May 2, 2018, 1:27 am
Tuesday had it’s fair share of close calls and big stat lines. It all started with the Cavs playing their old Canadian friends across the border. More on that below. We also saw the long-awaited return of Steph Curry, who showed no rust. Let’s check out two fun games from Tuesday night.
CAVS STEAL GAME 1 IN TORONTO
It was a different year but same result again for the Raptors, who have now lost seven straight games to King James and the Cavs. After missing multiple tipped shots in the final seconds of regulation with the game tied, the Raptors couldn’t close the game in overtime to lose Game 1 at home, 113-112.
LeBron James was terrific as usual, triple-doubling in 47 minutes. James shot 12-for-30 from the field and 1-for-6 from the line for 26 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists, one steal, two blocks and one 3-pointer. Even with an “off” game, the King was cooking on all facets of the game. He hit a clutch Dirk-like fadeaway to tie the game with 30 seconds remaining in regulation. After just finishing off the Pacers on Sunday, he came out and played nearly a full game tonight. We are all witnesses.
JR Smith (20 points) and Kyle Korver (19 points) each hit five treys, keeping the Cavs within striking distance to lead a comeback. They made up for Kevin Love, who was ice cold for just seven points on Tuesday. Love shot 3-for-13 from the field for seven points, 13 rebounds, two assists and one 3-pointer. Love played one of his worst games in these playoffs, fumbling the basketball multiple times and missing wide-open shots consistently. There are some who believe Love still can’t feel his injured finger, but at times he gets hot and shoots his way out of slumps. If the Cavs want to make a deeper run past the Raptors, they need better production from the all-star.
Tristan Thompson shot 5-for-8 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the line for 14 points and 12 boards in 26 minutes during Game 1’s overtime win over the Raptors on Tuesday. Thompson broke out on Sunday to help the Cavs put away the Pacers and brought the same energy in Game 1 tonight. He cleaned up nine offensive rebounds, leading to aggressive putbacks and establishing hustle when the Cavs needed it.
As for the Raptors, it has become a recurring nightmare that seems to end the same. DeMar DeRozan shot 10-for-20 from the field for 22 points with seven boards, five assists, one steal and three blocks. DeRozan was 0-for-4 from downtown, reverting back to his pre-2017 self.
The real MVP for the losing cause was Jonas Valanciunas, who put up a monster double-double for 21 points and 21 boards. JV was unstoppable early in the game, imposing his will and exposing the Cavs inside. He had a golden opportunity to win the game with seconds left as the ball was bouncing around the rim, missing a tip to seal the game in regulation. He should remain a factor for the remainder of the series.
Game 2 is Thursday in Toronto. The Raptors need to even the series if they want any chance to take down the King.
CURRY RETURNS AS WARRIORS LEAD 2-0
When Steph Curry went down back in early March with a Grade 2 MCL sprain, many thought that he would miss significant time, possibly into the Western Conference Finals. He pledged to beat his timeline. He kept his promise.
Curry returned to dominate the Pelicans in a 121-116 victory at home to lead the Warriors to a 2-0 lead over the Pelicans. Curry came off the bench, shooting 8-for-15 from the field for 28 points, seven boards, two assists, three steals and five 3-pointers in 27 minutes on Tuesday. Despite playing limited minutes, he was second in the game in scoring and appeared to be at full-strength to make a title push. The Warriors just got very dangerous.
Kevin Durant led all scorers with 29 points, six boards, seven assists, two steals, three blocks and two 3-pointers in 41 minutes. KD got it done all night at both ends of the floor.
It was a huge night for Draymond Green as well, who was one rebound shy of a triple-double. Dray ended with 20 points (7-for-11 FGs, 4-for-5 FTs), nine boards, 12 assists, one steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 41 minutes. A KD-Dray stack was an excellent choice for DFS players on Tuesday.
The Pelicans played the Warriors very close, but it wasn’t enough to ruin Curry’s return. Anthony Davis led the Pels in scoring, posting a 25-15-5-2-3 line with one trey.
Jrue Holiday continued his playoff tear as well, scoring 24 points with eight boards, eight assists, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers in 47 minutes. The Pels went heavy with the starters on Tuesday. Close, but no cigar.
Game 3 is Friday in New Orleans in what is basically a must-win for AD and the Pelicans.