• Which is sadder, the Rajon Rondo injury or the Raptors getting blown out of the water the other day? I would have to say it’s pretty even. Rondo is a huge part of the Bulls’ recent success and losing a playoff veteran like that definitely hurts the team. They still have the best player on the court in Jimmy Butler, so it’ll be up to him to fill the void for this Bulls team. Rondo will be re-evaluated in 7-10 days and will be out at least a couple of weeks. As for the Raptors, they got shut down by the Bucks and their offensive game was too predictable. They’re facing a bigger and lengthier team, they can’t keep calling isolation plays. Dwane Casey will need to make major adjustments or the Raptors will be bounced from the first round. Make no mistake, there are a lot of unhappy fans up in the North but the faith is still there. Anyways, on a exciting Friday night of NBA action, Hoop-Ball has got you covered! The Celtics exploit the Rondo-less Bulls, the Thunder squeak by the Rockets, and Chris Paul takes over Salt Lake City! Playoff action is heating up so let’s hop right into Saturday’s Daily Dish! Also follow @HoopBallTweets for up to the minute updates or hit me up on Twitter (@NguyenTDanh) if you have any questions!

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    Celtics 104, Bulls 87

    Looks like the Celtics got back on track tonight after tonight’s win in Chicago. The win came after breaking news that Rajon Rondo (right thumb fracture) will be out indefinitely and will miss the remainder of this series. The Celtics backcourt took advantage of the situation as Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley both had fantastic games. Thomas lead the way for his team with 16 points (two treys), nine assists, two rebounds and one steal. He didn’t get to the free throw line once this game, but luckily that didn’t come back to hurt them. Bradley had his best game of the series with 15 points (four treys), seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals. This Rondo injury looks like it’s already impacting this series in a big way.

    Al Horford finally got the better of Robin Lopez in tonight’s victory. Horford stuffed the stat sheet with 18 points (two treys), eight rebounds, six assists, four steals and one block. He hasn’t lived up to his off-season contract so far, but he will need to put up similar numbers if the Celtics have any hope of winning this series. Jae Crowder also chipped in with 16 points (two treys), six rebounds, three assists and one steal. He played a big part in shutting down Jimmy Butler tonight and the team is hoping he can continue to slow him down.

    The Bulls didn’t look the same tonight without their starting point guard. Butler couldn’t get his shot going tonight, hitting just 7-of-21 on his way to 14 points, seven rebounds and one steal. Dwyane Wade wasn’t much better, hitting 6-of-18 shots for 18 points, three assists, one rebound and two blocks. It’ll be harder to get open shots without a valuable playmaker on the floor, so it’s up to the Bulls now to adjust to the situation. Jerian Grant also struggled in his first playoff start, recording just six points and one steal. Seems like the lights were too bright for Grant to handle tonight.

    Thunder 115, Rockets 113

    The Thunder managed to escape tonight with a victory over the Rockets. This game came down to the final shot where James Harden was not able to convert on a three-point attempt to win the Rockets the game. Russell Westbrook posted his second triple-double of the Playoffs and this time, it counted. Westbeast recorded 32 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists and three steals on an efficient 11-of-24 shooting. He only took one 3-point attempt tonight and that worked out in his team’s favor as they ended the night with a W. Look for him to continue posting these monster lines as long as the Thunder are in the playoffs.

    Andre Roberson filled up it up tonight with 12 points (two treys), six rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks. Taj Gibson came up huge with 20 points for the Thunder. With no reliable second-option after Westbrook, this was much needed. Victor Oladipo also contributed 12 points (two treys), six rebounds and two assists. Please Oladipo, be more aggressive.

    Most of the Rockets’ starters struggled tonight. Patrick Beverley had a rough game with just one point, seven rebounds and two assists, and on top of that, he fouled out of the game in 25 minutes. He’s been solid this series so look for him to bounce back next game. Clint Capela was quiet as well, posting just five points, two rebounds, three blocks and one steal. He was eaten up tonight and was a team-worst minus-15 on the court. Trevor Ariza couldn’t find his shot either, hitting just 2-of-9 for seven points and eight rebounds. The worst part was, he had no defensive stats to backup his quiet night.

    There was some good news as Ryan Anderson finally showed up to play, dropping 18 points (three treys) and six rebounds. Eric Gordon had a decent night off the bench with 12 points, three boards, two steals and a block. Lou Williams got hot early and finished with 22 points (three treys) and four boards. Their starters let them down tonight, except Harden, as he almost carried them to a victory with a massive 44 points (four treys), six rebounds and six assists.

    Editor’s Note: Hoop Ball and RotoTracker have partnered up to give our podcast listeners and premium subscribers discounts on the best DFS tracking service in the industry. You want to win and this is what we use and what the pros use. Click Here to find out more.

    Clippers 111, Jazz 108

    The Clippers stole this Game 3 victory away from the Jazz tonight. Just when you thought the Clippers were in a good position with Rudy Gobert out, Blake Griffin (toe) gets injured in the second quarter and did not return, finishing with 11 points (one trey), six rebounds and one steal. After Blake went down, a lot of people assumed that this was going to be a victory for the Jazz, but nope. Chris Paul put this team on his back and willed them to a victory with 34 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists and two steals. Call him the point God because he was unstoppable.

    DeAndre Jordan stepped up with a massive double-double as well, scoring 17 points with 13 rebounds and one block. If Blake were to miss more time, look for DJ to benefit the most in that situation. Luc Mbah a Moute did his part for the Clippers, notching 15 points with six rebounds, one steal and one block. They’re going to need contribution from every one of their players, including J.J. Redick, who put up a dud with eight points and three rebounds.

    It was a disappointing loss for the Jazz as they were in control until CP3 took over. Gordon Hayward dropped an efficient 40 points (four treys) with eight rebounds, four assists and two blocks. The Jazz had a chance to tie the ball game up late, but Hayward turned the ball over while inbounding and that was that. He’ll learn from this mistake and will only get better with more playoff experience. George Hill also caught fire in this game, going for 26 points (four treys), four rebounds, three assists and one steal. You can tell by the way he played down the stretch that he’s been on this stage before. Joe Johnson also gave off that vibe, scoring 15 points off the bench. They didn’t get much help from anyone else and it’s clear that life without Gobert isn’t as sweet.

    That’ll do it for Saturday’s dish. Thank you to all the readers and subscribers! Cheers! #HoopBall #WeTheNorth

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