NBA Playoffs: Thunder Broom Mavs; Pacers, Clips And Spurs Win

The Thunder moved on to the second round of the NBA Playoffs with a win over the Mavericks on Saturday, the Clippers and Pacers got wins in close games, and the Spurs built a 3-0 lead on the Jazz.

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And Now, Watch The Dallas Mavericks Get Dismantled Again

The Thunder tore the Mavericks to pieces in a four-game sweep. Now the Mavericks will tear themselves to pieces again as Dallas prepares for the ________ era.

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NBA Playoffs 2012 Scores And More: Thunder's Sweep Highlights Saturday

The Oklahoma City Thunder spent much of the 2011-12 season looking like the Western Conference's likely NBA Finals representative before a late-season swoon left them looking up at the San Antonio Spurs. After the way OKC finished sweeping the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, though, the Thunder are on the rise once more.

Oklahoma City got a career playoff-high 29 points from James Harden in its 103-97 Game 4 victory over the Mavericks. In a series in which three games were decided by a grand total of nine points and the Thunder still seemed dominant. Dallas got 34 points from Dirk Nowitzki in the loss, but had no answer for Harden, and never seemed able to defend him, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook simultaneously. That terrifying triumvirate of young, impossibly athletic scorers served as the hydra that snapped at and tore apart a Mavericks team that was at best a shell of the championship outfit of 2011, and the Thunder will move on with momentum because of it.

Yet the Spurs don't look any less the favorite, and didn't falter on Saturday, using their legerdemain and depth to outclass a Jazz team that hung with them for a half in the 102-90 Game 2. Tony Parker's 27 points led all scorers, and Tim Duncan's 17 and six (...and three assists, and three blocks, and a steal) and Manu Ginobili's six-point, 10-assist, five-rebound night demonstrated the versatility that one of the league's oft-overlooked "Big Three" crews have made into their trademark. But it was the way San Antonio absorbed Utah's effort and snuck into the lead at the half, only to hold the Jazz to 40 points in the second while Parker went off, that showed that the Spurs are not only well beyond Utah's weight class, but likely the class of the West. No other team has three double-digit wins in the conference, and San Antonio's 31-point margin of victory in Game 2 was more than the Thunder's composite margin of victory against Dallas.

The Los Angeles Clippers would be sizable underdogs against either of those teams, bereft of shooters and green inside as they are, but they have taken two of three from the Memphis Grizzlies in a bizarre series that could have seen either team win each game. Saturday's 87-86 L.A. win was engineered by Chris Paul (24 points, 11 assists), the crunch-time assassin who spearheaded a late 11-1 run. Being the Clippers, though, means being within inches of the guillotine at any moment, and Rudy Gay (24 points) missing a game-winner made possible by a flurry of missed Clippers free throws after sinking two late threes gave L.A. the space to wriggle to a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 is in Los Angeles, and Paul's troop can take a commanding lead with a victory in it.

In the East, the mid-card matchup of the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic seems to be lurching to its end after Indiana's 101-99 overtime win in Game 4. The Pacers are up 3-1 on Orlando, Dwight Howard-less and reduced to the sort of patchwork roster that Magic fans remember from immediately before and after Tracy McGrady's occupation of the City Beautiful — Glen Davis is the Magic's best player, perhaps — but have not looked overwhelming against that outfit.

For complete coverage of the 2012 NBA playoffs, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.

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Jazz Vs. Spurs, NBA Playoffs 2012 Game 3: Final Score, San Antonio Pulls Away For 102-90 Win

Maybe Gregg Popovich knew what he was doing while he was resting his aging 'Big 3' all season. The San Antonio Spurs have a commanding 3-0 lead in their series against the Utah Jazz after Saturday night's win in Salt Lake City, mostly due to the brilliance of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Parker, in particular, was spectacular and led all scorers in his team's 102-90 win.

The Jazz hung with San Antonio throughout the first half, but their offense dried up as Parker took over in the second half. The Spurs point guard finished the game with 27 points and six assists on 10 of 17 shooting. Duncan was San Antonio's second leading scorer with 17 points. Manu Ginobili didn't take many shots and only finished with six points, but chipped in with an impressive 10 assists.

Utah simply couldn't make shots after the first quarter, and they weren't great from the free throw line either, going just 14 for 26 from the line. Gordon Hayward struggled mightily, shooting 1 for 10 from the field. Al Jefferson was 10 out of 18 from the floor while picking up 21 points and 11 rebounds, but Utah's defense struggled with him on the floor. He finished with a game worst minus-16 net point differential.

For all news and information regarding the San Antonio Spurs, please visit Pounding the Rock. For updates and perspective on the Utah Jazz, head on over to SLC Dunk. For complete coverage of the 2012 NBA playoffs, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.

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Mavericks Vs. Thunder, NBA Playoffs 2012 Game 4: OKC Eliminates Dallas, Winning 103-97

Despite playing four of the closest games so far in the first round of the NBA playoffs, the Oklahoma City Thunder completed the series sweep, defeating the Dallas Mavericks, 103-97, in Game 4. The Thunder were eliminated by the eventual champion Mavs in last season's Western Conference Finals, but, despite winning the four games by an average of 8.5 points, Oklahoma City handled them in this first round series. It was the first time the Mavericks have ever been swept in a best-of-seven playoff series, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

James Harden was the absolute star of Game 4. He scored a career playoff high 29 points with five rebounds and five assists, and was really the Thunder's point guard and primary scoring option down the stretch. He hit the game-clinching bucket with 10 seconds left, blowing by a hapless Jason Kidd for a righty layup to put the Thunder up five. Kevin Durant scored 24 points and chipped in 11 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook was uncharacteristically quiet with 12 points.

Dirk Nowitzki did his best to at least help his team to one win in front of the home crowd with 34 points, but he was bizarrely ineffective in the final minutes, missing shots he hit with frightening regularity last year. Just like the Mavs swept the reigning champion Lakers out of last year's playoffs, the Thunder did the same to them, which OKC fans have to consider a good omen for a team with championship-or-bust type expectations. Kidd was the Mavericks' second-best offensive player with 16 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, but he was too old and too slow on defense to contend with Harden, which was the real difference in the game.

For all news and information regarding the Dallas Mavericks, please visit Mavs Moneyball for check out SB Nation Dallas. For updates and perspective on the Oklahoma City Thunder, head on over to Welcome to Loud City.

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VIDEO: Rudy Gay Misses Game-Winning Shot At Buzzer

The Los Angeles Clippers very nearly blew Game 3 of the 2012 NBA Playoffs first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies. Up six with under 30 seconds left, they let Rudy Gay sandwich two long threes around one Clippers made free throw, which cut the lead to one point. After two missed free throws by Eric Bledsoe, the Grizzlies had a chance to win the game in the final seconds.

They didn't call timeout, and ended up with a missed shot by Gay at the buzzer.


A lot is going on in this play, so let's break it down. Essentially, the Grizzlies ran a set play for Gay coming off a screen on the baseline. Problem is, the play took so long to develop that all they were able to get was the contested jumper. It probably would have been smarter for point guard Mike Conley to abort the set and just attack the basket. Good things happen when you try to get to the rim.

In any event, the shot fell off, and coach Lionel Hollins reacted appropriately.

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For all news and information regarding the Memphis Grizzlies, please visit Straight Outta Vancouver. For updates and perspective on the Los Angeles Clippers, head on over to Clips Nation or check out SB Nation Los Angeles. For complete coverage of the 2012 NBA playoffs, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.

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Clippers Vs. Grizzlies, NBA Playoffs 2012 Game 3 Final Score: L.A. Escapes With 87-86 Win

Despite some poor free-throw shooting down the stretch, the Los Angeles Clippers escaped game three with an 87-86 win. The victory gives the Clippers a 2-1 lead in the best of seven series.

The Clippers led by six points with 23 seconds to play, but missed five of their final six free throws and Memphis used two Rudy Gay three-pointers to cut the lead to one. The Grizzlies had a shot to win the game, but Gay's three-pointer as time expired was off and the Clippers escaped.

Chris Paul finished with 24 points and 11 assists leading the way for Los Angeles. Blake Griffin and Randy Foye also finished in double figures with 17 and 16 points respectively.

Gay led the Grizzlies in scoring with 24 while Marc Gasol posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Zach Randolph also finished with 17 points for Memphis.

Game 4 of the series is scheduled for Monday May 7, at 10:30 p.m. ET

For all news and information regarding the Memphis Grizzlies, please visit Straight Outta Vancouver. For updates and perspective on the Los Angeles Clippers, head on over toClips Nation or check out SB Nation Los Angeles. For complete coverage of the 2012 NBA playoffs, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.

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Pacers Vs. Magic, NBA Playoffs 2012: Glen Davis' Eventful Final 2 Seconds

The Indiana Pacers edged the Orlando Magic in Game 4 to take a 3-1 lead in their 2012 NBA Playoffs first-round series, and all that happened only after Magic forward Glen Davis missed a turnaround jumper at the buzzer that would have tied the game in overtime. But that's not all that happened to Davis in the final series of the game. Here's a complete recap of Davis' final two seconds.

SEQUENCE 1: Davis is benched for the Magic's final play and is not happy about it.

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SEQUENCE 2: The Pacers defend the Magic's play well, and Orlando calls a timeout. Coach Stan Van Gundy reconsiders and puts Davis back in the game. Davis attempts, and misses, this game-tying shot.


SEQUENCE 3: Davis tries to get as much separation as possible on his fadeaway, and loses balance, falling all the way into the Magic bench.

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He's pretty lucky he fell right into a chair. Otherwise ... yeah.

For more on tonight's NBA action, stick with this StoryStream. For a fan's perspective on the Pacers and Magic, check out Indy Cornrows and Orlando Pinstriped Post. For complete coverage of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.

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Magic Vs. Pacers, NBA Playoffs 2012 Game 4 Final Score: Indiana Survives 101-99

Indiana held on through overtime to beat the Orlando Magic 101-99 in Game 4 of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, taking a commanding 3-1 series lead and battling back after the Magic's agressive 17-point second-half comeback.

Pacers forward David West led all scorers with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Jason Richardson and Glen Davis combined for 49 points for Orlando. Indiana's second point lead was closed when Jameer Nelson hit a three-point play on a layup and foul by the Pacers' Roy Hibbert, his sixth of the game.

The Pacers started the overtime period with a 5-0 run thanks to two quick David West buckets, but Orlando would come back to tie the game twice, thanks to a three-pointer from Richardson. A foul on Jameer Nelson with 2.2 seconds left in a 99-99 game gave the Pacers the win on a pair of George Hill free throws.

For more on tonight's NBA action, stick with this StoryStream. For a fan's perspective on the Pacers and Magic, check out Indy Cornrows and Orlando Pinstriped Post. For complete coverage of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.

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Caron Butler Injury Update: Clippers' Forward To Start Game 3 Despite Fractured Hand

Caron Butler earned the name "Tuff Juice" during his time with the Washington Wizards several years ago, and he is still living up to that nickname. Butler, who now plays for the Los Angeles Clippers, will start the team's critical Game 3 of their 2012 NBA Playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies despite having a fractured left hand. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times has the news.

The decision was made after Butler practiced Friday and after he saw a hand specialist Thursday, the sources said. Butler, who is right-handed, did some shooting at practice with a brace on his hand.

Butler suffered the injury in the Clippers' Game 1 win, and without him, Los Angeles struggled to guard Rudy Gay in a Game 2 loss. The original diagnosis suggested a 4-6-week timetable for his recovery, according to Turner. Instead, Butler will return to the lineup in six days.

Game 3 between the Clippers and Grizzlies is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

For all news and information regarding the Memphis Grizzlies, please visit Straight Outta Vancouver. For updates and perspective on the Los Angeles Clippers, head on over to Clips Nation or check out SB Nation Los Angeles. For complete coverage of the 2012 NBA playoffs, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.

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