April 14th, 2018
Every day, FPC will recap the day’s NBA playoff matchups. Check back each night if you missed any of the day’s action.
Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs
113-92 Warriors, Warriors lead series 1-0
Next Game: Game Two, Monday 4/16, @Golden State
The Golden State Warriors came storming out of the gate in game one, showing the world that they are still a force to be reckoned with. Both teams missed their best players in Steph Curry (Warriors) and Kawhi Leonard (Spurs). The Warrior offense didn’t skip a beat, assisting 32 times and shooting 54.3% from the field. Klay Thompson led the way with 27 points and Kevin Durant added 24 points, eight boards, and seven assists. Javale “Grill” McGee starred at center, scoring 15 points and adding four boards and two blocks. Draymond Green neared a triple-double, with 12 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds.
San Antonio could not keep up with Golden State’s offense. Rudy Gay scored 15 off of the bench; LaMarcus Aldridge and Bryn Forbes added 14 apiece. How can the Spurs, Danny Green specifically, contain Kevin Durant? “We’ll have Danny grow four or five inches by Monday night, tell him to jump higher and move quicker, and we’ll tell Kevin, ‘Don’t be so good.'” Greg Popovich told us. Kawhi Leonard has no timetable for return and San Antonio is clearly no match for the Shorthanded Warriors without him. San Antonio is on sweep alert.
Toronto Raptors vs Washington Wizards
Raptors lead series 1-0
Next Game: Game Two, Tuesday 4/17, @Toronto
The Toronto Raptors finally broke one of the most embarrassing losing streaks in NBA history. Before tonight, they were 0-10 in-game ones. Now, they are an improved 1-10. Despite an injury to Fred VanVleet, the Raptors’ bench starred. They doubled the Wizards’ bench points, 42-21. Delon Wright scored 18 points on 75% from beyond the arc, along with four assists and three steals. Serge Ibaka led the Raps in scoring with 23, adding 12 rebounds. Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry both struggled a bit, shooting 35.3% and 44.4% from the field respectively. DeRozan scored 17 and Lowry scored 11 on 1-4 from three, adding nine assists and five turnovers as well.
Washington held their own in their first playoff game. They swept Toronto last time these teams met in the playoffs. The Wizards scored 36 points in the third, leading Toronto by three at the half. This team struggled in the areas we expected: chemistry and defense. This team is still reintegrating John Wall, who had a solid game, albeit an inefficient one. He scored 23 points and assisted 15 times with four steals, but turned the ball over five times and shot a dismal 30% shooting the ball 20 times. Markieff Morris had a nice outing, scoring 19, grabbing 11 boards and adding six assists. This game was tight throughout, but a 12 point Toronto run helped them pull away.
Philadelphia 76ers vs Miami Heat
130-103 76ers, 76ers lead series 1-0
Next Game: Game Two, Monday 4/16, @Philadelphia
No Embiid? No problem. The Philadelphia 76ers silenced any doubters with a convincing win over the veteran Miami Heat. Many thought that the experience and coaching of the Heat combined with their great defense and shooting would have them give the Sixers a problem. At the half, Miami led 60-56. Five minutes into the fourth, the Heat had only scored 27 (!!!) points in the half. The extent to which Philadelphia locked up Miami in the second half is impressive. Their great switching versatile defense stifled the Heat offense. Hassan Whiteside only played 12 minutes putting up minimal numbers; the Heat were far better with him off of the court. Kelly Olynyk was a bright spot, putting up 26 points and seven rebounds.
Philadelphia was lights out on offense without Joel Embiid. They hit 18 threes, the most given up by a Miami team in the playoffs. Ben Simmons was not flustered by the bright lights of the postseason, calmly captaining the 76ers attack. He flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 17 points, 14 assists, and nine rebounds. Brett Brown was rightfully concerned with his five turnovers, but it was s plus night for Simmons. The center rotation of the 76ers, consisting of Dario Saric and Ersan Ilyasova, combined for 37 points and 20 rebounds, making 7-10 threes. J.J. Redick was elite from behind the arc and off of the dribble, scoring a game-high 28, shooting and making eight free throws. Marco Belinelli set a playoff career high, scoring 25 points on 57% from three. This Philadelphia team looks very scary, especially considering they did all of this without their star center.
Portland Trail Blazers vs New Orleans Pelicans
97-95 Pelicans, Pelicans lead series 1-0
Next Game: Game Two, Tuesday 4/17, @Portland
In what would be the best game of the night, Anthony Davis got his first ever playoff win over the Portland Trail Blazers. This game was also the only upset of the night. The Pelicans pulled away a bit at the end of the second. They went into the half up nine and into the fourth up 12. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum were ice cold in the first half; they started 1-8 combined and combined for three points in the half. They turned it up in the fourth, bringing the game to one point. The Blazers inbounded the ball to Pat Connaughton, who was blocked by Jrue Holiday.
Holiday was elite all night on the defensive end, stifling Lillard and McCollum. The Pelicans recorded 12 blocks as a team. Holiday added 21 points and seven boards. Davis dominated in his first playoff win, scoring 35 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocks. Playoff Rondo showed up big as I suggested, dishing out a mind-boggling 17 assists, and eight rebounds.
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum were ice cold in the first half. Evan Turner scored well in the first half and finished with 13 points. By the time the game was over, McCollum and Lillard finished with 37 combined points. The duo turned it on in the fourth, leading a roaring comeback that fell just short. Was their performance efficient (Lillard 26.1%, McCollum 38.9)? No. But did they turn up at the right time? Yes. They wiped off a 14 point lead but it was too little too late for Dame and co. Ed Davis and Jusuf Nurkic combined for 24 boards and the Blazers had 15 offensive rebounds. Both teams have plenty of kinks to work out before game two, but it is clear that this series is going to be as entertaining as we had hoped.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.