Welcome to the daily Full Court Press playoff edition, where we recap all of the day’s NBA action. Check back every night if you missed any NBA action and come back tomorrow for more NBA playoff fun.
April 17th, 2018
Toronto Raptors vs Washington Wizards
130-119 Raptors, Raptors lead series 2-0
Next Game: Game Three, Friday 4/20 @Washington
After a fairly tight game one, with the Raptors only winning 114-106, Toronto showed why they are the true number one seed. They are putting the notion that they are not successful in the playoffs into the past. With 2:20 left in the first they lead 36-17 and set a franchise record for most points in the first quarter of a playoff game with 44. At the half, they set another franchise postseason record with 76 first-half points. The Wizards cut the lead to 10 in the third. In the fourth quarter, the Wizards made their run but Toronto was just too much. 130 points scored is yet another franchise playoff record.
Demar DeRozan dominated, scoring 37; he tied a career playoff record with four threes. Kyle Lowry still struggled from the field (30%) but dished out 12 assists and grabbed seven rebounds. His leadership and defense were invaluable. Jonas Valanciunas bossed the middle, scoring 19 points and grabbing 14 boards with two blocks. The Surge Protector (Yes, that was Ibaka’s nickname in OKC, he averaged 3.7 BPG in 2012) played great defense, adding 10 points and nine rebounds. C.J. Miles was a deadly shooter as always, scoring 18 on 71.4% shooting
This Washington team has struggled with its defense and chemistry for a while now and nothing has changed. John Wall is still getting his legs back under him but he had a much better game two. He scored 29 points and dished out nine assists. For the second straight game, Mike Scott was an X-factor off of the bench once again, scoring 20 points. Bradley Beal continues to struggle; the defense of guys like DeRozan, Delon Wright, and O.G. Anunoby has been tough for him. He scored X points tonight, shooting 27.3% from the field, only scoring nine. This Washington team looks to regain some momentum for game three in Washington.
Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks
130-119 Celtics, Celtics lead series 2-0
Next Game: Game Three, Friday 4/20 @Milwaukee
The Boston Celtics continue to impress in this series despite all of the roadblocks they face. They are without their best player in Kyrie Irving and are facing the best player in the series in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Fortunately, the Celtics have a very good young roster still and one of the best coaches in the business. Brad Stevens has out-coached Joe Prunty by a mile. Boston grabbed the lead from Milwaukee midway through the first and never looked back. The Celtics led by as much as 20 in the fourth. The Bucks 15 turnovers absolutely killed any chance of victory. Giannis Antetokounmpo was excellent but he cannot do enough to carry this team himself. He put up 30 points on 76.5% shooting, eight assists and nine rebounds. Khris Middleton was very effective as well, scoring 25 points on 71.4% shooting.
Jaylen Brown put on a show tonight. He became the youngest Celtics rookie to score 30 in the playoffs. Terry Rozier continues to shine in Kyrie Irving’s absence; he scored 23 points and dished eight assists. Jayson Tatum disappeared but the Celtics’ team style compensated for his absence. Marcus Morris, Al Horford, and Gred Monroe combined for 46 points and 14 rebounds. Their defense was stifling all night; the Bucks could not find any offense outside of Giannis and Middleton. One thing is clear: no matter how many injuries they have, the Boston Celtics are for real.
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Portland Trail Blazers vs New Orleans Pelicans
111-102 Pelicans, Pelicans lead series 2-0
Next Game: Game Three, Thursday 4/19 @New Orleans
The New Orleans Pelicans stole both in Portland with this thriller victory. The game was close throughout. The Portland Trail Blazers led at the end of the half 59-54. The third was all Pelicans; they led by as much as 11. The end of the game was back and forth: Portland regained a lead for the first time since the third quarter. Down 100-99, the Pelicans went on 9-0 run to essentially end the game on the back of a Jrue Holiday three, a Nikola Mirotic step back rainbow three, and an unlikely Rajon Rondo three.
Playoff Rondo is truly out in full form: he scored 16 points, dished nine assists, and grabbed 10 boards. Anthony Davis had a tougher time against the Blazers’ defense but still scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds but turned the ball over five times. Jrue Holiday was the star of the show on offense and defense. He set a new career playoff high with 33 points and nine assists. Niko Mirotic was excellent as well, adding 17 points and eight rebounds.
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum just can’t seem to figure it out. They look like typical Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan in the playoffs. They combined for 39 points but nine turnovers, seven from Damian Lillard. The air-tight defense of the Pelicans has forced the dynamic duo out of their offense. McCollum and Lillard heated up a bit late but it was too little too late.
The role players of Portland played very well. The return of Mo Harkless was crucial; he gave Davis all kinds of problems. The length and strength of the Portland wings made it tough for Davis but he still had his way at some points. Al-Farouq Aminu scored 14 points and added 15 rebounds. Zach Collins and Pat Connaughton both contributed off of the bench, combining for 21 points. This Portland team looks like it can compete with the Pelicans but they cannot win with 16 turnovers, and they have no chance if Lillard and McCollum can’t figure it out.
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.