As somebody well-known would say. What a crazy night last night was… despite of the low shooting percentages, the end of both games was spectacular and it was something that every basketball fan is craving for, a Game 7 gone down to the wire. CJ McCollum proved that he is a star in this league by scoring 37 PTS and one very clutch basket with little time left in the 4th. It was his night, as he killed that mid-range throughout the whole game. Damian Lillard, on the other hand, had a very poor shooting night, shooting only 3/17 from-the-field for a total of 13 PTS. Even if he wasn’t his night scoring wise, he helped his team by rebounding and dishing some assists, ending the game with 10 rebounds and 8 assists, close to a triple-double. This time CJ saved him big time, because if Portland would’ve lost the game, everybody would have been talking about Lillard letting his team down when it mattered most, given his percentages in this game.
CJ IS CLUTCH ? pic.twitter.com/r2om60itmP
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 12, 2019
Other guys stepped up big for the Trail Blazers, also, with Enes Kanter being once again a strong presence in the paint, Evan Turner, who didn’t have a great series until this game, scored 14 PTS and grabbed 7 boards to help his team bring the win home. It was a bad game overall, but it’s not something new, because we all know that throughout time there were plenty of awful looking Game 7’s. Portland shot 4/26 from three as a team, while the Nuggets had only 10,6% of them going in, on 2/19. That’s definitely not something you see very often in the NBA.
However, it was a very nice and balanced series, and we should give all the credit to Mike Malone and his Nuggets for the tremendous season that they had, because let’s be honest, nobody except Charles Barkley expected them to go this far in the post-season. The organization can be a lot more satisfied than disappointed in that loss, because they have many more bright years to come. Nikola Jokic has developed into an perennial All-Star this year and Jamal Murray is right there behind him. Even though he shot 4/18 from-the-floor, he will learn from that and he will come back stronger next year. For the Trail Blazers, they kind of made a little bit of history, as 2000 was the last year the franchise reached the Western Conference Finals, with Scottie Pippen and Rasheed Wallace on their roster.
The other event of the night was even more spectacular, as it definitely left a mark in playoffs history with Kawhi Leonard’s game-winning shot at the buzzer. Coming into this game, Joel Embiid said that he felt like he let his team down in the previous games and he is more motivated than ever, but it just didn’t go out his way. He finished with 21 PTS, 11 REB and 4 AST on 33,3 FG%. Even though all of Philly’s starting five were in double figures, their shooting percentages were low, but despite of that, they were very close to go in overtime with the Raptors. It was just a very lucky “friendly roll” that decided to go in on Kawhi’s last shot. One of the luckiest game-winners in playoffs history.
"Tonight was one of those nights. I've never been in that situation before."
Kawhi said the last time anyone probably saw him scream was when he won the championship. pic.twitter.com/dCuS08zlZ0
— ESPN (@espn) May 13, 2019
As for Toronto, Leonard shot 39 times, scoring 41 PTS to go along with 8 rebounds. Serge Ibaka also had a huge game off-the-bench with 17 PTS and 8 rebounds, on 60% FG%. Lowry didn’t have a very effective game, and if they want to beat the Bucks, he desperately needs to step up his game, because if he continues to play like that, we don’t know how long can Kawhi carry them single handedly throughout the series.