Two road teams got the first wins of their series on Friday night, while another team was able to bounce back from a Game Two loss on their home court. After Friday’s NBA action concluded, all of the series are now sitting at 2-1. Here’s a look at how it all went down.
Nets 102 – Raptors 98
The Nets were easily able to get a 94-87 win in Game One of their series against the Raptors. However, Toronto fired back in Game Two to tie things up at one game a piece. On Friday, the Nets proved that they just need to win out on their home court, which they did with a 102-98 victory in Game Three. The Raptors opened up by outscoring the Nets in the first quarter, 23-19, and had a lead after one. However, a 30-point second quarter for the Nets would give Brooklyn the four-point lead at halftime. The Nets were also able to dominate in the third, before giving up 32 in the final quarter as the Raptors tried to surge back. However, it was the playoff experience of Paul Pierce in the final quarter that came up huge in Game Three, proving to be too much to handle for the much younger Toronto squad. Pierce would finish with 18, while Joe Jonson contributed 29 points and Daron Williams had 22. 12 of Williams’ total came in the first quarter, as he was able to go to work on Kyle Landry in ways that we have yet to see during this series. For the second straight game, DeMar DeRozan had a monster game with 30 points. Landry also pitched in with 15 and Jonas Valanciunas earned his third straight double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. To give you an idea of how good the Nets are looking right now, they now sit at 18/1 odds to win the NBA Championship. That’s the same odds as the Indiana Pacers, who find themselves in a precarious position in their series. The Nets will look to get another win on their home court in Game Four on Sunday, to give them a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Bulls 100 – Wizards 97
The Bulls have had trouble putting things together in their series against the Wizards. That caused them to lose the first two games of their series on their home court, but they were able to take a step in the right direction with a win in Washington on Friday night. Mike Dunleavy had a game he won’t soon forget, leading the Bulls with 35 points. On the night, the former Duke standout was 12-19 from the field, including eight buckets from beyond the arc. His 35 points was more than double his previous high from a playoff game, which before stood at just 17. The Bulls also got productive minutes from Taj Gibson and DJ Augustin, who both came off the bench and put up 13 points each. Joakim Noah had 9 rebounds for the Bulls, though he only was able to score 6 points and only shot the ball four times. This is a good sign for the Bulls, especially if they can get this type of production from Dunleavy again and also get a bit more help from their typical stars. The Wizards played 11 different players on Friday night and all of their starters were able to get into double digits for scoring. Bradley Beal led the team with 25 and John Wall had 23. The Wizards still sit at 50/1 odds to win the NBA Championship, which is far ahead of the Bulls, who sit at 175/1. Be sure to check back with sportspicks.com before Sunday’s Game Four, when the Bulls will look to try and even things up.
Rockets 121 – Trail Blazers 116
It would take yet another overtime period in the Rockets and Blazers game, but this time Houston was able to get their first win of the series as they try and work their way back from a 0-2 deficit. LaMarcus Aldridge has been the biggest factor in this series, putting up more than 40 points in each of the first games. On Friday, Aldridge would only put up 23, as Omer Asik was able to defend him more effectively than in previous games. James Harden finally had his biggest game of the series, putting up 37 points and pulling down 9 rebounds. Dwight Howard finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds, while Damien Lillard led the way for Portland with 30 points. However, it was Troy Daniels that had the biggest impact on Friday, as he hit a three with 11 seconds left in overtime that sealed the deal for the Rockets. The Rockets have fallen to 65/1 odds to win the NBA Championship, but their win is a step in the right direction. However, the Blazers, who started the series with lower odds than the Rockets, have moved their way up to 30/1. This series looks like it could be one of the more entertaining of the First Round and Houston will look to even things up in Game Four on Sunday.