#4 Atlanta Hawks vs. #1 Cleveland Cavaliers, Series tied 0-0 (7pm ET Monday, TNT)
After breaking the Celtics’ hearts in the first game of their series and then humiliating them in the second game, the Hawks appeared poised for a cakewalk. But the Celtics came roaring back to even the series in Boston. Game 5 saw the Hawks shut down Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics’ best scorer, and in Game 6 the Hawks went back to Boston to close it out, with a 104-92 win that wasn’t all that close, given that Boston outscored them by 9 in the fourth quarter. Paul Millsap scored 16.3 ppg with 8.8 rpg, while Jeff Teague contributed 16.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg, and 6 apg. Atlanta now faces a whole other level of foe in the Cleveland Cavaliers, one that’s enjoyed a full week off since their last game.
The Cavs made quick work of a very young Pistons team in the first round, sweeping them in 4 games. Detroit played a near-perfect game in the opener – shooting 51% from the floor, 52% from 3, committing just 10 turnovers – and still lost by 5. From there it was just a matter of time, though they did make Cleveland sweat a bit in the finale, a 100-98 affair. The Cavs appear to be firing on all cylinders, with LeBron going 23-9-7 for the series, Kyrie Irving dropping 27.5 ppg with 4.8 apg, and Kevin Love kicking in with 19-12.
The Cavs and Hawks squared off three times in the regular season, with Cleveland winning all three, while outpacing Atlanta by an average of 9.6 points and 9 rebounds per game.
#3 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #2 San Antonio Spurs, SAS leads series 1-0 (9:30pm ET Monday, TNT)
Just when you thought someone might give the Spurs a run for their money, the Spurs kick them in the teeth. The Thunder came into the game with a convincing 4-1 defeat of the Mavericks under their belt, and a giant chip on their shoulder, but found themselves down 43-20 after just one quarter of basketball with the Spurs, as San Antonio hit on 15 of 19 in the opening period, including 3 of 4 from downtown. By halftime the deficit was 33, and heading into the final quarter, the Thunder were down 39. When it was all over, the Thunder had fallen 124-92.
The Thunder’s Kevin Durant was held to 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting, with 8 boards and 6 dimes, while Russell Westbrook managed just 14 points on 5-of-19 shooting with 2 boards and 9 dimes. San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge went off, making 18 of 23 for 38 points, singlehandedly outsourcing Westbrook and Durant, and Kawhi Leonard was nearly as deadly, making 10 of 13 on his way to posting 25-5-5. The Spurs had 12 guys play at least 10 minutes, no one played more than 30, and 13 guys scored at least a two-pointer. Overall, the Spurs hit 61% of their shots, and dished out 39 assists, the most in a playoff game in more than 20 years.