The Raptors won back home court after a close win against the Magic, the Celtics continue their demolition of the Pacers and the Thunder finally took a game against Portland.
Orlando Magic (1-2) v Toronto Raptors (2-1): 98 to 93
This game was probably a bit closer than the Raptors would have liked, but they still managed to secure a big win to take a 2-1 lead in this series.
The man of the hour was none other than one of the nicest, most energetic and most improved NBA players: Pascal Siakam. There is no doubt in my mind that this man wins NBA’s Most Improved Player Award, but if you had any doubts, please watch this game. Siakam absolutely destroyed Orlando in this game: 30 points off 13-20 shooting, 11 rebounds and 4 assists. With an ill Kawhi, and a relatively quiet night from the rest of the Raptors starters, Siakam really stood up and showed that he can take over a game if need be.
The Raptors won this game because of Siakam but also because of their defence. They held the Magic to 36% shooting. The poor shooting paired with 16 turnovers for the Magic meant that despite the close result, the Magic really struggled to stay in this game.
Nikola Vucevic finally had a decent game with 22 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists and three blocks. Terrence Ross was great off the bench with 24 points but the rest of the team was quiet, especially Evan Fournier, who was 1-12 from the field.
The Magic need a way to stop Kawhi and Siakam simultaneously and at the same time find some offence if they want any chance to even this series before all the wheels fall off.
Next Game @ Magic: Monday (22/4) at 9am AEST
Indiana Paces (0-3) v Boston Celtics (3-0): 96 to 104
Every game in this series so far, one quarter has decided the game. In Game 1 it was an 8 point third quarter for Indiana, in Game 2 it was a 12 point fourth quarter for Indiana and in Game 3 it was a 12 point third quarter for Indiana. Every time the Pacers are up and look like they could steal a game at around the half time mark, they choke in the third or fourth quarter. And every time this happens, the Celtics lick their lips and pounce with a huge second half to win the game.
Game 3 was no exception.
Boston’s defence only allowed the Pacers to score 35 points in the entire second half (Boston had 41 points alone in the first quarter) and again forced the Pacers to have a rather terrible shooting night.
But tonight the headline was Jaylen Brown. He had a near perfect game 8-9 from the field for 23 points leading all scorers and started the game (usually comes off the bench for some reason). Irving had a double-double with 19 points and 10 assists with Tatum and Horford contributing 18 and 16 apiece. Boston is just too good and with Brad Stevens at the helm, this series is looking like a big Ol’ sweep is a-coming.
The Pacers finally had a good game from Tyreke Evans off the bench with 19 points from 6-10 shooting (4-6 from three point land) but no other player (besides my boy Corey Joseph) shot over 50%. Again, the Pacers tried to get Bogdanovic going as their sole offensive threat but that fell flat (he was 2-8 from three).
Sabonis and Turner really need to step up if the Pacers want to win a single game, but at the moment, it is really not looking promising.
This series should be over in four so just a warning, you’ll have to wake up at 3am to watch this Sweep….
Next game @ Pacers: Monday (22/4) at 3:00am AEST
Oklahoma City Thunder (1-2) v Portland Trailblazers (2-1): 120 to 108
It has been said over Game 1 and Game 2 of this series that if the Thunder makes their three pointers and Russell Westbrook shoots somewhat efficiently: They will win the game against Portland.
So finally after two poor turnouts, the Thunder did just that.
They were 15-29 (shooting 52%) from three-point land and Westbrook was 11-22, hitting 4-6 threes (unheard of) and scoring 33 points with 11 assists.
With the Thunder’s other superstar Paul George having a very quiet night (3-16 but with 14 made Free throws) the rest of the Thunder team really stood up. Jerami Grant was 6-7 for 18 points (4-5 from three), Adams was 5-6, even Dennis Schroder played well off the bench with 17 points.
The Thunder finally turned up, and boy was it fun to watch.
The Blazers didn’t have the worst game in the world, I mean Damian Lillard scored 25 points in the third (which saw a combined 81-point quarter for both teams) and had 32 points overall in the game (missing all his field goals in the fourth). CJ McCollum was still effective hitting 5-8 from three and Enes Kanter was solid with 19 points but Al-Farouq Aminu, Mo Harkless and the bench pretty much disappeared. At the end of the day this was the Thunder’s home, and this was their game.
The taunting by OKC was better than ever in this game, with Westbrook rocking the baby and Schroder tapping his invisible watch in the fourth quarter (lest we forget, he has been terrible in these playoffs until this last game).
In all honestly, this series is still favouring the Blazers and should mean a really intense (at least two ejections) and contested game 4.
I expect to see a furious Portland team coming out next game and sealing a road win against the Thunder.
Next Game @ Thunder: Monday (22/4) at 11:30am AEST