Sunday’s NBA action produced the first team to advance in this year’s playoffs, as Boston completed its sweep of Indiana with a Game 4 victory in Indianapolis. Two other series edged closer to a conclusion, as Golden State outlasted the Clippers and Toronto blew out Orlando, with the favored teams now holding 3-1 series leads. Rounding out the slate was Portland picking up the split it needed, as the Trail Blazers pulled away from Oklahoma City.
Celtics 110, Pacers 106
Boston used a balanced offensive effort to get past the Pacers Sunday, with seven of the eight Celtics that scored reaching double figures. Gordon Hayward scored 20 points off the bench, shooting 7-of-9 from the field and 3-of-3 from the foul line, while also accounting for three rebounds, two assists, two steals, one blocked shot and three 3-pointers in 34 minutes played. Hayward and Marcus Morris both played at least 30 minutes off the bench, with the latter tallying 18 points (7-of-11 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), eight rebounds and two 3-pointers in 30 minutes played. Starting center Aron Baynes played 18 minutes, accounting for two points, two rebounds and one steal.
Baynes’ minutes were largely dictated by the matchup, with Indiana limiting the time that bigs Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis spent on the court together. The two shared the court for a little over seven minutes on Sunday, and for the series Turner and Sabonis played alongside each other for an average of 7.9 minutes per game. How Baynes will be used in the second round remains to be seen, as he played 16 minutes in his lone appearance against Milwaukee (we’re assuming that the Bucks will take care of Detroit) this season.
Jayson Tatum was the high scorer among the Celtics starters, finishing with 18 points (4-of-10 FGs, 9-of-12 FTs), while also racking up eight rebounds, two assists, one steal and one three-pointer. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving scored 14 points apiece, with the former doing so on 4-of-19 shooting from the field to go along with his 12 rebounds, five assists and one three-pointer. Irving dished out seven assists, and Jaylen Brown posted a stat line of 13 points, six rebounds, one assist and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes. Terry Rozier scored 11 points off the bench, shooting 4-of-6 from the field, with two 3-pointers, one rebound and one assist in 19 minutes played.
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pacers with a game-high 22 points (6-of-14 FGs, 9-of-10 FTs), and he also tallied eight rebounds, three assists and one three-pointer in 37 minutes played. Tyreke Evans added 21 points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers off the bench, and Darren Collison finished with 19 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and three 3-pointers. Sabonis (14/8/2) and Turner (13 & 7 with two blocks) also scored in double figures, and Thaddeus Young accounted for nine points, nine rebounds, three assists and one three-pointer.
Seven Pacers will be unrestricted free agents this summer, including Bogdanovic, Collison, Young and Evans, so those situations will need to be addressed in addition to Victor Oladipo’s recovery from the ruptured patellar tendon that ended his 2018-19 season in late January.
Warriors 113, Clippers 105
Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant combined to score 46 first-half points, and they would finish with 32 and 33 respectively as Golden State took a 3-1 series lead. Thompson more than doubled his scoring output in Game 3 (12 points) in one half of basketball, and in 40 minutes played he shot 12-of-20 from the field overall and 6-of-9 from beyond the arc. The points and three-pointers were essentially his entire day, as he accounted for one rebound and one turnover. In addition to his 33 points Durant (12-of-21 FGs, 6-of-6 FTs) accounted for even rebounds, six assists, one steal and three 3-pointers. The production of Durant and Thompson helped make up for Stephen Curry’s off day, as he shot 3-of-14 from the field (1-of-9 3-pointers) and finished with 12 points.
Curry was productive in other areas, however, as he also tallied ten rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala scored ten points apiece, with the former also responsible for nine rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots. And at the center position Andrew Bogut (eight points, ten rebounds and four assists) and Kevon Looney (two points, seven rebounds and two assists) continue to share the minutes, with Bogut playing 21 minutes and Looney 18. And during this game there was just one lineup used by Steve Kerr in which neither Bogut nor Looney were on the court, with the Curry/Thompson/Durant/Iguodala/Green quintet playing a little over eight minutes.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had one of the best games of his young career, as he accounted for 25 points (9-of-15 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs), two rebounds, two assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 31 minutes. The issue for the Clippers on Sunday was the fact that Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams both struggled offensively. Gallinari scored 16 points but did so on 5-of-20 shooting from the field, and he also accounted for seven rebounds, four assists and one three-pointer. As for Williams, he shot 2-of-10 form the field and finished with 12 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal and one three-pointer. After racking up totals of 61 points and 20 assists in the first two games of the series, Williams was responsible for 28 points and nine assists in Games 3 and 4.
Patrick Beverley added a stat line of 12 points, ten rebounds, five assists, three blocks, one steal and three 3-pointers, and Montrezl Harrell accumulated ten points, four assists, three rebounds and one blocked shot in 26 minutes off the bench. If the Clippers are to extend the series with a win Wednesday night, not only does the team need a more productive Lou Williams but it also needs more consistent scoring from its starters. Ivica Zubac, who played 17 minutes and racked up 18 points, 15 rebounds one steal and one blocked shot in Game 3 (a decent portion of that production came when the outcome was no longer in doubt), did not play Sunday. JaMychal Green started for Zubac, and he finished with six points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal and one three-pointer in 22 minutes played.
Raptors 107, Magic 85
Toronto moved to within a game of the second round, thanks to the play of Kawhi Leonard and some stingy team defense. Leonard shot 12-of-20 from the field, scoring 34 points with six rebounds, two assists, two steals, two blocked shots and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes. He and Pascal Siakam did the heavy lifting offensively for the starters, with Siakam accounting for 16 points (7-of-14 FGs), six rebounds, two assists, one block and two 3-pointers in 36 minutes. No other starter scored in double figures, with Kyle Lowry dishing out nine assists to go along with nine points, four rebounds, four assists and two 3-pointers. Marc Gasol (six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks) scored just two points, but he had an impact defensively in helping the Raptors keep Nikola Vucevic in check.
Norman Powell and Serge Ibaka scored 16 and 13 points, respectively, off the bench with Ibaka also grabbing eight rebounds. Fred VanVleet led the reserves with four assists, and he also accounted for nine points, two rebounds, one steal and one three-pointer.
Vucevic shot 5-of-14 from the field for the Magic, scoring 11 points with five rebounds, two assists and one steal in 32 minutes. He’s now scored 11 points or less in three of the four games this series, with his 22-point, 14-rebound, six-assist, three-block effort in Game 3 being his best outing of the series thus far. In four regular season meetings between the teams Vooch averaged 20.0 points, 15.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. But he did not face Gasol, who was acquired from Memphis at the trade deadline, in any of those games.
Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier were the only Magic players that managed to get anything going offensively, with Gordon tallying 25 points (10-of-17 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), seven rebounds, five assists, one steal and two 3-pointers and Fournier adding 19 points (8-of-16 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs), four rebounds, two assists, one steal and two 3-pointers. Jonathan Isaac had an especially rough night, shooting 0-of-4 from the field and finishing with six rebounds and one assist in 16 minutes played. There was even a point in the second half when Steve Clifford called on Jarell Martin at the power forward position, and in seven minutes he accounted for five points, one rebound, one block and one three-pointer. Martin was one of three Magic reserves to score five points, with the others bring Khem Birch (four rebounds, one block) and Terrence Ross (three assists, two rebounds, one steal and one three-pointer).
Trail Blazers 111, Thunder 98
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum combined to score 51 points and Moe Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu also had solid nights offensively as Portland took a 3-1 series lead. In addition to his 27 points McCollum tallied four rebounds, three assists, two blocks, one steal and five 3-pointers, shooting 10-of-20 from the field. Lillard shot 7-of-19 from the field and 6-of-6 from the foul line, scoring 24 points with eight assists, three rebounds, one steal and four 3-pointers. As for Harkless and Aminu, they combined to score 15 and 19 points, respectively, with Harkless also tallying ten rebounds, three blocks, two steals and one three-pointer. And in addition to his 19 points Aminu accounted for nine rebounds, one steal, one block and four 3-pointers.
The fifth Trail Blazer to score in double figures was Zach Collins, who in 16 minutes off the bench accounted for ten points, four rebounds, one assist and one blocked shot. That effort more than made up for Enes Kanter’s quiet night, as he scored eight points with ten rebounds, three assists, two steals and one blocked shot. All five of Portland’s starters played at least 30 minutes, with Collins, Seth Curry (14 minutes) and Rodney Hood (18 minutes) being the only reserves to get into double digits in minutes played .
As for Oklahoma City, neither Russell Westbrook nor Paul George had a good night offensively. The difference between the two was the fact that George was able to get to the foul line, as he attempted 14 free throws (making 12). PG13 finished with 32 points (8-of-21 FGs), ten rebounds, six assists, one steal, one blocked shot, four 3-pointers and four turnovers. Westbrook finished with 14 points (5-of-21 FGs, 2-of-4 FTs), nine rebounds, seven assists, two 3-pointers and three turnovers. He’s averaging 21.3 points per game for the series, but Westbrook’s making just 36.3% of his field goal attempts. By comparison he shot 42.8% from the field during the regular season, which was one of his worst as a professional with regards to the shooting percentages.
Dennis Schroder and Jerami Grant scored in double figures, accounting for 17 and 11 points, respectively. Schroder also accounted for three rebounds, three assists, one steal and two 3-pointers, with Grant tallying nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and three 3-pointers in his 34 minutes on the court. Game 5 is scheduled for Tuesday in Portland, and the Thunder will need to shoot the ball better than they did in the first two games of this series (combined 10-of-61 from three).
Monday’s Schedule (all times Eastern)
Bucks @ Pistons, 8 PM (TNT): Blake Griffin (left knee soreness) is listed as probable for Monday’s game, with the All-Star forward likely to wear the bulky knee brace that he used in Game 5.
Rockets @ Jazz, 10:30 PM (TNT): No changes were made to the injury reports submitted by either team.