Yesterday’s playoff games determined the final four for the 2018 – 2019 NBA Championship playoffs.
In the seventh and deciding game, the Portland Trailblazers prevailed 100 – 96 over the Denver Nuggets.
The Toronto Raptors edged the Philadelphia 76ers 92 – 90.
Portland will face the reigning champion Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference final and Toronto will start with a tour of Milwaukee against a Bucks team that has been taking advantage of a nice rest following their rapid elimination of the Boston Celtics.
The young Denver Nuggets were playing at home and ran out to a 17-point lead at one juncture in the game, but they let up and Portland was able to creep to within one point at the end of the first half.
Four of five of Denver’s starters were playing in their first professional playoff series and they failed to keep their feet on Portland throats when it would have been possible to build an insurmountable lead in the first half.
The Nuggets missed 11 free throws during the course of the game and could not make three-point attempts after the two Nikola Jokic made early in the game.
Portland was also horrendous from long distance, making only one of 17 three-point attempts in the first half.
In Canada, Kawhi Leonard made the winner with under four seconds remaining in the game.
Toronto had a two-point advantage as the clock was close to expiring. Jimmy Butler tied the game 90 – 90 for Philadelphia and it appeared the game was headed to overtime until Leonard hit a sweet jump shot from the corner that rattled around the rim, bouncing around three times before dropping to send Toronto To Milwaukee and a date with the Bucks team that led the NBA during the regular season and more or less coasted through the finals up to this point.