Toronto Raptors 98 – Orlando Magic 93
With this Eastern Conference series now in Orlando, it was expected it would get a lot more competitive, and Game 3 delivered with several lead changes in front of a packed Amway Center crowd, witnessing playoff basketball for the first time in years. However, even with Kawhi Leonard struggling and the Raptors nearly blowing a late 15-point lead, Toronto did enough to pull out the win and take control of the series 2-1.
Much of the credit for the win has to go to Pascal Siakam, who finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds, including catching and finishing a lob delivered by Kyle Lowry from half court.
Lowry had 12 points and 10 assists, Danny Green added 13, and Leonard had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Orlando’s Nikola Vukcevic had a bounce-back game with 22 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists, but he didn’t get enough help on offense from the other starters as he did in Game 1. Terrence Ross came off the bench for 24 points, and DJ Augustin continues to struggle after his stellar Game 1 play.
Game 4 is on Sunday in Orlando.
Boston Celts 104 – Indiana Pacers 96
Boston came out firing on Friday night looking to take a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Pacers. They scored 41 first-quarter points, which included knocking down eight three-pointers in the opening stanza. While the Pacers rallied a bit in the second quarter, the Celtics turned up the intensity on defense in the second half, leading to a 12-point third quarter from the Pacers.
Jaylen Brown led all scorers with 23 points and seven rebounds, and his defense was key in the win. Kyrie Irving had 19 points and 10 assists, and Jayson Tatum added 18 points in the win.
As has been the case all series, Indiana’s starters were led by Bojan Bogdanovic, who finished with 15 points. The Celtics defense made life tough for the sharpshooter, who was 6-of-17 from the field and 2-of-8 from long range. Tyreke Evans had 19 points off the bench.
The Pacers face a possible elimination game on Sunday afternoon back at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Oklahoma City Thunder 120 – Portland Trail Blazers 108
The Western Conference playoff series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers has been a chippy one, especially with a ton of words being spoken between All-Star guards Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard. Through the first two games, Portland really did all the talking it needed to by taking a 2-0 series lead.
But as the series has shifted to Oklahoma City, the Thunder did their part to assure Portland would not put them in an elimination situation for Game 4 by finishing with a strong fourth quarter as the series is now 2-1.
The Thunder had an early lead going into halftime, especially after limiting Portland to just 17 in the second quarter, but Damian Lillard put his team on his back to rally in the third. Lillard scored 25 in the third as the Blazers put up a total of 43 points, but a lackluster fourth didn’t allow Portland to complete the comeback.
One big difference-maker for OKC was their success from long range. They had been shooting atrociously from beyond the arch through the first two games but knocked down 15-of-29 threes in Game 3.
Westbrook finished with 33 points and 11 assists and Lillard had 32 points and seven assists.
There are four games on the schedule today.
Philadelphia 76ers at Brooklyn Nets – Barclays Center – 3:00 p.m. ET – TNT (PHI leads 2-1)
Denver Nuggets at San Antonio Spurs – AT&T Center – 5:30 p.m. ET – TNT (SAS leads 2-1)
Milwaukee Bucks at Detroit Pistons – Little Caesar’s Arena – 8:00 p.m. ET – ESPN (MIL leads 2-0)
Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz – Vivint Smart Home Arena – 10:30 p.m. ET – ESPN (HOU leads 2-0)