Today in Sports: 5/1/17 Review

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Toronto Raptors 116-105:  In a game that wasn’t as close as the score suggests, the Cavaliers defeated the Raptors at home to take a 1-0 series lead. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love combined to score 77 of Cleveland’s 116 points. Their starters dominated the Raptors’ starters, and the game wouldn’t have been this close if it wasn’t for the Raptors’ bench flourishing in garbage time. The “trash bros” backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined to score 49 points, but were dominated on the defensive end of the floor. Jonas Valanciunas continues to struggle in the playoffs. He’s had a size advantage in every playoff game (including their first round series with the Milwaukee Bucks), but hasn’t been able to dominate like a player of his size and caliber should. These two teams will play game two on Wednesday in Cleveland.

Houston Rockets defeat San Antonio Spurs 126-99: Wow! The Rockets dominated the Spurs to take a 1-0 series lead. Although the Spurs are the higher seeded team, many experts picked the Rockets to win this series. But nobody saw this beatdown coming. The Spurs were punched in the mouth early, and looked completely lethargic on the defensive end of the floor. They were shell-shocked, but that is no excuse for their putrid performance. The Rockets were 22-50 from three (44%), which wasn’t too surprising because of the open looks they were getting. James Harden is their superstar, but Trevor Ariza, Clint Capela, Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, and Lou Williams all had stellar performances. The Spurs didn’t have an answer for the Rockets’ offense. David Lee and Pau Gasol were getting eaten alive in the pick-and-roll, which may force coach Gregg Popovich to play them sparingly for the remainder of the series. LaMarcus Aldridge was brought to San Antonio to be Robin to Kawhi Leonard’s Batman. Aldridge hasn’t fit in with the Spurs as well as they hoped, but there’s no excuse for him being the worst player on the floor. His game worst plus-minus of minus 36 points showed how much of a liability he can be against this Rockets team if he isn’t making shots. He was defended by smaller players all game, but was hesitant to back them down and instead settled for fadeaway jump shots far too often. The Spurs will need to make some serious adjustments heading into game two. I expect Popovich to play Leonard at power forward and Aldridge at center in the next game. This would be a logical change, but it won’t be enough if they can’t stop Houston from constantly getting uncontested threes. These two teams will play game two on Wednesday in San Antonio.

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