Good morning, folks. Jamal Murray was playing – and winning – a game of H.O.R.S.E. on Sunday night. Let’s talk NBA Playoffs.
(2) Raptors – 101 @ (3) Sixers – 96 (Tied 2-2)
- So this Kawhi Leonard dude might be even better than everyone thought. Leonard posted 39 points on 13-20 shooting against the Sixers to go along with 14 rebounds and five assists. With Pascal Siakam coming in as a game-time decision due to a calf injury, someone from Toronto was going to have to step up. And who better to do so than a top-5 player in the league. Leonard has been the best player in this year’s playoffs not named Kevin Durant. Here’s a rundown of the four games he’s played against Philly so far.
- Game 1: 45 points on 16-23 shooting.
- Game 2: 35 points on 13-24 shooting.
- Game 3: 33 points on 13-22 shooting.
- Game 4: 39 points on 13-20 shooting.
- Now how is that fair to anyone? AND he plays better defense than 99 percent of the NBA? Seriously, that’s cheat code status. But the Sixers have still been damn good and Ben Simmons has actually done a terrific job when he’s guarded Leonard.
- What plagued Philly in Game 3 was whatever sickness was plaguing Joel Embiid before the game. The Sixers star center played through an illness and scored only 11 points on 2-7 shooting. 29 points from Jimmy Butler kept Philly in the game, but Leonard proved to be too much down the stretch.
(2) Nuggets – 116 @ (3) Trail Blazers – 112 (Tied 2-2)
- Game 4 stuck to the intended amount of game time and avoided another four-overtime affair deep into the early hours of the following morning. Behind 34 points from Jamal Murray, the Denver Nuggets secured a road win to even up the series as it heads back to Colorado.
- Murray shot 10-20 from the field and made three of his seven attempts from deep. He also registered five rebounds, four assists, and several highlights plays ranging from behind the backboard shots to right-handed flushes over the defense. This is the best version of Murray we’ve seen in the playoffs – and maybe all season long. He opened up the game making his first five shot attempts and connected on all 11 of his free throw attempts throughout the evening. After a rough opening series against the San Antonio Spurs in which it took Murray about 4-5 games to finally find a groove, he’s been in a rhythm ever since. The former Kentucky guard is averaging 26.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists through four games against the Blazers on shooting splits of 44.7/36.4/100. The right thigh injury and coming off of 55 played minutes in the previous game didn’t appear to bother Murray in the slightest.
- It hadn’t even been 48 hours since the conclusion of the fourth overtime from Game 3, but that didn’t stop Nikola Jokic from producing his second straight triple-double. The first half was back-and-forth but a 27-14 third-quarter advantage favoring the Nuggets gave them the edge heading into the final period. Portland nearly crawled all the way back with under a minute left, but clutch free throw after clutch free throw from Murray led his team to victory.
- Portland was led by 29 points from CJ McCollum and another 28 from Damian Lillard but received only five points from Enes Kanter. Kanter played 29 minutes and dealt with a bit of foul trouble to pile on top of the fact that he played 56 minutes not even two days beforehand and has now twice separated the same shoulder. I’m not even sure how he made it onto the court. But Portland needs Kanter to win this series. He might not be the ideal option to put on Jokic, but he’s the best one they have and a proven scorer on the block. The status of his shoulder is going to be critical for what is now a best-of-3 series.
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||116-112 W @ POR||34||10-20 (3-7)||5||4||0||0||2||+10||37|
|Enes Kanter (POR)||112-116 L vs. DEN||5||2-5 (0-0)||10||0||0||1||4||-11||29|
|Jodie Meeks (TOR)||101-96 W @ PHI||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Trey Lyles (DEN)||116-112 W @ POR||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)||116-112 W @ POR||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Skal Labissiere (POR)||112-116 L vs. DEN||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00 (TNT): Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Celtics (MIL leads 2-1)
9:30 (TNT): Warriors (Cousins-out) @ Rockets (GSW leads 2-1)