.
“When we met the first day for prep we said the No.1 key, overwhelmingly the No. 1 key in this series, was great mental stability. That’s what it was down the stretch[…]incredible focus,” stated Erik Spoelstra, Miami coach. The Heat won the series 4-1, sending them to their third consecutive Eastern Conference Finals where they will play against the winner of the Indiana-Washington series.
The loss was especially painful for the Nets. Joe Johnson, Brooklyn’s starting guard said, “It’s very disappointing to go out like this; this team was assembled to win the championship. It’s very frustrating.” The Heat are the favorite to three-peat as NBA champions with Las Vegas bookmakers listing them at 1-1.
Brooklyn’s chances of making it into the playoffs next season look very dim as they will most likely lose key players, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to other teams or retirement. The Indiana Pacers are leading the Washington Wizards 3-2 in their series as of press time. Western Conference Semi-Finals the San Antonio Spurs beat the Portland Trail Blazers 4-1 and guaranteed their spot in the Western Conference finals.
The Spurs will play the winner of the Los Angeles Clippers-Oklahoma City Thunder series. As of press time, the Thunder lead 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. The Trail Blazers were blown-out to end their series with the Spurs by a score of 104-82. San Antonio’s bench out-scored Portland’s bench 40 points to seven.
LaMarcus Aldridge, all-star power forward for Portland, was the top scorer for the Trail Blazers with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Damian Lillard shot a dismal 7 of 18 and finished with 17 total points. One high point for Lillard was his game high 10 assists.
The Spurs won the game despite an injury to star Tony Parker, who sat out the entire second-half with tightness in his left hamstring muscle. “After a tough series with Dallas, they came out and played extremely well this series […] It is a compliment to all the years that they have been here and the program that they have developed. They certainly outplayed us in this series,” said Terry Shotts, Portland coach after the Trail Blazers’ loss.
Next up for the Spurs will be the winner of the Thunder-Clippers series. Oklahoma City won game five after a disputed call by a referee. Clipper’s coach Doc Rivers described the call that gave the ball to Oklahoma City.
“That is a game defining and possibly a series defining call. And that’s not right. That was our ball. We got robbed,” said Rivers.
The Clippers will now attempt to rebound from the heartbreaking loss and extend their season.