Monday night was quite a revealing one in the NBA Playoffs. While we only saw one team advance to the next round in the form of the Miami Heat completing a four-game sweep of the Indiana Pacers, we also got a lot of clarity in two other series. One of them was Milwaukee winning a third straight against the Orlando Magic, making the Bucks a single win from advancing. And the other was the Los Angeles Lakers, who defeated the Portland Trail Blazers.
The signs for the Blazers were not very good from the get-go. Not only did Charles Barkley pick them to win (the dreaded kiss of death), but they fell behind 15-0 in the opening four minutes of the contest. On top of that, they ended the first quarter down 43-25. In the end, they would never get back from that deficit, losing 135-115. LeBron James was as brilliant as ever, scoring 30 points and dishing out ten assists in just 28 minutes of action in the night cap. The other game of interest on the day featured the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets. Houston had gone up two games to none, but they now are back to square one having lost games 3 and 4 successively. The Thunder’s 117-114 win saw them rally from down by as much as 15 in the third quarter and was led by Dennis Shroder who scored 30 points for a playoff career-high. That canceled out 32 from James Harden, who once again was not great from the field. Chris Paul had 26 on the night, and he continued to cause his former team a lot of pain and agony.