Chris Paul may have learned a few things while guarding the NBA’s best shooter last series in Steph Curry, as CP3 made a career-high eight 3-pointers and scored 32 points to help the Clippers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-105 Monday night in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal.
Prior to this series, much of the focus surrounded the matchup of two of the Association’s top point guards, Paul and Russell Westbrook, which the former downplayed, via the Los Angeles Times’ Broderick Turner.
“I definitely get excited about [these matchups],” Paul said. “But I also understand it’s not one-on-one. Luckily for me it’s not. My college coach used to always say it’s a team game played by individuals. So everybody has to do their part.”
Westbrook was impressive in his own right, tallying 29 points on 9-of-14 shooting. However, Paul “did his part” on another level, doing whatever he wanted on the floor en route to an unbelievably efficient 2.29 points per shot attempt and 10 assists.
The Clippers acknowledged that the racial comments by owner Donald Sterling that got him permanently banned from the league were a distraction during their first-round series against Golden State. Once they put the initial shock behind them, they beat the Warriors and carried their momentum into Game 1 against the Thunder. Los Angeles shot 55 percent from the field and made 15 of 29 3-point attempts.
Griffin scored 23 points, Jamal Crawford had 17 and J.J. Redick added 12 for the Clippers.
The No. 8 seed Dallas Mavericks staved off elimination on Friday night, erasing a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs, 113-111, in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series.
Mavericks force Game 7 vs Spurs. Mavericks are 4-1 all-time in Game 7s (won 4 straight).
Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki led the way for the Mavericks, scoring 29 points and 22 points, respectively. DeJuan Blair was huge off the bench, recording a double-double and making several key plays on the defensive end of the floor.
With the series tied 3-3, Game 7 is set for Sunday in San Antonio.
John Wall finished with 24 points, Nene scored 20, and Bradley Beal chipped in with 17 points, as the fifth-seeded Wizards advanced in the postseason for just the third time since the 1970s.
They will meet Indiana or Atlanta in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Hawks lead the series 3-2.
It was a rather fitting end to what’s been such a nightmare season for the Bulls following the injury to Derrick Rose. Without him, Chicago lacked the kind of offensive threat who could’ve dragged the team through the fog and propelled it to victory in this series.
Trevor Ariza had a career playoff-high 30 points, and the Wizards scored the first 14 points of the game and barely looked back Sunday, overcoming the absence of their so-called “X-factor” as they beat the Chicago Bulls 98-89 to take 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference series.
Ariza made 6 of 10 3-pointers, John Wall added 15 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who forced 16 turnovers and committed only six. The other big difference came at the 3-point arc, where Washington went 8 for 19 and Chicago just 4 for 19.
The Wizards, seeking to win a playoff series for only the third time since the 1970s, can finish off the Bulls in Game 5 on Tuesday in Chicago.
Washington Wizards big man Nene was ejected from the teams Game 3 loss on Friday night after head-butting Chicago Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler and grabbing the back of his neck. Butler was assessed a technical foul for his role in the fracas.
The NBA will have to review whether anyone came off the bench to join the scuffle. That could entail additional penalties.
Dunleavy scored 35 points, one short of his career-high, and Jimmy Butler hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining as the Chicago Bulls hung on Friday night for a 100-97 win over the Washington Wizards, trimming the deficit to 2-1 in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
[UPDATE: After being ejected from Game 3 for fighting, Washington Wizards forward Nene will also miss Game 4, as the league suspended him on Saturday.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports provided news of the suspension:
The NBA has suspended Nene for Game 4 of the Wizards-Bulls series.