Golden State Warriors fans need a day off from Warriors basketball. Game 5 was a little bit much.
And what better way to take a day off than with great basketball that you’re less emotionally invested in, and therefore is healthier for your heart?
There’s a tremendous doubleheader today in the NBA Playoffs. At 5:00 p.m. PT, the Philadelphia 76ers host the Toronto Raptors. Then, at 7:30 p.m., the Portland Trail Blazers host the Denver Nuggets.
In both cases, the home team is fighting for their life, trailing 3-2, and hoping to force a Game 7.
And it certainly could happen. But to do so, those teams will need to find an answer for two superstars who have been among the very best players this postseason.
The Sixers have had no answer for Kawhi Leonard, who is averaging 34.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.0 steals per game this series, while shooting 59.0% from the field and 40.6% from deep, and playing nearly flawless defense. Philly will need a huge game from someone to slow down the 2014 Finals MVP.
"I do think he has his hands full with Kawhi Leonard."— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 9, 2019
-@ROSGO21 joins #Gametime live from Philly to discuss Ben Simmons ahead of Game 6 in the #NBAPlayoffs. pic.twitter.com/ckzKIxTTOD
Meanwhile, the Blazers - who admittedly are without injured center Jusuf Nurkic - have been helpless against All-Star Nikola Jokic. Making his first postseason appearance, Jokic has series averages of 26.4 points, 14.4 rebounds, 8.8 assists, and 1.4 steals per game, while shooting 52.7% from the field, and 47.1% on three-pointers.
Jokic’s plus/minus in the semifinals has been +66, tops in the league this round, and he is doing things we’ve never seen done.
Nikola Jokic has 294 PTS, 157 REB, 108 AST, 16 STL & 9 BLK this postseason.— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) May 8, 2019
The only other players to do that in a single postseason: Draymond Green, Larry Bird (4x), LeBron James (8x) and Scottie Pippen
Now, here's that list sorted by minutes played.https://t.co/E3EPU7Qcr9 pic.twitter.com/HO46227bV0
Of course, Philly has Joel Embiid, and Portland has Damian Lillard, so it’s not like those teams are in bad shape.
In other words, expect some fireworks, and some tremendous basketball.
Both games are on ESPN. If you’re watching, hop in the comments and discuss the excitement with us.