SB Nation

SB Nation NBA Staff | May 5, 2014

NBA playoff scores, results and highlights from Sunday's action

Spurs break out, Nets hang on

The first round is, unfortunately, over. We wrap up the final two Game 7s of the opening round.

Brooklyn Nets RECAP
Toronto Raptors RECAP
104 - 103 BKN wins 4-3
Dallas Mavericks RECAP
San Antonio Spurs RECAP
96 - 119 SA Wins 4-3
5 things to know
  • Here lies the first round
    The first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs has finally ended after 50 games of drama, splendor and mindblowing surprise. It claimed some marquee victims, including James Harden, Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah, DeMar DeRozan, Dirk Nowitzki, Steph Curry, Marc Gasol and damn near the Indiana Pacers. It claimed hours upon hours of our life. Most nights, the games didn't end until well after 1 a.m. ET. This first round and normal sleep schedules were enemies.

    But we wouldn't have it any other way. There were more instant classics in that first round than in some NBA seasons, with the league lucking into some wonderfully even matchups. Even the East, that maligned shallow conference, produced two Game 7s (and not from the 4-5 matchup).

    Now we roll on to the next round, where the four series look every bit as capable of entrancing us for the next two weeks. Here's to the first round. May it live on in spirit through the rest of these playoffs. -Tom Ziller
  • What the Nets are made of
    For 44 minutes or so, the Nets presented a master class on winning a Game 7 on the road. They methodically built a decent lead, thanks to Joe Johnson’s shotmaking, Kevin Garnett’s subtle wizardry and some strong contributions from their reserves. Save for Amir Johnson and Patrick Patterson, the young Raptors looked overwhelmed and confused. Things got crazy at the end because these are the 2014 playoffs, but Paul Pierce saved the day with an old-man block on Kyle Lowry’s final drive.

    The Nets needed every one of their veteran tricks to get past Toronto and set up a dream matchup with LeBron James and the Heat in the second round, a team Brooklyn beat in all four meetings this season. That series will reunite KG and Pierce with Ray Allen and both sides will probably need a good therapist when it’s all done.

    Simply getting there is not enough to validate the $100 million (pre luxury tax) gamble Billy King took in assembling this year’s Nets, but another first round exit would have been a disaster. The Nets were not built for incremental progress. Cruel as it is, their season will be defined by what happens in the second round. Getting past Toronto was a difficult, but necessary step. -Paul Flannery
  • Erleichterung
    Of the six teams who have won admission to the second round since Friday, only the Spurs failed to blow the top off in celebration. Maybe it's because Game 7 was so anticlimactic. Maybe it's because unlike a couple of the teams (including their next opponent) the Spurs have been here before.

    Or maybe the Spurs were upset with themselves that the series even got to seven games. Their play on Sunday certainly made that case: San Antonio came out like many observers expected them to a couple weeks ago when the series began. Give Dallas a large helping of credit: Dirk Nowitzki was great much of the series, Monta Ellis made magic, Rick Carlisle's defensive schemes worked often and Vince Carter hit the shot of his life. But these Spurs expect to win the championship. Even the threat of a first-round exit must be aggravating.

    Maybe that's why Pop gave Tony Parker the cold shoulder when the rout was on. If Parker had played as he did in Game 7 earlier in the series, the Spurs might have been resting easier. -Tom Ziller
  • Lowry's lament
    Kyle Lowry was the driving force behind the Toronto Raptors’ impressive run all season long. So when their first round series against the Brooklyn Nets came down to Game 7 at home, most people expected that it would be Kyle Lowry who carried them into a second round matchup with the Miami Heat. That’s just the way that it felt. This Raptors team was too fun and too good of a story to go out and lose in front of a frenzied crowd.

    And although Lowry struggled throughout the first half and didn’t play very well overall, for a brief moment it looked as though the Raptors were going to keep the feel-good story going. A brilliant steal from Terrence Ross gave Toronto the ball with just over six seconds left and trailing by one point. All 20,000 people in the Air Canada Centre and all 10,000 people in Maple Leaf Square knew who was going to make the last play. Kyle Lowry was the biggest reason that the Raptors were able to win 48 games and secure the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference, but he got caught dribbling into a crowd on the final possession. He forced a tough shot that was blocked by Paul Pierce and it was all over.

    The last sequence of the game all happened so fast, that it must have taken Lowry a long time to really digest what had just happened. Like, say, the 45 minutes he sat in front of his locker, speechless, still in his uniform.

    Now, Kyle Lowry becomes a free agent. He’s just 28 years old and still has a lot of excellent basketball left in him. He can leave if he wants and try to make something happen somewhere else. But he’s never really found a consistent basketball home in his career yet and there might be something special brewing in Toronto. It’s too early to know what Kyle Lowry is thinking as far as free agency is concerned, but that’s going to be the biggest offseason story for the Raptors. He couldn’t deliver in the waning seconds of Game 7, but Kyle Lowry is the reason they were able to be in that position in the first place. -Conrad Kaczmarek
  • The Mavs had it all
    It's not often that Dallas, Texas, gets tossed aside as an afterthought. But when Mark Cuban lost out on Deron Williams and Dwight Howard in subsequent years, that's exactly what happened. Many saw it as the last hurrah for Dirk Nowitzki's title chances, where one of the game's great players would see his time in the NBA slowly expire. Dallas played a middling 2012-2013 campaign, and it appeared the light in Dallas had permanently moved south, to Houston and James Harden.

    Surprisingly, that all changed when the Mavericks brought in several players most saw as second-tier. Monta Ellis, reviled for his sky high usage rate and poor shot selection, suddenly became the attacking guard that could slash to the paint and free up Nowitzki in the pick-and-roll. Jose Calderon, a pass-first, defense-last point guard, revitalized old legs in Big D, slowing their pace but raising their offense to the third-most efficient in the league. Sam Dalembert, who looked sure to be yet another Cuban overpay in the middle, performed admirably as Rick Carlisle cobbled together a rotation with him, Brandan Wright and DeJuan Blair.

    That put the Mavericks in the middle of the playoff race come March, beating out the upstart Suns and fumbling Timberwolves for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference. Dallas drew the Spurs, who finished with the best regular season record in the NBA. Once again, they surprised us all. Dirk & Co. took San Antonio to seven games, stealing Game 2 away from their home floor. No, the Mavericks couldn't finish off San Antonio, but they gave them a valiant fight and a reminder to why we've fallen in love with Dirk Nowitzki over the last decade. With a cryogenically-frozen Vince Carter and a team of misfit toys surrounding an aging superstar, Dallas was quietly one of the best storylines of the 2013-2014 NBA season. -Dane Carbaugh
Tonight's Schedule
Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers Series tied 0-0 | 7 p.m. ET, TNT Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder Series tied 0-0 | 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

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