Millsap scores 19, Hawks hold off Nets 96-91 for 2-0 lead                            

ATLANTA:  Paul Millsap answered all those questions about his shoulder. Al Horford didn’t let a dislocated finger slow him down.NBA Playoffs Logo

As for the Hawks, they’ve yet to show the form that carried them to the top of the Eastern Conference.

No. 1-seeded Atlanta again survived a tougher-than-expected test from the Brooklyn Nets, holding on for a 96-91 victory and a 2-0 lead in their playoff series Wednesday night.

Millsap, who missed five games near the end of the season with a sprained right shoulder, ditched a pad that he felt restricted his shooting motion. He responded by hitting 7 of 11 shots and finished with 19 points.

Horford also looked fine, scoring 14 points while leading the Hawks with 13 rebounds and seven assists. He did it all with his right hand taped, after dislocating his pinky finger in Game 1.

Kyle Korver chipped in with 17 points, knocking down three shots beyond the arc. But overall, the Hawks made only 39 percent from the field.

Squandering an early 12-point lead, the Hawks spent much of the game struggling to put away the No. 8 seed.

It went down to the wire. Deron Williams missed an open 15-foot jumper that would’ve tied it with about 10 seconds to go. Korver rebounded, was fouled and made two free throws to clinch Atlanta’s win

Even after the Hawks pushed back out to an 11-point lead in the final quarter, Brooklyn wouldn’t go away. Jack hit another 3 from the corner to bring the Nets to 90-89. After DeMarre Carroll scored his only basket of the night off a slick pass from Millsap, Alan Anderson made a reverse layup off the baseline to again make it a one-point game.

Millsap was fouled but made only one of two free throws, giving the Nets a chance to tie it or grab the lead with a 3-pointer.

They couldn’t have asked for a better look. Williams faked a 3 from the corner, sending Kent Bazemore flying by, and stepped up for a shot with no one around. It spun out and was snatched by Korver.

Two free throws later, the Hawks finally prevailed.

Atlanta leads the series 2-0.

Grizzlies take 2-0 series lead, Spurs beat Clippers

MEMPHIS:  Known for pounding opponents inside with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, the Memphis Grizzlies are showing they can be just as effective outside the paint.

Hey, they can even shoot 3-pointers.

Mike Conley and Courtney Lee each scored 18 points, and the Grizzlies beat Portland 97-82 Wednesday night to grab the franchise’s first 2-0 lead in a playoff series.

The Grizzlies took full advantage of starting the playoffs at home for only the second time in their short postseason history. They had only won their playoff opener once before, and that was on the road in San Antonio in 2011.

Gasol had 15 points, and Randolph and Beno Udrih added 10 apiece.

LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 24 points and 14 rebounds, and he also had four blocks with two steals. Damian Lillard added 18 points but the Trail Blazers lost their first two playoff games for the first time since 2011, when they fell in six games to Dallas.

Memphis took control in the second with a 15-2 run, turning Portland’s four-point edge to a 34-25 lead on a 3-pointer by Jeff Green. The Grizzlies outscored Portland 31-18 in the quarter and led 50-39 at halftime.

The Grizzlies simply clamped down tighter and led 73-60 at the end of the third after leading by as much as 18 late in the quarter

Game 3 in this best-of-seven series is Saturday night in Portland, and the Trail Blazers hope to draw on their fans the way the Grizzlies have.

Memphis currently lead the series 2-0.

LOS ANGELES:  Tim Duncan scored 28 points; Kawhi Leonard added 23 and the defending champion San Antonio Spurs beat the Los Angeles Clippers 111-107 in overtime Wednesday night, tying their Western Conference playoff series at 1-1.

The Spurs blew 10-point leads in the third and fourth quarters, and got into overtime on a pair of free throws by Patty Mills with 8 seconds left in regulation. Duncan scored four straight points in the extra session while playing with five fouls.

His jumper snapped a 101-all tie, Mills followed with a fast-break layup off Leonard’s long pass, and Leonard scored on a layup for a 107-101 lead with 56 seconds left.

Mills finished with 18 points off the bench after starting point guard Tony Parker departed early with an injury. Boris Diaw had 12.

Blake Griffin had his first career playoff triple-double of 29 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, but a costly turnover late in regulation.

DeAndre Jordan had 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Clippers.

Chris Paul’s two free throws gave the Clippers a 94-92 lead with 50 seconds left in regulation, but Griffin lost the ball while dribbling with a chance to put it away and Mills tied it with two free throws.

Paul missed the potential winning shot with a 19-footer from the right side as regulation expired. The Clippers were 9 of 21 from the line in the fourth, but they hung in while Spurs were held to two field goals over the final 6:41.

The Clippers failed to follow up their dominant showing in Game 1, when they led by 20 points in the fourth and won by 15.

Duncan scored four of the Spurs’ first five points of the third, stretching their lead to 10 points. The Clippers put together an 11-1 run, including five in a row by Paul, to get to 59-58.

But Mills ended the third with consecutive 3-pointers, putting the Spurs back in front 77-74 going into the fourth.

The series is currently tied at 1-1.

Results:

Atlanta Hawks 96 beat Brooklyn Nets 91, Memphis Grizzlies 97 beat Portland Trailblazers 82, San Antonio Spurs 111 beat Los Angeles Clippers 107

This press release has been made available to us from NBA India. 

Vishnu Ravi Shankar
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