Posted on April 18, 2018, by Travis Pulver
Monday night’s NBA playoff games featured the end of the Philadelphia 76ers winning streak and a decent but futile attempt by the Spurs to beat Golden State. But Tuesday night, fans were in luck. There was every reason to believe that all three games would be good, hard-fought, entertaining contests—and they were.
Who won shouldn’t come as a big surprise. But at least the winners had to work for it.
Game Two: Washington Wizards 119 Toronto Raptors 130
If the Raptors were going to take Game Two Tuesday night, they needed to get more from their dynamic duo. They couldn’t have another off game by DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry and expect to win. Washington may be just a No. 8 seed, but John Wall and Bradley Beal are not going to go down easy.
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Lowry ended up having another off-night from the floor hitting just three of ten shots from the floor and one of eight from three-point range. But DeRozan made up for him by turning in a 37-point effort to lead the team to victory.
“I didn’t go out there planning to score 37 points, I went out there to be aggressive,” DeRozan told the media after the game.
To be fair, the win was far from easy for the Raptors. Washington outscored them 92-86. But since the Raptors dominated the first quarter as much as they did (44-27), they were still able to come out on top.
John Wall turned in a good night for the Wizards with 29 points and nine assists. He didn’t get much help from the rest of the starting five. Bradley Beal only hit three of 11 shots for nine points. The other three starters only scored 18 points.
Getting 63 points off the bench is great, but when the starting group plays so poorly, it doesn’t matter. If the Wizards are going to steal Game Three, though, they will need the rest of the starting five to chip in more.
The series will move to Washington for Game Three on Thursday with Toronto holding onto a 2-0 lead.
Game Two: Milwaukee Bucks 106 Boston Celtics 120
The world was ready to count the Boston Celtics out of the NBA Playoffs after Kyrie Irving went down. It seemed like the door was open for a talented young Bucks team to charge through and score an opening round win.
But the rest of the Celtics appear to have something to say about that.
In Game One, it was Al Horford leading the way with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Horford had another solid day in Game Two with 16 points and five rebounds. But the hero of the day was young Jaylen Brown with 30 points making him the youngest Celtic to ever record 30 in a playoff game.
“People have been writing us off all year. And we just keep proving people wrong. So that’s what we’re gonna do,” Brown told reporters after the game.
Much like the Toronto-Washington game, this one was as good as done after the first quarter. Boston got out to a 33-22 lead after the first. Milwaukee used a 15-0 run early in the second to tie the game back up. But the Celtics went on a run of their later in the quarter and took a 60-51 lead into the half.
Milwaukee kept it competitive in the second half but couldn’t overtake the Celtics. The got within ten points, 107-97, late in the fourth. But then the Celtics went on an 11-2 to extend their lead to 118-99 with 2:27 left to play.
Brown led the way for Boston with 30 points followed by Terry Rozier with 23 points. Marcus Morris chipped in 18 of the bench. Jayson Tatum struggled from the floor hitting just two of nine shots for four points.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had another great game with 30 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Khris Middleton lent a helping hand with 25. If the Bucks are going to win when the series heads to Milwaukee Thursday night, someone else will need to step up as well.
Game Two: New Orleans Pelicans 111 Portland Trail Blazers 102
A series between a No.3 and 6 seed is expected to be competitive, but the higher seeded team should win. However, only one win separates the regular season records of the Pelicans and Trail Blazers. Due to tiebreakers, the Pelicans are in the No. 6 spot instead of No. 4 or 5.
It is probably safe to say, the Trail Blazers are not playing your typical No. 6 seed, and it has been evident on the court.
Much like Game One, this one started out as a close contest with the Pelicans taking a two-point lead heading into the second, 25-23. But the Trail Blazers surged ahead in the second and took a 59-54 lead into halftime.
New Orleans took control of the game in the third and led by as much as 11-points. A fierce rally pulled the Trail Blazers back within three, 81-78, late in the quarter. But then Ian Clark and Darius Miller hit three-pointers to put the Pelicans up by nine.
Portland was able to tie it up about midway through the final quarter after a three-point play by Damian Lillard, 93-93. They kept the game close up until the final couple minutes when the Pelicans pulled away.
Anthony Davis had a good night for the Pelicans with a double-double, 22 points and 13 rebounds. But the team was led by Jrue Holliday’s 33-point effort. Rajon Rondo was one assist away from triple-double (16 points, ten rebounds, and nine assists).
If the Trail Blazers are going to have a shot at forcing the series to come back to Portland, someone has to make a shot. As a team, they only hit 45.1 percent from the floor Tuesday night and just 37.5 percent from three-point range (12-32). New Orleans hit 51.2 (43-84) and 50 (12-24) percent respectively.
The Pelicans will now have a chance to wrap up the series in New Orleans starting with Game Three Thursday night.