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Last Night In The NBA: It Was By Far The Best Night Of The Playoffs

Indiana Pacers v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Five

Happy Thursday everybody and welcome to another edition of Last Night In The NBA where we catch you up on everything that went drown from the night before in the Association. And ohhhhh what a night it was. If it seems like every night of these playoffs delivers and is better than the one before it, that’s because they are. For this to be only the first round and be this entertaining is fitting given the wild regular season we had. I think it’s safe to saw that last night top to bottom was probably the most entertaining night of the first round we’ve had so far. Sounds fun right? Well if you missed it I feel sorry for you but I’m also here to tell you what happened.

Washington Wizards 98 vs Toronto Raptors 108 (TOR leads 3-2)

A pretty gigantic win for TOR given the history of teams in their position. Just like we saw with BOS, winning Game 5 is essentially a must win, but even more so for the team playing at home. This win was methodical for the Raptors, as things were close all the way through midway of the fourth quarter. One thing Raptors fans had to love to see was that in a big game, their two best players didn’t no show, especially DeRozan

Lowry was good as well with 17/10 on 7-13 shooting and just 1 TO. What’s impressive is they onl.y had 4 points in that fourth quarter. That means for the Raptors to have pulled away like they did, the offense had to come from somewhere else. Enter Delon Wright

Huge 18 points off the bench including 11 in that fourth quarter, he and the entire TOR bench showed why they were the best bench all season with 39 points on 12-25 shooting. Raptors fans can even ignore whatever the hell is going on with Serge Ibaka recently because as long as you win who cares. Where perhaps Raptors teams of old would have collapsed and blown this game, we saw what poise and good defense can do for a team down the stretch of a close game. I would now be shocked if the Raptors dropped this series, which means it sure looks like we’re going to get TOR/CLE.

For WSH, same shit different day. Their two best players were awesome and did more of the shooting/scoring

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Those two combined for 41 of the team’s 90 FGA. Unfortunately they turned it over 15 times with Wall finishing with nearly half, and for the billionth time this team not only fell apart in a fourth quarter, a quarter in which they scored just 20 points which was their lowest of any quarter, but also their bench let them down. Sure Oubre Jr had 14 points but it came on 3-11 shooting. Nobody from either unit could make a shot to close this game out, and all that did was give the Raptors momentum. They were in a prime position to steal Game 5 on the road and then close it out at home where they play so much better, but like I said, it’s the same old shit with this team. Finishing the game with 41/19% splits isn’t going to get it done, and now a team that loves to talk about how talented they are and how teams want to avoid them in the playoffs is about to get their asses sent packing. Very unfortunate.

Indiana Pacers 95 vs Cleveland Cavaliers 98 (CLE leads 3-2)

Everything I said for TOR is true for CLE. When IND dropped Game 4 many people said this series was over. But then there they were, with a chance to once again steal a game in this series and push Lebron to the brink of elimination. Well, we know what happened next

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He’s the best player on the planet for a reason, and those last 15 seconds sure were incredible. Even if that was a goaltend, after looking closely at the play before the refs missed the ball being out on Thad Young so it’s a wash. It doesn’t change then fact that after getting shook by Oladipo Lebron showed ridiculous recovery speed to make the play, and then on the other end everyone who says Lebron isn’t clutch feels pretty stupid.

Pretty crazy.

In terms of the rest of the Cavs roster, how huge has Kyle Korver been in terms of helping Lebron save their season?

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He’s what, 37? The guy has been automatic from deep over the last few games and made another 4 3PM last night. Between the huge threes he made in Game 4, to last night, Korver has sneaky been the second most important player for the Cavs. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing, but as long as he delivers who can complain.

For IND, mental breakdowns will haunt you forever, and they had two really bad ones in the final 15 seconds. First, you should know by now that you have to take the last shot of the game. Even if they counted that goaltend, you still gave CLE a chance. Second, when they inbounded the ball with 3 seconds left, YOU HAD A FOUL TO GIVE. There was PLENTY of time to give it too, it’s not as if Lebron caught the ball and instantly shot it. Young either forgot, or McMillian didn’t tell his team, but that is a colossal fuck up, that probably ended their season.

But hey, at least Sabonis looked good!

It certainly didn’t help that Oladipo went 2-15 right after he just went 5-20 in Game 4, so the fact that this was even close was impressive. For someone who was so good to start this series, Oladipo’s shot selection sure has gone to shit. If they want any chance at home in Game 6, he obviously has to be much, much better.

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Utah Jazz 99 vs Oklahoma City Thunder 107 (UTA leads 3-2)

Now UTA was in a little different of a position. They could lose this game and not really sweat because they get to return home for Game 6 to potentially close it out. At least that’s how things felt going in. But then they built a 25 point lead in the 3rd quarter and the tone changed. They were poised to close this out on the road, and then this happened

To put it simply, Westbrook and George took over. Russell played every second of the second half and finished with 45/15/7, which is impressive even if it took him 39 shots to do, and then George came up huge with 34/8 himself, even if it took him 26 shots. OKC scored 66 points over the final 24 minutes, and they can thank the energy of Westbrook for changing the entire feeling of this game.

I found it rather rude that OKC figured out how to play basketball just as the rest of us were finalizing out Twitter jokes, but at the end of the day they live to see another game. It would have been a horrible look to get eliminated like that at home, and instantly the PG13 rumors would have started. Now? That has to potentially wait a few days. What was crazy about this win, was that Westbrook and George were the only OKC players to end the night in double figures. That tends to happen when two guys take 65 of the 89 shots (!!!!!!) but you’d think someone like Melo would at least end up with 10.

For UTA, brutal loss. It’s pretty hard to blow a 25 point second half lead, off the top of my head I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen it. They got a great night from Jae Crowder, who came out of nowhere early and couldn’t seem to miss any shot he took

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and Mitchell came through again and played well with a starter high 23

When things were going well for the Jazz they were balanced, but Quinn Snyder played with fire with Gobert and he got in foul trouble early, and then the same thing happened with Derrick Favors. Those two played the fewest minutes of any starter, and with them out of the game it obviously impacted the Jazz ability to get stops. ON the offensive end things all of the sudden stalled, and UTA shot just 36/22% with 7 TOs over the final 24 minutes. Quite a drop from their 45/50% splits from the first half.

The good news is, they are still leading the series, and if Game 4 told us anything, their home court is going to be a very tough place for OKC to play. That’s why if you’re a Jazz fan you’re probably disappointed, but you’re not panicking yet. When has this OKC team showed they can beat this Jazz team twice in a row? Exactly.

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Minnesota Timberwolves 102 vs Houston Rockets 122 (HOU wins 4-1)

Now that is how you don’t fuck around and close a team out in your first opportunity

Anyone with a brain knew that it was only a matter of time before HOU took care of business, and after they gave MIN a little gift so they could finally win a playoff game in 14 years, it was back to business from there on out. They were back to their old selves, playing good defense, offensively they made shots finishing with 51/40% splits and 18 3PM, while only turning the ball over 4 times. You do not beat HOU when they make that many threes and never turn the ball over.

Now that they returned home, the role players played much better, with Ariza and Tucker combining for 31 points, then Eric Gordon came in and dropped 19 off the bench, this really was a complete team win.

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For MIN, look at least you won that last game of the year and made the playoffs. That’s a step! And sure Thibs is ruining your franchise and it looks as if Wiggins should be arrested for stealing all that money, but don’t focus on that stuff right now. Instead focus on what a fun season this was. Even Derrick Rose showed life!

At the end of the day, this 1-8 matchup wasn’t ever as close as the one in the East, and like I said nobody is surprised about how this went. In fact many thought it was going to be a sweep. This team still has a young core in KAT and Wiggins, and as long as Butler comes back after his final year next year, that should be their core moving forward which certainly isn’t too shabby. Rebuilding is a process, MIN fans should remember that, and this was just one of their steps.

And that’s it! You’re now caught up on everything that went down last night in the NBA. We’re back tonight with just one game, BOS/MIL, with the Bucks on the ropes. This means this blog won’t exist tomorrow but you can read all about it in the normal day after Celts blog if you would rather do something stupid like watch the NFL Draft instead.