Over in Arizona, the Suns indeed took down the Lakers, leaving the arena with a strong 99-90 victory. Unfortunately for Davis, he had a game to remember. After the tough loss, the superstar came out and blamed himself for the team’s defeat in selfless fashion.
Lillard finished with 42 points on the night, but he was met step for step along the way by Nikola Jokic, who bounced back after the Blazers' schemed him into a playoff career-low one assist in Game 1. Jokic cruised to 38 points on 15-of-20 shooting in 31 minutes, while adding 8 rebounds and 5 assists, as the Nuggets rediscovered their lethal balance.
The first is Jrue Holiday, a heralded arrival that signaled the Bucks knew they needed to keep Giannis happy and stop falling short in the postseason. Not only could he create for himself and others in a playoff offense that often sputtered when opponents built a wall in front of Giannis and dared him to shoot, but he was somehow a defensive upgrade over Eric Bledsoe as well.
“Bron? Psssh. That's who he is,” said Wesley Matthews, who was a plus-17 in 14 giant minutes off the bench. “He steps up at big moments, big games. And to hit that shot was huge. But all the plays he made prior to that, putting the team on his back and coming downhill, making the right passes. Talking on defense. That's who he is and that's why he's one of the best to ever play this game.”
It's not an on-court performance, but we had to include this. A video surfaced of Irving (then with the Celtics) and Durant (then with the Warriors) talking prior to the 2019 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte, sparking speculation that the two were plotting to team up.
Los Angeles Lakers
One stat to watch No doubt the Nets want to have Harden available with the game on the line. In games he has played clutch-time minutes with the Nets, the team is 18-2 with an effective field goal percentage of 59% and an offensive efficiency of 128.9. Those numbers are down significantly without him: Brooklyn is 9-11 with an effective field goal percentage of 48% and an offensive efficiency of 112.9 when The Beard sits. -- Jose De Leon
It feels like the easy choice would have been to place Trevor Ariza or Duncan Robinson on this list. While their respective plus/minuses were well in the negative territory, they barely had any shot attempts. That is why Kendrick Nunn makes the list.
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