April 22, 2018, 6:36 pmLaMarcus AldridgePF/C, San Antonio Spurs
LaMarcus Aldridge posted 22 points, 10 rebounds, a steal, a block and three triples in Sunday's 103-90 win over the Warriors.
The Spurs are pretty overmatched in this series but if they're to bring it back for Game 6, it'll be on the back of another big night from Aldridge. He's enjoyed a nice resurgence this year with Kawhi Leonard out of action and will be leaned on for the duration on San Antonio's playoff run. The fact that he's doing his damage as teams really only need to key on him is a testament to his play this year.
April 22, 2018, 6:03 pmGiannis AntetokounmpoSF/PF, Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo tipped home the game-winning bucket with five seconds left in Sunday's 104-102 victory, capping off another big performance that included 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The Greek Freak also put Al Horford on a poster and had some big buckets to stem the tide as Milwaukee frittered away a 20-point lead. Antetokounmpo landed on the foot of Aron Baynes and tweaked his ankle but stayed in the game and obviously made a huge impact the rest of the way. Realistically, he's in no danger of missing Game 5. This has quickly become one of the more compelling series in round one.
April 22, 2018, 5:45 pmJayle BrownSG/SF, Boston Celtics
Jaylen Brown dropped a career-high 34 points in Sunday's loss, adding eight rebounds, three steals and five 3-pointers while shooting 13-of-24 from the field.
It was a heck of a performance from Brown, who nearly carried the Celtics all the way back from a big deficit. Boston shot just .414 as a team tonight, to give you an idea of how much the other Celtics struggled offensively tonight. Perhaps a game on the parquet floor will help them find their mojo.
April 22, 2018, 12:14 pmMarcus SmartPG/SG, Boston Celtics
Marcus Smart is meeting with a doctor in New York on Tuesday and if he's cleared he could be ready to play in Game 6 vs. the Bucks.
This is extremely great news for Celtics fans as Smart brings a defensive presence that the C's could definitely use. The Bucks would need to win another game for the series to get to 6 games and with the way Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton have been playing that's certainly possible. Game 6 would be back in Milwaukee so it would be a tough crowd in his first game back, but Smart's never been one to back down from pressure. Stay tuned for updates throughout the week.
Source: Jay King on Twitter
April 22, 2018, 1:37 amRicky RubioPG, Utah Jazz
Ricky Rubio had the game on a string in Saturday’s 115-102 victory, notching a triple-double of 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists while adding two steals, two 3-pointers and a block.
Rubio shot 9-of-18 from the field but just 2-of-9 from deep though that didn’t stop the crowd from erupting when he beat the third quarter buzzer with a running triple after starting the game 1-for-7 from behind the arc. He was in total control from start to finish and scored 19 in the first half when the game looked to be in slow motion. A true maestro performance, if Rubio can keep this up he’ll make quick work of the Thunder.
April 21, 2018, 11:22 pmJimmy ButlerSG/SF, Minnesota Timberwolves
Jimmy Butler led the Wolves in Saturday's 121-105 win, scoring 28 points on 10-of-19 from the field with seven rebounds, five assists, one steal and four 3-pointers.
Butler tweaked his left ankle right before the half but didn't miss any time, though between that and his ailing wrist it's fair to wonder how Butler will hold up if the Wolves go on an extended playoff run. He's a gamer though, and played some terrific defense tonight. Butler's 3-point shooting was a little more excellent than usual, though that fit right in on a night where Minnesota went 15-of-27 from deep. Things should tighten up in Game 4 as that regresses, but you can expect Jimmy Buckets to be at the center of the action regardless of game flow.
April 21, 2018, 11:14 pmKarl-Anthony TownsC, Minnesota Timberwolves
Karl-Anthony Towns decided to grace us with his presence for the first time in the postseason on Saturday night, shaking off a quiet start to finish with 18 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks.
The crowd gave KAT a nice pop when he went one-on-one for a bucket on Taj Gibson, though the Wolves did have some questionable sequences where they ignored mismatches. If nothing else this might get his sea legs under him, so we'll see if Towns can get even more involved in Game 4. Expect lots of attention to be paid on how soon his first shot comes in that one.
April 21, 2018, 10:35 pmJames HardenSG, Houston Rockets
James Harden was able to collect 29 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three triples and a steal on Saturday but it wasn't enough to keep the Wolves from winning their first game of the series.
Harden was one of the few Rockets to get cooking on offense tonight and had to shake tight coverage throughout. To be clear, defense was more of the issue tonight, but some help with the scoring burden certainly wouldn't hurt. We'll see how he responds after the Minnesota faithful delivered some MVP chants to Jimmy Butler as well as some "Wolves in six" numbers towards the end of the game.
April 21, 2018, 8:16 pmAnthony DavisPF/C, New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis closed out the first round sweep in style, finishing Saturday's 131-123 victory with 47 points, 11 rebounds, two 3-pointers and three blocks.
Davis was 15-of-24 from the field and 15-of-17 from the line in another unfair performance. The Blazers had absolutely no answers for AD's length, strength or skills and now all eyes will be on him as the Pels try to take down the Warriors. They had a little extra incentive to handle business today with Steph Curry set to be evaluated again on Friday, as that matchup could kick off next Saturday if the Dubs win tomorrow. Davis is nearly unguardable but we're going to have tons of fun watching Golden State try to slow him down. The 47 points were also a career playoff-high. What a talent.
April 21, 2018, 8:13 pmJrue HolidayPG/SG, New Orleans Pelicans
Jrue Holiday was a man possessed in Saturday's series-clincher, scoring 41 points on 15-of-23 from the field while adding two threes and eight assists.
Holiday also committed seven turnovers but was absolutely tremendous on defense, shutting Damian Lillard down in the first half to the point where the Blazers were actively looking for other players on offense. He got some help with that assignment later in the game but the damage was done. It was a breakout series for Holiday, who is starting to gain some well-deserved acclaim after the Pelicans made pundits look silly with a sweep over the third-seeded Blazers. Just another notch in his belt in what's been a truly phenomenal season.
April 21, 2018, 8:04 pmC.J. McCollumSG, Portland Trail Blazers
C.J. McCollum did all he could in Saturday's season-ending loss, finishing with 38 points and two triples on 15-of-22 from the field.
McCollum was the lead dog for Portland with Damian Lillard completely locked down by Jrue Holiday. He delivered an efficient performance and helped lead a valiant comeback attempt in the final frame (while scoring 25 in the second half overall), but the Blazers are simply too weak on the wings and lacked the depth to hang with New Orleans. This offseason will surely bring changes to Rip City, as the Blazers may be coming to grips with the fact that this capped-out core won't cut it if a championship is the goal. We'll see how things look for Portland on Opening Night.
April 21, 2018, 7:55 pmDamian LillardPG, Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard finished Saturday's Game 4 loss with 19 points on 16 shots, chipping in five rebounds, six assists, two steals and a triple in 45 minutes of action.
Lillard was completely locked up by Jrue Holiday and company in this series. He dealt with intense pressure whenever he had the ball and was often doubled before the Blazers could get into their offense. Clearly the Pelicans' strategy of forcing Portland's secondary players into the scoring mix was effective, and Dame wasn't able to get cooking at any point of this sweep. The scrutiny headed his way might go a bit overboard, but Lillard talks a lot about being one of the game's elite guards and was totally neutralized in this brief playoff run.
April 21, 2018, 12:26 amThon MakerC, Milwaukee Bucks
Thon Maker was all over the place in the Bucks’ win over the Celtics on Friday night, totaling 14 points, five rebounds, five blocks, a steal and three 3-pointers.
If you thought it couldn’t get any weirder than Jabari Parker stepping up with a big game in Game 3, you’d be wrong. Maker logged one minute of playing time in the series’ first two games in Boston. Turns out he was saving a masterful performance for back home in Milwaukee. Thon ended up with his most blocks as a pro, swatting five shots as the Celtics looked helpless against the 7’1″ Sudanese big man. Maker’s potential has been talked about plenty as he’s shown flashes of brilliance in his two-year career. But he’s never looked better than he looked with the lights on bright in tonight’s playoff game. If this is the Thon Maker the Celtics have to see for the rest of this series, they’re in trouble.
April 21, 2018, 12:01 amKhris MiddletonSG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks
Khris Middleton helped the Bucks to their first win of the series with 23 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers in the win over the Celtics on Friday night.
While this is their first win of the series it should be noted that Middleton has been awesome in all three games. Tonight’s 23 is actually his lowest point total but that only came to be because the Bucks were so far ahead in the second half that Middleton didn't need to play much. He's now averaging 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the series while hitting 63 percent overall and from 3-point land. The floodgates are officially open for the Bucks as they dropped 116 points and got a win. It'll be fun to see if Middleton can keep it up and lead them to more success in Sunday's Game 4.
April 20, 2018, 10:45 pmBradley BealSG, Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal went off for 28 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and four 3-pointers in the Wizards’ 122-103 win over the Raptors on Friday night.
Perhaps it was the fact that he was back on his home floor but Beal was cooking on Friday night, looking far better than he had in Games 1 and 2 in Toronto. Beal shot just 39 percent in those games while hitting 3-of-11 from deep. Tonight’s explosion saw him knock down 4-of-9 from deep and finish with his first 20-plus point scoring effort in two weeks. The Wizards didn’t lose a home playoff game last season in six tries and it’s now clear the Raptors have a real challenge on their hands as Washington’s backcourt catches fire.