Day Three of the NBA restart in Orlando is within the books, and neither No. 1 seed has been clinched. The Lakers had an opportunity to take action within the West with a win, however they misplaced the Raptors, which additionally stored the Bucks from clinching within the East. Toronto continues to appear to be an actual risk to get again to the Finals when rattling close to everybody counted them out the second Kawhi Leonard left.
Here’s the complete set of outcomes from Saturday’s bubble motion, adopted by 5 essential takeaways:
Raptors 107, Lakers 92 (box score)
LeBron, A.D. lay an egg
LeBron’s numbers vs. Toronto seemed nice by the tip: 20 factors, 10 rebounds and 5 assists on 7-for-15 capturing. But he wasn’t on his sport. Offensively, that makes two straight powerful outings for James, who’s now a mixed 13-for-34 (38 %) from the sphere within the bubble.
Davis, in the meantime, was a ghost on Saturday. After scoring 34 factors within the Lakers’ bubble opener, he solely took seven pictures in opposition to Toronto, connecting on two of them. He wound up with 14 factors as a result of he went 9-for-9 from the free-throw line; in actuality, the identical factor saved him in opposition to the Clippers, when he went 16-for-17 from the road however solely 8-for-19 from the sphere. In different phrases, the Lakers’ stars are struggling to make pictures to date in Orlando.
No Embiid … massive drawback
The Sixers have a historical past of going within the tank when Joel Embiid is off the ground, and it occurred once more on Saturday in Philly’s loss to the Pacers. Embiid was an absolute monster, going for 41 factors, 21 rebounds, 4 assists, three blocks and a steal, and the Sixers had been plus-21 in his 34 minutes. Problem is, they had been minus-27 within the 14 minutes he sat. And there you will have your six-point defeat for Philly.
This was the logic behind (over)paying Al Horford $109 million over 4 years. He was imagined to be the man who mitigated the Sixers’ struggles when Embiid was out. Horford was minus-26 on Saturday. For all the joy about shifting Ben Simmons to energy ahead, he nonetheless occupies lots of the identical spots that he did as a degree guard, he nonetheless cannot (will not) shoot, and he nonetheless cramps Embiid’s already restricted area on a Sixers group that may’t collectively unfold the ground with shooters.
The concept was that Shake Milton, the brand new start line guard, would deliver more capturing and playmaking to that place. It’s just one sport, however he put up a donut on Saturday. Zero factors in 19 minutes.
The excellent news is the Sixers most likely did not even wish to win this sport. By shedding, they keep within the No. 6 seed, which proper now would imply a first-round matchup with Boston, in opposition to which the Sixers are 3-1 this season. Had they received, they’d’ve jumped to the 5 seed, which might at present pit them in opposition to Miami, in opposition to which they’re 1-Three this season, whereas additionally placing them in line to face Milwaukee one spherical earlier ought to they get that far. It’ll be fascinating how arduous Philly tries to win video games over the rest of their seeding schedule.
Jimmy Butler loves the freebies
Butler has nearly fully put the lid on his jumper this season, working fairly completely within the brief mid-range space, as an at-rim finisher and as a distributor (he is averaging a career-high in assists). His 2.2 3-pointers tried per sport is his lowest mark since his second 12 months within the league, and he is solely making 24 % of these, which is a profession low in case you do not depend his rookie season when he solely performed eight minutes a sport.
So how’s he nonetheless averaging over 20 factors a sport? He’s a one-man parade to the free throw line. Coming into Saturday, Butler was attending to the charity stripe a career-high 9.1 instances per sport. He bought there 11 instances in Miami’s win over Denver, making 10. Meanwhile, all six of his baskets had been layups, and he did not try a single shot outdoors the paint.
Miami has lots of shooters and Bam Adebayo is the hub on the prime of the offense, so it units up effectively for Butler to roam decrease on the courtroom. But you surprise if the Heat can anticipate to make a deep playoff run when their greatest participant is having the worst, and most restricted, capturing season of his profession.
T.J. Warren hangs 53
If you had been unaware, the Phoenix Suns traded T.J. Warren to the Pacers for money concerns. Didn’t even get a participant in return. The man was averaging slightly below 19 factors per sport coming into Saturday when he proceeded to place 53 on the Sixers. Warren shot 20-for-29 from the sphere, together with 9-for-12 from past the arc. Those are each profession highs, however once more, do not get it confused that this was some form of full aberration: Warren has at all times been in a position to rating. The Suns (shocker) botched that one.
Chris Paul the grasp
Paul was phenomenal for OKC on Saturday, as he is been all season, ending with 18 factors, seven assists and 7 rebounds on 7-of-11 capturing because the Thunder blasted the Jazz. Paul managed tempo, set everybody round him up with nice pictures and bought to his patented elbow jumper at will.
And once more:
Paul has arguably been a top-five MVP candidate this season and will make an All-NBA team. It continues to be hilarious that folks thought he was accomplished when Houston traded him to OKC. He’s having a historic season in clutch conditions, however that wasn’t needed on Saturday as the sport was by no means shut within the second half.