HOOP HANGOUT • NBA PLAYOFFS • GAMEDAY POST • April 16th 2019

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Leonard, Raptors rout Magic; Murray rallies Nuggets

Associated Press

RAPTORS 111, MAGIC 82

TORONTO — Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points, Kyle Lowry bounced back from a scoreless playoff opener with 22 and the Toronto Raptors routed the Orlando Magic 111-82 on Tuesday night, evening their Eastern Conference first-round series at one win apiece.

TORONTO — Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points, Kyle Lowry bounced back from a scoreless playoff opener with 22 and the Toronto Raptors routed the Orlando Magic 111-82 on Tuesday night, evening their Eastern Conference first-round series at one win apiece.

Pascal Siakam had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who never trailed and led by as many as 34.

Game 3 is Friday night in Orlando.

Despite playing in foul trouble for much of the night, Leonard finished with a career playoff-high 15 field goals. He made his first nine attempts from inside the arc before missing a layup. He shot 15 for 22 before leaving to a standing ovation with 4:46 remaining and Toronto ahead 104-73.

Lowry, who missed all seven attempts in Game 1, shot 8 for 13 and added seven assists.

Aaron Gordon scored 20 points, Terrence Ross had 15 and Evan Fournier 10 for the Magic, who won Saturday’s Game 1 104-101 on a tiebreaking 3 by D.J. Augustin with 4.2 seconds to go.

NUGGETS 114, SPURS 105

DENVER — Jamal Murray missed his first eight shots before a scorching fourth quarter in which he scored 21 of his 24 points, leading Denver past San Antonio and knotting their playoff series at a game apiece.

The Nuggets were in danger of losing a second straight game at the Pepsi Center after posting the NBA’s best home record (34-7) during the regular season. They trailed 78-59 late in the third quarter before closing the game on a 55-27 run.

The series shifts to San Antonio, where the Nuggets haven’t won since 2012, for Game 3 on Thursday night.

Paul Millsap added 20 points for Denver and Nikola Jokic just missed his second triple-double of the series, scoring 21 points, pulling down 13 rebounds and dishing out eight assists.

The Spurs got 31 points from DeMar DeRozan, 24 from LaMarcus Aldridge and 17 from Derrick White.

TRAIL BLAZERS 114, THUNDER 94

PORTLAND, Ore. — CJ McCollum had 33 points, Damian Lillard added 29 and Portland took a 2-0 lead in its first-round playoff series against Oklahoma City.

Maurice Harkless added 14 points and nine rebounds for the third-seeded Blazers, who opened a playoff series with two wins for the first time since the 2014 playoffs, when they beat Houston in six games.

Lillard hit a 3-pointer and was fouled to close the Blazers within 48-43. But the game began to get heated, with Lillard and Westbrook getting into it when Lillard tried to strip the ball. The officials reviewed it for a “hostile act” but concluded there were no fouls on the play. There was tension the rest of the way, and frequent jawing back-and-forth.

The series shifts to Oklahoma City for Game 3 on Friday.

Russell Westbrook, who had his ninth career postseason triple-double in Oklahoma City’s Game 1 loss, finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists. Paul George had 27 points despite lingering questions about his right shoulder, which was covered with kinesiology tape.

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DeMarcus Cousins diagnosed with torn left quad after MRI; likely to miss rest of playoffs

NBC Sports Bay Area staff

The Warriors’ worst fears after DeMarcus Cousins’ Game 2 tumble appear to be coming true.

Cousins has been diagnosed with a torn left quad, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Tuesday morning. Charania reported this injury probably will end Boogie’s season, but the Warriors aren’t fully closing the door yet on Cousins’ possible return.

Earlier Tuesday morning, Yahoo’s Chris Haynes reported that Cousins is “expected to miss” the remainder of the NBA playoffs. Haynes added, however, that there’s “faint optimism” the Warriors’ starting center could return for the NBA Finals, should the team advance that far.

Cousins left Monday’s game with what Warriors coach Steve Kerr said afterward was a “pretty significant” injury. Cousins will undergo an MRI on Tuesday morning to reveal the full diagnosis, and an official announcement is expected.

Now the Warriors must lean on Kevon Looney, Andrew Bogut and Jordan Bell at center in their NBA playoff first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers. Looney, in particular, has played well, with a plus-31 in the first two playoffs. He finished Game 2 with a career-high 19 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes.

Bogut and Bell likely would be more limited. Bogut hasn’t played more than 24 minutes in a game for the Warriors since rejoining the team from Australia, and he has logged 19 total minutes of playing time in the two games against the Clippers. Bell has played even less in the playoffs, with five total minutes. He played 20 or more minutes in just seven of the 68 regular-season games in which he saw action.

Needless to say, none of those three has the credentials of Cousins, a four-time NBA All-Star who averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 30 regular-season games with the Warriors after returning from his torn Achilles.

Cousins’ comeback story cruelly ended early in the first quarter Monday, when he reached out for a loose ball, then grimaced in pain as he fell to the court and immediately grabbed his upper left leg. He went to the locker room, and the Warriors quickly ruled him out for the game.

Cousins tore the Achilles in the same leg in January 2018, while playing with the New Orleans Pelicans. He signed a one-year, $5.3 million contract with the Warriors, in the hopes of winning a championship and then cashing in for a bigger deal, but his latest injury puts his future in doubt.

The Warriors must shake both the emotions of Cousins’ injury and the NBA-record 31-point lead they squandered in a Game 2 loss that evened their best-of-seven series with the Clippers at one apiece. Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday night in LA.

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Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins leaves first quarter of Game 2 with quad injury; to undergo MRI within 24 hours

Brian Witt | NBC SPORTS

The Warriors got a major scare early in Game 2 of their best-of-seven first-round playoff series with the Clippers on Monday night when center DeMarcus Cousins went to the locker room with an apparent left leg injury.

Cousins suffered the injury chasing down a loose ball in the frontcourt. As he reached out for the ball, Cousins could be seen grimacing in pain. He immediately grabbed his upper left leg before heading to the locker room.

Cousins, of course, has been working his way back from a torn Achilles in his left leg suffered in January of 2018. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game and will undergo an MRI within 24 hours.

This story is being updated. 

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