The Golden State Warriors have had next-to-no issues cruising through the first part of the NBA Playoffs in the Western Conference, but why not make their odds better. They welcomed back their star point guard, Steph Curry, on Tuesday night and took a 2-0 series lead with a 121-116 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Curry came off the bench and scored 28 points in his return from a knee injury, as he is expected to start in Game 3. Kevin Durant led the Warriors in scoring with 29 points, including a huge three-pointer with 3:10 to play to lift Golden State to its franchise-record 14th straight postseason win at Oracle Arena. Durant added seven assists and six rebounds, while Draymond Green put up 20 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds in the win. The Pelicans got a double-double of 25 points and 15 rebounds from Anthony Davis, as they fell short for a second straight game after sweeping away the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round. Jrue Holiday also stepped up after a struggling Game 1, as he finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, while Rajon Rondo had 22 points and 12 assists in the loss. Those stats were not enough to overcome the return of Curry, who shot 8-of-15 from the floor, with five three-pointers, and grabbed seven rebounds. Again, he is expected to start when the series shifts to the Smoothie King Center for Game 3 on Friday night in New Orleans.
Cavs Outlast Raptors in Overtime to Begin Second Round
LeBron James has escalated to another level since his Cleveland Cavaliers were tested big time in the first round. He's continued that pace into the second round, including in Game 1 on Tuesday, James posted a triple-double of 26 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds as the Cavs outlasted the Raptors in overtime, 113-112, for an early series advantage. J.R. Smith scored 20 points, while Kyle Korver contributed 19 points, including the official tiebreaking three-pointer in overtime. The Cavaliers have eliminated the Raptors in each of the past two postseasons, and are getting contributions from everyone early on. That included a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds from Tristan Thompson, as well as 16 points from Jeff Green. Fred VanVleet had a chance to win it for the Raptors, but missed a three-pointer with 3.4 seconds left. Toronto did hold a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter before the Cavs' forced the extra five minutes. Jonas Valanciunas had a monster double-double of 21 points and 21 rebounds, while DeMar DeRozan scored 22 points, and Kyle Lowry finished with 18 points and 10 assists. The Raptors have been famous for their early postseason exits as of late, and were able to get past the Washington Wizards in the first round, but they continue to struggle against James. LeBron was coming off a series where he scored 40 points three separate times against the Indiana Pacers. He is looking to inch closer to yet another Finals appearance, with Game 2 taking place on Thursday night.
Capitals, Jets Rally for Series Leads
Two teams needed to come back to jump ahead in their second round series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday. First, Alex Ovechkin scored on a rebound past Matt Murray with 1:07 to play, lifting his Capitals to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins and a 2-1 series lead. Matt Niskanen, John Carlson, and Chandler Stephenson also scored for the Capitals, who are now 4-0 on the road this postseason. Braden Holtby made 19 saves on the night, while Nick Backstrom had three assists, including one on Ovechkin's game-winner. The Penguins did jump ahead with a three-goal second period, led by goals from Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist, and Jake Guentzel. Despite that, the Penguins have now dropped consecutive playoff games for the fourth time since 2016. They will look to even the series on their home ice when they host Game 4 on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jets used a much larger comeback to take the lead in their series, rallying from a three-goal deficit for a 7-4 win over the Nashville Predators. The Jets overcame a three-goal first period for the Predators, as Blake Wheeler's power play goal with 4:59 to play was the official game-winner. Dustin Byfuglien had two goals and an assist, while Paul Stastny scored once with two assists. Connor Hellebuyck had 26 saves after the rough start, and Mark Scheifele had two assists to join Sidney Crosby as the only players since 2010 with five straight multiple-point games in the postseason. Filip Forsberg, P.K. Subban, Mike Fisher and Austin Watson all scored for the Predators, who got 38 saves from Pekka Rinne, but that was not enough to hang on to the big lead. The series stays in Winnipeg for Game 4 of the series on Thursday.