With the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 105-101 win over the Indiana Pacers Sunday, the first round of the NBA playoffs officially came to a close.
And while Pacers fans lick our wounds, grouse about how the referees cost us this series with that goaltend non-call in Game 5, and look toward a bright future for the franchise, one thing is clear:
LeBron James is the GOAT.
How else do you explain a guy who’s been to seven straight Finals, has the worst supporting cast he’s had around him since 2007, yet goes out and singlehandedly wins a series more or less by himself?
LeBron had 45 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, scored 241 points in the seven games (34.4 per game), took the record for playoff minutes away from Tim Duncan, extended his lead over Michael Jordan for most playoff points, moved into sixth all-time in playoff games played (passing Kobe Bryant), and he’s just getting started.
This time, Kevin Love hit 4-of-8 from three, Tristan Thompson punked Myles Turner in the low block—Turner fouled out and had just eight points on 2-of-3 shooting and four rebounds—and the Cavs’ defense held Bojan Bogdanovic to just 1-of-9 shooting including 1-of-7 from three for just the three points total on the score sheet.
Victor Oladipo was heroic in Game 6. He was valiant in Game 7, with 30 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists.
But he’s not LeBron James.
All hail the King:
LeBron (45 PTS, 9 REB, 7 AST, 4 STL) leads @cavs to Game 7 win with an all-time performance!
— NBA (@NBA) April 29, 2018
“Whatever it takes,” huh, Cleveland? What it takes is LeBron James, that’s whatever it takes.
Sixers In Six(ers)
The Celtics got all they wanted from the Bucks, but ultimately it was a case of the home team holding serve in every game.
Boston won 112-96 on Saturday in their closeout Game 7, a game in which Milwaukee got big contributions from Khris Middleton (32 points), Giannis Antetokounmpo (22), Eric Bledsoe (23), and bugger all else (19 points on 8-of-27 shooting from the rest of the team, a 29.6 percent clip.)
That 8-of-27 came with a 2-of-12 (16.7 percent) shooting clip from three as well.
The Celtics, meanwhile, had a bit of a different kind of Triple 20 game: Al Horford and Terry Rozier had 26 each, Jayson Tatum had 20, Horford and Rozier shot a combined 23-of-33 (69.7 percent), and the rest of the Celtics?
50 points, 15-of-34 (44.1 percent) shooting, 3-of-13 (23.1 percent) from three. Not great…but good enough considering the Bucks’ other guys gave away the game.
Hello, rookie. Tatum’s future is bright in Boston:
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) April 29, 2018
And Rozier’s all about “Kyrie who?” as he steps in for Kyrie Irving:
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 29, 2018
No Stephen Curry, No Problem
You think the Golden State Warriors might be just a little bit ticked off that they have three healthy All-Stars and everyone’s writing them off?
Klay Thompson had 27 points, Kevin Durant had 26, and Draymond Green notched a triple-double (16 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists) while the Warriors’ defense so thoroughly frustrated Anthony Davis that the Pelicans’ star was minus-27 (worst on his team) in 34 minutes of a 123-101 Warriors win over New Orleans Saturday to open their second-round series.
This was a statement game, one of those “if you think we’re afraid of anyone, you’re out of your mind, we’ve been to three straight Finals, won two titles, and would’ve won three if LeBron weren’t a superhuman cyborg basketball machine.”
Oh, and Kevon Looney (!) led the Warriors in plus-minus at plus-34 in 24 minutes. Wait, what?
Teammates do what teammates do:
— NBA (@NBA) April 29, 2018
“Umm, guys…the Rockets are actually good…”
So went the appearance of the Utah Jazz in a dreadful first half; they trailed 64-39 at the break and lost Game 1 to a cruising Rockets team 110-96.
Well, Donovan Mitchell went full Dark Ages in scoring 21 points on 9-of-22 from the field and 1-of-7 from long range, while Houston won the rebounding (43-37), turnover (18-14), and free throw (19-of-24 against 13-of-22; Utah shot a pathetic 59.1 percent) battles.
This was a total domination that wasn’t as close as the final score.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. James Harden:
The Beard went off in Game 1 to propel the @HoustonRockets past the Jazz!
📊: 41 PTS | 7-12 3PM | 8 REB | 7 AST pic.twitter.com/v74YjHLUom
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 30, 2018
One game Monday, as the Celtics take on the 76ers to start their second-round series; we’ll have analysis and highlights in the morning, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!