September 15, 2020, 11:58 pm
MIA 117 @ BOS 114
The Heat do not quit. They were down big in the first half, but clawed their way back into this one. Marcus Smart (26 points, three rebounds, an assist and six triples) came up big on offense, but Miami withstood it and powered through. They got huge contributions from Jae Crowder (22 points, five treys, five boards, one assist, one steal and two blocks) and Tyler Herro (12 points, 11 boards, nine dimes and two treys), especially in crunch time. Goran Dragic (29 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a block and three triples) was also a major factor and Jimmy Butler (20 points, five boards, five dimes, one assist, one steal, two blocks and five triples) delivered the big buckets when it mattered most in the fourth and OT. In the final moments of the game, Jayson Tatum (30 points, 14 rebounds, five dimes, three steals, two blocks and four triples) blew by his man and elevated for a dunk that would tie the game, but was met at the rim by Bam Adebayo (18 points, six boards, nine assists, a steal and two blocks) who came up with one of the best blocks in postseason history (behind LeBron James’s of course). The Celtics have all of tools to beat the Heat, but Coach Spoelstra outcoached Brad Stevens in this one, deploying an aggressive 3-2 zone that Stevens wasn’t able to punish (play Enes Kanter here maybe?). This is going to be a battle of a series and the chess match has just begun.
DEN 104 @ LAC 89
From the start of the game there seemed to be a lack of defensive intensity on both sides. Fastbreaks would lead to easy looks and a couple of passes and one team would just break down in their rotations. It didn’t “feel” like a Game 7 and the Clippers got to a double-digit lead again in the first half, only to end the half with a two-point lead as the Nuggets started to catch up. Lou Williams (seven points, four boards and six dimes) and Montrezl Harrell (20 points with three boards) showed up today, but most of their damage was in the first half. Kawhi Leonard (14 points, 6-of-22 FG, six rebounds, six assists, two steals, a block and two triples) was held in check by a swarm of Nuggets defenders doubling and Paul George (10 points on 4-of-16 shooting with four boards, two assist, a steal, a block and two triples) and Marcus Morris (seven points, 2-of-9 shooting with six boards and a steal) didn’t convert anything in the fourth when it mattered. The Clippers started the quarter off 0-for-11 before a tip-in dunk made it 1-for-12. The story for the Nuggets is and always will be, Nikola Jokic (16 points, 22 rebounds, 13 assists, two steals and three blocks) who was a consistent force throughout the game. He absolutely dominated whenever he was on the floor and was the best player in this entire series. A Hoop Ball favorite since the beginning of time, this playoff series win is one of the biggest upsets in recent memory considering the situation. Of course Jamal Murray (40 points, four rebounds, five dimes, a steal and six triples) showed out in 45 minutes of action and for all the talk about how elite the Clippers defense would be, they had no answer for him tonight. The Nuggets face the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals and they’ll be underdogs without a doubt, but this team has conquered more than any other in this bubble so far so it would be foolish to write them off.