The Celtics are the first team to advance to the second round of the playoffs, and all the other higher ranked seeds won their games convincingly.
Here are the highlights from a four-game playoff slate:
Indiana Pacers (0-4) v Boston Celtics (4-0): 110 to 106
The first sweep of the playoffs has happened, with a series that I thought would go to at least five.
The Celtics were too strong for the Oladipo-less Pacers. Want to know a crazy stat: the Celtics have only swept a team in the playoffs ONCE in the last 30 years.
The Celtics in Game 4 actually had a pretty average game. Al Horford was 4-19 (I have never seen him take so many shots…), Kyrie Irving was 4-13 and Jason Tatum 4-10. The real fire power came from the bench. Both Gordon Hayward (who had a team high 20 points) and Marcus Morris (who had 18 points) ignited the Celtics for a big Game 4 win.
Late in the fourth, they combined for three quick threes to essentially put the game away. Hayward was perfect from 3 and shot 7-9 with a couple of steals to his name. It was great to see Hayward back to his (near) Utah ways and win the game for the Celtics.
For the Pacers, Domantas Sabonis (6-9 with 14 points and 8 rebounds) and Tyreke Evans (team high 21 points) were great off the bench and helped support Bojan Bogdanovic (22 points) on the offensive end BUT again the Pacers did not have enough fire power to defeat the Celtics. One bright point for the Pacers is that they didn’t collapse in the third or fourth quarter, which is a first in this series.
Despite being swept, the Pacers should be proud of what they did this season. With Oladipo gone to injury, nobody thought they could make the playoffs, let alone clinch the five seed. This group, with a healthy Oladipo, will be a real threat next year, but for now they may as well enjoy the offseason ( I hear Space Jam 2 is in filming…).
The real question from this series is who will the Celtics play in round two? (I’m kidding, it’s obviously the Bucks….)
Los Angeles Clippers (1-3) v Golden State Warriors (3-1): 113 to 105
The Clippers could have won this game and all I can say is: If I was a free agent this summer, I would want to join the Clippers.
The Clippers have a bright future. Everyone knows they were never going to win this series but making it to the playoffs after trading away their best player at trade deadline (Tobias Harris for those playing at home) and stealing a game from the Warriors is all the evidence you need to see. The Clippers surprised everyone this season and did damn well.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was phenomenal with 25 points (team high) off 9-15 shooting. Landry Shamet had 9 points off 3-6 shooting (only from three-point range) and two steals. Montrez Harrell was a beast again, even if the numbers don’t show it.
But this was the Warriors game.
Even with Steph Curry starting 0-8 from 3-point land, Klay Thompson was hot with 17 first quarter points and finishing 6-9 from three with 32 points. Kevin Durant had 33 points, seven rebounds and six assists, Draymond Green had two blocks and 10 points and once again the Warriors with four all-stars were no match for the Clippers.
Next game @ Warriors: Thursday (25/4) at 12:30pm AEST
Orlando Magic (1-3) v Toronto Raptors (3-1): 85 to 107
Kawhi Leonard is back and healthy and happy. Something we have not seen in a while.
Happy Kawhi had 34 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals & blocks. He was efficient, effective and led the Raptors to a cruisy victory.
From about half way through the second, the Raptors had a double-digit lead and it stayed that way for the rest of the game.
Norman Powell was great off the bench with 16 points (7-9) and Pascal Siakam had his usual efficient game with 16 points. Hell even Jodie Meeks, Jeremy Lin and Patrick McCaw got minutes, which was lovely to see (to be honest, I thought Jodie Meeks played in China…)
The Magic struggled to find offence again, with Aaron Gordon the only player with over 20 points and only one of three Magic players in doubt digits.
This game wasn’t even close. Nikola Vucevic is being swamped by Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, Jonathan Isaac was held scoreless by Siakam and Leonard and even with a range of exciting line-ups from Steve Clifford, the Magic couldn’t find their feet in this game.
The series will likely be finished in Toronto next game unless something MAGICal happens…
Next Game @ Raptors: Wednesday (24/4) at 9:00am AEST
Okalahoma City Thunder (1-3) v Portalnd Trailblazers (3-1): 98 to 111
Dametime was back in action in game 4.
After starting cold in the first half missing his first 6 shots, Damian Lillard went nuts in the third, scoring 15 of his 24 points from 5-7 shooting.
CJ McCollum had another productive night, hitting 10-20 from the field and solid 5-9 from three for 27 points, as he continues his hot streak. I am still confused why the Thunder give him so much space when shooting. The CJ of the old playoffs has been replaced with this new and improved specimen and I love it.
The starters for the Blazers had a solid game and the team shot a clip over 42% from three and only missed one free throw (22-23).
What’s even better is that in the second half, Portland held Russell Westbrook to one point, and he didn’t hit a single field goal (0-10 in the second half). With Westbrick back the Thunder never stood a chance.
Despite a decent game from Paul George, who was in foul trouble early on (32 points, 10 rebounds and six assists) and a solid contribution from Dennis Schroder off the bench (17 points), the Thunder lost every single quarter. When the Portland got the lead just before half time, there was no coming back, this game was over.
Portland will be looking for a huge win at home to get this series over with and play… honestly I don’t even know (but hopefully the Spurs).
Next game @ Portland: Wednesday (24/4) at 12:30pm AEST.