August 30, 2020, 2:23 am
After a three-day hiatus, the playoffs resumed on Saturday with the two top-seeded teams advancing to the second round. Basketball had taken a backseat with players electing to voice their frustrations over recent events. After much discussion, the decision was made to forge ahead despite the troubling times. As well as both the Lakers and Bucks progressing, the Rockets were able to rebound after back-to-back losses. This brings us to Saturday’s dish where we break down the six teams in action as well as a few injury notes heading into Sunday.
Luka Doncic has been listed as questionable for Game 6 on Sunday. Despite playing in both games since suffering his ankle injury, he has looked increasingly uncomfortable. With no Kristaps Porzingis (torn meniscus), Doncic will be vital to the Mavericks’ chances of forcing a Game 7.
Tim Hardaway Jr. joins a plethora of injured Mavericks players and has been ruled questionable for Sunday.
Trey Burke has been playing through a minor ankle injury and is once again questionable.
Dorian Finney-Smith has also been playing through injury but is yet to miss any playoff action. He is again listed as questionable, which is not surprising at all.
Patrick Beverley continues to struggle with a calf injury but has been deemed questionable for Game 6.
Gary Harris is yet to play in Orlando but has been upgraded to questionable for Game 6 against the Jazz. The Nuggets will be looking to force a Game 7 and they could certainly use Harris, especially on the defensive end of the floor.
MIL 118 – ORL 104
The Bucks took care of business in Game 5, accounting for a plucky Magic outfit. Despite foul trouble, Giannis Antetokounmpo had his way with the Magic defense, scoring at will. He received adequate support from an unlikely source in Marvin Williams who dropped 12 points including a couple of clutch 3-pointers. The Magic refused to lay down despite trailing by as much as 21 points midway through the third quarter. They edged their way back to within two points early in the fourth before the Bucks took control late. The Bucks will now face the Heat in the second round of the playoffs, a series that is likely to prove more difficult. The Heat have defeated the Bucks twice this season and will be full of confidence after accounting for the Pacers in four games. Game 1 will be on Monday with both teams looking to gain an early advantage.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – 28 points (11-17 FG, 3-6 3PM, 3-5 FT), 17 rebounds, three assists and one block
Brook Lopez – 16 points (7-12 Fg, 1-4 3PM, 1-1 FT), seven rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block
Khris Middleton – 21 points (7-16 FG, 3-8 3PM, 4-5 FT), 10 rebounds, seven assists and one steal
Evan Fournier – 18 points (5-12 FG, 3-7 3PM, 5-7 FT), four rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block
Nikola Vucevic – 22 points (9-25 FG, 3-10 3PM, 1-2 FT), 15 rebounds, five assists and one steal
Terrence Ross – 13 points (5-11 FG, 3-5 3PM), six rebounds, two assists and one steal
HOU 114 – OKC 80
The return of Russell Westbrook was certainly the talking point heading into Game 5 on Saturday. However, he struggled to find his rhythm on the offensive end, allowing others around him to get plenty of good looks. Robert Covington had his best game in quite a while, connecting on a team-high six triples en route to 22 points. Harden did his thing while Eric Gordon attempted a team-high 17 shots, ending with 20 points in 32 minutes. For the Thunder, it does not make for pleasant reading. They were certainly within reach at the half before faltering during the third quarter. Dennis Schroder and P.J. Tucker were both ejected after an ongoing battle, with Schroder’s absence weighing heavily on the Thunder’s chances. Game 6 will be on Monday with the Rockets looking to move on in the playoffs, while the Thunder are simply playing for their survival.
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
LAL 131 – POR 122
Despite a spirited performance by the vastly understrength Blazers, the Lakers walked away with a nine-point victory, paving their way through to the second round of the playoffs. It was the first playoff series victory for the Lakers in almost a decade and has them ready to face either the Rockets or the Thunder. For the Lakers, it was once again the LeBron James and Anthony Davis show, the two combining to score 79 of the teams 131 points. Their depth remains an issue with no other player scoring more than 14 points and only two able to put up double-digits. C.J. McCollum did everything he could to get the Blazers over the line, ending with 36 points on 13-of-25 shooting. Jusuf Nurkic double-doubled, while Carmelo Anthony turned in a vintage performance, dropping 27 points in 40 minutes.
LeBron James – 36 points (14-19 FG, 4-7 3PM, 4-4 FT), 10 rebounds, 10 assists, one steal and one block
Anthony Davis – 43 points (14-18 FG, 4-6 3PM, 11-13 FT), nine rebounds, four assists and one steal
Alex Caruso – seven points (3-5 FG, 0-2 3PM, 1-2 FT), four steals, three rebounds, two assists and one block
C.J. McCollum – 36 points (13-25 FG, 3-7 3PM, 7-8 FT), seven assists, six rebounds and one steal
Carmelo Anthony – 27 points (9-16 FG, 3-4 3PM, 6-7 FT), seven rebounds and one assist
Jusuf Nurkic – 16 points (6-16 FG, 1-4 3PM, 3-4 FT), 10 rebounds, six assists, five steals and one block