Game 7. It’s two of the most exciting words in professional sports.
After the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Mavericks 104-97 in Game 6 Friday night in Dallas, the two teams will now duke it out in a winner-take-all Game 7 Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles.
It was an NBA-record sixth straight playoff win for the road team in this series.
Kawhi Leonard was magical in Game 6. Leonard was unstoppable, as he tied his playoff career high with 45 points, making 18-of-25 shots from the floor, including going 5-for-5 with the game on the line in the fourth quarter.
With those numbers, Leonard became the fourth player in NBA Playoffs history to score 45+ points while shooting at least 70% from the field. Leonard joined LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain and Jamal Murray in accomplishing that feat.
Paul George chipped in with 20 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists in the contest and Reggie Jackson added 25 points, 14 of those in the first quarter to help get the Clippers off to a good start.
Luca Doncic led the Mavericks with 29 points and 11 rebounds.
Stat of the game: 100. Believe it or not, the Clippers’ starters scored 100 of the team’s 104 points.
Quote of the game: Kawhi Leonard: "Just another basketball game. Like we say, if we don't want to go home, pay attention to details, have faith, shooting the ball with confidence. If you do that, you can live with the results."
What to watch for tonight
It’s only Round 2, but it certainly feels like a heavyweight showdown between the NBA’s top two scoring teams as the Milwaukee Bucks visit the Brooklyn Nets to open their Eastern Conference Semifnals series.
Bucks-Nets (7:30 p.m. ET, TNT)
The Milwaukee Bucks have been sizzling hot after sweeping the Miami Heat in Round 1. They’ve also had a week off.
In their Game 4 clincher, Giannis Antetokounmpo had a triple-double with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists in Milwaukee’s 120-103 win.
He’s not the only threat in the Bucks’ system. Jrue Holiday has averaged 15.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 9.8 assists per game during the playoffs for head coach Mike Budenholzer. The supporting cast of Khris Middleton, Bryn Forbes, P.J. Tucker and Brook Lopez create a balanced attack.
The Brooklyn Nets, meanwhile, played their last game on Tuesday when they defeated the Boston Celtics 4-1 in the best of seven series.
Brooklyn’s Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden averaged 85.2 points per game against the Celtics – to tie the most by a trio in a playoff series.
Milwaukee won two of three close games during the regular season, but the Nets never had all three of their stars together in any of those games.
"We'll see how it plays out, but they're playing as well as any team in the league right now,’’ Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said. ``We have the talent to match any team in the league and it's just a matter of who performs, who has that grit and toughness to try to get ahead in the series and then see how the other team responds.
"Definitely on paper you could see this being a classic series, but let's see who brings it and who has the rhythm and timing and performances that are sharper."
Brooklyn had the best offense in the first round, but Milwaukee had the best defense. Like I said, a heavyweight showdown, with the winner headed to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Check it out below: I previewed the Nets-Bucks Playoff series at length on 97.3 ESPN Radio with Josh Hennig on Friday evening.