Cleaning up yesterday’s playoff action in the Association…
Top DOG of the Night: Goran Dragic (25 points, 6 rebounds)
Quick Recap: Miami’s D was suffocating from the jump, suffocating Charlotte into a rough scoring night (73 points) and limiting Kemba Walker to just 3-16 shooting. Goran Dragic coming alive, at the right time, is the main reason why the HEAT are moving on – “Dragon” played aggressively all game while regaining his mojo with dazzling finishes.
Takeaway: Charlotte is trending upwards, as they now look like a viable destination for free agents this summer. Retaining Nic Batum, amongst others, is important but MJ’s group could be a true Eastern Conference contender by next year.
There were a lot of encouraging signs for the HEAT this series. D. Wade showed he’s still more than capable to takeover games in the clutch, Luol Deng is playing his best ball in a HEAT uniform, Whiteside is dominating the glass & Dragic is becoming more and more confident by the day.
HEAT win series, 4-3.
Top DOG of the Night: Klay Thompson (37 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists)
Quick Recap: KlayDray got it done in Game 1, combining for 60 points, 18 boards and 16 assists (Dray picked up his second career postseason trip-dub). So, you’re telling me the Warriors have TWO of the league’s 10 best players ready to go, with the reigning MVP still on the sideline??
Yep, that’s right. Portland’s new to the spotlight but getting out-rebounded 55-40 & another poor shooting performance from Damian Lillard (8-26) = a blowout.
Takeaway: Steve Kerr’s Dubs are prepared for any situation. Instead of playing lax v. a young Portland squad, GS blitzed the Blazers and exposed their lack of experience the entire night. With Steph Curry rumored to return in Game 3, this will be a quick series if Damian Lillard & CJ McCollum continue to struggle.
GS leads series, 1-0.
Top DOG of the Night: DeMar DeRozan (30 points)
The weight has been lifted! Toronto is headed to the second round! Despite a 10-32 shooting effort from DeMar DeRozan, the Raps grinded out a low-scoring affair to dispatch Indiana in Game 7.
Norman Powell was the undisputed Star UnderDOG of the Night, scoring 13 points and playing gritty defense on superstar Paul George (26 points).
Frank Vogel’s contract is up but Indy would be wise to lock him up for the foreseeable future. Vogel’s Pacers overachieved while unleashing superstar PG-13 and emerging franchise player Myles Turner on the world. Not a bad season overall.
Toronto faces Miami in Round 2. DeRozan and Lowry are still struggling mightily but the mental hurdle of winning a playoff series could “free” their minds.
TOR wins series, 4-3.