Bucks vs. Magic
After a game one scare, the Milwaukee Bucks are back on top of this series. They need one more win to close out the series, and it seems very likely that they will do so.
After a couple of disappointing losses for the Magic where Nikola Vucevic seemed to be the only one scoring, the Magic finally got some help from their role players. With this added boost and another 30 points game from Vucevic, the Magic held their own with the Bucks. There was only a 5 point margin between them after a half, and they cut that down to 3 by the end of third. They got pretty big games from Terrence Ross, 19 points, and Markelle Fultz, 15 points, who helped the Magic offense keep up with the Bucks. The Bucks had a really solid game, and showed that they were the number one team in the fourth quarter. After having a scary three quarter in which the Magic would not go away, the Bucks took control of the fourth quarter with a quick 9 point lead and never looked back. Khris Middleton has not been having his best series against the Magic, but he seemed to have turned it around in game 4 with 21 points and 4 threes. This is a good sign for Middleton who has been ice cold for the majority of this series. Riding both Giannis, 31 points, and Middleton, the Bucks were able to close out this game and put themselves in prime position to win the series.
The Magic were not expected to get close to the Bucks, and these couple of close games that they were able to string together should be a promising sign for the future.
Final Score: MIL 121 ORL 106
Rockets vs. Thunder
After a very close OT game, the Thunder were looking to tie up the series and they had to use some more of their clutch time magic to get it done.
This game started just like game 3, and it looked like it was going to be a battle from the start. The Rockets were hitting their threes, but the Thunder were answering right back. By the end of half the game was tied, and the second half was set to be even crazier. The Rockets came out of the gates blazing, they were 8 for 8 from three and had built a double digit lead. If the Rockets could sustain this lead and keep up their shooting, then they would be in good shape to go up 3-1. The problem was, that the Rockets were not able to continue their hot streak, and let the Thunder crawl back in. They had cut the lead down to one by the end of the third, thanks to another huge game from Dennis Schroder, 30 points, and Chris Paul, 26 points. The Rockets were still in the game, and thanks to a big game from Eric Gordan, 23 points, and another James Harden explosion, 32 points, the Rockets were able to stay in the game. Coming down to clutch time, the Rockets could not hit a three and that gave the Thunder an undeniable opening to take the game and even the series.
In the last two games, the Rockets seem to be missing Russell Westrbook and they can not afford to go down 3-2 in this series. James Harden and the rest of the Rockets must find their stroke and take game 5, if they want to save Westbrook for the next series.
Final Score: OKC 117 HOU 114
Heat vs. Pacers
This series has been one of the most surprising of the whole first round, and while the Pacers have been keeping the games close they can never seem to pull out a victory.
This game started out close just like the rest of the series, yet they were able to pull out to a 6 point lead by the end of the first quarter. The Heat were slowly pulling away from the Pacers and had a 10 point lead at the 5 minute mark in the 4th quarter. The Heat were able to rely on their veteran point guard Goran Dragic, 23 points, to help close out this game and put the Pacers away. The shooting and attacking that this Heat offense has, seems to be overwhelming the Pacers defense. When the Pacers are not able to get stops, they are not able to push the pace and without Domantas Sabonis it is difficult for the Pacers to have an efficient half court offense. While they were able to keep the game close with Victor Oladipo, 25 points, and Myles Turner, 22 points, providing some offense, the Pacers need huge offensive explosions like the ones they got from TJ Warren in the seeding games to compete with other teams offensively. The Heat did not have a huge scoring game, yet they were able to hit shots and keep the Pacers defense in check.
Final Score: MIA 99 IND 87
MIA wins series 4-0
Lakers vs. Trail Blazers
In memory of Kobe Bryant, it seemed like the L.A Lakers were coming out with a fire that was Mamba worthy.
The Lakers started the game with a 15 points run, and it seemed like the Blazers had no chance from the start. At the end of the first the Lakers were up 43 to 25 and they were dominating on both sides of the floor. The Blazers were not able to keep up with the pace that the Lakers were playing at, and ultimately got left behind. After his finger injury, Damian Lillard has not been playing at the level he started the bubble with, and in this last game he only had 11 points and shot 2 threes. The Lakers on the other hand, were firing on all cylinders with six players scoring in double digits and Lebron going for a team high 30 points. This is the Lakers team that is at the top of the West, and if they continue to play like this then they have a pretty big shot at making it out of the West.
The Blazers have gone down 3-1, and against a team like the Lakers there is little chance that they can come back from this. With a hurt backcourt and the loss of Zach Collins, the Blazers have fought valiantly but it seems like their bubble run might be over.
Final Score: LAL 135 POR 115
Top Image: SilverScreenandRoll.com/Christian Rivas