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. Our guest author today is FPC NBA writer, Chris Simmons.
April 19th, 2018
Philadelphia 76ers vs Miami Heat
128-108 76ers, Sixers lead series 2-1
Next Game: Game Four, Saturday 4/21 @Miami
The Philadelphia 76ers matured before the eyes of a national audience eager to get their first look at playoff Embiid. After an uneven beginning, Joel Embiid finished with 23 points, seven boards, and four dimes and spent much of the night fumbling with his protective mask. Ben Simmons also continued his dominant playoff run coming just three dimes short of a triple-double. As a team, Philly hit more than 50% of their three-point attempts, had a +three rebound advantage, and went +two at the free throw line. The final score did not indicate just how close this game was with over a dozen lead changes and each team exchanging big shot after big shot.
Miami certainly did everything they could to get over the hump, even clawing back from an early double-digit deficit. Goran Dragic was on fire throughout the middle parts of the game but remained conspicuously nailed to the bench for much of the fourth quarter. The player of the game for the Heat, however, was Justice Winslow who probably played the best game of his career. Going four/six from behind the line and getting a couple of absolutely massive blocks and nifty dimes, this is the player the Heat had hoped for.
Yet for everything Miami did well, Hassan Whitesides absolute no-show was likely the difference. Accruing four fouls in 13 minutes with just 5 points and 2 boards, Whiteside was more than just a no show he was a liability. If the Heat are going to turn this series around they are going to need more than passive interest from their $20 Million Center.
Portland Trail Blazers vs New Orleans Pelicans
119-102 Pelicans, Pelicans lead series 3-0
Next Game: Game Four, Saturday 4/12 @New Orleans
(Written by Ben Pfeifer)
The New Orleans Pelicans keep on rolling, as they took a 3-0 series lead on the Portland Trail Blazers with a win at home today. Today was the biggest blowout of the series. Many predicted the Pelicans to win but almost none of the aforementioned thought that they would dominate Portland in the fashion that they are. Portland never held a significant lead; the Pelicans took control early in the first. The game finished 119-102 but New Orleans led by as much as 33 points in the fourth. Nikola Mirotic scored a playoff career-high 30 points, adding eight assists and three steals. Anthony Davis added 28 points and 11 rebounds. Playoff Rondo continued to dazzle, scoring 16 and dishing out 11 assists. His 37 assists lead all players in the playoffs so far.
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The Blazers’ offense continues to struggle mightily. C.J. McCollum had a good game, scoring 22 on 56.2% shooting. What is happening to Damian Lillard–a player who usually is better in the postseason–is unfathomable. He scored 20 tonight but only shot 5-14 and turned the ball over eight (!!!) times. Al-Farouq Aminu continues to impress; he scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds. This team is morally distraught. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a coach pull all of his starters and empty the bench with eight minutes to go. Something just isn’t right with this Blazers team. A sweep is imminent.
Past Full Court Press Editions
- Full Court Press: Jrue Holiday’s 33 Leads The Pelicans Over Portland (4/17/18)
- Full Court Press: Rockets Shut Down Timberwolves, LeBron’s 46 Evens The Series (4/18/18)
Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs
110-97 76ers, Warriors lead series 3-0
Next Game: Game Four, Sunday 4/22 @San Antonio
Another playoff game equals another completely overmatched opponent lacking the firepower to really contend with the Warriors. It was fairly clear from the outset that not only was Kevin Durant going to be the best player but that the Spurs only hope was trim the leads when he sat. With the frenetic defensive pace kept up by Draymond Green all game, the Warriors were clearly prepared for an emotionally charged Spurs team mourning the loss of Head Coach Greg Popovich. Even as the Spurs drew within single digits, the Warriors tightened their defense up and Klay Thompson continued to hit threes to ultimately bury the feisty but under-gunned Spurs.
San Antonio certainly came to play and even managed to hold a couple of tenuous leads in the first half. LaMarcus Aldridge had an efficient scoring night overall and helped clear the boards which allowed Tony Parker to get out in transition. However, not even a minor resurgence from Parker was enough to cover for the no-show by Manu Ginobili or fill the void left by their injured best player. That the Spurs kept the pace for as long as they did was a clear testament to the kind of culture San Antonio has spent decades building. They were focused and committed on both ends of the floor, imposed their will for very small stretches and proved that they would have been a tougher out for almost any other team.