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Dan Dobish

Basketball Daily Dose

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Daily Dose: Miami Nice

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


The NBA had just two games on the schedule on Monday night, but one contest turned out to be a huge surprise, while another was headed for a similar outcome until the alarm clock went off in the second half. One former superstar in the twilight of his career turned the clock back and had a vintage performance for the ages, leading his team to a big road upset and a series-evening victory. The first few days of the playoffs have provided some surprising storylines, and it might just be a preview of things to come in the playoffs. Let's get started!


After reviewing the two Monday’s contests, we’ll wrap up the Dose by taking a quick look at a handful of players that are facing injury issues for Tuesday’s games.


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Miami Heat 113, Philadelphia 76ers 103:
The Cleveland Cavaliers traded Dwyane Wade back to where he belongs earlier in the season after a failed stint with his buddy LeBron James in C-Town. While Wade has certainly looked a few steps slower and a shell of his former self across his past two seasons in stops with Chicago and Cleveland, it was vintage Mayor of Wade County on Monday night. Wade was in a zone, hitting 11-of-16 shots in 26 minutes off the bench to finish with 28 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals while posting a team-best plus-16 rating.

 

The highlight of D-Wade's evening were his 15 points in the second quarter, which was two more than the entire Philadelphia roster scored in those 12 minutes. After making his first seven shots of the contest he ended up moving past Hall of Famer Larry Bird for 10th-place on the NBA's all-time playoff scoring list. He said after the game that he was motivated by the jawing from Philadelphia superstar comic Kevin Hart who was sitting courtside. (say it like Kevin from his stand-up show…) "Motivated by smack from a comic. REALLY?"

 

Wade wasn't the only one doing great things in a Heat uni. James Johnson stepped up his game with a 7-of-7 shooting night, including 2-of-2 from behind the arc, posting 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and a blocked shot across 37 minutes. Goran Dragic also stepped up with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting, while Wayne Ellington dropped in three triples and Kelly Olynyk had 11 off the bench with six assists, five rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot. It's uncertain if this was Miami playing at their best and if they'll be able to give Philly a run for the rest of the series, or revert back to their Game 1 form, but don't grease those poles in the City of Brotherly Love just yet.

 

The Celtics didn't have much of a presence at the center position, as Aron Baynes was scoreless with an 0-for-4 shooting night, and Greg Monroe went for just one point on 0-of-2 shooting 20 minutes off the bench. The fact that the C's won the game in overtime masked the struggles at the center position, and they'll certainly need bigger contributions there over the course of the series if they're going to be successful. The strong defense of Antetokounmpo and John Henson certainly didn't make it easy for the Boston bigs.

 

On the Philly side of the ledger they were again without Joel Embiid due to his orbital fracture. Ersan Ilyasova did his best to make Embiid's loss sting less, going for 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting while pulling down 11 rebounds in his 28 minutes. If not for foul trouble he was likely on his way to a monster line. Ilyasova supplanted Amir Johnson in the starting five. Ben Simmons posted a triple-double in Game 1, and he flirted with another in Game 2. He ended up with 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists with two blocked shots in his second-ever playoff game. If the 76ers are going to avoid a monumental failure, they're going to have to shoot better than 19.4 percent (7-of-36) from behind the arc.

 

The final total in this game was very interesting, too, and depending on your offshore book or shop, the result was either an under, a push or an over. Hopefully you didn't take a bad beat.

 

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Golden State Warriors 116, San Antonio Spurs 101:
Like the Heat, the aging Spurs were trying to turn back the block and deal the heavily-favored Warriors a blow on their home court. The Spurs headed to the break with a 53-47 lead and things were looking good. Unfortunately for Gregg Popovich's bunch it's a 48-minute game, and the Warriors shined in the second half by outscoring the visitors 69-48 to win it going away while getting the cover, too.

 

LaMarcus Aldridge had an impressive stat line, hitting 11-of-21 from the field to finish with 34 points, 12 rebounds and three assists. He was also a very impressive 12-of-12 from the charity stripe while turning it over just twice. Unfortunately for L.A. he really only had Patty Mills as a partner in crime on the offensive end, as everyone else struggled with their shot. Rudy Gay wasn't terrible in a starting assignment in place of Kyle Anderson, but he ended up with just 12 points across 37 minutes and he was 0-for-3 from behind the 3-point line. The bench was actually pretty impressive, posting just one turnover across 97 total bench minutes while going for 30 points. Unfortunately the bench players also went a combined 9-of-29 (31.0 percent) and 1-of-13 from downtown.

 

The Warriors continue to do it without Stephen Curry (knee) or Patrick McCaw (back) on the shelf. Kevin Durant elevated his game with 32 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 3-of-9 from behind the arc, and he was a solid 9-of-10 from the free-throw line. K.D. also chipped in with six rebounds, six assists and a blocked shot, too, taking his teammates on his back like the superstar that he is. Klay Thompson picked up the slack for his missing Splash Brother, hitting 5-of-8 from down deep while contributing 31 points over 39 minutes.

 

The injury bug did bite the Warriors yet again, as David West turned an ankle when he landed on the foot of Aldridge underneath the bucket in the fourth quarter. He was in obvious pain after the injury and he headed for the locker room. You can consider him day-to-day at this point. If he were unable to play in Game 3, it would be a huge loss after he went 3-of-3 from the field, and 4-of-4 from the stripe before departing. Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell might see expanded roles if West is unable to answer the bell in the next game in San Antonio.

 


Tuesday’s schedule:
* Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors - NBATV - 7:00 PM


* Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics - TNT - 8:00 PM


* New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers - TNT - 10:30 PM

 


Injury notes for Tuesday:
Ryan Anderson (ankle) is listed as questionable for Game 2, head coach Mike D'Antoni said on Monday. If the 3-point shooting forward isn't able to play a home, the head coach said he'll "definitely" be ready for the Game 3 road contest in the Twin Cities. The Rockets won by just three points in the series opener and can really use his perimeter shooting, especially since many Rockets struggle from downtown on Sunday.

 

Donovan Mitchell (foot) suffered a bruised left foot in the series opener, and his status for Game 2 against the Oklahoma City Thunder is not yet known. The impressive rookie would be a huge absence for the Jazz, already down 1-0 in their series against OKC. Look for Mitchell to do everything in his power to be out there.

 

Paul George aggravated his right hip in the Game 1 victory, probably hurting himself on all of the buckets he was making. PG13 was able to take part in a full practice on Monday, although it was a non-contact practice. George said after the series opener that he would be ready to play in Game 2, but all players say they feel fine and will be ready to play, don't they?

 




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