Monday wasn't full of thrilling finishes, but not every night in the playoffs is going to resemble the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Here's a look at the two blowouts and the series that is going back to the nation's capital tied at 2:


Here's the moment where Game 4 between the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers essentially ended: 

Yup, that's Evan Turner throwing the ball out of bounds with the shot clock running down 2 1/2 minutes into the game. At that point, the Warriors had already built a 12-0 lead thanks to 3-pointers from Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and the returning Kevin Durant. As you can see in that clip, Golden State started the game as locked in on the defensive end as it was offensively. My favorite part is Portland coach Terry Stotts' face as he says, "Let's go." This is the face of a man who knows there are no answers to this Warriors team, at least with the Blazers' roster. Forty-five-and-a-half minutes later, Stotts' season ended in a sweep.

Durant, who played only 20 minutes coming back from a calf strain, fit in as seamlessly as the Warriors could have hoped in the 128-103 victory. He had 10 points, three rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal, but most important -- he moved quickly on defense and appeared as athletic as normal when throwing down a pair of dunks.

If you missed this rout, there isn't a whole lot you need to know about it. Golden State led 45-22 at the end of the first quarter, 72-48 at halftime and 106-80 heading into the fourth quarter. Stephen Curry had 37 points on 12-of-20 shooting in 30 minutes, with seven rebounds, eight assists and two steals, and here is the most impressive of his seven 3-pointers:

The Warriors bench looked like that pretty much all night.

"Ultimately this team, Golden State will be [judged] by how they fare in the playoffs and if they win a championship," Stotts said. "That said, I think they're better than they were last year. I think they're more versatile, I think they're more explosive offensively, I think they're playing with a purpose considering what happened last year."

More notes:

  • Green continues to look like the best defensive player on the planet, and he was on fire from 3-point range, too. He was a game-high plus-38, finishing with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 5 for 8 from deep, plus six rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a steal.
  • Klay Thompson had 18 points and shot 3 for 5 from 3-point range in 30 minutes. The Warriors' four All-Stars went 17 for 26 from behind the arc.
  • Yet again, JaVale McGee was everywhere. This time he had only 4 points in his 10 minutes, but he had three rebounds, three blocks and four fouls.
  • David West had 12 points in 16 minutes, going 5 for 6 and dishing four assists. He is fantastic in this offense, particularly because he's so good at finding cutters and open 3-point shooters.
  • Shoutout to Damian Lillard and Al-Farouq Aminu for doing all they could. Lillard had 34 points and six assists, and Aminu had 25 points, shooting 5 for 9 from downtown.

For the Blazers, this wasn't an accurate representation of the way they competed in this series. There were moments, like in the second half of Game 3 and a few different stretches in Game 2, where Golden State just went nuts, but Portland did pretty well for itself considering it was undermanned because of Jusuf Nurkic's leg injury. As far as the sweep goes, this could have been much more one-sided, and the Blazers showed serious promise the way they played after the All-Star break. 

Kevin Durant, JaVale McGee, Stephen Curry have a laugh
Feels good to get a blowout and a sweep simultaneously.  USATSI


The Toronto Raptors entered Game 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks with the worst offensive rating in the playoffs: 94.1 points per 100 possessions. They were No. 1 in the league in that category through mid-January and finished the season sixth, but you would have never known it by watching them struggle to deal with Milwaukee's length. Even in Game 4, Toronto prevailed largely because it attacked in isolation situations, avoiding the Bucks' traps rather than using their pressure against them.

Monday was different. The Raptors genuinely looked like their regular-season selves in their 118-93 victory. They jumped out to a 15-point lead in the first quarter, and while the Bucks had a few runs, they never truly made Toronto uncomfortable. The Raptors moved the ball, shot 12 for 27 from 3-point range and didn't rely only on Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.

Lowry played through back pain admirably, finishing with 16 points and 10 assists, and DeRozan had 18 points and six assists, but those numbers don't do justice to their decision-making when running pick-and-rolls and dealing with double teams. Finally, Toronto seemed accustomed to Milwaukee's aggressive defense, and that allowed Norman Powell -- a playoff hero for the second successive season after scoring a team-high 25 points --  and Serge Ibaka to excel. The Raptors shot 57.7 percent and scored 123.6 points per 100 possessions, and it was a total team effort.

Moving forward, the big question is whether this is a turning point. It felt like Toronto had figured some things out, but it kind of felt that way after Game 2, too. This was a blowout not only because of the offense, but because the Raptors grabbed 94.6 percent of the available defense rebounds and held Khris Middleton to 8 points on 3-of-8 shooting. It is unlikely that everything will go this well with the Bucks trying to avoid elimination on Thursday.


Jose Calderon owns nine Warriors jerseys. He technically joined the superteam for two hours in March after being waived by the Los Angeles Lakers, but Golden State let him go because Durant was hurt and it had an opportunity to sign Matt Barnes. This meant the Atlanta Hawks were able to add the 35-year-old to their roster for the stretch run and the playoffs, and Calderon has provided them his typical brand of deliberate mistake-free point guarding ever since.

Few, however, expected Calderon to swing a playoff game, and that's exactly what happened in Game 4 between the Hawks and the Washington Wizards. Pushed into 20 minutes of service because starting point guard Dennis Schroder was in foul trouble, Calderon had 10 points and five assists, making two 3-pointers and finishing the night as a plus-29 in a 111-101 victory.

When Calderon entered the game in the first quarter, Atlanta trailed 27-18. He then played all but 62 seconds of the second quarter, in which the Hawks outscored Washington by 22 points. They never trailed after taking control of the game, but they did allow the Wizards to come back and tie it heading into the final frame.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Atlanta jumped out to an eight-point lead when Washington had a bench unit on the court. Calderon was out there for that, too, keeping the Hawks controlled and spacing the floor. There were a lot of other factors in this game -- Dwight Howard and Kent Bazemore had their best performances of the series and Paul Millsap thoroughly outplayed Markieff Morris again -- but Calderon unmistakably made his presence felt. 

"We need to send a little thank-you note to the Warriors," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. "No doubt, Jose has infected us with his spirit. He's been great."