Just two games on the NBA Playoff schedule, but both of them were high stakes. Let’s talk about it…
The frenzy of the first round is beginning to die down as teams are punching their tickets to the conference semifinals. As a result, we only had two games on the schedule Tuesday night. Aside from Western Conference Play-In Saturday, this is the lightest night of hoops we have had since the doubleheader on Re-Opening Day! However, there was still plenty to discuss, so let’s get into it!
What was your biggest takeaway from this evening of NBA action? Let me know in the comments!
Denver Nuggets 117, Utah Jazz 107
Jazz lead series 3-2
The Denver Nuggets are not ready to go home. Facing elimination to the lower-seeded Jazz, Denver stepped up and pulled off the win, allowing them to play another game.
The game wasn’t always a back-and-forth clash. After a competitive first quarter, Utah pulled away by winning the second 31-21. They even led by as many as 15 (71-56) early in the third quarter. I certainly wouldn’t blame you if you thought Utah had things handled by that point.
However, Jamal Murray got in his bag again and willed the team to victory. Murray scored 33 points in the second half on 14-of-18 shooting, finishing the evening with a total of 42 points. It’s impressive to see a player take over a game and lead his team to a win, but it’s another level when that player is doing it in every win! That’s superstar behavior right there.
It wasn’t a one-man show, though. Nikola Jokic added 31 points to the winning cause. He started the game by scoring 21 points on 8-of-8 shooting (5-of-5 from 3-point range) in the first quarter. He did go quiet in the middle quarters, scoring only two points. But he bounced back in the final frame with eight points, including the corner 3-pointer that sealed the game.
Donovan Mitchell paced the Jazz with 30 points, so another great night for him. Unfortunately for Utah, they let their foot off of the gas a little too early. Between their assumed desire to not repeat that mistake and Denver’s desire to tie this series up, I’m incredibly excited for Game 6.
Los Angeles Clippers 154, Dallas Mavericks 111
Clippers lead series 3-2
The Los Angeles Clippers had some scores to settle in this game. Of course, there’s the revenge angle for blowing a 21-point lead and getting ballgamed by Luka Doncic and the Mavs in Game 4. This time around, they took a 17-16 lead with 6:41 remaining in the first quarter and never, ever looked back.
Secondly, Paul George needed a bounce-back game. George admitted postgame that his mental health has taken a hit since being in the Bubble. Fortunately, he turned to professional help and his support system to get himself back on track. As a result, he dropped a game-high 35 points on the Mavs in only 25 minutes. Oddly enough, he still picked up the four fouls and two turnovers he’s had in almost every game of this series.
Lastly, the Clippers couldn’t let the Lakers be the only LA team to blow out their opponent. With the Lake Show beating the Blazers 135-115 the night before, the Clip Show had to one-up them.
As a result, the Clippers scored a franchise-record (regular season or playoffs) amount of points (154) and won by a franchise-playoff-record margin (43). They shot a franchise-playoff-record percentage from the field (63.1 percent) and 3-point range (62.9 percent; record for games with at least 15 3PA) in order to accomplish this feat.
It will be interesting to see how, or if, Dallas responds to such a drubbing in Game 6. With the Clippers coming off such an inspired performance, and the status of Kristaps Porzingis up in the air, that’s going to be a tough heist for the Mavs to pull off.