Wizards 114, Hawks 107
John Wall led the charge for Washington during Sunday’s Game 1 win over Atlanta, busting loose for a playoff career-high 32 points on 12-of-24 shooting (6-of-6 from the stripe) to go with 14 dimes, four boards, two triples, one block and three turnovers in 37 minutes. He was incredibly active on both ends of the floor from start to finish, and he absolutely took over during the third quarter of action, scoring 15 of his 32 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Wall admitted prior to the game that he still holds a bit of a grudge against Dennis Schroder for Schroder telling his teammates to slap at Wall’s badly fractured wrist during their 2015 second-round series, but he got to exact some revenge on Sunday with an incredible chase-down swat on a Schroder layup attempt. All in all, Atlanta really didn’t have any real answers for Wall, so he could be in for a huge first-round series. Optimus Dime engaged.
Markieff Morris also had a fantastic game while making his postseason debut on Sunday, registering 21 points (8-of-19 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), seven boards, two assists, two 3-pointers, four swats, one steal and two turnovers in 38 minutes. He got into a nice two-man game with Wall, throwing down numerous lobs for some vicious slams, and he also did an excellent job containing Paul Millsap on the other end of the floor. Morris threw some shade at Millsap prior to the game, telling reporters not to refer to him as a stretch-four because he believes that’s a “soft” label, while adding that it would be fine to call Millsap a stretch-four, and the two could be seen jawing at each other a number of times throughout the contest. It looks like this will be a chippy first-round series between Washington and Atlanta.
Dennis Schroder was the only Atlanta player to really turn in a full stat line during the Game 1 loss, scoring 25 points on 8-of-16 shooting to go with three boards, nine assists, three 3-pointers, one steal and two turnovers in 36 minutes. He was also a perfect 6-of-6 from the line to give him a sterling true shooting percentage of 67.1, but I’m not expecting that efficient trend to continue considering he shot just 38.2 percent against Washington during the regular season. Paul Millsap was the Hawks’ second-leading scorer with 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting (9-of-11 from the stripe), but he didn’t do much else, ending his evening with just two rebounds, one assist and four turnovers to his credit. Millsap will need to be much better for the Hawks to have a chance during Wednesday’s Game 2.
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Warriors 121, Trail Blazers 109
Draymond Green was nothing short of amazing during the Warriors’ Game 1 win over the Trail Blazers, racking up 19 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, three triples, three steals, five blocks and just one turnover through 37 minutes of floor time. He absolutely dominated the game with his defense, producing highlight-reel block, after highlight-reel block, and with his ridiculous 19-12-9-3-3-5 stat line, he became the first player to ever record such a ridiculous stat line during the postseason since defensive statistics became a thing during the 1973-74 season.
Kevin Durant went 12-of-20 from the field and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe for an elite true shooting percentage of 69.3 during Sunday’s win, on his way to 32 points, 10 rebounds, two 3-pointers, two assists, one block and three turnovers in 36 minutes. Portland tried throwing Evan Turner, Moe Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu at him to no avail, and it’s pretty obvious that (like most teams) the Trail Blazers simply do not have the type of defensive player at their disposal that will present a real threat to Durant. In other words, the Durantula should be scoring with relative ease through Golden State’s first-round series. Oh yeah, his knee is also just fine.
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum combined for 75 of the Trail Blazers’ 109 points on Sunday, but ultimately, it was not enough to give Portland the win. McCollum led the team in scoring with 41 points on 16-of-28 shooting (5-of-6 from the stripe) adding eight boards, four triples, one assist, one steal, one block and four turnovers through 41 minutes of floor time. Lillard netted 34 points on 12-of-26 shooting (7-of-7 from the stripe) to go with five rebounds, three assists, three trey-bombs, two steals, one block and three turnovers in 39 minutes. With McCollum and Lillard each scoring at least 34 points, they became the first Portland duo to accomplish such a feat in a playoff game since Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter combined 77 points in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against Utah on May 19, 1992.
Unfortunately for Portland, no one else really showed up in a meaningful way, with Meyers Leonard and Al-Farouq Aminu each putting up goose eggs in the scoring department in a combined 30 minutes off the bench, and Allen Crabbe only managing to hit one 3-pointer in 22 minutes off the bench. If the Trail Blazers want to avoid being swept, they’ll need a lot more than a combined three points from Aminu and Crabbe.
Bulls 106, Celtics 102
Jimmy Butler powered the Bulls to victory behind 30 points (9-of-19 FGs, 9-of-12 FTs), nine rebounds, three assists, three triples, one steal, one block and five turnovers in 41 minutes on Sunday. He started slow, but went absolutely en fuego through the second half of action, scoring 23 of his 30 points while working with a gaudy 41.7 usage rate. Butler also spent most of the fourth quarter as Isaiah Thomas’ primary defender, and he completely took IT4 out of the game, which sealed the deal for Chicago. The Bulls may be the No. 8 seed this year, but they match up incredibly well with the Celtics, who are a much more vulnerable than your typical No. 1 seed.
Dwyane Wade (elbow) and Rajon Rondo (wrist) didn’t have any sort of minutes restrictions on Sunday, so both these guys should be flirting with minutes in the 30s through Chicago’s first-round series. Wade finished with 11 points, five boards, six dimes, two steals, two blocks, one 3-pointer and three turnovers in 34 minutes; while Rondo ended his evening with 12 points, seven boards, six assists, two steals, one block and one turnover in 27 minutes. Bobby Portis was Chicago’s X-Factor, producing 19 points, nine rebounds, three triples, three assists, two blocks and zero turnovers in 29 minutes off the bench, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can keep his momentum going into Game 2.
Isaiah Thomas did all he could to try and get his Celtics a win a day after his younger sister died in a tragic car accident, but ultimately his 33 points, three 3-pointers, five boards, six assists and one steal was not enough for the Celtics. IT4 was fighting back tears while going through his pregame routine, so the fact that he got out there at all in wake of his sister’s death was a miracle in itself. He also got his points with remarkable efficiency, going 10-of-18 from the field, 3-of-7 from beyond the arc and 10-of-12 from the charity stripe, for a smoldering true shooting percentage of 70.9, so he should shoulder precisely zero blame for Boston’s Game 1 loss.
Houston 118, Oklahoma City 87
James Harden was cookin' during Sunday’s convincing Game 1 win over the Thunder, scoring a game-high 37 points on 13-of-28 shooting (8-of-11 from the stripe) to go with three triples, seven rebounds, nine assists, three steals and just two turnovers in 34 minutes. He was in MVP form from start-to-finish, and he took full advantage of OKC’s constant switching, regularly going to work against guys like Taj Gibson, Steven Adams and Enes Kanter. Harden finished the game with a gaudy 43.8 usage rate, and if OKC sticks to their switching principles, it might be a quick first-round series between the two leading MVP candidates in Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Speaking of Westbrook, he had one of his least efficient postseason performances ever, going just 6-of-23 from the field and committing a playoff career-high nine turnovers on his way to 22 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and three triples in 34 minutes. Patrick Beverley really made life difficult for Westbrook, but even with Beverley’s elite defense, I’d still expect Westbrook to put forth a much more effective outing in Game 2 on Wednesday. Victor Oladipo was an absolute mess during his 32 minutes of floor time, connecting on just one of his 12 shot attempts and finishing with just six points, four boards, three assists, one steal, two blocks, one turnover and zero 3-pointers. He too should be able to bounce back on Wednesday.
Patrick Beverley exited Sunday's blowout win after experiencing some back pain and did not return, ending his evening with 21 points, 10 boards, three assists, four triples, two steals and two turnovers in 26 minutes. The game was well in hand when Beverley hit the sidelines, and he watched the game from the bench, so I imagine he'll be just fine for Game 2 on Wednesday considering he'll now have a full two days to rest up. Beverley had a couple tough spills throughout the game, but his back injury likely occurred when he was leveled on a hard screen from Steven Adams. Again, Beverley is about as tough as they come, so I doubt he'll miss any additional postseason action with this back issue.
Tony Allen (leg) will not play in Game 2 against the Spurs on Monday. He’s out indefinitely, and there’s a chance we won’t see him again this postseason. With The Grindfather on the sidelines, Wayne Seldon could be looking at another start, and there will be more minutes available for guys like Vince Carter, James Ennis and Troy Daniels.
Jason Smith is dealing with a bruised left knee, but he should be fine for Game 2 against the Hawks on Wednesday.
An MRI revealed a hyperextension and left knee bone bruise for Rudy Gobert, and he should be considered doubtful for Game 2 on Tuesday. The Jazz are speaking as though Gobert will be back at some point during this first-round series, although that seems incredibly optimistic given this sort of injury typically requires a multi-game absence. Derrick Favors will likely be moving back into the starting five sans Favors, and there will be more minutes for guys like Joe Johnson, Boris Diaw and Jeff Withey.
Austin Rivers (hamstring) is hopeful to get back on the court for Friday's Game 3 against Utah. He hasn’t played since late-March, so even if he can get back out there on Friday night, it’ll likely be in a very limited capacity.
Jusuf Nurkic (leg) sat out Sunday’s Game 1 loss to the Warriors, and he should be considered questionable at best for Wednesday’s Game 2. As long as Nurkic is on the sidelines, Terry Stotts will be using a committee approach to fill the five-man minutes in Portland with Meyers Leonard, Noah Vonleh, Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless all earning minutes at the center-slot.
Glenn Robinson III (calf) is questionable for Game 2 against the Cavs on Monday.
Matt Barnes (ankle) is hopeful he can get back to the court for Game 3 on Saturday, but with all the Dubs’ main guys 100 percent healthy, Barnes will be a non-factor in fantasy hoops.