May 3, 2017, 11:22 pm
Wednesday night brought us a couple of games with very different match-ups. In one, both teams’ objectives were to outscore each other, while finding key stops on defense. In the other, we have a contrast in styles where a high-octane offense faces off against a calm and collected, fundamentally sound, defense-oriented team.
Records were broken, morale was raised, while some superstars struggled. Fret not, for we’ve got all of that sorted out in this edition of the Daily Dish.
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Toronto Raptors 103 – Cleveland Cavaliers 125
The Cavaliers moved up 2-0 in the series, thanks to yet another impressive performance by LeBron James. He torched the Raptors with 39 points and a fat stat line to lead his team. He hit 10-of-14 shots from the field, 4-of-6 from downtown. Jams also added six rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks. Not only did the King secure the win, he also made history by surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time playoff scoring list. Kareem’s record is pegged at 5,762 points. James is now number two on that list, trailing “his Airness” Michael Jordan, whose record stands at 5,987 points.
Cleveland led in this game from start to finish, getting off to a hot start in the first quarter with a 22-34 advantage. They simply kept rolling as the Raptors could not slow down James and company.
Kyrie Irving chipped in with a double-double performance of 22 points, 11 assists, and two steals. Kevin Love was noticeably quiet in Game 2, managing to score nine points and pull down seven rebounds. He did have to deal with some foul trouble early on and ended being limited to just over 20 minutes of action on the court.
The Cavs got a solid boost from Channing Frye, who was a per-minute beast in this game, scoring 18 points off the bench. As usual, his scoring was mostly generated from beyond the arc, with him connecting on 5-of-7 shots from deep.
Cleveland was able to shut down Toronto’s top scorer, DeMar DeRozan, who they limited five points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field. Kyle Lowry did his best to put up points on the board with his 20 but it was obviously not enough to keep in stride with the defending champs. The Raptors got solid games from Cory Joseph and Jonas Valanciunas, who added 22 and 23 points off the bench, respectively.
It’s obviously a bit too early to call this series now, but it appears that Cleveland is on pace for a showdown against the Celtics in the Eastern conference finals.
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Houston Rockets 96 – San Antonio Spurs 121
The Spurs downed the Rockets on the heels of an insanely efficient game from Kawhi Leonard, who scored 34 points on 13-of-16 shooting from the field, 3-of-4 from beyong the arc, and 5-of-5 from the free-throw line. He also added seven points, eight dimes, three steals, and a block to complete his well-rounded performance. That was the positive. On the negative side of things, Tony Parker injured his knee in the fourth quarter and did not return. The veteran was carried off the court. He finished the game with 18 points and four assists.
One of the adjustments the Spurs made in this game was to start Pau Gasol. He was able to make an impact in 29 minutes with six points, 13 boards, three assists and four blocks.
James Harden had an off night with a low-end double-double performance. He shot poorly from the field, hitting just 3-of-17 of his shots, winding up with 13 points, seven rebounds, and 10 assists.
This game went to Kawhi Leonard. And with Harden still dealing with a few bumbs and bruises, it will be interesting which team will carve out the edge in the series in the next game.
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