Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 1:54 PM
NBA PLAYOFF WEEKEND - CHECKIN' OUT THE SUNDAY ACTION WITH A GAME 7 AT STAPLES CENTER
Maybe you happened to catch the moments after the Utah Jazz beat the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 5 in Hollywood the other night - Clips' head coach Doc Rivers was "miked up" and busy telling his players that "we'll be back here, don't worry" for a Game 7.
Darned if he turned out to be correct!
The Clippers indeed have forced a Game 7 - the only Game 7 among the opening-round playoff series in the NBA - slated for Sunday following Friday's hang-on-for-dear-life 98-93 win at the 5.5-point favored Jazz.
Sure, the Clips did everything in their power to blow a double-digit fourth-quarter lead as they gagged a few times against full-court pressure but here we are staring a do-or-die game in the face and Utah may not even have C Rudy Gobert who tweaked an ankle in the second half of Game 6.
Now you didn't think we'd go the whole first round of this year's NBA Playoffs without the thrill of a Game 7, did you?
The Jim Hurley Network has been bashing the books in this first round of NBA Playoff action and so just go online right here or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day and be sure that we'll send you straight into the winner's circle!
On Sunday, it's ...
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
WASHINGTON at BOSTON - Game 1 at 1 p.m. ET, ABC
Neither the Wizards nor the Celtics cared much for the idea of a first-round Game 7 to be played on this final day of April - Washington swatted down pesky Atlanta while Boston bashed Chicago this past Friday night to wrap up those respective series in six games each - and now the question is will this steamrolling Boston squad keep on truckin' to start off this best-of-seven set?
Brad Stevens' crew has won four in a row this post-season and his guys even crushed Chicago 105-83 in Game 6 despite a modest 4-of-11 FG shooting night from megastar G Isaiah Thomas. Still, gotta believe that Thomas needs to crank it up from downtown where he's been slumping lately and the Wizards' defense should push 'em out on the perimeter and take away his magical jaunts to the hoop.
If Washington's one-two guard punch of John Wall and Bradley Beal - they scored a whopping 73 points on 27-of-42 FG shooting - keep up this ridiculous scoring pace, than the Wizards are "live" to pull the series upset but we say if the D.C. crew is gonna win Game 1 for starters than reserves Bogan Bogdanovic and/or Kelly Oubre is gonna have to step up to the plate and deliver.
Note that all home teams are in CAPS below in our accompanying playoff series charts:
WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS -- OPENING ROUND
UTAH at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS - Series tied 3-3; Game 7 at 3:30 p.m. ET
It's been a long and winding road to get here to a Game 7 for Jazz-Clippers - road teams have won four times (and covered five of the first six games) and stars on both sides have been forced to miss action with LA's Blake Griffin gone for the whole post-season with a toe injury and Utah C Rudy Gobert having missed the majority of the first two games and the latter part of Game 6 with various hurts ... and whether Gobert is green-lighted or not here could be the biggest key though Utah may not win no matter what if it shoots 7-of-26 from beyond the three-point arc again (see Game 6).
No doubt that Clippers' point guard Chris Paul (29 points, 8 assists in Game 6) is the major make-it-happen guy on the floor here and the Jazz game plan has to be run double-teams at Paul once he gets to the top of the key and then hope LA's standstill shooters - that's JJ Redick and Jamal Crawford - are having "off" games.
Utah's best shot at being successful - and thus being the latest road team to win in this series - is to get the usual numbers from All-Star G Gordon Hayward (20 points, 5 assists) and a big scoring game from the likes of Joe Johnson and/or Rodney Hood (a combined 5-of-19 from the floor in Game 6).
NOTE: More NBA Playoff Previews in the next edition of Jim Sez plus MLB News/Notes.