Playing The Point – April 24, 2017

LeBron James; Credit – Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

By Jay Colby,

1. Grizzlies tie the series at 2-2 with 110-108 victory in OT – In one of the better playoff games thus far the Memphis Grizzlies tie the series 2-2. Thanks to Marc Gasol 12-foot floater with 0.7 seconds left in overtime.

The Grizzlies won in spite of blowing a 10-point lead with 7:38 left in regulation having 23 turnovers that lead to 31 San Antonio points which was a franchise postseason-high. Gasol finished with 16 points after shooting 5 of 12 for the game. He also had 12 rebounds. The Grizzlies overcame another postseason personal best from Kawhi Leonard, who had 43 points. Leonard had another stellar performance, but it wasn’t enough Saturday night.

2. James helps Cavs hold off Pacers, earn sweep into 2nd round – As per usually Lebron James came to play in game 4 finishing with 33 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Sending the Indiana Pacers home for vacation. James made a huge 3-pointer with 1:08 to play and helping the defending champs hold on for a series-clinching 106-102 victory at Indiana. After the game the 4-time MVP said “You have to mentally challenge yourself every year and go out and try to do what’s right — putting your body on the line, putting your team on the line and trying to be successful.” Lebron and the Cavs awaits the winner of the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks series.

3. Rockets take back control back of the series – With 41.8 seconds left and the Oklahoma City Thunder so close to evening this first-round face off against Houston, James Harden buried a step-back jumper from the free-throw line over Victor Oladipo that was the antithesis of Rockets basketball. Houston held on from there, taking Game 4 on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena, 113-109, and thereby seizing a 3-1 series lead.

4. Celtics tie up the series 2-2 – In Game 4 of their series on Sunday, the Boston Celtics tripped up the Chicago Bulls, winning 104-95 at the United Center. Isaiah Thomas scored 33 points in a dominate offensive performance to lead the Celtics to victory. Boston blew a 20-point lead, but Thomas keyed a third-quarter run that put the Celtics back on top after Chicago briefly went ahead. Gerald Green made four 3-pointers on his way to 18 points, helping the top-seeded Celtics return the favor in Chicago after dropping the first two games at home. Game 5 is Wednesday in Boston. Jimmy Butler carried the Bulls with 33 points and nine assists. Nikola Mirotic and seldom-used Isaiah Canaan each scored 13 points, but Dwyane Wade finished with just 11.

5. Raptors beat Bucks 87-76, tie series at 2-2 – DeMar DeRozan and the Toronto Raptors reverted back to the playing like the team many predicated to have the best chance in the East to dethrone the Cavs. The Raptors defense was sensational the entire game holding Giannis Antetokounmpo to 14 points on 6-of-19 shooting. The Raptors turned up their intensity before a hostile road crowd after getting embarrassed in a 27-point loss to Milwaukee in Game 3. DeRozan scored 33 points, and Kyle Lowry had 14 of his 18 points in the second half of Toronto’s 87-76 victory to tie the Eastern Conference series at two games apiece. Toronto regained home-court advantage in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 is Monday at the Air Canada Centre.

6. LeBron James overtakes Kobe Bryant for third in playoff scoring – Lebron James lead his team to a 26-point comeback victory last week in Game 3 against the Indiana Pacers. James lead the team with a dominant performance scoring 41 points and passing future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant for 3rd in all-time playoff scoring. James hit an and-one shot in the lane and the ensuing free throw with 7:26 left in the second quarter to eclipsed Bryant on the NBA’s all-time postseason scoring list. James now trails only Michael Jordan (5,987 points) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (5,762) in playoff scoring.

7. Will Boston make a run for Carmelo Anthony? – After Phil Jackson’s comments about the Knicks looking to trade Carmelo Anthony. Ultimately it is Anthony decision, since he cannot be traded unless he approves the trade due to his no-trade clause in his contract. Before the trade deadline, the Celtics were rumored to be a team that Melo might potential want to play for. Added pressure for Boston’s front office with the team struggles in their 1st round matchup against the Chicago Bulls. Moving Anthony may be difficult, because the 14-year NBA veteran has $54.17 million remaining on his contract for the next two years.

8. Danilo Gallinari to decline option, hopes to re-sign with Nuggets – According to reports circulating throughout the season. There was an overwhelming belief that Gallinari would decline his 2017-18 player option worth $16.1 million so he can join the free-agent market on July 1. This belief seems to be coming to fruition, according to Gallinari, who prefers to re-sign with the team once he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

9. Devin Harris unsure if he’ll return to Mavericks next season – With an offseason where the Mavs are looking to make some changes to their roster. The future of Devin Harris is a bit uncertain to say the least. The point-guard is under contract for next season, but the team can waive him and owe the 13-year NBA veteran only $1,339,662 of his $4,402,546 salary. In 65 appearances this season, Harris averaged 6.7 points, 2.1 assists and 2.0 rebounds.

10. Leandro Barbosa, Ronnie Price hope Suns bring them back – The Phoenix Suns finished the regular season with many questions about their off-season’s plans. With the NBA draft in a few months many analysts are predicting the Suns to make some major changes to their roster. The Suns had seven guards on the roster to end the 2016-17 regular season, and they could add another via the draft in June if they land one of the top three picks. Out of that group, veterans Leandro Barbosa and Ronnie Price have expressed their desire to be with the Suns next season.

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