WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
Blakely: And then there was one … game left
All eyes will be on the Denver-San Antonio playoff series, the only first-round matchup that’s going to go the distance. This series, tied at 3-3 with Game 7 in Denver, has been a great case study in the challenges facing two teams that collide while heading in two very different directions.
Denver is the young, on-the-rise team whose best days are ahead of them while the Spurs just find ways to compete, win a few games and continue to be a pest to teams that lean heavier on youth and athleticism.
Forsberg: Hey, a Game 7!
The Spurs and Nuggets are providing the only real excitement of the first round, with San Antonio forcing a Game 7 after Thursday’s win. DeMar DeRozan was a beast in the second half (and, well, in the final second of the first half as well) and San Antonio found a win on a night Nikola Jokic had another absurd stat line (43 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists). Yet again, it was the play of Jamal Murray that seemed to dictate how Denver fared (he had 16 points but only 5 in the second half).
Here’s the thing I couldn’t help thinking about after the game though: Gregg Popovich loved John Havlicek. He famously had only one photo in his office in San Antonio, and it was of Havlicek. When the Spurs visited TD Garden, Popovich would often make it a point to do his pre- and postgame press conferences under a picture of Havlicek in the hallway outside the visitor’s locker room.
Popovich was notably short in his answers after San Antonio’s win and you can’t help but wonder if some of that was tied to the news that Havlicek had passed away (then again, Popovich doesn’t tend to elaborate on his answers most nights).
SO... THAT HAPPENED
Awkward moment at practice today. Steve Kerr wants the music down so media/reporters can hear questions/answers. Appears Draymond Green, who’s going through intense shooting routine behind scrum, wants it up. It stays up. pic.twitter.com/JcFp10X05o— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 25, 2019
NUMBER OF NOTE
43/12/9 -- Nikola Jokic filled up the stat sheet in a losing effort in San Antonio. The Nuggets center became just the fourth player in NBA history with at least 43 points, 12 rebounds, and 9 assists in a playoff game, joining Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, and Oscar Robertson. Pretty good company.
THEY SAID IT
"That's what it's all about. Game 7, live for the moment. Got to lay it all out on the line."
--DeMar DeRozan, after San Antonio forced a winner-take-all Game 7 against Denver
- Spurs 120, Nuggets 103 (Series tied 3-3)
WHAT WE'LL BE WATCHING
Forsberg: No way there’s another Game 7, right?
As good of a story as the Clippers have been, it seems unlikely they can force a Game 7 against the Warriors. Right!?
The Clippers will have home-court advantage and surely the Rockets are rooting for Los Angeles to make the Warriors expend some more energy. If the ride ends tonight, the Clippers maximized this rather unexpected trip to the postseason and they can turn their attention to trying to hook some big fish in free agency this summer.
Let’s hope for one more dose of Patrick Beverley antics, especially after Steve Kerr needled that, "I worry he's going to get whiplash on some of these flops.”
Blakely: Sad, sad time for Celtics fans
While the Boston Celtics players and coaching staff are focused on their second-round series with Milwaukee, Thursday night became a time of mourning as word began to spread that John “Hondo” Havlicek, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer and one of the greatest winners to ever play in the NBA, had died.
He was 79 years old.
There will be condolences passed along in abundance over the next few days for “Hondo,” a 13-time All-Star who spent all of his 16 NBA seasons in Boston and revolutionized the way the first reserve off the bench - better known as the sixth man - would be utilized.
And while it has been more than 40 years since Havlicek played, his impact can be felt both in terms of players a well as among the game’s most successful coaches like San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, who has hung a picture of Havlicek in his office.
Rest In Paradise, Hondo!
REMEMBERING JOHN HAVLICEK
- Heinsohn: Havlicek an often-overlooked Celtics legend
- John Havlicek: An appreciation
- Tributes pour in for John Havlicek
- WATCH: Havlicek stole the ball!
- Warriors at Clippers, Game 6 (GS leads series 3-2) -- 10:00pm, ESPN