Stephen Curry is an impact player. We all knew that.
But to see him post a plus-26 off the bench in a game his team won by just five points, 121-116 to put Golden State 2-0 up on the New Orleans Pelicans as the series heads out on the road to the Big Easy?
Steph played 27 minutes. When he was off the floor, Golden State lost by 21 points. That’s a point a minute sliding away from them without their superstar.
OK, so that’s an oversimplification. But the rest of the Dubs except for Draymond Green played like steaming hot garbage.
Nick Young started the game, and Swaggy P posted a team-worst minus-11 in just 11 minutes of play. Klay Thompson was 4-of-20. Kevin Durant missed a ton of shots early before recovering to post an ultimately respectable 11-of-23 from the field on the way to a team-high 29 points.
But it was Draymond’s near triple-double (20 points, nine rebounds, 12 assists) and Steph’s 28-point bonanza in those 27 minutes on just 8-of-15 shooting (and 5-of-10 from three) that carried this one.
Anthony Davis was valiant in defeat, with 25 points and 15 rebounds. Rajon Rondo scored 22 on 8-of-15 while dishing 12 assists. And Jrue Holiday had 24 points, but he needed 24 shots (11-of-24) to do it.
All that just wasn’t enough to overcome a determined Warriors squad.
Oh, and ball movement? The Dubs had 36 assists on their 43 made baskets. That…is crazy go nuts. An 83.7 assist percentage? No defense can stop that for 48 minutes.
He’s back, ladies and gentlemen. Be afraid, Houston. Be very, very afraid.
— NBA (@NBA) May 2, 2018
LeBron James Will Have None of Your Raptor Talk
Did some of us (me among them) say that the Toronto Raptors were going to the NBA Finals this year?
Not if they don’t keep losing to LeBron James, they’re not.
Granted, Bron got a lot of help in this one, a lot more from his teammates (if not from the referees) than at any point in the Pacers series, but all that matters is scoreboard, and the Cavs beat the Raptors 113-112 in overtime, erasing a 14-point second quarter deficit, holding off a late series of offensive rebounds and missed putbacks to send it to five minutes of bonus basketball, then watching in amazement as Fred VanVleet, who had choked in the regular session by missing a late three that would’ve won it, choked again with 3.4 seconds left in overtime and the game on the line.
Fred VanVleet is not LeBron. Neither is anyone else on the Drakes.
It was a weird stat line for the GOAT…just 12-of-30 shooting (40 percent), a sub-one-point-per-shot 26 points, but pasted on top of a triple-double involving 11 rebounds and 13 assists. It wasn’t a great game…but it was a good one.
And with 19 points from Kyle Korver and 20 from J.R. Smith as the two supporting players combined to shoot 10-of-18 (55.6 percent) from three, a tremendous effort taking care of the ball (just five turnovers for the Cavs against 13 for the Raptors), and surviving a not-as-good-as-it-looked game from Jonas Valanciunas (21 points, 21 rebounds, but he needed 19 shot attempts to get those points)…
Long story short, the Cavs won this game with three-pointers (14 makes to 9) and the aforementioned ball control. And LeBron getting a triple-double and being well below his own standard but more than up to a winning basketball standard.
Cleveland has now won five playoff games by a total of 15 points. And one LeBron Raymone James has been the line between winning five games and losing a fourth one in the first round.
He had an off night. Toronto is in a world of trouble.
Highlights featuring the King:
— NBA (@NBA) May 2, 2018
Yeah, I’m fawning over stars in this one. Playoffs, baby! Houston and Utah have Wednesday to themselves on TNT, so there will be a deep dive recap in the Breakfast Special Thursday morning. Will the Rockets dominate once more? Will Utah adjust and draw the series level? Can Donovan Mitchell score more points than he has field goal attempts?
Who takes it? WHOSE CUISINE REIGNS SUPREME?
Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!