#1 CHICAGO BULLS 78 @ #8 PHILADELPHIA 76ers 79
EAST 1st Round * Game 6 * Sixers WIN series, 4-2
The Sixers went up, 59-47, and looked on their way to blowing the Bulls out. But the Bulls stormed back to tie them at the end of the third. A perfect C.J. Watson/Omer Asik pick-and-roll put the Bulls up, 78-75 with 25 seconds left. After a Thad Young lay-up, the Bulls raced up the court to avoid the foul and try to score. Watson, an 81 percent FT shooter, thought he could give it to Asik for a dunk but Asik (a 46 percent FT shooter) was fouled with 7 seconds left. Predictably, Asik missed both and the Sixers raced up the court. Andre Iguodala was fouled. Iguodala, a 62 percent freethrow shooter, made both foul shots to take the 79-78 lead.
With no timeouts and 2 seconds left, a desperation heave by Watson from halfcourt got close... but it wasn't nearly enough to avoid elimination. The Sixers, an 8th seed, beat the #1 Bulls and advance to the conference semis. For the second straight season, the 8th seed has beaten the #1 seed.
Iguodala, who had his Teen Wolf moment, led the Sixers with 20 points and 7 assists. Luol Deng's effort of 19 points and 17 rebounds wasn't good enough. Rip Hamilton also had 19 points. The what ifs now start pouring in for the Bulls, who were supposed to challenge for the title this season.
#5 ATLANTA HAWKS 80 @ #4 BOSTON CELTICS 83
EAST 1st Round * Game 6 * Celtics WIN series, 4-2
Boston was up for the most part until the Hawks made a furious rally in the 4th. Al Horford played ALL but two minutes in this game and his lay-up made it 79-76 for the Hawks. A Paul Pierce lay-up and a Kevin Garnett jumper (who was VINTAGE in this contest) gave the lead back to the Celtics (that's what they get for depending on a Josh Smith jumper). One Ray Allen freethrow later made it 81-79, Celtics.
Then a bizarre play happened. Marquis Daniels fouled Horford seemingly before it was inbounded. Normally, that's foul shots for the Hawks but, for some reason, the ball was given back for another inbounds pass. Anyway, Daniels fouled Horford again when Horford seemingly had a gimme basket. With a chance to tie with two seconds left, Horford missed the first foul shot. He made the second (I don't know why; they had no timeouts left) to cut the lead down to 1. After two Pierce freethrows, the Hawks couldn't even get off a good heave from halfcourt. The Celtics advance to the second round to face... the Sixers. Yes. The Sixers.
Garnett's vintage performance consisted of 28 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, and 5 blocks.
#3 LOS ANGELES LAKERS 96 @ #6 DENVER NUGGETS 113
WEST 1st Round * Game 6 * Series tied, 3-3
Kobe Bryant was found to have a stomach ailment. Yet it seemed like it was the rest of the Lakers that had the virus. The Nuggets pounded the Lakers into oblivion at a loud Pepsi Center. The effort by the Lakers was similar to the effort of watching paint dry. It was embarrassing and the funny part was that only the sick Kobe brought the pain. Literally.
Ty Lawson led the Nuggets with 32 points while Kobe somehow scored 31 points. Pau Gasol only scored three points more than me in quite possibly his worst performance as an NBA player. Now they're going to a Game 7 at Staples Center. Yikes.
Tomorrow, the other L.A. team gets a chance to do what the Lakers couldn't: close out a series.