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Numbers preview: Toronto Raptors (2) vs. Orlando Magic (7)

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The Toronto Raptors are all-in. Last summer, they traded the franchise’s all-time leading scorer (DeMar DeRozan) for Kawhi Leonard, knowing that Leonard could leave after a year. And at the trade deadline, they traded another franchise cornerstone (Jonas Valanciunas) for Marc Gasol.

With their “load management” program, the Raptors did their best to keep Leonard fresh all season. And they managed to finish with the league’s second best record despite 22 missed games from Leonard and 17 missed games from Kyle Lowry. But because they never got an extended run with their two All-Stars and Gasol playing together, it’s not clear just how good this team can be.

We’ll find out soon enough. The Raptors won 16 more games than their first-round opponent, but that opponent – the Orlando Magic – enters the postseason having won 11 of their last 13. Orlando also had some regular-season success against Toronto. In fact, in splitting the season series, no Eastern Conference opponent held the Raptors to fewer points per 100 possessions (101.3) than the Magic, who have the length at the forward positions to deal with Leonard and Pascal Siakam.

Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for the 2-7 series in the East, with links to let you dive in and explore more. Game 1 is Saturday at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

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Every Gone Fishin’ of 2019 NBA playoffs

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The 2019 playoffs are well underway and the “Inside The NBA” crew has a watchful eye on every playoff series. But as teams see their playoff runs come to an end, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith give the traditional “Gone Fishin’ ” send-off that has been a staple of “Inside The NBA” for years.

As such, here is a look at every “Gone Fishin’ ” segment from the 2019 playoffs.

* * *

Utah Jazz

 

The Jazz lost to the Rockets in five games in the first round.

 

Nets, Thunder & Magic

 

A trio of teams get the Gone Fishin’ treatment from “Inside The NBA.”

 

Detroit Pistons

 

The Bucks sent the Pistons home in the first round.

 

Indiana Pacers

 

The Pacers got swept in the first round of the 2019 playoffs.

* * *

(If you missed it, Shaq, Charles and Kenny paid homage to the Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade and the Los Angeles Lakers before the playoffs got started.)

 

A pair of NBA legends got the Gone Fishin’ treatment at season’s end.

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About Last Night: Williams takes control

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The Clippers have scratched and clawed all season, and they weren’t about to let up because they were down 3-1 to the reigning champion Warriors.

Lou Williams came off the bench for 33 points and led the Clippers past Golden State with a flurry of points in the final four minutes. The 129-121 victory on the Warriors’ home court overshadowed a stellar game by Kevin Durant, who finished with a playoff career-high 45 points.

But Wednesday night belonged to Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Danilo Gallinari and Patrick Beverley, who extended the first-round series to Game 6 on Friday.

The Clippers led most of the game, but the Warriors made a run late in the fourth and took a 118-117 lead with 2:40 left on a drive and dunk by Durant, his final score. Williams then proceeded to reel off nine points, including this fadeaway jumper at 1:29 that put the Clippers up by seven, 125-118.

They cruised the rest of the way as the Warriors capitulated in the final 30 seconds.  

Harrell also contributed big time off the Clippers bench, dominating in the paint with dunk-after-dunk and finishing with 24 points.

Here are a couple of examples:

 

 

Beverley grabbed 14 rebounds, took a key charge late and finished with 17 points.

“He came out with more energy and that set a tone,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, noting that Beverley fought for three early offensive rebounds.

Gallinari added 26 points and seven rebounds.

Durant’s shooting — he was 14-for-26 with five 3-pointers and 12-for-12 at the line — kept the Warriors within striking distance. 

This heavily contested 3-pointer, which resulted in a four-point play, shows his shooting prowess. 

 

 

Climbing the playoffs list

Durant passed John Havlicek for No. 12 on the all-time playoffs scoring list, moving past Havlicek’s 3,776 points late in the first quarter. 

Durant, who poured in 21 in the first half, passed Havlicek with his second 3-pointer with 2:37 left in the first quarter. His 45 for the game gives him 3,815, and Larry Bird is next on the list with 3,897.

 

Durant made three 3-pointers in the first quarter and moved past John Havlicek on the all-time scoring list.

 

Taking away the step-back 3 — and losing

The Jazz didn’t have the firepower to overcome the Rockets, falling 100-93 in Game 5 and losing the first-round series 4-1.

But they’ve showcased a way to keep reigning Kia MVP James Harden somewhat in check — guard him from behind, taking away the step-back 3 and forcing him to drive and shoot floaters. Despite an 0-for-7 start from the field, Harden still finished with 26 points. But that’s well off his league-leading regular-season average of 36.1 points.

Harden made this floater in the fourth quarter, but this is how Ricky Rubio guarded him, sliding behind and allowing a lane to open.

The Jazz forced him inside and tried to protect the rim without fouling, forcing the two-point shot instead of the 3-pointer from distance with the possibility of a foul and a four-point play.

Harden also misfired a bit more than usual in his 10-for-26 shooting night as this failed dunk attempt shows:

The strategy employed by the Jazz showed up in the limited number of times Harden went to the foul line: only five and hitting three. He averaged getting to the line 11 times per game in the regular season and scored 9.7 points from the line. And Harden wasn’t a big factor from behind-the-arc, going 3-for-12.

But the Jazz couldn’t capitalize on the offensive end, missing many open 3-point looks. They were a woeful 9-of-38 from behind the arc, or 23.7 percent.

Joe Ingles (11 points, nine assists) and Rubio (17 points, 11 assists) played well, keeping Utah in the game, but the Jazz couldn’t break through down the stretch. 

Donovan Mitchell, who was only 4-for-22 and finished with 12 points, missed a 3-pointer in the final minute and Chris Paul sealed the win with two free throws. Mitchell misfired on all of his nine 3-point attempts.

 

Despite defensive efforts to take away the step-back 3, Harden finished with a game high 26.

 

Bogut again?

Andrew Bogut joined the Warriors near the end of the regular season after playing Down Under with the Sydney Kings. The big man has filled a valuable role with the leg injury to DeMarcus Cousins. In Australia, they’re under the impression he would like to do it again next year.

 

Stat of the night

The Rockets had 12 steals and 12 blocks. The last time they had double-digits in both categories was 1995 in Game 5 of the conference finals. They went on to win their first title.



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2019 NBA Playoffs: Conference Semifinals Schedule and Matchups

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Eastern Conference — Semifinals

(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (4) Boston Celtics

Game 1: Sun, April 28, Boston at Milwaukee, 1 ET, ABC
Game 2: Tue, April 30, Boston at Milwaukee, TBD, TNT
Game 3: Fri, May 3, Milwaukee at Boston, TBD, ESPN
Game 4: Mon, May 6, Milwaukee at Boston, TBD, TNT
*Game 5: Wed, May 8, Boston at Milwaukee, TBD, TNT
*Game 6: Fri, May 10, Milwaukee at Boston, TBD, ESPN
*Game 7: Mon, May 13, Boston at Milwaukee, TBD, TNT

(2) Toronto Raptors vs. (3) Philadelphia 76ers

Game 1: Sat, April 27, Philadelphia at Toronto, TBD, TNT
Game 2: Mon, April 29, Philadelphia at Toronto, TBD, TNT
Game 3: Thu, May 2, Toronto at Philadelphia, 8 ET, ESPN
Game 4: Sun, May 5, Toronto at Philadelphia, 3:30 ET, ABC
*Game 5: Tue, May 7, Philadelphia at Toronto, TBD, TNT
*Game 6: Thu, May 9, Toronto at Philadelphia, TBD, ESPN
*Game 7: Sun, May 12, Philadelphia at Toronto, TBD, TNT

 * * *

Additional scheduling information, including tip times for each game, will be furnished as soon as possible consistent with the need to fulfill league obligations.

If both Eastern Conference Semifinals series are completed in six (6) games or fewer, the Eastern Conference Finals may move up to begin on Monday, May 13.

All games in the Conference Semifinals are exclusive network telecasts on ABC, ESPN, or TNT, and not available to be televised locally.

* – If Necessary

 

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