It was an absolutely wild week in the NBA. Golden State took a 2–0 lead on the Spurs, the Cavs-Celtics series tips off tonight, and last night’s draft lottery was one for the ages. Here’s a recap of all of that and more.
In game one of the Western Conference Finals, the Spurs got off to a quick start by taking a 30–16 lead at the end of the first quarter. At one point San Antonio led by 25 points, but another Kawhi ankle injury completely changed the game.
Leonard’s injury was quite controversial, with many people thinking Zaza Pachulia injured Leonard on purpose — similar to what Jalen Rose did to Kobe in the 2000 Finals.
Once Leonard left the game, the Warriors immediately went on a 16–0 run.
Curry and Durant were just too much for San Antonio in the second half of game one. They combined for 74 points on just 47 shots in the game — their largest combined point total as teammates.
With a healthy Leonard, the Spurs likely take game one and this series would look much different. Unfortunately for San Antonio, that injury may have cost them a chance in this series.
Leonard sat out game two as well, resulting in an easy victory for the Warriors. Curry finished the game with 29 points on just 13 shots as Golden State destroyed San Antonio 136–100.
After all the controversy surrounding Pachulia’s contest of Leonard’s shot in game one, LaMarcus Aldridge appeared to do the same thing to Durant in game two. Fortunately, Durant was fine after the play.
Kawhi’s status for game three is still up in the air. If the Spurs are going to have any chance to get back in this series, they’ll need him on the floor on Saturday night.
I never thought I would see Kelly Olynyk be the deciding factor of a game 7, but that’s exactly what happened in the final game of the Wizards-Celtics series. Olynyk had the game of his life, finished with 26 points, and helped lead the Celtics to a 4–3 series win.
Now, Boston will face Cleveland in game one tonight. They have homecourt advantage in the series, but it’s going to take some major heroics from Isaiah Thomas for Boston to have a chance against the Cavs.
Draft Lottery Impact
The look on Magic Johnson’s face says it all. On a night where the Lakers had the most at stake, they kept their top-3 protected pick once again. The Lakers will have the #2 pick in the draft this year and will likely take whoever is left between Fultz and Ball.
What a week for the Celtics too. They won the #1 pick in the draft and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. Best of all? They have the Nets first round pick again next year.
The Sixers didn’t quite get the result they were hoping for. They landed the #3 pick in this year’s draft thanks to a pick-swap with the Kings. So they’ll have a chance to take Josh Jackson, Jason Tatum, De’Aaron Fox or another young stud. But they didn’t get the Lakers first rounder this year. Instead, they’ll have LA’s 2018 first rounder.
It was a rough night for Orlando who didn’t land in the top 3 and dropped one spot to #6. Worst of all, because the Lakers kept their pick this year, the Lakers will send them two 2nd-rounders in 2019 instead of what could have been a 2019 1st-rounder had the Lakers lost their pick this year.
The Knicks didn’t have much luck either, dropping down to the #8 spot. Phil Jackson doesn’t sound too worried about that though.
Here are the final lottery results:
All-NBA Teams Announced Thursday
On Thursday, the league will announce the three All-NBA teams.
This has massive implications for many teams — most notably the Pacers and Jazz. If George makes an All-NBA team, the likelihood he stays in Indiana is much higher. The same goes for Hayward since their respective teams will be able to offer them the Designated Player Exception and significantly more money.
Of the two, Hayward seems to have a much better chance of making an All-NBA team. The early returns on George suggest his chances are slimmer.
Either way, we’ll find out tomorrow whether or not those players make an All-NBA team. That will be the first major domino to fall.