Jared Johnson

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: King of the East

Monday, May 8, 2017


Cleveland 109, Toronto 102 (Cavs sweep the Raptors)

 

LeBron James powered the Cavs to a Game 4 win over the Raptors on Sunday, scoring 35 points on 11-of-22 shooting (8-of-9 from the stripe) to go with nine rebounds, six dimes, five triples, one block and six turnovers through 46 minutes of floor time. As per usual, James has been crushing it through the first two rounds of the playoffs, owning averages of 34.4 points, 9.0 boards, 7.1 assists, 2.1 steals, 1.5 blocks and an impressive 2.8 treys per contest. Not only is LeBron draining a postseason career-high 2.8 trey-bombs a night, but he’s also connecting on a ridiculous 46.8 percent of his 3-point attempts, and when he’s shooting the lights out like this he essentially becomes impossible to guard.

 

Kyrie Irving was aggressive from start to finish and ended his evening with 27 points, five boards, nine assists, two 3-pointers, four steals, one block and just one turnover in 40 minutes. He absolutely carried that Cavs offense through the fourth quarter when he scored 11 of his 27 points while posting a usage rate of 50.0, as he mean-mugged his way to victory. The Cavs have now begun two straight postseason runs 8-0, and they’ll have plenty of time to rest up as they await the winner of the Washington-Boston series.

 

DeMar DeRozan did all he could to try and get the Raptors a win on their home floor, but ultimately, his 22 points, four boards and eight assists were not enough. DeRozan is on the books with Toronto through 2021, but the same cannot be said for Serge Ibaka, Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker and some other scrubs, so it’ll be interesting to see what the Raptors do this offseason.

 

If the Raptors don’t decide to move any of the guys currently on the books for the 2017-18 season, they could feasibly sign Lowry or Ibaka, but they can’t get both. However, if they could find a taker on DeMarre Carroll’s awful contract worth roughly $30.2 million over the next two seasons and try and package that with Jonas Valanciunas (who is on a much more reasonable contract worth around $49.6 million over the next three years with a player option on Year-3), then it’s possible the Raptors could build around Lowry, DeRozan and Ibaka. Although whether or not Toronto be willing to give a max deal to Lowry, who will be 32 next season and has a history of disappearing during the postseason, is another question entirely. What exactly happens with the roster construction in Toronto this offseason will be fascinating to watch.

 

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Washington 121, Boston 102 (Series tied at 2-2)

 

Bradley Beal shot the lights out during Sunday’s Game 4 win over the Celtics, scoring 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting (4-of-4 from the stripe) to go with three triples, four rebounds, one steal and one turnover in 37 minutes. John Wall was also phenomenal during the win as he finished with 27 points, 12 dimes, three rebounds, two 3-pointers, five steals, one block and seven turnovers in 36 minutes. The game was close up until halftime, but the Wizards went on a 26-0 run during the third quarter, and the scoring wedge placed between both teams during that run turned out to be insurmountable. Wall was particularly impressive during that third quarter, posting a usage rate of 44.7 and an assist percentage of 50.0, and he made the Celtics pay dearly with their constant costly turnovers. Through the entirety of the game, the Wizards scored 34 points off turnovers, and 19 of those 34 points came during that 26-0 run during the third quarter of action.

 

Isaiah Thomas got off to a quick start, scoring 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting during the first half of action, but it was all bad news after that as he scored just two more points through the final two frames ending his night with 19 points, five triples, five dimes, one rebound, two steals, one block and an unfortunate six turnovers in 31 minutes. Thomas didn’t get to the line a single time through his 31 minutes of floor time, which was just the second such occurrence of his postseason run, and this also marked the first time this season that Thomas was held to under 20 points in two consecutive games. I’d expect that trend to break with the Celtics back at home for Game 5.

 

Amir Johnson replaced Gerald Green in the starting lineup and finished with seven points, two boards, one 3-pointer and one block in 12 minutes, while Green netted eight points, two triples, two dimes, one steal and one turnover in 10 minutes off the bench. Meh.

 

As per usual with teams on the receiving end of a blowout loss, none of the Celtics were that great on Sunday. Avery Bradley appeared to be bothered by his left hip issue and went 2-of-9 from the field on his way to five points, four boards, one 3-pointer, one assist and four turnovers; Jae Crowder was held to six points (2-of-9 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), seven boards, four assists, four steals and one block; and Al Horford finished with 11 points, five boards, one triple, five dimes, two steals, one block and two turnovers in 32 minutes.

 

Terry Rozier was a lone bright spot off the Celtics bench, scoring 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting to go with seven boards, one 3-pointer, one assist and two turnovers in 22 minutes, and with Boston desperate for some production after back-to-back blowout losses, Rozier could be a major factor for the Celtics in Game 5 on Wednesday.

 

Houston 125, San Antonio 104 (Series tied at 2-2)

 

James Harden led the charge for Houston during Sunday’s 125-104 Game 4 win over San Antonio, racking up 28 points, 12 dimes, five boards, five triples, two steals and four turnovers in 35 minutes. He did tweak his left knee during the third quarter, but the injury didn’t cause him to spend any time on the sidelines, so it’s extremely unlikely that that will emerge as an issue moving forward.

 

Nene, however, suffered an injury that could cause him to miss multiple games as he was sent to the hospital for an MRI after suffering what is currently being called a strained left groin during the first quarter. Even if it turns out that he’s dealing with nothing more than a groin strain, it would be surprising to see him available for Game 5 on Tuesday, so expect more minutes to fall to guys like Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson and Clint Capela with Montrezl Harrell also having the opportunity to get into the rotation.

 

Ryan Anderson had a nice bounce-back performance on Sunday following Friday’s two-point disaster, as he finished with 13 points, three triples, four boards and one turnover in 32 minutes; and Eric Gordon also had a solid outing following a disappointing Game 3, ending his evening with 22 points, six trey-bombs, three rebounds and one assist in 32 minutes. Gordon replaced Anderson in the starting five to begin the second half, and that could very well be the lineup they roll with in Game 5 on Tuesday.

 

Kawhi Leonard was relatively quiet during the blowout loss, scoring 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting (1-of-3 from the line) to go with six rebounds, four assists, one 3-pointer, one steal, one block and three turnovers in 30 minutes. Interestingly, Leonard’s 11-game streak of leading the Spurs in scoring was snapped by Jonathon Simmons (because of course, Spurs) as he finished with 17 points, two treys, four rebounds, one assist, two steals and three turnovers in 23 minutes off the bench. This 20-plus-point loss also marked the first time since the 2001 Western Conference Finals against the Lakers (a series they lost) that the Spurs had been blown out by 20-plus-points multiple times in a series. Needless to say, Leonard and Co. will need to come forth which a much better effort for Game 5 on Tuesday for the Spurs to have any shot of closing this thing out in six games.



A hoops fanatic, Jared Johnson has been a member of the Rotoworld team since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @JaredJ831, and feel free to send him your questions regarding trades, draft strategies and all things fantasy basketball.
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