SB Nation

SB Nation NBA Staff | April 26, 2014

NBA playoff scores, results and highlights from Friday's action

Chicago Bulls RECAP
100 - 97 2-1 WAS
Washington Wizards RECAP
Toronto Raptors RECAP
98 - 102 2-1 BKN
Brooklyn Nets RECAP
Houston Rockets RECAP
121 - 116 2-1 POR
Portland Trail Blazers RECAP
5 things to know
  • Building new heroes
    Troy Daniels went undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft out of VCU, but landed in the Rockets' pipeline through the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League. The Rockets, of course, did something really interesting in RGV this season: they turned it into a basketball lab to see what would happen if a team took almost nothing but shots beyond the arc and at the rim. Daniels thrived in the system, hitting 40 percent from long-range and averaging 21 points per game.

    On March 3, Daryl Morey called him up to the big leagues, where he sat on the fringe of the roster, getting into only four games for limited minutes until the rest-heavy, meaningless season finale. But with foul trouble ruining Kevin McHale's rotation and Houston needing more shooting, Daniels got a huge chance on Friday and made the most of it. He played 20 minutes, taking six threes and making half of them, including the biggest shot of the game. James Harden dropped 37, but Daniels was the hero.

    This is why Houston spends so much time and money on Rio Grande Valley, and why any NBA franchise who doesn't invest in the D-League is shooting themself in the foot. -Tom Ziller
  • Out of magic
    It's amazing how things change in the NBA Playoffs. Twelve hours ago, the Bulls were a battered team entering a wild Verizon Center crowd hungry for the Wizards' second playoff series win since 1980. At different points, the Bulls looked like they were staggering. A 9-0 Wizards run to close the half morphed into a nine-point second-half lead, and the arena was in a frenzy.

    But this is the Bulls. Unlikely heroes emerged all season, and an unlikely hero emerged again. Mike Dunleavy was relegated to just 27 minutes in Game 2, a decision that may have cost the Bulls the game as the Wizards squashed Chicago's offense. Thus, Thibodeau went to him early, sending him off a dizzying number of off-ball screens to loosen Washington's pressure defense. The Wizards had an inkling that this would be Chicago's adjustment, but couldn't stop it. Dunleavy kept making open shots and the Bulls kept clawing back until finally winning a close game at the end.

    Suddenly, this is a new series. Not only did the Bulls inch closer to retaking home-court advantage, they also may benefit from a possible Nene suspension after the Wizards' center head-locked Jimmy Butler. How quickly things change. -Mike Prada
  • You should feel bad
    This is the one where Brooklyn’s experience really mattered. Wait, scratch that. Savvy teams don’t inexplicably blow double-digit leads at home in the final three minutes of playoff games. This is the one where Toronto’s youthful exuberance almost stole one on the road. Wait, no, that’s not right either. For most of the game, the Raptors flailed around and looked disorganized.

    Ok, got it. This is the one where the Nets played really well for 45 minutes or so with a patient offensive approach and a suffocating defense. To their credit, the Raptors shook off a poor performance and made it a contest with a frantic comeback. Either way, it’s hard to claim either team should feel good about things.

    At the risk of lapsing into one of the oldest of shopworn NBA cliches, Game 4 is shaping up to be the pivotal contest of the series. Neither side has demonstrated a clear advantage, either tactically or talent-wise. It’s still there for either of them, but after taking a 2-1 series lead, the Nets have put themselves in position to take control before the Raptors truly understand what they’re up against. -Paul Flannery
  • It only takes one
    The Bulls had another totally underwhelming offensive night ... well, the Bulls not named Mike Dunleavy. If you take Dunleavy's shooting performance -- 12-19 overall, 8-10 on threes -- out of the equation, the Bulls shot an effective field goal percentage of just .461 and only 4-14 from beyond the arc. That's as bad as ever for a Chicago team that struggles mightily to score, especially against good defensive clubs like Washington.

    This is the beauty of Chicago's defense-first, defense-second, defense-always system: it only takes one scorer to make the offense competitive. In prior years, this single scorer had been Derrick Rose, Luol Deng or Nate Robinson. Now it's D.J. Augustin, Taj Gibson or Mike Dunleavy. Rose is more reliable than the others; that's why the Bulls are so much better with Rose healthy. But when you have a consistently excellent defense, a hot night from an unlikely hero can make it all work, even if the team offense is its usual sloppy, unchallenging self. -Tom Ziller
  • Boxed out
    The story of Game 3 in Portland was that Houston's offense finally clicked on a level the Blazers couldn't match. James Harden still shot poorly despite the 37 points, but most the roster did well on offense. But what separated Houston from Portland in this one was its work on the offensive glass. Or more directly, Robin Lopez consistently getting beat on the defensive glass.

    Lopez, a notoriously mediocre defensive rebounder, had a Hibbertesque two defensive rebounds in 26 minutes. Joel Freeland only got a few minutes behind him as Terry Stotts turned to smallball, which made the problem even worse. By the end of the night, Portland had 22 offensive rebounds in 56 opportunities, a 39 percent rate that's just way too high for the Blazers to survive when Houston also happens to be scoring efficiently.

    Kevin McHale responded to LaMarcus Aldridge's scoring explosions by adding size. Can Stotts find some mettle in his rotation to counteract the presence of Dwight Howard and Omer Asik on the glass? Or will he concede and hope his guards and wings can make up the difference in the scoring ledger? -Tom Ziller
Tonight's Schedule
Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks ATL leads series 1-1 | 2 p.m., TNT Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks Series tied 1-1 | 4:30 p.m., ESPN American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Miami Heat at Charlotte Bobcats Miami leads 2-0 | 6 p.m., ESPN Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC
Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies Memphis leads 2-1 | 9:30 p.m., ESPN FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee

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