April 4,2019 at 7:00 PM
4/23/2019 7:00 PM
Raptors Look To Close Out The First Round
The Toronto Raptors play host to the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first-round playoffs, at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday evening. After a disappointing upset in Game 1, the Raptors rebounded to take the next three games and a convincing 3-1 series lead. They have looked great in the three wins, and have left the impression that Game 5 may very well be the last game in the series. Kawhi Leonard looked fantastic in Game 4, as he led the team with 34 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. The Raptors have many weapons, including Pascal Siakam, who led the way in Game 3 with 30 points and 11 assists. Kyle Lowry has recovered after an ugly Game 1, and is averaging 8.6 assists over the last three games. The Raptors have held the Magic under 100 points in three of the four games so far, while they have topped 100 points in three of the four games, themselves. Meanwhile, after a stellar performance from D.J. Augustin in Game 1, the Magic have struggled, as they have not been able to put together a complete performance against the Raptors' defence. Nikola Vucevic has not been a factor in the series. He had a good outing in Game 3, but has been largely ineffective over the other contests. Aaron Gordon has been relatively quiet throughout the series, apart from a big outing in Game 4, while Terrence Ross has also been quiet over three of the last four games. Michael Carter-Williams has given the Magic some help off the bench in the series, including a solid 10 points, five rebounds, and two assists in the Game 1 win.
April 4,2019 at 8:00 PM
4/23/2019 8:00 PM
Sixers Look to Close Out Nets in Game 5
The Philadelphia 76ers play host to the Brooklyn Nets in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first-round playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday. The Nets (1-3) have shown some serious fight in this series but they simply appear to be outmatched. While D'Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert are doing their jobs, there's simply not enough production from their role players. What's really discouraging is their lackluster defense, with the Nets allowing 129 points per game in the last three defeats. That's unacceptable from a team that saw a much-improve defense throughout the regular season and it's becoming crystal clear that Brooklyn doesn't have the roster to match up with Philly. In any case, this playoff appearance is a step in the right direction and Brooklyn fans need to be encouraged about that. The Sixers (3-1) have won three-straight games, as that Game 1 loss appears to have woken up a sleeping bear. Getting Joel Embiid back and fully healthy is definitely a part of it though and it's clear this is a team to fear in the east. They appear well on their way to facing the Toronto Raptors in the second-round and that should be a heck of a series. There's still one more game to take care of business though and Philly wants this series to end here and now. One thing to keep an eye on is the chippiness, as there was a big skirmish between Jimmy Butler and Jared Dudley in Game 4. Those are both some chippy veterans and it's worth keeping an eye on them in this do-or-die game to see if there's any more unnecessary shennanigans. Dating back to the regular season, Philly has won five of their last six games over Brooklyn. A victory here would send the Sixers to their second-straight Conference Semi-Finals.
April 4,2019 at 9:30 PM
4/23/2019 9:30 PM
Nuggets Look To Defend Home Court In Game 5
The San Antonio Spurs will head to Denver on Tuesday for Game 5 of their first-round series against the Nuggets at Pepsi Center. After a first quarter in Game 4 in San Antonio where the Nuggets were down 12 points and looked as if their season was about to be on its last leg. From there, however, came two dominant 12-minutes stretches from Denver where they outscored San Antonio by a total of 24 points, and just like that, the series was back to even at 2-2. This wasn't the first time the Nuggets had to crawl their way back into the series, as they also made a miraculous 19-point comeback in the second half of Game 2 on the back of point guard Jamal Murray. Now, however, none of that matters, as the series is down to a best of three from here on out, and a victory in Game 4 gave the Nuggets their home-court advantage back, which is what they worked all regular season to get before losing it in the very first game of this series. And it's the biggest thing Denver has going for them, as they ended the regular season with an astonishing home record of 34-7. This while the Spurs were one of the least impressive teams away from home this regular season, boasting a poor 16-25 road record. But if this series has shown anything, it's that records from the regular season are essentially moot, with both teams already stealing a game on the opponents' home floor and the Spurs being very close to taking both games in Denver.
April 4,2019 at 10:30 PM
4/23/2019 10:30 PM
Thunder Try To Avoid Game 5 Elimination Against Trail Blazers
The Oklahoma City Thunder takes on the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center on Tuesday night in Game 5 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series. The Trail Blazers lead the series, 3-1. The Thunder (1-3) officially come into the contest in desperation mode, having dropped Game 4, 111-98, on their home floor Sunday night. The defeat put their collective backs firmly against the wall after they dug an early 2-0 hole for themselves to open the series at the site of Tuesday's potentially decisive Game 5, the Moda Center. In Game 4, Paul George led the way for the Thunder with 32 points, adding 10 rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block. Dennis Schroder totaled 17 points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal. Russell Westbrook went just 5-for-21 from the field on his way to a series-low 14 points, although he added nine rebounds and seven assists. Jerami Grant tallied 11 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals. The Thunder will be without Hamidou Diallo (elbow) for Tuesday's game. The Trail Blazers (3-1) were led by C.J. McCollum, who posted 27 points and also recorded four rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal. Damian Lillard followed with 24 points, eight assists, three rebounds and one steal. Al-Farouq Aminu went for 19 points, nine rebounds, one steal and one block. Maurice Harkless contributed a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double that also included three blocks and two steals. Zach Collins led the bench with 10 points. The Trail Blazers come into Tuesday's game without any short-term injuries to report.