#2 Toronto Raptors vs. #3 Miami Heat, TOR leads series 2-1 (8pm ET Monday, TNT)
The Raptors’ Kyle Lowry finally found his mojo on Saturday, hitting on 11 of 19, including 5 of 8 for 3, en route to a team-leading 33 points, as Toronto narrowly avoided wasting a 13-point lead to beat the Miami Heat 95-91.
Lowry had been averaging during these playoffs just 14 ppg with a 31% field goal percentage heading to Game 3 against Miami, and in the first quarter, it looked like he would be delivering more of the same, as he went 0 for 2 with a turnover. He went 2 for 4 for 4 points in the second, but then he caught fire in the third, opening the quarter with a 3 and then another 3, on his way to 15 for the frame. But Miami’s Dwyane Wade even better, scoring 18 to help the Heat pull even. The fourth quarter opened inauspiciously for Toronto, as the Heat scored the first 6 points, all on free throws, but then over a span of 7 minutes and 10 seconds, Lowry went off, hitting on 5 of 6 from the field, with a pair of free throws, for 14 points. When Lowry’s onslaught was over, the Raptors were up 89-86 with 32 seconds to go, at which point the fans were treated to the scintillating spectacle of Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan hitting 5 of 6 freebies to salt the game away.
Wade had a big game, scoring 38, to go along with 8 boards and 4 dimes, but he got so little help that he led his team in all three categories. Lowry at least got 19-6-5 from DeRozan, and 16-12 from Jonas Valanciunas. With the win, Toronto again has home court advantage in this best-of-seven series.
#1 Golden State Warriors vs. #5 Portland Trail Blazers, GSW leads series 2-1 (10:30pm ET Monday, TNT)
Portland Trail Blazer Damian Lillard scored a game-high 40 points Saturday, to lead Portland to a 120-108 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
Golden State was up 28-22 after the first quarter, as Klay Thompson dropped 18 points, but Portland came alive in the second, scoring the first 7 points to take their first lead since the opening minute, and then took the lead for good midway through the quarter, when an Al-Farouq Aminu trey put them up 37-34. From there Lillard started shooting the lights out, scoring 12 points over the final 5:01 of the half, to put Portland up 58-46.
Portland’s lead would grow to as much as 18, and the Warriors never got closer than 7, despite big games from Thompson, who scored 35 points, and Draymond Green, who posted a robust 37-9-8. But it wasn’t enough to counter Lillard’s 40-5-10, CJ McCollum’s 22-5-4 and Aminu’s 23-10 on 8-of-9 shooting. Lillard and Green became the first duo to hit on 8 three-pointers in the same playoff game, hitting on 8 of 13, and 8 of 12, respectively.
The big story of this series remains the health of Steph Curry, who pulled up lame with a sprained right ankle in Game 1 of the first round, came back for Game 4 and injured his right knee, and hasn’t played since. The Warriors are 4-2 in games in which Curry has been sidelined, and head coach Steve Kerr says his star guard in unlikely to suit up for Monday’s game.
“I would just say he’s doubtful for tomorrow, but slowly and surely making progress,” Kerr told reporters.