What part of Game 4 will we see repeated in Game 5?
The start where the Celtics looked poised and crisp and raced out to a 14 point lead? Or the second half where the Sixers dominated the offensive glass, got fantastic bench play from Lavoy Allen (guarding Kevin Garnett) and Thaddeus Young, they had Andre Iguodala knocking down big shots.
Game 5 is back in Boston Monday night and the pendulum of momentum has swung pretty quickly from side to side in this series. From game-to-game and quarter-to-quarter.
The Sixers had it last in a Game 4 where they forced 17 turnovers, grabbed 17 offensive rebounds allowed and raced out to 27 fast break points. That is exactly what Philadelphia needs in Game 5 — those are hustle points where they outworked and used their youthful athleticism to get the shots that worked for them.
But Boston is back home and they will be trying to get Paul Pierce — who has woken up and had 24 points in Game 4 — hot at the same time as Kevin Garnett. With the defense form Allen as the key, KG was held to 9 points on 25 percent shooting in Game 4 and Boston needs his points against a stingy Sixers defense.
After how it went late last game, don’t expect Doc Rivers to go with his small lineup for very long, we may see more Brandon Bass. And Boston needs him to contribute.
That ties into the real key in this game — and with it maybe the series —which team will get an unexpected pickup from a guy who is struggling? Will Ray Allen start knocking down shots? Can Philly get production out of Evan Turner or Jrue Holiday? (I’m not holding out much hope for Elton Brand there.)
This has been a back-and-forth series and predicting which bench fickle lady momentum will start or finish this game on is impossible. This is the kind of game we have grown to expect Boston to step up in, but Philly has answered every call.
When De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk declared for the NBA draft, they jumped in with both feet, hiring agents.
A third Kentucky freshman, Bam Adebayo, took a more cautious approach – until now.
Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports:
Adebayo is a borderline first-round pick.
He’s a ferocious dunker. All his best skills – motor, explosiveness, physicality – come together to produce slams.
But Adebayo is an underwhelming shot-blocker and rebounder, and those same tools should translate. That speaks’ to his focus.
He has a center’s game. But at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-1.5 wingspan, does he have a center’s size? Adebayo can’t step away from the basket or handle the ball, so if he can’t bang with NBA centers, he’s in trouble.
The Rockets were trying to protect a two-point lead as they inbounded with 7.8 seconds left in Game 4 against the Thunder on Sunday, and James Harden wanted the ball. So, the Houston star pushed off Alex Abrines.
The play still turned chaotic – Russell Westbrook tipping the inbound pass and Eric Gordon recovering the loose ball – but it never should have gotten that far. Harden should have been called for an offensive foul, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:
Harden (HOU) pushes off Abrines (OKC) to create space during the inbound.
A correct call would have given Oklahoma City the ball down two with 7.8 seconds left and a real chance to tie or take the lead.
Instead, the Thunder had to intentionally foul Gordon, who hit two free throws to effectively ice a 113-109 Rockets win. Houston now leads the first-round series, 3-1.
The Cavaliers outscored the Pacers by just 16 points in their first-round series – tied for the narrowest margin ever in a four-game sweep. (The Warriors also outscored the Washington Bullets while sweeping the 1975 Finals.)
So, each Cleveland-Indiana game was close, including Sunday’s Game 4, which the Cavs won 106-102.
LeBron James hit a 3-pointer with 1:08 left to put the Cavaliers up 103-102, and they added a few free throws after intentional fouls to produce the final margin. But LeBron travelled with 1:14 left while making his move to get that 3-pointer, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:
James (CLE) moves his pivot foot at the start of his dribble.
A correct call would’ve ended Cleveland’s possession and given Indiana the ball with a two-point lead. Instead, the Pacers had only one possession before they had to begin intentionally fouling.
Would Indiana have won if the travel were called? Probably, though the odds would have been only slightly better than a coin flip.
Would the Pacers have won the series if the travel were called? Probably not. No team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit, and even a Game 4 win was far from guaranteed with a travel call. But they might have at least felt better about not getting swept.
“Give all praise to Norman Powell with his energy, his athleticism, his passion, just everything he brought to us this series.”
That was Kyle Lowry talking about what his Raptor Norman Powell, who put up a career playoff best 25 points in the Raptors’ Game 5 win. Powell played good defense on Khris Middleton and drained some deep threes to help Toronto pull away in this one. Lowry was so impressed after the game at a press conference he told the media to ask Powell questions, not him.
Oh, and Powell threw down some huge dunks, too. Just check out the video.