• The second round of the playoffs continues to deliver its fair share of surprises and Saturday was certainly no exception. After going with 0.5 seconds of trailing 0-3,  the Raptors pulled out all the stops in Game 4 and now sit level at 2-2. They will have all the momentum heading into Game 5 and based on what we have seen thus far, all signs are pointing to a seven-game series. Meanwhile, the Nuggets dropped 44 points in the opening quarter, eventually securing perhaps their most impressive victory of the postseason. Very few gave the Nuggets any hope of making this a competitive series and as per usual, they continue to prove us wrong.

    Injury Report

    Giannis Antetokounmpo injured his ankle during the first quarter of Game 3 and has been listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Heat. It is a must-win situation for the Bucks and so it would be very surprising to see Giannis on the sidelines.

    Tyler Herro popped up on the injury report despite playing 32 minutes in Game 3. This would seem more precautionary than anything else and barring any setbacks, he should be good to go on Sunday.

    Kelly Olynyk missed Game 3 with a knee injury and it could cause him to miss another game here. He has been listed as questionable and we will likely have to wait until closer to tipoff to get a final decision.

    Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Rajon Rondo have all been listed as probable for Game 2 on Sunday and much like Herro, this would seem to be a simple precaution.

    Rundown

    TOR 100 – BOS 93

    The Raptors squared their series against the Celtics with a gutsy seven-point victory in Game 4 on Saturday. Head coach Nick Nurse continues to give his primary guys all the run they can handle with three of the five starters playing at least 44 minutes. Despite shooting under 40 percent from the field, the Raptors brought their defensive game, limiting the Celtics to just 93 points. Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry both double-doubled while Fred VanVleet connected on a team-high five triples. They are basically going with a seven-man rotation at this point and given the recent success, that trend is likely to continue into Game 5. For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum continues to add to his already growing reputation as one of the league’s elite two-way players. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Jaylen Brown who finished with a game-low minus-14, hitting on just 4 of his 18 shot attempts. The glaring difference in this one was the perimeter scoring, as the Raptors poured in 17 triples to the Celtics’ seven. Game 5 is going to be pivotal for both teams as the Raptors look to ride their current momentum, while the Celtics will attempt to wrestle back the advantage.

    Key Performances

    Giannis Antetokounmpo – 22 points (5-16 FG, 4-10 3PM, 8-8 FT), 11 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocks

    Pascal Siakam – 23 points (10-23 FG, 2-13 3PM, 1-2 FT), 11 rebounds and two assists

    Serge Ibaka – 18 points (7-9 FG, 4-4 3PM), seven rebounds and one block

    Jayson Tatum – 24 points (10-18 FG, 1-6 3PM, 3-5 FT), 10 rebounds and three assists

    Kemba Walker – 15 points (4-9 FG, 1-6 3PM, 6-7 FT), eight assists, two rebounds and one steal

    Daniel Theis – Eight points (4-7 FG, 0-2 FT), seven rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block

     

    DEN – 110 – LAC 101

    The Nuggets clearly ate their Wheaties prior to tipoff, torching the Clippers to the tune of 44 points in the opening quarter. The scoring rate slowed dramatically after this point but it was ultimately enough for them to secure an impressive victory. For the underdogs, it was Nikola Jokic doing a lot of the damage with a 26-and-18 double-double including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. He was aptly supported by Jamal Murray who found his rhythm on the offensive end, dropping a game-high 27 points to go with a full line. The Clippers simply couldn’t get anything going all night despite seven players scoring in double-digits. Patrick Beverley was ejected after playing just 15 minutes and will need to remain calm if he is to have a positive impact on this series. Kawhi Leonard finally cooled off, finishing with just 13 points on 4-of-17 shooting, although he did contribute 10 rebounds, eight assists, three steals and one block. Paul George also had a well-rounded performance but the shooting was also an issue. The Clippers are likely to remain firm favorites despite the loss and it is going to be up to the Nuggets to prove they are serious title contenders.

    Key Performances

    James Harden – 31 points (11-15 FG, 4-8 3PM, 5-6 FT), five assists, two rebounds, one steal and one block

    Robert Covington – 22 points (8-14 FG, 6-11 3PM), seven rebounds, three assists and three steals

    Eric Gordon – 20 points (9-17 FG, 0-3 3PM, 2-2 FT), four rebounds, three assists and two steals

    Steven Adams – 12 points (6-8 FG, 0-2 FT) and 14 rebounds

    Darius Bazley – 10 points (2-10 FG, 2-7 3PM, 4-4 FT), 12 rebounds, one assist and one block

    Dennis Schroder – 19 points (6-13 FG, 3-8 3PM, 4-5 FT), one rebound, one assist, one steal and one block

     

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