Once again, I apologise I missed yesterday. I decided to take the day off after my daughter turned into Pazuzu. Teething, huh? Anyway, we are now one week into the NBA playoffs and I’ve got 8 games to get you up to speed on. Let’s get into it!
Not much to talk about in the first game between Orlando and Milwaukee. Giannis lead the Bucks to another decent win over the Magic. They are starting to show signs of being the team everybody thought they would be. A better performance from Middleton, he started to take a step in the right direction. Hopefully, he continues that path. Good scoring performances from Ross and Augustin for Orlando, but with a tough night for Vucevic, they never really had a chance in this one. The Bucks jumped on them early and never looked back. A little bit of shoving between Williams and Ennis which lead to a double ejection. Ugh! It’s the playoffs, can’t we allow the guys to show some emotion?
Miami looked the goods once again to take a 3-0 lead in their series against the Pacers. Miami just look so lethal. Butler, Bam and Dragic are such a good trio and when you add a good outside scorer like Robinson and/or Herro, it’s hard to see these guys being stopped. Miami had a double digit lead at the half and it would of been easy for Indiana to give up and just walk it in. Kudos to them though, they came out hard and really gave it their all to try and get this win. They made a game of it and the Heat had to earn this one. Brogdon was great again, posting 34/14/7. Miami just continue to look to good in this series. I expect they will now close it out in the next game, but I’m sure the Pacers won’t lie down.
An overtime victory for OKC to make it 2-1 deficit to the Rockets. Houston probably should of had this one, but they took their foot off for the last minute or so and OKC made them pay for it. It felt like they were just trying to protect their lead, rather than extending it. That’s always a recipe for disaster. Harden fouled out early in the extra period and Houston could not score without him. Almost literally, they only managed one basket in the extra 5 minutes. Strong play for the Thunder guards helped them get the much needed victory in this game. SGA, Gallinari, Paul and Schroder all scored 20+ and Dort pitched in with another great defensive effort. Adams still hasn’t been as dominant as I hoped he would be. I will quickly touch on the ugly double flop between Harden and Paul. Get out of here with that! If the referees really want to give out double technical fouls, that was the moment! Hopefully, we don’t have to see anymore of that rubbish. However, it is Harden and Paul. I’m sure we will.
Big game for LeBron to help get another win against the Blazers. Davis wasn’t too shabby either, adding 29/11/8. Near triple doubles for both of the Lakers’ star players. Portland are unhappy with the free throw discrepancy, but the referees always reward aggression on the offensive end. AD and James played hard and drove a lot. They were always going to get to the line. Lakers had a huge rebounding advantage as well, that’ll always help add some extra free throws. It looks like Nurkic is starting to slow down, which isn’t really surprising. After almost a year and a half off with an injury, it’s no surprise his conditioning is down. CJ, Dame and Melo all had good games for the Blazers, but it feels like Portland is starting to run out of legs. One quick question to end, why the heck is Green still getting minutes? They always say that he can catch fire and get a win for his team, but how many games is he ice cold and could potentially cause a loss for his team?
The Celtics closed out the series and finished the sweep of the 76ers. I just want to start by saying I really hope Harris is ok. That was a very nasty looking fall. Props to him for coming back and playing the last quarter. Props to the whole Sixers team as well actually. Once again, they could of just rolled over but they came out and made Boston fight for this win. Some really ugly 3 point shooting did not help their chances in this one. Kemba Walker was too good again. Jayson Tatum had another really strong performance. This whole Celtics team just has so much depth. I cannot wait for the series against Toronto. I hope Philly have a productive off season and can bounce back next year.
How does Luka manage to impress every single game? 43 points, 17 rebounds, 13 assists and to top it all off, the huge game winner in OT. Wow. Is this kid good or what? I can’t count how many times I’ve watched that shot already. Great comeback from the Mavericks to get this win, they were down big in the second quarter. What is happening with Porzingis? Late scratch from this game, I hope he can get healthy moving forward. Dallas will really need him. Paul George was absent offensively once again, he needs to figure this out soon. Leonard had another really good game. Lou Williams chipped in just a little bit, adding a cool 36 points. This has been a great series and feels like it will go the distance.
Before I go into the next game, I need to address the referees. I know they have a hard job and all that. I understand that they will occasionally miss things or make a bad call. I understand. But, it’s their job. They are trained to do it. And some of the things I’ve seen in the bubble are just atrocious. Let’s talk about the VanVleet flagrant. I am really angry about this one. Here is a guy, hustling back on defense to stop an easy layup. His team is up 25 points or something and he is still playing hard. I love that attitude. Everyone should play that way. Yes, it was obviously a foul. Nothing easy, make him earn the points. I was pretty surprised when Scott Foster said they wanted to review it. There was no reason to review it, it was just your standard foul. No one fell over, no one got hurt, no one was fighting, no one was even mad. It was just basketball. Imagine my surprise when they deemed it was a flagrant 1 on VanVleet. Then multiply that by a hundred, and you will be close to understanding how angry I was. Are you kidding me? We are really going to punish a guy for playing great defense in a playoff game? This has got to stop. I’m gonna leave it there because I could go on about this for hours. I’m still mad, I probably won’t sleep tonight.
Whew! Are the Raptors hot or what? I don’t know what to say first. I guess I’ll start by congratulating the Raptors on their first sweep in the history of the franchise. Here is an unbelievable stat for you : the Raptors benched scored 100 points in today’s game. Let that sink in for a minute. They nearly finished 50% from downtown. 22 made threes. Powell was great. Ibaka was phenomenal. Did he even miss? (Fact check, he did. 12/14 on the game). Brooklyn looked lost defensively. This upcoming series against Boston is gonna be amazing. I’m so excited for it. The only downside for Toronto was Lowry leaving the game early with an ankle injury. As always, I hope its nothing serious and he bounces back for the next game. You hate to see injuries. Valiant effort by LeVert and the Nets once again, but they were just outgunned. They can go home with their heads held high and look forward to next season.
That was a much better basketball game to watch. It was nice of Denver to show up and make it a contest. The must be incredibly disappointed to just fall short, you’d have to imagine the series is over for them now. Mitchell vs Murray was the story here. Murray lead Denver with 50 points and Mitchell answered right back for Utah with 51 of his own. The difference is, Mitchell got a little bit more help. Conley and Clarkson combined to add another 50 points to Utah’s total. Gobert wasn’t too bad with a 17/11 double double. Ingles must be feeling the Australian winter, because he was ice cold. Millsap started the game well but eventually slowed down. Jokic at least showed a little bit of effort tonight and had 29/7/6. It’s hard to see Denver having much of a chance left in this series, but like I always say, who knows with them?