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Dose: The Brow Wows

Sunday, April 22, 2018


Saturday’s highlights included a pair of triple-doubles from Ben Simmons and Ricky Rubio, as well as a historic performance from Anthony Davis.


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Philadelphia 76ers 106, Miami Heat 102 - (Sixers lead the series 3-1):
Ben Simmons was the story for the Sixers is their pivotal Game 4 victory in Miami. The presumptive Rookie of the Year finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds and ten assists, becoming the first rookie to record a triple-double in a playoff game since Magic Johnson in 1980. Simmons did turn the ball over seven times and was 1-of-4 from the free-throw stripe, but also had four steals. Incredibly, Simmons has tallied at least 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in each of the first four games of his postseason career. Per Basketball-Reference, he already has more 17/9/7 games than all other rookies combined over the last 28 years. As if that wasn’t enough, Big Ben is just the seventh player with at least 17 points, seven boards and seven dimes in four consecutive playoff games since 1984. Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd, Russell Westbrook and Larry Bird are the other six players in that exclusive club. The fact that Simmons has done it in his first four postseason contests is almost unfathomable.


Simmons tag-team partner, Joel Embiid, struggled from the floor on Saturday, shooting just 2-of-11 from the floor, and committed eight turnovers, but found plenty of ways to contribute. Embiid grabbed 12 rebounds, blocked five shots and chipped in a steal and an assist. He was also made 10-of-13 from the stripe on his way to 14 points. Embiid is still not comfortable wearing his mask and tried to force the issues at times (hence the eight TO’s), but he has helped secure victories in two straight contests thanks to his stellar defense… J.J. Redick scored a team-high 24 points and added one rebound, three assists, three steals and two treys… After three straight 20-point games, Dario Saric came back down to earth a bit. He finished with 11 points (on 4-of-13 shooting), eight rebounds and two assists.

 

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Dwyane Wade has hinted he will consider retirement this summer, but the dude can still perform at a very high level. Wade poured in a game-high 25 points (including 12 in the fourth quarter) in just 26 minutes and tacked on three rebounds, one assist and three steals… Josh Richardson set a playoff franchise record with seven steals (the old record was six, held by Wade and LeBron James) and added 10 points, five rebounds, seven assists and one 3-pointer in 35 minutes. J-Rich did all this despite injuring his shoulder in the second quarter. After the game, it was reported that Richardson suffered a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder, but that he plans to play in Game 5… Hassan Whiteside finally showed some signs of life on Saturday afternoon. He scored 13 points with 13 rebounds and one block in 26 minutes. However, it may be too little, too late as the Heat find themselves in a 3-1 hole. Miami will look to avoid elimination when they travel to Philadelphia on Tuesday for Game 5.


New Orleans Pelicans 131, Portland Trail Blazers 123 - (Pels win series 4-0):
Anthony Davis was utterly dominant all series, so it was fitting he completely took over in the second half of Game 4 as the Pelicans swept away the Blazers on Saturday. The Brow finished with a whopping 47 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, three blocks and two 3-pointers. He shot 15-of-24 from the floor and 15-of-17 from the charity stripe. The 47 points were a personal postseason-high and a franchise playoff record. It’s also the most points scored in a series-clinching win since Kobe Bryant poured in 48 in Game 4 of the 2001 Western Conference Semis. AD averaged 33.0 points, 12.0 boards and 2.8 blocks in the rout of Portland.


It may get lost in the buzz surrounding Davis’ show-stopping performance, but Jrue Holiday was also incredible in this one. Holiday tallied a playoff career-high of 41 points and also added three rebounds, eight assists and two 3-pointers. He was just as awesome and effective on the defensive end as well. Dame Lillard will have nightmares of Holiday hanging over him all summer… Nikola Mirotic posted a double-double (10 points and 11 rebounds) and also added two steals and three blocks… Rajon Rondo remained red-hot. “Playoff Rondo” dished out 16 assists and chipped in seven points and seven boards. He averaged 13.3 dimes per game in the series. The Pels will take on the winner of the Warriors-Spurs first-round matchup, which means they will likely travel to Golden State early next week for Game 1 of the semis.


Portland had a spectacular regular season, earning the three seed in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. However, they’ll enter the offseason with a terrible taste in their mouth after this embarrassing debacle. It will be interesting to see if they make wholesale changes in Portland. In fact, the sharks have begun circling. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, "the murmurs have already started in coaching circles that 10 consecutive playoffs defeats will cost Terry Stotts his job in Portland."


Damian Lillard capped off an underwhelming series with another disappointing performance in Game 4, finishing with 19 points, five rebounds, six assists, two steals and one 3-pointer. For the series, Lillard averaged just 18.5 points (35.2% shooting) and 4.8 assists. It was the first time he has had 20 or fewer points and seven or fewer assists in four straight games since February of 2014… C.J. McCollum did what he could on Saturday, tallying 38 points, two rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers in 45 minutes. He was 15-of-22 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the line… Jusuf Nurkic fouled out late in the fourth quarter, but did score 18 points with 11 rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks in 33 minutes… Al-Farouq Aminu was impressive once again, cracking the 20-point plateau for the second straight game. Aminu had 27 points, six rebounds, one assist, five triples and two steals.


Minnesota Timberwolves 121, Houston Rockets 105 - (Rockets lead the series 2-1)
The Wolves played up to their potential in an impressive Game 3 win. Jimmy Butler averaged just 12.0 points (on 41.5 percent shooting), 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 30.6 minutes over the first two games of the series, but bounced back on Saturday. He scored 28 points and added seven rebounds, five assists, one steal and four 3-pointers in 41 minutes. They are going to need Jimmy to continue to get Buckets if they hope to make the Rockets sweat… Karl-Anthony Towns had 18 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, one steal, two blocks and one 3-pointer in 39 minutes. However, he only attempted 13 shots, which means he once again had fewer field goal attempts than both Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose. The Wolves need to feed KAT more frequently going forward… Andrew Wiggins scored 20 points with five rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block and four 3-pointers in 35 minutes. This is Wiggy Wolves fans have been hoping to see… Derrick Rose scored 17 points with two assists, two steals and one 3-pointer in 21 minutes. He has certainly exceeded expectations, averaging 14 points per game through the first three contests vs. Houston.


Coming to Saturday night, the Rockets had only lost three games all season with James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela in the lineup. However, Houston wasn’t sharp in this one. Paul tallied 17 points, three rebounds, six assists and one 3-pointer in 30 minutes before fouling out. Capela was unusually quiet, finishing with seven points, 11 rebounds and one blocked shot. He was also just 1-of-6 from the free-throw line. Harden scored 29 points (on 9-of-21 shooting) and added seven rebounds, seven assists, one steal and three 3-pointers… Ryan Anderson (ankle) played for the first time since injuring his ankle back on April 3rd. He scored 12 points with three rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and four 3-pointers… Game 4 is Monday night at the Target Center.


Utah Jazz 115, Oklahoma City Thunder 102 - (Jazz lead the series 2-1):
Ricky Rubio has outplayed Russell Westbrook over the first three games of this series. That’s not something I thought I’d be typing. Rubio had arguably the best game of his NBA career on Saturday, finishing with 26 points with 11 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals, one block and two 3-pointers in 37 minutes. It was the first triple-double for Utah since John Stockton in 2001… Donovan Mitchell posted another double-double, tallying 22 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block, five turnovers and four 3-pointers… Rudy Gobert dominated the paint on both ends of the floor. Westbrook had has been unable to score inside all series, and Rudy is a big reason why. Gobert scored 18 points with 12 rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal in 41 minutes… Joe Ingles was relatively quiet in the first two games of the series, but busted out on Saturday, scoring 21 points with three rebounds, four assists, one steal and five 3-pointers in 32 minutes.


Russell Westbrook’s counting stats look good: 14 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, two steals, one 3-pointer. However, that certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. He shot just 5-of-17 from the field and committed eight turnovers. The Thunder needs more efficient, effective production from Russ going forward… Steven Adams was limited by foul trouble and finished with only eight points, two rebounds and one block in 26 minutes… Paul George scored 23 points with two rebounds, three assists, two steals and three 3-pointers in 40 minutes… Carmelo Anthony was hot early on, but cooled off late. He had 14 points, four rebounds, zero assists, and three steals.


Sunday’s Schedule:
* Boston Celtics @ Milwaukee Bucks - 1:00 p.m. on ABC
Celtics lead the series 2-1


* Golden State Warriors @ San Antonio Spurs - 3:30 p.m. on ABC
Warriors lead the series 3-1


* Toronto Raptors @ Washington Wizards - 6:00 p.m. on TNT
Raptors lead the series 2-1


* Cleveland Cavaliers @ Indiana Pacers - 8:30 p.m. on TNT
Pacers lead the series 2-1




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