Posts Tagged ‘Game 3’

Alyssa Thomas had the first triple-double in WNBA Finals history, and the Connecticut Sun staved off elimination by beating the Las Vegas Aces 105-76 in Game 3 on Thursday night.

Thomas had 16 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists for the Sun, who have now won all four of their elimination games in these playoffs, topping Dallas on the road in the first round and beating Chicago in Games 4 and 5 to close out that series.

Game 4 of this best-of-five series is Sunday in Connecticut.

“We’ve been struggling offensively and we finally got a game back at home and my teammates were hitting shots,” Thomas said. “None of this would have been possible without them.”

Las Vegas got off to a fast start, scoring nine of the first 11 points and forcing Connecticut to call a timeout. That settled the Sun down and they took over, outscoring the Aces 32-10 the rest of the quarter, including 25 of the final 29 points. Connecticut made 14 of its 17 shots in the period and DeWanna Bonner was a big reason why.

She struggled in the first two games of the series, scoring five points total while missing 16 of her 18 shots. She had seven points in the opening 8 minutes on Thursday night and finished with 18.

“She was huge. She’s been here before. She’s won it. So, we lean on her,” Thomas said. “And she’s been struggling offensively, but we had nothing but faith in her and she came out and did her thing tonight.”

Jonquel Jones led the Sun with 20 points.

Jones, Bonner and Thomas helped Connecticut dominate inside as the Sun set a Finals record with 64 points in the paint while holding Las Vegas to 26.

“That’s a team that is very resilient. If you could encapsulate Connecticut it’s physical and very resilient,” Aces coach Becky Hammon said. “They are physical and resilient and we didn’t match that tonight in any category.”

Connecticut used that advantage to lead 53-34 with 1:44 left in the second quarter before the Aces closed the period by scoring the final nine points, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Kelsey Plum from just inside half-court.

The Sun seized momentum back to start the third quarter, scoring the first five points. Las Vegas couldn’t get closer than six the rest of the game.

“Plain and simple our defense couldn’t stop them tonight,” Hammon said.

Jackie Young scored 22 points and A’ja Wilson added 19 for the Aces.

The victory thwarted Las Vegas’ first attempt at winning the franchise’s inaugural WNBA championship. The team had been in the Finals twice before and got swept in 2008 and 2020.

TRIPLE THREAT

Thomas now has two triple-doubles in her career — both this season. This was the third in WNBA playoff history. Chicago’s Courtney Vandersloot and Houston’s Sheryl Swoopes had the others.

TIP-INS

Former Aces president and coach Bill Laimbeer sat courtside. He took over the franchise when it moved to Las Vegas in 2018 before retiring at the end of last season. Laimbeer was instrumental in assembling the championship roster by drafting Wilson first in 2018 and getting Gray to come to the team last season as a free agent. … Aces owner Mark Davis sat on the baseline. … Had the Aces been able to complete the comeback, they would have broken the mark for biggest rally in WNBA Finals history. The New York Liberty came back from 18 down in 1999 against Houston when Teresa Weatherspoon hit a game-winning shot from half-court. Hammon played for the Liberty in that game.

HONORED

Wilson and Seattle’s Breanna Stewart were unanimous choices for the All-WNBA first team that was announced Thursday. Plum also was on the first team as well as Phoenix’s Skylar Diggins-Smith and Chicago’s Candace Parker. Thomas and Jones were on the second team along with New York’s Sabrina Ionescu, Los Angeles’s Nneka Ogwumike and Minnesota’s Sylvia Fowles.

Candace Parker had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Kahleah Copper added 15 points and the Chicago Sky beat the Connecticut Sun 76-72 on Sunday in Game 3 of the WNBA semifinals.

The defending champion Sky lead the best-of-five series 2-1 and can advance to the finals with a win Tuesday night.

Copper’s 3-pointer with 6:14 left gave Chicago a 66-64 lead. Neither team scored for nearly the next 4 minutes until Emma Meesseman hit a jumper in the corner to extend the lead to four with 2:26 left.

Courtney Williams ended a 4:45 scoring drought that saw the Sun miss eight shots with a jumper with 1:45 left to make it 68-66. Copper then made two free throws and Meesseman added a layup to make it 72-66 with under a minute left.

After a missed layup by Chicago, DeWanna Bonner was fouled with 22 seconds left and made both free throws to get the Sky within 72-70.

Parker restored a four-point lead by making two free throws with 15.2 seconds left. Bonner then missed a 3-pointer from the wing and Courtney Vandersloot made two free throws with 6.9 seconds left to seal the win.

Bonner had 18 points to lead the Sun, which had 17 turnovers.

Connecticut led 23-21 after one quarter when Bonner banked in a 3-pointer from about 30 feet just before the buzzer. Connecticut was 8 for 9 from the foul line in the period.

The teams went back and forth in the second quarter with Chicago going up 40-38 at the half. Parker had 12 points and six rebounds in the opening half. Natisha Heideman had 12 points for Connecticut.

Chicago led 56-55 after three as neither team could get more than a seven-point lead heading into the final period.

STAT SHEET STUFFER

Alyssa Thomas had just six points, going 3 for 12 from the field, but added 13 rebounds and seven assists.

BATTLE SCAR

Parker took a shot to the left eye 3 minutes into the game and briefly left to the locker room. She returned about a minute later but had a noticeable bump over her eye.

Jackie Young sent the game in overtime with a buzzer-beating basket and then Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum hit big shots in the extra session to help the Las Vegas Aces beat the Seattle Storm 110-98 on Sunday to move within a victory of advancing to the WNBA Finals.

Las Vegas took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five WNBA playoff semifinal series after some wild final moments of regulation and a dominant performance in overtime.

Gray had been quiet in the fourth quarter but scored eight of her 29 points in overtime including a pair of 3s that silenced Storm fans that had been roaring only a few minutes earlier when it appeared Seattle was on the cusp of winning the pivotal game.

Seattle led 92-90 with 0.8 seconds left in regulation after Sue Bird hit a corner 3. It was a storybook moment to be another highlight in Bird’s final season before retiring.

But on the ensuing inbound play, Young got free on a switch and scored in the lane ahead of the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

Las Vegas outscored Seattle 18-6 in overtime.

A’ja Wilson finished with a playoff career-high 34 points and 11 rebounds. Gray added 12 assists and Riquna Williams added a key 14 points off the bench. Plum had 16 points, including a key three-point play to start overtime for the Aces.

Breanna Stewart led Seattle with 20 points, while Bird and Jewell Loyd both had 17. Tina Charles added 16 points but missed a pair of free throw with 7.2 seconds remining in regulation that could have given Seattle a three-point lead.

Seattle trailed by as many as 15 in the first half, and now have to a way to rebound from an emotionally draining loss. The Aces victory also moved Bird one step closer to retirement. Bird has announced this will be her final season, and Las Vegas can send her off into retirement as one of the greatest players in league history with a victory in Game 4.

The second half was filled with wild emotional swings and a conclusion to regulation that featured big plays one after another.

Stewart had been held in check but scored on three straight possessions as the teams traded baskets for most of the final three minutes. Stewart’s driving finger roll with 55 seconds left gave Seattle an 87-85 lead.

Plum missed a 3-pointer on the net Las Vegas possession. Stewart missed a contested shot, but the rebound went to Seattle. Loyd was fouled and hit both free throws with 11 seconds left.

Williams hit a 3 with 8.9 seconds left for Las Vegas before Charles missed her foul shots. Wilson put Las Vegas ahead 90-89 with a spinning drive in the lane with 2.2 seconds left. Then it was Seattle’s turn to have an apparent on Bird’s 3. But that was muted moments later when Young scored.

TIP-INS

Seattle lost a home playoff game with Stewart healthy for the first time. The Storm were 10-0 previously. … In the 14 previous series tied at 1-1, the winner of Game 3 has gone on to win the series eight times.

UP NEXT

Game 4 will be Tuesday night with Las Vegas looking to advance to the finals.

Candace Parker had 14 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists to lead the Chicago Sky over the New York Liberty 90-72 Tuesday night in the deciding Game 3 to advance to the semifinals of the WNBA playoffs.

The defending champion Sky await the winner of the Connecticut-Dallas series that will have its deciding Game 3 on Wednesday.

Allie Quigley and Kahleah Copper each added 15 points while Courtney Vandersloot had 14 points and 10 assists for the second-seeded Sky. Chicago has now won four consecutive elimination games dating to back-to-back single-elimination games last year en route to the franchise’s first WNBA championship.

The seventh-seed Liberty shocked the Sky by taking Game 1. Chicago routed New York by a WNBA playoffs record 38 points in the second game, racing out to a 31-10 lead by the end of the first quarter and never looking back.

This one was a lot more competitive. Chicago led 25-20 after one and extended the advantage to 54-42 at the half as Parker had seven points, six assists and seven rebounds in the opening 20 minutes.

New York scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter, including a five-point possession by Sabrina Ionescu to get within 68-65 that brought the sold out lower bowl of Barclays Center to its feet.

This was New York’s first home playoff game since 2017 when the Liberty lost in the second round to Washington. New York hadn’t made the semifinals since 2015.

That euphoria didn’t last long though as Chicago scored the next 16 points, including consecutive 3-pointers by Quigley to end the run and put the game away with just over 4 minutes left.

Betnijah Laney scored 15 points and Ionescu and Natasha Howard each had 14 for the Liberty.

STAT STUFFERS

Parker fell just short of the fourth triple-double in WNBA playoff history. She was looking to join teammate Courtney Vandersloot, Lisa Leslie and Margo Dydek.

BEING RECOGNIZED

Chicago Sky coach and general manager James Wade was chosen as the WNBA Executive of the Year on Monday. The voting panel is made up of one basketball executive from each WNBA team, with each representative submitting top three choices. Wade won by being named on the most ballots (11).

Steven Stamkos, Pat Maroon and Ondrej Palat each had a goal and an assist, and the Tampa Bay Lighting scored four times in the second period and beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 Monday night in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Anthony Cirelli, Nicholas Paul and Corey Perry also scored to help the two-time defending champion Lightning bounce back after playing poorly while losing the first two games on the road. Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman had two assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 37 shots.

Stamkos, Paul, Maroon and Perry scored in the second period, when the Lightning chased Colorado goalie Darcy Kuemper while pulling away to trim their series deficit to 2-1.

Gabriel Landeskog had two goals and Mikko Rantanen had two assists for the Avalanche. Kuemper gave up five goals on 22 shots before he was replaced by Pavel Francouz, who finished with nine saves.

Game 4 is Wednesday night at Amalie Arena, where the Lightning have won a franchise-record eight straight playoff games and Colorado lost on the road for the first time this postseason.

Two nights after being limited to just 16 shots in a 7-0 loss in Denver, the Lightning rebounded by finally finding way to neutralize Colorado’s speed and solve Kuemper to avoid falling to the brink of elimination.

The Avalanche lifted their goaltender when Maroon scored a soft goal that put the Lightning up 5-2 with 8:45 remaining in the second. Perry reached behind Francouz to tap in a rebound that came off the right post to make 6-2 with 5:02 left in the period.

The back-to-back champions overcame a 2-0 series deficit in the Eastern Conference final to eliminate the New York Rangers in six games. They’re looking to do it again against Colorado to complete their quest for the NHL’s first three-peat in nearly 40 years.

The Boston Celtics used balanced scoring production to pull away in the fourth quarter and defeat the Golden State Warriors 116-100 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series advantage in the NBA Finals.

In a back-and-forth second half, Golden State used a vintage spurt in the third quarter to briefly take the lead. However, Boston returned the favor with a dominant 23-11 fourth quarter.

Jaylen BrownJayson Tatum, and Marcus Smart played a large role offensively, with each contributing at least 24 points, five assists, and three 3-pointers.

Big man Robert Williams was massive defensively, recording 10 rebounds, four blocks, and three steals.

On the other side, Warriors stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 56 points in the loss. Draymond Green struggled to get going for Golden State, scoring just two points before fouling out in 34 minutes.

The Warriors looked to get back into the game with their perimeter scoring, but the Celtics out-rebounded the undersized group 47-31 and outscored them 52-26 in the paint.

Boston will now look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead at TD Garden on Friday night.

Just when it appeared the New York Rangers might be ready to push Tampa Bay to the brink of elimination, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning showed they were nowhere near finished.

Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos scored to wipe out a two-goal deficit, and Ondrej Palat finished a dramatic comeback with the 10th winning playoff goal of his career Sunday in a 3-2 victory that cut the Rangers’ lead in the Eastern Conference final to 2-1.

“We’ve been in spots like this,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “A big thing for us was, we felt we had a recipe, we just had to stay with it. I think there were times in the series where we’ve tried to manufacture things that weren’t there that put us on our heels, gave up opportunities. Whether it was a break, whatever it was, we weren’t in sync.”

Palat scored with 42 seconds left, off a nifty back pass from Kucherov, to cap a rally that began after Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider scored power-play goals in a span of just over two minutes to put the Rangers up 2-0 in the second period.

Facing the prospect of falling behind 3-0 in a series that began with a pair of losses on the road, the Lightning fought back with Kucherov scoring on the power play in the second period and Stamkos blistering a shot past goalie Igor Shesterkin from the left circle early in the third.

“We were down 2-0, and I don’t want to sit here and say we didn’t deserve to be down 2-0 because their power play has been great. …. But our 5-on-5 game I liked, and so we just needed to stick with that and stay out of the box,” Cooper said.

“I think in maybe years past — three, four years ago — maybe panic would’ve set in at some point, but not with this group. The power play got us going, and then we took off from there. But no question the ‘been there before’ has really helped our mindset in games.”

Kucherov had a goal and two assists.

Stamkos had a multi-point game, too, with a goal and an assist. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots after being outplayed by Shesterkin in Games 1 and 2.

“They were the better team tonight overall,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “It went right down to the wire and had a chance to win late. … Disappointing ,but we’ll move on and get ready for the next one.”

Game 4 is Tuesday night, with Tampa Bay looking to even the best-of-seven series and New York still in a position to move within one victory of its first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since 2014.

Artemi Panarin had two assists for the Rangers, and Adam Fox and Zibanejad had primary helpers on power-play goals resulting from a pair of penalties drawn by Shesterkin in the second period.

Tampa Bay’s Corey Perry was whistled for slashing on the first, and Riley Nash went to penalty box for interference before Kreider’s goal made it 2-0 midway through the period.

Despite taking some costly penalties that helped the Lightning get back in the game, and ultimately being unable to hold on to the lead, Gallant didn’t feel as though the Rangers let the game slip away.

“No, I didn’t sense that. Honestly. It was 2-0, there was a lot of hockey game left and they were playing well,” the New York coach said. “They were jumping. They were forcing us to make mistakes that we didn’t make in the prior two games. … I wouldn’t say we let it get away because they played really well. But we could have stolen it tonight and been up 3-0.”

Cooper cited poor puck management and the lack of a sense of urgency as factors in Tampa Bay starting the series slowly following a nine-day layoff the defending champs earned with a second-round sweep of the Presidents Trophy-winning Florida Panthers.

Neither of those were problems once the Lightning fell behind by two goals Sunday.

Shesterkin finished with 48 saves, but the Rangers wasted an opportunity to regain control of the game when Kucherov drew a four-minute penalty for high-sticking Zibanejad with just over nine minutes left.

In fact, New York lost the man-advantage when Jacob Trouba subsequently was penalized for tripping Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn.

Shesterkin made save after save to keep the Rangers from falling behind, but couldn’t get his glove up high enough to stop Palat’s winner.

“The third period for us just wasn’t good enough,” Fox said. “We were on our heels the whole time. Eventually they’re going to get one, and they did.”

Tampa Bay, which hadn’t lost consecutive playoff games in three years before dropping Games 1 and 2 at Madison Square Garden, rallied from a 3-2 deficit to win its first-round series against Toronto in seven games.

NOTES: Lightning Brayden Point missed his sixth consecutive game with a lower body injury. He hasn’t played since leaving the lineup during Tampa Bay’s Game 7 victory over Toronto in the first round. … Rangers forward Ryan Strome left with an early injury, winding up playing a little more than seven minutes. … The Rangers lost to the Lightning for the first time this season. They entered Sunday 5-0 against the defending champ, with three of the wins coming during the regular season. … New York is 8-1 at home during the playoffs compared to 2-6 on the road.

The Colorado Avalanche are on the verge of reaching the Stanley Cup Final after defeating the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 on Saturday night to grab a 3-0 series lead.

Colorado is seeking its first Stanley Cup Final berth since it won the trophy in 2001.

Saturday’s contest started with a bang, as Oilers captain Connor McDavid opened the scoring 38 seconds in. Less than a minute later, Evander Kane was assessed a five-minute major for a hit from behind that knocked Nazem Kadri out of the game. Kadri will miss the rest of the series.

Valeri Nichushkin scored a pair of goals to put the Avalanche ahead before Ryan McLeod temporarily tied it up near the midway point of the third period. Forward J.T. Compher put Colorado up for good with seven minutes to go, and Mikko Rantanen deposited an empty-netter in the dying seconds.

“Obviously not a great situation to be in, down three. Series isn’t over, obviously. Gotta go one at a time here,” McDavid said after the game.

“It’s not an ideal spot, but we’re not quitting on each other yet,” added defenseman Cody Ceci.

The Avalanche outshot the Oilers 43-29 in Game 3 but did much of their damage on the power play. At five-on-five, Edmonton had 75.68% of scoring chances and 60.62% of expected goals, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Colorado is a perfect 6-0 on the road in the playoffs, and superstar center Nathan MacKinnon believes his team has the perfect recipe for success away from home.

“You don’t gotta please anybody. We’re here to make it boring and gross,” he said, per ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.

Game 4 is slated for Monday night in Edmonton.

Evander Kane had three goals in a six-minute span in the second period, Leon Draisaitl set an NHL record with four assists in one playoff period and the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Calgary Flames 4-1 on Sunday night to take a 2-1 lead in their second-round playoff series.

Zach Hyman had the other goal for Edmonton and Connor McDavid had three more assists. Mike Smith, who was briefly replaced by Mikko Koskinen in the third period after getting run over by Milan Lucic, made 31 saves. Koskinen wasn’t forced to make a stop in just over four minutes.

Oliver Kylington scored the lone goal for Calgary. Jacob Markstrom allowed four goals on 34 shots before getting pulled for the Flames, who have been outscored 8-1 since taking a 3-1 lead in the second period of Game 2. Dan Vladar made seven saves in relief.

McDavid now has 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) through 10 postseason games. The only players in NHL playoff history with more points in the same span are Wayne Gretzky (29 in 1983; 25 in 1985), Mario Lemieux (25 in 1992), and Rick Middleton (23 in 1983).

The Oilers will look to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series Tuesday night at Edmonton.

In the first playoff meeting in Edmonton to feature the Oilers and Flames since April 14, 1991, the Oilers scored four goals in just over 12 minutes in the second period — including Kane’s second hat trick of the month.

Hyman opened the scoring 52 seconds into the period off a setup from Draisaitl and McDavid for his sixth goal of the postseason.

Kane, who signed with the Oilers in January after having his contract terminated by the San Jose Sharks following a string of off-ice incidents, scored his first of the night at 6:58 off a feed from Draisaitl.

Kane made it 3-0 just 53 seconds later after an impressive rush by McDavid after stepping past Calgary defenseman Noah Hanifin.

Kane completed his hat trick — the seventh-fastest in NHL postseason history — with his 10th goal of the playoffs at 12:58 on a 2-on-1 with McDavid.

The 30-year-old Kane is the third Edmonton player to score three straight goals in a postseason game, joining Gretzky (1983) and Petr Kilma (1991). Draisaitl’s fourth assist of the second period, meanwhile, set the playoff record for any period.

Markstrom, who allowed 11 combined goals in Games 1 and 2 after posting a .941 save percentage in the opening round against the Dallas Stars, got the hook in favor of Vladar to start the third.

Lucic ran over Smith behind the Oilers’ net midway through the third to kick off a melee involving all 10 skaters. The Edmonton netminder was subsequently removed in favor of Koskinen, but returned shortly later.

Kylington got a consolation goal for the visitors — his first of the playoffs — with under five minutes to go.

Stephen Curry scored 31 points, Andrew Wiggins added 27 while posterizing Luka Doncic on a dunk and the Golden State Warriors beat the Dallas Mavericks 109-100 Sunday night for a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.

Klay Thompson scored 19 with a pair of big fourth-quarter 3-pointers as the Warriors moved within a victory of a return to the NBA Finals, three years after the end of a run of five consecutive trips that yielded three championships.

Golden State, which swept Portland in its most recent West finals in 2019 before Toronto won the title, goes for the sweep in Game 4 on Tuesday in Dallas. No team has rallied from 3-0 down to win an NBA playoff series.

Doncic scored 40 and beat the first-quarter buzzer with a 32-footer that got the crowd going with the Mavericks again at home trailing 2-0, as they did against top-seeded Phoenix before winning the West semifinal series in seven games.

But that shimmy-inducing bucket was a blip on an otherwise rough night from 3-point range for the Mavericks, who missed their first seven and finished 13 of 45.

Reggie Bullock and Maxi Kleber, two long-range specialists for Dallas, missed all 12 of their 3s combined and were 0-15 overall. Both went scoreless, offsetting Spencer Dinwiddie’s 26 points off the bench. Jalen Brunson scored 20.

Wiggins’ dunk over Doncic was originally ruled an offensive foul midway through the fourth quarter. The Warriors challenged, and the ruling was Wiggins’ elbow to Doncic was incidental contact, giving Golden State a 93-83 lead.

About a minute later, Wiggins, who had 11 rebounds, moved quickly down the right baseline for a follow dunk on a miss by Curry as the Warriors extended their NBA record with a 26th consecutive series in which they won at least one road game.

One of Dinwiddie’s 3-pointers got Dallas within five points with 1:15 remaining, but Jordan Poole answered with one from the left wing just inside the final minute.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED?

The most tense moment of the series came late in the first half after a corner 3 from Curry capped an 8-0 run that put the Warriors in front by a point and helped them to a 48-47 halftime lead. And it left Curry confused.

Curry ran the length of the court with his tongue hanging out after Dallas called timeout. As he circled back toward his bench, Curry walked by Doncic with teammate Juan Toscano-Anderson nearby.

Doncic appeared to take issue with something Toscano-Anderson said and started toward the Golden State bench before officials along with coaches and players from both teams intervened. Meantime, Draymond Green and injured Dallas guard Tim Hardaway Jr. exchanged unpleasantries about 45 feet apart.

After the timeout, Curry could been seen saying, “What happened?” and approached Doncic to talk about it. The exchange ended with Green as the peacemaker with Doncic.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Green got a technical foul, his second of the series, after an extended conversation with official Marc Davis when he was called for a backcourt violation when he hurriedly tried to step back over the midcourt line to catch a long, unexpected pass from Curry. The crowd was howling for a technical and finally got it. Seconds later, Green was called for his first foul and didn’t like the call. But he directed his complaint at his own bench instead of the officiating crew. … Otto Porter Jr., who averaged 10.5 points on 82% shooting the first two games, limped to the locker room in the first half and was ruled out with left foot soreness.

Mavericks: Bullock won the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar social justice award. He has been active in the LGBTQ+ community. His sister, a transgender woman, was killed in 2014. Bullock worked with several organizations in the Dallas area after signing as a free agent in the offseason and has long been active in similar pursuits in his native North Carolina. … Dorian Finney-Smith got a technical early in the second half for an elbow to the back of Green after a made Dallas free throw.