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Dallas 3, San Antonio 3
Game 7: Mon., 8 ET, at SAS
Phoenix 3, LA Clippers 3
Miami 4, New Jersey 1
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Avery Johnson likes to describe his team as "strong-minded."It is a great term and descriptive of not only his team but many of the teams and players that are still battling it out for NBA supremacy. Strong-mindedness sums up people such as Dirk Nowitzki, who along with Johnson made the decision some time in the past 12 months that the Mavericks' franchise was going to pay whatever price it took to get tougher. The term also applies to the whole Spurs' franchise. It decided a long time ago that any people who were going to be connected to them had to have the mental makeup that could pass the Tim Duncan mental litmus test. You know, the "speak softly but carry a big stick" type of thing. The beauty of this particular series is not only the clash between two groups that will not give an inch, but their respect for one another. Maybe I am missing something, but it seems they go about their business in a way that would make your first grade teacher proud -- only say something about someone that you would want them to say about you. Plus, why say something that will make the strong-minded take their game to a higher level?
The Pistons won the battle of tipped balls late, capturing Game 6 against the Cavs.
Mavs guard Devin Harris: While the fellow Wisconsin Badger alum a decade his senior was thriving, Harris was struggling. He went 3-for-14 from the field in the Game 6 loss. Speed doesn't always kill. As fellow Friday bricklayer (and speed demon) Tony Parker will attest, you've got to put the croissant in the basket to win.
Quote of the Day
"I got my hand on it, and I almost made the basket for them. When it was in the air, I was like, 'Wow, not like this.'"
-- Pistons guard Chauncey Billups, who nearly accidentally tipped in a tying Cavaliers shot at the buzzer.
LeBron James can sign a five-year contract extension worth about $75 million this summer, and all signs indicate he'll do so once the Cavaliers present one to him on or after July 1. "I'm really happy right now with what's going on," he said. "I love my teammates and the coaching staff. We'll see what happens."
• James received his All-Star game MVP trophy on Thursday. It was damaged during shipping in February and had to be repaired. ... Rasheed Wallace, who sprained his right ankle in the Game 4 he "Guaran-Sheed," rode a stationary bike in the tunnel during the first quarter to try and stay loose.
• The Cavaliers are 2-0 in Game 7s, winning the 1992 conference semifinals over Boston and the 1976 semifinals over Washington, a series dubbed "The Miracle of Richfield." ... It was the third straight game decided by two points, and the Cavaliers had won five in a row during the postseason by two points or less.
-- The Associated Press
3. Sam Cassell is the only Clipper with Game 7 experience (six prior games).Most Wins All-Time in Game 7s
-- ESPN Research
Greg (Los Angeles): Who do you see with the advantage going into Game 7 of the Suns-Clippers series? I know the Suns have home court but the Clippers have played the Suns very tough at their house. Who do you ultimately think will win?Chris Sheridan: I'm rooting a little for Suns in 7, since that's the only one of my second-round picks that has a chance of being correct. But if the game comes down to one last shot and Sam Cassell takes it, it's going in the Clippers are going to the conference finals. Should be a great game. That series has been interesting to watch, although the Spurs-Mavericks is an instant classic.
Travis (MI): Don't you think we are all being force-fed the whole "King James" idea? He is an amazing player no doubt, but it seems like the NBA is taking it too far. Jordan (or his team) never got the calls that LBJ and Co. are getting in these playoffs. It seems that "the powers that be" are making sure that the so called "King" advances at any cost.Chris Sheridan: You're wrong, Travis. Jordan got a lot more calls than LeBron is getting. As for whether he's being force-fed to us, are you kidding me? The guy has been the single most entertaining player in the entire playoffs, not because of the hype but because of how he has played. And he's doing it at 21. Mitch (Mtown): Usually the playoffs are drawn out and leave you tired. This year they seem to make yuou want more and more. Is this a fluke or is the NBA back from its hiatus? Chris Sheridan: They've shortened the number of days for each series, and there's rarely anymore three and four days off between games like there was a couple years ago. Does that mean the NBA is back from its hiatus? Depends on how compelling the next two rounds are.