Here’s what happened on day sixteen of the 2017 NBA Playoffs:
CLE 116 – TOR 105, CLE leads series 1-0
All you need to know about this one is that LeBron James had the time to contemplate taking a swig of beer in the middle of the game.
The Cavaliers submitted a dominant game one effort, while the Raptors suffered another game one implosion, as the defending champions led comfortably throughout this one.
Cleveland ran out to a 22-12 start, and an 8-2 burst had them up 38-20, early in the second period. A flurry of baskets, including triples by Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, managed to pull the Raptors within two points, but JR Smith and Kevin Love shot back and regrew their advantage to 10 anew.
Out of the halftime break, a 10-1 Toronto run got them within single digits anew, 65-58, but Cleveland was unfazed still. The Cavaliers grew their lead to a game-high 25 points, 96-71, before settling for a 96-74 score entering the fourth.
One final gasp had the Raptors within 16, 108-92, 4:34 to play. But Kyrie Irving and and Kevin Love put the finishing touches on this one, with both teams emptying their benches at the 3:18 mark, and the scoreboard reading 112-92.
LeBron James top-scored with 35 points, adding 10 rebounds, four assists, a steal, and a block in his 41 minute stint. Kyrie Irving added 24 markers and 10 dimes, while Kevin Love was good for 18 points and nine caroms. Tristan Thompson produced a double-double of 11 points and 14 boards.
Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 20 points and 11 assists. DeMar DeRozan scored 19 on 16 shots, while Serge Ibaka chipped in 15 points.
HOU 126 – SAS 99, HOU leads series 1-0
The Rockets made it rain three-pointers, and the Spurs had no answer for the deluge.
Houston connected on 22-of-50 triples, a franchise postseason record, while handing the Spurs their worst home postseason loss.
It was 28-13 at the 3:05 mark of the first, courtesy of a Trevor Ariza triple. Eight straight by the Spurs made it a seven-point affair, 28-21, but the Rockets hit back with six unanswered to restore their double-digit lead.
Houston pulled away in the second. Charities by Nene made it a 30-point game, 67-37, and that’s where it stood at the break, 69-39. The Spurs got it down to 25, late in the third, 92-67, but the Rockets refused to take their foot off the accelerator. A split at the line by Montrezl Harrell got it to as high as 39, 119-80, helping the Rockets end things squarely in their favor.
Trevor Ariza led Houston with 23 points on 50 percent shooting, including a 5-of-10 clip from downtown. James Harden and Clint Capela had 20 each, while Ryan Anderson scored 14, 12 off three-pointers.
Kawhi Leonard had 21 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists in the loss. Tony Parker and Jonathon Simmons added 11 markers each.
Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images