Steve Alexander

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: The Norman Powell Effect

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


The Raptors have discovered a new weapon in the form of Norman Powell, the Hawks evened their series with the Wizards at 2-2 with help from Jose Calderon, and the Warriors showed no sign of weakness without Steve Kerr, and welcomed back Kevin Durant in an easy sweep of the Blazers.

 

Raptors 118, Bucks 93 (Raptors lead 3-2)

 

The new lineup for the Raptors came through again on Monday as Norman Powell led the way with 25 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals, a block and four 3-pointers. Powell hit 8-of-11 shots on the night and was perfect from downtown in 34 minutes, and the experiment to start Powell and move Jonas Valanciunas (8 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks) to the bench has worked out incredibly well for Toronto, who has won two straight games with Powell in the starting lineup. The Raptors spread the floor much better with Powell out there and the Valanciunas-Serge Ibaka pairing up front was a defensive liability in the first three games. Powell went from not even having a role in the first few games of this series to becoming one of the focal points and that should continue, at least in this series. The question now becomes will I, or any of my drumming buddies, have the guts to fire Norm up in this league? I used DeRozan last night, which could have been better or worse. The Raps got a well-rounded effort from the other four starters (Serge Ibaka, DeMarre Carroll, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry) as all of them hit double digits in scoring and Lowry had a 16-point, 10-assist double-double. All five starters had at least one 3-pointer, one steal and three rebounds, and only DeMarre Carroll failed to hand out an assist (the other four had at least three apiece). The Raps took control of the series with tonight’s win and will look to close things out in Milwaukee on Thursday night, but that’s not going to be an easy task. I’m guessing this one’s going seven games.

 

The Bucks got the usual from Giannis Antetokounmpo with 30 points, nine boards, three assists, three steals and three blocks on 12-of-19 shooting, and Malcolm Brogdon added 19 points, two boards, three dimes, a steal and five 3-pointers on 7-of-11 shooting. But other than that, it wasn’t a great performance from Milwaukee. Khris Middleton was very quiet, hitting just 3-of-8 shots for eight points, but he also had three boards, six assists and five steals. Tony Snell and Thon Maker were basically invisible and only Greg Monroe did much off the bench, finishing with 11 points, two boards and zero blocks in 22 minutes. The Bucks will have to regroup and find a way to win Game 6 at home and then get ready for Game 7 back in Toronto, where their No. 1 task will be figuring out how to stop, or at least slow down, Powell, DeRozan and Lowry.

 

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Hawks 111, Wizards 101 (Tied 2-2)

 

This was the best game of the night with the Wizards taking a 35-28 lead after the first quarter, getting blown out by the Hawks 31-15 in the second quarter, bouncing back to win the third quarter by 10, and then losing the fourth quarter by 10 when Dennis Schroder finally came to life for Atlanta.

 

The Hawks got a 19-9-7-2 line from Paul Millsap, who also had the circus shot of the night, Taurean Prince added 11 points and seven boards, Dwight Howard had 16 points, 15 rebounds and a block, Schroder scored all 18 of his points in the second half, including two huge 3-pointers, and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 15 points, two steals and three 3-pointers in the win. The surprise heroes for the Hawks came off the bench, as Kent Bazemore hit three 3-pointers for 16 points, four rebounds, seven assists and three steals, and Jose Calderon added 10 points, five assists and two 3-pointers while Schroder was struggling to come to life. Calderon hit a couple big 3-pointers and had a key tip-in late in the game to help the Hawks secure the win and tie the series in Atlanta. But the Hawks are far from being out of the woods, as two of the last three games are in Washington, including Wednesday’s Game 5.

 

The Wizards got a big game from Bradley Beal, who finished with 32 points and five 3-pointers after scoring just 12 points in Game 3. John Wall hit just 7-of-19 shots but still finished with a 22-point, 10-assist double-double, and Marcin Gortat hit just 1-of-4 shots for two points, but also added 18 rebounds and three blocks in the loss. Otto Porter Jr. added 13 points, two blocks and a 3-pointer, and Markieff Morris hit just 3-of-10 shots for nine points and four boards after all his chattering in the first three games. Bojan Bogdanovic was the only bench player to show up, hitting 5-of-9 shots and a couple 3-pointers for 13 points, three rebounds and a steal. The Wizards are going to need Wall and Beal hitting on all cylinders the rest of the way in this series, but are still in control of this one, with two of the final three games at home. Game 5 will take place on Wednesday night in D.C., Game 6 is set for Friday in ATL, and Game 7 will happen in Washington on Sunday, if necessary. And I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t go 7.

 

Warriors128, Blazers 103 (Warriors Sweep 4-0)

 

Steve Kerr was out again while dealing with an undisclosed illness that is related to his 2015 back surgery. Mike Brown will be coaching the Warriors in his place until Kerr feels well enough to come back. They did just fine without Kerr last night, jumping out to a 45-22 lead after the first quarter, marking the most points the Warriors have ever scored in the first quarter, playoffs or not. Kevin Durant was back in action from his calf injury, but you have to wonder if the Warriors wish they would have given him another night off in hindsight. This game was over before the first quarter was in the books, the Warriors led 72-48 at halftime and Durant finished with 10 points, three boards, two assists, a steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers on 4-of-7 shooting in just 20 minutes. But like I said, the Warriors probably should have just given him another day off to recover, which would have been extended into more than a week as they await their next opponent. Stephen Curry had 21 points, six boards and five assists – in the first half. He finished with 37 points, seven boards, eight assists, two steals and seven triples on 12-of-20 shooting in 30 minutes. Klay Thompson scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half and hit three 3-pointers, and Draymond Green had 21 points, six boards, four assists, a steal, three blocks and five 3-pointers in 33 minutes. The rest of the team threw in some garbage-time stats, but like I said, this one was literally over after about five minutes of action. JaVale McGee was fun with three blocks in just 10 minutes, and has been a great addition for the Dubs bench. The Warriors get the winner of the Clippers-Jazz series, which is tied at 2-2.

 

Center Jusuf Nurkic was out for the Blazers after experiencing soreness in his leg after Saturday’s game There was no reason for the Blazers to risk injuring him further with this series all but over coming into Game 4. The Blazers simply weren’t very good from the outset, although Damian Lillard had 21 points in the first half and never took a break until he left for good in the fourth quarter, finishing with 34 points, six assists and two 3-pointers in 42 minutes. If you used C.J. McCollum in this one, it didn’t go well, as he was 0-for-7 and failed to score in the first half, marking just the second time this season he didn’t score in a half of basketball. CJM finished with six points and five rebounds on 2-of-12 shooting in 31 minutes. Al-Farouq Aminu was the only other Blazer to really show up last night, hitting 7-of-12 shots and five 3-pointers for 25 points, seven rebounds, two steals and a block off the bench. Starters Meyers Leonard, Moe Harkless, McCollum and Evan Turner combined to hit 4-of-23 shots for 15 points. The Blazers, as they say, have gone fishin’.

 

Tuesday’s three-game night includes:

 

OKC @ HOU on TNT at 8 p.m. with the Rockets holding a 3-1 lead. James Harden will be out to finish off Russell Westbrook, while Westbrook should go crazy in hopes of forcing a Game 6.  This should be must-see TV.

 

MEM @ SAS on NBATV at 9 p.m. with the series tied 2-2. The Spurs may finally put all hands on deck as they can’t continue to let the Grizzlies hang around any longer. Mike Conley has been going crazy for the Grizzlies and he’ll likely be my one-and-done play tonight.

 

UTA @ LAC on TNT at 10:30 with the series tied 2-2. The Clippers are just trying to survive the first round without Blake Griffin, while the Jazz smell blood in the water with a rejuvenated Joe Johnson, Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert.



Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2017-18 NBA season marks (at least) his 16th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
Email :Steve Alexander



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