Of the three games on Tuesday’s NBA Playoffs schedule, two involved home teams (Toronto and Denver) in need of a win after dropping their respective series openers. Both got the job done, with Kawhi Leonard putting forth an efficient performance as the Raptors rolled past Orlando, and a red-hot Jamal Murray sparking the Nuggets’ fourth quarter rally to beat San Antonio. Below is a look at what happened Tuesday, with Portland’s tandem of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum also starring.
Raptors 111, Magic 82
Kawhi Leonard did what stars are expected to do this time of year, as he led the Raptors to a 29-point victory to even the series at 1-all. In 33 minutes he shot 15-of-22 from the field, scoring 37 points with four rebounds, four assists, two steals and four 3-pointers. The 37 points are tied for the fourth-most in Raptors playoff history (with DeMar DeRozan), and he was one of four double-digit scorers from the Raptors. Pascal Siakam added 19 points (8-of-16 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), 10 rebounds and one assist, and Serge Ibaka scored 13 points with eight rebounds, two blocked shots and one three-pointer in 24 minutes off the bench.
The fourth double-digit scorer for Toronto was Kyle Lowry, who bounced back in a big way after struggling in Saturday’s Game 1 loss. After failing to score Saturday (0-of-7 FGs), the veteran point guard shot 8-of-13 from the field and scored 22 points Tuesday night. In addition to those points Lowry accounted for seven assists, four rebounds, two steals, one blocked shot and two 3-pointers in a team-high 38 minutes. Lowry was certainly off shooting-wise Saturday, but to be fair to him he did have to deal with the after effects of the Terrence Ross knee he took to the groin during the first half. With a couple days to recover Lowry looked to be moving much better, and the improved ability to get to his spots paid off on both ends of the floor.
Marc Gasol finished the night with nine points (3-of-4 3-pointers), five assists, four steals and three rebounds, and Danny Green failed to score (0-of-4 FGs) but accounted for six rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot. Toronto is going eight deep, with Ibaka, Fred VanVleet (two points, four assists and one blocked shot) and Norman Powell (five points, four rebounds, two steals, one assist and one three-pointer) receiving the majority of the bench minutes.
Orlando was able to win Saturday despite off days for both Ross and Nikola Vucevic, but the Magic had no such luck Tuesday night. While Ross was able to get going, shooting 5-of-10 from the field and scoring 15 points with three rebounds, one blocked shot and three 3-pointers, Vucevic was once again held in check. The All-Star center played just 25 minutes, shooting 3-of-7 from the field and scoring six points with six rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot.
In Game 1 Vooch shot 3-of-14 from the field, tallying 11 points with eight rebounds, three assists and one block. While Orlando has shown in this series that it’s capable of taking a game off of Toronto when Vucevic isn’t at his best, it will be extremely difficult for the Magic to win four games if he can’t get going.
Outside of Ross, Aaron Gordon was the only Orlando player to have a good night offensively. Shooting 8-of-12 from the field overall and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, Gordon scored a team-high 20 points while also tallying five rebounds, two assists, and one blocked shot in 33 minutes. This was a better offensive effort than what he produced in Game 1, as he shot 3-of-10 from the field and scored 10 points with 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two 3-pointers.
The only other starter to score in double figures for the Magic was Evan Fournier, who scored 10 points (4-of-12 FGs) with five rebounds, three assists, one steal and two 3-pointers. DJ Augustin, who was outstanding in Game 1, and Jonathan Isaac combined to score 14 points on 2-of-14 shooting (Augustin was 7-of-7 at the foul line). Michael Carter-Williams posted a solid stat line in his 25 minutes off the bench, finishing with eight points, nine rebounds and two assists. The series now shifts to Orlando, with Game 3 set for Friday night.
Nuggets 114, Spurs 105
Through the first seven quarters of this series, Nuggets guard Jamal Murray scored a total of 20 points on 8-of-31 shooting from the field. With he, and by extension the Nuggets as a whole, many coaches would have taken Murray off the court. Nuggets coach Mike Malone isn’t one of those coaches however, and his decision to stick with the young guard paid off in the fourth quarter Tuesday night. Murray hit eight of his nine field goal attempts in the fourth, scoring 21 points to lead Denver to a comeback victory and even the series at 1-all. In addition to his 24 points he finished with, Murray accounted for four assists, two rebounds, one steal and two 3-pointers.
Four of Denver’s five starters scored at least 20 points on the night. Gary Harris pumped in 23 points (10-of-16 FGs) with five rebounds, one assist, and three 3-pointers, Nikola Jokic added 21 (7-of-15 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs) with 13 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two 3-pointers, and Paul Millsap finished with 20 points (7-of-10 FGs, 5-of-7 FTs), seven rebounds, one assist, one steal, one blocked shot and one three-pointer. Jokic posted a triple-double in his playoff debut Saturday, but he scored just 10 points in the loss. The one starter who did not have a good night offensively was Will Barton, who scored three points on 1-of-10 shooting with five rebounds and three assists. Barton scored 15 points on 6-of-15 shooting in Denver’s Game 1 loss.
Monte Morris scored 11 points with six assists, one rebound and one steal in 24 minutes off the bench, with fellow reserves Mason Plumlee (four points, five rebounds, two assists and one block) and Malik Beasley (eight points, three rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers) playing 20 and 23 minutes, respectively.
After scoring 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting in Game 1, Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan shot 11-of-19 from the field and 9-of-9 from the foul line Tuesday night. DeRozan finished with a game-high 31 points while also accounting for seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. He was one of three Spurs to score in double figures, with LaMarcus Aldridge adding 24 points (8-of-24 FGs, 8-of-10 FTs), eight rebounds and three assists, and Derrick White tallying 17 points (7-of-11 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), four rebounds, one blocked shot and one three-pointer.
Bryn Forbes, who scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds in Game 1, accounted for just five points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal and one three-pointer in 26 minutes. Jakob Poeltl proved to be a handful on the backboards, with four of his eight rebounds coming on the offensive end. That was a factor as the Spurs held off the Nuggets’ rallies during the first half of the fourth quarter. But once the Nuggets improved their effort in the rebounding department they were eventually able to overtake San Antonio. Rudy Gay, who chipped in with 14 points Saturday, scored just five on 2-of-9 shooting. The veteran forward also tallied nine rebounds and three assists. Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday in San Antonio.
Trail Blazers 114, Thunder 94
As good as Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum were in Portland’s Game 1 victory, they were even better as Portland opened up a 2-0 series lead with a win Tuesday night. McCollum played 36 minutes, scoring 33 points (12-of-22 FGs, 6-of-6 FTs) with eight rebounds, five assists, one steal and three 3-pointers, and Lillard added 29 points (10-of-21 FGs, 5-of-7 FTs) with six assists, five rebounds, three steals, two blocked shots and four 3-pointers in 37 minutes. Portland’s stars outperformed Oklahoma City’s stars, and the Trail Blazers received solid contributions from the likes of Moe Harkless (14 points, nine rebounds, one steal, one blocked shot and one three-pointer) and Seth Curry (3-of-4 3-pointers, nine points).
Al-Farouq Aminu scored just six points, shooting 2-of-7 from the field, but he accounted for four rebounds, three assists, three steals and one three-pointer in 23 minutes played. Portland’s star power more than made up for a quiet night from Enes Kanter, who racked up 20 points and 18 rebounds in Game 1. Oklahoma City did a better job of keeping him off the boards Tuesday, with Portland’s new starting center (since late-March) playing just 20 minutes and tallying six points and five rebounds (all defensive). Meyers Leonard contributed five points, four rebounds and one three-pointer in15 minutes off the bench, and his presence on the court had an impact.
Leonard isn’t much of a scorer — and Portland doesn’t need him to be — but he can be more of a floor spacer than Kanter. That pulls Steven Adams away from the basket, and on multiple occasions in Game 2 the end result was a clean look at the rim for one of Portland’s penetrating guards. With this being just the second game since March 27 in which Leonard has played 15 minutes or more, it’s tough to expect Portland’s backup center to see an increase in minutes beyond that. But this does give Terry Stotts something to consider should there be a need open up driving lanes as the series moves to Oklahoma City with Game 3 scheduled for Friday night.
Portland hasn’t experienced the efficiency issues that Oklahoma City has, with the Thunder’s perimeter shooting struggles and a willingness to continue chucking up shots getting Billy Donovan’s team in trouble. Paul George scored 27 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the field, and he also accounted for eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and two 3-pointers. But Russell Westbrook, who has struggled with his shot for much of this season, scored 14 points on 5-of-20 shooting while also accounting for 11 assists, nine rebounds, one steal, one three-pointer and six turnovers. Westbrook was better in Game 1, when he shot 8-of-17 from the field and posted a 24/10/10 line with four turnovers.
The aforementioned Adams was Oklahoma City’s third double-digit scorer Tuesday, accounting for 16 points (7-of-8 FGs, 2-of-5 FTs) with nine rebounds, one assist and one steal in 30 minutes. The Thunder shot 5-of-28 from three on the night, and in the first two games of the series they’re 10-of-61. Jerami Grant, who showed signs of being a capable floor spacer at times during the regular season, shot 1-of-7 from the field (0-of-5 3-pointers) and finished with five points, four rebounds and one blocked shot. OKC’s starters combined to shoot 4-of-23 from three, with George shooting 2-of-7, Westbrook 1-of-6 and Terrance Ferguson 1-of-5.
Wednesday’s Schedule (all times Eastern)
Pacers @ Celtics, 7 PM (TNT)
No changes to the injury report for either team, with Marcus Smart (left oblique tear) still out of the lineup.
Pistons @ Bucks, 8 PM (NBATV)
Milwaukee’s injury report remains unchanged, with Malcolm Brogdon (right foot plantar fascia), Donte DiVincenzo (bilateral heel bursitis), Pau Gasol (left foot soreness) and Tony Snell (left ankle sprain) all ruled out. As for Detroit, Blake Griffin (left knee soreness) is listed as questionable after sitting out the Game 1 loss.
Jazz @ Rockets, 9: 30 PM (TNT)
Houston did not have any players listed on Tuesday’s final injury report. As for Utah, Kyle Korver (right knee soreness) is listed as probable and Thabo Sefolosha (left hip soreness) is considered to be questionable. Both played in the Game 1 loss to the Rockets, with Korver scoring two points and grabbing one rebound in 10 minutes and Sefolosha (15 minutes) shooting 1-of-6 from the field in a three-point, one-rebound, one-assist night.