NBA Playoffs on Sling TV: Raptors at Pacers, Heat at Hornets, Thunder at Mavericks, Clippers at Trail Blazers
#2 Toronto Raptors vs. #7 Indiana Pacers, TOR leads series 2-1 (3pm ET Saturday, TNT)
The Pacers’ Paul George led all scorers with 25 points as he led his team with 10 boards and 6 dimes, but it was a tough night for the All-Star guard as he shot just 6-of-19 and made 4 turnovers, as Indiana fell 101-85 to the Toronto Raptors. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan each scored 21 while shooting a combined 15-of-40, but they got a lot more help than George. Jonas Valanciunas had 9 points and 14 rebounds, and DeMarre Carroll scored 17 points to go along with 5 boards.
Valanciunas hit a jumper with 8:21 to go in the first quarter to give the Raptors a 10-9 lead, and there’s was no looking back, as the Raps built a 17-point halftime lead. The Pacers never got within 10 points over the final 33 minutes.
#3 Miami Heat vs. #6 Charlotte Hornets, MIA leads the series 2-0 (5:30pm ET Saturday, TNT)
The Miami Heat beat up on the unsuspecting Hornets Wednesday, defeating them by a score of 115-103, behind Dwyane Wade’s 28 points and Hassan Whiteside’s 17-point, 13-rebound effort. The game was tied midway through the second quarter, but the Heat took the lead, thanks in large part to Goran Dragic hitting on a pair of free throws and a pair of 3-pointers in the span of 49 seconds, that allowed Miami to go into the locker room with a 12-point lead at the half. From their it was just a matter of nursing the lead, as the Hornets never got closer than down 7.
The Heat were hitting from all over the floor, shooting 58% on field goals, 56% on 3’s (74% and 70% in the first half) and 82% on free throws, and their defense kept the Charlotte passing game in check, as the Hornets had just 9 assists. In the last 30 years of postseason play, teams with 9 or fewer assists have gone just 4-22.
#3 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #6 Dallas Mavericks, OKC leads series 2-1 (8pm ET Saturday, ESPN)
After suffering a heartbreaking loss to the Mavericks in Game 2, the Thunder on Thursday reasserted their dominance with a 131-102 victory to take a 2-1 series lead. Kevin Durant, who was coming off a historically bad shooting night, got back some of his mojo, scoring 34 on 11-of-25 shooting, but it was Russell Westbrook who really made things happen, hitting 9 of 16 for 26 points, while dropping 15 dimes. And Enes Kanter and Kyle Singler were huge coming off the bench, scoring 21 and 19 respectively, while shooting a combined 13-of-18. Overall the Thunder hit 58% from the floor, 56% from 3.
#4 Los Angeles Clippers vs. #5 Portland Trail Blazers, LAC leads series 2-0 (10:30pm ET Saturday, ESPN)
The Clippers were nursing a 6-point lead over the Trail Blazers with 10:29 to play, before dropping the hammer, outscoring Portland 33-18 to secure a 102-81 victory and take a 2-1 series lead. Clippers guard Chris Paul scored 9 points down the stretch, making all three field goal attempts and both free throws to cap off a 25-point night with 6 rebounds and 5 assists to carry his team on a night when Blake Griffin had just 12 points and 9 boards, and DeAndre Jordan pulled down 18 rebounds, but had just 3 points.
The Trail Blazers talented guard duo of CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard continued to struggle, as they combined for just 33 points on 12-of 39 shooting, as the team shot just 34% from the floor, 19% from downtown.