Western Conference: Warriors Up 3-0 on the Trail Blazers
Game Four tips off tonight in Portland but this series is all but over. Even without Kevin Durant the Warriors are taking the Trail Blazers best shot every game and winning in impressive fashion.
The Blazers have actually had 15 point leads in multiple games going into the second half, and blew each of those leads behind Draymond Green and Steph Curry. Since Kevin Durant has been out, Steph has just gone for a casual 33, 36, 37, and 36.
The Trail Blazers just look tired out there come the second half of each game, and defensively they just can’t keep up with Steph and Klay Thompson on the outside. As good as Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are, they haven’t been good this series, especially Lillard. Its being reported that Lillard has a broken rib that occurred in Game 2, but even still Lillard wasn’t his best against Denver either. He told reports during the Denver series that he felt tired then, now he has to run around and chase Steph or Klay all game? The Trail Blazers have some solid secondary pieces to build on, Rodney Hood has played good throughout the playoffs and Zach Collins is a promising young big man.
The Warriors though, are just pulling guys out of the woodwork that are producing. In game 3 they played with 12 guys. 12. All of them but two scored, and those guys were the two centers that only played a combined 6 minutes. Their offense is magical to watch, everyone is constantly moving without the ball, they are always pushing the ball up the court and getting shots around the basket, and on top of that they play great defense. It’s amazing we forgot this team won 73 games without Kevin Durant and thought the Trail Blazers might give them a series. Hell, I picked the Warriors to win this series 4-2. I thought the Warriors would come out flat and the Trail Blazers could steal game 1 or 2 at home. The Trail Blazers have done enough in the first half, but the Warriors are just too much.
Maybe the Trail Blazers pull out a Game 4 win tonight, but it doesn’t matter. This series is over.
Eastern Conference: Bucks Lead the Raptors 2-1 After a 2 OT Loss in Game 3
The Bucks took care of home court in games one and two, stealing game one and then absolutely dominating in game two. The Raptors desperately needed to win game three and it showed with their play. They came out hot out of the gates right away and managed to pull out a double OT win to get back into this series.
For the Raptors, Danny Green and Fred VanVleet have been fucking awful. Kawhi is still doing everything out there. He barley defended Giannis in games one and two, in game three he was much more involved guarding Giannis. Many will say Giannis had a bad game with only 12 points, and deservedly so, but credit needs to given to the Raptors and how they decided to play Giannis defensively. Giannis only managed to put up 16 shots, and got to line just seven times. Giannis’ biggest contribution was on the boards, where he hauled in 23 of them.
Combine Giannis’ poor performance with what Bledsoe and Middleton did in this game and it’s remarkable that the Bucks even had a chance to win. Take those three guys, and they shot a combined 11 for 48 from the field and 8 for 17 from the free throw line. That is an awful performance by three of the Bucks best players. Bledsoe hasn’t been effective this whole series it seems like, I think he needs to attack the basket more often early. He can get to the lane whenever he wants it looks like but he settles for jump shots early. I’d like to see him get at the rim.
Middleton just had a bad game. And again, give credit to the Raptors and their defensive game-plan. Middleton shot an awful 3 for 16 and 1 for 6 from three point range. I’m just gonna say this, if Giannis and Middleton are only combining for 21 points – the Bucks are not going to win many games.
The bright spot for the Bucks yet again was their bench. Malcolm Brogdon has been the buck best player this series and put up 20 in Game 3. I wonder how long Bud will keep him coming off of the bench. George Hill played phenomenal had a game high 24 for the Bucks. Connaughton also played some quality minutes at got himself eight points. The Bucks bench has yet to be a problem in the playoffs, I don’t expect that to start in this series.
So now it comes down to a huge game four on Tuesday night. Here’s the obvious statement: if the Raptors win, we have ourselves a series. If the Bucks win, it’s all but over. For the Raptors, they need to get the kind of contributions from Siakam, Gasol, and their bench to win Game 4. Siakam had 24 PTS and 10 REB, Gasol had 16 PTS and 12 REB, and Powell from the bench put up 19 PTS for them. As I said before, I think Ibaka needs to play bigger off the bench for them, and man do VanVleet and Green need to show up. Both guys have been non-existent in this series. Kawhi needs all the help he can get, especially if he keeps getting banged up each game and playing a shit ton of minutes.
Looking forward to a good game four on Tuesday. #FearTheDeer