Heat vs. Pacers
The Indiana Pacers were looking for a bounce back game against the Heat, and to even the series to 1-1. The Pacers were met with a Heat team that was making all their threes and ready to go up 2-0.
The Miami Heat jumped out to a ten point lead to start the game, and they seemed to have found a rhythm right at the start. Duncan Robinson was 7 of 8 from three and had a team leading 24 points, when he couldn’t find his stroke in game one. The Pacers were not going down without a fight though, and their suffocating defense led to easy offensive possessions. By the end of the first half, the Pacers were within striking distance, and it looked like it was going to be a tough battle for game two. That was not the case, as the Heat came out of the half on fire. They continued to make threes on the backs of their shooters, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson, and dominated in the paint with contributions from Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebeyo. The Pacers could not get anything going offensively, and were not able to stop the Heat on defense. They also got low scoring performances from TJ Warren, 14 points, which ultimately led to their demise. They did not have one player take over the offense and since they didn’t have a huge team performance, the offense was unable to get going.
The Miami Heat have taken control of this series and while the Heat have been showing up every game, we still can’t count out the Pacers. With a stingy defense that feeds into their offense, the Pacers will try and make this series interesting.
Final Score: MIA 109 IND 100
Rockets vs. Thunder
After a blowout victory for the Houston Rockets, the OKC Thunder were looking to come back and even the series. The Rockets were trying to continue their great offensive and defensive play.
This game started out like the close battle that we all anticipated. The Rockets and Thunder were trading baskets, playing some good defense. Without Russell Westbrook, the Rockets continued to rely on their third and fourth guy to step up, and it seemed like the Rockets bench would continue playing great. The Thunder were getting great looks from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, 31 points, and Danillo Gallinari, 17 points. Chris Paul has yet to get in a groove in the playoffs and this continues to hurt the Thunder, as their leader is not able to get into a rhythm. In the second quarter the Rockets were able to take advantage of the Thunder’s lack of offensive options and shooting, and take a 12 point lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Rockets were playing great defensively, and were getting big stops and turnovers that helped them get easy transition buckets. The Rockets also got huge support from the whole team, as only one player in the whole lineup didn’t score in double digits. The Rockets continue to score and make stops, while the Thunder are not able to keep up with Houston.
This series was going to be one of the best in the first round, but if the Rockets take a 3-0 lead then the Thunder will not be able to bounce back. This next game is a must win for OKC, and we will see if they can outperform the Rockets.
Final Score: HOU 111 OKC 98
Bucks vs. Magic
After a shocking Orlando victory to start the series, it would have been even more crazy if they won game 2. Knowing the Bucks, many people expected them to come out with a fire and take this game and that is exactly what they did.
The Milwaukee Bucks jumped out to a nice lead in the first quarter and never looked back. A bounce back game from Brook Lopez, 20 points, helped fuel the Bucks blowout victory. They also got some nice help from the bench with Pat Connaughton, 15 points, and Donte Divincenzo, 11 points, both scoring in double digits. Playing great offense and defense, the Bucks were playing like the number one seed. The one thing that is worrying for the Bucks, is that Khris Middleton only scored 2 points. He is supposed to be your second scorer alongside Giannis, and if he scores 2 points then the Bucks won’t be able to match the offensive production of teams like the Celtics. For the Magic, Nikola Vucevic has been playing great after having another 30 point game. The difference for the Magic, is that their role players did not play nearly as well as they did in game one. With two of their starting players out, Aaron Gordan and Jonathan Issac, the Magic will need great games from their bench if they want to beat the Bucks.
This series is far from over and if the Magic do get Aaron Gordan back, then the Magic could be much better offensively. The Bucks just need to continue to play at this high level and finish a series that they can win easily.
Final Score: MIL 111 ORL 96
Lakers vs. Trail Blazers
After a very disappointing performance from the L.A Lakers, they will be looking to come back in game 2. With great games from the stars and the bench, the Lakers took care of business.
The Lakers jumped out to a quick start, and had the Blazers on their heel for the first half. Anthony Davis was the focal point of the offense, and completely dominated with 31 points. The Blazers ran two centers on the floor, yet Davis has a deadly inside game and the ability to shoot the three which makes him so hard to contain. The Blazers were not having a good night and were barely hanging on at half. They were shooting 8 for 29 from three, and did not seem to have anything going. After half, the Lakers went on a huge run that extended their lead to double digits and took the Blazers out of the game. The Lakers got a huge effort from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who had 16 points and was 4 for 6 from three. Hitting their shots and playing great defense, as well as a horrible night from the Blazers led to a blowout victory for the Lakers.
The Blazers are not a team that will give up this easily, and game 3 will be a big fight for the lead in the series.
Final Score: LAL 111 POR 88
Top Image: NJ.com/Brian Fonseca