Jonas Nader

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: Raptors & Spurs move on

Friday, April 28, 2017


Raptors 92, Bucks 89 (Raptors win series 4-2)

 

What an incredible game and what an incredible series. Game 6 looked like it was going to end quickly as the Raptors had a 71-46 advantage, but the Bucks clawed all the way back from a 25-point deficit and even took an 80-78 lead with three minutes remaining on a Jason Terry triple. However, the Raptors went on a 9-0 run in the final two minutes to put this one out of reach, and it was Milwaukee’s poor free throw shooting which held them back in the end — they finished 18-of-28 from the line. Tony Snell’s turnover on an inbounds pass with three seconds left didn’t help things either. 

 

DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors as per usual with 32 points on 12-of-24 shooting, adding four rebounds, three assists, five steals and three turnovers in 40 minutes as Toronto won their first Game 6 on the road in franchise history — they were 0-4 prior to Thursday. DeRozan is living up to every penny of his $145 million contract and is carrying Toronto right now with Kyle Lowry nursing a back injury. Speaking of the All-Star PG, he was quiet with 13 points, four rebounds, four assists, one block, two steals, and one 3-pointer in 44 minutes, and he was spotted getting some treatment on his back during the game. If the Raptors want to sneak by the Cavaliers in Round 2, Toronto will need way more from Lowry because he didn’t look like himself against the Bucks.

 

Norman Powell was the X-Factor in this series for Toronto and was coming off three double-digit scoring performances, but he was finally held in check in Game 6 with eight points, three rebounds and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes. I’d be surprised if he’s not heavily involved against Cleveland in the next round because the Raptors aren’t getting much out of DeMarre Carroll (six points in 13 minutes). Serge Ibaka finished with seven points, 11 rebounds, one triple and two blocks in 31 minutes, while Jonas Valanciunas was basically a spectator in 17 minutes of action with six points, five rebounds and one assist. J-Val averaged 10.3 points and 10.8 rebounds in 26.6 minutes during the regular season, so maybe he can get himself going next round instead of handing out water to his teammates. 

 

As for the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo was superhuman again with 34 points, nine boards, three assists, two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer in 47 minutes, but he ran out of gas down the stretch and was 2-of-6 in the fourth quarter. He also hit just 7-of-13 from the line, but that will likely be a focus of his offseason program in addition to his 3-point shot. At only 22 years of age, Giannis became the first player in NBA history to finish in the top 20 in points, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals in a single season, and I won’t hesitate to draft him with the No. 1 pick in fantasy for many years to come. 

 

Khris Middleton came through for the Bucks with 19 points despite battling an illness, adding four rebounds, five assists, two steals and three 3-pointers in the loss. Matthew Dellavedova scored 12 points with four rebounds, four dimes, a steal and a 3-pointer off the bench, while starters Tony Snell and Malcolm Brogdon were pretty quiet in this one. Greg Monroe was also a bit light, finishing with just six points, seven rebounds, a steal and a block in his 24 minutes. Assuming Monroe opts out of the final year of his deal this summer, the Bucks will be hoping that impressive rookie Thon Maker (two points, two rebounds, two assists and five blocks in 13 minutes) will be ready for a larger role in 2017-18. He certainly has some late-round appeal. 

 

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Spurs 103, Grizzlies 96 (Spurs win series 4-2)

 

The Grizzlies appeared to be in firm control of Game 6 with an 88-81 lead with just under six minutes to play, but the Spurs closed on a 22-8 run to move onto the second round. Kawhi Leonard currently has the second highest PER (Player Efficiency Rating) in playoff history behind Hakeem Olajuwon and led the Spurs with 29 points, nine rebounds, four assists, three steals and one triple in 40 minutes. "The best player in the league right now,” coach Gregg Popovich said of his superstar forward. “He's the best two-way player and does it all with such class.” I’m not about to argue with the best coach in the NBA, as Leonard and LeBron James are arguably the top two players in the world right now. 

 

Leonard got a lot of help from his teammates tonight including a big effort from Tony Parker. The 34-year-old veteran was invisible for most of the regular season, but had 27 points in Game 6 and scored 15+ points in five out of the six games of this series. LaMarcus Aldridge notched 17 points and 12 rebounds, Danny Green had seven points and a pair of 3-pointers and Patty Mills added 10 points and two triples off the bench. The Spurs will move on to face Houston in Round 2 with Game 1 set for May 1. 

 

Coach Gregg Popovich also called Mike Conley one of the most underrated players in the league, and he can hold his head high after some dominant performances in this series. Conley scored 26 points in Game 6 with two rebounds, five assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 45 minutes, and his game has reached a new level with coach David Fizdale calling the shots — Conley averaged a career-high 24.7 points per game during the regular season and was a second-round value in standard fantasy leagues. "We fought as hard as we could with what we had,” Conley said. “I gave everything I had to give ... No regrets."

 

Marc Gasol scored 18 points with six assists, five rebounds and one triple for the Grizzlies, while impending free agent Zach Randolph notched 13 points, 11 rebounds and one block. Z-Bo isn't the only player Memphis could lose this summer, as Vince Carter, JaMychal Green and Tony Allen are also set to hit free agency. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, Chandler Parsons' horrible contract won't give them much financial flexibility this summer. 




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