August 23, 2020, 10:09 am
Saturday brought with it another four-game slate as the first round of the playoffs continue to offer up plenty of stellar basketball. After a couple of early surprises, most of the series are beginning to shape out as we had expected. Let’s dive into some recent injury news, as well as deconstructing Saturday’s results.
Aaron Gordon is still yet to return for the Magic despite continuing to ramp up his activity. He should be considered questionable for Game 4.
Domantas Sabonis looks set to rejoin the Pacers in Orlando after missing the previous six weeks with plantar fasciitis. While he appears likely to clear quarantine, he remains unlikely to return to the court.
Rajon Rondo looked set to return to the court for the Lakers but was a late scratch due to back spasms. Without knowing how serious this new injury is, he should be viewed as questionable for Tuesday’s Game 4.
Luka Doncic had an MRI on Saturday and has been listed as questionable for Game 4 on Sunday. The results showed no significant damage and it will likely be a pain tolerance issue moving forward.
Kristaps Porzingis was fantastic in Game 3 and his probable tag for Game 4 is likely precautionary.
Patrick Beverley continues to battle a calf issue and is doubtful to play on Sunday.
Gary Harris has been upgraded to doubtful after missing the entire resumption thus far with a hip injury. Even if he is able to make it back to the court, he is almost certainly going to be on a minutes restriction.
MIL 121 – ORL 107
After a bump in the road to begin the series, the Bucks now look to be in complete control. Saturday ended with a 14-point victory, although the lead was as much as 34 points midway through the third quarter. For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo is basically getting to the rim whenever he wants and Eric Bledsoe is rounding into form at just the right time. To the Magic’s credit, they never gave up with D.J. Augustin leading the way with a team-high 24 points including four triples. It would appear to be a mere formality for the Bucks right now and they should be able to close out the series in five games.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – 35 points (7-17 FG, 2-3 3PM, 9-12 FT), 11 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one block
Eric Bledsoe – 14 points (5-9 FG, 2-3 3PM, 2-2 FT), eight assists, five rebounds and three steals
Khris Middleton – 17 points (7-17 FG, 3-7 3PM, 0-1 FT), eight rebounds, six assists and one steal
D.J. Augustin – 24 points (8-13 FG, 4-8 3PM, 4-4 FT), six assists and three rebounds
Nikola Vucevic – 20 points (8-19 FG, 2-8 3PM, 2-2 FT), five rebounds, two assists and two steals
Terrence Ross – 20 points (8-13 FG, 4-7 3PM, 0-1 FT), one rebound and one steal
MIA 124 – IND 115
The Heat held on for a nine-point victory over a dogged Pacers outfit, garnering themselves a 3-0 series lead. After leading by 18 points at half time, the Heat took their foot off the gas during the third quarter, giving the Pacers a sniff of victory. Goran Dragic continues to turn back the hands of time with his third consecutive 20 point game. His elevation into the starting lineup has resulted in Kendrick Nunn seeing time as a cheerleader only. Jimmy Bulter was terrific again despite shooting just 5-of-16 from the field and Bam Adebayo had his best game of the series. For the Pacers, Malcolm Brogdon was incredible in a losing effort. Victor Oladipo needed 21 shots to score 20 points before fouling out. His aggression is certainly on the rise; however, he made a number of questionable decisions down the stretch. Barring any strange occurrences, the Heat should be able to wrap this series up in either four or five games.
Jimmy Butler – 27 points (5-16 FG, 0-2 3PM, 17-20 FT), eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block
Bam Adebayo – 22 points (7-11 FG, 8-9 FT), 11 rebounds, five assists and one steal
Goran Dragic – 24 points (8-17 FG, 5-10 3PM, 3-5 FT), six assists, three steals and two rebounds
Malcolm Brogdon – 34 points (11-17 FG, 4-7 3PM, 8-8 FT), 14 assists, seven rebounds and two steals
T.J. Warren – 23 points (8-18 FG, 0-3 3PM, 7-7 FT), six rebounds, five steals, two assists and one block
Victor Oladipo – 20 points (8-21 FG, 3-10 3PM, 1-2 FT), four rebounds, one assist and one steal
OKC 119 – HOU 107
After two sub-par performances, the Thunder finally showed up on Saturday. Trailing by as much as 12 points early, the Thunder settled into their best offensive rhythm of the series on the back of their small-ball threats. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder combined for 78 of the Thunder’s 119 total points with Danilo Gallinari the only other player to reach double-digits. Despite scoring only nine points, Luguentz Dort did a fantastic job defending James Harden and certainly makes a difference for the Thunder. Speaking of Harden, he dropped in a casual 38 points on 12-of-27 shooting, falling just short of another triple-double. Robert Covington continues to struggle and it was Jeff Green, once again filling the void. This is more like the kind of performance we had been expecting from the Thunder and they will look to keep things going in Game 4 on Tuesday.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 23 points (9-18 FG, 3-7 3PM, 2-2 FT), seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and one block
Chris Paul – 26 points (11-20 FG, 4-6 3PM, 0-1 FT), six rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block
Dennis Schroder – 29 points (10-23 FG, 2-10 3PM, 7-9 FT), five rebounds, five assists and two steals
James Harden – 38 points (12-27 FG, 3-13 3PM, 11-15 FT), eight assists, seven rebounds and one steal
Danuel House – 15 points (5-10 FG, 3-6 3PM, 2-4 FT), 10 rebounds and one steal
Jeff Green – 22 points (8-13 FG, 5-8 3PM, 1-2 FT), seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal
LAL 116 – POR 108
The Lakers established some sort of control, taking a 2-1 lead in their first-round series against the Blazers. LeBron James was incredible, torching the Blazers to the tune of 38 points, only 48 hours removed from a 10-point effort in Game 2. Despite a slow start to the game, Anthony Davis dominated the final quarter to finish with a well-rounded line. Oddly, he shot only 7-of-14 from the charity stripe but this is likely to rectify itself quite quickly. Damian Lillard didn’t appear bothered by his finger injury suffered during Game 2. He finished with a team-high 34 points and was well supported by C.J. McCollum with 28 points of his own. Carmelo Anthony kept the Blazers in touch as he made all six of his shot attempts during the third quarter, ending the game with 20 points and four steals. The victory was great for the Lakers; however, they are certainly not dominating the series as they might have hoped. Their depth is still questionable and they are going to have to make a few improvements if they are to go all the way this season.
LeBron James – 38 points (11-18 FG, 4-8 3PM, 12-17 FT), 12 rebounds, eight assists and two steals
Anthony Davis – 29 points (11-18 FG, 0-2 3PM, 7-14 FT), 11 rebounds, eight assists, three blocks and two steals
Alex Caruso – 10 points (3-5 FG, 1-2 3PM, 3-4 FT), seven assists, four rebounds and one block
Damian Lillard – 34 points (8-20 FG, 5-11 3PM, 13-14 FT), seven assists and five rebounds
C.J. McCollum – 28 points (12-25 FG, 4-12 3PM), eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block
Carmelo Anthony – 20 points (9-20 FG, 2-3 3PM), six rebounds, four steals, two assists and one block