NBA playoff scores, results and highlights from Tuesday's action
Heat and Spurs roll
After a thrilling first two weeks of the playoffs, we got two blowouts on Tuesday, with the Heat easily taking care of the Nets in their first game after a long layoff and the Spurs shredding the Blazers in San Antonio.
While the rest of the NBA was gorging on a first-round cornucopia of close games, buzzer-beaters and high drama, the two-time defending champ Miami Heat were enjoying an eight-day break. How thoughtful of them, then, to offer a good reminder of what we’ve been missing on Tuesday.
The Heat sliced and diced Brooklyn in the opener, rendering those four regular season losses to the Nets null and void. Given the slow pace, it was even more of a blowout than it appeared. Per NBA.com’s John Schuhmann, the Heat scored 61 points on 41 second-half possessions and turned a 3-point game at the half into such a laugher that Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd rested his veterans for much of the fourth quarter.
Whether it was LeBron James muscling smaller defenders or Chris Bosh nailing jump shots, the Heat got anything they wanted. They dominated the paint on both ends, and for good measure Ray Allen outscored his old friends Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, 19-8. KG played only 14 minutes and was held scoreless for the first time ever in a playoff game.
So yeah, the Heat are back and looking like the class of the league. Again. -Paul Flannery
Hello, old friend
Shout-out to the Mavericks, I guess, for lulling everyone into believing the Spurs might be showing signs of slowing down. The Spurs did all they could to dispel that now annual feeling of creeping doubt during the regular season by claiming a league-best 62 wins, but seven tough games against Dallas left some thinking they might be vulnerable against the Trail Blazers. It took all of 12 minutes to ease those concerns on Tuesday.
San Antonio loudly pronounced itself as the basketball guillotine we've seen for years with a 116-92 beatdown of Portland to start the second round. It was a performance that could best be described as Spursian. Six players reached double-figures in scoring, San Antonio held a 21-9 advantage in assists and forced Portland into 20 turnovers. Leading the way was Tony Parker with 33 points and nine assists. This was a systematic thumping that left zero doubt the Spurs are very much still a team to be feared.
It's only one game. There is, of course, a lot of basketball left to be played. But if Tuesday night was any indication, we might as well fast forward another month to get to that Spurs-Heat Finals rematch as soon as possible. -Ricky O'Donnell
Treating vets with Kidd gloves
A buzzer-beating three-pointer from Deron Williams pulled the Nets to within 13 heading into the fourth quarter. That's a big deficit, but teams have rallied from bigger ones to win. And yet, Jason Kidd entered the fourth quarter with this lineup: Shaun Livingston, Marcus Thornton, Andrei Kirilenko, Mirza Teletovic and Mason Plumlee. This isn't a lineup that should ever be on the floor in a playoff game for any team, much less one with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Why'd Kidd roll it out? Perhaps he was looking for a spark from a unit that would at least hustle. Perhaps he really believes that unit could have succeeded; he did often use all-bench pairings in the regular season, after all. Perhaps he had a brain fart and didn't realize what he was doing.
Or, perhaps he saw the writing on the wall. Even though the game was technically still in reach, the Heat were dominating, getting easy shots and forcing Brooklyn into tough ones. The Nets were coming off a grueling seven-game series with the young Raptors that they barely won. Perhaps Kidd saw this game was lost and bought rest for his veterans so they could fight another day. -Mike Prada
Portland's living nightmare
It all fell apart for Portland on Tuesday night. Damian Lillard had no way of staying in front of Tony Parker, the Blazers couldn't get anything going down low and the Spurs absolutely locked down on them from the three-point line. Then, it got ugly.
Portland simply couldn't adapt to the Spurs' game plan. None of the Blazers starters registered a three-pointer, save for one make by Nicolas Batum. Aldridge was frustrated, as his patented scoop to the middle of the lane was soundly blocked by the likes of Tiago Splitter and Aron Baynes. None of the Blazer guards could get free, failing to apply backdoor pressure as the San Antonio wings overplayed simple passes around the arc. Without an offensive attack, the Blazers had to rely on their defense to uphold them against one of the most efficient teams in the NBA.
What happened was nothing short of a disaster. Riding high after beating the Rockets on a last-second shot by Lillard in the first round, things in the Pacific Northwest went decidedly dark on Tuesday. Portland is a mediocre defensive team at best, and their soft pick-and-roll coverage allowed San Antonio to take rhythm jumpers and collapse the Blazers help in order to swing to the arc for an easy three-pointer.
Having said that, Portland is a good offensive team. Their strategy on Tuesday night? Not so much. Terry Stotts looked unprepared for what Spurs coach Gregg Popovich threw at him in Game 1. Usually able to make adjustments at the half, it was only good for a two-point swing come the end of the game. San Antonio looks like a monster, and the Blazers look like they're shivering under the covers, having just wet the bed. -Dane Carbaugh
The end of insanity
The first round of the playoffs was so, so wonderful. So many awesome series, five of which required the full seven games. So many awesome games, eight of which required an overtime session.
As a hoops junkie, it was awesome. But it was EXHAUSTING. Friday night I decided to leave my house and be a social human, and woke up Saturday morning to feel stupid for missing Damian Lillard's game-winner and a Spurs-Mavs classic. The one night I pulled myself away from the NBA, and I felt like I had missed out.
Tuesday, the Heat pulled steadily away from the Nets in a game that never seemed in doubt, and the Spurs eviscerated the Blazers. Instead of watching the greats obliterate, I turned off the TV and curled up with my dog. And as a basketball junkie, it oddly felt great. -Rodger Sherman
Washington Wizards at Indiana PacersWashington leads 1-0 | 7 p.m. ET, TNTBankersLife Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Ind.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Oklahoma City ThunderClippers lead 1-0 | 9:30 p.m. ET, TNTChesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Okla.
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