Nets vs. Raptors
After a blowout performance by the Toronto Raptors, it looked like the series was already over. While the Nets did bring some more sparks to this game, the Raptors still came out on top.
The Brooklyn Nets started out the game with a commanding lead. They were hitting three pointers, and keeping the Raptors offense from getting into transition. The Raptors were able to cut the deficit to 4 at the end of the first, but were not able to gain a lead. The Nets kept the Raptors at bay with a 34% three point shoot, and tough defense. The Raptors were expected to come out of the half blazing and take the lead, but it seemed like the Nets had an answer for everything the Raptors were doing. When it seemed like the Raptors were just about to take the lead, the Nets hit a couple of threes and pulled their lead back. The Nets were able to lean on Garret Temple, 21 points, as a consistent three point shooter in a game where Caris Levert and Jarret Allen were quiet offensively. In the fourth quarter, the Raptors finally came alive and took control of the game. While the Nets did continue to fight, the Raptors were hitting their threes and forcing turnovers.
The Nets should be proud of their performance after a blowout, and should continue to keep the series close and maybe win a couple of games. The Raptors need to start shooting better at the three point line to keep their offense running.
Final Score: TOR 1o4 BKN 99
Nuggets vs. Jazz
This series has been a fun one, with one game already going to overtime. In the second game, Utah was not going down 0-2 and they took control of the game.
This game started out close, with both teams trading buckets and keeping the game close. The Nuggets were relying on the offensive production from Nikola Jokic to help keep their offense running. The Jazz were unable to stop Jokic in the early minutes of the game, but Rudy Gobert soon got into a rhythm and was keeping Jokic from blowing up. This led to a huge Utah run in the last minutes of the second quarter. They took the game, and never gave Denver another chance. The Jazz were able to spread the ball around and were getting good looks for all their players, and that led to the three ball starting to fall. They got huge contributions from Donovan Mitchell, 30 points, and Jordan Clarkson coming off the bench, 26 points. The Nuggets were not able to get any offense going, and this was in part to their horrible defense. They could not get back to back buckets, because they kept letting the Jazz score whenever they wanted. Even with big man Jokic and good perimeter defenders like Torrey Craig and Jerami Grant, the Nuggets had no answer for the Jazz. What makes it even worse, is that one of their biggest playmakers, Jamal Murray, was not able to get anything going and ended with 14 points.
While this game was not as close or wild as games before, we can count on the Nuggets making adjustments that keep them in this series.
Final Score: UTH 124 DEN 105
Celtics vs. 76ers
In a series that could be a sweep or a seven games, the Celtics seem to be just running over the 76ers. If the 76ers can’t get it together, then we might be seeing one of the most surprising first round finishes.
This game started out very promising for the 76ers, as they jumped out to an 11 point lead. Joel Embiid was dominating in the paint, and the Celtics were not getting any of their threes to fall. The Celtics were not going away, and made an expected push that the 76ers were not able to counter. By the first quarter, the Celtics had cut the lead down to 6 on a Jayson Tatum three, and kept pushing until the Sixers were down six. The Celtics continued to get open threes and easy access to the basket, while Embiid was taking shots outside of the paint and giving the Celtics what they wanted. For the Sixers, they need to continue to get Embiid the ball but also make sure that the people around him can knock down the three and get some points. Aside from Embiid’s 34 points and Josh Richardson’s 18, no one else had more than 15 points and if they want to win some games then the rest of the roster will need to contribute as well. The Celtics continue to ride the hot hand of Jayson Tatum, 33 points, and a healthy Kemba Walker, 22 points.
For this series to become closer, the 76ers will need to start scoring and limiting the Celitcs scoring. Embiid needs help on offense, and the Sixers need to give it to him.
Final Score: BOS 128 PHI 101
Clippers vs. Mavs
With one of the most controversial calls coming in game one, the Mavs finally got a full game out of Kristaps Prozingus while the Clippers were without Pat Beverly.
The Dallas Mavs got out to a quick start in game two, pulling out to a 13 point lead. The Clippers were able to make some ground up and cut the deficit to 4 points by the end of the first quarter. The Mavs would not let the Clippers take the lead though and every time the Clips looked like they were going on a run, the Mavs hit a three or got to the bucket. In the third quarter, the Mavericks got huge numbers from their bench as they subbed out Luka and got a 13 point lead from their bench. The Clippers were not able to get Paul George going, 14 points, and only got offensive production from Kawhi Leonard or Lou Williams. The Mavs got 47 points from their bench and when Luke got his fifth foul in the fourth, Seth Curry and the rest of the bench took over and sealed the win for Dallas.
In a great team game from Dallas, and a disappointment from the Clippers could set the stage for a very interesting third game.
Final Score: DAL 127 LAC 114