For the first time since May 3, 2013, the NBA playoffs featured four games on a single weeknight. If you missed a single second of the action, we have you covered with all the stars, shots, comebacks and clinchings you need to know.
IND-CLE | WSH-TOR | UTAH-OKC | MIN-HOU
CAVALIERS 98, PACERS 95
Cavaliers lead series 3-2 | Box score
LeBron James delivers at the buzzer
That one is on the all-time LeBron mantle— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) April 26, 2018
👑👑👑 #WhateverItTakes #ThisIsWhyWePlay #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/xFgOvSVxoq— NBA (@NBA) April 26, 2018
Okkkkkk @KingJames— kuz (@kylekuzma) April 26, 2018
GOAT @KingJames— KJ (@KJMcDaniels) April 26, 2018
JR Smith, the rascal that he is, organizes a water bombardment on LeBron following his postgame interview after one of James' all-time playoff performances pic.twitter.com/bwGRN1KhUB— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 26, 2018
James is now 2-3 in the playoffs on potential go-ahead 3-pointers in the final five seconds. He's 1-20 on those same shots in the regular season.
The Q goes wild as LeBron gets the block and the shot!!
Sabonis ties it up late
Domantas Sabonis scored a game-high 22 points for the Pacers, and his jumper with 33.6 seconds left tied the score at 95-95. The Pacers quickly got the ball back after a LeBron James turnover, but James redeemed himself on the other end with one of his trademark chasedown blocks.
.@Dsabonis11 TIES IT UP! 😳#NBAPlayoffs | #Pacers pic.twitter.com/xGHl1V1wBw— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 26, 2018
LeBron's big third quarter leads the way
Huge third quarter for Cleveland -- outscoring the Pacers 32-17 -- gives the Cavs a 81-73 lead heading into the fourth. The last three games of the series, Cleveland had been outscored in the third quarter by a combined 24 points. Tonight, the Cavs flipped the script.
Cavs erase the halftime deficit
The Cavs tie it up 56-56 with 8:51 in the 3rd quarter. Indiana calls timeout. Tristan Thompson bounces off the bench to chest bump every single Cleveland player -- both the guys in the game and the guys out of the game -- before they settle down on the bench to talk to Tyronn Lue.
Ty Lue has been begging the new guys to make an imprint on the series by hustle plays -- deflections, taking a charge, setting a hard screen, diving for a loose ball, anything. Jose Calderon drawing that jump ball with Bogdanovic is exactly that. Iman Shumpert helped the Cavs sweep Indiana in the first round last season by coming into to get a couple of stops on Paul George. What Calderon said after Game 4 about spot contributions was very applicable: "We got to do a better job, everybody, to whoever is out there -- two minutes, one minute, one shot, one rebound -- we just got to try to help. It doesn’t matter what you do. It’s about the team and we have to realize that."
HALFTIME: Pacers 56, Cavaliers 49
Cavs trail 56-49 at the half to Indiana. LeBron James has 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting. The rest of the Cavs are shooting a combined 10-for-30 (and 3-for-12 for 3). Cleveland has kept Indiana's back court in check -- Victor Oladipo and Darren Collison are a combined 3-for-13 -- but the rest of the Pacers roster are eating Cleveland up, led by Domantas Sabonis (12 points on 4-for-6) and Thaddeus Young (8 points on 4-for-4).
Pacers just tore apart Cavs defense, and didn't really have to work that hard to do it. Love in the post isn't working. Use him in the PNR when the matchups make sense (i.e. when he has a big other than Young on him).— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) April 26, 2018
LeBron doing it himself
.@KingJames takes advantage of the switch! 💪#NBAPlayoffs | #AllForOne pic.twitter.com/XzBBbqYNs1— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 25, 2018
Cavs trail 25-23 after the first quarter. Good sign for Cleveland: LeBron James is living in the paint, totaling 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting. Bad sign for Cleveland: The rest of the Cavs not named LeBron James are 3-for-15 from the field (including a 1-for-9 mark from 3). Victor Oladipo leads the Pacers with 6 points.
The Cavs were able to sustain LeBron James' rest to begin the 2nd quarter. In the 4:15 he sat, Cleveland outscored Indiana by three.
Another slow start for Cleveland
The Cavs fell down 13-7 early but have made a little indentation here by stringing together some stops. JR Smith has two steals. The Pacers have four turnovers. And now the score reads 15-13 in favor of Indiana.
The seas parted for @Original_Turner! 🔨#NBAPlayoffs | #Pacers pic.twitter.com/o9en4mgwwf— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 25, 2018
Game 6 will be Friday night in Indianapolis (8 p.m. ET on ESPN). The Cavaliers are 8-1 all time when leading a series 3-2, with the only loss coming in the 2006 conference semifinals against the Pistons -- James' second postseason series. Including his time in Miami, James' teams are 9-1 when up 3-2 in a series. The Pacers, meanwhile, are just 1-12 in a series when trailing 3-2, with the only win coming in the 2014 first round against the Hawks.
Brian Windhorst writes after another classic LeBron James playoff performance: "Over the years James has learned so many different ways to control games. He has improved his jump shot, he has learned to play with his back to the basket and he has tried to teach teammates to be ready for him to distribute so he can play that role. But this was back-to-brute basics." Read full column »
THUNDER 107, JAZZ 99
Jazz lead series 3-2 | Box score
Thunder finish off epic comeback
From down 25 to tied in a heartbeat
The Thunder went down 25, Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors got into foul trouble, and Russell Westbrook absolutely, completely, totally erupted. It is somehow a tie game heading to the fourth quarter. A remarkable turnaround.
During OKC's 32-7 run to end the third quarter, Russell Westbrook was 6-for-7 from the field, 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, and a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line for 20 points. Paul George scored the other 12 for the Thunder in that span.
Thunder starting to roll again
There's a small flicker of light for the Thunder behind a 14-2 run. With no Rudy Gobert on the floor, and Derrick Favors joining him in foul trouble, OKC has made a push to cut the lead to 13.
Quin Snyder took a big gamble going back to Rudy Gobert as the Jazz started to slip, and it backfired as Gobert picks up his fifth foul with 3:50 left in the third. And the Thunder are into single-digits.
Jazz playing their tune
Westbrook turns and shows the official his sleeve pulled all the way down to his wrist after a drive, as Ricky Rubio drills a 3 on the other end. The Jazz are on the verge of not just eliminating the Thunder, but humiliating them, too.
Rudy Gobert picked up his fourth foul with 9:23 left in the third, opening a small window of opportunity for the Thunder to maybe close the gap. Instead, the Jazz have blown it open even wider, to 25.
HALFTIME: Jazz 56, Thunder 41
In some ways, missing the playoffs might've been a better outcome for this Thunder team. A disaster of course, but not the complete public shaming and exposition of every issue they have like this series is.
On the other side of things, the Jazz are just doing their thing. The ball moves, the floor stays spaced and eventually, a good shot is found from a high efficiency area. With Rudy Gobert putting Westbrook in a total and complete bind, it's pretty simple stuff for Utah.
There's no place like home?
Some scattered boos around the arena as the Jazz open up a 15-point lead, with the Thunder looking completely a mess.
There are more empty seats in the lower bowl tonight that ever seen at a Thunder playoff game. There's not a lot, but the fact it's not packed full says enough.
Westbrook's struggles continue
Westbrook short-arms a runner over Gobert for an airball, and then fouls him with Utah in the bonus some 80 feet from the basket. It's been that kind of series lately for Westbrook.
The Ingles and Crowder Show
Utah wings Joe Ingles and Jae Crowder nearly outscored the Thunder by themselves in the first quarter, putting up 24 points and going a combined 7-for-9 from beyond the arc.
Jazz catch fire early
Utah is getting on-demand corner 3s. And drilling them. They're leveraging OKC's overloaded, aggressive pick-and-roll defense to pull the baseline help up, and making the simple pass to an open shooter. The Thunder's backside defense has been an issue all series, with an apparent solution.
A Stache Bros. reunion
Enes Kanter, who used to play for both teams in this series, is still beloved in Oklahoma City and was in the building for Game 5 to support Steven Adams.
The series shifts back to Utah for Game 6 on Friday night (10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN). The Jazz have never lost a series in which they had a 3-1 lead and the Thunder have never made a comeback from down 3-1. Eleven teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven series, most recently the Cavaliers in the 2016 Finals.
Russell Westbrook was the spark that lit an improbable fire, writes Royce Young: "Some other stuff happened, a George layup, a Westbrook 3, an awesome Donovan Mitchell dunk, but the comeback was finally complete when Westbrook stopped and popped to splash a 3 with 35.9 seconds left in the third to tie the score 78-78. After the shot dropped, Westbrook's unleashed a megawatt snarl that could power a fusion generator." Read full column »
ROCKETS 122, TIMBERWOLVES 104
Rockets win series 4-1 | Box score
The Rockets finish off the Timberwolves in five games. Clint Capela caps his big series with a 26-point, 15-rebound night. Jimmy Butler scores only eight points and sits the entire fourth quarter.
James Harden: "It's a pretty good step for us, a step in the right direction, but we have a long way to go."
The Beard with the hammer
There was a lot of glaring and bickering among the Timberwolves during the timeout after James Harden blew by Taj Gibson and drove for an uncontested dunk.
James Harden in the last two third quarters: 37 points, 12-19 FG. The Rockets have outscored the Timberwolves by a total of 45 points in those two quarters.
No Butler for Timberwolves
Jimmy Butler has not played a second in the fourth quarter. No official word on an injury, but he's been playing hurt all series.
Tom Thibodeau said Jimmy Butler didn't play in the fourth quarter because of soreness in his surgically repaired knee.
Things get chippy between former Clipper teammates
Former Clippers teammates Jamal Crawford and Chris Paul exchanged heated words after Crawford ran over Paul. Crawford was called for an offensive foul and a technical foul.
Former Clippers teammates Jamal Crawford and Chris Paul exchanged heated words during the second half, after Crawford pushed Paul down to the floor with a forearm. Crawford was t'd up. Now the heated discussion in the tunnels of the Toyota Center. Not even trying to be quiet about it. Paul arguing that whatever Crawford said to him after the tech was uncalled for. Crawford pointing to another moment earlier in the series where Paul knocked him down didn't check on him. The argument is still going.
...on CP3 and Crawford argument in the tunnels. It all ended peacefully. Clear love between the guys, but both were clearly irked by some of the stuff that went on during the series.
Rockets back at it in third quarter
The Rockets take the lead with a 10-2 run to start the second half. Houston had an 11-0 run right after halftime in Game 4 to get their 50-point quarter started.
HALFTIME: Timberwolves 59, Rockets 55
Karl-Anthony Towns went to work when the Rockets went to a small lineup. Mike D'Antoni summoned Clint Capela off the bench after back-to-back baskets by Towns, who has a double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds) in the first half.
.@JimmyButler & @KarlTowns work the two-man game! 💯#NBAPlayoffs | #AllEyesNorth pic.twitter.com/H1q0U9Aq0h— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 26, 2018
James Harden and Chris Paul combined for only seven points on 3-of-16 shooting in the first half, but the Rockets' bigger problem has been on the other end. The Timberwolves shot 55 percent from the floor en route to a 59-55 halftime lead.
Waiting for liftoff from Rockets' backcourt
It's another slow start for James Harden and Chris Paul. They've combined for only three points on 1-of-10 shooting midway through the second quarter.
Wolves switch up the rotation
Timberwolves reserve PG Tyus Jones, who did not play Game 4 due to a sore knee, is available for Game 5.
Tyus Jones getting the first turn as the Timberwolves' backup point guard in Game 5 is surprising considering Derrick Rose's performance in the series.
The Rockets advanced to the second round, where they'll await the winner of the Jazz-Thunder series. Houston beat OKC in the first round a year ago, and last faced Utah in the playoffs in 2008, a first-round series won by the Jazz in six games. The Timberwolves still have advanced beyond the first round only once in franchise history. They hold the 20th pick in June's draft, acquired from the Jazz in last summer's Ricky Rubio trade.
Clint Capela ran Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves out of the playoffs, writes Tim MacMahon: "The centers' raw numbers in the series were pretty similar. Towns averaged 15.2 points and 13.4 rebounds per game, compared to 15.8 points and 14.2 rebounds for Capela. But their impact wasn't comparable, as Capela's relentless energy played a key role in the Houston Rockets finishing off the Timberwolves in five games, a stark contrast to Towns' often passive play." Read full column »
RAPTORS 108, WIZARDS 98
Raptors lead series 3-2 | Box score
Raptors on the verge of advancing
DeMar DeRozan finished with 32 points and Delon Wright scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to help the Raptors beat the Wizards and move to within a win of the second round.
Everything going Wright for Toronto
The Raptors regained the lead midway through the fourth quarter, then Delon Wright -- who averaged just 6.5 points in the two losses in Washington -- went on a personal 7-0 run, starting with a deep 3-pointer and ending with free throws to extend the Raptors' lead to eight with two minutes to play.
Delon Wright is saving this Toronto team down the stretch.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) April 26, 2018
John Wall doing it again
The Wizards' point guard had 10 points and three assists in the fourth quarter of Game 4 to power the Wizards to a series-tying win, and he looked just as strong Wednesday. Three minutes into the fourth quarter, he had 26 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists, giving the Wizards a four-point lead.
And, of course, his feud with Drake continues.
DeRozan's big night continues
DeMar DeRozan scored 10 points in the third quarter, giving him 30 for the game. Vince Carter, who set a Raptors postseason record with 50 points against the 76ers in 2001, is the only Toronto player to reach the 40-point mark in the playoffs.
HALFTIME: Raptors 48, Wizards 47
DeMar DeRozan leads all scorers with 20 points, more than halfway to his postseason career high of 37 (which he matched earlier in this series). John Wall is flirting with a triple-double, putting up 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in the first half.
The Wizards' bigs have been quiet scoring-wise but Washington only trails by one at the half due in part to the Wizards' hustle on the glass. Washington has nine offensive rebounds and has outscored Toronto, 7-0, in second-chance points.
Have Raptors solved turnover problems?
The Raptors have harped on their uncharacteristic turnovers during the series -- particularly in Game 4 -- after ranking 4th in the NBA this season in protecting the ball. They have turned the ball over at a higher rate than any team in the postseason. With 5:19 before halftime, the Raptors have squandered only two possessions. They lead 41-35.
Wall ends first quarter in style
DeRozan starts strong
DeMar DeRozan scored 13 points in the first quarter, but the rest of the Raptors combined for just 10 on 5-for-12 shooting, allowing the Wizards to take a one-point lead heading into the second quarter. DeRozan has scored at least 35 points in two of the past three games.
Somber mood in Toronto
There will be a moment of silence and a Toronto Strong banner held on the court before Game 5 for the victims of the deadly van attack that took place in downtown Toronto on Monday.
There's a lot going on in the Toronto sports universe tonight. Besides the Raptors hosting the Wizards for Game 5, the Blue Jays are playing the Red Sox right down the street and Maple Leafs fans gathered downtown to watch the Leafs' Game 7 at Boston tonight as well.
Game 6 will be Friday in Washington (7 p.m. ET on ESPNEWS and NBA TV). The Raptors are 3-1 all time in a series when leading 3-2. The Wizards do have history coming back from a 3-2 deficit, having done so three times, but the last of those victories came in 1979.
After Delon Wright came up big in the fourth quarter, Kevin Arnovitz writes of the unlikely star: "The Raptors have spent a full season refashioning their offense into a system more predicated on movement and playmaking. But this new enterprise works only if those being trusted, such as Wright and others in the supporting cast, reciprocate that trust by maximizing opportunities." Read full column »