April 18, 2017, 10:25 pm
Hello Hoop-Ballers! It’s a pleasure to continue providing Daily Dish coverage to you all during playoff season. The NBA season doesn’t stop and neither do we. The playoffs are in full gear and we were treated to three games on Tuesday night. Tuesday’s home teams all found themselves down 1-0 in the series and had a chance to get all even. Let’s take a look at what transpired on Tuesday.
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RAPTORS EVEN SERIES DESPITE LATE BUCKS COMEBACK
The Raptors gave up a 12-point fourth quarter lead after the Bucks went on a 17-5 run to tie the game with just over two minutes left. The series hung in the balance for the Raptors and they knew an 0-2 showing at home would put them in danger of losing to the inferior Bucks.
The Raptors found themselves up 102-100 with 24 seconds left and possession of the ball. With the shot clock winding down, Kyle Lowry improvised and hit a wild step-back jumper with 8.9 seconds left in the game to seal the deal. After a very poor showing in Game 1, Lowry redeemed himself with 22 points (6-for-12 FGs, 8-for-9 FTs), four boards, five assists, three steals, one block and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes.
Every time it looked as though the Bucks were poised for a comeback, Serge Ibaka had an answer. Ibaka shot 6-for-15 from the field for 16 points with seven boards, six assists, two blocks and four 3-pointers in 36 minutes. He was the unsung hero late on Tuesday.
DeMar DeRozan stayed hot, shooting 9-for-18 from the field and 5-for-6 from the line for 23 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 38 minutes. Jonas Valanciunas also got it done with a double-double, scoring 10 points with 10 boards in 22 minutes.
The Bucks played another gritty performance and almost came away with another upset. Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled by shooting 9-for-24 from the field, but he made up for inefficiencies by scoring 24 points with 15 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one 3-pointer. He was 5-for-7 from the field, with his two misses coming at a crucial time in the game with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Khris Middleton scored 20 points (6-for-14 FGs, 5-for-5 FTs) with five boards, two assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 41 minutes. He is becoming an absolute star with his two-way effort at both ends of the court.
The series will now move to Milwaukee tied 1-1. The Bucks stole home-court advantage and will attempt to defend their home in Game 3 on Thursday.
BULLS STUN CELTICS TO TAKE COMPELLING 2-0 LEAD
The #8 seeded Bulls took a commanding 2-0 series lead with two road wins over the #1 seeded Celtics with a 111-97 victory on Tuesday. It was the first time since 1993 that an eight seed took both road games over the one seed in a first-round playoff series.
Leading the charge was Jimmy Butler, who was the subject of trade rumors between the two teams just six weeks ago. The Bulls held on, which is looking more like the right call. Butler finished with 22 points (8-for-19 FGs, 5-for-6 FTs), eight boards, eight assists, four steals, two blocks and one 3-pointer in 43 minutes in a monster performance.
Playoff Rondo exists?! Bulls fans were dreaming before the series about a scenario where the team plays as a cohesive unit with no ill will and “Playoff Rondo” rides them into the sunset. It’s not a dream anymore. Rajon Rondo shot 5-for-11 from the field for 11 points with nine rebounds, 14 assists and five steals in 40 minutes. If you saw this coming, go buy a lottery ticket.
Robin Lopez continued to gash the Celtics inside with 18 points (8-for-11 FGs), eight boards, one assist, two steals and one block in 32 minutes. It is clear that the Celtics are missing a rebounding presence and Lopez is making them pay.
Dwyane Wade was dominant as well, shooting 9-for-16 from the field for 22 points with four rebounds, two assists, one block and three 3-pointers in 32 minutes. After months of dysfunction, the Bulls have brought it all together and are doing something special.
Dealing with an absolute tragedy, Isaiah Thomas suited up and still started Game 2. He finished the game shooting 6-for-15 from the field and 7-for-13 from the line for 20 points with four rebounds, two assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 42 minutes. He was uncharacteristically inefficient in the loss. He is dealing with a lot right now.
Al Horford couldn’t provide an answer either, as he only scored seven points with 11 boards, five assists, one steal and one block in 32 minutes. All of a sudden the pieces don’t fit the puzzle.
The Celtics find themselves down 0-2 and will play in Chicago three out of the next four games in the series, if necessary. Game 3 is on Friday in Chicago.
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CLIPPERS GET REVENGE AGAINST SHORTHANDED JAZZ
The Jazz stunned the Clippers in Game 1 but came out losing Rudy Gobert to a hyperextended left knee. Gobert, who is in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year, missed the game and is considered day-to-day. The Clippers took advantage by getting even in the series at 1-1 with a 99-91 win over the Jazz.
Chris Paul double-doubled, shooting 9-for-15 from the floor for 21 points with 10 assists, two boards, three steals, one block and three 3-pointers in 33 minutes. It’s nice to see him healthy this time around.
Speaking of health, Blake Griffin was effective on the offensive end as well. Griffin dropped 24 points (11-for-21 FGs) with five boards, two assists, one block and one 3-pointer in 39 minutes.
DeAndre Jordan fouled out in 35 minutes, but not before he posted 18 points (9-for-11 FGs, 0-for-3 FTs), 15 boards, one steal and one block. He scored at will inside without the presence of Gobert.
The Jazz hung tough despite the absence of Gobert, who is arguably their most important player in this series. Gordon Hayward struggled from the floor, hitting 5-of-15 shots but hitting 7-of-7 free throws for 20 points, six boards, two assists and three 3-pointers.
Derrick Favors did his best to replace Gobert, but it wasn’t enough. Favors finished with 13 points (5-for-7 FGs, 3-for-5 FTs), seven boards and one block in 33 minutes.
Despite the loss, the Jazz have home-court advantage the rest of the way until they lose one at home. They will host Game 3 late on Friday night.
That will do it for Wednesday’s Daily Dish, playoff edition! As always, be sure to follow me on Twitter, I’m @RiazD. Don’t forget to follow all of our breaking news and rumors @HoopBallTweets. Happy Hump Day Hoop-Ballers!!