Here’s what happened on day eight of the 2017 NBA Playoffs:
TOR 87 – MIL 76, series tied at 2-2
The Toronto Raptors tied up their series against the Milwaukee Bucks, with a defensive showcase.
The Raptors went small from the get-go, swapping out Jonas Valanciunas for guard Norman Powell, and the switch worked wonders. The Bucks never scored more than 22 points in a quarter, and broke 20 markers just once, in the second period.
DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 33 points on 12-of-22 shooting. Kyle Lowry added 18 markers, four boards, and four dimes. Powell and Valanciunas each chipped in 12 points.
Tony Snell led Milwaukee with 19 points, thanks in large part to a 5-of-10 mark on three’s. Giannis Antetokounmpo managed just 14 markers on 19 tries, while Khris Middleton scored 10 on a 4-of-13 clip.
ATL 116 – WAS 98, WAS leads series 2-1
The Atlanta Hawks came out like a house on fire, and never looked back, as they won their first game against the Washington Wizards, at home.
Atlanta had a 13-2 start and never looked back. They were up by as much as 25 points, 38-13 in the first period, and their cushion never dipped below 10 from that point on.
Up by 23, 90-67, entering the fourth, the Wizards made a run to cut their deficit to 12, 93-81, with 7:56 left in the game. But Dennis Schroder scored four points, and then found Paul Millsap for an and-one play, followed by two Mike Muscala free throws, to go back up by 21, 102-81.
Millsap had a team-best 29 points and 14 rebounds, plus five assists, a steal, and two blocks. Dennis Schroder aded 27 markers and nine dimes, while rookie Taurean Prince was good for 16 points on a crisp 7-of-10 clip.
John Wall was good for 29 points on 10-of-12 shooting, with four boards and seven dimes. The team’s next high scorer was Brandon Jennings with 13 markers, while Bradley Beal was limited to 12 on 20 shots.
MEM 110 – SAS 108 (OT), series tied at 2-2
Mike Conley and Marc Gasol came up clutch, as the Grizzlies evened their round-one series against the Spurs.
Memphis was up by eight points, 88-80, 4:42 left in the fourth quarter, but then Kawhi Leonard took over. “The Klaw” scored San Antonio’s next 16 points, giving his side a 96-94 advantage, 12 seconds left on the clock. However, off a timeout, Conley nailed a 12-foot floater to force OT, after Leonard was unable to respond on the other end.
In the extra period, a Leonard fadeaway had San Antonio up by two anew, 102-100, but an and-one play by Gasol and three markers by Conley made it 106-102 in the Grizzlies’ favor. Two Leonard triples sandwiched charities by Andrew Harrison, knotting things at 108-all. Off a timeout, it was Gasol’s turn to emerge as the hero, knocking in the game-winner against the defense of LaMarcus Aldridge.
Mike Conley had a Grizzlies postseason high of 35 points, plus nine rebounds and eight assists. Marc Gasol shook off a quiet start to finish with 16 markers and 12 boards.
Kawhi Leonard increased his Playoffs career-high anew, this time to 43 points, behind 14-of-30 shooting, 7-of-10 from downtown.
GSW 119 – POR 113, GSW leads series 3-0
The odds were stacked against Golden State. No Coach Kerr, still no Kevin Durant, Matt Barnes, and Shaun Livingston. Then on the other side, the Blazers were getting back Jusuf Nurkic, and were playing at home.
It seemed like the Blazers were headed for their first win in the series. They built a 17-point lead, 65-48, off CJ McCollum charities late in the first half, and then McCollum canned a triple at the 8:30 mark of the third, to make it 75-59.
Then Golden State found their groove.
The Warriors exploded for a 26-8 run and took the lead, 87-86, courtesy of a JaVale McGee alley-oop, with just under a minute left in the third. The two sides then went back-and-forth, until Stephen Curry nailed a go-ahead triple with 7:01 on the clock in the fourth. It got to a high of eight, 108-100, courtesy of an Andre Iguodala slam, and then Curry delivered the dagger on a pull-up that had it at 115-109, 25.7 seconds left.
Curry had a game-best 34 points, splashing five triples, and missing just one free throw out of 10 attempts. He also handed out eight dimes. Klay Thompson contributed 24 markers, while Andre Iguodala and JaVale McGee added 16 and 14 points off the bench.
CJ McCollum led his side with 32 points, while Damian Lillard added 21, both shooting 10-of-23 from the field.
Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images