Wow. What a day of NBA action we got on day 21 of the NBA Playoffs. It’s always an exciting one when the game that came down to the wire in regulation is the ‘boring’ game. Alas, the duel in Beantown got bumped from main billing due to a scorcher in Portland, so let’s head to Boston first.
Milwaukee Bucks (2-1) vs Boston Celtics (1-2): 123 to 116
There are a lot of conspiracy theories about Giannis. Is he an alien? Is he some type of demigod? Perhaps he is a modern day mythical entity? We’re not entirely sure, but we demand answers.
The deserving MVP (eat your heart out Harden analytics nerds) finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists on 8/13 shooting and 16/22 shooting from the free throw line. He was able to dominate the front of the rim, forcing Boston to either foul or concede the dunk or layup. It was exactly what was needed to tear down the Boston wall brick by brick.
Khris Middleton’s 20 points on 6/12 shooting and George Hill’s 21 points on 9/12 shooting off the bench was also exactly what was needed to spark an impressive Buck’s offence in game 3. If you’re a Bucks fan, you’ll be hoping that Bledsoe will make an appearance in this series also.
On the flip side, Boston gave away too many fouls and came up just short in the offensive production department, with the team’s X-Factor Gordon Hayward only mustering up 10 points on 2/8 shooting. Kyrie’s 29, Tatums 20, Brown’s 18, Horford’s 17 and Morris’ 16 would usually be enough to overcome any team, but not in a game where Giannis get’s to the line for 22 freebies.
Ultimately, the series revolves around how limited Giannis is and how good Hayward is. The Great Wall of Stevens needs to hold up just enough to allow Hayward’s contributions to push the C’s over the top, which didn’t happen here in game 3. But hey Jaylen Brown did this.
Next game @ Celtics: Tuesday (7/5) at 9am (AEST)
Portland Trailblazers (2-1) vs Denver Nuggets (1-2): 140-137 (4OT)
I really was enjoying this game and I have enjoyed this series. It’s two teams with a clash of styles, who haven’t interacted in the postseason and who’s top stars both are desperate to reach the Western Conference finals for the first time in their careers. This game was close nit and I could watch it all day. As time began to tick away, I wish I was getting more of this game.
AND THEN I GOT FOUR OVERTIMES.
In the second ever four overtime playoff game (the last one was in 1953), the Portland Trailblazers pulled out a win in a game that could have honestly tipped either way. It speaks to how even these two teams are and how both are more deserving of our acclaim than perhaps first thought.
Jokic logged a ridiculous 64 minutes and 58 seconds in the loss, the third highest total in a game in NBA history. In that time, he was able to post a 34-9-5, but had some costly errors in the overtime periods, including a key missed free throw which would have tied the game in the 4th OT.
The overtimes inflate everyones stats to ridiculous highs, so the focus should be on who was hitting the biggest shots of the game.
For Denver, they were able to trust the steady hand of veteran Paul Millsap down the stretch, as he was able to produce out of the post late in this game. Will Barton was exceptional defensively for the Nuggets and was all over the floor making big defensive stops to keep Denver in it.
As for Portland, Lillard was hampered by the defence, meaning that the Blazers had to depend on his backcourt mate in McCollum who finished with 41 points. This is inclusive of a couple of impressive moves to get clutch buckets to maintain pace with the Nugs.
But surprisingly, the biggest shot of the game was taken by Rodney Hood, who skipped his way into the game in the 4th OT and scored 7 points in it to clinch the game for the Blazers.
It will be interesting to see if Denver can recover from such a tough, draining loss in game 4.
Next game @ Portland: Monday (6/5) at 9am (AEST)