May 10, 2016, 12:08 am
Monday brought us another fantastic evening of NBA action. The early game provided yet another overtime session between the Raptors and the Heat. (That’s three in four games for those counting at home). The late game in Portland provided the setting for Chef Curry’s return to the court. It also required an extra five minutes before a winner was declared. With a look at what transpired here is Tuesday’s daily dish.
HEAT 94, RAPTORS 87 (OT)
This series provided yet another overtime game for the fans and in similar Game 1 fashion, the Heat dominated the extra frame.
Dwayne Wade was once again the catalyst for the Heat scoring 30 points on 13-of-24 shooting and single-handedly taking this game into overtime with a last-minute drive to the basket. Wade added four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 38 minutes of action.
Goran Dragic and Joe Johnson were the only other Heat players in double figures, each scoring 15 points respectably. Johnson played some timely defense, as both the Heat and Raptors went small, and his size proved to be key in guarding DeMar DeRozan.
Justice Winslow played 30 minutes off the bench and scored nine points on 4-of-5 shooting. More importantly however, he played tremendous defense on Cory Joseph and prevented him from driving into the paint as he so often does.
The Raptors were led in this one by DeMarre Carroll and Bismack Biyombo. Carroll scored 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting and battled all night on the defensive end against Dwayne Wade. Biyombo double-doubled in 31 minutes of action scoring 13 points and adding 13 rebounds.
Off the bench, Terrance Ross provided yet another spark with 14 points including three from the land beyond. Cory Joseph matched Ross’ team-high 14 points in 36 minutes of action. The minutes were a series high due to the fact that Kyle Lowry fouled out late in the fourth.
DeMar DeRozan completely self destructed in this one scoring nine points on 4-of-17 shooting. It was so bad that coach Casey sat DeRozan for the last three minutes of the third quarter and the first nine minutes of the fourth. It’s fair to wonder if he would have returned to the game at all had Kyle Lowry not fouled out.
Kyle Lowry was limited to 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting. He did add seven rebounds, nine assists and four steals, but the combined 6-of-28 shooting between DeRozan and Lowry sank the Raptors once again.
Inexplicably, coach Casey decided to match line-ups with the Heat as opposed to dictate the match-ups. The Raptors decided to go very small and it cost them. Luol Deng, Joe Johnson and Justise Winslow manhandled the smaller Raptors line-up in every facet of the game. In the end, it proved to be the difference in Game 4.
This battle has now become a best of three series. The Raptors can take solace in the fact that they at least took one win in Miami and recaptured home-court advantage. The loss of Jonas Valanciunas seems to have taken a toll on the Raptors. If Dwayne Wade continues to control the paint like he did tonight and if DeRozan and Lowry continue to struggle from the field, the Heat will prevail in six games. Jurassic Park will be rocking on Wednesday night as the Raptors look to rebound from a disappointing Game 4 loss.
WARRIORS 132, BLAZERS 125 (OT)
Last week I stated that the best game of the playoffs to date had been the Game 2 thriller between the Spurs and Thunder. Tonight I was corrected. Game 4 between the Warriors and Blazers was nothing short of spectacular with Golden State riding the frail knee of Stephen Curry to victory.
The return of Stephen Curry was magnified by the ejection of Shaun Livingston just prior to halftime. Curry came off the bench in Game 4 and was supposed to have a minutes cap of roughly 25 minutes. That quickly changed as the second half started. Curry scored 40 points on 16-of-32 shooting in 37 minutes of action. 17 of his 40 points were scored in the extra frame and he added nine rebounds, eight assists and five three pointers to his complete his line. It’s safe to say the Chef is back.
Draymond Green played a team-high 44 minutes and produced one of the greatest all around lines in recent fantasy history. Green scored 21 points (5-of-9 shooting, 9-of-10 from the line) with two treys, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and seven, yes SEVEN blocks. Green was all over the court tonight and Curry’s return did not seem to affect his output.
Klay Thompson chipped in with 23 points (7-of-18 shooting, 4-of-4 from the line). Thompson added five treys, four rebounds, two assists and two steals and played some tough defense on Damian Lilllard.
The Blazers were led by their dynamic backcourt (and second best backcourt in the NBA, according to Charles Barkley) of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Lillard matched Chef Curry shot for shot and finished his night with 36 points on 9-of-30 shooting. He added six rebounds, 10 assists and five three pointers.
McCollum played a game-high 48 minutes and chipped in 24 points on 9-of-23 shooting. He added three rebounds, three steals and four treys to round out his line.
Mason Plumlee and Al-Farouq Aminu both provided double-doubles for the Blazers in a losing effort. Plumlee scored 12 points and added 15 rebounds while Aminu added 13 points and 18 rebounds.
This game was exciting from start to finish so there wasn’t much to complain about. The ejection of Shaun Livingston could have hampered the Warriors, but Stephen Curry put those thoughts to rest with his epic overtime performance.
Andrew Bogut fouled out in 26 minutes of action. He scored two points with nine rebounds and two blocks. He was outplayed in this one by Mason Plumlee.
This game went back and forth until Stephen Curry took control late in the overtime session. Kudos has to be given to the Blazers as they could have easily taken this series back to Golden State tied at two. Instead, the Warriors now have a chance to close out the series at home in front of Dub Nation. Game 5 goes Wednesday night and we can’t wait to see how Portland responds.