Early First Round Returns

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Early Returns

Takeaways From Some Wild Game 2s All Across the NBA Playoffs

Takeaways from the 2nd Game of Each Series

As the NBA Playoffs roll on, let’s take a look at the key stories emerging from the most recent spate of games:

Dwyane Wade Still has it:

The 36-year old guard, who has reportedly been considering retirement, turned back the clock against Philadelphia on Monday. In 26 minutes off the bench, Wade scored 28 points on 11-16 shooting, and was a game-high plus-16. It was great to see something resembling vintage D-Wade, at least for one night, as the Heat proved they won’t go down so easily after being thrashed in Game 1.

The Warriors have More than Enough to Win – At Least for now:

There has been concern over how far Golden State can go without Stephen Curry. While scoring 120 points/100 possessions with Curry on the court during the regular season, this has dropped to 106/100 when their superstar point guard sits. However, they shot 52% from the field, and 48% from 3 during Monday’s 116-101 win over San Antonio.

Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson ran roughshod over the Kawhi-less Spurs, finishing with 32 and 31 points, respectively. Meanwhile, they held San Antonio to 41% from the field, and 14% from 3. The question remains however, if the Warriors will eventually be able to stifle, and keep up with, the more formidable Houston offence. If Golden State is going to out-shoot the most prolific 3-point shooting team of all time, they will obviously need the greatest 3-point shooter ever back in their lineup.

Bradley Beal Needs to Step Up:

Beal, an all-star this season, had a dreadful game on Tuesday, scoring only 9 points on 3-11 shooting, and finishing a game-worst minus-34. Though John Wall has been excellent, he is going to need more help is the Wizards are going to overcome Toronto’s considerable depth. Otherwise, this series will be over quick.

Eric Bledsoe had Better Find Out who Terry Rozier is:

After the Celtics guard had dominated him for the 2nd straight game, to the tune of 23 points and 8 assists, Milwaukee’s point guard responded, saying: “I don’t even know who that is.” Back in November, Bledsoe came over from Phoenix in a much-hyped trade, with many anointing the young Bucks as a threat in the East. It’s time for Bledsoe to show everyone what all the fuss was about.

The Portland/New Orleans Series is Being Dominated by the Guards – but not who you’d Expect:

For the second consecutive game, Trail Blazers superstar and fringe MVP candidate Damian Lillard was thoroughly outplayed by New Orleans’ Jrue Holiday. Holiday finished with 33 points and 9 assists on 14-24 shooting, all while once again shutting down Lillard, who was held to 17 points on 7-18 shooting. After the game, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry sung Holiday’s praises:

“With Kawhi Leonard not playing, I’m not sure there’s a better two-way player in the game.” Really, all you need to know is that when Lillard’s primary defender is Holiday, the Blazers star is 0-8 in the series.

Lebron James Dragged the Cavs to a Win:

You were expecting J.R. Smith? Lebron was outstanding in Cleveland’s 100-97 win over Indiana, finishing with 46 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists. James ensured that the Cavaliers got off to a strong start, as he scored the game’s first 16 points, leading Cleveland to a 33-18 lead after 1. Still, Indiana cut it close, with Victor Oladipo missing a chance to tie the game with 27 seconds left. The Cavaliers are a clearly-flawed team, that will only go as far as Lebron can carry them.

Donovan Mitchell is for Real:

Utah’s rookie sensation scored 28 points, including 13 in the 4th, to lead the Jazz to a 102-95 comeback win over the Thunder. Mitchell has now scored 55 points in the first two playoff games of his career, the most ever by a guard. The previous record was held by some guy named Jordan.

Houston is Really Good:

The Rockets, amazingly, won by 20 on a night where the probable NBA MVP shot 2-18. Chris Paul scored 27, Gerald Green added 21, and the defence shut down Minnesota, holding them to 82 points. If Houston is this good on a night when James Harden can’t hit a shot, it is scary to think how unbeatable they would be on a night where he can.

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