Three Thoughts from Monday

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It was our last quadruple header of the NBA season – never thought I would type that but I’m definitely going to miss it.

The Indiana Pacers were swept out of the first round by the Miami Heat.  The Heat look really strong although a shoulder strain by Jimmy Butler could affect their chances in the next round.  The Pacers should be pleased with themselves.  They got swept but TJ Warren was a revelation in the bubble and they played without All-Star Domantas Sabonis.  The five-man unit of Warren, Sabonis, Myles Turner, Victor Oladipo and Malcolm Brogdon played only 86 minutes together this season in just six games with a net rating of over 10 points.  That should be their best five going forward.   And while that’s five very good players, they need Oladipo to step up and be their finisher.  With another off season between him and his quad injury, he looks like he can return to form and lead them. 

The Thunder beat the Rockets to tie up that series.  Although there’s no actual home court advantage, the teams have each won their designated home games.  The Thunder have leaned on Dennis Schroeder the last two games. He had 30 off the bench yesterday and the trio of Schroeder, Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander combined for 74 points.  That was after combining for 78 points (led by Schroeder’s 29) in game 3.  Schroeder scored 19 points TOTAL in the first two games.  With Westbrook out, the Thunder’s guard trio is much stronger than James Harden, Eric Gordon and whichever one of Danuel House Jr and Jeff Green step up.   

Finally, the top seeds in each conference both took a stranglehold on their series.  The Bucks should win Wednesday and ready to start their series against the Heat on Friday.  The big story is the Lakers losing Anthony Davis to back spasms in the second half.  In his 18 minutes on the floor, the Lakers were +37 which is a modern-day record for +/- in that amount of time.  He’s listed as questionable for Wednesday night but so is bubble MVP, Damian Lilliard, who left in the second half with a knee injury.  Lebron James looks ready to move to the next round so with Lilliard or not, the Blazers are probably done very soon. 

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