The Clippers were dealt a bad hand Wednesday as Patrick Beverley was ruled out for Game 2 with his recurring calf strain. The team ended up losing to Dallas, who led wire-to-wire in the 127-114 win. They were not the only two seed to be tested in the day’s games, and they were not the only Western Conference team to suffer a setback, so let’s take a look around the league to see what went down in Day 3 of the 2020 NBA Playoffs. As always, you can find more coverage of each series by clicking on the team name to head to that specific SB Nation site.
The defending champions were down by six heading into the fourth quarter against the Nets. Their center Marc Gasol had been rendered useless by Brooklyn’s pace, and Toronto’s historical Game 1 woes appeared to be rearing their ugly heads one game late. But this is a Raptors team that just knows how to win, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green be damned.
Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, and OG Anunoby each played the entire fourth quarter as Toronto upped the defensive pressure, bringing their trademark havoc on that end of the floor. The Nets shot just 7-of-20 in the final period and turned the ball over five times, including on their final possession with a chance to tie the game. Joe Harris was outstanding for Brooklyn, as was former Clipper Garrett Temple, but the Raptors showed they were the veteran team down the stretch. Of all the contenders, Toronto has looked closest to its pre-hiatus form in the bubble, which is why the Raptors hold a 2-0 lead.
The Jazz tied the series against the Nuggets behind a blistering offensive performance. They shot 20-of-44 from 3-point range and 51.7% from the field overall, and four players scored at least 18 points, led by Donovan Mitchell’s 30. Denver can take some solace in the fact that Mitchell only scored about half of his Game 1 total, but the Nuggets team defense was atrocious. They only forced eight turnovers, they were outscored by 20 points in the paint and 21 points from beyond the arc. Now, this series will go at least five games, giving Mike Conley a chance to come back after his paternity leave.
The Sixers were up 14 points in the first quarter and still managed to lose by 27. Joel Embiid scored 34 points but couldn’t make any impact defensively, and neither could his teammates. The absence of Ben Simmons was palpable on that end in particular. Jayson Tatum’s playoff star continues to shine; he scored 33 points on 20 shot attempts, and even led the team in assists with five. Kemba Walker added 22 points, and Jaylen Brown chipped in 20 as Boston shot 10% better from the field than Philadelphia and made 14 more threes. There is no homecourt on the Orlando campus, but the Sixers played these first two games as if they were on the road. It’s been a miserable season in Philadelphia, and it could be over soon with the Sixers down 0-2 and no home games to look forward to.
Today’s Playoff Games
|3:30 p.m.||Milwaukee||Miami||TNT||MIA 2-0|
|6:00 p.m.||Houston||Lakers||ESPN||Game 1|
More news for Thursday:
- Montrezl Harrell describes what his late grandmother meant to him.
- The Ringer on Luka vs. the Clippers.
- The L.A. Times on what the Clippers miss without Patrick Beverley.
- How The Process has failed in Philadelphia.
- Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri is countersuing the Alameda sheriffs deputy who shoved him after Game 6 of the NBA Finals but claims Ujiri attacked him.