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 21st, 2018
Philadelphia 76ers vs Miami Heat
106-102 76ers, 76ers lead series 3-1
Next Game: Game Five, Tuesday 4/24 @Philadelphia
This game was back-and-forth, incredibly chippy and very entertaining to watch. Philadelphia took a first-quarter lead but the Heat took control in the second and led by as 12 in the third. The teams definitely had some negative energy brewing, from James Johnson shoving Robert Covington to Ben Simmons knocking over Goran Dragic on a screen. Both teams caught the turnover bug; Philly (26) and Miami (19) both turned the ball over way too many times to normally win any NBA game. Philadelphia only shot 22.6% from three. Brett Brown said ”I’m shocked that we won this game,” but a 14 point Philadelphia run with 9:00 left in the fourth essentially ended it.
Ben Simmons, for the third straight game, looked like an NBA vet, recording his first playoff triple-double of many, with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. Seven turnovers from Simmons is pretty inexcusable though. Joel Embiid looked flustered, partly due to his mask I am sure, as he tried to sneak onto the court without it. He put up 14 points, 12 boards, and five blocks. Although he turned the ball over an embarrassing eight times, he played with his heart on his sleeve as he always does. J.J. Redick managed to lead the 76ers in scoring with 24, despite the fact that he only hit two threes. He fed off of Ben Simmons dimes all night.
Dwyane Wade once again played like it was 2006 tonight. He scored from all over the floor and did all he could for his team; including hitting a fadeaway jumper over Redick in the clutch. He finished with 25 points and three steals. Hassan Whiteside was a bit more of a factor today but he was dominated by Joel Embiid for much of the game. His best statistical game of the series, he finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Goran Dragic had a nice game, adding 20 points and four steals but five turnovers. Down 3-1 and lacking LeBron James, this team will be hard-pressed to win this series.
Portland Trail Blazers vs New Orleans Pelicans
131-123 Pelicans, Pelicans win series 4-0
The Pelicans finished shocking the world, completing their four-game sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers. The Pelicans controlled this game for most of the way bar a late comeback attempt by Portland that came up short. Their offense dominated once again. Anthony Davis went full MVP mode, scoring 47 points and grabbing 11 boards. Jrue Holiday capped off his incredible series with a 41 point, eight assist performance; he did turn the ball over seven times, though. Rajon Rondo was a maestro on the court again, dishing 16 assists and adding seven points and rebounds. This Pelicans team is definitely good and the fact that they are here without DeMarcus Cousins is downright impressive. Despite this, I doubt they have much of a shot against the Warriors next round, even if Curry isn’t healthy.
This series was a complete nightmare for Portland in every facet and this game wasn’t much better. Damian Lillard was a no-show once again, scoring 19 points, six assists, and five rebounds. C.J. McCollum dropped 38 shooting 68.2% but it was not enough to lead this team to victory. Al-Farouq Aminu, who I believe was the Blazers’ best player this series, scored 27. This team now looks to the offseason to try and salvage this roster. Whether it be firing Terry Stotts or trading C.J. McCollum, something needs to be done.
Past Full Court Press Editions
- Full Court Press: Pelicans Rout Blazers, Lead Series 3-0 (4/19/18)
- Full Court Press: Bogdanovic’s 30 Leads Indiana To A Comeback Win Over Cleveland (4/20/18)
Houston Rockets vs Minnesota Timberwolves
106-102 Timberwolves, Rockets lead series 2-1
Next Game: Game Five, Monday 4/23 @Minnesota
The Minnesota Timberwolves avoided the dreaded 3-0 hole against one of the best teams in the NBA. They led for most of this game; the Rockets’ last lead was early in the third quarter. Minnesota’s defense was great all night, especially that of Jimmy Butler. Despite the fact that James Harden scored 29 points with seven assists and rebounds, he made it tough for the MVP all night, forcing airballs and clogging his space. Chris Paul supplemented with 17 points but it was not enough to overcome the Wolves tonight. The Rockets are only shooting 31.5% from beyond the arc in the playoffs attempting by far the most threes per game of any playoff team with 43.3 The Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers attempted the second most threes with 32.3 per game. This is a significant drop off from their 36.2% from three in the regular season.
Jimmy Butler led the way on offense and defense for the Timberwolves. Butler scored 28, grabbed seven rebounds, and threw five assists. Karl-Anthony Towns finally peeked his head out a bit with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Derrick Rose turned back the clock and took over in the fourth, scoring 17 points in only 21 minutes. Jeff Teague captained the offense with 23 points and eight assists. Andrew Wiggins scores well, adding 20 points. The Timberwolves took care of the ball, only recording seven turnovers.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Utah Jazz
115-102 Jazz, Jazz lead series 2-1
Next Game: Game Five, Monday 4/23 @Utah
The Thunder seemed to take control of this game when they took a 12 point lead. But, a Ricky Rubio storm brought Utah the lead back. Their lead ballooned all the way to 20 in the fourth quarter when the game was essentially over. This Jazz team played an excellent all-around game, taking their first game in Utah. Ricky Rubio flashed the potential that many saw when he entered the draft plus more. Rubio recorded his first playoff triple-double (seventh of his career) with 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. Donovan Mitchell continues to dazzle, scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, shooting 57.1% from three. Rudy Gobert dominated the middle once again, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Joe Ingles is a valuable piece in Utah’s offense, scoring 21 points. This team is well coached, great on defense and has offensive firepower. That’s a formula for success.
The Thunder shot very well from three tonight (14-28) but it was not enough. Their big three didn’t play particularly well. Paul George scored 23 and Carmelo Anthony scored an efficient 14 points. Russell Westbrook scored 14 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and dished nine assists, but his stat-padding couldn’t lead OKC to a win. He turned the ball over eight times and shot a meager 29.4% from three. This Thunder team needs to sure up their fundamentals and find some coherent offense and defense if they want to beat Utah.
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.