Brooklyn Nets 95-92 Chicago Bulls
Series tied 3-3
In a season of firsts, Brooklyn will get its first NBA playoff Game Seven after the Nets clawed their way to victory in Chicago against a Bulls seriously depleted by injuries, flu and vomit.
The Nets clung on to win 95-92, leading most of the way, but wary of what happened last time out in Chicago, when a 14 point lead disappeared in the final four minutes and a ball of energy named Nate Robinson.
This time it wasn't to be for a Bulls side not only missing the long-term wounded, Derrick Rose, but also Kirk Hinrich with a bruised calf and British Olympian Luol Deng sent home with a bad case of flu. Robinson also had flu, but played - and vomited into a trash can during timeouts.
Those who managed to get on the court battled manfully, with all five starters reaching double figures - suprisingly led by Italian Marco Belinelli's 22 points - but just five points off the bench.
The Nets on the other hand not only had five players scoring double figures, but also significant production from backups Andray Blatche, C.J. Watson and Kris Humphries.
With gruelling defense from both sides - Reggie Evans and Joakim Noah matched one another rebound for rebound (15 apiece) - it was possibly exhausted Bulls legs that made the crucial difference. The Nets, one of the NBA's lowest-scoring fast break offenses, outscored the Bulls 16-8 in this department.
The Nets routed the Bulls in Game One, but then lost three straight, before fighting back in Games Five and Six. In this see-saw series anything is possible in Game Seven on Saturday night.
Only eight NBA teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-7 series. And the Bulls cannot possibly be more incapacitated on Saturday than they were in Chicago. The winner will earn the unenviable right to play the Miami Heat.
Golden State Warriors 92-88 Denver Nuggets
Warriors win series 4-2
The sixth-seeded Golden State Warriors held off a late rally by the third-seeded Denver Nuggets to advance to the second round of the western conference playoffs.
Steph Curry had 22 points and four more teammates contributed double figures, giving Golden State an 11-point lead going into the final quarter. The Warriors were further inspired by a brief appearance from David Lee, well ahead of predictions of his return to action, although he only actually played for 87 seconds.
But the Nuggets rallied in this play-or-go-home game and forced the Warriors into multiple turnovers in the closing minutes. The Nuggets were inspired by a series of Andre Iguodala three-pointers (5-of-8) but Golden State, roared on by their home crowd, clung on.
The Warriors will now face the San Antonio Spurs in the second round.
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