The Hawks, Bulls and Grizzlies all lost on Monday, as the Nets evened their series with Atlanta, the Bucks got back into their series with the Bulls, and the Blazers avoided a sweep.
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Nets 120, Hawks 115 OT (series tied 2-2)
The Nets stunned the Hawks with an overtime win to tie the series at 2-2. Deron Williams gave the Hawks a chance by throwing up an errant shot with the score tied and 6.5 seconds left on the clock in regulation. But the Hawks ran a botched play through Paul Millsap and then lost in overtime.
After struggling in this series, Williams was the man, hitting 13-of-25 shots and seven 3-pointers for 35 points, five rebounds, seven assists and three steals. The 35 points tied his career playoff high and he scored 16 of them in the fourth quarter. Brook Lopez came through with 26 points, 10 boards, two steals and four blocks on 11-of-19 shooting, while Joe Johnson scored 17 with six boards, five assists and two 3-pointers, hitting just 5-of-16 shots against his former team. Bojan Bogdanovic started and hit 6-of-12 shots and three 3-pointers for 15 points, six boards and three assists, while fifth starter Thaddeus Young hit 5-of-11 shots for 10 points, seven boards, three assists and two steals in the win. Alan Anderson added 11 points and four boards off the bench to round out the double-digit scoring.
The Hawks had a very similar box score, with all five starters in double digits and Dennis Schroder added 10 points and three dimes off the bench. DeMarre Carroll had 20 points, nine boards, five assists, a steal and four 3-pointers on 8-of-15 shooting, while Jeff Teague also scored 20, along with four boards, 11 assists, two steals, five turnovers and a 3-pointer. Al Horford bounced back to hit 8-of-13 shots for 17 points, seven boards and a steal, while Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver each scored 16 points. Millsap hit 7-of-14 shots and a 3-pointer and added 12 boards, four dimes, three steals and three blocks for one of the better fantasy lines of the night, while Korver hit just 4-of-13 3-pointers, but also pulled down 11 boards. He also missed three straight game-tying threes in OT, which will eat at him until the next game. I'm still not sure how that happened.
Game 5 is back in Atlanta on Wednesday, which will be a must-win for the Hawks. Anything less than a trip to the Eastern Finals would be considered a disappointment for the Hawks, and a first-round exit would, obviously, be a disaster for Atlanta.
Bucks 94, Bulls 88 (Bulls lead 3-2)
The Bucks won again on Monday, getting a tough 94-88 win in Chicago to reel the Bulls’ lead down to 3-2 in the series. Michael Carter-Williams led the way for Milwaukee with 22 points, eight boards, nine assists, a steal and three blocks on 10-of-15 shooting. He’s played very well in two of his last three games and the Bucks will need him to come through again on Thursday if they’re going to get another win and force a Game 7. He left briefly with a sprained ankle, but played through it. Check on his status before Game 5.
Khris Middleton hit 8-of-16 shots and two 3-pointers for 21 points, four boards, two assists and four steals, and Giannis Antetokounmpo hit 5-of-12 shots for 11 points, three boards, two assists and four blocks. O.J. Mayo scored 10 points and was the only other Buck in double figures. Zaza Pachulia just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 boards, while Ersan Ilyasova struggled, hitting just 2-of-11 shots (both 3-pointers) for six points and four boards. John Henson played well off the bench, racking up 14 rebounds, a steal and a block to go along with his eight points.
The Bulls got big lines from Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah, but Derrick Rose struggled, hitting just 5-of-20 shots for 13 points, two assists and six turnovers. He was also 0-for-7 from downtown. Butler hit just 5-of-21 shots, but still had 20 points, 10 boards, six dimes, four steals, a block and two 3-pointers, and Gasol added 25 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and two blocks on 9-of-15 shooting. The Bulls hit just 34 percent of their shots for the game, which is why they lost. Mike Dunleavy started but didn’t score in 21 minutes, while Taj Gibson came off the bench for 12 points, three boards, a steal and two blocks. Nikola Mirotic was quiet again, and his regular-season bonanza is a distant memory after scoring a total of 21 points thus far in the series. Like Dunleavy, Tony Snell played 24 minutes off the bench, but failed to score, or do much of anything in the loss.
Blazers 99, Grizzlies 92 (Grizzlies lead 3-1)
Damian Lillard hit 12-of-23 shots and a 3-pointer for a playoff career-high 32 points, two rebounds, seven assists, a steal and just two turnovers in Monday’s must-win over the Grizzlies. Lillard was a defensive liability, as usual, but also came through late in the game to help the Blazers get a much-needed win. They avoided a sweep and got some help from unlikely heroes Meyers Leonard and C.J. McCollum. Leonard had 13 points, 13 rebounds and a block, and played excellent defense against Marc Gasol, while McCollum came off the bench to hit 8-of-12 shots and two 3-pointers for 18 points, five boards, two assists and two steals. The Blazers clearly miss Wesley Matthews, but would be better off in this series if McCollum had flexed his muscle more often. LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points and 12 boards, and Nicolas Batum hit just 3-of-13 shots, but still had 12 points, 13 boards, four assists, a steal and two 3-pointers. Robin Lopez wasn’t good, finishing with just six points and three rebounds, and starting SG Arron Afflalo missed all five of his shots and didn’t score. Look for more CJM and Leonard in Wednesday’s Game 5 at Memphis. Reserve Steve Blake missed both his shots and is now 0-for-7 in the series.
Gasol led the way for Memphis with 21 points, seven boards, six dimes and a block on 7-of-16 shooting, and Courtney Lee came through with 19 points and a 3-pointer on 8-of-11 shooting. Zach Randolph struggled with his shot, hitting just 6-of-20 for 12 points, nine rebounds and nothing else. Tony Allen had 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks, but only scored four points. The Grizzlies were without Mike Conley (eye surgery) and will be without him for the foreseeable future, so Nick Calathes got the start. Calathes looked good, hitting 4-of-10 shots (all hits were 3-pointers) and finished with 12 points, three boards, three assists and three steals, and Beno Udrih came off the bench to hit 5-of-10 shots and a 3-pointer for 13 points and three assists. Jeff Green was quiet off the bench, hitting just 3-of-10 shots and a 3-pointer for seven points, four boards and a steal. His 3-pointer was a big one, but the Grizzlies, who led by about seven points for much of the second half, couldn’t keep it going. The Blazers are likely going down, but they’re not going to go without a fight. And if you're playing daily fantasy hoops, both Calathes and Udrih are decent, cheap options, along with McCollum.
Lastly, Kevin Love has been ruled out for the Cavs for the entire second round with a separated shoulder, and he might be out for the rest of the playoffs. Tristan Thompson is going to be another solid, cheap option in daily leagues.