The One That Got Away

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The One That Got Away

Well, that was shocking. And no, Im not talking about Adrian Gonzalezs home run.

Im talking about an 18-point third quarter advantage. A potential 3-1 series lead.

And what did the Celtics do with it? They tripped over their shoelaces and tumbled down two flights of stairs. Of course, they survived, theyll live to see another day, but not without acquiring a few new mental and physical bruises. Not without injecting life into a team that was so close to death that theyd actually initiated the release of numerous bodily functions over the Wells Fargo floor. Not without adding to their collection of supremely frustrating 2012 playoff losses.

Final Score: Sixers 92, Celtics 83

In a way, its so easy to lose perspective. When the Celtics landed in Philly on Wednesday, all we really hoped for was a split. A 3-1 advantage would have been nice obviously ideal but we knew it wouldnt be that easy. In reality, all we wanted was one. For the Celtics to stay alive. To steal back home court advantage andor prove that if there comes a time (aka Game 6) when they HAVE to win a game in Philly, that theyd be able to draw from past experience and have the confidence and evidence to take care of business. And regardless of how awfully Game 4 may have played out, the Celtics did achieve that initial and ultimately important goal.

They took back home court. They put themselves in a great position to win this series. And right now, gun to your head, even in the aftermath of Friday nights disaster, youd still bet on them to emerge. But thanks to last night, well take that confidence with a solid helping of regret. With the knowledge that even though a 3-1 series lead was never entirely likely, it was right there. It was real. The Celtics had the chance to put the Sixers away. They HAD them put away. Not just the game, but the series. It was over.

Now thats irrelevant. Now theyre back to square one. Or square two. Or whatever, theyre tied. The Celtics need to win two before they lose two. And if they fail, well always remember the one that got away.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Warriors force Game 7 with 108-101 win over Thunder

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Warriors force Game 7 with 108-101 win over Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Klay Thompson made a playoff-record 11 3-pointers and scored 41 points, and the defending champion Golden State Warriors forced a seventh game in the Western Conference finals with a 108-101 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.

Stephen Curry bounced back from a slow start to finish with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

The Warriors, who set the league's regular-season record with 73 wins, will host Game 7 on Monday. The winner will play Cleveland in the NBA Finals.

Oklahoma City dominated Games 3 and 4 at home, but the Warriors made 21 of 44 3-pointers on Saturday, while Oklahoma City was 3 of 23.

Kevin Durant scored 29 points and Russell Westbrook added 28 for the Thunder. But Durant made just 10 of 31 shots and Westbrook was 10 of 27.

Trying to become the 10th team to overcome a 3-1 deficit, the Warriors trailed much of the game and trailed by eight going to the fourth quarter.

Thompson kept them in it with four 3-pointers in just over seven minutes to start the period. Curry then hit two 3s, the second of which tied the game at 99 with 2:47 to play.

Thompson's 3 with 1:35 to play put the Warriors up 104-101.

The Thunder, who blew a number of fourth-quarter leads during the regular season, fell apart in the final minutes after Golden State had finally gone ahead for good.

Westbrook lost control of the ball, and after Thompson missed a 3, Westbrook turned the ball over again. Curry's layup with 14.3 seconds to play put the Warriors up by five, the Thunder turned it over again, and the Warriors were in the clear.

The Thunder led 23-20 after one quarter, then seized momentum early in the second. Steven Adams' powerful one-handed dunk on Draymond Green drew a roar from the crowd and gave Oklahoma City a 37-28 lead. Green, who had hit Adams in the groin area twice during the series, was a constant target for the vocal Thunder fans.

Thompson opened the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Warriors a 54-53 edge, but the Thunder closed the quarter strong and led 83-75 heading into the fourth.

Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed

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Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed

By Kurt Helin, NBC Pro Basketball Talk

This is a sad and stunning development.

Bryce Dejean-Jones, the rookie guard of the New Orleans Pelicans, has died, the Dallas, Texas, County Coroner has confirmed to NBC Sports. Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune broke the news.

Dejean-Jones was just 23.

The coroner’s office would not give a cause of death, but Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports had the tragic detail.