SB Nation

SB Nation NBA Staff | April 24, 2014

NBA Playoff scores, results and highlights from Wednesday's action

LaMarcus Aldridge is on fire

Somebody cool off LaMarcus Aldridge. The Portland Trail Blazers star followed up his 46-point effort in Game 1 with a 43-point showing in Game 2, carrying the Blazers to a 2-0 series lead on the road against the Rockets.

Charlotte Bobcats Recap
97 - 101 2-0 MIA
Miami Heat RECAP
Dallas Mavericks RECAP
113 - 92 Series tied 1-1
San Antonio Spurs RECAP
Portland Trail Blazers Recap
112 - 105 2-0 POR
Houston Rockets Recap
5 things to know
  • LaMarcus Aldridge's God Mode
    All 43 of LaMarcus Aldridge's points in one video
    There were times early in the season when Portland Trail Blazers fans were trying to add LaMarcus Aldridge to the MVP conversation. It was a nice sentiment at the time, but it was also pretty clear that was a reach. After all, Kevin Durant and LeBron James still exist.

    But after Game 2 in Houston ... holy crap, LaMarcus Aldridge is playing like an MVP candidate. Aldridge dominated the Rockets to the tune of 43 points on 18 of 28 shooting with eight rebounds in Game 2, just a few nights after dropping 46 points to help the Blazers steal Game 1 in overtime. He did it on the road (again) and sent the Blazers back to Portland with a commanding 2-0 lead before they get to play two games on their home court in front of a frenzied crowd. He did it and bailed out Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum, both of whom had brutal shooting performances. He did it after Dwight Howard ran all over the Blazers’ defense in the first half.

    It looked liked the story would be about how Howard put the team on his back, helped them persevere through James Harden’s struggles and delivered his first postseason win as a Rocket. Howard had a great night, sure, finishing with 32 points and 14 rebounds, but Aldridge made that look like child’s play.

    When Aldridge goes to the free throw line for the first time in Game 3, Blazers fans will shower him with MVP chants. And who can blame them? He’s not the actual NBA MVP but ... holy crap, have you seen his last two games? -Conrad Kaczmarek
  • Harden than expected

    James Harden falling asleep on defense (Via @lashy)
    The thing about James Harden is that he usually stays efficient despite taking and missing a lot of shots. His commitment to the three-pointer and knack for drawing fouls erase all those misses.

    But that's not happening in this series. Harden is shooting 5-19 on threes and has just 14 free-throw attempts in two games after averaging nine per game in the regular season. Meanwhile, the overall numbers have never been uglier: 14-47 shooting, 45 total points on 54 shooting possessions, nine turnovers and a .423 True Shooting percentage. And all the lackadaisical defense you'd expect from James Harden, to boot.

    While the Blazers deserve all the credit for taking this series by force, Harden's inability to produce has been the second biggest factor in Portland's 2-0 lead. (LaMarcus Aldridge's unstoppable play is No. 1). Of all the issues Houston could have planned, watching Harden play like a rookie couldn't have been one of them. Dwight Howard has a brilliant offensive night go wasted on Wednesday simply because Harden didn't produce a fraction of as what was expected. Against a team as confident and efficient as the Blazers, that won't do. -Tom Ziller
  • Southwest stunner
    The most amazing thing about the Mavericks clobbering the Spurs in Game 2 was how matter of fact it all was, like it was San Antonio’s fifth game in seven days on the second night of a back-to-back in January. The Mavericks breezed to a playoff road win against a team they hadn’t beat in more than two years and in a building where they hadn’t won since before the lockout. They did that without a vintage Dirk Nowitzki performance and by forcing 24 turnovers. Suddenly that amazing San Antonio comeback in Game 1 looms even larger.

    Credit everyone in a Dallas a uniform, from Shawn Marion (20 points on just 10 shots) to Devin Harris, who has scored 37 points in the two games and is a major problem. Credit also goes to Rick Carlisle for turning this matchup of high-powered offenses into a defensive chess match. With the exception of Manu Ginobili, who went off for 27 points, the Spurs looked out of sync all night.

    With San Antonio’s loss, the only higher seed to hold serve at home was Miami, and the Heat had to hold off a gritty Bobcats squad to take a 2-0 series lead. The playoffs officially make no sense.-Paul Flannery
  • Making the league's best uncomfortable
    There are two ways to trouble the Spurs. One is to disrupt the timing of their free-flowing offense. San Antonio is on autopilot when executing it; mess up the conditions, and it forces the Spurs to think. This is how the Thunder beat them in 2012. The other is to attack their conservative pick and roll defensive schemes, which work well in almost every matchup, but can be exploited by aggressive small guards and unique shooting big men. This is how Golden State pushed San Antonio to the brink last year before Stephen Curry's troublesome ankle limited him too much to be himself.

    Dallas did both on Wednesday. One game after throwing a junk switching scheme at Tony Parker, the Mavericks dropped their big men way back on pick-and-rolls. During the season, Dallas was aggressive at jumping out in these situations; in Game 2, they did the exact opposite. The different looks confused San Antonio into a whopping 24 turnovers. On the other end, Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon and Devin Harris went straight at Tim Duncan on ball screens, using the space he yielded to drive, pull up or create for others. They were relentless, which is a necessity because Duncan will otherwise cramp that space quickly.

    These may be guerrilla tactics from Rick Carlisle, but that's how you beat the Spurs. They're too good for teams to beat them conventionally, so the best strategy is to change the conditions of the fight. -Mike Prada
  • Pray for Big Al
    Al Jefferson balled the hell out for Charlotte all year, averaging 21.8 and 10.8. In one stroke, he fulfilled the potential NBA fans have always seen in him and gave Charlotte a legit star in his first year in the Queen City.

    Which is why it's painful to watch him try and succeed against the Heat. His plantar fascia is clearly killing him; he limps as often as he runs. He had 18 points and 13 boards in the Bobcats' 101-97 loss to go down 2-0 in the series, but it took 23 shots. We wish Big Al could put his team on his back, but his feet can barely even carry his own weight.-Rodger Sherman
Tonight's Schedule
Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks Series tied 1-1 | 7 p.m., NBATV Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Ga.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies Series tied 1-1 | 8 p.m., TNT FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tenn.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors Series tied 1-1 | 10:30 p.m., TNT Oracle Arena, Oakland, Calif.

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