While the weekend provided a ton of blowouts, one upset and an overall lack of drama, Monday made up for it with a thrilling upset, the righting of the ship by Toronto, and the Warriors getting it done without their steam engine.
Raptors 98, Pacers 87 – The Raptors bounced back on Monday and did what everyone, except for me, expected them to do in Game 1. The big news for the Raptors heading into this one was the benching of Norman Powell and moving DeMarre Carroll into the starting unit. Carroll hit just 1-of-3 shots for two points and two rebounds in 20 minutes, while Jonas Valanciunas went off for 23 points, 15 boards, a steal and two blocks. He was in serious foul trouble for Game 1 and fouled out, so he was hungry last night. Kyle Lowry and his bum shoulder hit just 4-of-13 shots, but he also made 10-of-10 free throws and finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, nine assists and a steal. DeMar DeRozan was disappointing again with 10 points on 5-of-18 shooting, and left briefly with a possible concussion. He returned, so he should be OK. Valanciunas was able to propel them to the win and Patrick Patterson came through with 14 points, six boards, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers, and Cory Joseph added 16 points and three assists off the bench. Powell had just three points on 1-of-6 shooting in 22 minutes off the bench, and the move to the pine is going to hurt him in fantasy. The Pacers appear to be set on stopping Lowry and DeRozan, so it will be interesting to see if they can get loose for Games 3 and 4 in Indy. It’s not looking all that promising, based on Indy’s defensive scheme.
The Pacers got 28 points from Paul George and he hit 10-of-11 free throws, but didn’t do much else besides score a lot of points. George Hill was very quiet with four points and one assist, despite playing 31 minutes, while Monta Ellis came through with 15 points, five boards, three assists, two steals and a 3-pointer on 6-of-12 shooting in 31 minutes. Myles Turner was playing well off the bench, but left with a tailbone injury and finished with just eight points, two rebounds and two blocks in 16 minutes. Starting center Ian Mahinmi also left with a back injury, but was able to finish with five points and five rebounds, but missed all six of his shots. The Pacers will need to have both Mahinmi and Turner healthy as the series takes a 1-1 tally to Indianapolis but both are day-to-day. The Pacers gave the bench a lot of run on Monday, but Turner was the only one to do anything with the minutes.
Mavericks 85, Thunder 84 – The Mavericks did a heck of a job against the Thunder last night, rolling with an injured starting point guard (Deron Williams – hernia), and without their starting small forward (Chandler Parsons – knee), backup center (David Lee – foot) and utility guard (J.J. Barea – groin). The Mavs got a bit lucky that OKC’s Steven Adams’ putback wasn’t allowed, as he was 1/10th of a second too late for the Thunder. Raymond Felton turned out to be an excellent DFS play (I stupidly went with George Hill) and went off for 21 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and a 3-pointer in a start at shooting guard. Williams surprisingly played and had 13 points, five assists and three 3-pointers, but left early due to the hernia and might be done for the rest of the series. Dirk Nowitzki chipped in with 18 points in a lackluster line on 7-of-19 shooting and center Salah Mejri came off the bench for 12 points, three rebounds and three blocks. Devin Harris had eight points, seven rebounds and two steals in 26 minutes off the bench and Felton and Harris might be handling the guard duties the rest of the way for the Mavs. Mejri has played 28 and 16 minutes in each of the first two playoff games, and is now a decent punt option at center in DFS. The Mavs won because Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook hit a combined 15-of-55 shots, but I’m still not sure it was the Dallas defense that made it happen. As long as JJB and Williams are hurting for Dallas, Felton looks like a must-start in DFS. Starter Wesley Matthews was awful with six points on 3-of-11 shooting and Zaza Pachulia wasn’t much better with two points on 1-of-6 shooting.
As I just said, Westbrook and Durant hit just 15-of-55 shots, and any time that happens, things probably aren’t going to go well for the Thunder. And really, that never happens. Add in that Serge Ibaka took just seven shots and finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, two steals and a block, and it’s easy to see how the Thunder lost. Westbrook was 8-of-22 for 19 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a 3-pointer (still a fine line) and Durant was 7-of-33 for 21 points, nine rebounds, two assists, one block and seven turnovers. He also hit just 2-of-11 3-pointers and the turnovers were a DFS killer. He won’t play this poorly again in the postseason, or all of next season, for that matter. Hopefully you didn’t use him in DFS tonight. Steven Adams was a half second too late on his put back to win the game, and finished with nine points, seven boards and a block. The Mavs had a great game plan for stopping Westbrook and Durant tonight, but I think it was more a matter of them having bad games than it was the Mavericks shutting them down. The sleeping giant has been awoken and I’ll be shocked if the Thunder don’t blow out the Mavs in Games 3 and 4 in Dallas.
Warriors 115, Rockets 106 – The Rockets were licking their chops with Stephen Curry ruled out with a sprained right ankle, but still didn’t have much to offer the Warriors. Klay Thompson picked up the slack in Steph’s absence and hit 15-of-16 free throws (career highs) and 8-of-20 shots for 34 points (ties career playoff high), three rebounds, five assists, a steal and three 3-pointers in the win. Shaun Livingston started at point guard for Curry and hit 7-of-9 shots for 16 points, six assists and two steals, and Draymond Green racked up 12 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and a block, despite hitting just 4-of-12 shots. Harrison Barnes hit just 1-of-10 shots for six points, and Andrew Bogut added 10 points, seven boards, a steal and three blocks on 5-of-6 shooting in 27 minutes. Andre Iguodala hit 7-of-10 shots and four 3-pointers for 19 points, three boards, three assists, two steals and a block, and this is your friendly reminder than Iggy is not the same player in the postseason as he is in the regular one.
James Harden tried harder in this one and had 28 points and 11 assists, but hit just 7-of-19 shots. He made 13-of-15 free throws, but also had five turnovers to hurt his line. At least he showed up for this one, unlike he did in Game 1. Patrick Beverley had 13 points, seven boards, two assists, two blocks and a 3-pointer, while Dwight Howard added 12 points, 10 boards and two blocks in the loss. Trevor Ariza hit just 3-of-10 shots for seven points and Donatas Motiejunas moved into the starting lineup over Corey Brewer, but hit just 3-of-10 shots in 15 minutes for seven points and three boards. Jason Terry had 13 points and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes, and Michael Beasley hit 5-of-9 shots for 10 points and five rebounds in 12 minutes. Josh Smith hit three 3-pointers for nine points, but committed five personal fouls in 18 minutes. He’s not a guy you want to be using in any format, especially when you consider he won’t hit that many threes again.