Jrue Holiday's career high-playoff high contributed to the pelicans for a first round of blazers. (Scott Threlkeld / AP)
The first round of the NBA Playoffs continues today with four crucial games – two Game 4s and a pair of Game 3s. Follow here for the latest analysis and commentary from NBA reporter Tim Bontemps of The Post and ask him questions in the comments. Experience the games of last night here.
Timetable and results | Read foreplay | Comment section Q & A
• The Sixers did not care about the ball and could not hit a shot. They still beat the heat.
• Fracas breaks out in a wild sequence in Sixers-Heat.
• Derrick Favors vs. Carmelo Anthony could determine the Jazz Thunder series. Really.
The Portland Trail Blazers did their best so as not to get confused. But it was not good enough to beat Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday.
Behind 47 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks from Davis and 41 points and eight assists by Holiday, the New Orleans Pelicans, 131-123, won to sweep Portland and rise to the Golden State Warriors. It's the first time New Orleans has made it to the first round in a decade.
It was fitting that Davis and Holiday played the way they did. They were clearly the top two players in this series from start to finish, outperforming Portland's star backcourt by Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in all four games.
There will be plenty of time to address New Orleans in the coming days. Focus for a minute on Portland. Losers now out of 10 straight playoff games, the question being the Blazers, what's next?
Rumors have swirled in recent days that both coach Terry Stotts and general manager Neil Olshey might be in trouble. A potential trade by Lillard or McCollum could be explored. At this point, it feels like everything could be on the table.
76ers coach Brett Brown says size is possible for his two best players.
In the wake of the Philadelphia 76ers aiming for a win by In the second round of the playoffs, 76ers coach Brett Brown summed up why his team seems to rule the NBA for the next decade.
"These two players, and I do not use the word lightly, have a chance to be great," Brown said, referring to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. "And they belong to us."
If Simmons and Embiid are healthy, they have a chance to complete a dynastic run in Philadelphia – one that looks set to begin this year, given the way the playoffs collapse the Eastern Conference [1965-9016] If a team has the two best players in a playoff series losing them is virtually impossible.
Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday have earned this award so far in this series. And now that the pelicans are about to sweep the blazers, Davis and Holiday are trying to reach for a dominant third quarter.
The duo combined 32 of the 42 points the New Orleans Pelicans scored in the third (Davis scored 19 and Holiday added 13), Portland outscoring the entire team 32-29. New Orleans scored a 100-86 lead after three goals and moved up in 12 minutes to meet the Golden State Warriors in the second round.
The Trail Blazers have clearly decided that they will not go down without a fight. This could be an actual fight in Game 4 of their first round with the Pelicans.
The Chippiness, which was evident during the Sixers Heat game on Saturday before, was also shown in the first half of this Game 4. The Pelicans and the Trailblazers took the break after 57 goals after five technical fouls – three on New Orleans, two on Portland – and 25 regular fouls.
Several players are in dire straits, including Pelicans star Anthony Davis, who scored 14 points and two blocks, but has three fouls, as well as Blazers guard CJ McCollum and Center Jusuf Nurkic.
Damian Lillard scored only 2 for 7 in the first half and again does not look like the same player who probably ends up in the top 5 of the MVP voting. This is mainly due to the game of Jrue Holiday, who has 14 points and four assists, but has also achieved five turnovers.
Since returning to Miami Heat in February, Dwyane Wade has some evidence that this could be his last year in the NBA.
After Miami lost Game 4, the Heat put 3: 1 to the Philadelphia 76ers in their Best of 7 series, Wade was asked if it was any thought that this could be his last game in Miami, and if that made him think differently when he left the court.
Wade, who scored 25 points but missed a key free throw late, smiled and said after a long break, "I do not want to answer that, I have to play another game, I focus on the next game and try to win this one . "
The Portland Trail Blazers are not taken in Game 4 by the New Orleans Pelicans after a quarter as in Game 3 That has not changed: Damian Lillard's total lack of any influence on the game.
In nine minutes, Lillard scored two points in 1: 3 shooting and two fouls in a game that leads New Orleans 26:25. It is truly remarkable how Lillard was wiped out of this series by Jrue Holiday, who offensively made a good start again with seven points and three assists in the first offensive, and this is the latest example.
Still With New Orleans winning just one early, there are more danger signs for Portland dating back to 3-0 in the series. The pelicans shot the ball more than six times, resulting in only four Trail Blazers points. Portland has only one turnover. And Nikola Mirotic, who fired in this series Portland, went scoreless in the first fifteen minutes.
So, Portland is in the game. But it takes Damian Lillard to win it.
The Philadelphia 76ers played on the street, could not hit a shot and did not care about the ball.
None of this mattered.
19659032] Behind 24 points from JJ Redick, a triple-double for Ben Simmons – the first of a freshman in the playoffs since Magic Johnson in 1980 – and a dominant defensive effort from Joel Embiid, won the Sixers, 106-102 , about the Miami Heat, to get a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series
In perhaps the last match of Dwyane Wade in Miami, the future Hall of Famer gave his best to get his team over the finish line bring. Despite scoring 25 points, he is reminded in this game that he missed the second of two free throws – his only mistake in six attempts in the game – with a 17.6-second lead and a chance to bring the heat to one.
Wade's missed free throw was part of a theme for the Heat in Game 4: Miami finished the game 13 for 25 from the free throw line.
The Heat would no longer hit after his failure and Redick buried two free throws to make it a four-point game with 16 seconds and give Philadelphia a chance to move forward with a win back home Tuesday night in Game 5.
Simmons had 17 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists and four steals in only the fifth rookie ever to have a triple-double in a playoff game, while Embiid in his second game after suffering a facial fracture at the end of March , continued to threaten every heat shot attempt in the color.
That was enough for Philadelphia to win despite going 7 for 31 from the three-point range and made 27 turnovers, which led to 30 heatpoints.
"For me, the most important thing was that we reversed our entire discipline in the 4th period," said Sixers coach Brett Brown to reporters after the game. "We've stayed a lot more in our rules and our schedule … the fact that you can win a playoff game with  revenue is insane."
The Philadelphia 76ers have gone from 26 to 26 out of three. They have made 24 sales that have become 28 points for the Miami Heat.
And yet, after the third quarter, the Sixers are only back by four. This must be seen as a victory for Philadelphia.
Miami is at home and has played well and hard in this game. But the two best players in the field are in Sixers uniforms. This gives Philadelphia the upper hand as it tries to take a dominant 3-1 lead in this series.
The Philadelphia 76ers throw Game 4 away. Literally.
At the beginning of the third quarter, the Miami Heat took the lead on 72-62, thanks to the Sixers who gave them the ball and points again and again.
Overall, the Sixers have 21 sales, including six each by Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, which have led to 26 heat points. If it were not for Philadelphia to turn sales into points – to score 19 out of just nine Heat Giveaways – that would be a defeat.
This is a case in which a young team playing on the street needs to get under control and play with serenity. If not, this game could get away from Philadelphia in a hurry.
Josh Richardson, who left the first half with an injured left shoulder, is back to start the third quarter for Miami. It's the same with Justise Winslow, who had to be sewn to make a cut across his eyes.
Miami needs both players, that's welcome news for the Heat.
After a thrilling first half of Sixers-Heat The third quarter is likely to determine the outcome.
This season Philadelphia was one of the NBA's best in the third quarter, posting a plus of 7.2, which was good for fifth place in the league. Miami, on the other hand, was one of the worst; The Heats Negative 5.9 rating was 25th in the NBA. So far, this series, Philadelphia Plus-24 in the third quarter, Miami outperformed by 18 in Game 1 and then each three points in Games 2 and 3 Heat must be better in Game 4 if they try this series at each to repeat two games.
What a First Half in Miami
Brawl, fouls, big moments, big punches – Sixers-Heat has it all. And at half-time the Heat have a 61-56 lead.
Goran Dragic has 13 points at halftime to lead Miami, while Dwyane Wade has 11 and Wayne Ellington 10.
J. J. Redick is 12 points ahead of Philadelphia, who has all five starters with at least two fouls – and especially Ben Simmons with three.
Goran Dragic was fouled in a semicircle, but went to the edge. Robert Covington then spotted him and gave a small push to knock Dragic, who was trying to make a layup, to the ground.
That did not go well with James Johnson, who gave Covington a nudge to express his displeasure. As a result, Ben Simmons – who has repeatedly struck Johnson in the series during the series – invades Johnson's face. The Frakas eventually gained double technical fouls for Johnson and Covington.
More importantly, Josh Richardson – Miami's excellent wingback and shooter – looked as if he had suffered a potentially severe shoulder injury from the game at the start, just to let Joel Embiid fall on him.
Richardson immediately went into the locker room, where he was accompanied by Justise Winslow, who caught an unintentional elbow from Embiid in the same pile and required stitches.
Meanwhile, both Simmons and Hassan Whiteside have caught their third fouls in the moments after that. So in Miami, a lot has changed in about 90 seconds.
His mercurial center, Hassan Whiteside, is increasingly losing confidence that Round Series is progressing. He struggled to find someone to protect in the first two games when Joel Embiid was injured, and when Embiid returned, he was still invisible in Game 3.
Spoelstra, whose relationship with Whiteside has increased, was repeatedly tried to speak with his great man and encourage him while he tries to keep his head in the series and not to lose him.
Whiteside, however, has taken more influence in Game 4. He has four points and five rebounds – along with two fouls – in nine minutes. He is the only player in Miami and one of the few in the league big enough to handle Embiid's strength and physicality. Miami needs him to be busy with this series. At least there are signs that he gets there.
Dwyane Wade spent a year and a half from the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers, looking as if he was the downside of his career.
Then he returned to Miami at the close in February. And after the playoffs have arrived, Wade has shown that he still has the potential to become the player who blinded the first 13 years of his career on the shores of Biscayne Bay – at least in short sections.  A strong game 2 was followed by a tough game 3, but Wade already has a quick nine points and is a plus-six for the Heat in Game 4, helping the Heat stay halfway through the Sixers.
From Philadelphia's page? A rough three-point shooting half so far (4 for 14), and it's good to see Brett Brown back to Joel Embiid with two fouls and not afraid to play him.
An interesting first quarter ending in Miami with the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat tied at 26 Sixers star Joel Embiid took two fouls and no court time for Markelle Fultz.
Embiid had six points in seven minutes but turned the ball twice – two from Philadelphia's eight first quarter sales, which were nine Miami points – and a late foul end of the quarter. Sixer coach Brett Brown got him out right away and we'll see if he comes back in the second quarter.
As expected, T.J. McConnell got the backup point guard minutes behind Ben Simmons over Fultz, who fought in Game 3. McConnell did not do much – but above all, nothing messed up. That's what Brown is looking for.
Miami, on the other hand, had five sales that turned into 10 points for the Sixers and went 3-for-8 off the free throw line.
Instead, there will be the position battle between Derrick Favors and Carmelo Anthony.
Really, could you ask? Yes. For real.
By winning Game 2, the jazz looked good as they shared hobbies and favors on the court, and they played that Anthony would not make enough shots to prevent them from playing that way.
It's Hard I think we're in with Carmelo Anthony these days, who has spent his career as one of the league's top scorers. Now he is in a position to prove he can win against a power forward to win his team a third round as a first round. But here we are – and that's exactly what Utah will do.
It was clear that Game 2 is that jazz is not too worried about Anthony taking pictures. And, if he's 11 for 31 in total and 4 for 16 out of three to two games, it's hard to argue against Utah's strategy.
Favors, meanwhile, had 20 points and 16 rebounds – including eight offensive boards – in Game 2, showing the kind of repercussions he can have if guarded by the smaller Anthony for much of the game. Utah, who scored 50 points in the game in Game 2, will be hoping for this kind of production as the series is relocated to Salt Lake City on Saturday night for Match 3.
If jazz manages to do so, they could gain the upper hand in this series. Whether they can have favors there – unlike a smaller player like Jae Crowder – will likely result in Anthony shooting.
So, if you're after a specific encounter in Game 3, it's favors against Anthony. Determine the winner and you will probably determine the winner of the game – and possibly the series as well.
- Philadelphia 76ers 106, Miami Heat 102 (76er lead 3-1)
- New Orleans Pelicans 131, Portland Trail Blazers 123 (pelicans win 4-0)  Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves (Rockets lead 2-0); 19.30, ESPN
- Oklahoma City Thunder in Utah Jazz (series 1-1); 22:00 pm, ESPN
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