The Toronto Raptors were far and away the best team in the Eastern Conference this season. The Washington Wizards were … well, very Wizard-y.
So considering their regular seasons, the fact that Washington was able to tie the first round series between the two teams at 2 games apiece on Sunday is pretty astonishing.
Bradley Beal had 31 points and five rebounds for the Wizards while teammate John Wall added 27 points to go along with a whopping 14 assists. Washington shot an impressive 41 percent from 3-point range as four of five starters finished in double-digit scoring.
Despite Beal’s performance, it was Wall who saved the day for the Wizards. Beal was disqualified after fouling out with around five minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Beal didn’t agree with the call, and could be seen throwing a towel near the Washington bench.
For his part, Wall either scored or assisted on 10 of the Wizards’ final 14 points of the game. That helped stave off the likes of DeMar DeRozan, who led all scorers with 35 points.
The series heads back to Toronto for Game 5, which will be played on Wednesday, April 25.
Wesley Matthews threw this inbound pass.
Anthony Davis called himself the NBA’s best player.
He sure backed it up last night.
Davis posted a 32-16-8-3-3 to lead the Pelicans to a 19-point win over the Rockets, considered by many to be the NBA’s second-best team. The performance immediately vaults Davis to the forefront of any MVP discussions.
But for him, it was just par for the course. Davis has repeatedly dazzled in season openers. When 18-6-2-3 qualifies as the dud, you know Davis is doing something right.
Davis’ box scores in New Orleans’ first game each season:
That makes Davis’ average season-opener game score 24.1, one of the best ever. Only Michael Jordan has a higher mark on record (since 1983, as far back as Basketball-Reference records go; minimum: three games).
Here are the leaders:
Obviously, Davis cares more about how he finishes than starts. The Pelicans have made the playoffs only twice with him, getting swept in the first round in 2015 and falling in the second round last season.
But it should be clear by now: Davis comes to play as soon as the season tips.
I’ve heard it from friends. I’ve seen it on NBA Twitter. I’ve debated it with sports talk radio hosts.
“This NBA season is already decided, nobody has a chance against the Warriors.”
Boston has a shot, as I get into in this PBT Extra.
Absolutely the Warriors are the odds-on favorites to win it all, if healthy they should three-peat. They were my pick. But I believe Boston has a legitimate shot to dethrone the Warriors — they have the wing athletes, the switchability on defense, the scoring, the versatility. A Boston/Golden State Finals is going six or seven games… if we get there. It’s just day two of a long season.
But I believe in Boston.
The Nuggets had no answer for Boban Marjanovic.
Neither did L.A.’s rims.
The 7-foot-3, 290-pound Clippers center scored 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting with eight rebounds in 18 minutes. The Clippers outscored Denver by seven with Marjanovic on the floor, but got outscored by 16 otherwise in a 107-98 loss last night.
Marjanovic just doesn’t have the stamina to play huge minutes, though he caught an extra breather when officials stopped the game to check the levelness of a rim Marjanovic dunked on – with his feet still on the ground. Incredible!