#1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #8 Detroit Pistons, CLE leads series 2-0 (7pm ET Friday, ESPN)
On Wednesday, the Cavs tied an NBA record by hitting 20 three-pointers on their way to a convincing 107-90 win over the Detroit Pistons. JR Smith led the bombing raid by hitting on 7 of 11 three-point attempts en route to a 21 point night while LeBron James led all scorers with 27 points on 12-of-18 shooting. Just a couple of days after taking their best shot at the Cavs and coming up short, the Pistons regressed to their mean, shooting 44% from the floor, 24% from downtown and 56% from the free throw line. It was not nearly enough.
James seems to be a man on a mission, throwing down thunderous dunks, trash talking guys for giving him open looks, and dropping shoulders on unsuspecting rookies. If this is the LeBron we can look forward to all playoffs long - mean, focused, assassin LeBron – this is gonna be a hoot.
#4 Atlanta Hawks vs. #5 Boston Celtics, ATL leads series 2-0 (8pm ET Friday, ESPN2)
Just days after falling just short of coming back from down 19, the Boston Celtics endured one of their worst playoff performances. The Celtics scored just 7 points in the first quarter, the fewest ever in the first quarter of a playoff game, and the lowest-scoring quarter in Celtics history, going back to before the advent of the shot clock. How does such a thing happen? Well, Jae Crowder made just 1 of 9, and Marcus Smart just 1 of 11, while the team as a whole hit on 28 of 88, including 5 of 28 from downtown.
The Hawks’ Kyle Korver, on the other hand, shook off his Game 1 doldrums – a miserable 1-of-10, 2 point performance – to net 4 three-pointers in the opening 7 minutes of Game 2. With 5:28 left in the first, the score was Atlanta 24, Korver 12, Boston 3. Korver and teammate Al Horford would go on to lead all scorers with 17 apiece, Korver adding 7 rebounds, Horford 5 rebounds and 5 blocks.
The series now moves to Boston, but the Celtics remain without the services of Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk is questionable with a bum shoulder, and Marcus Smart has a rib contusion, but is expected to play. The Hawks’ Dennis Schroder has a bad ankle and is questionable for Game 3 as well.
#2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #7 Memphis Grizzlies, SAS leads series 2-0 (9:30pm ET Friday, ESPN)
After beating the Grizzlies by 32 in Game 1, the Spurs trounced them again in Game 2, 94-68, in a game so lopsided that the Spurs again didn’t have a single player go more than 27 minutes. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is so committed to keeping his starters rested and his bench involved, that in Game 2 11 guys played 14 minutes or more, and 13 guys scored at least 2 points.
The Grizzlies have shot 36% from the floor, 31% from downtown, and 58% from the charity stripe in this series, and they’ve had 19 shots blocked. Their high scorer over the two games so far has been 39-year-old Vince Carter, with 20 points, while Zach Randolph leads the team with 6 assists – it’s unclear which is more dispiriting, the number or the name attached to it.
Adding insult to injury are rumors that injured guard Mike Conley is planning to jet via free agency.