Just hours after learning that his grandfather had died, Rockets guard Patrick Beverley hit a 25-foot 3-pointer less than a minute into Game 4 against against the Spurs, the first points of the Houston's 125-104 win that tied the playoff series at two games apiece.
Something is going on with Patrick Beverley. He was crying when he walked in. Was warming up, stopped, sat down & started crying again.— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) May 7, 2017
First bucket of the game on @NBAonTNT goes to Patrick Beverley & the @HoustonRockets! #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/8wkEDR0QVz— NBA (@NBA) May 8, 2017
After the game, it was clear how difficult it must have been for him to play through the news. His initial thought was to take the first flight to Chicago to be with his family, and he had to be talked into staying with his team.
Rockets' Patrick Beverley fights back tears as he remembers his grandfather: "He wore my jerseys every single day." pic.twitter.com/UFGUN8j7r9— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 8, 2017
Beverley’s early 3 was one of 19 made by the Rockets on 43 attempts, giving them a 36-point edge over San Antonio in the statistical category. The Spurs hit just 7 of 23 long-range attempts.
James Harden, whose 28 points were a game high, shot 4 of 11 from 3-point range, and Eric Gordon came off the bench to go 6 of 9 from beyond the arc and score 22 total points for Houston. Harden also had 12 assists.
Harden and Gordon were two of seven players who scored in double digits for Houston, including Beverley with 10.
San Antonio, on the other hand, had trouble finding offense, as reserve guard Jonathon Simmons led the team with 17 points. Kawhi Leonard had 14 in the first half but just 2 in the second, and LaMarcus Aldridge also finished with 16.
While Tony Parker has been ruled out for the rest of the playoffs, the Rockets are dealing with an injury to key player of their own. Center Nene left Game 4 in the first quarter with a groin injury and was taken to a hospital for an MRI. His status for Game 5 is not promising.
The series may be tied, but none of the games have been close. In fact, the Spurs’ 11-point win in Game 3 marks the narrowest margin of victory yet.
Hopefully, fans will be treated to more excitement when the teams meet Tuesday in San Antonio.
Stud of the night
On a Sunday replete with excellent performances from a variety of NBA stars, our Stud honor goes to the league’s star among stars. LeBron James had 35 points, nine rebounds and six assists in leading the Cavaliers to a 109-102 Game 4 win over Toronto to complete his NBA-record 11th playoff sweep.
James can now sit back and relax while the Wizards and Celtics battle for the right to play his Cavs in the East finals. As for his preferred opponent, James deadpanned, “It doesn’t matter.”
He’s probably right: James’ seventh straight NBA Finals appearance feels like a forgone conclusion, regardless of his next opponent.
Dud of the night
On its surface, DeMar DeRozan’s Game 4 performance wasn’t bad — he had 22 points on 8 of 18 shooting, 8 assists and 4 rebounds. But a shooting guard who poses no threat from 3-point range is not an ingredient in a winning playoff recipe, and he went 0 for 2 from beyond the arc Sunday and 0 for 3 in the series. Also, with just 11 total fourth-quarter points in the four games against Cleveland (4 points on 2 of 7 in Game 4), he virtually disappeared when the Raptors needed him most.
Raptors' DeMar DeRozan: 1 three-pointer in 373 postseason minutes; 11 total fourth-quarter points in second-round sweep loss to Cavaliers— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 7, 2017
Wizards guard John Wall put Boston’s Marcus Smart on skates as he scored the 23rd and 24th points of Washington’s 26-0 third-quarter run. Wall finished with 27 points and 12 assists in his team’s 121-102 victory.
John Wall, the Wizard. pic.twitter.com/qAHvZh9eaf— NBA (@NBA) May 8, 2017
Game 4: Warriors at Jazz, 9 p.m. ET, TNT — Down three games to none to the mighty Dubs, Utah's hopes are fading fast. The Jazz hung tough for most of Saturday night’s Game 3, but Golden State’s late fourth-quarter run that put Utah away had to be disheartening. We hate to disregard the importance of any playoff game, but a win by the Jazz on Monday will do little other than prolong their agony.