Celtics vs. Heat
In a very unusual Conference Semifinals where there is not a number 1 or 2 seed, both teams have proven that they deserve their spot in this matchup.
The Boston Celtics jumped out to an early lead, and took control of the game from the start. The Heat seemed a little rusty, and Boston took advantage of this from the start of the game. Miami was down 8 by end of the first, but the Heat had been in this situation before and knew how to dig themselves out of holes. The Heat were able to do just that in the second quarter, as they evened up the game before half. Both teams seemed to be playing with high intensity and the next half was going to be very tight. Both teams continued fighting very closely at the beginning of the third quarter, but the Celtics started gaining an advantage as the third quarter came to a close. The Celtics had a 12 point lead after 3 quarters, and the Heat would have to fight very hard to get back into the game. The Celtics got huge games from Jayson Tatum, 30 points, and Marcus Smart, 26 points, who were finding ways to attack this very good Miami defense. At the beginning of the fourth the Heat began making up ground very quickly, and soon the Celtics lead had all but diminished. Both teams continued to fight until the clock ran out and we had to go to overtime. After a very close start, the Heat took a 3 point lead and never gave the Celtics a chance. The Heat got a huge game from Goran Dragic in particular, 29 points, who led the Heat in scoring. Tyler Herro also came up with a couple of clutch threes to push this game to overtime.
The Heat won game one of what is set to be a very tight series, that could be won by either team. It will be up to which team has the most intensity and fight within themselves.
Final Score: MIA 117 BOS 114
Clippers vs. Nuggets
After a very surprising comeback from down 3-1, the Denver Nuggets have now pushed this series into a game 7.
Both teams came out of the gates with matching intensity as they traded the lead and kept the game tied after one quarter. The Clippers began building an advantage as the second quarter progressed, and they seemed in complete control with a 12 point lead at the 5 minute mark in the second but the Nuggets started gaining momentum. Denver cut the lead down to 2 by the end of the half, after being down double digits only a couple of minutes earlier. The Nuggets took their momentum from the first half, and pushed it into the third quarter. The Clippers quickly lost the lead, and soon were down 8 by the end of the third. The Clippers only got 14 points from Kawhi Leonard and 11 from Paul George in an elimination game. Both of L.A’s stars were going ice cold, and no one else on the team was able to pick up the workload of both these stars. The Nuggets on the other hand got a 40 point performance from Jamal Murray, and the rest of the team provided enough scoring to give Murray a little bit of support. The Nuggets continued taking advantage of the Clippers inability to score and pushed their lead to double digits to win the series.
Final Score: DEN 104 LAC 89
DEN Wins series 4-3
Top Image: AP Images/ Mark J. Terrill