Thursday saw round one of the NBA playoffs continue. Another four-game slate featured game two in the following match-ups, listed with the results.
Heat 109 Pacers 100 (Heat lead 2-0)
Thunder 98 Rockets 111 (Rockets Lead 2-0)
Magic 96 Bucks 111 (Series tied 1-1)
Trail Blazers 88 Lakers 111 (Series tied 1-1)
Defense was the theme of the day, as three losing teams failed to crack 100 points. The Pacers, the only losing team who did reach 100, scored exactly 100.
These players were the best individual performers from around the Association.
5. Nikola Vucevic
32 points (13-23) 10 rebounds
Orlando’s big man Nikola Vucevic had another stellar offensive game for the Magic. He is the only player on a losing team that makes the list. He shot 56.5% from the field in game two, doing his best to keep his team within striking distance. At the half, the Bucks held a 21 point lead, partially due to holding the Magic to just 13 first-quarter points.
Vucevic came out in the 2nd half on a mission, resulting in 20 points in the half. Behind his spark, the Magic were able to get within striking distance and appear as if they might make one last run. That wound up proving to be ambitious, as the Bucks reasserted themselves and held on for the big victory.
That being said, the Magic got a huge game from their center, and it would have been gotten real ugly if not for his offensive dominance.
4. James Harden
21 points 9 assists 0 turnovers 3 steals
James Harden did not shoot the ball well in the Rockets win over the Thunder. He went 5-16 from the field, including a brutal 2-11 from deep (He did go 9-9 from the FT line).
While his shooting struggles were obvious, so was his control of the team. Harden played 38 minutes, dishing out 9 dimes while committing zero turnovers. Making this feat more impressive is the fact that Russell Westbrook remains sidelined for Houston.
His commitment to take care of the ball set the tone for his team, as they combined for just 7 turnovers total as a group.
3. Duncan Robinson
24 points (7-8 3PT FG)
Duncan Robinson led the Heat in scoring with 24 points on Thursday. His 7-8 shooting from deep made up all of his field-goal attempts, and he added a 3-3 mark from the free-throw line. While he contributed little in other categories, that doesn’t take away from his offensive impact for his team.
Robinson scored 24 points in 25 minutes, on 87.5% shooting from the field. Although he took the 4th most shots and played the 6th most minutes, he finished the game as the Heat’s top scorer. His ability to stress the defense out with his quick release and marksmen accuracy opens up the court for his Miami teammates.
🚨 Duncan Robinson 6-6 from deep! 🚨#NBAPlayoffs on ESPN pic.twitter.com/ixsjgvZGt7
— NBA (@NBA) August 20, 2020
2. Anthony Davis
31 points 11 rebounds
The Lakers bounced back in a big way after dropping the series opener. They entered the 3rd quarter of this one up 30 points, allowing their top guys to rest the majority of the final quarter.
Their defense was the big story, but after that, it was all about Davis’s dominance on the offensive end. Portland had no answer for him, as he racked up 31 points in 29 minutes. He shot 13-21 (61.9%) from the field, including 3-4 from behind the 3PT line.
ANTHONY DAVIS 🔥
31 PTS & 11 REB in 29 MIN
13/21 FG, 3/4 3PTpic.twitter.com/D4yWZdiOfk
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) August 21, 2020
Davis finished a team-high +32 in the Lakers victory.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
28 points 20 rebounds
The Bucks, much like the Lakers, bounced back with a statement performance on Thursday. Giannis led his team to the victory over the Magic with a dominant performance that included 28 points, 20 rebounds, and five assists. He compiled those numbers in 31 minutes of court time.
Antetokounmpo made an early statement to the opposing Magic with 7 points and 8 rebounds in the opening quarter. He didn’t slow down after that, continuing to assert himself on the glass. His decision to be the best player on the glass in this game led to the Bucks winning the rebound battle 57-42.
Ballin’ in the Bubble Honorable Mentions:
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (31 points 6 rebounds)
Pat Connaughton (15 points 11 rebounds)
Danuel House (19 points 9 rebounds)
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