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NBA Game Notes (May 12, 2023)
Here are the NBA game notes for games that were played on May 12, 2023.
Knicks Can’t Handle Heat
The Miami Heat became just the second No. 8 seed to reach the conference finals, eliminating the New York Knicks with a 96-92 win in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Heat await the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.
The Heat join the 1998-99 Knicks as the only No. 8 seeds to reach the conference finals. Those Knicks advanced to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the San Antonio Spurs in five games.
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The Heat’s Jimmy Butler scored a team-high 24 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and did not commit a turnover. Butler shot poorly from the field (7-22, 31.8%) but made 10 of his 11 free throws.
Butler is averaging 31.1 PPG in 10 games played in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. He’s the first player in franchise history to average at least 30 PPG through the first 10 games of a postseason.
Heat center Bam Adebayo scored 23 points, snagged a team-high nine rebounds, and recorded two steals. Adebayo made nine of his 20 attempts from the field and all five of his free throws.
Kyle Lowry had another productive game off the bench for the Heat, scoring 11 points with game highs of nine assists and three steals. Lowry distributed 34 assists in the series, recording more steals (8) than turnovers (6).
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra will make his seventh trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, tying Phil Jackson for the most such appearances in conference history*. Leaguewide, only three head coaches have led more teams to the conference finals: Jackson (14), Pat Riley (12), and Gregg Popovich (10).
* The NBA began conference play in 1970-71.
The Knicks’ Jalen Brunson scored a game-high 41 points in the loss, matching his playoff career high. Brunson shot 14-22 from the floor — including 5-10 from 3-point range — and made eight of his nine free throws.
This was Brunson’s fourth 30-point game of the series. The only other player in franchise history to record at least four such games in a series was Bernard King in 1984 (First Round, five 30-point games).
Brunson made more field goals than the rest of his teammates combined (14-13). It’s just the fifth time in NBA history a player has accomplished this feat in an elimination game:
Penny Hardaway (April 4, 1997), W
LeBron James (May 21, 2006), L
Kobe Bryant (May 21, 2012), L
James (June 7, 2012), W
Jalen Brunson (May 12, 2023), L
Brunson averaged 31.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 6.3 APG in the series, shooting 50.4% from the field and 89.1% from the free throw line. He became the first player in franchise history to average at least 30 PPG and 5 APG in a postseason series.
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Lakers End Dubs Defense
The Los Angeles Lakers ended the Golden State Warriors’ title defense in the conference semifinals, routing the Warriors 122-101 in Game 6. The No. 7 seed Lakers advance to the Western Conference Finals, where they will take on the No. 1 seed Denver Nuggets.
The Lakers became just the second team in NBA history to reach the conference finals in a season in which they lost at least 10 of their first 12 games. They join the 1977-78 Seattle SuperSonics, who also started the season 2-10. Those Sonics reached the NBA Finals, where they fell to the Washington Bullets in seven games.
The Lakers’ LeBron James scored a team-high 30 points, adding nine rebounds and a game-high nine assists. James shot 10-14 from the field and made eight of his 11 free throws.
James now has 119 career 30-point games in the playoffs, 10 more such games than any other player:
119 — LeBron James
109 — Michael Jordan
88 — Kobe Bryant
75 — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
75 — Kevin Durant
It’s the 41st time one of James’ teams has won a postseason series, breaking a tie with Derek Fisher for the most playoff series wins in NBA history:
41 — LeBron James
40 — Derek Fisher
39 — Robert Horry
37 — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
35 — Tim Duncan
James will be making his 12th trip to the conference finals, the second-most appearances in NBA history:
13 — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
12 — LeBron James
11 — Derek Fisher
10 — Magic Johnson
Lakers center Anthony Davis recorded a double-double, scoring 17 points and hauling in a game-high 20 rebounds. Davis also recorded two steals and two blocks, and did not commit a turnover. The last player to record at least 20 rebounds and two blocks in a playoff game in which he did not commit a turnover was Ben Wallace on April 24, 2004.
Teammate Austin Reaves chipped in with 23 points, six assists, and five rebounds. Reaves shot 7-12 from the floor — including 4-5 from 3-point range — and hit all five of his free throws.
The Warriors’ Stephen Curry scored a game-high 32 points in the loss, but made just 11 of his 28 attempts from the field (39.3%). Curry also contributed six rebounds and five assists.
The 35-year-old Curry averaged 30.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 6.1 APG in 13 games played in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. He became the oldest player in NBA history to average at least 30 PPG, 5 RPG, and 5 APG in a postseason.
Fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson had another miserable night from the floor, making only three of his 19 attempts (15.8%). Thompson averaged just 10.5 PPG over the last four games of the series, shooting 14-56 from the field (25.0%) and 10-36 from 3-point range (27.8%).