Two series from Friday went to a Game 7. Damian Lillard single-handedly prevented the third from joining them.
Portland Trail Blazers Recap
99 - 98 POR Wins 4-2
5 things to know
BLAZE IT UP
The legend of Damian Lillard grows.
In just his second season, Lillard has now given Portland one of its best moments in decade, a stunning ice-water triple as the buzzer sounded to end the series on Friday. The 99-98 win gave Portland its first series win since 2000, ending what had been one of the league's longest such droughts. That the magical moment came at home in a bedlam Moda Center made it all the more special.
Lillard's shot will be a staple in the NBA's historical flashbacks, but that's a footnote to where that shot will land in Portland lore. It's well-documented that Rip City loves its team, but don't underestimate how cleansing this moment is for Blazers faithful. After the implosion of the Jail Blazers era, the memorably dicey Zach Randolph era, the crushing disappointment of Greg Oden and the devastating end to Brandon Roy's career, Portland needed and deserved this. And you can bet they will relish it.
The best part: Portland's not done! We'll be back inside Moda Center within a week, watching Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge and friends left the city back to its feet again and again. -Tom Ziller
The first round is forever
The first round will never end. We’ll just keeping playing it on an endless loop of Monta Ellis runners, Tony Parker floaters and Damian Lillard threes. Drake and Jay-Z will always be courtside not sharing fondue plates, Tony Allen will be checking Kevin Durant and the Pacers will be fighting themselves.
We have five Game 7’s on tap this weekend. In normal years we’re lucky to get one per round. Try to define a favorite in the Western Conference and you may as well throw a bunch of darts over your shoulder after last call.
We’ve had everything, and we’re not even talking about the scumbag owner out West. There’s been high drama and low comedy, sensational headlines and controversial suspensions. (Even a controversial non-suspension, for good measure.) There are coaches coaching for their jobs and players fighting for the reputation. We have new heroes, old villains and the possibility of two 1-8 upsets.
The first round will end this weekend, of course, but it will live on long after we’re done crowning a champion. -Paul Flannery
Not in Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Nets came into Game 6 in their own building needing to win. Not only to stave off elimination, but also to answer the critics who wondered where Deron Williams had gone and if Kevin Garnett had anything left at all. This is what veterans team do when everyone else turns on them. The Raptors? Winning Game 6 would have been nice, but hey, there’s a Game 7 back at their place if they don’t get it done.
There were adjustments. Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd started Alan Anderson to help keep Kyle Lowry honest defensively and his $25,000 fine for criticizing the refs was money well spent. Both were savvy plays by the first-year coach who is earning his whiteboard Sharpies as this season rolls along.
But this was really about one team absolutely having to have a game and the other content to let it ride. Credit DeMar DeRozan with keeping Toronto in this one, but outside of a handful of frantic comebacks, the Nets were in control from start to finish. D-Will had 23, KG had 13 and we’ll have a Game 7 on Sunday. -Paul Flannery
As the old saying goes, Monta Ellis have it all. He was spectacular for the Dallas Mavericks Friday night, particularly in the fourth quarter. He dropped 12 of his playoff career-high 29 points in the final 12 minutes and punched in Dallas' ticket to Game 7 in San Antonio. It was a fascinating finish in the Big D, but what was a sweet victory for the Mavericks nearly went sour.
Somehow, someway, Ellis decided it'd be a good idea to launch the ball full court with a two-point lead and 1.4 seconds left on the clock. Sure, San Antonio wasn't able to take advantage of being gifted a final possession, but it was a good reminder that when we say Monta Ellis have it ALL … that includes mind-boggling plays. Bring on another Game 7 series and more Monta ball. -Drew Garrison
The inherent goofiness of Drake
I'm not sure this is what the Raptors had in mind when the franchise made Drake its global ambassador. Drake has always been loved by the masses but an inside joke to many; he's certainly one of the most popular musicians of the millennial generation, but he comes with some distinctly goofy baggage. And, unfortunately for Toronto, it's that goofy that has shined through during the Raptors' big moment.
Brooklyn, the original hip hop star aligned franchise, has done its part to defenstrate Drake's appeal. He visited Barclays on Friday for Game 6, and the Nets did the sort of goofy thing any team would do with any old away fan who shows. Alas, if only Benny The Bull were in the building to empty a bucket of popcorn -- or, uh, lint -- over his head. -Tom Ziller
Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers Series tied 3-3 | 5:30 p.m., TNT Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder Series tied 3-3 | 8 p.m., TNT FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers Series tied 3-3 | 10:30 p.m., TNT STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA