May 9, 2016, 12:29 pm
It was a very happy Mother’s Day to the mother of Kevin Durant, as she saw her four-time NBA scoring champion son match a career playoff high with 41 points on Sunday to tie the Spurs 2-2 in the best of seven series. She’s the real MVP. More on KD’s day below. Meanwhile, the Cavs sleepwalked through another series with broomsticks in hand. They made quick work of the Hawks for the second year in a row and get to play the waiting game for as long as it takes. Let’s get in to Monday’s Daily Dish.
CAVS 100, HAWKS 99
Different season, same story. For the second year in a row, the Cavs swept the Hawks right out of the playoffs to remain a perfect 8-0 this postseason. The Cavs finally got a test in round two in a close game, passing with flying colors. LeBron James made the go ahead bucket with just over a minute left in the game and then gave the Cavs a safer 100-97 lead on a deep two-pointer with 39 seconds remaining. His key defensive play on the Hawks’ final possession was the difference in the game. King James finished just shy of a triple double, scoring 21 points with 10 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and one block. On to the next one.
Kevin Love was tremendous in this closeout game with eight triples from beyond the arc. Love finished with 27 points, 13 rebounds, eight threes and four assists. Kyrie Irving is also showing up for duty as a member of the Cavs big three. Irving shot 8-for-16 from the field and 4-for-5 from the line for 21 points with eight dimes, two rebounds, one block and one three ball. The Cavs’ big three are playing at a high level during their walk to the Eastern Conference Finals, which can only be dangerous for opponents.
The rest of the Cavs role players did just enough to contribute to the sweep. Tristan Thompson (five points, 10 rebounds, one steal and two blocks) extended possessions with his usual rebounding prowess. J.R. Smith wasn’t as trigger happy on Sunday, shooting just 1-for-4 from the field (all beyond the arc) for three points, two rebounds, one steal and two blocks. The Cavs bench made up for Smith’s off day, shooting a combined 5-for-10 from three-point land. The Cavs roll in to the Eastern Conference Finals scorching hot (over 50%) from beyond the arc. It will be interesting to see if the time off slows down their high level of play.
A big offseason is on the horizon for the Hawks. Al Horford (15 points, four rebounds, four assists, one block and one three) joins an impressive list of free agents this summer and will have suitors lining up at his doorstep to steal him away. He finished the season with second-round fantasy numbers and there aren’t many situations where he won’t be just as reliable to do the same again. Kent Bazemore (11 points, seven boards, two assists and one three) was a surprise mid-round value this season and will also hit the market, although its hard to imagine a better situation elsewhere than he was in this season.
Fortunately, Paul Millsap is still locked up for the Hawks. He finished with top-10 numbers this season and should be a late-first round pick in redraft leagues next season. Millsap got off to a hot start with 15 points in the first quarter, but he only finished with 19 points, nine boards, three assists, one block and one three ball. He will shine again next year.
Dennis Schroder scored a Hawks high 21 points (10-for-18 FGs, 1-for-3 3PTs) with six dimes, three boards, two steals and one block. The Hawks turned to Schroder down one with seconds left but he got tied up with LeBron and the game was lost. Watch the Hawks closely this offseason to see if they believe Schroder and Jeff Teague (five points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal) can co-exist in the future amidst trade rumors.
The Cavs now await to play the winner of the Raptors-Heat series (Raptors lead 2-1) in the Eastern Conference Finals.
THUNDER 111, SPURS 97
For all the latest rumors surrounding KD to the Spurs this offseason, they were put to bed for the time being as OKC shockingly tied up the series. Durant was terrific, going off to match a career playoff-high 41 points (17 points in the fourth quarter) on 14-of-25 shooting from the field and 10-of-13 from the charity stripe with three treys, five boards, four assists and one steal. He will play at least one more game in OKC.
Russell Westbrook double-doubled with 14 points and 15 assists to go with seven boards, three steals and one three pointer. Both of his double-digit assist totals have resulted in Thunder wins over the Spurs. Go figure. Steven Adams came up big on 6-for-8 shooting from the field for 16 points with 11 boards and two blocks. Just like his ‘stache, he did the dirty work. Dion Waiters was big off the bench with 17 points (7-for-11 FGs) with two threes, three rebounds, three assists and one steal. When Waiters gets hot, the Thunder look unstoppable. If only that developed into a trend.
As for the Spurs, Kawhi Leonard was left unsuccessfully chasing KD all night and had a poor game by his standards. Kawhi was 7-for-19 from the field and 7-for-7 from the line for 21 points with six boards, two assists and four steals. He has seen more efficient nights. LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points on 8-of-18 shooting with six rebounds. The Spurs just never looked comfortable all night.
Tony Parker went off for a second straight game, scoring 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting with three assists, one steal and one block. He still has plenty left in the tank. I can’t necessarily say the same for Tim Duncan, who only played 12 minutes on Sunday. Duncan registered no shot attempts and only three rebounds in the loss. Things have obviously changed drastically in San Antonio. Danny Green also went scoreless (0-for-3 FGs) with five boards and two steals. Leave Duncan and Green out of your decision making in DFS.
With the series tied 2-2, San Antonio will look to defend home court on Tuesday in Game 5.
That will do it for Monday’s Daily Dish. Happy Mother’s Day to all the great moms and single dad’s out there. Follow us @HoopBallTweets for the latest NBA news and notes. I’m @RiazD. Until next time. Have a great week!