Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics 99-91
(Cavs leads 2-0)
This series is like a game of cat and mouse. In every game, Cleveland needs a few minutes of good basketball to create a win.
Boston has again started well; Zeller dominate the paint in the start and Kevin Love early foul trouble was the problem for the Cavs.
After the first quarter, the score was equal, and Cleveland struggled to find the right rhythm from the start. Isaiah Thomas and the rest of Boston bench came out big again. In the second quarter, they made biggest lead 45-36, and it was a wake-up call for Cleveland stars.
Lebron and Irving make them going, and Boston really have a problem to match Mozgov size. At the start of 3/4 Cleveland made the first big run, they attack the rim very well and finally found some easy, fast break points.
Cleveland had double-digit lead, and it looked like the end is near, but Boston bench respond one more time against Cavs bench. This time, bench score was 53-7 in favor of Boston, and they have to continue using this advantage.
But in the end it was still too much Lebron and Irving. They scored all 24 points for Cleveland in 4/4 and pulled out a win.
Boston doesn't have "go-to-guy" for this kind of games, and this is a big difference in this series.
But, give Brad Stevens credit, he was outstanding through the whole year. He is taking a maximum from this limited roster and still find a way to compete with much stronger Cleveland.
Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards 106-117
(Wizards leads 2-0)
Everything looks great for Toronto at the beginning, they opened game on 12-2 run. DeRozan was unstoppable, scoring from every spot on the floor.
Washington response immediate: John Wall - Marcin Gortat pick and roll was an unsolvable enigma for Toronto.
After Kyle Lowry had picked up 2nd foul, Casey gambled and did not take him out of the game. Next attack, he commits one more, and that was a breaking point of the game.
From that point, Washington finishes the half on 31-14 run, led by magnificent Bradley Beal, who scored 15 points in that period.
One more time, Toronto manage to back in the game in the start of the third quarter, but that was only last lurch.
Toronto defense of pick and roll was too soft, every time Wall had an open mid-range jumper and a lot of other options (17 Ast). Washington dominates the paint and rebounds 45-28 and never looked back after they took a big lead at the end of third quarter.
Things got even worse for Toronto when Lowry left the game with a leg injury.
Without him in the form, they don't have chance to turn around this series.
Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks: 111-99
(Rockets leads 2-0)
Harden opened the game in the MVP fashion with 10 straight points, but Dallas responds and they won the first-quarter 24-23.
Interesting moment: 8-second backcourt violation by Rondo, he just walk down the court for 8 second.
Without Parsons, they struggle to create anything on offense. Carlisle clearly doesn't like Rondo, so we have Barea (Devin Harris injured) as the primary point guard, and that create a lot of other problems on the defensive end of the floor.
Houston recognizes that, penetrates and find Howard for easy dunks and layups.
Dirk couldn't defend anybody, so that leaves Chandler to pick his poison, to choose between giving up easy layup or dunk behind his back.
It was the main story in the second half; they didn't even need James Harden big game.
Josh Smith exposed Dallas badly, he almost had triple-double in just 26 minutes. He found great communication with Howard and Dallas couldn't do anything to stop it, alongside great energy from Corey Brewer.
Monta Ellis was better than in the first game, scoring 24 points, but he needed 23 shots. If they want to compete with Houston, 30+ points must be average for him.
Carlisle will have to find the way to score more points, they clearly couldn't stop Houston in the defense.
The health of Parsons and Harris will be key for the rest of the series. Without them, Houston will be very near break and finishing this in 5.