The Denver Nuggets went 34-7 at home during the regular season.
The San Antonio Spurs won 32 of their 41 home contests, losing just nine.
If you knew nothing else about the series, you’d predict that it’d be the kind of seven-game series where the home team won every game and it ended in the Mile High City without the series truly starting in the “a series doesn’t start until the road team wins a game” sort of way.
Well, hold on to your butts, folks. Denver won 117-103, in San Antonio, and leveled the series at 2-2, with each team now owning a road win.
Nikola Jokic had 29 points and 12 rebounds to go with eight assists, Jamal Murray added 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting, Denver shot 15-of-31 (48.4 percent) from three, and thanks to Gregg Popovich’s case of Scott-Hollins Syndrome holding the Spurs to just 5-of-17 from out there.
Torrey Craig had as many threes for the Nuggets by himself as the entire Spurs team had in the game, and Craig only needed six attempts.
Oh, did we mention Denver went 22-of-24 from the free throw line? Clutch.
Get your hot buttered highlights here from the man of the match:
Game 5: Tuesday (4/23), 9:30pm/et, NBA TV pic.twitter.com/wAH45Y9crP
— NBA (@NBA) April 21, 2019
Bailed Out by the Refs, Not Your MVP
James Harden shot 3-of-20 from the field, 2-of-13 from three-point land, and 14-of-16 from the line, ending up with 22 points thanks to the referees as the Rockets took Game 3 from the Jazz and a 3-0 lead in the series 104-101.
Part of this is because Donovan Mitchell could build Trump’s border wall with all the bricks he tossed up, shooting 9-of-27 on his way to 34 points, another case of the whistle-happy refs dishing out too many free throws as Mitchell shot 12-of-17 from the stripe.
And the Rockets, despite Harden’s YMCA chucking, hit 15-of-45 from three against Utah’s 12-of-41.
You put all this together and you realize that even when Utah stops Harden, they’re just grotesquely overmatched in this series, and it’s hard to imagine Harden not exploding for a history-maker in Game 4 to close this series out.
Even the Rockets didn’t try to spin the Harden barf-bag, making Capela the man of the match:
The big fella battled in Game 3!
Highlights ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/hkru3oejGY
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) April 21, 2019
Take ’em to the Office, Mike Scott
Joel Embiid both did and did not step up in the fourth quarter against the Nets.
On the one hand, the Sixers center turned the ball over with his team up one, leading to a go-ahead layup from Joe Harris with 25 seconds left.
On the other hand, Embiid assisted on a Mike Scott 3 to give the Sixers the win.
Throw in two clutch free throws from Tobias Harris and boom, 112-108 is your final score, another road win for a higher seed on a bad Saturday for home basketball, and now the Sixers lead the series 3-1 and head back to Philadelphia for Game 5.
Ultimately, speaking of Embiid, he had 31 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists, a game-high-by-a-mile plus-18 in 32 minutes, and shot 12-of-22. So his near-choke at the end luckily did not mar an otherwise excellent game.
The entire Nets defense collapsed in on Embiid, who alertly re-directed the loose ball through a crowd to Scott:
“You have no idea how high I can fly."
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) April 20, 2019
A little love for Harris and Ben Simmons (15 points on 0-of-0 from three-point land, eight rebounds, eight assists):
Game 5: Tuesday (4/23), 8pm/et, TNT pic.twitter.com/n2UTSuxut6
— NBA (@NBA) April 21, 2019
And the thrilling finish:
— NBA (@NBA) April 20, 2019
If you thought the Detroit Pistons were going to magically solve the Milwaukee Bucks by going home to the Hot N’ Ready, think again.
Milwaukee crushed Detroit 119-103 to take a 3-0 lead, complete the sweep on Saturday of all four road teams winning, and set up a different kind of sweep in Game 4.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 14 points and 10 rebounds, Khris Middleton led a balanced Milwaukee attack with 20 points, the Bucks got seven guys into double figures for the Total Team Effort, and Detroit shot just 38.5 percent from the field and 30.6 percent from long range to sink any chance they had of even making the game competitive.
There are only four good teams in the East. The first round of the playoffs is a waste of time.
Brook Lopez and his 19-point, 7-rebound, 5-block performance get man of the match:
The big man did it ALL last night!!
19 PTS | 7 REB | 5 BLK | 2 AST pic.twitter.com/FzxtdYtVG6
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 21, 2019
We’ve got episode 2 of Project Goliath later, as we examine advanced stats in isolation in our continued quest to find one stat to rule them all in the debate over who is the NBA’s Greatest of All Time.
Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!