Good afternoon, folks. Jamal Murray puked up seven horrific quarters to begin his NBA playoffs debut. His eighth was so perfect it evened up the series. Let’s talk NBA Playoffs.
(7) Magic – 82 @ (2) Raptors – 111 (Tied 1-1)
- The Toronto Raptors made damn sure they wouldn’t be the subject of any more Twitter memes after they annihilated the Orlando Magic in Game 2 following a dramatic Game 1 loss. Toronto’s defense limited everyone on the Orlando roster outside of about 10 sporadic minutes from Terrence Ross. Kawhi Leonard went off for 37 points on 15-22 shooting while Kyle Lowry made up for his goose egg in Game 1 with 22 points and seven assists. Jodie Meeks played eight minutes but missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc.
(7) Spurs – 105 @ (2) Nuggets – 114 (Tied 1-1)
- The Denver Nuggets were able to piece together a second-half performance that finally matched its expectations. After struggling in Game 1 against the San Antonio Spurs, Denver got its revenge in Game 2 thanks to a desperately necessary fourth-quarter explosion from Jamal Murray.
- Murray started the game shooting 0-8 from the field through the first three quarters. The Spurs led the majority of the game – more often than not exceeding double-digits. During Denver’s first two of three comeback runs in the second and third quarter, Murray was seated on the bench and at one point posted a team-worst minus-17. The final comeback run was courtesy of Murray and no one else. The former Kentucky guard poured in 21 points in the final period for a total of 24.
- Through the first seven quarters of this series, Murray was so out of sync – especially with his favorite ‘two-man game’ counterpart Nikola Jokic – that he wasn’t even in the kitchen anymore. His timing was off on cuts and he couldn’t buy a bucket no matter how wide open he was. But something clicked in that fourth quarter and Murray led Denver to a 39-point period where they outscored the Spurs by 16. He also finished with two rebounds, four assists, and zero turnovers. He also had a snack during a break in the action.
- What an unreal 12 minutes. Murray is the literal definition of a hot-and-cold shooter. He’s the most frustrating player in the NBA when he’s cold. But when he’s hot… Geez…
(6) Thunder – 94 @ (3) Trail Blazers – 114 (POR leads 2-0)
- The 2018 version of the Portland Trail Blazers is dead and gone. And nobody is more upset about it than the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Blazers have racked up a 2-0 series lead after a monstrous third quarter overpowered OKC. Russell Westbrook and Paul George combined to shoot 16-40 from the field and 3-13 from deep. The entire OKC team has shot a mere 10-61 (16.9 percent) from beyond the arc through the first two games. The Blazers are shooting over 42 percent from three on slightly fewer attempts.
- Enes Kanter played only 19 minutes for the Blazers due to early foul trouble after an excellent Game 1. He finished with six points and five rebounds but didn’t make much of an impact on either end of the floor. Portland didn’t need Kanter to win this game – Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum did that for them – and Zach Collins provided great minutes off the bench. When Lillard and McCollum are shooting like they were Tuesday night (24-43 overall), it doesn’t matter who surrounds them. They can win games against great teams just by themselves.
- Nerlens Noel saw 15 minutes of action for OKC, contributing eight points, seven rebounds, one steal, and one blocks. Noel was running the break, crashing the boards, and creating havoc on the opposing team’s shots at the rim. He’s done everything asked of him through the first two games. Also, it might be time for the Thunder to try out Patrick Patterson in Game 3. Markieff Morris has been rather dreadful in 26 combined minutes through games 1 and 2. He looks lost out there half of the time and hasn’t made any noticeable impact that has made me say “wow, great play by Markieff Morris”. I don’t know how much better Patterson might be, but the Thunder need to make some changes heading back home and switching up the bench rotation could be a point of emphasis.
- Check out the full stat sheet below.
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||114-105 W vs. SAS||24||8-17 (2-3)||2||4||1||0||0||-2||36|
|Nerlens Noel (OKC)||94-114 L @ POR||8||4-6 (0-0)||7||0||1||1||0||+2||15|
|Enes Kanter (POR)||114-94 W vs. OKC||6||2-5 (0-0)||5||0||0||0||2||+12||19|
|Jodie Meeks (TOR)||82-111 W vs. ORL||0||0-3 (0-3)||1||0||0||0||1||-5||8|
|Skal Labissiere (POR)||114-94 W vs. OKC||0||0-1 (0-1)||0||0||0||0||0||-1||2|
|Patrick Patterson (OKC)||94-114 L @ POR||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)||114-105 W vs. SAS||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Trey Lyles (DEN)||114-105 W vs. SAS||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Hamidou Diallo (OKC)||94-114 L @ POR||DNP-Elbow||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00 (TNT): Pacers @ Celtics (BOS lead 1-0)
8:00 (NBATV): Pistons @ Bucks (Bledsoe) (MIL lead 1-0)
9:30 (TNT): Jazz @ Rockets (HOU leads 1-0)