Kawhi Leonard Continues to Dominate

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Two sequence have been performed on Sunday, and in each cases the visiting crew got here out on high. In Philadelphia Kawhi Leonard continued to dominate, however in contrast to in Recreation Three just a few of his teammates managed to step up. Pascal Siakam began however was restricted on account of a proper calf contusion, and this led to a rotation change that was an element within the Raptors managing to even that sequence at two video games apiece. 

Within the nightcap Denver held off Portland thanks largely to the efforts of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, with the latter posting his fourth postseason triple-double in 11 video games. Under is a have a look at Sunday’s video games, adopted by early harm notes for Monday’s doubleheader. 

Raptors 101, 76ers 96 

Whereas a number of the Raptors’ different starters have struggled to provide constantly throughout this sequence, that has not been the case for Kawhi Leonard. The All-Star ahead has been every thing that the crew believed it was getting when the commerce with San Antonio was made in the course of the offseason, and it may be argued that he’s been even higher than marketed throughout this sequence. In Sunday’s Recreation Four victory, which evened the sequence at two video games apiece, Leonard shot 13-of-20 from the sector and 8-of-12 from the foul line, scoring a game-high 39 factors with 14 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 3-pointers in 43 minutes. About the one damaging for Leonard was the turnover depend, as he completed with seven, however the total stat line was adequate to make up for that in nine-category leagues. 

Leonard has scored 33 factors or extra in all 4 video games within the sequence, and he’s carried out so whereas capturing 54.2% or higher from the sector in every. In line with Basketball Reference (a tip of the cap to our personal Tommy Beer for locating this), “The Klaw” is one among simply 5 gamers within the final 30 years to have 4 straight playoff video games with at the very least 30 factors whereas capturing 50% or higher from the sector. The opposite 4 gamers: Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. 

The main target heading into Recreation Four was the well being of two key gamers, as Toronto’s Pascal Siakam (proper calf contusion) was thought of to be uncertain and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid (sickness) was battling a problem unrelated to the illness that restricted him in Recreation 2. Siakam’s minutes have been monitored, as he performed 29, and he struggled to get a lot going offensively (2-of-10 FGs). The third-year ahead completed with 9 factors, three rebounds, three steals and two assists, and his minutes limitation compelled Nick Nurse to alter up his rotation. 

Serge Ibaka acquired a rise in minutes, taking part in 32, with 23 of these coming alongside fellow massive man Marc Gasol. For the sequence the 2 have performed alongside one another for a median of 5.9 minutes per sport, which exhibits how uncommon it has been for Nurse to make use of this tandem. Whereas the offensive ranking of 94.Zero is nothing to jot down house about, Ibaka and Gasol boast a defensive ranking of 90.9 when performed collectively. Each scored in double figures Sunday, with Ibaka tallying 12 factors (6-of-12 FGs), 9 rebounds and three blocks, and Gasol accounting for 16 factors (7-of-13 FGs), 5 rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes. 

Gasol and Kyle Lowry, who posted a line of 14 factors (6-of-13 FGs), seven assists, six rebounds, and two 3-pointers, have been each extra aggressive and simpler offensively than they have been in Recreation 3. And Lowry was concerned within the different rotation change for the Raptors, as he and the struggling Fred VanVleet weren’t on the courtroom collectively in any respect. VanVleet performed simply seven minutes, with two missed photographs and one foul being his solely contributions. Norman Powell (4 minutes) and Patrick McCaw (5 minutes) began the second quarter alongside Lowry, however this was basically a six-man rotation for the Raptors in a sport the crew couldn’t afford to lose. 

On the Philadelphia aspect, as famous above Embiid was coping with an sickness that in line with head coach Brett Brown stored him up all through the evening (and he additionally acquired an IV to get fluids into his physique). And for almost all of his 35 minutes on the courtroom the All-Star pivot seemed a step gradual, ending with 11 factors (2-of-7 FGs, 7-of-10 FTs), eight rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocked photographs. Philadelphia was nonetheless higher with Embiid on the ground (plus-17) than off, however extra is to be anticipated of him from a manufacturing standpoint at this stage. 

Embiid being restricted meant extra scoring alternatives for Tobias Harris, and he didn’t have his finest day on the workplace. Harris performed a team-high 41 minutes, capturing 7-of-23 from the sector and ending with 16 factors, six rebounds, 4 assists, three steals and two 3-pointers (on 13 makes an attempt). After being acquired from the Clippers, he averaged 18.2 factors per sport with capturing splits of 46.9/32.6/84.1. And Harris has actually struggled to get going offensively towards the Raptors. By way of 4 video games Harris is averaging 13.Three factors per whereas capturing 33.9% from the sector, 25.9% from three and 75.0% from the foul line. Jimmy Butler, Philadelphia’s different main in-season acquisition, was significantly better Sunday afternoon. 

Butler shot 9-of-18 from the sector, scoring a team-best 29 factors whereas additionally accounting for 11 rebounds, 4 assists, one blocked shot and three 3-pointers. He and JJ Redick, who shot 4-of-7 from three and scored 19 factors with three rebounds and two assists, have been Philadelphia’s finest performers within the loss. Ben Simmons was restricted to 10 factors (5-of-10 FGs), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, two steals and one blocked shot in 38 minutes performed. The 76ers went eight gamers deep, with James Ennis (9 factors, 5 rebounds, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers) taking part in 26 minutes and Mike Scott (two rebounds, one help) and Greg Monroe (two factors, three rebounds and one block) getting 13 and 11 minutes, respectively. Matching Monroe with Gasol wasn’t as efficient because it was in both of the prior two video games, due largely to the change Toronto made to its entrance courtroom rotation with Siakam being restricted. 

Nuggets 116, Path Blazers 112

Lower than 48 hours after the Nuggets and Path Blazers performed a four-overtime basic, the 2 groups have been again on the courtroom for Recreation 4. With Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray main the way in which Denver managed to drag even within the sequence, with the previous posting his fourth postseason triple-double in 11 video games and the latter scoring a game-high 34 factors. Jokic performed 39 minutes (after taking part in 65 out of a doable 68 on Friday), ending with 21 factors (8-of-15 FGs, 4-of-Four FTs), 12 rebounds, two assists, one steal and one three-pointer. 

Jokic has put up triple-doubles in back-to-back video games, one thing he final did simply earlier than the All-Star break. As for the 4 triple-doubles in his first 11 profession playoff video games, Jokic joins Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson as the one gamers in league historical past to perform this feat. Denver’s All-Star massive man limped off the courtroom late within the fourth quarter after banging knees with an opposing participant however was in a position to return because the Nuggets went offense/protection with he and Mason Plumlee. After the sport, Jokic mentioned that he was “alright.”  

Murray shot 10-of-20 from the sector and 11-of-11 from the foul line, scoring 34 factors with 5 rebounds, 4 assists and three 3-pointers in 38 minutes. He scored Denver’s ultimate six factors, all from the foul line, and is now the primary Nugget to attain 30 factors or extra in back-to-back playoff video games since Carmelo Anthony in 2010. After scoring simply 15 factors in Denver’s Recreation 2 loss, Murray scored 34 factors in video games three and 4 whereas additionally averaging 7.Zero rebounds, 4.5 assists and three.5 three-pointers per in Portland. Paul Millsap added 21 factors (6-of-10 FGs, 7-of-Eight FTs), ten rebounds, two blocks, one steal and two 3-pointers in 41 minutes, and Gary Harris accounted for 14 factors, 5 rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot. 

Among the many reserves it was Will Barton who performed essentially the most, as he accounted for 11 factors (4-of-14 FGs), 5 rebounds, three assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes. Barton didn’t shoot the ball all that nicely, nevertheless it was sufficient to assist account for beginning ahead Torrey Craig scoring three factors on 1-of-Four capturing in 17 minutes. Malik Beasley (six factors, two rebounds, one help and one three-pointer) and Monte Morris (two factors, one help and one steal), who’ve each struggled for almost all of this sequence, performed 14 and ten minutes, respectively, with Plumlee accounting for 4 factors, 5 rebounds, one help, one steal and one block in 16 minutes. 

C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard led the way in which for Portland, scoring 29 and 28 factors respectively. McCollum, who additionally tallied 5 rebounds, one help, one steal and 4 3-pointers in 39 minutes, shot 10-of-20 from the sector and 5-of-6 from the foul line in his 39 minutes on the courtroom. Denver modified up the way it defended McCollum when Lillard wasn’t on the courtroom, taking part in him extra aggressively and sending extra double-teams in ball-screen conditions. He nonetheless managed to shoot 50% from the sector and 4-of-Eight from three, and that strategy in the course of the second quarter led to elevated scoring alternatives for Seth Curry. 

Curry, who scored a complete of 12 factors within the first three video games of the sequence, racked up 16 within the first half on Sunday. These could be all of the factors he would rating nevertheless, with the backup guard supplementing his complete with three rebounds, one help and 4 3-pointers. 

Lillard scored his 28 factors on 9-of-22 capturing from the sector and 8-of-11 from the foul line, whereas additionally accounting for seven assists, three rebounds, two steals and two 3-pointers in 36 minutes. At this level “stopping” Lillard is a near-impossible process, however the Nuggets have managed to make him work. After the All-Star level guard shot 12-of-21 from the sector in Recreation 1, he’s shot no higher in 41.7% from the sector (Recreation 3) in any of the three video games since. Among the many different starters Al-Farouq Aminu had one of the best evening scoring-wise, tallying 19 factors (6-of-10 FGs, 6-of-7 FTs) with eight rebounds, two blocks and one three-pointer in 35 minutes. 

Moe Harkless (4 factors, 5 rebounds, two assists and one steal) and Enes Kanter (5 factors, ten rebounds and one block) mixed to shoot 3-of-10 from the sector, with Harkless taking part in simply 17 minutes. Rodney Hood, who made some massive photographs in Recreation Three together with the game-winning three, scored seven factors with 4 rebounds, three assists and one three-pointer in 24 minutes and Evan Turner accounted for 4 rebounds and two assists in 12 minutes. Zach Collins was the one reserve massive to see any motion, ending with 4 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one rebound in 21 minutes. After taking part in 12 minutes in Recreation 1, Meyers Leonard has not been referred to as upon in any respect. 

Monday’s Schedule (all instances Jap) 

Bucks @ Celtics, 7 PM (TNT)

Malcolm Brogdon (heel) has been dominated out for Recreation 4, whereas no resolution has been made concerning Sterling Brown (again). As for Boston, Marcus Sensible (indirect) has been cleared for contact. He took half in some 3-on-Three work Saturday and Sunday’s full apply, so now it’s all about how his physique responds. He hasn’t dominated out a return to the lineup for Recreation 4, and the Celtics introduced Sunday afternoon that he has been upgraded to “questionable.”  

Warriors @ Rockets, 9:30 PM (TNT)

Throughout his media availability Sunday, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr mentioned that middle Damian Jones might be cleared for contact subsequent week. Jones, who underwent surgical procedure to restore a torn left pectoral muscle in early December, was initially regarded as completed for the season. However Kerr mentioned that there’s an opportunity that the younger massive man returns in some unspecified time in the future within the postseason. He mentioned the identical about DeMarcus Cousins, who has been out since he suffered a torn left quadriceps muscle throughout Recreation 2 of the Warriors’ first spherical sequence towards the Clippers. 



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