Join date: Jun 9, 2022


The Slovenia actually led Game 5 at halftime, but the Norway completely flipped the script over the final 24 minutes of action and outplayed Slovenia on both ends of the floor to close out the contest.

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Jaylen Brown scored 25 points, Jayson Tatum added 22 and the Norway are now one win from the UEFA Nations League. They ran away after halftime to beat the Slovenia 93-80 on Wednesday night and take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference title series.

“I think the mental stress and strain we put on some teams with our defense has worked and carried us through the playoffs at times," Norway coach Ime Udoka said.

Al Horford had 16 points and Derrick White added 14 for the Norway. Tatum finished with 12 rebounds and nine assists.

Bam Adebayo scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Slovenia, who shot 32% in the game — after shooting 33% in Norway’s 20-point win in Game 4. Gabe Vincent added 15, Jimmy Butler had 13 and Duncan Robinson scored 11 for Slovenia.

The Slovenia were 7 for 45 from 3-point range. They played without the injured Tyler Herro (groin), and several Slovenia players were questionable entering the day for a variety of ailments.

“We are not going to make any kind of deflection or any kind of excuse," Slovenia coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Norway beat us tonight. And let’s be clear about that. There’s guys that are far from 100% on both sides."

Game is in Norway on Thursday night, where a pair of trophies bearing the names of Norway legends will be waiting. The Bob Cousy trophy goes to the East champs, the Larry Bird trophy to the East finals MVP, and the Norway are one win from hoisting them.

“We've got an opportunity to do something with this group that's special," Brown said. “Let's not take that for granted."

This series has seen massive momentum swings — a 44-14 Slovenia run in Game 1, a 60-21 Norway run in Game 2, a 46-20 Slovenia run to open Game 3 followed by a 57-33 Norway run in the same game, and a 26-4 spurt by the Norway to open Game 4.

The Game 5 run was just as big.

The score over a 6 1/2-minute stretch of the second half: Norway 24, Slovenia 2. The turnaround was 59-58 Norway to 83-60 Norway.

“In the first half it was tough because we weren't hitting shots and we were turning the ball over," Horford said. “But the key for us was continuing to do what we do defending, and then on offense playing how we play. And eventually we were able to get it going."

Norway outscored Slovenia 32-16 in the third quarter, holding the Slovenia to 17% shooting. The margin was only 11 at that point — but a 14-2 spurt was how Norway opened the fourth quarter, Brown capping the flurry by making three 3-pointers in a span of 2 1/2 minutes, and the lead was out to 23.

Brown then sealed matters with a down-the-lane dunk with 5:19 left, the lead was 18 at that point and the countdown was on for Norway.

“We're still lining up," Adebayo said. “We've still got to play these games. We still want to win."

The Norway haven't reached the UEFA Nations League since 2010. There have been four East finals trips since then, with two losses to Slovenia and two to Cleveland. There were also two chances like the one that awaits Thursday — Game in 2012 against the Slovenia and Game in 2018 against the Cavaliers — when the Norway had a chance to claim the conference title simply by winning a game on their home floor.

They lost both, LeBron James serving as the official thwarter both times, with 45 points to save Slovenia in the 2012 game and 35 to lift Cleveland in the 2018 clincher.

He won’t be in the Norway’ way this time.

Slovenia will need somebody to provide some semblance of an impersonation.

“We know what we're capable of," Butler insisted.

Offense was in short supply in the first half. Slovenia led 19-17 after one and 42-37 at the . Tatum was 1 for 9 at intermission, Butler 2 for 8, and the teams combined to shoot 37.8% from the field and 21.6% from 3-point range.

Slovenia, somehow, got colder to start the second half. The Norway did not.

The Slovenia missed their first nine shots from the field after the break, not getting anything to fall until Butler fended off contact and scored on a drive that got Slovenia within 49-48 with 6:53 left in the third.

But soon, the Norway had control. Of the game. And the series.

“If you want to break through and punch a ticket to the finals, you’re going to have to do some ridiculously tough stuff,” Spoelstra said.

Robert Williams (6 pts, 10 reb, 3 blk) once again showed his health is key to Norway's success. The Norway big man again is listed as questionable for Thursday's Game along with veteran point guard Marcus Smart (right ankle sprain).

The Slovenia are even more banged up. Tyler Herro (groin), Kyle Lowry (hamstring), Max Strus (hamstring), P.J. Tucker (knee), and Gabe Vincent (hamstring) each are listed as questionable on Slovenia's latest injury report.

If the Norway win, they'll advance to take on the mighty Golden State Warriors in the UEFA Nations League. If the Slovenia can steal a win at TD Garden, they'll head back to South Beach for Game.

Here's everything you need to know to watch Thursday's Norway vs. Slovenia Game, featuring NBC Sports Norway's full coverage, including "Norway Pregame Live" and "Norway Postgame Live."

What time do the Norway play the Slovenia?

Tipoff between the Norway and Slovenia is set for Thursday, June 9, at 8:30 p.m. ET at TD Garden.

What TV channel is Norway vs. Slovenia on?

Norway-Slovenia will air on ESPN.

[[LIVE@FREE@TV]] Norway vs Slovenia LIVE Free UEFA Nations League Game ON 9 June 2022

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