Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards
The Toronto Raptors hold a 2-1 series lead against the Washington Wizards. They started the series with a 114-106 victory last Saturday to take a 1-0 series lead. A leak in the roof was the only thing that was able to stop the Raptors, who won Game 1 of a playoff series for the first time in 17 years. Serge Ibaka led the way for the Raptors with 23 points and 12 rebounds. In the fourth quarter, Toronto received a huge boost from Delon Wright, who scored 11 of his 18 points then. The Raptors put on a display from 3-point land, hitting 16 of 30 from downtown. John Wall had 23 points and 15 assists for the Wizards, and Markieff Morris had 22 points and 11 boards.
Toronto won 130-119 in Game 2 on Tuesday night to go up 2-0 on Washington. With the victory, Toronto made franchise history, going up 2-0 in a playoff series for the first time ever. The Raptors weren’t done reaching milestones. They set a team playoff record with 44 points in the first quarter. DeMar DeRozan led the way with 37 points. CJ Miles added a solid 18 points off the bench for Toronto. John Wall put up a smooth 29 points for the Wizards to go along with nine assists, but Bradley Beal struggled from the floor, scoring nine points and posting a -34 plus-minus.
With home-court advantage switching to Washington, the Wizards found new life. They defeated the Raptors 122-103 in Game 3 to get back into the series. They finally got a solid night out of their all-star backcourt as Beal and Wall each had 28-point nights. The game got a little heated, but Washington stayed poised through adversity. Toronto had the chance to grab its first 3-0 series lead in franchise history but was unable to accomplish that. DeRozan led the Raptors, putting up 23 points. Game 4 is Sunday in Washington.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers hold a 2-1 series lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They started the series with a dominating 98-80 victory against the Cavs last Sunday. Indiana controlled this game from start to finish, as it gave Cleveland its first loss in the opening round in eight years. Victor Oladipo has been the story for the Pacers all season, and he showed up big in this victory. He put up a cold-blooded 32 points and six rebounds. LeBron James put up his 20th career triple double with 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. The other four starters for Cleveland combined for only 25 points. The loss snapped James’ streak of 21 consecutive first-round game victories.
James was not going to let his team go down 2-0 in the first round. He dominated Game 2 en route to a 100-97 victory to tie the series at one. James scored 46 points and added 12 boards. Indiana pulled within three after it was down 18 at one point. Victor Oladipo put up another solid outing with 22 points and six assists. The Pacers have to feel rather confident losing by only three points, though James scored 46 points. The Cavaliers improved to 40-0 on the season when leading after three quarters.
Cleveland wasn’t able to hold its lead a third time as Indiana came back from a 17-point deficit in Game 3 to win 92-90 on Friday night. The series shifted to Indianapolis for Games 3 and 4, and Indiana took full advantage, feeding off of its crowd in the second half. The victory put the Pacers up 2-1 in what has been one of the most entertaining series thus far. Cleveland roared out to a 17-point halftime lead before scoring only 33 points in the second half. Bojan Bogdanovic scored a playoff career-high 30 points and shot 7-of-9 on 3-pointers to lead the Pacers. Victor Oladipo didn’t have quite the scoring night he’s accustomed to, but his output in other areas greatly helped the Pacers come back. Oladipo put up 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists. James finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Game 4 is Sunday in Indianapolis.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat
The Sixers rolled to a 130-103 victory against the Heat in Game 1 for their 17th straight victory. Without all-star Joel Embiid, the Sixers dominated throughout. They found their rhythm from 3-point land as they went 64 percent from downtown. Ben Simmons nearly had a triple double in his first career playoff game with 17 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds. J.J. Redick led the way with 28 points for the Sixers. Marco Belinelli provided a strong effort off the bench with 25 points. Miami struggled to get anything going as only two starters finished in double figures. Kelly Olynyk led the way off the bench with 26 points and seven boards. Miami looked outmatched in Game 1.
Game 2 was an entirely different tale, as Miami evened the series with a 113-103 victory. Dwyane Wade turned in a vintage performance, scoring 28 points. Goran Dragic scored 20 points, and James Johnson had 18. The Sixers couldn’t buy a bucket in the first half as they shot 2-of-18 from 3 in the first half. Embiid sat out again for the Sixers, as his presence was missed inside. Simmons flirted with a triple double as he posted 24 points, nine boards and eight assists.
Embiid made his postseason debut as the Sixers rolled to a 128-108 Game 3 victory on Thursday night to take a 2-1 series lead. Embiid played like an all-star center, scoring 23 points and grabbing seven boards. This game looked a lot like Game 1, in which the Sixers dominated in the second half. Simmons posted solid numbers for a third straight game as he posted 19 points and 12 rebounds. Dragic led the way for Miami with 23 points and eight assists.
The 76ers claimed a Game 4 victory Saturday in Miami, despite Embiid’s eight turnovers. Simmons had his first triple double in a playoff game with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. The Sixers hold a 3-1 series lead. Game 5 is Tuesday in Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks
The Celtics survived a wild finish in Game 1, holding off the Bucks 113-107 in overtime. Boston is playing without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward for the duration of the playoffs. Al Horford led the way for the Celtics instead. He posted 24 points and 12 rebounds. Boston could’ve won the game in regulation if it weren’t for a long Khris Middleton 3 that beat the buzzer in regulation. Middleton added 31 points, and Giannis Antetokounmpo put up a healthy 35 points and 13 boards to lead Milwaukee.
Game 2 didn’t have quite the drama Game 1 had. Boston rolled to a 120-106 victory to go up 2-0. Jaylen Brown had a playoff career-high 30 points as Boston pulled away in the second half. At age 21, Brown’s 30-point output made him the youngest player in Celtics history to score 30 or more points in a playoff game. Terry Rozier added 23 points. Milwaukee trailed by quite a bit, but it came within 10 points of Boston late in the fourth quarter. Giannis’s heroics weren’t quite enough once again. Antetokounmpo finished with 30 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Middleton added 25 points. The Bucks have been dominated in second-chance points, as they have been outscored 42-13 through two games in that area. Boston has made an emphasis to attack the offensive glass, and it has paid off so far.
Milwaukee finally found its defense in Game 3 as it blew Boston out 116-92 at home. The Bucks dominated in the first half, holding the Celtics to just 35 points at the half. Horford led the Celtics in scoring with just 16 points. Boston still dominated the boards, but Milwaukee did an excellent job of holding the Celtics to one shot for the majority of possessions. Eric Bledsoe and Jabari Parker each added 17 points for a rejuvenated Bucks team. They seem to have found a second breath after returning home for Games 3 and 4. Game 4 is Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee.