Tag: lebron

The Orlando Magic were able to hold off the Chicago Bulls, 97-91

The Orlando Magic were able to hold off the Chicago Bulls, 97-91

The Chicago Bulls have been going through a lot of drama on and off the court lately.  Not only was Fred Hoiberg relieved of his head coaching duties over a week ago, but the Chicago Bulls recently suffered their worst loss in franchise history against the Boston Celtics, 133-77.

Having a new head coach didn’t seem to make matters better as there have been reports that he would have players go through a two-and-a-half hour practice, which most of the players are against.  The Chicago Bulls would look avoid a third straight loss and a ninth straight road defeat as they battle the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center.  The Magic, on the other hand, are trying to get away from a fourth straight loss.

The Chicago Bulls and the Orlando Magic have seen each other a total of 116 times in the past as the Bulls won 64 games while the Magic ended up winning only 52 of those matchups.  This game will mark the first of four times that these two ball clubs will meet up during this season.  Last season, the Bulls swept the Magic in their regular-season series, 4-0.

INACTIVES:

Chicago Bulls:

-Denzel Valentine (ankle)
-Antonio Blakeney (coach’s decision; 9.5 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.5 APG, 42.6 FG%, 44.8 3P%, 65.7 FT%)
-Cristiano Felicio (coach’s decision; 3.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 56.3 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 73.7 FT%)
-Cameron Payne (coach’s decision; 6.0 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, 40.3 FG%, 27.3 3P%, 88.0 FT%)
-Tyler Ulis (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG)
-Chandler Hutchison (illness; 4.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.8 APG, 42.6 FG%, 25.0 3P%, 55.6 FT%)
-Rawle Alkins (G-League)

Orlando Magic:

-Timofey Mozgov (knee)
-Khem Birch (coach’s decision; 2.4 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.2 APG, 58.8 FG%, 100.0 FT%)
-Isaiah Briscoe (coach’s decision; 1.9 PPG, 0.6 RPG, 0.9 APG, 42.1 FG%, 100.0 3P%, 40.0 FT%)
-Wesley Iwundu (coach’s decision; 4.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 37.5 FG%, 31.8 3P%, 77.8 FT%)
-Jarell Martin (coach’s decision; 2.7 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.6 APG, 35.4 FG%, 21.1 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Troy Caupain (G-League)
-Amile Jefferson (G-League)
-Melvin Frazier (0.0 PPG, 0.3 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%)

GAMETIME:

Both the Orlando Magic and the Chicago Bulls would put up a good fight in this game as they each shot in the high 40 percents in the first half.  Nikola Vucevic scored 13 points for the Magic while hitting a three-pointer late in the second quarter.  Former Nuggets player Evan Fournier was kept to just 6 points but was able to get off two assists in the 15 minutes that he played.

D.J. Augustin also had six points but he would collect his from beyond the arc.  Aaron Gordon was only able to score three points which came from the charity stripe.  He finished the game with a total of 8 points.  Terrence Ross played the most minutes off the bench but only scored six points, hitting a trey early in the second quarter.

On the other end of the court, the 2014-2015 All-Rookie selection Zach LaVine got hot for 14 points as he shot 67 percent from the floor.  He earned three of those points from behind the arc while recording 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and one steal.  Rookie Wendell Carter helped out with six points while Kris Dunn had five points and three rebounds off the bench.  Lauri Markkanen ended up with four points, three from distance and one from the free-throw line.  Robin Lopez played 15 minutes off the bench as he had five points but it was the home team that went into the locker room with a 51-46 lead.

Both teams continued to fight in the second half but the Bulls showed more accuracy as they completed 52 percent of their shots, holding the Florida team to 35 percent shooting.  Justin Holiday, who is averaging 13 points a game this season, lit the floor up with 16 points, drilling 4 three-pointers in the process.  LaVine would cool down as he only had nine points and four turnovers.

The Orlando Magic, however, found a way to continue to pull away as Vucevic dropped 13 more points, leading the Magic to a 97 to 91 victory over the Bulls.  This victory would bring a halt to the Magic’s three-game skid.  Nikola Vucevic finished the game with 26 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and one block while Zach LaVine settled for 23 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals.

So…what’s next?

The Chicago Bulls will travel over to Texas to meet up with DeMar DeRozan (24.1 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 6.2 APG, 48.0 FG%, 17.1 3P%) and the San Antonio Spurs (14-14) on Saturday at 8:30 p.m.  This will be the second and final game between these two teams this season.  Last time they saw each other was on November 26 when the San Antonio Spurs snuck away from the Bulls, 108-107.  During that game, DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points, pulled down 8 rebounds, and dished off 5 assists while Zach LaVine had 28 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists.

The Orlando Magic will host Donovan Mitchell (20.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.2 APG, 42.8 FG%, 30.3 3P%) and the Utah Jazz (14-15) on Saturday at 5:00 p.m.  This matchup will mark the first of two meetings between these ball clubs during this season.  The Magic ended up getting swept in the regular-season series against the Jazz last season, 0-2.

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The Chicago Bulls push through the Oklahoma City Thunder, 114-112

The Chicago Bulls push through the Oklahoma City Thunder, 114-112

The Chicago Bulls are currently trying to avoid an 8th straight loss as they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the United Center.  The last time the Bulls suffered an 8-game losing streak was last year when they lost a total of 10 straight.  They are tied with the Atlanta Hawks for the worst record in the East at 5-20 and at risk of missing the playoff for a second straight time.

As for the Thunder, they are coming fresh off a 114-112 win against the Brooklyn Nets, all thanks to Paul George, who nailed a clutch 3-pointer to secure the win.  They are looking for their 5th straight victory.  The Thunder and the Bulls have played each other a grand total of 151 times in the past as the Thunder won 74 games while the Chicago team pulled out 77 wins.  This will mark the first of two matchups between these ball clubs this season.  The Thunder swept the Chicago Bulls last season in their season series, 2-0.

INACTIVES:

Oklahoma City Thunder:

-Andre Roberson (knee)
-Deonte Burton (coach’s decision; 3.5 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.4 APG, 44.4 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
-Raymond Felton (coach’s decision; 4.8 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 35.2 FG%, 17.9 3P%, 88.9 FT%)
-Abdel Nader (coach’s decision; 1.2 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.1 APG, 50.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%)
-Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (2.5 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.3 APG, 33.3 FG%, 25.0 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
-Tyler Davis (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 FG%)

Chicago Bulls:

-Kris Dunn (knee; 9.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 7.0 APG, 30.8 FG%, 25.0 3P%)
-Bobby Portis (knee; 10.5 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 41.5 FG%, 27.3 3P%, 55.6 FT%)
-Denzel Valentine (ankle)
-Antonio Blakeney (coach’s decision; 9.7 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.5 APG, 44.0 FG%, 44.8 3P%, 63.6 FT%)
-Cristiano Felicio (coach’s decision; 3.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.6 APG, 56.8 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 77.8 FT%)
-Tyler Ulis (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG)
-Rawle Alkins (G-League)

GAMETIME:

The Chicago Bulls would have control in the first half as they completed 57 percent of the shots they put up, limiting the Oklahoma City Thunder to 46 percent shooting.  The 2018-2018 All-Rookie selection Lauri Markkanen scored 16 points while knocking down four 3-pointers.  He also had 3 rebounds while Zach LaVine contributed with 13 points, 3 defensive rebounds, and 6 assists.  He was able to drill a trey midway through the first session while Ryan Arcidiacono had a 3-pointer in the first period.  He finished the game with just those three points.  Robin Lopez played the most minutes off the bench as he chipped in with 10 points.

On the other end of the court, Steven Adams put up 17 of Oklahoma City’s 62 points while pulling down 5 rebounds but had three turnovers.  Paul George scored 16 points which included a 3-pointer before the first quarter expired.  He shot 63 percent from the field in the first half but struggled overall as he only made 6 of his 16 shots attempted in the game, ending with 38 percent shooting from the field, lowest of all five Thunder starters.

Russell Westbrook recorded 9 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 steals while Terrance Ferguson was held scoreless in the 14 minutes that he played, attempting only two shots.  Former Atlanta Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder played the most minutes of all the reserves in the first half as he gave eleven points but it was the home team who went in the break with a 70 to 62 advantage.

The Thunder would not give up, though, as they came out of the locker room to spark a 50-44 run, including a big 29-17 run in the third period.  During that time, Westbrook added 15 more points to his scoring total while knocking down two 3-pointers.  He also collected 7 more rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals but had 7 turnovers.  George would start to see his shooting decline as he only scored three points, earning them from beyond the arc just one minute into the third.

MARKKANEN SAVES THE DAY:

With 34 seconds left in the game and the score being 109-108 in the Bulls’ favor, Dennis Schroder would complete a driving layup to give the Thunder a one-point lead.  That would force the Chicago team to call a timeout.  Out of the timeout, Justin Holiday would drill a huge three-pointer off of a Lauri Markkanen assist, giving the Bulls a 112-110 lead.  Four seconds out of a Thunder timeout, Russell Westbrook would drive the ball in the paint for a layup, tying the game up at 112 apiece.  But Markkanen respond as he made a driving layup with only four seconds left in the game to allow the home team to regain the lead.  Paul George would attempt a three-pointer after a Thunder timeout but would fail to convert as the Bulls hold off the Thunder, 114-112, bringing an end to their seven-game losing streak.

Zach LaVine finished the game with 25 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals but had a career-tying nine turnovers.  Russell Westbrook scored 24 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, dished off 13 assists, and committed a season-tying 4 steals.  Those stats would complete his triple-double (109th of his career; 5th of the season) but had a season-high 10 turnovers.

So…what’s next?

The Oklahoma City Thunder will host Donovan Mitchell (20.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 42.7 FG%, 29.2 3P%) and the Utah Jazz (13-13) on Monday at 8:00 p.m.  This meeting will mark the first of four matchups between these two teams this season.  The Thunder would win the regular-season series against the Jazz, 3-1, before losing to them in the first round of the playoffs, 2-4.

The Chicago Bulls will host Kyrie Irving (22.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 6.4 APG, 48.5 FG% 39.2 3P%) and the Boston Celtics (14-10) on Saturday at 8:00 p.m.  This will be the second time that these two teams will see each other this season as one more game lies ahead of them.  The first time they met up each other was on November 14 when the Celtics handed the Bulls a 111-82 blowout loss.  During that game, Jaylen Brown scored eighteen points, grabbed six rebounds, gave out three assists, and committed one steal while Shaquille Harrison had sixteen points, six rebounds, one assist, and four steals.

The Warriors knock off the Cavaliers, 129 to 105

The Warriors knock off the Cavaliers, 129 to 105

This would have been one of the most hyped matchups of the season but with LeBron James being gone, it’s just another game for the defending champions.  Tonight, the Golden State Warriors will visit the Quicken Loans Arena to battle the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers.  The Warriors are facing difficulties of their own, though.  They are currently trying to recover from their two only losing streaks this season; one being a four-game losing streak and another one being a recent two-game skid.

Even though they are still without Draymond Green, who is missing his ninth straight game due to a toe injury, the Warriors were still able to get past the Atlanta Hawks, all thanks to Stephen Curry, who outscored the Hawks in the first quarter by himself, 18-17.  This meeting between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers will mark the first of two games between these teams this season.  The Warriors swept the regular season series against the Cavaliers last season before sweeping them in the NBA Finals.

INACTIVES:

Golden State Warriors:

-DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles)
-Draymond Green (toe; 6.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 7.2 APG, 44.4 FG%, 22.2 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
-Damian Jones (pectoral; 5.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.2 APG, 71.6 FG%, 64.9 FT%)
-Damion Lee (G-League; 5.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.2 APG, 43.4 FG%, 41.4 3P%, 80.0 FT%)

Cleveland Cavaliers:

-Sam Dekker (ankle; 6.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.0 APG, 45.8 FG%, 38.5 3P%, 80.0 FT%)
-Kevin Love (toe; 19.0 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 3.5 APG, 32.3 FG%, 29.2 3P%, 81.8 FT%)
-David Nwaba (knee; 6.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.6 APG, 42.4 FG%, 22.7 3P%, 67.6 FT%)
-Ante Zizic (knee; 3.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 0.4 APG, 50.0 FG%, 62.5 FT%)
-J.R. Smith (personal; 6.7 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.9 APG, 34.2 FG%, 30.8 3P%, 80.0 FT%)

GAMETIME:

The game would be held somewhat close in the first half as the Cleveland Cavaliers shot forty-nine percent from the floor while the Golden State Warriors completed fifty-one percent of their shots.  Former Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood scored fifteen points while hitting two three-pointers early in the first quarter.  Rookie Collin Sexton contributed with twelve points which held three three-pointers while Tristan Thompson chipped in five points, eight rebounds, and one assist.  Larry Nance played sixteen minutes off the bench as he had nine points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block.

As for the Warriors, Stephen Curry got extremely hot as he chalked up twenty-five points while knocking down six three-pointers in the process.  He also had three defensive rebounds, four assists, and one steal while Kevin Durant earned ten points for himself.  Durant was also able to drill a three-pointer in the second quarter while grabbing five defensive rebounds, dishing off five assists, committing one steal, and blocking two shots.  Four-time All-Star Klay Thompson was kept to just six points on twenty-nine percent shooting while recording three defensive rebounds.  Jonas Jerebko played the most minutes off the bench but only had six points while the Cavaliers went into halftime with a 64 to 58 advantage.

The Warriors would hit the Cavaliers with a huge 71 to 43 run in the second half as they shot fifty-four percent from the field, holding the Ohio team to forty percent.  During that run, Curry continued to put up a shooting display as he had seventeen additional points, nine coming from beyond the arc and the other eight from the free-throw line.  He also had six defensive rebounds and three assists while Durant put up fifteen points with three three-pointers in the third period.  Thompson would make up for that tough first half he had as he scored ten points with two three-pointers in the fourth.  Jerebko played twelve minutes off the bench as he had only five points which included a three-pointer late in the third.

On the other end of the court, both Thompson and Sexton had nine points apiece while Tristan Thompson saw to it that he got eleven rebounds.  The second round pick in the 2015 draft Cedi Osman scored seven points while knocking down a three-pointer early in the third quarter.  George Hill would be held scoreless in the eleven minutes that he played.  Jordan Clarkson played the most minutes off the bench as he put up seven points but it wouldn’t matter as the Golden State Warriors defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 129-105 final score.  Stephen Curry finished the game with forty-two points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and one steal while Collin Sexton had twenty-one points, two rebounds, and three assists.

 

The Cleveland Cavaliers will host Buddy Hield (18.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.6 APG, 47.5 FG%, 41.8 3P%) and the Sacramento Kings (12-11) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.  This will be the first of two times that these ball clubs will face each other this season.  Both teams tied the regular season series last season at one apiece.

The Golden State Warriors will visit Wisconsin to take on Giannis Antetokounmpo (27.6 PPG, 13.2 RPG, 6.0 APG, 57.8 FG%, 11.5 3P%) and the Milwaukee Bucks (15-7) on Friday at 9:30 p.m.  This game will be second and last one that the Bucks and Warriors will play against each other this season.  The last time they fought each other was on November 8 when the Milwaukee Bucks handed the Warriors a 134-111 blowout loss.  During that game, Eric Bledsoe scored twenty-six points, grabbed four rebounds, dished off six assists, and committed one steal while Klay Thompson finished with twenty-four points, three rebounds, three assists, one steal, and two blocks.

The Denver Nuggets survive the Toronto Raptors, 106-103

The Denver Nuggets survive the Toronto Raptors, 106-103

The Toronto Raptors not only the hottest team in the East but they are also the best team in the league right now, grasping a 20-4 record.  The only teams they have fallen to were the Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons, and Boston Celtics.  They will look grab their ninth straight victory as they host the Denver Nuggets.  If they do so, this will tie their all-time longest winning streak which they set last season.

The Denver Nuggets, on the other hand, are hoping to earn their sixth straight win, coming fresh off of a close 113-112 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers.  The Nuggets and the Raptors have seen each other a grand total of 44 times in the past as the Nuggets won 26 games while the Raptors were kept to just 18 games.  This game will mark the first of two times that these two ball clubs will face each other during this season.  Last season, these teams split the season series at one apiece.  Both teams will look to set the tone tonight.

INACTIVES:

Denver Nuggets:

-Will Barton (hip/core; 16.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 57.1 FG%, 55.6 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Michael Porter (back)
-Isaiah Thomas (hip)
-Jarred Vanderbilt (foot)
-Brandon Goodwin (coach’s decision)
-Tyler Lydon (coach’s decision; 2.3 PPG, 0.6 RPG, 0.0 APG, 75.0 FG%, 75.0 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
-DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell (G-League; 1.2 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 1.0 APG, 30.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
-Thomas Welsh (G-League; 1.3 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.5 APG, 66.7 FG%, 50.0 3P%)

Toronto Raptors:

-Lorenzo Brown (coach’s decision; 2.7 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, 37.8 FG%, 22.7 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Greg Monroe (coach’s decision; 3.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.4 APG, 51.5 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
-Malachi Richardson (coach’s decision; 1.3 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.0 APG, 27.8 FG%, 26.7 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
-Jordon Loyd (G-League; 4.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.3 APG, 100.0 FG%, 100.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Norman Powell (shoulder; 5.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.9 APG, 47.6 FG%, 40.9 3P%, 75.0 FT%)
-Chris Boucher (G-League; 4.3 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.0 APG, 50.0 FG%, 25.0 3P%, 66.7 FT%)

GAMETIME:

The Denver Nuggets would have complete control in the first half as they shot fifty percent from the field, limiting the home team to forty-three percent.  Nikola Jokic chalked up fourteen points while grabbing five rebounds and dishing off ten assists.  Jamal Murray helped out with twelve points as he was able to drill two three-pointers in the process.  Juan Hernangomez earned himself seven points which included a trey early in the first period.  Malik Beasley played the most minutes off the bench as he had eight points including two three-pointers in the second quarter.

As for the Canada team, former San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard got hot for sixteen points on sixty percent shooting.  He also had four defensive rebounds and two assists while Pascal Siakam chipped in eight points.  Kyle Lowry, who is averaging fifteen points a game this season, was held scoreless in the eighteen minutes that he played.  Danny Green had a three-pointer early in the first quarter while Serge Ibaka collected five points, two rebounds, one assist, and one block.  Jonas Valanciunas played ten minutes off the bench as he scored six points while the Nuggets went into halftime with a commanding 59 to 47 lead.

The best team in the league would bounce back, though, as they sparked a 56 to 47 run, shooting forty-nine percent from the field.  During that run, Leonard added eleven more points to his scoring total, including a three-pointer midway through the third period.  Ibaka earned ten more points, along with three defensive rebounds and one assist.  Lowry would still struggle as he was only able to hit a three-pointer and two free throws, ending the game with five points.  Fred VanVleet played the most minutes off the bench but was kept scoreless.

On the other end of the court, both Murray and Jokic scored nine points each.  Murray would go on to collect three defensive rebounds and three assists while Nikola Jokic had six rebounds, five assists, and two steals.  Paul Millsap would only have two points, ending the game with six total.  Beasley played fourteen minutes off the bench as he had seven points which held a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter.

DOWN-TO-THE-WIRE:

With only forty-one seconds left, the Raptors would have a 101-100 lead.  Nikola Jokic knocked down a twelve-foot jump shot with forty seconds left to put the Denver team up by one.  After a missed two-pointer and a missed three-pointer by Danny Green, the Raptors would have no choice but to foul after Juan Hernangomez grabs the defensive rebound.  He would make his second free throw after missing the first one, giving the visiting team a 103-101 lead.

Coming out of a timeout with only seven seconds left in regulation, Kawhi Leonard would drill a jump shot to tie the game up at 103 apiece.  After a timeout called by the Nuggets, Serge Ibaka ended up committing a costly foul away from the ball, sending Jokic to the charity stripe.  He was able to knock down his free-throw, giving them another lead.  Once they got the ball back, Leonard would commit the intentional foul, sending Nikola Jokic right back to the line.  He was able to knock down both of his free throws.  With time running out, Kyle Lowry would be forced to attempt a pull-up three-pointer but would not make it as the Denver Nuggets hold on to be the Toronto Raptors, 106 to 103.

FINAL RESULTS:

Nikola Jokic finished the competition with twenty-three points, eleven rebounds, fifteen assists, and two steals while Malik Beasley had fifteen points, two rebounds, and one assist off the bench.  Kawhi Leonard had twenty-seven points, eight rebounds, and two assists while Delon Wright scored nine points off the bench, as well grabbing three rebounds, dishing off two assists, and committing two steals.

So…what’s next?

The Denver Nuggets will travel down to Florida to take on Nikola Vucevic (21.0 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 3.8 APG, 55.3 FG%, 40.9 3P%) and the Orlando Magic (11-12) on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.  This will mark the second and final time that these teams will see each other this season.  The last time they played each other was on November 23 when the Nuggets handed the Orlando team a 112 to 87 loss.  During that game, Trey Lyles scored twenty-two points, grabbed two rebounds, and dished off one assist while Terrence Ross finished with eighteen points and one assist.

The Toronto Raptors will host Joel Embiid (27.0 PPG, 13.4 RPG, 3.5 APG, 46.8 FG%, 30.1 3P%) and the Philadelphia 76ers (17-8) on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.  The matchup will mark the second of four times that these two teams will meet up this season.  The last time they saw each other was on October 30 when the Canada team escaped with a 129-112 win.  Kawhi Leonard finished that game with thirty-one points, seven rebounds, four assists, and four steals while Joel Embiid had thirty-one points, eleven rebounds, four assists, and one block.

The Los Angeles Lakers hold off the Phoenix Suns, 120-96

The Los Angeles Lakers hold off the Phoenix Suns, 120-96

The Phoenix Suns are dead last in the Western Conference, tying the Cleveland Cavaliers for the worst record in the league at 4-18.  They will look to avoid a fifth straight loss as they battle the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center.  The Lakers, on the other hand, are looking pretty decent after a 0-3 start to the season, holding onto a 13-9 record.  Their current win-loss percentage is 59.1%, marking the first time they had a fifty-percent win-loss percentage since the 2012-2013 season.

The Suns and the Lakers have battled each other a grand total of 308 in the past as the Suns won 130 times while the Lakers went on to pull out 178 victories.  This game between the Suns and the Lakers will mark the second of four times that these two ball clubs will meet up this season.  The last time they played each other was on October 24 when the Suns fell to the Lakers, 131-113.  Lance Stephenson finished that game with twenty-three points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and two steals while Devin Booker also had twenty-three points, along with seven rebounds and seven assists.

INACTIVES:

Phoenix Suns:

-T.J. Warren (ankle; 17.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 51.1 FG%, 45.0 3P%, 84.6 FT%)
-George King (G-League)

Los Angeles Lakers:

-Rajon Rondo (hand; 8.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.5 APG, 45.5 FG%, 42.9 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
-Alex Caruso (G-League)
-Isaac Bonga (G-League)
-Johnathan Williams (G-League; 3.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.7 APG, 57.9 FG%, 20.0 FT%)

GAMETIME:

The Los Angeles Lakers would have control most of the first half as they shot fifty percent from the field, keeping the Phoenix Suns to thirty-eight percent.  Kyle Kuzma lit the floor up with eighteen points while hitting two three-pointers in the second quarter.  Brandon Ingram helped out with thirteen points while recording three rebounds and two assists.  He also had a three-pointer, which he drilled early in the second period.  Three-time NBA Champion LeBron James was kept to just twelve points but did have three rebounds, four assists, and one block.  Lonzo Ball was limited to just two points.  Josh Hart played ten minutes off the block but was held completely scoreless as he only attempted three shots.

As for the struggling Suns, former Orlando Magic forward Trevor Ariza scored eleven points on fifty percent shooting.  He also had three treys in the first quarter while earning four defensive rebounds, one assist, and four steals.  Josh Jackson chipped in eight points while Deandre Ayton put up six points.  Devin Booker had six points, as well, but went down with a hamstring injury in the second quarter and would not return.  Elie Okobo played the most minutes off the bench but was kept scoreless as the Lakers went into halftime with a 61 to 46 advantage.

The California team would close things out in the second half as LeBron James scored ten more points while hitting a three-pointer late in the third quarter.  He also had three defensive rebounds and four assists while rookie Moritz Wagner contributed with ten points of his own.  On the other end of the court, both Troy Daniels and Richaun Holmes scored nine points off the bench each but it wouldn’t mean much as the Los Angeles Lakers go on to defeat the Phoenix Suns, 120-96.  Kyle Kuzma finished the game with twenty-three points, eight rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block while Richaun Holmes settled for a season-high fifteen points, along with one rebound, a career-high four steals, and a season-high four blocks.

So…what’s next?

The Phoenix Suns will host Buddy Hield (18.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.7 APG, 47.3 FG%, 41.1 3P%) and the Sacramento Kings (11-11) on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m.  This game will mark the first of four times that these two teams will clash with one another this season.  Last season, the Suns won the regular season series against the team, 3-1.

The Los Angeles Lakers will stay at home as they host Demar DeRozan (23.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 6.0 APG, 48.2 FG%, 18.2 3P%) and the San Antonio Spurs (10-12) on Wednesday at 10:30 p.m.  This will be the third of four times that these teams will see each other this season.  The last time they met up was on October 27 when the Spurs handed the Lakers a 110-106 loss.  During that game, DeRozan scored thirty points, grabbed twelve boards, gave out eight assists, committed two steals, and blocked one shot while LeBron James finished with thirty-five points, eleven rebounds, four assists, and two steals.

The Kings would hold off the Pacers, 111-110

The Kings would hold off the Pacers, 111-110

The Indiana Pacers are 3-3 since losing Victor Oladipo to a knee injury, losing recently to the Los Angeles Lakers, 104-96.  They will look to get back on track as they battle the Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center.  The Kings, on the other hand, are trying to end a three-game losing streak, their largest losing streak this season.

The Pacers and the Kings have clashed with each other a grand total of 87 times in the past as the Pacers won 48 games while the Kings were limited to 39 victories.  This event will mark the first of two times that these two ball clubs will meet up this season.  Last season, the Pacers swept the Kings in the season series, 2-0.

INACTIVES:

Indiana Pacers:

-Victor Oladipo (knee; 21.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 4.7 APG, 44.0 FG%, 34.5 3P%, 71.2 FT%)
-Ike Anigbogu (coach’s decision; 0.0 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.0 FG%)
-T.J. Leaf (coach’s decision; 2.0 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 0.3 APG, 38.2 FG%, 20.0 3P%)
-Kyle O’Quinn (coach’s decision; 2.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.3 APG, 42.9 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Edmond Sumner (coach’s decision; 0.8 PPG, 0.2 RPG, 0.2 APG, 40.0 FG%, 50.0 3P%, 0.0 FT%)
-Alize Johnson (G-League; 0.7 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.0 APG, 50.0 FG%, 0.0 FT%)
-Davon Reed (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG)

Sacramento Kings:

-Yogi Ferrell (coach’s decision; 5.3 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.9 APG, 41.8 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Harry Giles (coach’s decision; 5.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, 44.9 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 41.7 FT%)
-Frank Mason III (coach’s decision; 5.2 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 3.0 APG, 38.5 FG%, 17.6 3P%, 72.7 FT%)
-Ben McLemore (coach’s decision; 2.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.3 APG, 30.8 FG%, 40.0 3P%, 0.0 FT%)
-Skal Labissiere (2.4 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.3 APG, 46.2 FG%, 20.0 3P%, 80.0 FT%)
-Wenyen Gabriel (G-League)
-Marvin Bagley III (back; 13.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 0.9 APG, 51.0 FG%, 30.4 3P%, 64.8 FT%)
-Zach Randolph

GAMETIME:

Despite the Sacramento Kings shooting only forty-seven percent from the field while the Indiana Pacers shot sixty-one percent, the game would be kept extremely close.  Bojan Bogdanovic ended up scoring thirteen points which included a three-pointer in the first quarter.  Both Myles Turner and Tyreke Evans dropped ten points each as Turner pulled down seven defensive rebounds.  As for Evans, he was able to knock down two three-pointers.  2013-2014 NBA Champion Cory Joseph played the most minutes off the bench but was kept to just a three-pointer late in the first period.

On the other end of the court, Buddy Hield chalked up eleven points while shooting fifty percent.  He had two three-pointers in the process while recording one rebound and three assists.  Willie Cauley-Stein helped out with ten points while pulling down seven rebounds and giving out two assists.  Former Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Nemanja Bjelica had eight points while De’Aaron Fox was limited to just five points.  Bogdan Bogdanovic played thirteen minutes off the bench as he chalked up nine points but the Pacers would go into halftime with a tight 60 to 58 lead.

Both teams would come out of the locker room on fire as the Pacers completed forty-six percent of their shots taken while the Kings shot forty-two percent from the field.  Bojan Bogdanovic continued to add to his scoring total as the put up fourteen more points which included a trey in the fourth quarter.  Thaddeus Young contributed with six points, as well as Darren Collison.  Collison earned all of his points from beyond the arc, though, while Myler Turner had four points.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored eleven points off the Sacramento bench while recording two defensive rebounds, four assists, and one steal.  Fox helped out with ten points but only shot thirty-three percent from the field.  Cauley-Stein had seven points while pulling down six rebounds, dishing off one assist, and committing one steal.

DOWN-TO-THE-WIRE:

With one minute and thirty-two seconds remaining in the game, the Pacers would be holding onto a 107 to 105 lead.  But Willie Cauley-Stein would finish an alley-oop pass from Bogdanovic to tie the game up at 107 apiece.  The Indiana Pacers would respond as Darren Collison drills a three-pointer to take a commanding 110 to 107 lead.  But with thirty-five seconds left on the clock, Fox would make a running layup off of a fast break to bring the home team within one.  After a couple of possessions, the Kings would call a timeout.  Out of the timeout, Cauley-Stein would take the ball and slam it home to give the Kings a one-point lead.  The Pacers would have a chance to respond but end up committing a jump ball violation turnover, allowing the Kings to secure the win, 111-110.

THE FINAL RESULTS:

Bogdan Bogdanovic finished the game with twenty points, two rebounds, six assists, and a season-high two steals for the Sacramento Kings.  Bojan Bogdanovic settled for a season-high twenty-seven points, along with three rebounds, and two steals for the Indiana Pacers.

So…what’s next?

The Indiana Pacers will host Zach LaVine (24.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.8 APG, 43.0 FG%, 30.3 3P%) and the Chicago Bulls (5-18) on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.  The game will mark the second of four times that the Pacers and Bulls will play each other this season.  The last time they saw each other was on November 2 when the Pacers slipped away with a 107 to 105 win.  During that game, Victor Oladipo scored twenty-five points, grabbed fourteen rebounds, gave out five assists, committed two steals, and blocked one shot while Antonio Blakeney finished with twenty-two points and three boards.

The Sacramento Kings will head over to Arizona to battle Devin Booker (24.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 7.0 APG, 44.0 FG%, 31.7 3P%) and the Phoenix Suns (4-18) on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m.  This will be the first of four times that these two teams will play each other this season.  Last season, the Suns won the regular season series, 3-1.

The Milwaukee hang on to defeat the Chicago Bulls, 116-113

The Milwaukee hang on to defeat the Chicago Bulls, 116-113

The Chicago Bulls have only made the playoff once under head coach Fred Hoiberg and that was during the 2017 Playoffs when they lost to the Boston Celtics, 2-4, in the first round.  They are trying to avoid a second straight postseason absence as they look to end a two-game losing streak.  They will look to do that as they take on the Milwaukee Bucks in Wisconsin.  The Bucks, on the other hand, are coming fresh off of a 110-107 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

The Bulls and the Bucks have battled each other a grand total of 263 times in the past as the Milwaukee team won 124 of those games while the Bulls went on to take the other 139 games.  This matchup between the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks will mark the second of four times that these two ball clubs will meet up this season.  November 16 was the last time they saw each other as the Bucks ran away with a 123-104 win.  During that game, Eric Bledsoe scored twenty-five points, grabbed four rebounds, threw out six assists, committed three steals, and blocked one shot while Jabari Parker had twenty-one points, eight rebounds, and three assists.

INACTIVES:

Chicago Bulls:

-Kris Dunn (knee; 9.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 7.0 APG, 30.8 FG%, 25.0 3P%)
-Lauri Markkanen (elbow)
-Bobby Portis (knee; 10.5 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 41.5 FG%, 27.3 3P%, 55.6 FT%)
-Denzel Valentine (ankle)
-Antonio Blakeney (coach’s decision; 10.3 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.6 APG, 43.6 FG%, 45.6 3P%, 63.6 FT%)
-Cristiano Felicio (coach’s decision; 3.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 0.6 APG, 57.5 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 75.0 FT%)
-Tyler Ulis (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG)
-Rawle Alkins (G-League)

Milwaukee Bucks:

-John Henson (wrist; 5.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 46.3 FG%, 35.5 3P%, 60.0 FT%)
-Sterling Brown (coach’s decision; 3.2 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 44.4 FG%, 22.2 3P%, 71.4 FT%)
-Matthew Dellavedova (coach’s decision; 1.6 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, 35.3 FG%, 40.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Jaylen Morris (coach’s decision; 3.5 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.5 APG, 75.0 FG%, 100.0 3P%)
-Trevon Duval (G-League)
-D.J. Wilson (G-League)
-Christian Wood (G-League; 3.8 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 0.4 APG, 50.0 FG%, 50.0 3P%, 75.0 FT%)

GAMETIME:

This would be a close game for most of the time as the Chicago Bulls shot fifty percent from the field in the first half while the Milwaukee Bucks went on to complete fifty-six percent of their shots.  Zach LaVine would score eighteen points while knocking down two three-pointers.  He also had two defensive rebounds, two assists, and one block while former Bucks forward Jabari Parker collected twelve points.  Parker had two three-pointers in the first period while Ryan Arcidiacono chalked ten points, also nailing two treys.  Robin Lopez played ten minutes off the bench but only scored six points.

On the other end of the court, Giannis Antetokounmpo got hot for twenty points as he shot seventy-three percent from the field.  He was able to record five rebounds and four assists while Malcolm Brogdon scored twelve points, hitting two three-pointers in the process.  South Carolina-native Khris Middleton saw to it that he got ten points while drilling a shot from beyond the arc late in the second quarter.  Pat Connaughton played the most minutes off the bench but was kept to just a three-pointer as the home team went into halftime with a 63 to 62 lead.

Both teams would continue to go head-to-head as the Milwaukee Bucks shot forty-three percent from the field while the Chicago Bulls shot forty percent.  Antetokounmpo continued to add to his scoring total as he put up sixteen more points while recording six rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block.  Brogdon helped out with four three-pointers while Brook Lopez had eight points.

DOWN TO THE WIRE:

With only thirty-six seconds remaining in the game, both teams would be tied at 111 apiece.  Wendell Carter, Jr. would end up fouling Giannis Antetokounmpo, sending him to the line.  Antetokounmpo was able to knock down both free-throws, giving them a 113-111 lead and forcing the Chicago team to call timeout.  Out of the timeout, LaVine would make a driving reverse layup, tying the game up again.  Middleton responded with a three-pointer, forcing the Bulls to call another timeout.  Out of the timeout, Justin Holiday would attempt a trey to go into overtime but would miss as the Bucks hang on to beat the Bulls, 116-113.

FINAL RESULTS:

Giannis Antetokounmpo would finish the game with a season-high thirty-six points, along with eleven rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and one block while Jabari Parker ended with twenty-four points, eight rebounds, and five assists.  Zach LaVine also had twenty-four points, as well as nine rebounds, seven assists, and one block.

So…what’s next?

The Chicago Bulls will travel to Michigan to battle Blake Griffin (25.1 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 5.1 APG, 46.5 FG%, 36.7 3P%) and the Detroit Pistons (11-7) on Friday at 7:00 p.m.  This will mark the second of four times that these teams will see each other this season.  The last time they played each other was on October 20 when the Pistons slipped away with a 118-116 win.  Blake Griffin finished that game with thirty-three points, twelve rebounds, five assists, and one block while Zach LaVine also thirty-three points, along with three rebounds and three assists.

The Milwaukee Bucks will play Tim Hardaway (23.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.9 APG, 40.6 FG%, 36.8 3P%) and the New York Knicks (7-15) at the Madison Square Garden on Saturday at 5:00 p.m.  This will be the second of four times that the Bucks and the Knicks will clash each other this season.  October 22 was the last time that these teams played each other as the Knicks fell to the Bucks, 113-124.  During that game, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored thirty-one points, pulled down fifteen rebounds, dished off four assists, and blocked two shots while Tim Hardaway settled for twenty-four points, two rebounds, and three assists.

The Cleveland Cavaliers complete the sweep against the Toronto Raptors as they win, 128-93

The Cleveland Cavaliers complete the sweep against the Toronto Raptors as they win, 128-93

The Toronto Raptors are on the verge of getting swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers as tonight marks the fourth game in their playoff series.  If that happens, it will be the second straight time that the Cavaliers sweep the Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.  The odds will be against the Raptors as they have to face the Cavaliers and their fans at the Quicken Loans Arena.

SERIES RECAP:

The first game of this series took place on May 1 when the Cavaliers pulled out a 113-112 overtime victory over the Raptors in Canada.  During that game, LeBron James scored twenty-six points, grabbed eleven rebounds, dished off thirteen assists, committed one steal, and blocked two shots while DeMar DeRozan finished with twenty-two points, seven rebounds, five assists, one steal, and three blocks.

The second meeting was held on May 3 as the Toronto Raptors fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers, 110-128.  That matchup was also played at the Air Canada Centre as LeBron James recorded forty-three points in that game, along with eight rebounds, fourteen assists, and one steal.  DeMar DeRozan settled for only twenty-four points and three assists.

The series would shift over to Cleveland, Ohio, as the third game was played on May 5.  The home team would sneak away with a 105-103 win, thanks to the buzzer-beating floater made by LeBron James.  During that game, though, LeBron James had thirty-eight points, six rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and one block while Kyle Lowry scored twenty-seven points, grabbed three rebounds, dished off seven assists, and committed two steals.

INACTIVES:

Toronto Raptors:

Malachi Richardson (3.4 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.5 APG, 33.3 FG%, 30.0 3P%)
Alfonzo McKinnie (1.5 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.1 APG, 53.3 FG%, 33.3 3P%)

Cleveland Cavaliers:

Rodney Hood (coach’s decision; 14.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.6 APG, 42.9 FG%, 38.1 3P%)
Okaro White (3.3 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.3 APG, 43.8 FG%, 36.4 3P%)
Kendrick Perkins (3.0 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 50.0 FG%)

GAMETIME:

The Cleveland Cavaliers would have complete control of the game in the first half as they shot sixty-two percent from the field, limiting the Toronto Raptors to fifty-one percent.  J.R. Smith got hot for fifteen points as he shot a perfect one-hundred percent from the field.  He also connected for three three-pointers while Kyle Korver contributed with thirteen points.  Korver also had three three-pointers as he shot eighty-three percent from the field.  Kevin Love saw to it that he got eleven points while recording two defensive rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.  LeBron James scored only ten points in the twenty-three minutes that he played but did manage to chalk up six defensive rebounds, seven assists, and one steal.  Jeff Green played the most minutes off the bench but was held scoreless.

As for the home team, Jonas Valanciunas dropped ten points off the bench as he shot a high sixty-three percent from the field.  DeMar DeRozan earned himself nine points and five rebounds while four-time All-Star Kyle Lowry scored five points with a three-pointer early in the first quarter.  He also had four defensive rebounds and seven rebounds while C.J. Miles chalked up six points.  Former Oklahoma City Thunder center Serge Ibaka scored eight points which included two three-pointers.  Fred VanVleet played thirteen minutes off the bench as he received five points but it was the Ohio team who went into halftime with a huge 63-47 advantage.

The home team would close things out in the second half as they went on a 65-46 run, shooting fifty-seven percent from the field.  During that run, LeBron James would heat up for nineteen points while recording two defensive rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block.  Love earned himself twelve points while drilling two three-pointers in the third quarter.  He also had four defensive rebounds while Green contributed with eight points off the bench.  Delon Wright scored ten points off the Toronto bench but it was enough as the Cavaliers hold off the Raptors, 128-93, completing a sweep and advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.  LeBron James finished the game with twenty-nine points, eight rebounds, eleven assists, two steals, and one block while Jonas Valanciunas had eighteen points, five rebounds, two assists, and three blocks (tying his playoff career-high).

The Toronto Raptors defeated the Washington Wizards with a 108-98 score, taking a 3-2 series lead

The Toronto Raptors defeated the Washington Wizards with a 108-98 score, taking a 3-2 series lead

Tonight’s matchup between the Washington Wizards and the Toronto Raptors will mark the fifth game in their playoff series.  The first game was on April 14 when the Raptors defeated the Wizards with a 114-106 score.  During that game, Serge Ibaka scored twenty-three points, grabbed twelve rebounds, gave out one assist and blocked two shots while John Wall had twenty-three points, three rebounds, fifteen assists, four steals and two blocks.  The Raptors would also take Game 2 as they pulled out a 130-119 victory.  DeMar DeRozan finished that game with thirty-seven points, five rebounds, and four assists while John Wall had twenty-nine points, four rebounds, nine assists and one block.

The Washington Wizards would make a desperate comeback as they handed the Raptors a 122-103 blowout loss in Game 3.  During that game, Bradley Beal scored twenty-eight points, pulled down four rebounds, dished out four assists and committed three steals.  John Wall also had twenty-eight points, along with seven rebounds, fourteen assists, four steals and one block while DeRozan finished with twenty-three points, three rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block.  Game 4 would also be a victory for the Washington team as they snuck away with a 106 to 98 win.  Beal had thirty-one points in that game, along with five rebounds and two assists while DeRozan had thirty-five points, six rebounds, six assists and one steal.  The Wizards will look to take a 3-2 lead in the series as they travel back to Canada to battle the Raptors for Game 5.

INACTIVES:

Washington Wizards:

Jodie Meeks (suspension; 6.3 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 0.9 APG, 39.9 FG%, 34.3 3P%)
Tim Frazier (coach’s decision; 3.0 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 3.3 APG, 39.5 FG%, 30.4 3P%)
Jason Smith (coach’s decision; 3.4 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 0.4 APG, 39.1 FG%, 12.5 3P%)
Chris McCullough (2.4 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.2 APG, 42.9 FG%, 12.5 3P%)
Ramon Sessions (4.9 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 2.8 APG, 35.9 FG%, 30.8 3P%)

Toronto Raptors:

Fred VanVleet (shoulder; 8.6 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 3.2 APG, 42.6 FG%, 41.4 3P%)
Lorenzo Brown (coach’s decision; 2.3 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.9 APG, 41.2 FG%, 16.7 3P%)
Alfonzo McKinnie (coach’s decision; 1.5 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.1 APG, 53.3 FG%, 33.3 3P%)
Lucas Nogueira (coach’s decision; 2.5 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.4 APG, 61.3 FG%, 26.3 3P%)
Malachi Richardson (3.4 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.5 APG, 33.3 FG%, 30.0 3P%)

GAMETIME:

The beginning of the game would be somewhat competitive as the Toronto Raptors shot forty-five percent from the field while the Washington Wizards shot thirty-eight percent.  DeMar DeRozan would get extremely hot as he scored twenty points which included two three-pointers.  He also had two assists while Kyle Lowry contributed with seven points which held a three-pointer in the second period.  Lowry had two defensive rebounds and three assists while Jonas Valanciunas earned himself six points, six rebounds, and two blocks.  Meanwhile, Serge Ibaka was kept to just two points on thirty-three percent shooting while OG Anunoby was held scoreless.  California-native Delon Wright played twelve minutes off of the bench as he chalked up seven points.

As for the visiting team, John Wall saw to it that he got twelve points while grabbing five defensive rebounds, dishing off four assists and committing one steal.  Bradley Beal would help out with eight points which included a three-pointer at the end of the second quarter.  Beal also had three defensive rebounds and three assists while Otto Porter threw up seven points on fifty percent shooting.  Kelly Oubre played the most minutes out of Washington’s reserves but was restricted to five points as the Raptors went into halftime with a tight 48 to 47 lead.

The Canada team would close things out in the second half, though, as they sparked up a 60-51 run while shooting forty-eight percent from the field.  In the course of that run, DeRozan received twelve points which carried a three-pointer near the end of the third quarter.  The 20th pick in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft Delon Wright assisted with eleven points on a high sixty percent shooting.  On the other end of the court, John Wall chalked up fourteen points but that wouldn’t be enough as the Toronto Raptors take a 3-2 series lead with a 108-98 victory.  DeMar DeRozan finished the game with thirty-two points, two rebounds, and five assists while John Wall had twenty-six points, nine rebounds, nine assists, one steal and three blocks.

The Philadelphia 76ers take a 2-1 lead in the series as they hand the Miami Heat a 128-108 loss

The Philadelphia 76ers take a 2-1 lead in the series as they hand the Miami Heat a 128-108 loss

Tonight will mark the third game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat in their playoff series.  The first game was on April 14 when the 76ers defeated the Heat with a 130-103 score.  During that game, J.J. Redick scored twenty-eight points, grabbed two rebounds, gave out one assist, and committed one steal while Kelly Olynyk finished with twenty-six points, seven rebounds, two assists and one block.  The 76ers and the Heat met up again on April 16 as the Heat got revenge with a 113 to 103 win.  Dwyane Wade finished that game with twenty-eight points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals while Ben Simmons had twenty-four points, nine rebounds, eight assists and two blocks.  Each team will look to grab a 2-1 lead as they battle each other in South Beach for their third game.

INACTIVES:

Philadelphia 76ers:

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (knee; 5.8 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 1.0 APG, 37.5 FG%, 33.5 3P%)
Richaun Holmes (coach’s decision; 6.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, 56.0 FG%, 12.9 3P%)
Jerryd Bayless (7.9 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, 41.6 FG%, 37.0 3P%)
Furkan Korkmaz (1.6 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.3 APG, 28.6 FG%, 29.4 3P%)

Miami Heat:

Dion Waiters (ankle; 14.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 3.8 APG, 39.8 FG%, 30.6 3P%)
Udonis Haslem (coach’s decision; 0.6 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 0.4 APG, 20.0 FG%, 12.5 3P%)
Jordan Mickey (4.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 0.4 APG, 47.6 FG%, 12.5 3P%)

GAMETIME:

The beginning of the game would be held to a competitive standard as the Miami Heat shot fifty percent from the field while the Philadelphia 76ers shot forty-six percent.  Goran Dragic scored twelve points on sixty percent shooting while recording two defensive rebounds and five assists.  Justise Winslow played fifteen minutes off of the bench as he got hot for nineteen points, including four three-pointers.  North Dakota-native Tyler Johnson helped out with eight points while drilling two three-pointers in the first quarter.  Dwayne Wade was kept to just two points off of the bench while Hassan Whiteside had three points.  Kelly Olynyk played the most minutes off of the bench but was kept to just a three-pointer and a free-throw.

On the other end of the court, Joel Embiid chalked up eleven points but only shot twenty-nine percent from the field.  He did have a three-pointer late in the second quarter while putting up three rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block.  Dario Saric had nine points which included a three-pointer in the second quarter.  He also had three rebounds and one assist while Robert Covington scored seven points with a three-pointer in the middle of the first quarter.  Ben Simmons also had seven points along with six rebounds, seven assists and one steal.  Former Golden State Warriors guard Marco Belinelli played fourteen minutes off of the bench as he had fourteen points but it was the home team who walked into halftime with a tight 64-63 lead.

The 76ers would respond in the second half with a huge 65 to 44 run as they shot fifty-seven percent from the field, keeping the Heat to forty-one percent.  During that run, Simmons, Saric and Embiid all had twelve points each.  Ben Simmons also collected six defensive rebounds and three steals while Dario Saric had three three-pointers, four rebounds and three assists.  Joel Embiid earned himself two three-pointers as well as four defensive rebounds, two assists and two blocks.  Goran Dragic and Josh Richardson each scored eleven points for the Heat but it wasn’t enough as the Philadelphia 76ers handed the Miami Heat a 128-108 loss, taking a 2-1 lead in the series.  Goran Dragic finished with twenty-three points, two rebounds, eight assists and one steal while Joel Embiid had twenty-three points in his return, along with seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and three blocks.