2017 NBA Playoffs: Wizards, Rockets, Warriors improve to 2-0

Here’s what happened on day five of the 2017 NBA Playoffs:

WAS 109 – ATL 101, WAS leads series 2-0

Officials were so terrified that this game was going to, as hinted at, devolve into MMA, that they called a whopping 55 fouls between both teams.

The end result was still the same though.

Atlanta once again had no answer for John Wall and Bradley Beal, as the Wizards backcourt led the way to victory. Wall had 32 points and nine dimes, while Beal scattered 31 markers. The duo hit the game clinching baskets, with Wall slamming one down with 1:05 left in the game, and then off an Atlanta miss, finding Beal for the dagger triple, 106-98, 38.1 seconds to go.

Luckily for Washington, those two did not have to go it alone. A trio of former Orlando Magic players starred, as Marcin Gortat had 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Brandon Jennings combined for 18 points off the bench.

Atlanta’s Paul Millsap went off for 27 points and 10 boards, while Dennis Schroder and Tim Hardaway Jr. scattered 42.

HOU 115 – OKC 111, HOU leads series 2-0

This seemed like the Thunder’s game to steal. They led by as much as 15 points early, and had a 12-point buffer with 3:51 remaining in the third, off a Westbrook triple. But things went downhill quickly when Russ went to the bench to get some rest.

A 12-3 blast had the Rockets within three, 89-86, entering the fourth, forcing OKC to sub Westbrook back in quickly. An Eric Gordon three gave Houston their first lead of the game, 96-94, but Westbrook tied things back up. Lou Williams canned another triple in response, and just like that, the home team had wrestled back control of the game, en route to the win.

James Harden scored 35 points and dished out eight dimes, but Eric Gordon (22 points, 8/14 FG), and Lou Williams (21 points, 8/14 FG), were huge off the bench, as was Harden’s backcourt partner Patrick Beverley (15 points,six boards, four dimes).

In contrast, Westbrook put up a the most points in a postseason triple-double, amassing 51 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists. However, he shot a frigid 17-of-43 clip from the field to get it. Guys like Andre Roberson, Victor Oladipo, and Doug McDermott scored in double-figures, but this team lives by Westbrook, and dies by Westbrook, with the latter being the case in this one.

GSW 110 – POR 81, GSW leads series 2-0

Entering this game the Warriors looked vulnerable. They were sitting Kevin Durant anew due to a calf strain, and were also without Matt Barnes and Shaun Livingston (though Jusuf Nurkic was still sidelined for the Blazers).

Instead, Golden State flashed their depth, routing Portland even though Splash Brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson didn’t shoot it particularly well.

The Warriors ran out to a 33-17 first quarter advantage, but the crowd grew restless, as the Trail Blazers got all the way back to within a point, 43-42, off an Evan Turner triple. However, Golden State got momentum-killing baskets from a pair of unlikely sources: rookie Patrick McCaw buried a triple, and JaVale McGee completed an and-one play, to restore GSW’s cushion.

Up nine, 55-46, at the start of the third, the Warriors went back to their defense to clinch this game early. A 28-12 third period quickly dimmed Portland’s hopes of stealing one of the first two games. The Blazers then opened the fourth with CJ McCollum drawing a clear path foul, but after two free throws, they were unable to score on the bonus possession, while the Dubs rattled off six unanswered points. Garbage time quickly followed.

Stephen Curry led the way with 19 points, but needed 18 shots. Klay Thompson added 16 on 6-of-17 shooting. He and Curry combined though for 10 of their side’s turnovers. Luckily for them, others picked up the slack. Draymond Green was superb anew, amassing six points, 12 boards, 10 dimes, a swipe, and three rejections. JaVale McGee was a perfect 7-of-7 for 15 points and five rebounds, plus four rejections, while Ian Clark scattered 13 points.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were a combined 9-of-34 from the field, for 12 and 11 points, respectively. Maurice Harkless managed a team-best 15.

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