Paul Pierce blocked Kyle Lowry’s shot from the lane on the final play of the game as the Brooklyn Nets held off the Toronto Raptors 104-103 in Game 7 on Sunday to advance to the second round of the playoffs. The Nets will begin the conference semifinals at Miami on Tuesday night to play the two-time defending NBA champion Heat.
Leading by one point, Brooklyn used its final timeout after failing to inbound the ball. On the second opportunity, Shaun Livingston tried a lob pass to Pierce but Terrence Ross got a hand on the ball, then knocked it off Pierce and out of bounds for a turnover.
Toronto used a timeout and gave the ball to Lowry, whose driving shot was blocked by Pierce as time expired. Lowry lay prone on the floor as the Nets surged onto the court in celebration. Joe Johnson scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Nets. Marcus Thornton scored 17, Kevin Garnett had 12 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the series and Deron Williams scored 13 points.
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Amir Johnson fouled out with 20 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto, which trailed by 10 points with just over six minutes remaining before storming back and having a chance to win it at the buzzer.
The Raptors have not won a playoff series since 2001, losing in all three appearances. Dallas played San Antonio in Game 7 of their series later Sunday.
San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili scored 20 points, Danny Green added 16 points and Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard had 15 points each. The Spurs advance to face the fifth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers, who beat the Houston Rockets in six games. Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points and nine rebounds to lead Dallas.
CEO for Clippers
The National Basketball Association said it will appoint a chief executive officer to supervise the daily running of the Los Angeles Clippers, while plans are drawn up to sell the franchise.
The NBA has already said it wanted Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team after he was banned for life from the league and fined $2.5 million for racist remarks.
The NBA said the decision to appoint a CEO had been made with the approval of the Clippers but the league did not say who would be given the job or when the appointment would be made. “The best way to ensure the stability of the team during this difficult situation is to move quickly and install a CEO to oversee the Clippers organization. The process of identifying that individual is underway,” Mike Bass, the NBA’s Executive Vice President said in a statement. (Reuters)