First things first, I’d like to wish my mom and all the moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day! There was some epic playoff action on Sunday including the Cavs sweeping the Hawks and Kevin Durant dropping 41 points in a win over the Spurs, but we also received some tough injury news for the Heat and Raptors involving Hassan Whiteside (knee) and Jonas Valanciunas (ankle). Let’s dive right in!
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Cavaliers 100, Hawks 99 (Cavs win series 4-0)
For the second season in a row, the Cavaliers have swept the Hawks in the playoffs. They won the first three games of the series by an average of 16.3 points, but tonight’s game went down to the wire for their first real test in the second round. LeBron James (21 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, two steals, one block) finished one assist shy of a triple-double and scored the final two buckets for the Cavs down the stretch, and he also made a huge defensive play on Dennis Schroder on the Hawks’ final possession.
Kevin Love proved his worth with his second massive game in a row, scoring 27 points with 13 boards, four assists and a ridiculous eight 3-pointers, while Kyrie Irving was a stud with 21 points and eight assists. Love has double-doubled in every game of the playoffs, Irving is healthy and playing great and LeBron James has been unstoppable, and many people seem to forget that the Cavs' Big Three have never lost a playoff game when they’re all active. I still don’t think they can top the Warriors, but they could definitely make things interesting. Something worth noting is that the Cavs shot nearly 51 percent from beyond the arc in the second round, so they have to cool down at some point, right?
As for the Hawks, Paul Millsap got off to a roaring start with 15 points in the first quarter, but he eventually slowed down and scored just four points the rest of the evening. Millsap was nothing short of incredible this season and the 31-year-old forward should be a nice pick towards the end of the first round in fantasy next year. Al Horford scored 15 points with four boards and four assists, but you have to wonder if he just played his last game for the Hawks. The impending free agent is going to get some max contract offers this summer and Boston is a rumored destination, but his fantasy value is going to be safe regardless of where he lands. Kent Bazemore (11 points, seven rebounds, two assists) will also be a free agent this summer and will get a serious raise, but you could argue that he’s already in an ideal situation in Atlanta.
Other than Horford’s free agency, the biggest question mark for the Hawks this summer will be what they decide to do at the point guard position. Jeff Teague is clearly the better player right now and has one more year left on his deal, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and the Hawks aren’t afraid to ride Dennis Schroder down the stretch of games when Teague struggles, including tonight. Teague finished with just five points in 22 minutes tonight after going for 19 points and 14 assists in Game 3, while Schroder scored 21 points in 26 minutes despite playing just 12 minutes in his previous outing. It’s clear that both of these PGs can’t coexist, so a potential trade of one of these guards will be beneficial for both parties. This will be the biggest offseason in recent memory for the Hawks.
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Thunder 111, Spurs 97 (Series tied 2-2)
After rumors surfaced a couple days ago that the Spurs will join the Warriors in the pursuit of Kevin Durant this summer, it’s starting to become obvious that the Thunder have to make a serious playoff run to have a shot at keeping the former MVP. This was basically a must-win game for OKC, so it was great to see Durant step up with one of the best games of his career with his mother watching courtside. KD matched his playoff career high with 41 points, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter while adding five rebounds, four assists, three treys and one steal. Even the NBA’s best defender in Kawhi Leonard couldn’t contain him tonight, as Durant hit 14-of-25 shots and 10-of-13 from the line in 43 minutes.
Russell Westbrook was just 5-of-18 from the field, but his energy levels were through the roof and he still posted a monster line of 14 points, 15 assists, seven boards and three steals. Serge Ibaka was very quiet with just seven points and was abused down low by LaMarcus Aldridge again, but a number of role players for the Thunder stepped up tonight including Steven Adams (16 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks), Enes Kanter (11 points, eight boards) and Dion Waiters (17 points, three boards, three assists, two 3-pointers). I’ve been very hard on Waiters in the past, but he looked great in Game 4 and he even shot 7-of-11 from the field.
Kawhi Leonard couldn’t really contain Durant in Game 4 and wasn’t very efficient either, scoring 21 points on 7-of-19 shooting with six boards, two assists, four steals and four turnovers. He will be better in Game 5. LaMarcus Aldridge has been going off and was averaging 34.3 points in the first three games of the series, but he slowed down just a bit tonight with 20 points and six boards. Tony Parker was coming off a 19-point performance in Game 3 and scored 22 tonight which is a great sign for the Spurs, but the bad news is that their other reliable veteran in Tim Duncan continued to struggle and played just 12 minutes. In fact, he failed to score for the first time in his postseason career and picked up four fouls in his brief time on the court.
Boris Diaw scored 11 points with three boards, David West added eight points, seven boards and two assists off the bench and Danny Green was scoreless in 28 minutes. Game 5 will be in San Antonio on Tuesday.
Hassan Whiteside has been diagnosed with a sprained right MCL and is listed as day-to-day. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra wouldn’t reveal a timetable and we still don’t know the severity of the injury because the Heat didn’t clarify what grade the sprain is. For what it’s worth, Stephen Curry is dealing with just a Grade 1 sprain and the Warriors immediately gave him about a two-week timetable, so Whiteside is probably looking at a couple of weeks on the shelf. It’s definitely odd that Whiteside is listed as questionable for Game 4, but I don’t see him playing again in the second round.
Just when things were starting to look up for Toronto, the Raptors announced on Sunday that Jonas Valanciunas will miss the rest of the series against Miami due to a sprained right ankle. The fact that they ruled him out this quickly scares me and it leads me to believe that he could miss some time in round three if the Raptors move past the Heat. J-Val has arguably been the Raptors’ best player in the postseason with averages of 15.0 points, 12.1 boards and 1.4 blocks, but now it’s up to Bismack Biyombo to fill the void at center. Yes, you should lock Biyombo into all DFS lineups.
Stephen Curry (knee) is listed doubtful for Game 4 vs. the Blazers on Monday. Despite progressing to some 3-on-3 work at Sunday’s practice, coach Steve Kerr doesn’t feel like the MVP’s conditioning is where it needs to be. The Warriors will update his status after the morning shootaround, but he will be a game-time call at best. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson will have a field day if Curry sits again.
Moe Harkless (hip bruise) is expected to play in Game 4 on Monday and will likely be listed as probable. He admitted that his hip limited him in Game 3 which explains why he played just seven minutes, so there has been some talk about a potential lineup change on Monday. Don't be surprised if Gerald Henderson or Allen Crabbe move into the first unit for Game 4 if Harkless' hip doesn't improve.