NBA

Nate McMillan praises Trae Young, looks forward to Cavaliers showdown

By Sports Desk April 14, 2022

Despite Trae Young shooting three-for-13 from the field in the first half of the Atlanta Hawks' win against the Charlotte Hornets, head coach Nate McMillan loved what he saw from his superstar point guard.

With the 132-103 blowout win, the Hawks earned a chance to play against the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference eighth seed on Friday.

Young's shot was not falling early, but his team still put up 60 points in the first half as De'Andre Hunter, Clint Capela and Danilo Gallinari shouldered more of an offensive load.

Speaking to post-game media, McMillan said he was proud of the way Young navigated his early struggles before going on to finish with 24 points and 11 assists.

"I thought [Young] did a really solid job of getting off the ball when [the Pelicans] put two on him, and he got his teammates involved," he said.

"I thought later in the game they went away from that, and he was able to get loose and get some looks at the basket.

"But a real solid job by Trae running the team, managing those guys on the offensive end of the floor, and really getting us organized and attacking."

McMillan admitted his assistant coaches were imploring him to pull the Hawks stars late in the fourth quarter, with a big lead and the win almost assured, and looked forward to the matchup against the Cavs.

"The coaches were yelling at me, screaming at me to get the [starters] out, so that we could get them a rest in," he said. "But it's time to play – it's game time – and we should be ready when we go to Cleveland.

"We don't know if [Jarrett Allen] will be back on Friday – but the size-factor – they do a good job of taking advantage of their size, and their ability to pound you in the paint with post-ups, rebounding and a lot of length.

"[Darius] Garland is an All-Star, playing great basketball for them, so they're a really good team. We'll have our work cut out for us on Friday."

Related items

  • Knicks, Nuggets, Cavs take 2-0 series leads Knicks, Nuggets, Cavs take 2-0 series leads

    Donte DiVincenzo's go-ahead 3-pointer with 13.1 seconds left highlighted a furious late rally that propelled the New York Knicks to a crucial 104-101 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in Monday's Game 2 of an Eastern Conference quarter-finals series. 

    Down 101-96 in the final minute, the second-seeded Knicks scored the game's final eight points to grab a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, which shifts to Philadelphia for Thursday's Game 3.

    DiVincenzo finished with 19 points and Jalen Brunson had 24 along with eight rebounds and six assists for New York, which also got a big effort from center Isaiah Hartenstein to overcome a 10-point deficit late in the first half.

    Hartenstein scored all 14 of his points in the second half on 7-of-7 shooting while helping the Knicks contain 76ers' star Joel Embiid. The reigning NBA MVP managed 34 points and 10 rebounds, but made good on just 12 of 29 field goal attempts and missed a potential tying 3-point try at the buzzer.

    Tyrese Maxey ended just shy of a triple-double for seventh-seeded Philadelphia, as he compiled 35 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.

    The Sixers trailed 90-82 early in the fourth quarter before outscoring New York 19-6 over a seven-minute stretch to pull ahead late. Maxey's jumper with 2:22 to go gave Philadelphia a 97-96 edge, and the All-Star buried a 3-pointer shortly afterward to extend the lead to four entering the final minute.

    Brunson gave New York some life with a 3-pointer with 27.4 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 101-99, and after Maxey turned it over on the ensuing possession, DiVincenzo knocked down a 26-footer on a second-chance attempt to send the Knicks in front.

    Maxey then couldn't get a contested layup to fall with 6.6 seconds left, and New York's OG Anunoby was fouled after grabbing the rebound before making both free throws ahead of Embiid's game-ending miss. 

    Nuggets rally from 20 points down to stun Lakers in Game 2

    The Denver Nuggets also took a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference series with the Los Angeles Lakers after overcoming a 20-point second-half deficit to rally for a stunning 101-99 win.

    Jamal Murray capped Denver's improbable comeback by hitting a game-winning 15-foot jumper with 0.4 seconds left on the clock.

    Murray scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half and Nikola Jokić had 15 points after half-time to also spark the defending NBA champions. Jokic ended the night with a 27-point, 20-rebound, 10-assist triple-double.

    Anthony Davis finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds for the seventh-seeded Lakers, who appeared on the verge of sending the series back to Los Angeles all tied up after opening up a 68–48 lead two minutes into the third quarter.

    Second-seeded Denver trailed 74-55 near the midway point of the third before getting back in it with a 10-0 run. The Nuggets later went on a 10-1 spurt to pull within 83-81 on Murray's layup with 6:45 remaining.

    Murray was later fouled with 57.6 seconds left and made both free throws to forge a 97-97 tie. LeBron James answered with a layup on the ensuing possession to put Los Angeles back ahead, but Murray sunk a step-back jumper with 30 seconds remaining to even the score once again.

    James then misfired on a 3-point try and the Nuggets secured the rebound before getting the ball to Murray, who knocked down the game-winner right before the buzzer sounded with Davis contesting the shot.

    James had 26 points and 12 rebounds, while D'Angelo Russell netted 23 points for the Lakers while going 7 of 11 from 3-point range.

    Game 3 will take place Thursday night.

    Cavaliers shut down Magic again to take 2-0 series lead

    Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points and Jarrett Allen led another strong defensive effort for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who took a 2-0 lead in their first-round series against the Orlando Magic by recording a 96-86 win.

    After holding the Magic under 33 per cent shooting in Saturday's series opener, fourth-seeded Cleveland forced 17 turnovers and limited No. 5 seed Orlando to a 36.2 per cent rate from the field to move within two wins of advancing.

    Allen particularly made his presence felt by corralling 20 rebounds along with three blocks and two steals. The standout center also contributed 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

    Evan Mobley added 17 points and Darius Garland had 15 in a game the Cavaliers never trailed while taking control early by building a 30-18 lead after one quarter.

    Cleveland's margin grew as high as 17 points in the second quarter as the Magic continued to struggle to score, and Mitchell registered 19 of his points in the first half to help send the Cavs into the break owning a 58-44 advantage.

    Orlando never seriously threatened in the second half and will now attempt to reverse momentum when it returns home to host Game 3 on Thursday. 

    Paolo Banchero led the Magic with 21 points and Franz Wagner had 18 for Orlando, though all but one of those points came during the first half.

     

  • NBA: Jokic leads Nuggets; Knicks, Cavs, Wolves get Game 1 wins NBA: Jokic leads Nuggets; Knicks, Cavs, Wolves get Game 1 wins

    Nikola Jokić had 32 points and 12 rebounds and got ample help from his teammates as the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets continued their recent mastery of the Los Angeles Lakers with a 114-103 win in their Western Conference playoff opener on Saturday.

    Jamal Murray tallied 22 points and 10 assists, Aaron Gordon added 12 and 11 rebounds and Michael Porter Jr. contributed 19 points and eight boards as the Nuggets won their ninth straight against the Lakers.

    Anthony Davis matched Jokic with 32 points and 14 rebounds and LeBron James scored 27 points, but D’Angelo Russell was held to 13 points on 6-of-20 shooting – including 1 of 9 from 3-point range – and Rui Hachimura managed just seven points in 31 minutes.

    Los Angeles hasn’t beaten Denver since Dec. 16, 2022, and will try again Monday in Denver, where the Nuggets are 34-8 this season.

    Denver’s lead was down to 103-96 with five minutes left but Porter Jr. hit a 3 and Jokic dunked off a turnover by James to push the lead to 12.

      

    Knicks’ reserves step up in win

    Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart each scored 22 points and the New York Knicks got a huge lift from their bench for a 111-104 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.

    Deuce McBride outscored the 76ers by himself with 13 points in the second quarter and finished with 21 on 7-of-12 shooting, including 5 of 7 from long range. Bojan Bogdanovic added 13 points and Mitchell Robinson came off the bench to add eight points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.

    Joel Embiid had 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Tyrese Maxey scored 33 points for the 76ers, who will try to even the series in Game 2 on Monday.

    Embiid was listed as questionable to play and went down with 2:49 left in the first half with an apparent injury to his surgically repaired knee. He walked to the locker room area and missed the rest of the first half but returned to start the second.

    Hart made a pair of huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, the second extending the Knicks’ lead to 107-100 with one minute remaining.

     

    Edwards powers Timberwolves past Suns

    Anthony Edwards scored 18 of his 33 points in the third quarter and grabbed nine rebounds to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to a tone-setting 120-95 win over the visiting Phoenix Suns in their series opener.

    Karl-Anthony Towns had 19 points, Nickeil Alexander-Walker added 18 and Rudy Gobert tallied 14 points, 16 rebounds and stellar defence to help Minnesota to its first home win in the playoffs in 20 years.

    Edwards keyed a 19-4 run to close the third quarter for a 20-point cushion and put a bow on his performance by stealing the ball from Kevin Durant and finishing with a slam on the other end to give the Timberwolves a 111-91 lead with 3:37 left.

    Durant scored 31 points on 11-of-17 shooting, but Devin Booker was held to 18 on 5 for 16 from the field. The Suns were outrebounded 52-28 and outscored 52-34 in the paint.

    Game 2 is in Minnesota on Tuesday before the best-of-seven series shifts to Phoenix for Game 3.

     

  • 'Sky's the limit' for Coby White as Bulls tee up Miami rematch 'Sky's the limit' for Coby White as Bulls tee up Miami rematch

    Dejounte Murray declared "the sky's the limit" for Coby White after his career-best performance guided the Chicago Bulls past the Atlanta Hawks in the Play-In Tournament on Wednesday.

    The Bulls clinched a 131-116 win over Atlanta at a sold-out United Center in their first Play-In game, teeing up a rematch with the Miami Heat – who eliminated them from last year's Play-In Tournament – for Friday.

    White had a career-high 42 points, the second-best tally ever recorded in a Play-In contest, after Jayson Tatum's 50 against the Washington Wizards in 2021, and went 15-of-21 from the field.

    His stunning performance meant Murray's own 30-point showing counted for nothing, with Atlanta always fighting an uphill battle after going 18 points down in the first quarter.

    Asked about White after the game, Murray said: "I root for guys that work hard and are great people.

    "[Bulls forward] DeMar DeRozan's a brother to me and he speaks highly of him. He says he works hard, he's a great guy, he's handled his business, he's a professional on and off the floor. 

    "When I hear those things, I root for guys around the league just to have success. 

    "I think he's always been good. He never really got the opportunity to showcase what he's showcasing now, and the sky's the limit."

    It was something of a breakout performance for White, who averaged just 8.4 points per game in his only previous playoff series, a 4-1 first-round defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2022.

    He was also part of the Chicago team beaten by the Heat in last year's Play-In Tournament, and they will get a chance to avenge that loss when they go to Kaseya Center on Friday.

    "I'm just grateful to be where I'm at. That first playoff series I ever had in my career didn't go how I wanted it to go," White said. 

    "Then last year, I played better in the Play-In, but this year, I didn't come into the game saying I was going to put the team on my back. 

    "I just wanted to be aggressive and take what the defense gave me and try to lead."

    DeRozan is glad to have the opportunity to banish the ghosts of last year's loss in Miami, saying: "I remember that plane ride back home vividly, everybody was just frustrated.

    "That feeling sucked. I know for me that was one thing that was on my mind once I realised we were going back to Miami, not to have that same feeling."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.